March 4, 2009

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.
Diamond wants my store dead, apparently.  An archive can be found on my 

"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.

     DC Super Friends Cyborg figure: Series 2 of the chunky child-friendly DC
figures.  According to the co-sell on the back, the rest of the series is
Batman, a red and black Batman, and Hawkman...with Hawkman having a "NOT
AVAILABLE" sticker over it, oops.  Rather than the Build A Figure that many
lines use now, there's a Build A Picture using the back sides of the heavy
cardstock "trading cards" that come with the toys.  Of course, with Hawkman
being unavailable, the new picture can't be completed, I guess.
     Cyborg comes with a huge cannon that fires a dense foam ball, and while
he's mostly based on the mainline DCU version, he has elements of the Teen
Titans cartoon design to him.  The basic design is the same as the
discontinued Spidey & his Friends line, right down to the usual 9 points of
articulation (swivels at neck, shoulders, hips and wrists, hinge elbows)
standardized tab on his back onto which can be clipped various accessories.
Not that his cannon has the clip.  Instead, it has a regular grip that goes
in either hand and a monopod that flips down to keep the figure from tipping
over forward.
     The gun can fire straight up about half a meter.  There's tabs on the
sides of the barrel intended to keep the ball in the barrel, but they don't
really work and it tends to fall out at random.  Kinda disappointing, but I
otherwise knew what to expect since I own a few of the first wave toys too.
Um, I forgot to keep the receipt, so I don't know how much this cost, I think
it was $6.99 or $7.99.  :)

     Wonder Woman Animated Movie: Warner Brothers - I got the Best Buy
exclusive with the DC Universe Infinite Heroes Wonder Woman (animation
version) packed in.  The two-disc version was slightly cheaper at Wal-Mart
(like, a dollar cheaper), I figured the action figure would be worth the
difference.  Although I could have gotten the single disc for ten dollars
less at Best Buy.
     The main disc is the same on one- and two-disc versions (this is not
always the case).  In addition to the movie, it has a preview of the upcoming
GL movie, plus featurettes on several recent DC animated projects (New
Frontier, Gotham Knight) and a bit on Wonder Woman as well.  Of course, GL is
the extra most people I know are interested in seeing, so they'll be glad to
know it's on the one-disc version too.  Unfortunately, there's no finished
footage of the GL movie, just storyboards and a few very rough animatics with
voice on them (Michael Madsen does a decent Kilowog).  Other than the GL one,
I think all the featurettes were seen on other DVDs before, as previews.
     The two-disc version also comes with Digital Copy, not that this is a
selling point for me.  Also on the second disc are two documentaries ("Wonder
Woman: A Subversive Dream" and "Wonder Woman: Daughter of Myth," both 25
minutes and 36 seconds), and a pair of JLU episodes featuring Diana (To
Another Shore and Hawk and Dove).  Obviously, if you already have the JLU
sets, the documentaries are about the only potential draw for the second
disc.  Daughter of Myth is your standard "myths that inspired Wonder Woman,
and myths Wonder Woman has created" thing that's been done many times, having
interviews with a lot of the Usual Suspects (i.e. Trina Robbins, Andy
Mangels), although no Perez.  A Subversive Dream (yeah, I watched 'em in
reverse order) is more about Marston and others involved in the mundane side
of the creation, with mostly the same interview subjects (although Hugh
Hefner and Dan Didio join the cast).
     At 10.2cm tall, Wonder Woman is a little taller than the Question figure
I have from the same line, which is appropriate if perhaps pure chance.  Made
of tan plastic with most of the costume printed on rather than painted on, in
darker colors than are traditional for Wonder Woman.  The neck joint exists,
but the hair blocks it from moving.  There's a swivel at mid-torso, swivel
shoulders, V-joint swivel hips and hinge knees.  No elbows or wrists, and the
hands are in closed fists.  No accessories, not that she could hold them.
Generally better than the JLU female molds, and definitely worth a few bucks
extra if you were planning to get the two-disc release anyway.  If you aren't
interested in the second disc, though, it's probably not worth ten bucks
(although they're selling these for $6-8 depending on store lately).  She may
end up kitbashed, since the only molded costume details are her tiara and
boot soles/heels.  Yeah, her costume is printed on, no molding at all.
Cheapo for a figure, but ideal for turning her into something else.  :)
     Okay, now for the actual movie.  Yeah, there's a movie in among all
those extras.  I am amused that the the dogfight where Steve Trevor gets shot
down involves the two models of jet found in the smaller Machine Wars
Decepticons.  :) Generally, this is one of those cases where Gail Simone's
writing is "on" (she had lead writing credit, shared with screenwriter
Jelenic).  And Nathan Fillion does a really good job with the lines he's
given as Trevor.  The story is another updating of the classic origin story,
plus the threat of Ares unleashed from his imprisonment on Themiscyra, and
works pretty well (although the Invisible Jet comes totally out of nowhere,
pardon the pun...I wonder if they storyboarded a scene in which someone
magicks up the wreckage of Steve's Raptor to make it, but the scene got
     Rated PG, which generally means content that would be PG-13 in live
action.  No nekkid Amazons, though, in case you were wondering (hair always
conveniently covers the front bits), and it's surprisingly bloodless.  As in,
someone will get a sword rammed through them, and will only get some dramatic
bleeding out the mouth (although in the "blood sacrifice" scene there is
admittedly probably more blood than a person normally contains).  And it's a
running gag that "crap" is the strongest language anyone uses.  Recommended.
$22.99 this week at Best Buy.

