Tag Archives: daken

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Why I Won’t Miss Marvel’s Iceman Comic

I have had such a love/hate relationship with Sina Grace‘s Iceman run over its nine issues, but issue nine tipped the scales from “Hey, this is a fun book. I’m feeling it” to “Daken is hot, and it’s nice to see Northstar and his husband, but wow, this is bad.” After spending the five issues having Bobby summon up his courage to come out as gay to his parents via letter, Grace and new series artist Robert Gill have had him let down his hair and relax in the four issues of the “Legacy” era. While having a reunion with his old Champions teammates, Bobby met a cute boy named Judah Miller in L.A. and was thinking about leaving the X-Men and moving to Southern California. This was really a big step for him as a character, and it seemed like Iceman was starting to explore his sexuality more for the first time since he came out in November 2015’s Uncanny X-Men #600.

But that didn’t happen. In Iceman #9, Gill continued to bring the beefcake, and it looked like he and Sina Grace were turning in yet another fun issue with Bobby introducing Judah to his X-Men family and a fight against the mutant-phobic (And probably homophobic) Purifiers while setting up Daken and his edgelord acolyte Amp as the main villain. A throwaway line about the gay former X-Force/X-Factor member Rictor breaking up with his longtime partner Shatterstar should have foreshadowed that events were going to take a turn for the sinister. This is when Daken stabs Judah and makes a joke about fridges, and the plot reason is basically to make Iceman angry and use more of his potential powers.

It’s the “bury your gays” trope in a comic that up to this point has seemed to be about finding your own unique identity even when people hate and criticize you like Bobby’s parents about his life as an X-Man and a gay man.

This trope is even more disappointing coming from Sina Grace, who is a gay man himself, and has written insightful graphic memoirs like Self-Obsessed Nothing Lasts Forever , and even Not My Bag is a humorous, relatable look at balancing an artistic career with a dead end retail job.

Instead of mining the potential of Iceman moving three time zones away from the X-Men and beginning his first romantic relationship with a man, Grace and Gill go for cheap drama and stale story elements. They don’t make an attempt to add Judah Miller to the great stable of “civilian” X-Men supporting characters, like Moira MacTaggert or Stevie Hunter, and just kill him off to further Iceman’s story and make Daken a “more evil” villain.

Also, changing Daken from a seductive manipulator who kisses Judah right in front of Bobby into a remorseless killer makes him much less interesting character. Sure, his powers might have an upgrade, and he might have a new look thanks to the Apocalypse death seed inside him, but the whole sexy bad boy thing goes away. After Daken kisses Judah, there’s a great opportunity for Bobby and Judah to have a talk about their difference in sexual experience, but I guess that’s too mature for a Marvel comic and takes time away from edgy jokes, fight scenes, and mind control drama.

In a very later seasons of The Walking Dead way, killing off Judah does up the stakes of Iceman and finally gives the book a real Big Bad after going more of a villain/antagonist of the week route ranging from Purifiers to Juggernaut and weirdly and slightly more sympathetically, a woman trying to make it in Hollywood by jerry-rigging her own Sentinels. However, Sina Grace falls into the trap of writing gay men as wholesome Modern Family/Will and Grace types, who enjoy fashion and brunching and bisexual men (Really man because Daken is the only bi character in Iceman.) as sexually predatory and villains.

We’re good for fun sexy times and intense flirtation, but definitely aren’t someone to bring home to the X-Men or parents.

I’m not saying that Grace really thinks bisexual men are sociopaths, but it’s a little sad that gay characters, like Bobby, and to a lesser extent after this issue, Judah, can be fully fleshed out human beings with desires, interests, and neuroses while a bisexual character gets coded as the bad guy, who, oops, makes funnier jokes than the good guys. Daken going completely off the rails without having a solid villain motivation beyond his “edgy” bisexual coding is a regressive, boring throwback to the queer coding of Disney villains and using society’s implicit biphobia to make them seem both evil and seductive. It’s up there with connecting Deadpool’s pansexuality to mental illness.

