It’s hard out here for a Retailer

So Marvel is doing a big reboot of their comics and as a specialty all of thier new comics will have 3D lenticular covers as well as traditional versions for a cheaper price.(most likely) Lenticular covers are pretty cool, they’ve got one image on there and as you move the image it becomes something else like this :

And then typically their traditional variant is typically a mix of the two pictures like this :

So both are pretty cool in their own right and most readers just care about a good story but if they can get a cool cover, why not, right? Well that’s typically been my thought process too. If I got them, great. If not, still great.

(If any retailer wishes to correct me on what I’m about to say then please do so.)Now traditionally with these kinds of things you have to order a certain amount of comics to get a few extra lenticular covers which is understandable if instead of ordering 15 copies, you have to order 25 to get them.(Just an example) Alright, makes sense and it’s not a difficult sell to have just a few extra copies lying around for back issue stock. But how has Marvel screwed this up?

Well according to a few various sources (I.E. Bleeding Cool News and my friends at my Local Comic Shop) Marvel is forcing people to order upwards of 100% to 200% of their previous comic orders to get the lenticular covers. Now while this wouldn’t affect a lot of the smaller titles think about Spider-Man or X-Men, you’re ordering 30 copies of a title and then you have to order somewhere in between 60-120 copies to get these covers? Well Marvel is taking a play right out of Wilson Fisk’s handbook cause guess what, that’s just for one comic. By my calculations my LCS would have to spend at least $1,500 just to get all of the covers. Add that to their normal order and that’s a hefty fee and I don’t blame them for choosing not to do this. Prominent retailers like MyComicShop have already said they’re not getting them and I don’t blame them either. This is a situation that needs to be fixed and Marvel owes these people an apology in my opinion.

I’ve seen a few people defend them by saying : “Well they cost more to make.” And I totally get that except for 2 very important facts :

1) Marvel is a Billion dollar company that has a Billion dollar subsidiary of a film studio and they’re both owned by an even bigger Billion dollar company. There’s no way that they absolutely need an extra $1,500 from any comic book retailer. Midtown Comics will most likely be one of the few retailers that can actually do it and not take a hit on it financially. Any other store is basically putting a death sentence on themselves.

2)(someone’s gonna get angry at me for this.)

DC Already did this, Twice.

Why don’t we call up our old friends at DC and figure out how they did Villains Month in a year where they didn’t have the backing of 3 blockbuster films? Sure, Man Of Steel made some money but it didn’t make Guardians, Spider-Man and Thor money. They even had 11 more titles on the racks than Marvel does this time around and they declared it a success.

Futures End wasn’t that great the following year, yeah I’ll give you that. But still, they didn’t try to take even more money from their retailers because of it.

In other words, there is no defense for Marvel here.

I love Marvel Comics but I don’t see why any retailer should have to offer an exceptional tribute of profits to get a promo item. You didn’t see them shelling out $1,500 for bouncy balls of the Watcher’s eye during Original Sin, now did you?

Dark Nights : Metal

Dark Nights : Metal #1 is legitimately one of the best single issues I’ve read in a long time and I didn’t really want this to be a review mainly because I want to get into some heavy spoilers here but suffice it to say that it is a perfect 10/10 and I can’t wait to see where this series goes.

It really started back in June and July with Dark Days : The Forge and Dark Days : The Casting by bringing The Joker back to the DC Universe, showing us that Duke Thomas is a lot more than what we originally thought he was, giving us our first glimpse into the Dark Multiverse and of course revealing the Dark Knights.

For Refresher, here’s the order of the storyline :

We’re currently in the Dark Nights and supposedly the people who will bring the Dark Matter will be these guys :

And a better picture :

So Yeah, they look like a fun group, right?

Anyway, we saw their silhouettes on the last page of Dark Days : The Casting and we’ve been intrigued ever since.  Now we get to Metal and it flows like a brilliant screenplay and this issue is basically the first 20 minutes of a film. It starts off with this voice over from Carter Hall who has since vanished/died(Presumably he’s coming back.) but during this voice over we’re taken to Mongul’s new War World and the Justice League have to fight in this arena and it’s really epic and it all leads to this big climatic scene of the league forming a massive Justice League robot :

I mean, just look at that beauty! Then the credits kick in and you basically can put any rock song on in the background of this scene and it works perfectly, my preference is Achilles Last Stand by Led Zeppelin but it’s entirely up to you.

