May 11, 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, So, of course I have a case of the common cold during finals week. Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): FCBD 2011 Atomic Robo 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 5/11/11: Shadowland Power Man #4, Transformers Timelines G2 Redux, Gold Digger #127, Transformers Dark of the Moon Rising Storm #3-4, X-Factor #218, Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters #2, Transformers Foundation #3. Add Time Lincoln Jack to the Future, but I'm not sure I want to keep up with this series. FCBD 2011 Capsules: I only managed to get one hardcopy comic I was interested in this time, the rest either being gone before I got to the store, or never arriving. Fortunately, while various contractual realities prevent comic companies from having good timely online comic delivery, piracy is very efficient even when there's no money involved, so a friend hooked me up with CBRs of the other two I wanted. Super Dinosaur Origin Special #1: Image - This was the one hardcopy I got. It actually doesn't reveal much more than was shown in #1 of the regular series, it just goes into a bit more detail. The story itself is done by the staples, with the rest of the issue being a mini-sourcebook on the important characters. Would this get someone to go back and buy #1? Maybe. Actually, the things that I didn't care for in the regular #1 were present in spades, so I suppose this does the job of being a good warning for people who find those elements more annoying than I do. The Amazing Spider-Man The Way of the Spider: Marvel - This is a lead-in to Spider Island, with Madame Web manipulating events so that Spider-Man has half a chance. The main action is a simple done-in-one conflict with Slott and Ramos turning in very good work, and the epilogue makes a fair amount of sense in light of recent developmens in the Big Time mega-arc. I'm not sure how MUCH this will entice people to pick up the Spider Island books, since Slott is a little coy on the exact nature of the threat. Atomic Robo/Foster Broussard/Moon Girl: Red 5 Comics - I will probably still try to get the hardcopy of this, for the Robo-completeness aspect. But the other big reason for me to want this book was Moon Girl, which I didn't order on the strength of online previews, but might be tempted to go back for if I'm more impressed by this FCBD story. Unfortunately, the FCBD Moon Girl piece is old news, I've seen it elsewhere before (Previews, probably, or Red5 put it online). The Broussard piece doesn't inspire me to look into the book at all, sorry to say. However, the Atomic Robo piece is excellent and I can hope it will rope in more readers. :) It also went up online separately today (May 11, 2011) at comixology, so you won't need to dig around for CBRs to read it, "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. Thor (movie): I saw it in 3D, but other than some of the pan shots of Asgard I didn't find it added much to (or subtracted much from) the movie. Overall, I liked the movie, although I felt Volstagg was way too toned down. Any actor seeking to portray the Lion of Asgard should be at least emulating Brian Blessed, if not exceeding him. :) Otherwise, they did a good job of shuffling various classic elements of Marvel Thor mythology without overburdening the movie with exposition. Recommended. Also, I got a Destroyer straw-topper at 7-11, and felt it wasn't shiny enough to match the movie version (it's more of a dull gray like in the comics), so I painted mine: Green Lantern movie Kilowog 3.75" scale figure: Mattel - Hastings had the full assortment, but at much higher prices, while the local Walmart only had two figures at the "cheapo" scale: this one and a starry-body Hal Jordan figure. I decided to get this one, even though movie-'Wog doesn't really look right. One of the gimmicks of the line is that the mid-price figures (which Walmart had all of) come with an unfolding "construct" (i.e. a block that unfolds into a scorpion or a big fist) and the accessories that come with the cheapo figures can attach to these constructs. The upper end figures are 6" and come with one of 14 pieces needed to make Parallax. Yeah, biggest BAF-set I can recall seeing. Kilowog comes with two accessories: a power ring that barely fits on my pinkie (15mm interior diameter) and a clear rubbery green plastic energy blob that goes over 'Wog's fist. 'Wog only has six points of articulation, although I didn't look closely enough at the other figures to tell if this is endemic or just a cost-cutting measure on the biggest figure of the set. The shoulders are universal joints, at least, but since the neck attachment is appropriate to the character his head doesn't so much turn as cock to the side. The legs can't bend far enough back to let the figure stand with arms raised to the front, and while there's a small peg hole in one foot, no stand is included. This is, all in all, a toy designed to be left in the package rather than played with. And if it's staying in the package, it can stay on the shelf. Not recommended. $6.97 at Walmart. Sci-Fi Revoltech no. 24 Iron Man [Mark VI]: Marvel/Kaiyodo - I'm not going to do an exhaustive review here, just a few comments. This is sort of the other end of the spectrum from Kilowog, still not really meant to be played with but definitely meant to be taken out of the package and displayed. Like most collector's style action figures in Japan (and an increasing number of American releases) it comes with several sets of hands for different poses, including a "repulsors as thrusters" set. Like recent Revoltech releases, it has a small box meant to hold the various extra parts, but like most of those (from what I hear) the box is too small. In this case, the repulsor beam pieces are too long to fit. All the extra hands will go in, though. Articulation is, as usual for a Revoltech, really good. There's a mix of the traditional ratcheting revolver joints and a bunch of miniature ones that don't ratchet, letting this 6" figure avoid having any big obvious joints. The smaller ones are used on the wrists, shoulderpads and kneepads. One oddity is that the repulsor hands just peg in and do not have actual joints, so if you want to use them you have to pull out the other hands by the root, but to use any other hands you need to leave the joint piece in the wrist (which can be a bit tricky until you learn how to manage it). I do worry a bit about some of the flexible armor flaps, since they could "rot". Oh, and the neck articulation is a bit weird, if you pull the neck back too far you get the Giraffe Armor variant. At a list price of 2850 Yen, it's definitely a collector's item, comparable to the $16-20 action figures of the same size (2850Y converts to a lot more than $20, but Japanese toys are more expensive in an absolute sense, with $12 Transformers often going for 2000-2500 Yen). Oh, and the packaging is very much aimed at the collector market, with little plastic sheets in between joints to make sure no paint gets damaged during shipping. 