Daken doesn’t have to be a cuddly, Drag Race watching superhero with a strict, no kill policy, but he has to have a stronger character motivation beyond adolescent nihilism or “for the evils”. For example, Steve Orlando wrote the gay anti-hero Midnighter as a murderer, but he killed those who exploited others like he was exploited by the men who experimented on him and implanted his brain with technology to see the outcome of every fight. This is much more fascinating than depraved bisexual serial killer.

Throughout its run, Iceman has suffered from inconsistency in quality from the constantly changing artists to the heavy decompression and sometimes after school special tone of Bobby coming out to parents his in the first storyline. Up to this point, the “Legacy” storyline hasn’t been bad thanks to some fun guest stars like the younger Iceman, Champions, and Northstar and Kyle in Iceman #9, but then Sina Grace decided to sacrifice character growth for hackneyed plot “twists”.

Instead of doing something revolutionary with a rare opportunity to have a gay male character headline his own Marvel book, he falls back on the same old story patterns of mind controlled, queer coded villains and a dead, barely fleshed out love interest to make the light hearted hero darker and more vengeful.

It’s nice to have a mainstream comic book featuring a queer male character as a headliner, but we as readers deserve more than Will and Grace meets Women in Refrigerators, which is why I’ll be missing Iceman less than I probably should. His solo title had an excellent opportunity to zero in on Bobby’s relationships and growth, but now he’ll probably be back as the X-Men’s resident dad jokester and source of untapped potential without even getting to take a shot and see what his life would be outside that world.

Review: Iceman #4

ICEMAN2017004_covFinally, Iceman gets a little sexy in issue where writer Sina Grace, artists Edgar Salazar and Ed Tadeo, and colorist Rachelle Rosenberg have Bobby bump into Wolverine’s mad, bad, and dangerous to know bisexual son Daken while he’s trying to rescue his rebellious student, Zach, from a members only nightclub. Up to this point, Grace has mainly focused on Iceman’s attempts to come out to his parents and hasn’t had him get into any romantic situations with other men. This is why it’s super nice (and hot) to have him flirt and fight with Daken, who isn’t the best influence on Zach, a mutant that can mess up with electronics and isn’t a fan of the regimented life style at the Xavier School.

Iceman #4 is one of the better structured issues of the series with Grace connecting its plot to a previous adventure while throwing in a splashy guest star, some fantastic action, and some real talk about Iceman’s insecurities and faux confidence. He’s supposed to be a teacher, but is still working on his own issues, like coming out as an adult and not reaching his potential when it comes to his ice abilities. Grace doesn’t go as far as painting the X-Men as evil, but he does demonstrate that their almost paramilitary approach to working with young mutants isn’t the best fit for everyone.

Maybe, some mutants don’t want to fight Apocalypse and just want to dance, play video games, and have a good time. (A partnership with Patsy Walker’s superpowered temp agency would easily solve this problem and also give an excuse for bi bae Ian Soo to appear in Iceman.) It’s honorable that Bobby wants Zach to be able to control his vast powers, but threats and lectures aren’t his style, and the teen can see through him saying that he’ll carry him out of the club in ice handcuffs. Later, in Iceman #4, a skewered-by-ice Daken offers some much needed snarky, yet constructive criticism about Bobby’s approach to leadership and teaching. Basically, Bobby is talking at Zach and not having a discussion about how he feels, like when Bobby makes snide comments about Zach’s Internet friend. Iceman is hella insecure in general with his emotions veering closer to his pal, Human Torch, and not his cool exterior. And he’s going to go supernova metaphorically when his parents show up at the X-Mansion unannounced at the end of the comic.

DakenIcemanHot

Edgar Salazar and Ed Tadeo’s art isn’t the flashiest, but it’s easy to follow, especially the action scenes which have clear moves and motivations. Daken has a healing factor so Bobby doesn’t have to hold back and executes a killer finishing move that plays off Daken’s pet name for Bobby featuring a cool metallic sheen from Rachelle Rosenberg. Also, Salazar and Tadeo’s figure work is quite attractive and seems tailor made for the bisexual gaze aka people who have crushes on both Kitty Pryde and Iceman like yours truly instead of awkward, how is that even a human being 90s inspired superhero art. The cherry on top of the sundae that is Bobby Drake in a white tux is Daken, who is a true homme fatale, and in Salazar and Tadeo’s hands, his ice abilities turn into a kind of sort of metaphor for Iceman possibly being sexually frigid. However, dating and sexy stuff after coming is a real maze to navigate so I also like that Grace, Salazar, and Tadeo are slowly easing Bobby into the world of romance and sexy times.

