July 8, 2009

Oooh, 070809!

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.
Semi-broken AC = $100 electrical bill, ow.  An archive can be found on my 
             homepage, http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/Rants 

     Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): Gold Digger v3

"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.

     Superhero Squad Iron Man and Deathlok: Hasbro - This is not so much a
review as an alert to collectors of odd stuff.  The "little kid versions of
Marvel characters" line occasionally spits up a toy that ranges from vaguely
disturbing to really disturbing, and the recent wave has a doozy.  Iron Man
is the Iron Man 2020 version, with gear shoulderpads and throwing stars at
the waist.  Arno Stark has never been so adorable!  But he's beaten out by
baby-faced Deathlok, with lumpy shaved head, big guns and little American
flag badge.  This wave also includes Iron Fist (teamed with black costume
Spider-Man) if you're a Danny Rand fan.  $6.99 at Target, Walmart's not as
likely to carry the line.

Late Books:
     These are comics that were not listed as shipping during the week they
were reviewed.  Sometimes someone recommends a book to me that's already out,
and I grab it over the weekend.  Sometimes it's a trade paperback I ordered
online rather than trusting Diamond.  Sometimes the store screwed up or I was
inobservant and I missed something I meant to get.  USUALLY, though, it's
because Diamond didn't ship what it was supposed to ship and I had to
scrounge around or wait on a reorder.

     Dark Reign: Mr. Negative #1 (of 3): Marvel - My store forgot to add this
to my pull, and I forgot I'd wanted it on my pull, so I didn't get it the
week it came out.  This series looks at how new Spider-Man villain
Mr. Negative is impacted by Gary "the Hood" Stu taking over all crime
everywhere, and features a lot of D-lister villains who will probably get
killed off by the end of the mini.  In fact, Van Lente gives some extra depth
to one of them before caulking him (of course, I'm not sure this is even the
first guy to wear that suit...a lot of D-listers are costumes with a parade
of losers inside them).  I'm cautiously optimistic about this series.
Recommended.  $3.99
     Transformers Spotlight #24 (Metroplex): IDW - Metroplex's name may be on
the cover, but it's really Spotlight: Throttlebots, with Metroplex as more of
a plot device at the end.  It hints at some development for him, but it's
solidly in the "foreshadowing" realm rather than the "current story"
category.  As a Throttlebots spotlight, though, it does a decent enough job,
and establishes that Goldbug in the IDW continuity is a different character
than Bumblebee.  It's set about the time that things are hitting the fan over
in All Hail Megatron, and provides a welcome bit of proof that the Decepticon
victory isn't quite as plot-device-ily universal and instantaneous as it
seemed over in AHM.  Visually, Matere uses a rather annoying layout that is
rarely seen...and for good reason.  Specifically, most of the pages have the
standard-looking panel layout, but the top row continues across both pages
before picking up on the second row.  Most of the time, there's no good
reason for this other than maybe Matere was trying to save time by working at
70% size (turn a standard page sideways and do two pages on it at once) and
then got carried away with the pseudo-infinite canvas this provided.  On the
other hand, he does break away from this occasionally and to good effect,
such as the Big Reveal for Metroplex.  Nice to see one of IDW's Unstoppable
Boogeymen get a smackdown from Metroplex....  Mildly recommended.  $3.99
     Gold Digger #108: Antarctic Press - A done-in-one issue that could be
considered a crossover with Tifanny & Charlotte, while also catching up on a
recurring nemesis of the pre-gap series and doing some worldbuilding backfill
to link up things that may or may not have been originally intended as
linked, but certainly make sense.  Oh, and more Gurren Lagann references.  :)
But all of this is just icing on what's a very touching story of family and
finding your place in the world.  Strongly recommended.  $2.99
     Gold Digger Peebo Tales #5: Antarctic Press - Two extended stories, the
"Brit's wedding ring as the One Ring" adventure and the origin of PeeCee.
These are, by the way, the last two stories in the PeeboManga v1.0 digest
that came out in B&W a few years ago, but embellished visually with more than
just coloring in the line work.  Recommended.  $3.50

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.

