The Usual Suspects #44 (no spoilers)
Welcome back for another edition of The Usual Suspects. This week is all about Avengers Endgame. It just is. There’s no avoiding it. I’m am probably at the theater right now as this is posted to the CBSI site. Got tickets for Friday at 1:30 pm. I really can’t wait. I haven’t been this nervous and excited since just before Force Awakens.
This has been building for over 10 years now. And after the success of Infinity War, they’ve really raised the bar for themselves. I only pray they can see this through and not trip themselves up at the finish line. But with the awesome lead in that was Infinity War I feel like they got a bit of a head start.
That said, I have avoided as much as I could as to not stumble into spoilers. I haven’t even watched the latest trailer. Again, why bother watching the trailer? I’m already set on going to see it. I don’t need convincing. Why risk seeing something that could give something away?
So the books I chose to cover in the rest of the article are either based on announcements of things we know are coming, or just pure speculation on my part. The speculation will be very clear and is not based on anything I’ve seen, know, or was told. Just me throwing some darts at the wall for fun.
These are logical progressions based what we know, rumors we’ve all heard, and just educated guesses. It’s fun to speculate. Granted I already did this a few months back in Usual Suspects #23. In that article I covered 1st Black Widow, 1st Eternals, 1st Nova, and 1st She Hulk. And while I may refer back at those movies again, I promise I will not double dip coverage and will give you new books related to updates on those projects.
I know we are all dying to know what comes next in Phase 4. Sequels for sure, but which ones? What storylines?
How many people were convinced the Skrulls in Captain Marvel were going to lead in to some version of Secret Invasion? Maybe they still will, or maybe not. Whatever is going to happen will happen, and I am just excited to be along for the ride.
So with that said…let’s get into it.
1st appearance of Taskmaster in, cameo on last page.
No one really thinks about this book much. You see the cover and it doesn’t scream, “Key issue!” In fact a lot of folks simply ignore it. But that would be a mistake dear friends as this is the 1st appearance of Taskmaster.
before we get into a whole 1st cameo isn’t a real first appearance debate, this is what it is. It’s a last page reveal and appearance just like Wolverine in Hulk 180. So take that for what it is. If you want it, buy it. If not, then don’t. It’s that simple.
The market will do what it wants, and they seem interested in this book in the same way as Hulk 180. It has value, but the first full appearance and cover on 196 commands a premium. And that’s fine. It’s not a competition.
But reports are pointing towards Taskmaster being the villain in the Black Widow solo movie. There is some uncertainty over which version of the character will be the one gracing the silver screen once the cameras start rolling. Will it be original recipe Tony Masters, or will they go with the Casey Jones looking Ultimate version?
Market Analysis: Tons of this available right now. Discounting a couple of CGC 9.8 SS copies up for over $1k., the top listing is a CGC 9.8 Blue Label looking for $350. A Marker Jewelers CGC 9.6 is looking for $315 which is also interesting.
The top raw copy is up for $99.00, but you can grab plenty of decent looking raw copies for $25 to $60.
A decent amount of sales this year, but prices are definitely on the rise. Highest 9.8 sale this year was for $243. But prices seem to be averaging in the $200ish range of late. Raws are all over depending on grade but plenty of copies sold.
Origin & 1st full appearance Taskmaster
And here we have the 1st full appearance of Taskmaster. You all know this cover. It’s a classic. That green cover jumps out across the room. And yes, he kinda looks like someone gave Skeletor Hawkeye’s Bow, Cap’s shield, Wonder Woman’s lasso, and the Black Knight’s sword.
This is something I would have done with my toys as a kid which makes it awesome. It doesn’t matter that the cape and carrying all of this gear is completely impractical, he just looks cool. So I am tipping my hand a bit that I am really pulling for Original Recipe Taskmaster for this movie.
In reality, the MCU version will probably be more its own thing or an amalgam of the two. The skull face will be hard to sell, so it will most likely be a Crossbones looking mask like something out of Army of Two. Like he did in the Spider-Man PS4 game.
Market Analysis: About half as many copies of 196 available as there are of 195. The demand is very high right now and this is the book people seem to want. Plenty of copies to be had in Raw but the prices have climbed significantly. This is getting to be a $200 raw in a decent grade.
This book also has some interesting foreign editions. Right now I see a version from Spain and one from Germany. These Euro versions are really cool even if I do not know what languages these are.