Some of the dialogue is cheesy, but Sina Grace, Edgar Salazar, Ed Tadeo, and Rachelle Rosenberg make Iceman #4 one of the more memorable issues of the series by adding a hint of sexual tension in the interactions (and action of the mutant powers sort) between Daken and Iceman.  Also, Zach running away exposes some vulnerabilities in Iceman beneath his dad joke making, Disney movie referencing, and ice golem hurling exterior.

Story: Sina Grace Pencils: Edgar Salazar Inks: Ed Tadeo Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg
Story: 8.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 8.0  Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Catching Up on Reviews, Part 12 — Wolverine & Family

Sorry about the delays, but I’m still trying to get caught up on reviews for the last few months…

Daken – Dark Wolverine #6 (Marvel) – This is a consistently well-made comic. Daken isn’t my favorite character, but he is always interesting and there is a lot of room for good writers to explore him. Daniel Way and Marjorie Liu tell a good tale here.

Story: 9 Art: 8 Overall: 8.5

Daken – Dark Wolverine #7 (Marvel) – I’m not a big fan of Madripoor stories and have never really liked them, but if a character more fits into the setting than Daken, I’m not sure who it is.

Story: 8 Art: 7 Overall: 7.5

Daken – Dark Wolverine #8 (Marvel) – For me the jury is still out on whether or not X-23 is a good character, but I definitely do not like Gambit. It makes sense to have Daken and X-23 interact, though, so this storyline isn’t without merit.

Story: 7 Art: 8.5 Overall: 7.75

Daken – Dark Wolverine #9 (Marvel) – Not sure I’m fully on board with this Daken-X-23 crossover, but there is a lot of great art in this issue from Marco Checchetto.

Story: 7 Art: 9 Overall: 8

Daken – Dark Wolverine #9.1 (Marvel) – There is still a lot of room to explore the relationship between Daken and Wolverine and this is a good entry into the ongoing story.

Story: 9 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.75

Daken – Dark Wolverine #10 (Marvel) – The execution here isn’t perfect, but there are a lot of things to like in this issue. Rob Williams introduces Daken to a drug addiction that is brilliantly shown by artists Matteo Buffagni and Riley Rossmo. The issue also introduces a great new female character, Donna Kiel, an FBI agent on Daken’s trail. I’d like to see her used a lot more.

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8

Daken – Dark Wolverine #11 (Marvel) – Basically following up on all the elements of the previous issue, this one executes them a bit better and adds Taskmaster, one of my favorite Marvel characters of late, to the mix. I’m a fan.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8 Overall: 8.25

Daken – Dark Wolverine #12 (Marvel) – Buffagni and Rossmo’s art is adequate during the regular story, but stellar during the scenes where Daken is on heat. Williams story continues to get even better, with Daken setting up a complex heist plan that is very original and then has Donna Kiel figure it out.

Story: 9 Art: 8 Overall: 8.5

Daken – Dark Wolverine #13 (Marvel) – Adding Moon Night and the questionable portrayal of his mental illness to the mix doesn’t really help, but it doesn’t really hurt, either.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8 Overall: 8.25

Daken – Dark Wolverine #14 (Marvel) – This is a complex and entertaining story and I can’t wait until the next issue comes out so I can figure out what the hell is happening.

Story: 9 Art: 8 Overall: 8.5

Wolverine – Deadpool: The Decoy #1 (Marvel) – I’m trying to figure out a reason this story was published and I’m drawing a blank. The main story, meant, I guess, to reinforce all the same qualities of Wolverine and Deadpool we’ve seen a million times. The back-up story with the Great Lakes Initiative is designed, I think, to make you feel less crappy about wasting money on this comic. It doesn’t work.

Story: 6 Art: 6.5 Overall: 6.25

Wolverine: Debt of Death #1 (Marvel) – This isn’t a bad story, but it doesn’t really add anything new to the long tale of Wolverine and it seems overly familiar, as if we’ve read this story before. David Aja’s art is very nice, though, and it’s worth a look.