     Green Arrow and Black Canary #22: DC - Back to "and" this issue.  Also,
as part of justifying a boost to $3.99 an issue, DC is introducing backup
stories to a number of books, this one included.  The banner "Second Feature"
with an inset of the star of said feature is at the top of every affected
comic, and this one has Green Arrow as the inset (although the backup is more
a Cupid story).  There's also a preview of the new Doom Patrol comic, which
seems to at least start off with the recent Byrne team.  Anyway, Black
Canary's "origin" story wraps up in the main feature, while Green Arrow and
Cupid's side of the non-flashback story finishes in the backup.  Canary's
recent (as in, since the new writer took over) problems with Ollie are
clarified, being more along the lines of symptoms of what Dinah sees as the
real problem than primary issues on their own.  It still seems like a fairly
abrupt change in character, but at least it's being developed more or less
carefully.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99
     REBELS #6: DC - Starro stomps more star empires, people react, and Vril
finally starts to turn the tables.  It's a bit plot-devicey, but Vril Dox II
is the sort of guy who's SUPPOSED TO pull complex contingency plans out of
his nether regions, seeing as he's both scarily smart and just this side of
clinically paranoid.  His people skills still need a lot of work, though,
given that just about everyone on his team wants him dead.  Recommended.
     Booster Gold #22: DC - Second Feature Blue Beetle.  Okay, the second
feature started last issue for this title.  :)  And since it's fairly short,
Sturges doesn't string along the obvious foreshadowing from part 1, although
things do get a bit weirder than I'd expected.  In the main story, most of
the action takes place in the early days of the Wolfman/Perez Teen Titans,
taking advantage of a plot device in those issues to allow our new mysterious
motivating villain to mess with time.  Recommended.  $3.99
     Ms. Marvel #41: Marvel - Dark Reign banner.  Deadpool and Spider-Man
take up a fair amount of the pagecount here, but Reed definitely has a good
ear for writing them, so I don't mind.  Arino's art isn't quite right for the
book, though...he draws Sofen too round-faced and while I don't mind a
generally zaftig turn of art on superhuman females, it's not really the right
look for either Ms. Marvel (the energy-body women who were obviously Carol to
any reader look more like Monica Rambeau shaved bald and behind on her
workout schedule than Carol Danvers, for instance).  Recommended.  $2.99

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 7/8/09: Official Handbook of the Gold Digger Universe
#22, Transformers Maximum Dinobots #3, Ninja High School #169-170, Justice
Machine vol 1 TPB, Gold Digger Tech Manual #3, Farscape Strange Detractors
#2, Gold Digger v3 #105, Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers #1, Gurren Lagann v1,
Incredibles #2, Empowered v5.  Add Amazing Spider-Man Annual #36


"Most Adorable Techno-Zombie Ever" Award to Super-Hero Squad Deathlok

"Now We Just Need SHS Machine Man" Award to Super-Hero Squad Iron Man 2020

"Unhappy Ending" Award to Dark Reign: Mr. Negative #1 (of 3)

"STOMP STOMP STOMP GRIND GRIND" Award to Transformers Spotlight #24

"Problem, We Have A Houston" Award to Gold Digger v3 #108

"Ring Wrath" Award to Gold Digger Peebo Tales #5

"Most People Just Call It A Brain-Removal Hook" Award to Green Arrow and
     Black Canary #22

"No, Making AIs That Obsessively Love You Would NEVER Backfire!" Award to
     REBELS #6

"The Ravagers Of Time" Award to Booster Gold #22

"His Super-Power Is Deliberate Irony" Award to Ms. Marvel #41

     Dave Van Domelen, "As long as you stay inside the white tape you're
perfectly safe from any and all ANCIENT DEATH RELICS!" - Gina Diggers, who
could probably write a full-sized book of nothing but her own Famous Last
Words, Gold Digger v3 #108.
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