If you were looking for a CGC 9.8 you are out of luck as there are none available at the moment. A 9.6 for $700 is your top listing outside of a couple CGC SS versions.
Huge jumps on this book in all grades. The 3 month average 9.8 grade is nearly $1100. But the last sale eclipsed that at nearly $1300. That green cover is a tough 9.8 and this isn’t getting any cheaper.
A good gauge on a book’s “hotness” is the ratio of available vs sold. If there were more sold than are available that is a decent gauge of market interest. Here we have only 42 available, but a whopping 315 sold. So prices are on the rise. So get in now if you get a decent price, otherwise you may have to wait this one out a while.
1st appearance of Circe
So we all know that Sersi will be a main character in the Eternals movie, but did you know that she first appeared as Circe in this issue of Strange Tales? You know the Greek myth from The Odyssey. Not the Queen of Westeros.
But the idea being that the Eternals have been around a long time. Not that their name is a tip off in any way. But many of the characters are based in part around existing mythologies. I honestly don’t know much about the Eternals. And even more truthfully, I don’t have the patience to research them right now. I can’t focus on anything but Endgame tomorrow.
Though the rumor is that Angelina Jolie has been cast as Sersi. Yes, another way to spell it. Not Circe, or Cersei, but Sersi. I’ve read complaints that she’s too old, yadda yadda. But In looking at this fan art I found online, I gotta say it works for me.
I mean this looks pretty good to me. So she’s 43? She’s about the same age as Robert Downey Jr. when he did the 1st Iron Man and I don’t recall anyone raising a fuss over his age. Sure there were some concerns about that reclamation project, given his history. But that seemed to work out just fine.
If you ask me she still looks pretty darn good. Sure she could probably use a sandwich or seven, but people are acting like they cast Betty White.
And for the record, Betty White would have rocked this role.
Market Analysis: Only 4 copies up right now and 2 of those will be complete by the time you are reading this. Tope listing is a $360 CBCS 5.0 while a nice looking raw auction is ending tonight during the NFL draft. That auction is already at $350 with one bid, so who knows where that will end.
High grade for a predominantly light cover from the 60’s are pretty hard to come by. But prices on this in all grades seem to be on the rise.
1st appearance of Sersi (Eternal)
So this issue of Eternals has seen a lot of action of late. Ever since the Jolie casting it’s been moving like gangbusters. This isn’t the only issue of Eternals gaining steam. The 1st issue is pretty high right now and a lot of these early issues in the run have a lot of 1st appearances.
The other casting rumor is that Kumail Nanjiani has landed a role as well. Which Eternal will he be? Or will he be one of the monstrous offshoots known as the Deviants?
I’m sure we will find out more soon enough. Rumor is that this will start shooting in the fall so I would imagine more casting news to be coming over the next couple months. I like this outside the box casting. Keeps things interesting. Though I will admit it will be hard for me to not see him as Dinesh from Silicon Valley.
I would say that all they need now is to cast Gilfoyle and we’re all set, but he’s already sort of in the MCU. Actually he’s in the MCU twice if you think about it. Maybe those are the same character 10 years apart. Hmmm?
That said, I don’t think that’s enough Bill Haverchuck. I don’t think you can ever have enough. I’m not joking. Bill was great. Wow, I am way off the rails here.
Market Analysis: Over 100 active listings on his one. Highest asking price right now is $1k for a CGC 9.8. There are a couple other 9.8 options available right now for only $750 as well. Those could be a bargain, considering the 3 month average is $768 and the last sale was for $821. Prices are definitely on the rise right now. Expect another jump once the first image or trailer drops. You don’t hire an Angelina Jolie for a bit role.
1st appearance of Hercules and Zeus
Sticking with the whole mythological connections to The Eternals, rumor has it that we could see Hercules show up as well. And word around the campfire is that Herc may be the 1st openly gay superhero in the MCU. I know there’s a lot of hullabaloo over casting call looking for an openly gay actor for the role, but should it really be a big deal?
I don’t want to start a whole thing here, but honestly I think this is great. Why not? I don’t believe it fundamentally changes anything about the character. Whether they go openly gay or bi-sexual, or whatever. I still feel like it works for Herc. He can still be that cocky, arrogant demigod that killed it as a replacement for Hulk for a stretch.
I was a fan of The Incredible Hercules run. And his dynamic with Amadeus Cho is something I really hope we see at some point. Those two had a great buddy dynamic that would totally translate if it were adapted.