Story: 7 Art: 9 Overall: 8

Wolverine: The Best There Is # (Marvel) – I’m not sure why they don’t just call this Wolverine MAX, since that’s what it is. Which means pointless and excessive violence, sexual references and bad jokes. Juan Jose Ryp’s art is way too busy and cartoonish for me and it seems out of sync with the story.

Story: 6 Art: 5 Overall: 5.5

Wolverine: The Best There Is #5 (Marvel) – This one is a little better than the previous Contagion chapters, but not by much.

Story: 7 Art: 5 Overall: 6

Wolverine: The Best There Is #6 (Marvel) – If this series didn’t star Wolverine, one of my all-time favorite characters, I would’ve stopped reading it long ago, since the quality is poor and the intent behind that low quality isn’t that great in the first place.

Story: 6 Art: 5 Overall: 5.5

Wolverine: The Best There Is #7 (Marvel) – This is probably Ryp’s best art in the series to date and now that the story is moving away from Contagion, it’s much better. Wolverine’s recovery from his full range of diseases is the best the series has been to date.

Story: 9 Art: 7 Overall: 8

Wolverine: The Best There Is #8 (Marvel) – Ryp’s art continues to improve and there are a lot of good panels in this comic, despite much of it still being too cluttered and busy. The story isn’t bad, but I’m not sure it’s holding my interest.

Story: 6 Art: 7.5 Overall: 6.75

Wolverine: The Best There Is #9 (Marvel) – Whatever momentum the series had been gaining in recent issues, this is a setback for it. It looks bad and the story is dull and offensive

Story: 5 Art: 6 Overall: 5.5

Wolverine #5.1 (Marvel) – Pretty creative tale here, as you have all of Wolverine’s friends getting together for a suprise birthday party that Logan, of course, can’t make it to because he’s caught up in a Wrong Turn-style story. Very entertaining tale from Jason Aaron.

Story: 9 Art: 8 Overall: 17

Wolverine #6 (Marvel) – The aftermath of the “Logan Goes to Hell” story is interesting, particularly with the look into Scott Summers’ brain and the heavy load he carries in terms of having to plan to take out all of the members of his race if they were to get too powerful and go down the wrong track. The “Wolverine Protocols” is an idea that is traceable back to the Dark Phoenix saga and is good writing again from Aaron.

Story: 9 Art: 7.5 Overall: 8.75

Wolverine #7 (Marvel) – Daniel Acuna’s art is at its best here and Aaron continues to show he’s a name that should be quickly rising up the ranks of comic book writers. Logan’s internal battle here is as well-done as the external combat against his teammates.

Story: 9.5 Art: 9 Overall: 9.25

Wolverine #8 (Marvel) – Another great issue, this one has some of the funniest moments in Wolverine history and it’s great to see characters like Nightcrawler and Phoenix back, even if they are only in Logan’s head. The ending is also a pretty chilling moment.

Story: 10 Art: 9 Overall: 9.5

Wolverine #9 (Marvel) – Wolverine vs. Mystique seems a story we’ve seen enough times already that we don’t need to really see it again. That being said, the creative team on this comic is good enough to make any tale, even one retold this often, fresh enough.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Wolverine #10 (Marvel) – The art isn’t as good this time around, but this is an intriguing opening chapter to a good Wolverine story.

Story: 8.75 Art: 7.75 Overall: 8.25

Wolverine #11 (Marvel) – Some of the characters here are not my favorites, but the story structure is good and gets you a lot of information that will pay off later.

Story: 8.75 Art: 7.75 Overall: 8.25

Wolverine #12 (Marvel) – This series is very consistent at this point, with great writing, art that is good enough and beautiful covers by Jae Lee et al.

Story: 8.75 Art: 7.75 Overall: 8.25

Wolverine #13 (Marvel) – This story keeps getting better and better. It’s a revenge tale aimed at Wolverine for his past sins. The mystery is that there is something bigger going on here than what we know at this point and the cliffhanger ending here leaves you very intrigued.

Story: 9.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 8.5

Wolverine #14 (Marvel) – If the art was a bit better here, I’d consider this a perfect comic. That being said it’s still one of the most shocking endings to a Wolverine story ever, and that’s saying a lot. No one could’ve predicted where this tale was headed.

