January 19, 2011

Dave's Unspoilt Capsules and Awards

The Week's Picks and Pans, plus Awards of Dubious Merit Standard Disclaimers: Please set appropriate followups. Recommendation does not factor in price. Not all books will have arrived in your area this week. An archive can be found on my homepage, http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/Rants I am shocked, SHOCKED to find heavy snow falling in Kansas in January. Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): None Gone Missing: Stuff that came out some places this week and that I wanted to buy, but couldn't find for whatever reason, so people don't have to email me asking "Why didn't you review X?" (If it's neither here nor in the section above, though, feel free to ask, I might have forgotten about it!) Current list as of 1/19/11: Transformers Ironhide #4, Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Update #3 (which I probably won't bother reviewing if it ever comes in), Guarding the Globe #1-2, Science Dog #1, Transformers Drift #4, Official Index to the Marvel Universe v2 #7, Tron Betrayal #2, Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #8, Chaos War Dead Avengers #1, Shadowland Power Man #4, Transformers Timelines G2 Redux, Gold Digger v3 #123, Official Index to the Marvel Universe v2 #9, Widowmaker #3 and Booster Gold #40. Add Time Lincoln Apocalypse Mao (the store DID get Steampunk Sarah Palin, so this isn't a case of AP's shipment overall being late here). "Other Media" Capsules: Things that are comics-related but not necessarily comics (i.e. comics-based movies like Iron Man or Hulk), or that aren't going to be available via comic shops (like comic pack-ins with DVDs) will go in this section when I have any to mention. They may not be as timely as comic reviews, especially if I decide to review novels that take me a week or two (or ten) to get around to. Green Hornet 3D: Sony - I was kind of dreading this movie, based on Seth Rogan's involvement and how the advertising played up his "humor" in it. I almost passed on it entirely. But Peter David reviewed it on his blog and was very positive, so I decided to give it a shot. Fortunately, this was another case of the ads being misleading and making a good movie look like utter crap on purpose, because Utter Crap Sells. This is not to say there's none of Rogan's trademark "it's funny if you're a drunken fratboy" humor in it, but almost all of it ended up in the ads. He's playing the role straight, with the fratboy humor coming from the fact that his Britt Reid is, in fact, a drunken fratboy sort of person. Okay, his incorrigible horndog act around Cameron Diaz's character gets old pretty fast, but she does get to mace him. Now, I should say I have no real affection for the original character. My only real exposure was the 60s Batman episode he guested in, although I do consider the Black Mask movies to be about a sort of Ultimate Kato. Interestingly, the new movie's Kato may be superior to Jet Li's super-soldier Black Mask, performing feats that put him solidly into the superhuman category. But, in any case, I wasn't really worried about being faithful to the source, just whether it was an entertaining and interesting story in its own right. And it was. It's a story about two guys sort of falling into the role of heroes by accident and then struggling to keep their heads above water after that. They have a lot of talent and resources, but no real clue how to best go about using them. But by the end of the movie, they've found what they were missing. :) Recommended. Time-Shifting: Sometimes I get a comic a week or two late because of Diamond's combination of neglect and incompetence. If it's more than a week late, though, I won't review it unless it's very notable. Additionally, I will often get tradepaperbacks long after publication or even sometimes before Diamond ships them, and those will go here. If I'm reasonably sure I'm reviewing something that didn't ship this week, this is the section for it. Brody's Ghost vol 2 (of 6): Dark Horse - Got this on Amazon. This is definitely the installment where Brody makes the transition from "loser with a strange talent" to "mystic hero," complete with extensive training sequences, symbolic death and rebirth, and trial by fire against a minor villain from the first volume. Part of his rebirth involves a character design change that firmly places all of the MySpace Dark Horse Presents stories prior to this installment (I suppose a couple of them could happen between the pages early in this volume, but definitely not after the midpoint). Of course, since this is a 6 volume story and not 2, his attempts to close off his old loser life entirely don't quite work. Oh, he achieves emotional closure, sheds the debris (literal and emotional), but of course it's about time for dovetailing to happen, and