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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 More big news! Since last Wednesday, I had a phone interview with, a site interview at, and a job offer from University of Nebraska at Kearney. I accepted today. I'll probably doing the actual moving during the first or second week of August, depending on the arrangements I can make. Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): None 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 7/13/11: 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, Captain America: America's Avenger, Secret Six #35, Godzilla Gangsters & Goliaths #2. Add Avengers Academy #16 (store got none). "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. How To Draw Steampunk: Antarctic Press - Other than the front cover, this is all Rod Espinosa. A few caveats: the sense of history is lacking (Espinosa treats Steampunk purely as a modern movement of the past few decades, ignoring its original Victorian underpinnings), and it cleaves pretty tightly to stereotypes (gears and goggles everywhere). On a technical level, I'd say it's a pretty good intermediate book. It doesn't waste time trying to teach the ultra-basic stuff, and most of the advice is aimed at people who have decent artistic skills already and are simply interested in extending their range to include Steampunk. It's almost entirely a series of archetypes shown from thumbnail through completed computer-toned rendering across several pages...it almost looks more like a RPG supplement than a how to draw in that respect. The written advice gets repetitious in places, but by and large it's good advice. Recommended. $24.99 cover price, but I got it for $14.69 at Amazon. 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. The Transformers #22: IDW - No chaos banner thing, but the B cover (which I got) makes it pretty clear that Megatron: Origins will be tied into the current storyline. And it is. It's practically a requirement that every so often Optimus and Megatron have some sort of one on one philosophical argument that doesn't involve dismemberment, and that's pretty much this issue. The idealistic young Megatron is contrasted with the cruel and bitter (and yet still idealistic in his own way) Megatron, while Prime's ruthless core is thrown into sharp relief as we see flashbacks of some of the things he's done in his attempts to stop Megatron. James Roberts turns in a pretty good debate issue while still giving Milne plenty of chances to draw action sequences. Recommended. $3.99 Rocketeer Adventures #3 (of 4): IDW - Neither the lead story ("A Rocketeer Story" by Ryan Sook) nor the last story ("Junior Rocketeers" by Jonathan Ross and Tommy Lee Edwards) are any great shakes, but the text piece in the middle by Joe Lansdale with illustrations by Bruce Timm is pretty good. Recommended. $3.99 Legion of Super-Heroes #15: DC - Man, Star-Killer gets a lot of cover time. More fight scenes trying to pad out the building tension, but despite the attempts at For All The Marbles sort of stakes it just feels...pointless and small. And I don't think it's just being against the backdrop of the "not a reboot" coming. It just doesn't work for me. Mildly recommended. $2.99 X-Factor #222: Marvel - The "Something horrible involving Guido" subplot gets some time here, but otherwise it's mostly hiding in the church as more beastly types join the siege and Longshot makes it more likely he'll be killed by his teammates than by the beasties. While not feeling as stretched out as LSH, it still felt like it was just biding time until the Big Final Page Reveal. Mildly recommended. $2.99 Herc #5: Marvel - Fear Itself trade dress. This one takes the prize for marking time, though. Some nice creepy atmospherics, and a short expository scene that explains why Zeus isn't interfering, but otherwise it's a lot of running around taking in the hideous sights in order to stretch maybe 8 pages of story out to a full issue because they can't finish up here before Fear Itself finishes. Mildly recommended. $2.99 Awards: "Ze Goggles, Zey Do EVERYZING!" Award to How To Draw Steampunk "Clearly He Knows He's Protected By Merchandising" Award to The Transformers #22 "These Shoes Weren't Made For Sneaking" Award to Rocketeer Adventures #3 (of 4) "Blue Flame, Green Flame, Whatever" Award to Legion of Super-Heroes #15 "Don't Knock The Mutant Snails" Award to X-Factor #222 "Mind The Gap" Award to Herc #5 Dave Van Domelen, "At the risk of forfeiting the air of emotional detachment that I've spent years cultivating, I say we execute the scumbag." - Prowl, The Transformers #22
Flee into the air conditioned July 2011 Rants.