February 23, 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 And back to snow this week. Gotta love Midwestern weather. 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 2/23/11: Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #8, Chaos War Dead Avengers #1, Shadowland Power Man #4, Transformers Timelines G2 Redux, Widowmaker #3, Invincible #77, Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #11, Widowmaker #4, and Atomic Robo Deadly Art of Science #3. Add Transformers Foundation #1. "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. All-Star Superman DVD: DC Universe - I never read the comics this was based on, so I can't say how faithful McDuffie's adaptation was. And I wasn't sure I was going to get it at all, but news of McDuffie's passing tipped the scales. This is a "last Superman story" sort of tale, set in a Silver Age-ish world where only Superman and his various supporting characters and villains exist (well, and Batman, but he's only mentioned in passing). It's a decent movie, although it suffers from trying to cram too much in (for instance, the brief Kryptonian Astronauts sequence felt rushed, it should have gotten more time or been dropped entirely), and the "arched eyebrow" humor sometimes gets a bit thick. I suspect that the self-aware hipness might have been more pronounced in the comics, though, the script blunting it just as the artwork here is clearly a moderated version of Quitely's style. And, frankly, you gotta like any story in which the phrase "my pet Sun-Eater" makes perfect sense. This time I just got the DVD and didn't pay the extra seven bucks for the Best Buy inaction figure (of Superman in his anti-red-Sun suit). Recommended. $12.99 at Target and Best Buy, $15 at Walmart (I got it at Target). [Later note: I'm told the adaptation is even more compressed than I thought, leaving out several sequences from the comic.] 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. Here's a block of Antarctic Press books, ordered online last Thursday. I decided to toss Steampunk Palin in the order as long as I was doing it, given the "bwah?" reactions it got when it came out. :) Steampunk Palin #1: Antarctic Press - Unfortunately, this is a mess, and not in a good way. It reads like a trailer for a much longer work, like writer Felker (who isn't listed on the cover) sent over a partial script as a proposal for a miniseries and they ended up just making the pitch directly into a comic. That, or Dunn drew a bunch of pages and then Felker tried to make up words that would kinda tie 'em together. Either way, it's not the sort of "bwah?" worth checking out. $3.99 Time Lincoln Apocalypse Mao #1: Antarctic Press - VERY heavy on the exposition, even the opening action sequence is drowned in narration. It's as if Perry keeps deciding after he's done with one of these stories that it can't stand on its own, and layers on explanations. For instance, if you removed ALL the narration boxes from the opening sequence, it'd be a better read. The series fails to embrace its intrinsic insanity, dissecting the metaphorical frog in the process. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Gold Digger v3 #123: Antarctic Press - Another Madrid issue, with more Madrid than you can shake a stick at. And, more importantly, this is another Uber Arc issue, looking ahead six and sixteen years at the Big Time War that's been hinted at on and off for most of the couple hundred issues of the combined runs. The cover kinda gives it away, but Perry did buy some time on the reveal by avoiding the usual way of depicting backwards speech. Recommended. $2.99 Gold Digger v3 #125: Antarctic Press - Gold Digger has had Big Issues on the multiples of 25 before, but previously they have been either complete-in- one stories or the end of an arc. This is the beginning of an arc (or at least a two-parter), however, setting up a...I'm not exactly sure what, actually. Given that there's a time war at the core of this title, it's hard to say where Dreadwing's appearance here falls compared to other subjectively recent (to the readers) appearances. I suspect it's before he completed the Negative Infinity seen a few issues ago, suggesting there's a good chance he'll win the overt struggle. Fortunately for the sake of drama, the real conflict here is within T'Mat, a point established very clearly in the opening flashback scene. So even if Dreadwing wins at the end of the fight, T'Mat may win more. Better. Whatever. My point is, even if there's a foregone conclusion involved in this storyline, there's an