Trade Post: Spyboy/Young Justice, Authority Revolution Vol. 1 & 2 and Captain Atom: Armageddon

Written by Peter David, drawn by Todd Nauck and Pop Mahn
Collects SpyBoy/Young Justice #1-3
I fully intended for this belated Trade Post to feature an all WildStorm line-up, but then I realized that I had already reviewed Authority: Harsh Realms, which I re-read and liked better this time around. Anyway, I had already read this crossover between two Peter David books and figured this fun and lighthearted look at teen superheros fighting and teaming up would fit in perfectly well with some hardcore WildStorm stuff (it’s not really that hard core).

Anyway, as it turns out, this book isn’t very good, which is disappointing because I am a gigantic Young Justice fan. Ben and Rickey turned me onto the book when we were all still at Wizard and I’ve gone back and gotten all the issues I didn’t already have. On the other hand, I’ve never read a SpyBoy comic. Here’s the problem with the book, I just didn’t care about the story. David intertwines the worlds of the characters very well, but since I’m not familiar with the SpyBoy Universe, so anything on that side wasn’t all that interesting to me. So, I’m guessing if you’re familiar with both books, this will be awesome for you.

My other problem was that I don’t like Mahn’s art. It starts off pretty solid, but it’s almost unreadable by the end of the book. I’d rather they just had given the entire thing to Nauck as I think he’s a rad artist (and also a rad dude). So, there you have it. As only a Young Justice fan, the book wasn’t really for me because, frankly, I just wanted more Young Justice that I hadn’t read yet. I would definitely consider giving SpyBoy a read though and maybe revisit this book later.

Written by Ed Brubaker, drawn by Dustin Nguyen
Collects Authority: Revolution #1-6 and #7-12 respectively
I’ve talked about how much I dig WildStorm in general and The Authority more specifically, but I still haven’t read everything. In fact, I didn’t even know that Brubaker wrote anything for WildStorm aside from Point Blank and Sleeper, so when I saw these two volumes written by him and drawn by the excellent Nguyen on Sequential Swap, I zeroed in and traded for them. Luckily I was not disappointed.

There is a volume or two between these two books and the end of the previous volume that I had not actually read yet, so I was a little confused on some of the details and how the characters would go from here to the places they were when WorldStorm happened. The overall story here is that a version of Henry Bendix returns to screw with the Authority, leading them to disband for a while. We also get to meet the new Doctor, Rose Tattoo and a grown up Jenny Quantum, plus an entire world of the previous Jennies. The thing I really like about what Bru did with this comic is that he mined the history of this team along with other WildStorm books and created a helluvan interesting story that I dug. I’m not sure if newbies would be able to jump in and appreciate the story, but I had a lot of fun with it. These will be going on the shelf (or more accurately in the box) with my ever-expanding collection of WS trades.

Written by Will Pfeifer, drawn by Giuseppe Camuncoli
Collects Captain Atom: Armageddon #1-8
I’m not sure if I would recommend Captain Atom: Armageddon to anyone but die hard WildStorm fans, Captain Atom fans or people who want to know exactly what the hell has been going on in the WildStorm U over the past three years. The idea here is that after exploding trying to save the world in Superman/Batman, Cap pops around a little bit and then ends up in the WSU, the only problem is that he’s going to destroy the universe and there’s nothing he can do about it. In an effort to try and help himself and not be guilty of universe-cide, Cap visits with just about every team and hero on the planet, getting some assistance and also into his fair share of fights. I do think it’s interesting that he considers this reality so much more distasteful than his own with their heroes who do what they want (mainly the Authority).

Now, don’t get me wrong, I think Pfeifer does a great job with the story, it’s just a bit long. I enjoyed it because I’m such a WS geek, but I could see how it might get boring for newbies. I also really liked the ending because, well, it results in what the title promises, but instead of ending in nothingness, things get resorted and sometimes restarted.

