May 26, 2012

Dave's Unspoilt Capsules and Awards

Intermittent 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, Still waiting to hear back on the results of a job interview. Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): Avengers (movie), Atomic Robo FCBD 2012 In this installment: Avengers (movie), Rocketeer Adventures vol2 #1 (of 4), Atomic Robo FCBD 2012, Atomic Robo Real Science Adventures #2, Eldritch #5 (of 6), Spider-Man Season 1 FCBD #1, DC New 52 FCBD #1, Green Lantern/Young Justice/Superman Family Adventures FCBD, Valiant 2012 FCBD #1, Top Shelf Kids Club FCBD 2012, Brody's Ghost Book 3, Beards, Voltron Force Shelter from the Storm FCBD Edition, Image FCBD 2012, Avengers Earth's Mightiest Heroes #2, Ultimate Spider-Man (TV) #1-2. "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. Avengers (Movie): Joss Whedon engages in a number of his usual stylistic tics, including probably the only big minus of the movie (which may just be mor of Fury lying for the greater good)...but otherwise it's as close to the perfect "get the superhero team together" movie as one can get in this imperfect world. Strongly recommended. Digital Content: Unless I find a really compelling reason to do so, I won't be turning this into a webcomic review column. Rather, stuff in this section will be full books available for reading online or for download, usually for pay. I will often be reading these things on my iPod if it's at all possible. Rocketeer Adventures vol2 #1 (of 4): Dark Horse - "The Good Guys" by Guggenheim and Plunkett is a solid, unexceptional story. Didn't really thrill me, but I didn't feel like I wasted my time reading it, either. On the other hand, Peter David gave in to his worst impulses in "The Ducketeer," pushing things past bending and into breaking...and who thought it'd be a good idea to have Sienkiewicz draw a Daffy Duck parody? Bleh. I mean, I can see where the idea might have been attractive as a proposal, but the results were pretty bad. A lame duck, if you will. "A Dream of Flying" by Stan Sakai did a pretty good job of taking a premise rife with overdone camp and telling a solid story that resisted veering into excessive nod-and-wink. Art Adams contribues a pin-up involving a T.rex, and does a good job of presenting it in period style (rather than the modern-understanding designs Adams is known for using a LOT). Recommended, mostly for the Sakai piece. Currently down to $1.99 at Comixology. Atomic Robo FCBD 2012: Red5 Comics - I didn't get my hands on the hardcopy, so I don't know if the full version was another three-story sampler, although I presume it was. I just got the Robo part, though. Robo and Doctor Dinosaur team up to save the world from a runaway Large Hadron Collider, which ends about as poorly as you might expect (well, world saved, but...). I made the mistake of reading this while giving an exam, and it was hard to avoid laughing out loud at times. Get this, make a ComiXology account to do so if you have to, but get this. (They have a good online reader if you don't have a smartphone or tablet.) Note, it's filed under the Real Science Adventures series on ComiXology. Atomic Robo Real Science Adventures #2: Red5 Comics - Looks like $1.99 week of release is a regular thing for this book, huzzah! The continuing stories are okay, but I get the feeling I'll really need to sit down and read the entire story in one sitting in both cases to really get them. They move a little slowly for serials, especially since they only get four pages apiece. The 8-page "Monster Hunters" is the cover story, with a rather familiar-looking team of TeslaDyne operatives trying to capture the Yonkers Devil. A bit of a shaggy cryptid story, and if you aren't up on your online culture you might not get the main joke, but it seems to hold up decently as foreshadowing for a more serious later story. "Atomic Robo vs. Rasputin" is a 5-page story set in 1924, more wacky antics of the early days. It felt a little too much like Clevinger was reworking an old "Jameson sics a supervillain on Spider-Man" story, though (which he might have been doing on purpose). Not Clevinger's strongest outing, but still good. Recommended. $1.99 at ComiXology. Eldritch #5 (of 6): - The penultimate chapter involves all the weird powers coming out to play as Anya fights against the cultists (maybe to save the world, but probably just because they piss her off) and things get nasty. And then her brother stops waffling, and things get nastier. And the father of the abomination hasn't even made the scene yet.... Recommended. 