January 26, 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 This weekend I run Voltron Monsterpocalypse at TengaiCon on campus. Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): Optical Allusions 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 1/26/11: 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, Booster Gold #40, Time Lincoln Apocalypse Mao. Add Guarding the Globe #3 to the sound of my utter astonishment that Diamond would fail to ship it here. I also was interest in (but didn't pre-order) the Marvel Blockbusters guide thing, but no one around here got any. "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. The Cape: NBC - Just a few brief comments here, since I've watched it long enough to get past the "origins" eps. I've heard this show described as "Batman, if Bruce Wayne was trained by the Joker," and that's not too far off. The criminal nature of the Circus of Crime is so backgrounded, though, that when it became a plot point in the January 24 episode I was caught a bit off guard. Like, "Oh yeah. Circus of CRIME. Suppose they should be doing some that crime." The angsty subplot involving the Cape's son is a bit annoying, and reaction to his wife's subplot is neutral, but there's enough of the Big Damn Heroes action (and Summer Glau showing an actual range of emotion) to keep me watching. The setting dances the edge of pulp realism, in that there's some semi-mystical stuff and the CG cape is pretty obviously not doable in reality, but at the same time they don't rush into total superpowers territory. The central role of the circus helps a lot in terms of maintaining the balance of fantastic and realistic, since they're all about blurring that line. Recommended. Mondays at 9E/8C. 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. Optical Allusions: Active Synapse - When going to order Evolution, I realized I'd entirely missed Jay Hosler's 2008 work after Sandwalk Adventures. Of course, it's in part because this isn't a traditional comic and may never have been solicted through Diamond. Rather, it's a mix of comic pages and something more like a standard science textbook. This way, Hosler doesn't have to overburden the comics part with too much detail, saving it for the text chunks. Oh, and while most of the characters in this book are new (or new interpretations of mythical entities), Charles Darwin gets a chapter and Cow Boy stars in one chapter. It's a little sad that the copy I got on Amazon was weeded out of a library collection, since it's still in great condition and very current. I suppose I can hope that it wasn't their only copy, and they just weeded their extras after it stopped being a new book. Strongly recommended. $20 sticker price, plenty of used copies on Amazon or exactly one new copy in stock there. 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. Chaos War #5 (of 5): Marvel - Well, the sum total impact of Dead Avengers on the storyline was having Yellowjacket show up with the jet full of sleeping Avengers and say they were okay, then off to the background. Deep background, I suppose to leave it vague whether any of them got to stay alive (some of the dead heroes got to come back to life). Anyway, it's a lot of Tengen Toppa Hercules vs. the Chaos King and Amadeus wrestling with the question of deciding who lives and who dies. In the end, the impact on the rest of the Marvel Universe was pretty minimal, as expected, and the plot device for winning the war was a bit obvious, but it did make decent use of the groundwork laid in various Hercules stories over the past few years. The final page labels this the end of the 8th (and final) volume of the Incredible Hercules, which hasn't actually gone by that title for a couple volumes now. ;) I could have wished for a clearer artist than Pham for the final pages, but all in all it was a decent read, if not the sort of Major Event that the build-up promised. Recommended. $3.99 Thunderbolts #152: Marvel - Not a whole lot of subplotting this time, it's a straightforward fight issue dealing with fallout from the War of the Hulks. Specifically, the baddies left a few "well, screw YOU" plans in place, including releasing a bunch of kaiju from Monster Island (specifically, pastiches of Godzilla or Gorgo, Rodan, Anguirus and Ebirah). But the real threat is, as often the case, one of the Thunderbolts. Simple, but fun. And kaijuicy. Recommended. $2.99 Awards: "Pass The Brain" Award to Optical Allusions "When Do They Introduce The Menagerie Of Menace?" Award to The Cape "You Could Build A Planet From The Teeth Knocked Loose Here" Award to Chaos War #5 (of 5) "Lobster Thermonuclearidor" Award to Thunderbolts #152 Dave Van Domelen, "Okay, okay, you don't have to be so MARY SUE about it." - Sersi to Amadeus Cho, Chaos War #5 (of 5) (Hey, if there's an Eternal who reads fanfic, it's...well, Sprite. But Sersi's a close second.)
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