I’m not gonna go over the entire issue but I do love that opening a lot. Throughout the issue, the entire Justice League learn of this new threat from the Dark Multiverse and it’s deep connections with Bruce Wayne. Now, if The Forge and The Casting were Snyder’s payoff for multiple years old storylines then Metal is his way of saying thanks to Grant Morrison. Morrison’s run on Batman had two major themes : 1. Always bet on Batman, cause no matter what, he always has a plan. 2. Bruce Wayne is the key to the DC Universe.

The reason I say this is because while they’re explaining about the Multiverse they literally pull out the map from Morrison’s Meta-textual study on comics : Multiversity(Phenomenal Comic Series, another article for another time.)  and then they explain what evil is coming and hint towards why it’s coming here. They mention the evil of many names but it’s most common one is Barbatos. Something else that’s a call back to Morrison’s Batman run and the event comic Final Crisis. Barbatos isn’t something that they’ve explained perfectly to us but from what I’ve gathered he’s basically DC’s version of Cthullu. Right down to being gigantic, having a bunch of cult followers and every story involving him is weird and mysterious.

Yeah, so that’s gonna be difficult to take care of.

So even after learning that a Giant Bat Demon is coming and Bruce Wayne is apparently “The Wagon that will carry the Beast here.” How do they top it for the finale?

Whoa! Dream is here from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman? This is one of the biggest reveals in modern comic history. The fact that they’re using The Endless in the main comics again is a huge deal and is just another reason that we need to keep an eye as this series as it continues.

I skipped over a few different things to hit the main beats but I didn’t wanna give everything away. Anyway, hit me up in the comments or on Facebook with your favorite moments from Metal and what you’re excited for in the future of DC Comics.

Rebirth Revisited – Wonder Woman

I wrote an article last year called “The Forgotten” where I compared myself to being forgotten by DC Comics due to the exclusion of The New 52, now fortunately this wasn’t a debacle like comparing Nick Spencer to Stan Lee(It was basically my Tony Stark/Hank Pym invents Ultron moment.) but it was pretty heavy with the idea of DC just saying the new 52 was useless and although I do think it wasn’t handled in the best way possible, I have to admit that it’s been a lot better than I anticipated.

(Disclaimer, I have’t read every comic that DC Rebirth has had in the last year but I’ve kept up with a good portion of it and have read at least the first quarter of the runs I’m talking about.)

First Up : Let’s jump right into my thoughts on Wonder Woman.(#1-#25)

W: Greg Rucka. A: Liam Sharp, Nicola Scott and Different Guests Artists.

Now, Wonder Woman was one of the first ones that I was hesitant to read due to the fact that it cancels out Brian Azzarello’s run which is one of my all time favorites but I do have to give some credit to where Rucka is concerned here.

Story : The basic premise is that Wonder Woman has memories of different origins and different stories that she believes to be false and so she goes looking for answers as to why she has forgotten the truth and why she has other memories instead.

Rucka does write a very strong Wonder Woman and that’s a major thing for me. Wonder Woman always needs to be this powerhouse and needs to be sure of herself and the only major issue I have with this story as a whole is the 3 issues where she isn’t. Steve Trevor, Etta Candy and Barbara Minerva were all great updated additions to the story and I was very pleased with all of them as Characters.

My biggest issues with the story though is that Rucka bends over backwards in this storyline to make sure that he’s the only one who’s relevant as a previous writer. The irony of them referencing the arrogance of men in the story wasn’t lost on me. This wouldn’t have angered me if he just never mentioned previous storylines and made his an organic continuation from his work on the character back in the early 2000’s but the reveal of “The Lies” wasn’t organic at all in the context of the story and I had to reread the comic about 3 times to actually understand why Wonder Woman had forgotten everything.