99 cents (I got the PDF direct from the publisher website, but it's available in a bunch of formats for the same price). Spider-Man Season 1 FCBD #1: Marvel - Yes, another retelling of Spider-Man's origin, updating it for modern times. A few things get shuffled around, and in a full issue they only get as far as, "Hey, I'll become a wrestler," but it does a decent job of setting the scene. Still, between Ultimate Spider-Man (show) and this summer's movie, I expect to have more than my fill of Yet Another Spider-Man Origin Story, so this doesn't tempt me to pay for the next part. DC New 52 FCBD #1: DC - This has one "complete" story setting up the Trinity War event, and then a bunch of one to three page teasers for upcoming second wave nu52 comics. None of the teasers tempt me, and there's no way I'm getting wrapped up in a mega-event, but the premise of Pandora as unjustly punished for a mistake and given immortality in which to suffer is at least kinda interesting. Although it does make her into a sort of cosmic Derpy ("I just don't know what went wrong..."). Green Lantern/Young Justice/Superman Family Adventures Flipbook FCBD #1: DC - Given that it has two covers, I'm presuming it was a flipbook. The media tie-in side has a short (and pretty bad) Green Lantern tale and what appears to be the first few pages of Young Justice #16. The other side has a short bit with Superman Family Adventures, which seems to be taking the Silver Age Superman Family concepts and feeding them through Tiny Titans art aesthetics (although less sketchy and crayonic). If the sample story is typical of the writing in the GL show comic, I'm glad I didn't waste money on the hardcopy of #1. Valiant 2012 FCBD featuring X-O Manowar: Valiant - Yes, Valiant is back again. This has short (6-8 page) previews of X-O Manowar #1 and Harbinger #1, a pinup and a bunch of interviews. The X-O story shows that they intend to go back to the old "barbarian in alien armor" version, but we don't actually see the "good skin" yet...this is where the barbarians fight the aliens and lose. And that's about it. Kinda a Legions of Bronze feel to it. The Harbinger story focuses on Harada's youth...never really cared about Harbinger, and this doesn't make me start. Top Shelf Kids Club FCBD 2012: Top Shelf - The usual bunch of short stories, led off by their flagship Owly. The moral of the Owly story seems to be "don't set up your soccer field in a flood-prone area". Korgi's contribution is...weird. My only exposure to Korgi is these FCBD collections, but I don't recall there being robots. The ending is kinda hard to follow, one of those cases where a wordless format can be a problem. The Johnny Boo story was moderately amusing fluff. None of the new stories (Okie Dokie Donuts, Pirate Penguin vs. Ninja Chicken, or Upside Down) interested me at all. Yes, I know I'm not the target audience for anything in this book, but it felt like the new ones were trying too hard to be "kiddie". Trades: Trade paperbacks, collections, graphic novels, pocket manga, whatever. If it's bigger than a "floppy" it goes here. Brody's Ghost Book 3: Dark Horse - The training phase, at least thematically, comes to an end here. There's a few scenes that wrap it up, and that might have fit better in Book 2, and then it's on to beginning the investigation in earnest. Brody follows the well-worn path of breaking the law to uphold what is right, impersonating a cop and even breaking into Police HQ in his search for the identity of the Penny Killer. The book ends on a "big shocker" which is more of a, "Well, yeah, that makes a lot more sense than what we'd been told" thing. The art continues to be lovely, and Crilley does some good stuff with making Brody's visions feel otherworldly. Recommended. $6.99 Beards: Couscous Collective - Another oddball-sized themed trade from the Couscous Collective, this time with the unlikely theme of beards. It leads off with another Narbonic tale (that has pirates), and also has a short piece from Jason Thompson, the Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath guy. It's interesting to see how Dave Davenport has become a responsible businessman and father now that he's over the initial rush of madness. Of course, "responsible" is extremely relative, given his business (selling mad science doomsday weapons to unstable people). The Lovecraft adaptation