June 8, 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 Do evil female Force-sensitives go to Sith College in New England? Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): Love and Capes Ever After #5, Empowered Special #2 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 6/8/11: Shadowland Power Man #4, Transformers Timelines G2 Redux, Gold Digger #127, Transformers Dark of the Moon Rising Storm #3-4, X-Factor #218, Transformers Foundation #3, Time Lincoln Jack to the Future, Science Dog Special #2. Note, I decided to not get the Transformers Dark of the Moon comic adaptation. "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. X-Men: First Class: Marvel/Lionsgate - A period piece, providing a background for the 1990s X-Men movies set a generation earlier in 1963 (when the original X-Men comic started). While some of the elements of this movie raise awkward questions for the later trilogy (i.e. to pick something that doesn't really count as a spoiler if you've seen any ads: if Beast and Mystique knew each other in 1963, why no mention of it in the 1990s movies?), there's not really any outright contradictions (although I hear tell that X3 and Wolverine Origins aren't considered "officially" in the same continuity as First Class). Even the apparent contradiction with the "recruiting Jean Grey" scene in X3 can be explained by the tendency of Magneto to bounce back and forth between fighting and helping Charles, as he does in the comics. The storytelling does get a bit sloppy at times (some characters never have their names mentioned prior to the credits, for instance), and they hit the cheesecake rather hard (pretty much every female character other than Magneto's mother is in her underwear at some point). Like a prequel should, it answers a lot of questions and hints at a few more answers. It wraps up a lot of fairly messy and drawn out comics backstory into a tighter package (Beast gets his blue fur here, rather than years into his career, Xavier is paralyzed in this movie rather than off on an unrelated solo adventure, and so forth), but also causes some problems and raises new questions. Probably the biggest one is the question of the Summers "brothers," since Havok is about 30 years older than Cyclops now. Of course, unless they do another period piece sequel set in (for instance) 1974, it's not likely to be a real problem. :) Anyway, good action movie, plenty of cheesecake and a little beefcake, and several scenes that will keep yaoi fanfic writers going for another decade. Oh, and Wolverine gets one of the best lines in the movie, sadly it's one that will have to be censored for TV release. Recommended. Green Lantern: For Green Lanterns Only: Price Stern Sloan/DC - This is a young readers book from Penguin, rated at "level 3" and most likely to be in the kiddie book sections of places like Target or (where I found it) a grocery store. It's essentially a terse Who's Who for the Green Lantern movie, with file entries on 29 Green Lanterns, four Guardians, and a few places/things. While Hal, Kilowog and a few others get two-page entries, that just means bigger art rather than more information. And I am rather amused that the F-Sharp Bell is in the movie...turns out he even has a toy (I'm enough of a geek to know about the Bell, not enough to have recognized him by his real name, which is what's on the packaging of the toys). A good overview, and all but one character have art shown from both front and side, making it a good art reference as well (Hannu is the lone exception, there seems to be room so maybe the piece was finished too late). Recommended. $3.99 Gold Digger GDROM 2.5: Antarctic Press - A pretty no-frills release. Issues #101-125 in electronic format. A folder for each issue, JPGs of each page and a single PDF of the issue in each folder. No interface program, but frankly none is needed. About one gig of data on a DVDROM, and it works out to a little over fifty cents an issue. Pretty good deal, that. Recommended. $12.95 US/Cn Got the Green Lantern Emerald Knights DVD, haven't watched yet. 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. Bone Quest for the Spark Book One: Scholatic - I stopped checking the Cartoon Books listings carefully once I gave up on RASL, so I have no idea if Diamond is even carrying these (Diamond has no online search function and I am NOT wading through their crappy webpage to check manually) or if Jeff Smith has taken Bone outside the hegemony of Diamond. I stumbled across this YA novel at Barnes & Noble, and have since found that Scholastic put out several other new books in addition to releasing colored versions of the original comics. So expect a few more reviews once my next Amazon order comes in. :) Anyway, this is written by Tom Sniegoski, who wrote a few of the