February 3, 2010

(More or less)

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 Wednesday was particularly bad, thanks to a cold. The shipment got screwed up by someone, and didn't get to my store until Thursday morning. On the plus side, it had several things in it I didn't realize were coming out (in part because of Brennan's weird priority scale for Antarctic Press and how it leads to books coming out different weeks in different parts of the country, and sometimes having two issues a week apart or ten weeks apart on a monthly). Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): Serenity Rose vol 2, Amelia Rules! Superheroes "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. Planet Hulk DVD: Not reviewed this week. I've had a nasty cold, and most of my "video watching" time has been spent instead dozing fitfully on the couch. I'd rather watch it all in one sitting before reviewing it rather than squeezing in a half hour here or there. 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. None this week. I mean, I think Serenity Rose was solicited for December, but ISTR it was hung up in printing rather than being a Diamond screwup. 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. Justice Society of America Annual #2: DC - Doing double-duty as a JSA All-Stars Annual. Well, to be honest, it's really a JSA-AS/Magog Annual, with the regular JSA playing a bit part. The story is pretty thin, apparently coming out of and going back into JSA-AS and Magog, belaboring the whole "Magog is a jerk" thing and ending in a tearful "why can't we all be a family anymore?" plea that smacks of characters complaining about the editorial direction. Derenick's art is below his usual mediocre level. Mind Czar's few panels here and there are about all this really has going for it, and that's not enough to push above a Neutral rating. $4.99 Gold Digger Technical Manual #11: Antarctic Press - Most of this issue is "blue sky" material, meaning things that hasn't appeared "canonically" in the current timeline yet. So, stuff like the Peebo humanoid bodies that appeared in a dream sequence, advanced generation tech that has been referenced by Ancient Gina, etc. And probably a couple of things that Perry has doodled up but hasn't gotten into an actual issue yet. :) The final entry is that masterpiece of modern engineering: Xane's bra. Recommended. $3.99 Gold Digger v3 #144: Antarctic Press - The climax of the Penny vs. Skippy rivalry as well as the Gracenarian invasion! One shall stand, one shall fall, and one shall have a rather embarassing exhaust port incident! There's loads of cosmic class plot devices pitted against each other, but at its core this is a story about the struggle between two (more or less) normal women caught up in the middle of all the fireworks. Recommended. $2.99 Serenity Rose vol 2 "Goodbye Crestfallen": Slave Labor Graphics - Serenity Rose is one of many small-press comics in recent years to abandon floppies entirely, using web delivery for the initial publication and then only going hardcopy with trades (as opposed to things like Devil's Panties or PvP that started as webcomics and then put out floppies for a while as interim collections). This is a collection of the first web-originated Serenity Rose story, done in grayscale with spot colors (i.e. magic is (of course) green, Serenity's forelock is blue, Tess's hair is red, blood is red, etc) to bring things out of the background or create a different mood. This was originally published a page at a time at heartshapedskull.com, twice weekly, and was pretty readable in that format. In fact, like other webcomics, the originals can still be read online. Now, I'm pretty spotty about buying hardcopy compilations of webcomics, it usually takes some sort of significant bonus content (like the annotations in the Penny Arcade books, or the extra stories Shaenon Garrity does for her collections), but I made an exception in this case. Oh, there's bonus material, but it's just a few guest art pinups and the collected "Vicious Whispers" that Alexovich did online before getting SR v2 going. ANYway...re-reading it all in one shot holds together even better, with the foreshadowing cutaways slipping more smoothly into the overall action (although knowledge of the plot in advance will also tend to make foreshadows look smoother). And there's no load delay in the paper format (for a while, during the dying days of my old home computer, it could take a minute or more for the page to load due to some bit of script or other). Strongly recommended. $19.95 Amelia Rules! Superheroes: Atheneum - This is the third volume of the collected comic and the only one I was missing...well, missing as a collected volume. I still have the original issues #11-16 that make up this TPB (although the publisher continues the "ashamed to be comics" pattern of not saying anything about the original publication format). Still, this is one of the few comics I enjoy enough to support financially via buying trades of issues I already have (in fact, due to carelessness, I have two different editions of the first trade). (As a side note: I realized last week that Diamond never coughed up the Ninja Christmas book or even listed it as shipping, so I ordered it on Amazon and should have it next week.) #15-16 (which aren't officially part of the Superheroes arc, to go by the covers, but are still part of the theme) both got Strongly Recommended from me, #13-14 got Recommended, and I can't find reviews of #11-12 but I had to wait so long to even get them I might have just not bothered to review them (I found a reference to having them in hand, but no review followed in the next few weeks). Anyway, the story starts a bit slow, but ends incredibly strongly, you definitely want to pick up this collection. Amelia Rules! is one of those rare "all ages" books that really IS good for all ages. Strongly recommended. $10.99/$13.99Cn 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 2/4/10: Official Handbook of the Gold Digger Universe #22, Gold Digger v3 #105, Iron Man vs. Whiplash #3, Marvel Index #13. Awards: "What Are You All, STUPID?" Award to Justice Society of America Annual #2 "Self-Fulfilling Prophecies Can Hurt" Award to Gold Digger Tech Manual #11 "Time For Ratchet To Get The Glove Out" Award to Gold Digger v3 #114 "The Eyes Are The Windows To The...EWWWW" Award to Serenity Rose vol 2 "The Power Of A Well-Timed Flash-Forward" Award to Amelia Rules! Superheroes Dave Van Domelen, "Basic nuclear metaphysics! If it's got a PLANET- SHATTERING FUSION CANNON, it's GOTTA have an EXHAUST PORT, Kit!" - Penny Pincer, Gold Digger v3 #114
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