     I considered the Watchmen Motion Comic, having enjoyed the Dream Quest
of Unknown Kadath motion comic I got a few years ago.  But I decided that I
simply wasn't going to get the time to watch it any time soon, and there's a
good chance it'll be an extra on the super-duper deluxe DVD release of the
movie anyway.  :)

Comics Capsules:
     Short, relatively spoiler-free reviews of books I actually bring home
(as opposed to reading in preview form in the shop or online).  If I get a
book late due to distributor foulups or whatever, I'll put it in the Missing

     Books of Note (Strongly Recommended or otherwise worthy): Farscape #3
(of 4). 

     Secret Six #7: DC - The tale of the bloody card comes to an end with
plenty of mayhem, some redemption and a whole lot more betrayal, of others
and of self.  It's perhaps a little too aggressive about writing people out
of the script, but Simone does a good job of dealing with a wide variety of
criminal and insane (and criminally insane) motivations.  Recommended.  $2.99
     Agents of Atlas #2: Marvel - Dark Reign banner.  Two intertwined stories
with two art teams, both stories labeled as "part 1", making last issue a
prelude.  The present-day story is fairly slow, with Atlas working a sting on
HAMMER and then getting a new teammate that they didn't ask for.  The other
story is set in 1958 and is a weird SF/Horror mystery that I can only presume
will dovetail eventually (else it'd have been a separate backup rather than
interleaved).  Both good.  Recommended.  $2.99
     Farscape #3 (of 4): Boom! Studios - I got the black and white variant
cover.  This issue is all about how expectations can really ruin your day.
Crichton's reputation for doing the impossible *makes it* impossible for him
to convince anyone he just stumbled into the situation, while Rygel's
reputation as a useless dictator ruins the day of everyone opposing him.  :)
DeCandido's script continues to be really good, and the story by O'Bannon is
paced pretty well and seems likely to have a reasonably solid resolution next
issue.  Strongly recommended.  $3.99

     Yep.  Three books.  Admittedly, only five were supposed to come in this
week, but what about the dozen or so books they never shipped?  And they
failed to ship PREVIEWS to my store again.  They can't even pretend that's
not in stock, it's their own frelling catalog.  I can only conclude that
Diamond is trying to undermine my store, driving their customers away to mail
order.  For it to be explained by mere incompetence would require that
Diamond's employees have the average skill set of third graders.  And I'm
worried I may be insulting third graders.

