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Dave's Unspoilt Capsules and AwardsThe 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 22 years ago today, I got my driver's license. On the second try. Well, this is the week that August orders are due, and I still don't have a job for the Fall. Even if I do get a job, I don't know how much of August I'll be in Kansas, so I'm reluctant to order a full slate. So what I've done is put in an order for the five books I get that are ending in August (four DC books, and the Rocketeer Adventures mini), so at least I get closure on those even if I have to arrange to have them mailed to me. Everything else can wait until I know more about my situation. Even best case there'll be a few weeks when I won't be buying or reviewing comics, after all. Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): Eldritch #1 (it's not Strongly Recommended, but it's worth checking out for other reasons). 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 6/15/11: 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. "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. Green Lantern Emerald Knights: DC Universe/WB - While Nathan Fillion returns as the voice of Hal Jordan, and the animation design is about the same as in First Flight, this isn't a sequel to that movie. If nothing else, it has Sinestro as a good guy while Hal is a veteran. I suppose it's possible it's meant to take place in the movie setting, but it's best to just think of it as its own set of side stories, like Gotham Knight was. The framing sequence has the Corps gearing up to deal with the return of Krona, telling new recruit Arisia stories of the Corps to help her get up to speed (her ring chooses her in the wake of a GL's death in the opening, so she's exceedingly raw). Most of these stories are adaptations of various stories from the comics, although the first one Hal relates appears to be new for the collection. A decent anthology, even if the climax of the Krona story is kinda "yeah, right". Recommended. 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. Nothing this week. 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. Eldritch #1: Antedilvian Blasphemies - This is a PDF-download comic written by Aaron Alexovich of Serenity Rose, and drawn by Drew Rausch. A sort of middle ground between a webcomic (like Serenity Rose vol 2) and a print comic, it's 99 cents per issue for a PDF, a reasonable price for direct distribution and only possible because, well, they don't exactly have an ongoing contract with Diamond to violate. "We begin, as all good stories do, with Charles Darwin traveling through time in a bathysphere." Rausch has his own style, but I'm guessing that Alexovich did a lot of the character design work, and once in a while his style shows through (especially when characters get particularly psycho). The general tone is similar to Serenity Rose, in the sense of there being magic, it being rather dangerous, and people trying to pretend everything's just fine. But where Serenity Rose was more along the lines of traditional European Gothic overtones (witches and fairies and trolls and goblins), this is very much Lovecraftian in flavor. It also dances at the edge of sanity, both for the characters and the narrative style (i.e. it's a bit gonzo in places, even allowing for characters dabbling in Things Man Was Not Meant To Know), but it's a fun read. Oh, and I tried transferring it to my iPod, iBooks has no problems with the PDF and the lettering is just large enough I could read it in portrait view without zooming. Recommended. 99 cents from heartshapedskull.com. (Note, there does seem to be a download limit of three copies, which I hit when my system didn't seem to be properly downloading and I kept hitting reload, so be careful.) Godzilla Gangsters & Goliaths #1 (of 5): IDW - I've already given up on the main Godzilla comic, but I'm willing to give this one a shot. It's set in the modern day of the "classic" Godzilla setting (or a reasonable facsimile), with a police officer ending up on Monster Island after a crimelord tries to have him killed and dumped in the ocean. But by the end of the issue, it's back to civilization, with monsters undoubtedly on everyone's heels as tends to happen in these stories. Decent enough, although I'm not ordering it for August, so even if it doesn't go sour next issue I might miss #3-5. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Legion of Super-Heroes #14: DC - So, will the Blue Flame plot wrap up before the relaunches? Probably. #15 will see names put to all the vague threats and secret backgrounds, #16 will be the big battle. Levitz is being maddeningly coy about the secrets this issue, though. Characters have no reason NOT to spill the beans at this stage, and it feels terribly artificial in a "string the readers along" way. Very mildly recommended. $2.99 X-Factor #221: Marvel - Mainly fighting and fleeing and the occasional cryptic reference that indicates we're picking up on a plot from a few months ago. Mildly recommended. $2.99 (Side note: amusingly, the backs of Marvel books this week are Got Milk? ads featuring Green Lantern.) Captain America First Vengeance #3 (of 4): Marvel - A little more of the 1944 fight scene, and this time the flashbacks are to Howard Stark and more of Abraham Erskine. Howard Stark is a fun character to write, and to read. Recommended. $2.99 Alpha Flight #1 (of 8): Marvel - Fear Itself trade dress. Nice and generic blah logo, so none of the Fear Itself tie-ins stand out as different from each other on the shelf. Really smart marketing move, Marvel. Also, this is really #2 of 9, with the #0.1 being a proper start. This issue just dumps everyone into a Fear Itself major disaster fighting a hammer-wielder (apparently the plot device of Fear Itself is a bunch of magic hammers that take over and amp up a bunch of villains, whee), although that's not actually very important. The opening fight could just as easily have involved a natural disaster, or a non-amped-up threat, since it's just a convenient pretext to let the Sinister Forces implied in #0.1 make their move. Unfortunately...it's just not that interesting. Pak and Van Lente get some good dialogue in there, but the plot just doesn't interest me in the least. Nor does it help that there's something wooden and ugly about the artwork, like a really bad mismatch between penciler Eaglesham and finisher Hennessy. Very mildly recommended. $3.99 Avengers Academy #15: Marvel - Also in blah Fear Itself trade dress. And here we have trial by fire, a disaster big enough that there's no excuse to keep the kids out of it. Kinda like how the Avengers: Initiative book used World War Hulk. The angst levels spike pretty hard for Pym and Tigra, but at least we get something of an explanation of the hammer plot device thing. The story hammers too stridently on its themes, though, and it gets kinda stale. Mildly recommended. $2.99 Invincible #80: Image - Super Dinosaur crossover? Well, no...Kirkland just likes him some dinomen, and we've seen this one before. More catching up for Invincible (including a dig at DC Comics), lots of relationship stuff, and a rather good scene with a n00b supervillain. Then the dino guy makes things explode, so there's your cover image. Recommended. $2.99 Gold Digger v3 #129: Antarctic Press - With Fauntleroy's fate revealed, it's a good time to pick up on Platinus and her fellow inmates in the new supermagicjailthing. Rather info-dumpy in places, although it does help flesh out some of the characters (pulchritude pun not intended, but relevant anyway). Recommended. $3.99 Awards: "Um, Suns Are Made Of Matter Too" Award to Green Lantern: Emerald Knights "I Want A Fist Of Science Too!" Award to Eldritch #1 "Pride Goeth Before A Stomping" Award to Godzilla Gangsters & Goliaths #1 (of 5) "CALL HIM JOBBED!" Award to Legion of Super-Heroes #14 "Isn't She Also The Panther God?" Award to X-Factor #221 "Precisely The Right Amount Of Fun" Award to Captain America First Vengeance #3 (of 4) "Marrrrrina" Award to Alpha Flight #1 (of 8) "Giant Nazi Mecha, I Guess That Means It's Thursday" Award to Avengers Academy #15 "Haven't The Vegas Clue" Award to Invincible #80 "Someone Bug Report That Health Bar" Award to Gold Digger v3 #129 Dave Van Domelen, "Look, I'm glad you're getting something out of those 'ALIEN PRIDE' message boards, but we ARE the official CANADIAN super hero team. We have a certain reputation for POLITENESS to maintain." "(whispered) Die, human scum." "What?" "Nothing." - Vindicator and Marrina, Alpha Flight #1
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