Now Rucka might get a pass here due to the fact that he’s following the Finch run and not the Azzarello run. I didn’t read all of the Finch’s run but after hearing everything that happens, I’m glad I didn’t. They chose to kill all of the male amazons(From the Azzarello run), They Chose to kill Zeke and ruin Hera’s Characterization(From the Azzarello run) they chose to revert Ares back to the traditional blue armored God of War instead of the weary old man(Say it with me…From the Azzarello run) and worst of all : Wonder Woman lacks self confidence and is incredibly weak willed. Which goes against everything we know about her! So yeah, if Rucka saw that and was just like “Enh, Let’s just restart everything.” Then I honestly can’t blame him too much for it.

His Diana is well written but her characterization is a bit off due to her trying to make sense of all of these memories she has. It’s actually a shame that he spends so much time on fixing her that by the time we get to see her for who she really is we only have two or three other issues before a new writer takes over.

Overall, It’s well written until the reveal in issue #23 but Diana does have some really cool moments and the new versions of Dr. Poison, Dr. Cyber and Veronica Cale were welcome additions to her Rogue’s Gallery. I would Suggest this Series if you just really needed a Wonder Woman fix and if you wanted to get caught up before the next comes along after Shea Fontana short stint with the character(As of this writing, I haven’t read anything of hers but I’d be happy to cover it in the future if you’d like me to.)

Fandom Review

Hey guys! Haven’t written in a while so I figured I’d catch you up on a lot of things.

Middle-Earth : Shadow Of War/Star Wars Battlefront 2

Of course they’re going to have microtransactions! Why wouldn’t they?

So, if you don’t know, Microtransactions are a plague that are sweeping across the gaming communities. Effectively it boils down to this : “Don’t wanna grind in the game to get the best weapon? Well just pay me $20 in real life and I’ll give you the best weapon in the game.” Then anyone who doesn’t pay $20 basically can’t play the game.

This will be the death of gaming if we remain silent. Now, many people will combat me on this and say “But Vance, Overwatch is one of your favorite games and it has the same loot box system that Battlefront and Shadow of War are going to have.” Which is true, but Overwatch’s is just cosmetic items. You want the emote where winston eats Peanut Butter? You want a new Sombra Skin? You want McCree to say a Tombstone quote? Well get some loot boxes! The point is that those don’t affect the gameplay at all and Loot boxes are pretty easy to get for free cause you get one every time you level up. Battlefront and Shadow Of War might be the same way we’ll just have to wait and see.

Deadpool 2

They’ve released the the first pictures of Josh Brolin as Cable and Zazie Beetz as Domino.

I think Zazie looks great as Domino, she’s never been one of my favorite characters but she’s important to Deadpool’s arc and I think she’ll be a great addition.

I was curious about Brolin as Cable initially but the more I think about it I don’t really know if I’d want anyone else in the role. Also, this means that Brolin is the first man to star across the three major comic film companies of Fox(Cable), Marvel(Thanos) and even DC(Jonah Hex, yes, it happened.)

Although I wasn’t a huge fan of the first film these pictures make me excited to see what they can do with the storyline. Also, does the teddy bear in the cable picture mean we’re gonna see Hope Summers? If so, it’s gonna be crazy.

My trip to Castlevania

I had never played a single second of a Castlevania game. I just never got around to try out the series and then about a month ago everyone kept telling me to watch the Castlevania Netflix series and so I bided my time until finally one day I sat down and watched the series and absolutely loved it and was furious when I realized it was basically just an 80 minute movie instead of a long season. Fortunately, they’ve already announced that Season 2 will be 8 episodes instead of 4 and that they’re already in production so a lot of people are assuming Halloween of 2018 as a release date. I don’t wanna wait that long but whatever.

So, after loving the series, I decided to try my hand at the games. After research, and not being able to find a copy of Symphony Of The Nighy, I decided to download Castlevania 3 : Dracula’s Curse(The one that the show is based on.) on my 3DS and it is one of the most difficult games I’ve played. It’s so frustrating! But it’s been pretty great to play through it and I’ve actually enjoyed it quite a bit, can’t wait to try out other games in thr series.