April 20, 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 Tree pollen got so thick this week it was like smoke inhalation. Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): Love and Capes Ever After #3. 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 4/20/11: Shadowland Power Man #4, Transformers Timelines G2 Redux, Love & Capes Ever After #2, Gold Digger #126-7, Time Lincoln Cuba Commander, Transformers Dark of the Moon Rising Storm #2, Transformers Dark of the Moon Rising Storm #3. Add Avengers Academy #12, X-Factor #218 (store got shorted, I was late getting there, so I get to wait on reorder). I've removed PS238 #49 from this list because the news has come down that #50 will only be available as part of a TPB, so I don't see any reason to hunt down the floppy of #49 now. "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. Marvel Universe Squinkies: Blip Toys - Squinkies are a line initially marketed to girls, little rubbery cutesy figures that fit inside plastic spheres that connect to charm bracelets. But just as Zhu Zhu Hamsters extended to the boystoys aisle, so now have Squinkies. One extension is a battle game with non-licensed characters, and the other is what I picked up: licensed Marvel figures. They packs I saw had 9 fixed figures and 3 mystery figures, with series 1 being all "regular" while series 2 is sparkly and clear and so forth, mostly the same molds. 12 total in a pack, with three of the figures displayed out of their spheres to be clearer. I got Series 1, with Spider-Man, Captain America and Thor as the out-of-sphere figures, enballed figures of Green Goblin, Thing, Silver Surfer, Doctor Doom, Iron Man and non-flaming Johnny Storm. Each figure is about 23mm tall and squishy, while the spheres are 27mm in diameter and soft but not rubbery. My three mystery figures were Magneto, Hulk, and Wolverine. The art style is chubby chibi but tries to be more belligerent than cute (think early Mad Magazine style infants...chubby but mean). It works better for some than others (Cap is kinda icky). Each figure has a 5mm diameter peg hole in its base, presumably for interacting with the playsets (which I passed on), although Transformers collectors will immediately see the possibilities of decking out their TFs with chibi superheroes. The softness of the plastic also means that the hole will stretch to cover a pencil eraser (although a pen cap is pushing it) or work as finger puppets on kid-sized hands. Sadly for my hobbies, the plastic is way too soft to repaint, even with the few rubbery paints I own. Maybe Sharpies, although I'd need to clean off the mold release oil. Overall, an amusing little thing to get for decoration of a computer monitor or something, and I suppose if you have kids they might like 'em. :) Too bad they don't sell cheaper 3-packs for people to dip their toes in, though. $9.99 at Target. 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. The Amazing Spider-Man #658: Marvel - The main story by Slott has Spider-Man officially joining the FF (Freedom Foundation) and having some adventures with them, meanwhile trying to manage how it affects other parts of his life. (Negatively, as if you had to ask.) There's a certain amount of lampshading, as Spidey points out some of the blatantly whacked elements of the FF's milieu, but Slott's pretty good at keeping this sort of thing from becoming annoying. The backup story by Rob Williams is a team-up with Ghost Rider, who turns out to be a sullen drunk. 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. Thunderbolts #156: Marvel - The cover promises another recruitment drive story, and that's a goodly part of the issue (although the "auditions" aren't exactly what they seem). The rest is the first mission of those that required they find a mystic, and it's pretty cool IMO. Also, in Satana we finally have someone who can get under Moonstone's skin. Recommended. $2.99 Legion of Super-Heroes #12: DC - Heh, this starts as an LSV recruitment drive. Fun parallels. The LSV plot comes more to the fore, although we're still in the relatively dull "nothing can even slow the main villain down" phase. Mildly recommended. $2.99 Super Dinosaur #1: Image - Because Robert Kirkman doesn't do enough whacked out stuff in Invincible, he started this book. Unfortunately, I think he's trying a little TOO hard to push the hoo-hah aspects, the enthusiasm feels forced. Granted, by the end of the issue we see that there's some in-story reason for the main character to be trying too hard to be upbeat, but it feels "off" even allowing for that. The exposition levels get a little thick as well, as this seems to be set up as an isolated universe (rather than an extension of the Invincible et al world), and even with an origin special slated for FCBD Kirkman crams in a lot of worldbuilding. It has a lot of promise as an update of the old "boy and his powerful friend" style of story, but several rough patches to get over first. Recommended. $2.99 Invincible #79: Image - There's some whacked out dinosaur action here too, but mostly as setup for next issue. The main plot continues to be Mark and Eve adjusting to life back together after a year apart, and the Big Secret hanging between them. Well, there's actually several, but this issue is about the one eating Eve up alive. I wonder if the cover is intentionally "wrong" though, or if it's a case of lead time on the cover outstripping the decision to change Eve's appearance. Recommended. $2.99 Gold Digger #128: Antarctic Press - Still missing the two issues before this one (AP's online store stopped doing free shipping since last time I ordered, so I'm gonna give Diamond a few more weeks to cough up the back issues). Fortunately, there's no spoilers of substance regarding the issues I'm missing (other than "negative" spoilers...no reaction to Big Events that could have happened), as the story shifts back to Gina's students. One in particular, in fact, revealing a mysterious background and tying up a pre-#100 dangler. Some of the foreshadowing is a touch clumsy, but otherwise a good story. Recommended. $3.99 Love and Capes Ever After #3: IDW - Similarly, I'm gonna give Diamond a little longer to ship #2 before I go to the online store and pay full price plus shipping (I expect non-compete clauses in Diamond's contracts force publishers to do this sort of thing...it's also why digital versions of mainstream comics will never succeed as long as Diamond has a stranglehold on distribution. Publishers will be required to hobble their digital arms to avoid violating their contract with Diamond). ANYway. Home renovation, high school reunion, and having one's current girlfriend find out that your platonic female friend did date you once before...all with superpowers, of course. And with excellent comic timing. Strongly recommended. $3.99 Awards: "The Madder Hulk Gets, The Squishier Hulk Gets!" Award to Marvel Universe Squinkies "He Should Get Reed To Write A Note To His Boss" Award to The Amazing Spider-Man #658 "Satana, Dark Mistress of Femmeslash" Award to Thunderbolts #156 "At 8 Ergs Per Hour It's Gonna Be A LOOOOOONG Wait" Award to Legion of Super-Heroes #12 (maybe Levitz doesn't know an erg is a real unit of measurement?) "Silly Max, This Is Gundam Rules...The Prototype Is Always The Best!" Award to Super Dinosaur #1 "Actually, She Probably DOES Know What Getting Torn In Half Feels Like" Award to Invincible #79 "That Trick Never Works" Award to Gold Digger #128 "Hey, This Old Person Is On Facebook, Buddy" Award to Love and Capes Ever After #3 Dave Van Domelen, "You know, now that you mention it, um...you don't still have your old *school uniform*, do you?" "*God!* What *is it* with you men and *outfits?*" "*Really?* I wear a *cape* and you're surprised I have a thing for *costumes?*" - Mark and Abby, Love and Capes Ever After #3
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