Story: 10 Art: 7.5 Overall: 8.75

Wolverine #15 (Marvel) – It’s hard to follow up a shocking story like the previous issue and not have a let down, but Aaron manages to pull it off. The art doesn’t measure up, though. Kevin Smith and John Romita Jr.’s 9/11 back-up story is amazing.

Story: 9.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 8.5

X-23 #6 (Marvel) – X-23, Gambit, Mr./Miss Sinister, art that is pretty good, story that isn’t groundbreaking. Meh.

Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7

X-23 #7 (Marvel) – The art here is a bit better, even if it is too anime for my tastes. The story has Gambit and pirates, so, in other words, not much going for it.

Story: 6 Art: 7.5 Overall: 6.75

X-23 #8 (Marvel) – This one looks a lot better and bringing in Daken is a good idea, but it still seems like the series isn’t really exploring the character the way it should and could.

Story: 7 Art: 8 Overall: 7.5

X-23 #9 (Marvel) – Marjorie Liu’s best writing in this series to date is matched up with continually improving art. Now if they’d just get rid of Gambit.

Story: 8 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.25

X-23 #10 (Marvel) – Back to Sana Takeda’s anime-style art and an appearance by Wolverine and vampire Jubilee make this issue passable, but not great.

Story: 7 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.25

X-23 #11 (Marvel) – Takeda’s art is a bit better here and the vampire-themed tale is mildly interesting.

Story: 7.5 Art: 8 Overall: 7.75

X-23 #12 (Marvel) – This is Takeda’s best art on the series and the vampire story really kicks it up a notch here. This is the best issue of the series to date.

Story: 9 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.75

X-23 #13 (Marvel) – Phil Noto brings a pretty different style to the issue’s look and Liu brings in more guest stars, this time Spider-Man and the FF. I’d like to see some of these issues get rid of the crossovers and focus on developing X-23 on her own.

Story: 8 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.75

X-23 #14 (Marvel) – This really much more of an FF issue than an X-23 issue and taken that way, it’s not bad. The final panel is awe-inspiring. I’m still disappointed that we aren’t getting enough X-23 in her own comic.

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8

Point One Brings Rob Williams on Daken: Dark Wolverine

Official Press Release

POINT ONE Brings Rob Williams on DAKEN: DARK WOLVERINE

Marvel is proud to announce that this May, rising star writer Rob Williams takes the reins of Daken: Dark Wolverine with an all new, POINT ONE issue great for new readers wanting to get into the mind of Marvel’s newest crime boss. In one fell swoop, Daken single-handedly executed a ruthless takeover of Madripoor’s criminal underworld and now he’s in pursuit of a new prize – the City of Angels! Too bad that Wolverine and his fellow Avengers are ready to stand in his way!

“I’m so excited to have Rob Williams coming on board Dark Wolverine. His sharp ear and sardonic wit, combined with his knack for twisty, noir-inspired plots are the perfect combo for Daken to take full advantage of,” explains editor Jeanine Schafer. “We’re ramping up for a blow-out year – Daken has his sights set on a new status as a true kingpin, pulling all the strings, and stopping at nothing to get what he wants. Lots of gorgeous men and women, double-crosses and the constant threat of going over the edge. What more could you ask for in a great noir?”

With Williams onboard as new ongoing writer with this introductory POINT ONE issue, a new era for West Coast crime begins as Daken sets out make his own kind of killing in Hollywood! Discover the makings of Marvel’s next great super-villain and his grand plans for the future this May in Daken: Dark Wolverine #9.1!

Plus, no X-Men fan can miss the all-new X-Force Archangel action figure, available exclusively at Marvel.com. One of the most popular members of the red-hot Uncanny X-Force team, this is the only way for you to get the first figure of Archangel in his all-new, all-deadly uniform. Please visit www.marvel.com/archangel for more details.

DAKEN: DARK WOLVERINE #9.1

Written by ROB WILLIAMS

Pencils by TBA

Cover by GIUSEPPE CAMUNCOLI

Parental Advisory …$2.99

FOC-4/4/11, On-Sale-4/27/11

Daken: Dark Wolverine #9.1 Cover

Your First Look At Marko Djurdjevic’s Sensational Wolverine Poster!

