My comic store didn't receive it's shipment of Captain America #25, Fantastic Four #543, and some other major Marvel releases because Diamond Distributors sucks ass sometimes. Anyway, the issues came today and it makes me both glad and disappointed. Why? Because Marvel has some serious pricing issues.
On Wednesday, I reluctantly bought Civil War: The Initiative, just to see what was in store with the new series post-CW. Really, I was hoping it was more like Winter Soldier:Winter Kills than Civil War:Choosing Sides. It was drawn by Marc Silvestri, which is a plus, and written by Brian Michael Bendis, which can go either way. It's really just an over-sized commercial, with nothing really to offer besides a splash page of the Thunderbolts and further confirmation that Iron Man's a douche.
The worst part? It was $4.99.
Today, I got Cap and FF, both extra-sized issues, and I was greatly pleased with both. Especially Cap, which managed to erase a lot of my bad feelings caused by Civil War #7. Seeing Cap, even in cuffs, with his head held high and still standing up for what he believes in made me remember why I like the character. Brubaker seems to have a knack at incorporating personal drama into the epic kind, without it seeming...emo. The 'surprise' was blown way before I got a chance to read it, but the way it happened and the characters' reactions are brilliantly written and I have to commend Brubaker on fitting in the events of Civil War into his Red Skull storyline.
FF featured a Dateline-ish special about the history of the Fantastic Four and the affect the Civil War would have on the team. I'm just wondering what forms you have to fill out when interviewing Doctor Doom. Does he sign a contract or just commands you to enter and leave when he tires of you? Anyway, it was a nice return to a more cheerful Fantastic Four that still acknowledged the difficulties that lie ahead.
The two backup stories, one by Stan Lee and Michael Allred and the other by Paul Pope, are what really make this issue special. For awhile, Marvel's been throwing out extra-sized issues that were basically just a regular story with four or five extra pages and a reprint of an old issue. Here we have two new stories and the unexpected delight of having a good Stan Lee story, even if it is a self parody. And Pope's Human Torch/Spider-Man rivalry is nicely done.
Both of these issues which actually add something and move the overall story along, are both $3.99. Why the hell did I pay an extra dollar for that Initiative crap? To find out who the new Guardian is? It wasn't that important to me, and a lot of pages are devoted to 'screenings' of upcoming books, including Cap #25, The Mighty Avengers #1, and Iron Man #15.
Get it together, Marvel! Hype books for upcoming series should not cost more than extra-sized issues with all-new material. Because, again, DC would have only charged a dollar.