July 29, 2009

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. Gave my final exam today, grading tomorrow. An archive can be found on my homepage, http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/Rants Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): 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. Marvel Universe Moon Knight: Hasbro - Figure 027 in the 3.75" Marvel Universe line, the packaging proclaims on the front the existence of a free exclusive Nick Fury figure offer, but on the side it reveals that it's "free" with a subscription to Marvel's latest doomed attempt at digital comics delivery (well, from what I've heard about it, it seems pretty doomed). The figure is up to the normal MU standards in articulation, and is one of the better executions of the color scheme I've seen. The head is simply molded as a cowl, with the cape being a rubbery plastic separate piece. The belt is molded separately but seems to be glued onto the waist. There's two accessories, a softish silvery-white plastic staff and a single crescent dart made of the same material. There's no place to stow the dart, and he holds it poorly in the one hand that's in a gripping pose. The crescent dart seems to exist purely to help ensure that loose figures on the secondary market are never complete. :) (I'm just going to stick it in the SHIELD Files envelope.) The figure looks pretty good other than a bit of a gap between the cape and the cowl, but I wish they hadn't bothered with the crescent dart and instead put the bo-stick mode of the staff as a second accessory. Two gripping hands would have been nice too. Still, recommended. $8 price point, actual shelf prices vary by store. Green Lantern First Flight: Warner Premiere - Billed as the first animated Green Lantern movie, although New Frontier was very much a GL story. :) I got the Best Buy exclusive with DCUniverse Green Lantern action figure, and since it's on sale for $19.99 the first week there's really no reason to get any other version. Blu-Ray version is a bit more expensive, of course. The action figure is on the same scale as the other new DCU 3.75" figures, but is significantly better than those, adding loads of articulation. There's forearm swivels, plus the elbows, knees and ankles are combination swivel/hinge joints. The feet, shoulder and ankle joints are green plastic, the head is fleshtone plastic, everything else is black plastic (rigid on the torso and rubbery on the hands). The paint job is pretty good, and the printed GL symbol on the chest is almost exactly centered (that's something you can easily check in package if it bothers you, though). The only sloppy paint is around the top of the neck, mostly hidden by the head. The right hand is clearly molded to be Hal's in terms of its pose, rather than being a generic fist, but the ring itself is only painted on, not molded (the mask is molded, at least). If this is the quality level of the next wave of DC Universe figures, it might be worth picking some up at non-clearance prices. Oh, and there's a movie in there too. :) Plus a bunch of the usual sort of special features on the second disk. The trailers on the first disk are just for Wonder Woman and Smallville, yawn. Most of the special features on the main disc are recycled from previous DC animated movies, like the making of New Frontier, but there's a preview of the upcoming Superman/Batman: Public Enemies (which actually decreased my interest in that project, since I don't care for the President Luthor plot as executed and rather dislike Ed McGuinness's art). The main story is essentially Emerald Dawn II with a heavy dose of Training Day (with Sinestro as the corrupt veteran cop). It opens with Abin Sur giving the ring to Hal, but spends almost no time on Hal's life on Earth. This is probably for the best, as trying to shoehorn Emerald Dawn I into things would cramp the main plot. While not without holes, the plot holds together well enough to move things between the set pieces, which look pretty good. While the actual designs have a style similar to the weirder end of JLU (and Hal's animation model face doesn't really match the more generic included toy), there's a STRONG anime influence in the visual storytelling. Disturbingly, Hal gets a Magical Girl transformation sequence when he puts the ring on for the first time. As for the bonus features disk, it has the usual talking head interview features and historical backgrounds that don't necessarily apply to the new take on the character, but it also includes the Green Lantern episode of Duck Dodgers, in which a misup at the laundromat gives Duck Dodgers a power ring. :) Worth going for the two-disk edition just for that (assuming you aren't already buying Blu-Rays). All in all, while it's not Great Cinema, it's pretty good and the action figure pack is definitely worth $20. Recommended. I think the price will go up to $25 after the release week. 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. None. The missing list just grows, it does not shrink. 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. Eureka Dormant Gene #4 (of 4): Boom! Studios - Fairly by-the-numbers wrap-up. really. No surprises, and not a whole lot in the way of sparkling dialogue. Of course, most of the snappy patter characters are unconscious or off-screen for most of the issue. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Justice League of America #35: DC - With McDuffie given the boot, Len Wein is doing a fill-in arc. The cover teases a Batman return, but this arc is pretty much leftovers now that the big guns are disallowed and Cry for Justice ate most of the second string. There's several references to Detroit, as might be expected...in fact, the team has a fair amount of similarity to the Detroit lineup. It's interesting enough that I'm willing to stick around for this arc, although Derenick's art is rather fugly. Mildly recommended. $2.99 Justice Society of America #29: DC - Willingham and Sturges take over writing, so things are likely to get weird. And bloody. As a friend pointed out the other week, when given a title with an overly large cast, Willingham does have a bit of a reputation for simply killing people off until the roster is manageable, especially if he also wants to bring in new characters. The plot this issue certainly lends credence to those fears (if not deaths, then putting 'em on the disabled list). Merino's art is a bit uneven, but acceptable. Mildly recommended. $2.99 Dark Reign Young Avengers #3 (of 5): Marvel - The original Young Avengers evaluate the Dark Young Avengers, with decidedly mixed results. Pretty much every "Young Master" is playing some sort of game, with varying levels of caring if anyone buys it...to the point that at least two of them could be playing their own teammates rather than the Young Avengers. Recommended. $2.99 Ignition City #4 (of 5): Avatar - There's open mysteries, where the reader knows the answer and watches the characters figure it out, and there's closed mysteries, where neither readers nor characters know, but the reader usually has a shot at solving it before the Big Reveal. This is neither of those. There's probably a term for "the characters know the solution by the midpoint but the reader is kept in the dark and there's no real way to figure it out before the reveal" other than "annoying tease", but I don't know it. Okay, there's some cool stuff with the Zarkov-pastiche at the start, but then the tease kicks in, meh. Mildly recommended. $3.99 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 7/29/09: 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 and #4, Empowered v5, New Mutants #3, Encyclopedia Mythologica, Farscape Gone & Back #1. Add Beanworld v2, Thor #602. Ordering Beanworld and Gurren Lagann online (v2 of that has since come out apparently, and not even been listed by Diamond). Awards: "Fear My Moon Pool Noodle!" Award to Marvel Universe Moon Knight "Okay, Arisia Looks Anime" Award to Green Lantern: First Flight "Water Would Have Done The Trick Too" Award to Eureka Dormant Gene #4 (of 4) "Thank Goodness That Was His Arm" Award to Justice League of America #35 "His Power Is To Tempt Fate, A LOT" Award to Justice Society of America #29 "There's A Sexy Losers Reference In There Somewhere" Award to Dark Reign Young Avengers #3 (of 5) "I Wonder If The Midwest Death Belt Was Caused By A Crashing Kryptonian Ship?" Award to Ignition City #4 (of 5) Dave Van Domelen, "...your house smells weird." "It smells of SCIENCE!" - Mary Raven, Dr. Vukovic, Ignition City #4 (of 5)
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