     What the heck, I don't normally review these, but I'll toss it in as a
bonus since it arrived this week:

     Bionicle Glatorian #2: DC/Lego - With Bionicle's original storyline
wrapping up a few months ago, they've rebooted the franchise with a new
world, new villains, etc.  The Glatorians are, as the name vaguely implies,
gladatorial warriors.  The comic comes free with membership in the Lego Club
(which is generally free to join), so the cover price I quote later is really
more for show than for go.  They are making the Bionicle comics available in
TPBs lately, though.  Anyway, long-time writer Farshtey is still at the helm,
and the story is a bit more coherent than usual for Bionicle, although that
may be partly a function of getting a new setting started (the comic often
skipped over events that were to be told elsewhere in novels, online comics,
movies, etc).  Pop Mhan is the series artist, and his style really suits the
Glatorians well...spindly, spiky and big-footed is how they look normally.
:)  The story does suffer a bit from being a toy tie-in and having to
introduce a bunch of characters all at once, but at least a few of them get
decent characterization.  It's worth joining the Lego Club to get this
series.  $2.95 cover price, but at 16 pages of story there's no way it'd ever
sell for that.  

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 3/4/09: Official Handbook of the Gold Digger Universe
#22, Transformers Maximum Dinobots #1-3, Transformers Revenge of the Fallen:
Alliance #2, Jersey Gods #1, Booster Gold #17, Gen13 v4 #27, Beanworld volume
1 hardcover, Dynamo5 #20, Cthulhu Tales #12, Doctor Doom and the Masters of
Evil #2.  Add Jersey Gods #2, Transformers Revenge of the Fallen: Defiance


"He's Got The Biggest (Nerf) Balls Of Them All" Award to Superfriends

"Wait, Was Saying He Sounded Like A Woman A Compliment Or A Slam?" Award
     to the Wonder Woman movie

"Are Those Wolverine's Scissors Or Something?" Award to Secret Six #7

"Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Forgettable Spider-Man Foes"
     Award to Agents of Atlas #2

"Nobody Ever Suspects The Baby" Award to Farscape #3 (of 4)

"Wait, The Red One ISN'T The Main Hero?" Award to Bionicle Glatorian #2

     Dave Van Domelen, "You're smarter than that, John."  "Uhm -- have we
MET?  Crichton's the name, really really dumbass plans are my game." - Scorpy
and Crichton, Farscape #3 (of 4)

Dave's "Diamond Comics Distribution Can Bite Me" Capsules Special
March 5, 2009

     Another couple of comics picked up from Hastings because Diamond can't
be arsed to ship what my store orders.

     Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Movie Prequel: Defiance #2 (of 4):
IDW - We see more of what external force changed Megatron from a jerk into a
tyrant, but at this point I have to wonder if there will be a Big Reveal
anywhere in this series...since the full revelation may be a plot point for
the movie.  There's also some retconning to make Earth a little more focal to
the Autobot/Decepticon conflict rather than the random battleground implied
in the first movie.  Mowry's writing is competent, and the art by Khanna and
Griffith is pretty good, although Josh Perez's coloring is sometimes a bit
overdone.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99
     Doctor Doom and the Masters of Evil #2 (of 4): Marvel - The cover has
Masters of Evil crossed out and Circus of Crime painted in.  On the other
hand, this issue the Masters of Evil do actually show up (Amora, Skurge,
Melter, Zemo, Radioactive Man).  The Circus is used pretty well, although the
more All-Ages tone of the book does make for some fairly tepid evil being
mastered around here.  Recommended.  $2.99


"I Blame The Goa'uld, Myself" Award to TF:RotF Defiance #2 (of 4)

"It's A Bug AND A Feature" Award to Doctor Doom and the Masters of Evil #2
     (of 4)
     Dave Van Domelen, nothing really worth quoting.
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