tail-end Bone side story comics. Jeff Smith provides illustrations, a mix of full page and spot illos (at least one of which is in error, showing characters who are not in that scene, oops). It's a bog-standard "gather the unlikely heroes to find the cosmic plot device and save the world" opening chapter, the sort of thing you really can only get away with when aiming your work at kids who are too young to have seen it a thousand times already. Set after the main Bone comic, with a new set of Boneville residents setting out for the Valley and running into trouble caused by a former follower of the Locusts. Gran'ma Ben is in the intro and outro, but doesn't interact with the rest of the characters, most of whom are new if filling old roles. The Stupid Rat Creatures are the most prominent members of the original cast to show up in the main story. The entire cast doesn't finish assembling until the final chapters, so there's not a lot of interplay yet, although Sniegoski has the Stupid Rat Creature schtick down cold. It's too soon to tell if Sniegoski's up to the task of an Epic Tale, all I've read from him before has been more personal stories or "epic but goofy". But it's a decent enough start, and you don't have to put up with Diamond in order to get it. Recommended. $10.99/$12.99Cn (218 pages in large type) 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. Booster Gold #45: DC - Okay, I now know that while the rest of the regular books aren't being interrupted for Flashpoint, they're all being rebooted at the end of it, so...not really an improvement. Fortunately, there's not a lot of DC books on my pull anymore, so if it's a disaster I'm not losing much. If you ignore the whole brouhaha and assume that Booster's mysteries will be solved in the pages of his own book in the next couple of months, this is a decent crosstime mystery in the making. My main concern is that the final pre-reboot issue will end, "To be continued in Flashpoint #N!" Provisionally recommended, because it does seem like Jurgens is trying to make the book comprehenible on its own, but the hammer is descending.... $2.99 Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #15: Marvel - Featuring Captain America, another clearly movie-driven move. This doesn't feel like it's part of the pseudo-Avengers continuity Tobin's been writing in MASH, rather it's set in the MA Spider-Man continuity in which Peter Parker is still in school and is dating a mutant known as Chat. In this issue, Captain America teams up with Chat to fight a metaphor for his own experiences as a man out of time. I did check to see if this was a reprint from a MA Spider-Man book, but there's no indication of that. Recommended. $2.99 Love and Capes Ever After #5: IDW - Oh, IDW, when will you be consistent about labeling miniseries as such ON THE COMIC ITSELF? Yes, this is #5 of a five issue miniseries, not an ongoing as I'd thought. Anyway, you can't really have an "ever after" without confronting two major points: death and legacy. And that's what this issue does, on several levels. Zahler manages to write a touching story of loss and moving on while also injecting humor about genre conventions, switching back and forth between the aftermath of a character's death and flashbacks to Crusader's time with that character. Strongly recommended. $3.99 Empowered Special #2 "Ten Questions for the Maidman": Dark Horse - A rather oddball format, 6.5" wide and 9" tall pages with B&W art by Adam Warren interspersed with full color art by Emily Warren (no relation). In the B&W pages, Empowered leverages her acquaintance with the Goddamn Maidman while unfavorably comparing herself to him (and trying to convince Thugboy to dress up in a maid outfit), while the color pages have Maidman on a supercape chat show with Blitzcraig, a "Seacrest-in-a-cape". Much trauma ensues, in both threads, although a lot of it is psychological. And of course Emp ends up in over her head, as per usual. Strongly recommended. $3.50 Awards: "Hitting The Cheesecake A Little Hard, Eh Yuri?" Award to X-Men First Class "Awww, No Ch'p?" Award to Green Lantern For Green Lanterns Only "It May Not Be Day And Date, But Who Cares?" Award to Gold Digger GDROM 2.5 "Wonder If Turnips Will Work Instead Of Potatoes?" Award to Bone Quest for the Spark Book One "Might Start Wishing He'd Sat On That Nuke" Award to Booster Gold #45 "Impractical Even On The Usual Mad Science Scale" Award to Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #15 "Only Some Truly Live" Award to Love and Capes Ever After #5 (of 5) "The Earth-Emp Version Of Tip Wilkins" Award to Empowered Special #2 Dave Van Domelen, "I'll have you KNOW, sir...a Maidman in BICYCLE SHORTS would be NO MAIDMAN AT ALL. HMMF." - Empowered
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