part of Brody's old life ends up tangled up in the Penny Killer plotline. So, rather than a clean break, things get messy again. I'm a little worried that the Penny Killer will turn out to be Brody's spectre sensei, but so far there really haven't been any serious clues about his identity one way or another...I'm just playing the "cast parsimony" game in which the villain is always someone we've met in the opening acts, and of the people we've met already, the sensei seems the most likely to have a motive. The volume ends with some "making of" pages, including several directions the book didn't go (different title character, different designs, etc) and then a "how to draw" page. All in all, a good volume, but like a lot of "act two" stories it's more about building on the premise without delivering major payoffs, and there's not enough "wow!" for me to go above a Recommended rating this time out. $6.99 New Comics: Comics and comic collections that I got this week and were actually supposed to be out this week, as far as I can tell. These reviews will generally be spoiler-free, but the occasional bit will slip in. Transformers Sector 7 #5 (of 5): IDW - Heh, the nice thing about the end notes in this series is that the writer does admit to it when he does things like lift a sequence from John Carpenter's "The Thing" for this issue. :) This story takes place in 1954, and Seymour Simmons from the movies is only present in embryonic form, so they've left themselves plenty of room to fill in the backstory in the 1960s once Dark of the Moon comes out and lays down a few more tracks of canon. The story tries to be a claustrophobic horror story with mysterious murders in a sealed Arctic base (hence the Thing refs), but while Davis-Hunt's art style is appropriate to action stories it's too bright and clear for horror. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Legion of Super-Heroes #9: DC - You know, given how this month's Adventure was all female Legionnaires, it would have been appropriate to make this cover all guys. Nope, just a bunch of recently prominent ones, including three of the ones from the Adventure cover (one of whom is still in a coma) and several of them aren't even seen in this issue, oops. The story inside is pretty much all focused on the Durlan plot, both in the UP Council chambers (Tyroc, Timber Wolf and Gates against another assassination attempt) and on Durla (Brainy and Cham), plus a bit with Tellus and coma-Dawny at Medicus. Levitz is pretty much throwing out the last batch of threads before starting to weave them back together, so it's deliberately muddled. Recommended. $2.99 X-Factor #214: Marvel - One of the pitfalls of messing around with gods is that you might find your life turning into an allegory. A bit heavy on the "crossover ahead" foreshadowing, although it's possible PAD is just throwing out something that could be picked up ten years from now. Yeah, like Marvel lets anything percolate that long anymore.... Mildly recommended. $2.99 The Amazing Spider-Man #652: Marvel - What's with all the roller derby lately? Girls with Slingshots, now Spidey...can we expect to see an all-X-Men team hit the parquet soon? The first half of the main story is mainly soap opera stuff, including the extreme hazard involved when your girlfriend and your ex get along really well. Then it's time for the Spider-Slayer story to take center stage with a rather nasty body count (but no one you know). Since that plot has moved to the front, the backup spot is handed over to a new story, written by Van Lente and picking up from the Power Man miniseries I have yet to see the end of. Recommended. $3.99 Avengers Academy #8: Marvel - And now for the Tigra focus issue, in which she deals with the lingering scars caused by her brutalization at the hands of the Hood. The kids themselves manage to do a good job of demonstrating the various ways one can combine right/wrong things and right/wrong reasons, although none of them does the right thing for the right reasons, not really. Just different wrong reasons for doing the right thing (I don't think it counts as a spoiler at this point to say Finesse does the right thing out of apathy or that Striker does the wrong thing for self- aggrandizement). Recommended. $2.99 Awards: "That's What You Get For Not Going Bluetooth" Award to Brody's Ghost vol 2 "Clearly Nolan Has No Tactile Nerve Endings In His Forehead" Award to Transformers Sector 7 #5 (of 5) "Not Brande Ecchs" Award to Legion of Super-Heroes #9 "Living In Disharmony" Award to X-Factor #214 "I Regret Asking For Fly Honeys Now" Award to the Amazing Spider-Man #652 "A Million Hits And One Significant Miss" Award to Avengers Academy #8 Dave Van Domelen, "Parker-Sense...tingling." - Peter Parker, the Amazing Spider-Man #652
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