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. Will Super Villains Be On The Final?: Del Rey - Volume 1 of the Liberty Vocational series written by Naomi Novik and drawn by Yishan Li. This in the timeshifting section because I'm pretty sure it's solicited for June or even July in Previews...given my rotten luck with trade-style books through Diamond I checked online and found it was a pre-order for early May. Anyway.... I have not read Novik's Temeraire books, but I think I probably played in one of her plots on a Transformers MUSH. :) Liberty Vocational is like the Harvard of superhero prep schools, set in a world where powers are so common that being a superhero can be a family tradition and there's various levels of "farm team" heroes in addition to the high profile ones. Leah Taymore is the main protagonist, daughter of a couple of farm team heroes who is a prodigy transmutation type, utterly out of her depth even without the machinations of a supervillain determined to...something. He's one of those "for the greater good" villains, and it's unclear what the details might be in Leah's case. Just that he's out to make things as hard for her as he can manage without giving himself away. And, of course, there's also the usual college/boarding school tropes like the first day disasters, mean classmates, hopeless crushes, and so forth. The sort of thing you've probably seen plenty of if you read the Harry Potter books, although Novik is drawing more from the Japanese flavor of the school drama than the British. The story is generally serious in tone, but with a certain amount of cliched manga-style visual humor. The mood does sometimes shift jarringly between farce and drama, but that's in keeping with the tropes of Japanese school drama stories (to the limited extent that I am familiar with them, anyway). All in all, it's a nice read, with some interesting twists here and there, but you wouldn't too far off to describe it as "Superhero Harry Potter/Ranma/Negima". It's very much NOT like Cartoon Network's "Tower Prep" series, leaving aside the barest of surface details, and the dark elements are tied to specific characters rather than being built into the setting. Recommended. $10.99 cover price, $8.79 at 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. Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #14: Marvel - Another reprint, this time from MA Spider-Man Team-Up #4, but at least it's not a reprint of something I already have. :) Unfortunately, like the last reprint story from a few issues back, it's not really WORTH reprinting. DeZago's story is passable, but relies too much on a gimmick that feels tired by end. Neutral. $2.99 The Amazing Spider-Man #660: Marvel - Again, while there's a banner for Infested, there's really only a couple of pages on that particular plot wedged between the main story and the Ghost Rider teamup backup story. Slott's main story is pretty good, though, and gives McKone a chance to muck about with numerous costume designs as exposure to an unstable dimensional thingy runs everyone through incarnation roulette. Recommended. $3.99 R.E.B.E.L.S. #28: DC - Final issue, I guess? (Pause to look online.) Yep, final issue. It just sort of...wraps up. Deus ex Machina engaged, evil overlord list violations come home to roost, ominous plot devices stored away in bubble wrap for potential use elsewhere, reference to the next place the characters will be making cameos, etc. Kinda by the numbers. Not exactly going out with a whimper, but neither was it much of a bang. Mildly recommended. $2.99 Love and Capes Ever After #4: IDW - Thanks to various shipping issues, I get three L&C issues in three weeks, woot. And while it's a little late to be truly topical, it's the dreaded TAX TIME. I wonder if Mark tries to write off his stack of disposable keyboards as a business expense, or just eats it because it'd be too hard to explain why he burns through a dozen of them in April? :) Between this and the B-plot with Paul and Amazonia, there are many places where Hijinks could Ensue, and it's interesting that for the most part Zahler refrains from any such's a bit meta, in a way. The humor comes from the fact that the easy jokes generally don't happen. Recommended. $3.99 Awards: "Needs A Doctor Dinosaur Guest Appearance" Award to Super Dinosaur Origin Special #1 "Your Kung Fu Is Pig Dung" Award to The Amazing Spider-Man The Way Of The Spider "Needs A Super Dinosaur Guest Appearance" Award to Atomic Robo and Friends FCBD 2011 "Generally Needs More Dinosaurs" Award to the Thor Movie "Needs More Poozer-ability" Award to the Kilowog movie action figure "Starkticulation" Award to Revoltech Iron Man action figure "Hey, Supervillains Make The Best Superhero Ethics Teachers" Award to Will Super Villains Be On The Final? "It's A Bad Sign When A Couple Panels Of Throwaway Dialogue Are More Interesting Than The Main Plot" Award to Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #14 "Somehow, I Don't Think The Story About Bedbugs Coming Up In The Local News Will Involve Trangenic Infection" Award to The Amazing Spider-Man #660 (Yeah, it's MRSA infection.) "Is It Me, Or Does Kory's Head Shrink Over The Course Of The Issue?" Award to R.E.B.E.L.S. #28 "In The Business Association Of The Clueless, The Half-Clued Woman Is President" Award to Love and Capes Ever After #4 Dave Van Domelen, "Didn't you save his life on that first date?" "Yes, but that was *future* me, not past me. And it was actually *my* wedding day and *her--* *Gah!* How do you people talk about this stuff without popping an *embolism?*" - Charlotte and Abby, Love and Capes Ever After #4
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