This Week’s Haul

Comic books I bought the week of 4 April 2007.

This week’s 52 may be the most muddled issue of the series. I couldn’t figure out what was going on, or why I should care. Didn’t they finish up the Intergang stuff months ago? Bleah.

My Dad I think summed up my feelings about Jack of Fables best in an e-mail: “When it was dealing with the group that captured him, it was pretty good, but when it’s just about his jerky self, not too hot.” Jack really is a jerk, and actually no one in the series is really someone you can root for. And the art is pretty so-so. I don’t think I’ll be buying it much longer.

“Planet Hulk” ends this month, and it’s just interesting enough that maybe I will pick up World War Hulk this summer.

I’ve been curious about Invincible for a long time now. The premise is that the hero is the son of a Superman-type figure who got married and had a kid, and Invincible inherits Omni-Man’s powers. (I’ve been spoiled and know that there’s more to it than that, but that’s the crux of the premise.) I did the math and it turns out that buying the Ultimate Collection hardcovers is about the same price as buying the trade paperbacks, and the hardcovers are, well, hardcover, not to mention using larger pages. Hence I went for the hardcover.

I’m about 4 issues into the volume so far, and it’s quite good. Robert Kirkman’s wry sense of humor brings a welcome levity (and reality) to what in many ways is a silver age comic series updated for the modern day. On the downside, the characters are pretty thin: The heroes are defined almost entirely by their powers, and the supporting cast have basically no personality. There’s no depth. Maybe that will change over time (I think the series has run more than 30 issues so far). Considering the series so far feels like a father/son series mixed with a coming-of-age story (and fortunately without the wacky hijinks that often accompany the “teenager discovers he has super powers” yarns these days, such as those which plagued Spyboy), it could benefit greatly from deeper characterization (but then, what story couldn’t?). Artist Cory Walker has a great sense of form and dynamism, but he could use an inker who could lend some complexity and (there’s that word again) depth to his layouts, as the art is often too spare for my tastes.

But overall, this one looks like a winner. The second collection is already out, and the third is due out this summer, so they ought to keep me busy for a while. Hopefully it gets better as it goes along.

A Little Light Poker

Thursday night Lee hosted a small-stakes poker game at his house. (Lee is one of my new friends whom I’ve mainly gotten to know through playing Magic.) There were 7 of us all together, and we started off with a little tournament: $10 per person in the kitty, top three spots paid. We started with $6000 in chips.

I had a pretty good session. My most memorable hand was one where three people called my $100 big blind, and I checked with 6-5o.

And the flop was 2-3-4. I’d flopped the nut straight.

Action was checked around to me, and I made a bet of around $200. Jamie (a new player I hadn’t met before) folded, and Daniel raised to $1000. Lee folded. It was a social game so there was a lot of chatting going on, but I thought for a bit and finally went all-in. Jamie folded, and Daniel thought for a lo-o-ong time. Finally he called.

And he winced when he saw my straight. Then I winced when I saw he had two pair – he had 2-3 – so he had 4 outs against me. But the turn and river didn’t help and I crippled his stack.

That as pretty nifty, though Daniel didn’t think so. He thought I had either top pair, or an overpair. I wouldn’t have gone in with top pair, and I would have been reluctant with any overpair less than 10s. But obviously he didn’t expect me to have a straight, he just ran into my moment of supreme luck. So I guess it was not a bad call on his part. I arguably could have just reraised rather than gone all-in since he probably would have folded anything less than two pair, but I felt the pot was already valuable enough that I wanted to take it down then.

I ended up getting knocked out in fourth place when I went all-in with Jacks, and Adam made the runner-runner wheel straight to beat me with his A-5. Gah.

We played a cash game after the tournament was over: $10 buy-ins, and nickel-dime blinds. So it was small stakes, but it was a good learning session. The cash game was basically Lee’s game as he won a couple of huge pots. I was pleased (on one hand I wasn’t in) that I correctly guessed that he had a set when he went all-in. I think he was surprised I had figured it out from his betting, alhough he may have figured I was just BSing him. I do make correct assessments like that from time to time, but it’s far from a consistent skill, unfortunately.

I checked out around 11:30 pm, but I had a great time. I’ve been enjoying getting to know these new friends of mine!