June 22, 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 Local Theater sign says "Super VIII" is showing. The comic shipment arrived late this week, but since I only had one new book coming in (Thunderbolts) I decided it wasn't worth making a special trip back out to get it today, I'll get it later. So this week is all "stuff I got online or saw in the theater" reviews! Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): Bone Tall Tales TPB 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 6/22/11: 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. Also, nothing arrived this week in time for the review. "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: DC Universe/WB - I enjoyed this movie, although I wouldn't necessarily say it was GOOD, per se. But, of potential interest to those scared off by the critical panning...it's paced very much like a Silver Age comic. Now, that can be a bad thing, as there are good reasons why comics aren't paced like that anymore. But it does mean the movie doesn't linger over-long on any one scene, and even the bad scenes are done before you get sick of them. And the okay-to-good scenes never overstay their welcome. It can be a little jarring, especially when the movie bounces back and forth between Earth and Oa as if it were a stop on the Orange Line, but it gets the job done. My only real complaint, aside from some occasionally iffy acting, is that they followed the superhero movie cliche of killing off villains rather than risk not being able to get the actor to come back for the sequel. The effects are better than I'd expected (I was really dreading the uniforms, but they came out okay), and mechanically the story made sure to hit all its marks. It wasn't great storytelling, but it was competent, and that's about all I really require from an eye candy movie like this. It would be nice if a major licensed superhero movie could get past the "first movie must be an origin story" trap, though...the non-sequels are all either "how hero got powers," "how powerful person became a hero," or "how the team got together" stories unless it's someone you've never heard of before, ironically. Despite its flaws, though, it's worth catching on the big screen. 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. I made several Amazon orders over the past few weeks, and most of them arrived in the past few days. Just as well, given that almost no new comics came in. Bone Tall Tales: Scholastic - I wasn't sure from the description if this was a collection of Stupid Stupid Rat-Tails (which is, in fact, what it is) or a new set of stories in the same vein, but it made the difference between free shipping and not on its order, so it was nearly free. This is one of Scholastic's reissues of the Bone books, with new coloring and made available through real book stores rather than being tied to Diamond. And while most of it is reprinted material, there's a new framing sequence (establishing that the other tales are being told by Smiley Bone to a group of kids), a new story set during the Bone Cousins' time in the Valley, and a few new short Big Johnson Bone stories (the reprints all together make up "Tall Tale #4" and the bulk of the book). The new material may not be quite as good as the original miniseries, but it DOES have stiff competition (every issue of the Stupid Stupid Rat Tails series got a Strongly Recommended from me back in the day). Strongly recommended. $10.99 cover price, $6.24 Amazon price. Bone Handbook: Scholastic - A little of everything. Characters, history, story summaries, interviews, discussion of how the reissues were colored, a new short story, even a papercraft Stupid Rat Creature. Oh, and a recipe for quiche, but not involving any disgusting rotting dead things like the Rat Creatures prefer. One thing that reading the summaries throws into sharp relief is just how much of Bone centers on the idea of Secrets Revealed. When you lay everything out chronologically, a LOT of the big plot points involve events that happen before the events of Bone #1. Recommended. $9.99 (same price at Amazon) Delirium's Party: DC/Vertigo - The (rather) high concept of this book is that Delirium of the Endless wants to see her sister Despair smile, so throws her a party with cake and presents and all that stuff. It revisits the "Little Endless" that Jill Thompson created for the Little Endless Storybook a while back, and like that is painted in watercolors (there's a making-of featurette at the end). I have only very limited knowledge of Gaiman's Endless, but given that this is written as a child's storybook, knowledge is not required. Recommended. $14.99, $10.19 Amazon price. The Transformers Vault: Abrams - This is a coffee table book covering 25 years of Transformers, including the comics, so it's relevant here. :) Like most such books, it's a mile wide and an inch deep...if you've been in the fandom for a while, don't expect to see anything here you didn't already know about. But it's slickly produced, and has lots of little interactive things, reproductions of animation cels or movie one-sheets or old style techspec cards with red plastic decoder. There's a little more Pat Lee in it for my liking, although I understand that the Dreamwave art is probably cheap to use for officially licensed stuff due to the whole bankrupcy thing. A few of the pull-out goodies are hard to put back into their sleeves, although that might have been a result of the humidity here this week. Now, getting back to the coffee table book thing...you need to keep in mind that with the exception of a few types of coffee table book (like art prints), this is not the sort of thing that the buyer is meant to read. Rather, it is a display piece, something to show off one's interests by leaving it prominently in view somewhere (like, say, a coffee table). The idea is that if anyone reads it, it's your guests, and it's aimed at giving them an overview of your interests. If you're a Transformers fan, you likely won't learn much from this, and you may even spot an error or two. But it fulfills the role of coffee table book admirably. Recommended. $35 cover price, $20.58 Amazon price. 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. Nothing! As of 5 PM, the horribly disorganized and late Diamond shipment hadn't been sorted enough to sell, so the one book I was expecting (Thunderbolts) can wait until next week. Awards: "No The Other Big Yellow Plot Device" Award to Green Lantern (movie) "Love And Fart Jokes" Award to Bone Tall Tales TPB "Aww, Go Fly A Kite!" Award to the Bone Handbook "Only An Immortal Could Survive Delirium's Cooking" Award to Delirium's Party "Because Geeks Have Money Too" Award to The Transformers Vault Dave Van Domelen, "Yeah, sorry. I told you Rat Creatures aren't very good at telling stories." - Bartleby the Rat Creature, Bone Tall Tales
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