Market Analysis: Less than 10 copies available right now. Big dog is a CGC SS 8.5 Stan Lee looking for $6k. Highest Blue label is a CGC 8.0 for $1k. So is half a point on the CGC grade and a Stan Lee signature with the extra $5k?
Sales are on the rise even if they are few and far between. This is not a book you see at every LCS. So a high grade raw for $1k could be a bargain. But if you just want a copy you would have to try your hand at an auction. That is unless you want to buy a lot of Thor books just to get this one.
1st appearance of Yelona Boliva
We don’t know much about Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow movie. We just have some casting news on actors involved but we don’t know who they may be playing. One of those roles that’s been heavily speculated on was the role rumored to have been offered to Hermione Granger but ended up with the girl who played Paige in that Wrestling movie. I’m talking about Florence Pugh.
Some have speculated that she could be playing another trained assassin. Perhaps even another Black Widow. So naturally a blonde actress leads one to think of Yelona Boliva.
It could work. And this is one possibility. And at a cheap buy in, it could be worth a flyer. I grabbed one a couple months back just in case. Something to consider.
Market Analysis: Not a lot of copies available right now. Virtually no CGC options. So top listing is a raw for $35, while the cheapest is $17. Or you can take a flier on a 99 cent auction with about a day left.
A bunch of copies sold and mostly in the $20 range as of late.
1st appearance of the Red Widow.
Given the age difference, and Florence Pugh’s fluid hair color, the blonde may not be a tip off. She went with black hair to play Paige, and it’s not a stretch for her to follow ScarJo and go Red. This may lead some to believe she could be a newer character, like the Red Widow.
There isn’t much material related to Red Widow as of yet, but that could be a good thing for her film character. Not much history that needs to be worked in to sell the character. Just let her be whatever the story dictates as the continuity police don’t have a lot to call them out for. That said, she did have a pretty sweet variant cover for Ms. Marvel #12 that still sells pretty well too.
Market Analysis: Dozens of copies available with many more sold. The Ward variant seems to command a premium and most copies are Raw. Cover A could be had for as low as $15ish or as high as $55 for the variant. That said you could grab a CGC 9.6 of the Ward variant for only $35 + shipping.
Sales have been brisk with some sales of the variant hitting $50, but sets of both covers also moved in the $35 range. Cover A has sold for under a 10 spot as recent as April 10th.
Ok that’s it for this week. I realize by the time you read this a lot of the following may be known. But for now I don’t know the answers, so I will speculate one more time on a few things in the final section, Person of Interest. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it.
1st Bucky Barnes as Captain America
There are a lot of copies of this book, but it’s worth it for the story alone. We all know Chris Evans is stepping away from the shield so someone else is bound to pick it up.
So the first suspect would be his oldest friend and bionic armed pal Bucky Barnes. That is if he comes back from the snap.
Typical Sales Data:
CGC Census 9.8 – 845
1st Sam Wilson as Captain America
Another option to take up the shield is his other bestie, Sam Wilson. A lot of folks forget that Sam donned the Captain America persona in this limited series.
These are dollar bin books if you feel like digging. If not they are still pretty cheap.
Typical Sales Data:
CGC Census 9.8 #8 – 3, #9 – 3
1st Sam Wilson takes over as Captain America
But for Sam to take up the persona of Cap, he would have to come back from the snap as well. And in this issue Sam Wilson takes up the mantle of Captain America officially for a spell.
This book has been moving lately which could be a tip of what is to come. But also be mindful of multiple variants of this book too. The Adam Hughes is particularly nice IMO.
Typical Sales Data:
CGC Census 9.8 – 20
So this book caused a ruckus because in an alternate universe, Hercules and a Wolverine were lovers.
This is in part what led many to think that Herc is the gay character Marvel wants to use, but truthfully it could be anyone in the Eternals. But if you are interested this book is still relatively cheap.
Typical Sales Data:
CGC Census 9.8 – 2
1st Ultimate Taskmaster
And finally, in case you want the Casey Jones version of Taskmaster, here is his 1st appearance in the Ultimate universe.
It’s possible this is the way they go. And given that the names they have thrown out as persons of interest for casting has led many speculators towards this book. But I still think regardless, #196 is the book to own. But this is still an interesting one to have. Plus it’s much cheaper.
Typical Sales Data:
CGC Census 9.8 – 2
…Anyway, That’s it….