by Thompson very effectively conveys how the greatest horrors need not be cosmic or unnatural, merely the result of our own imagination run wild. And there's not one, but two stories focused on Lincoln's beard (Farago's is okay, Lauren Davis's runs way too long). Recommended. $12.00 Floppies: If I actually pick up some monthly issues, they'll go here. Given my reluctance to put money in Diamond's hands, though, these would likely only be review copies or stuff found in oddball places. And no, I don't have any particular disdain for the monthlies, but they *are* floppy, yes? And like floppy disks they may be a doomed format. Voltron Force Shelter from the Storm FCBD Edition: Viz - Basically the first 27 pages of a pocket-sized GN. It's set in a fairly narrow range of the Voltron Force cartoon, after the Haggarium-infection telepathy started but before any of the cadets graduated to lion piloting. It's also digest-sized, but that's true of a lot of Viz's output, it was probably cheaper just to run it off from their digest printer. The art does feel a little crowded at this size,'s standard Western comics layout and panel-blocking. On the plus side, Chabot's art captures the characters without trying to be a slavish imitation of the animation style, always a danger when you're adapting a CG-heavy show in linework. If you really like the new Voltron Force, you might want to pick up the GN. But since I mainly watched the show because it was preferable to the other stuff in its time slot and was the lead-in to Iron Man Armored Adventures, I won't be getting the full story. Image FCBD 2012: Image - An anthology of short pieces from a bunch of titles. Absolutely none of them inspired me to pick up the books. Yes, I'm something of a tough sell right now, but I do sometimes pick up something. Avengers Earth's Mightiest Heroes #2: Marvel - The lead story, by Yost and Koi Pham, is pretty lampshady. As in, when the way to defeat the Wizard is pointed out, it's pretty much saying, "No, superheroes really don't ever think about the obvious solutions that every reader out there is screaming at the page, do they?" The scripting is fun, though. The second story, by Yost and Bachs, relies on another clever plot device that makes you want to scream at the page...because it's just pretty dumb. As in, the plot device used on the second to last page was shown on the page JUST BEFORE IT to not be that much of an impediment. Now, the limited page count does mean things have to move pretty briskly, but even a single speech bubble indicating it was supposed to be just a momentary distraction would have helped. Mildly recommended. $2.99 Ultimate Spider-Man #1: Marvel - A tie-in to the show, not the long-running Ultimate universe thing. The lead story is credited simply to Man of Action as writer, and it's...not very good. It leads in to the first episode of the show, so we see how Spider-Man gets the cake he's trying to bring home. It tries too hard to mimic the manic style of the cartoon's narration, and it just doesn't translate well to the printed page. Dan Slott writes the second story, involving a Peter Parker LMD (well, "Mandroid"), and it's much better. Worth the price of admission on its own...a good thing, since the rest of the book is kinda a waste of paper. There's also a few Marvel Mash-Ups using Ditko pages, and they very accurately capture the feel of the animated versions: they are truly awful. Recommended for the Slott story, you might want to avoid looking at the rest. $2.99 Ultimate Spider-Man #2: Marvel - Neither writer on this issue was familiar to me, but I decided to give the book a second issue to see if the concept can carry a book in the absence of a Writer I'll Follow. And it's another mixed issue. Eugene Son's "Notes from Underground" worked really well. A few clunkers here and there when he tried too hard, but I'll have to remember to keep an eye out for his name on other books. Jacob Semahn's "Look Ma, No Webs!" is the downside of the issue (well, leaving aside the bottom of the infinitely deep barrel that is Marvel Mash-Ups). Almost all trying-too-hard clunkers, epitomizing what people DON'T like about the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon. Mildly recommended. $2.99 Dave Van Domelen, "Are we there yet?" "In the history of mankind's existence, has the answer to 'are we there yet' ever once been 'YES'?" - Ultimate Spider-Man #2
Back to theMain Rants Page.
Or go back to the 2012 Archive.