Just a couple of quick thoughts, to keep my hand in the game...
ASTRO CITY ASTRA SPECIAL #1: I've kind of disliked the whole "Dark Ages" storyline -- just feels like it's been going on and on and on with no end in sight, with characters I don't care about all that much. AC has always been best (IMO) with "done in one" stories. Well, this one is "done in two", but it worked a lot better for this reader than anything else lately. It might also because I like Astra a lot. Either way, this felt very much like a "return to form" for me, and I thought it was VERY GOOD.
I also really liked the cover stock -- it is shiny and slick, like (say) SUPERMAN: SECRET ORIGINS, or how the "Ultimate" books used to be, but it isn't "slippery". You can pick up a stack of them by the middle and not have them go flying everywhere in all kinds of directions. I dunno if this was an accident, or something that they did on purpose (Kurt? Want to chime in in the comments?), but it's a very nice stock, giving both nice "hand" as well as signifying the book is "special" without the slippery problem. As fans you're probably not handling big stacks of slippery books, but as a retailer I very much appreciate it.
As long as I'm talking about cover stocks, let me mention that last week's BOOM! titles also had a new stock that I liked very much -- one of the things that has REALLY hurt BOOM! sales, in my opinion, is that they've had lousy "hand" (that is to say, holding it in your hand, if you think "This feels flimsy, and not worth the cover price!", that's "hand"). Last week's books FINALLY saw an upgrade of that, and it made a huge psychological difference (Now all we have to get them to do is to FUCKING ELIMINATE THE FORCED 50/50 variants -- esp. on the "kids" books. Kids could give one rat's fart about multiple covers, and kids also totally paw and devastate their racks [the only rack that's worse at Comix Experience is the porno rack], and having two cover for each comic only makes things massively epically worse); on the other hand, this week's BOOM! book, THE UNKNOWN: THE DEVIL MADE FLESH #1 was back to the shitty thin stock, which I'm desperately hoping is an accident, and that last week was A PLAN. Anyway, stop digressing Hibbs!!
BATMAN WIDENING GYRE #2: Can I just say it is very very very VERY strange to see "Fun Land" -- from SANDMAN #14, is it? The Serial Killers Convention issue anyway -- presented here as a BATMAN VILLAIN? Especially so without any kind of nod to Gaiman whatsoever? There's something just... wrong about that. I mean, it's a little better than talking about merkins or Poison Ivy's sexual preferences, but still, "one of these things is not the other" and all that. The rest of the issue? EH.
BOMB QUEEN VI #1: I have one "Obama Grandmother" who really likes collecting all of the various Obama comic appearances -- she wants me to pull them all aside for her. I'm generally happy to do so because she seems to genuinely enjoy it (and money is money), but this here is one I just dunno about. I really feel like saying to her "whatever you do, don't READ this one" because I can't see how an "Obama Grandmother" is going to relate to all of the swearing and borderline pornography on display here. I sort of think that, generally, "Bomb Queen" has run its course, but I had at least one or two actual genuine laughs, like I would with "The Boys" as well, so it is reasonably OK.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA 80 PAGE GIANT #1: Pretty old school. The team breaks into small two man teams throughout history, which is a fun enough premise. The EXECUTION varies pretty dramatically depending on the individual creative team (There's a few pieces in here not much better than, say "New Talent Showcase"), but it was the rare modern DC comic that I could actually read with my 5 year old standing over my shoulder, so I'm inclined to give it a GOOD just for that. Dunno when Snapper Carr started hanging out with the League again, though?
NEW MUTANTS #5: I didn't care (either way) about the story, but I thought the art on this issue, by Zachary Baldus (and, I am thinking, colorist James Campbell as well -- hard to tell from the outside where one starts and the other ends) was really terrific -- distinct, totally unlike anything else Marvel is publishing today, and full of personality. I especially like how Cannonball resembles (Fantagraphics') Eric Reynolds from the late 90s (I don't know what his haircut looks like today). I very much want to see more from this artist(s?). VERY GOOD on the art alone (though your mileage may vary -- it sure isn't Marvel "House Style")
SPIDER-MAN CLONE SAGA #1: I honestly don't get the point of this book. Why would ANYone want a RETELLING of the awful 90s Clone Saga? My customers seem to agree as well, sold a total of one copy so far. This is exactly the kind of book that makes me joyous that we have FOC (Final Order Cutoff, or the chance to CUT orders before the next issue ships). I guess the execution was adequate enough, but after like 4 pages I put the book down saying "Why why why?!?!", which pretty much is the essence of CRAP.
THOR #603: When did Loki become a dude again? I mean, it isn't like Asgardian Gods really should have fixed corporeal essences -- you'd think Loki could change A/S/L as often as It liked -- but did I miss a plot point somewhere? Still a she in MIGHTY AVENGERS, and in recent "Cabal" stuff, and anyway I sort of liked that change.
Anyway, I'm still liking this book a lot, but it totally feels like JMS is deeply in the MIDDLE of a lot of stuff happening here, and I have a fairly hard time to see how this will be satisfactorily wrapped up in a single special.
The thing is, I mostly think that people were buying this BECAUSE of JMS, because, generally, I think Thor is such an noncommercial character, and, even with the desire for a big crossover (or whatever) to get ready for the movie, they should have just let JMS have his little corner of the Marvel U to do what he's doing here.
Anyway, I thought this issue was fairly GOOD.
That's all I have time for today -- as always, what did YOU think?