equally important and not-foregone one in there too. The story is only normal length (or maybe a little longer), with the rest of the oversized issue being fleshed out with a timeline of the Gold Digger Universe. As far as I can tell it doesn't reveal anything not already found in the voluminous sourcebooks, but it does nail down "present day" at 2001. An interesting choice, given that Perry could just as easily have moved up volume 1 to 2001 and let the ten year span end in 2011 (can't go fully real-time, though, or Gina would have to be in her 40s now). Recommended. $3.99 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 Dark of the Moon Rising Storm #1 (I presume it's a miniseries, but they don't list the length): IDW - And now for the prequel comics! This one is written by Barber (Sector 7) with art by Magno. The Foundation comic didn't arrive at my store (and once again there was no invoice, so we can't tell if it was even supposed to be shipped). Unfortunately, it starts on a bad note by killing off two of my favorite non-movie toy characters in the obligatory "show how badass the new villains are" scene. At least Barber gave both of them a little characterization before slagging them. But it does mean he's decided that anyone not in Dark of the Moon is fair game for killing, which can lead to lazy writing. Another unfortunate point is that Magno decides to go with full detail and minimal lineweight variation on the Bayformer designs, making it hard to pick out the important details among the noise. There's some good scripting, though, and it *could* end up a good story overall, it just has some ill-omened elements. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Power Man and Iron Fist #2 (of 5): Marvel - Okay, I've had Iron Fist's "white" (looks gray to me) costume explained to me, along with the fact it's the sort of thing that shouldn't have stuck around. Ah well. Maybe he liked it. A bunch of players are either brought in or formally introduced this issue, and the nature of the Comedia's schtick is in keeping with the blatantly narratory nature of their "let me introduce my comrades" scene. There's plenty of good banter, some foreshadowing so blatant that at least some of it has to be a red herring, and nice acknowledgement of the original PM/IF series. Recommended. $2.99 The Amazing Spider-Man #655: Marvel - Marcos Martin's style fits the dream sequence that dominates this issue very well, and his layouts are pretty good on the silent funeral sequence that opens the issue too. While I think footnotes would have impaired the flow of the dream sequence, some endnotes for the benefit of the non-Peter-Sanderson-types would have been helpful (i.e. explaining who Charlie is, or who some of the crowd scene shades are). While I think the decision Peter makes at the end is pretty impossible to keep, it appears that Slott's planned this arc to make that particular point clear to him. We're not *ending* on a resolution that's impossible to keep, we're *starting* on it. Recommended. $3.99 Atomic Robo the Deadly Art of Science #4 (of 5): Red5 Comics - Still no #3, sigh. Still, it's not too hard to figure out what happened, as Clevinger manages to reference what happened without making it obtrusive. And I find it interesting how he's treating Helen's interaction with Robo...she's not bothered by his artificial nature, but a factor that you'd think wouldn't matter in light of him being a robot...matters. You may have noticed this didn't get "Book of Note," a rarity for Atomic Robo. I can't really put my finger on why, but this one was merely good, not at the level I'm used to from Clevinger and Wegener. Recommended. $3.50 Awards: "Bad Silver Age Science Doesn't Count When It's Intentional" Award to All- Star Superman DVD "Fist Of The Midnight Sun" Award to Steampunk Palin #1 "Stop Stalin And Fight!" Award to Time Lincoln Apocalypse Mao #1 "Sometimes I Really Get On My Nerves" Award to Gold Digger v3 #123 "Ex Marks The Spot" Award to Gold Digger v3 #125 "What's Chinese For 'Jobbed?'" Award to Transformers Dark of the Moon Rising Storm #1 (of 4) "Lady Gaga He Ain't" Award to Power Man and Iron Fist #2 (of 5) "'Tain't Nohow Permanent" Award to the Amazing Spider-Man #655 "Time To Reassemble The Five Fists Of Science!" Award to Atomic Robo the Deadly Art of Science #4 (of 5) Dave Van Domelen, "But, hey! Now 'robot' isn't the WEIRDEST part of our relationship!" "You're not helping." - Robo and Helen, Atomic Robo the Deadly Art of Science #4 (of 5)
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