Official Press Release

Your First Look At Marko Djurdjevic’s Sensational Wolverine Poster!

Marvel is pleased to present your first look at superstar Marko Djurdjevic’s awe-inspiring Wolverine poster! The Wolverine by Marko Djurdjevic Poster features everyone’s favorite mutant through the ages with an assortment of his greatest allies and foes in a larger than life connected image. This massive poster measures almost ten feet in width and makes an awesome addition to any collection.

Sections of this poster will also be featured as the variant covers for these December and January Wolverine books:

DECEMBER

WOLVERINE: THE BEST THERE IS #1

WOLVERINE #4

DAKEN: DARK WOLVERINE #4

X-23 #4

JANUARY

WOLVERINE: THE BEST THERE IS #2

Be sure to check out these exciting titles along with the Wolverine by Marko Djurdjevic Poster, hitting stores this February, bub!

WOLVERINE BY MARKO DJURDJEVIC POSTER

118”x30”…$34.99

FOC – 1/3/10, On-Sale – 2/2/10

UNCANNY X-FORCE #3 (OCT100658)

UNCANNY X-FORCE #3 DJURDJEVIC VARIANT (SEP108129)

Written by RICK REMENDER

Pencils by JEROME OPEÑA

Cover by ESAD RIBIC

Variant by MARKO DJURDJEVIC

Parental Advisory …$3.99

FOC – 11/11/10, On-Sale – 12/1/10

WOLVERINE: THE BEST THERE IS #1 (OCT100643)

WOLVERINE: THE BEST THERE IS #1 CLASSIC ARTIST VARIANT (OCT100645)

WOLVERINE: THE BEST THERE IS #1 MODERN ARTIST VARIANT (OCT100646)

WOLVERINE: THE BEST THERE IS #1 SKETCH VARIANT (OCT100644)

WOLVERINE: THE BEST THERE IS #1 DJURDJEVIC VARIANT (OCT100647)

Written by CHARLIE HUSTON

Penciled by JUAN JOSE RYP

Cover by BRYAN HITCH

Sketch Variant by BRYAN HITCH

Classic Artist Variant by HERB TRIMPE

Modern Artist Variant by GABRIELLE DELL’OTTO

Variant by MARKO DJURDJEVIC

Parental Advisory …$3.99

FOC – 11/11/10, On-Sale – 12/1/10

WOLVERINE #4 (OCT100648)

WOLVERINE #4 TRON VARIANT (OCT100649)

WOLVERINE #4 DJURDJEVIC VARIANT (SEP108130)

Written by JASON AARON

Penciled by RENATO GUEDES

Cover by JAE LEE

Tron Variant by BRANDON PETERSON

Variant by MARKO DJURDJEVIC

Parental Advisory …$3.99

FOC – 11/11/10, On-Sale – 12/1/10

DAKEN: DARK WOLVERINE #4 (OCT100650)

DAKEN: DARK WOLVERINE #4 DJURDJEVIC VARIANT (OCT100651)

Written by MARJORIE LIU & DANIEL WAY

Pencils & Cover by GIUSEPPE CAMUNCOLI

Variant by MARKO DJURDJEVIC

Parental Advisory …$2.99

FOC – 11/11/10, On-Sale – 12/8/10

X-23 #4 (OCT100652)

X-23 #4 DJURDJEVIC VARIANT (OCT100653)

Written by MARJORIE LIU

Penciled by WILL CONRAD

Cover by LEINIL FRANCIS YU

Variant by MARKO DJURDJEVIC

Parental Advisory …$2.99

FOC – 11/19/10, On-Sale – 12/15/10

WOLVERINE: THE BEST THERE IS #2 (NOV100600)

WOLVERINE: THE BEST THERE IS #2 DJURDJEVIC VARIANT (OCT100647)

Written by CHARLIE HUSTON

Penciled by JUAN JOSE RYP

Cover by BRYAN HITCH

Variant by MARKO DJURDJEVIC

Parental Advisory …$3.99

FOC – 12/13/10, On-Sale – 1/5/11