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I write comic book reviews that NOBODY has ever asked for!
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I think the reason I loved the X-Files so much is that there really wasn't anything else like it on T.V.  It combined conspiracy theories and unsolved mysteries and mixed in an interesting take on the tried and true buddy cop show formula. 

The Topps comic series came out during the second season of the show, and followed a somewhat unusual path for a licensed product tie-in. . .especially a tie-in to something that was still going strong.  The comic series was supposedly happening AT THE SAME TIME as the series. 

But there was a bit of a problem with that unusual approach. . .although the comics and T.V. series were supposed to be right alongside each other, the writers of the comic were SEVERELY restricted in what characters from the T.V. show could appear.  Therefore, appearances by series regulars (such as Skinner, The Cigarette Smoking Man, and The Lone Gunmen) were little more than cameos.

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Let's get this out of the way first. . .I'm a huge X-Files fan.  I'm even going to step outside of the box of nerdly comfort and openly declare that I even like the seasons with Agent John Dogget.  Yeah. . .I said it.  Not every episode was great.  I'll admit that there are some that are nothing but filler and "Monster of the Week", but when the show hit the mark, it NAILED it dead center. 

But THAT'S the T.V. show.  I'm here to talk about comics.  In particular, the 41 issue Topps run from 1995 to 1998, which coincided with the 2nd through 5th season of the T.V. show.  So let's get to it, shall we?

Before we get to the main ongoing series, let's start off with 4 "special" one-shot issues that precede the first issue: -2 (reprinting stories from X-Files Magazine), -1 (polybagged with Hero Illustrated), #0 (adapting the pilot episode of the T.V. show) and #1/2 (A Wizard Magazine mail in offer).

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"A Death In The Family" is a four issue "event" that, although it's pretty much considered a standalone story, ran in the regular ongoing Batman series in late 1988, early 1989 (Issues #426-429).  If you skip around the internet a bit, you're going to run across the story on just about any "Top (insert number here) Batman Stories" list you find. 

But is it really any good when a hard look is taken at it?  Or are people just knee-jerking it onto "Best Story" lists because of the impact on comic book history of the death of a major supporting character (SPOILER: Jason Todd Robin)?  Does the story itself hold up under scrutiny, or is it coasting along on the noteriety gained by having comic fans actually call a 900 number (anyone remember those?) and decide if Robin died or not?


Let's find out!

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Except for The Walking Dead, I'm not really a fan of black and white comics at all, but when I saw these three issues sitting on the shelf at my local comic shop for the measly cost of $1.50 each, I HAD to get them.  $4.50 for 3 new comics?  Hell, son. . . the first issue of Doomsday Clock costs $4.99 by ITSELF. 

So I bought these comics based on cover price and gave them nothing more than a quick flip through, enough to see there were Nazis and Zombies.  Other than that, I was coming in cold.  So did I get my $4.50 worth? Read on!

MOTHER RUSSIA

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So what we have here is a relic of a time when Marvel brought back the original Captain America after a fairly lengthy absence (about 4 years) when Bucky Barnes (AKA Winter Soldier) took over as Cap.  They returned to the original numbering, but ALSO wanted a nice, shiny, collectable Captain America #1, so they ran the original numbered series and a new series starting at #1 at the same time. 

The original series (Volume 5) ended up turning into a short run of several self-contained Captain America team up stories which, while maintaining the original numbering, are listed in indica and on comic book info sites (such as this one) as separate titles.  So Captain America #633 is listed as the first issue of a "Captain America & Iron Man" three-issue mini.  It's kind of a strange thing.

ANYWAY. . .

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There's nothing wrong at all with a good ongoing series, but if anyone were to ask me what my favorite form of comic art is, I would immediately answer "The One Shot". Within the framework of a single issue, the creative team is challenged to give us everything we need to enjoy a story. They're pretty much forced to swing for the fences. Here are 5 random single issues from my collection read and reviewed for your consideration. Are they home runs or foul balls? Let's find out!

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Now that I think of it, I PROBABLY should have done this entry for Halloween.

BUT. . .

What we have here is a 3 issue black and white series adapting 10 of Edgar Allan Poe's shorter works, featuring the art of the legendary Richard Corben.  Edgar Allan Poe and Richard Corben. . .how can this NOT be good?  Let's find out!

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I've said it before in other Longbox Junk entries. . .I love all things Alien.  As a matter of fact, I'm gonna commit nerdic heresy right here and right now by taking a step out of line and confessing that Alien 3 is one of my favorite movies.  And THEN I'm gonna just go ahead and throw myself completely over the cliff by actually admitting that I (mostly) like Alien: Resurrection.  But that's the movies.  What about the comics?

In between and around the various movies in the Alien franchise, Dark Horse was busy creating an expanded comic universe.  Similar to their Star Wars expanded universe, the quality of the projects ranged from really good to really bad.  There wasn't much middle ground.  Either what you got was good or it was bad when it came to Dark Horse's Aliens comics (and their Star Wars comics as well).

So what side of the fence does the Longbox Junk at hand fall? READ ON!

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This series is strangely confusing to me.  I remember it at one point being hugely popular and extremely collectable.  A little research shows me that one of the stories was nominated for an Eisner award, the series has been collected into several fairly expensive hardcover editions, and the collected edition is ranked at #13 on IGN's list of the 25 greatest Batman Graphic Novels.  Thanks to this series, whenever a comic is given the "DEEEE-Lux" treament, it's usually done in black and white.  It seems to be pretty agreed upon as being an innovative work of art and a must have for any serious Batman fan.  Plus I still see "Black and White" versions of comic statues every time I visit my local comic shop.


That's a mighty damn fine pedigree for a mini right there.  So how come the individual issues are worth less than five bucks?  How come I FINALLY found the issue I had been missing all these years (#4) a couple of months ago in a comic shop dollar box?  WHY is this influental and pretty much universally-praised comic series Longbox Junk? 

So let's leave aside my confusion for the moment and take an objective look at the junk at hand. . .

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The A-Team was a force to be reckoned with back in the 80's.  Unfortunately, it seems that when an A-Team movie was finally made in 2010, the glory days were long past and the response seems to have been a fairly unanimous "Why?"

When I decided to review this 4 issue tie-in mini put out by IDW, I hadn't seen the movie.  So out of curiosity I decided to give it a go and found out that finding a copy was actually a harder task than I would have thought.  It's not on Netflix, it's not on any of the "on demand" channels I have, it's not at Wal-Mart, Target, or Best Buy.  I don't really buy things off the internet because I'm old and GET THE HELL OFF MY LAWN!  Long story short, I finally found a used copy in a Gamestop.

Yeah. . .you're going to get a movie review along with your comic review.  Roll with it.

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