Here’s the problem though, this lead to one of the more confusing periods in the history of WildStorm as most of the books relaunched but to different degrees and varying levels of success and output. WildCats came out by Grant Morrison and Jim Lee. Or at least one issue did. Morrison’s Authority drawn by Gene Ha got two issues. Then Gen 13 seemed to have been completely restarted from the ground up, though that was somewhat explained later on (it wasn’t enough to keep me reading that book at the time though). On the other hand, Stormwatch seemed to carry on without any hiccups and just changed focus. I don’t even remember what was going on with Deathblow aside from the fact that he was talking to a dog and died. Plus, ever since the post-Apocalyptic nature of the WSU now, it’s not really necessary reading unless you need to know every beat. All that said, I thought, like Bru did with the Authority run, that Pfeifer weaved a really great story using the tapestry of the WSU and Camuncoli did a great job with the art, giving the book a literal edge that it needed.

Getting Bound

I’ve been on this big kick wanting to get my single issue comics bound into larger volumes. I realized many years ago that I am way more likely to sit down with a book than a stack of issues that I have to take out of the bags and boards. I can’t remember when I first heard about getting comics bound, but I think it’s a great idea and finally got around to sending off some books last month to see how things turned out. The books I chose were issues #0-20 of Peter David’s Aquaman and HERO #7-22 (the issues not included in the one and only trade). I chose them because I had all or most of the issues (a quick trip to MyComicShop closed out a lot of holes in the books I’ve been collecting for years for short money) and because I figured they wouldn’t be collected anytime soon. I bought the Aquaman issues when they were coming out for the most part and really dug that series and then read HERO for the first time during my Wizard internship and am still shocked that it hasn’t been collected yet.

So, the first step to getting books bound–after figuring out the actual books–is deciding which place you want to use and how fancy you want your books to be. I’m a bare bones kind of guy so I went with the basic $15 plus shipping model from Library Binding in Texas using Media Male. I put the comics in the correct order, filled out the form and sent the books out. I had a box from something that had been shipped to me, sandwiched between some backing boards and wrapped them in a plastic bag. I meant to take a picture of that, but forgot. The whole process took maybe three weeks because media mail is slower. Anyway, I was really hoping to get them Friday or Saturday, but was still happy to get them today. Here’s what they look like. As you can see the covers are just a solid color. You’ve got your choice of cover and font colors (from a list, not every color in the world, but still a good number of colors). I went with blue for Aquaman with gold lettering and a green cover and purple lettering which are the colors the spine of the existing trade, but reversed. Here’s pics of the spines. I thought the text would have been bigger, but that could be on me and not them. I know you can pay extra to get the actual logo put on the spine, but, again, I’m cheap, so this is the bare bones version. I’m hoping to collect all of Peter David’s Aquaman, hence the 1 on the bottom and his name on the spine.

My concern with getting both of these collections of single issues bound was that there might be too many issues and there would be gutter loss because of the binding. Luckily that is not the case, as you can see in this picture. There’s some loss, but if you just open the book a bit more it’s all good. Plus it’s not like either of these runs have a lot of spreads.

I am incredibly happy with this transaction. The books turned out so well and I can’t wait to get some more shelf space and my hands on more of my collection in order to get most of it bound. There will definitely be some books that I just get the trades for (for instance, I’m trying to get my hands on the Daredevil Bendis hardcovers to replace my single issues). Sometimes it’s just easier and maybe even cheaper for me to get all the Green Arrow or Teen Titans trades than sending all my issues off to get collected. I would definitely use Library Binding again, but I’m also going to look around and see if there are any local book binders who can do the work without me having to ship them out. I might also be able to make a deal with a local place especially if I’m getting my nearly 20 long box strong collection bound (though there are some books my collecting geekiness won’t let me send off and other books I just won’t want to read again). Hopefully this will be the beginning of a beautiful relationship with comic binding.