August 11, 2010

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, About ready to see the end of the 100+ F temperatures, thanks. Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): Super Stupor #3 "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. Nothing this week. 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 got the Phoenix Force handbook, but it's not notable enough to review this late. I will say it has a lot of Excalibur/Captain Britain content, though, and isn't purely recent-Xbook-stuff. [Later note: every time I look at the cover, I find another horrible anatomy problem. Seriously, Raney, WTF?] 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 #10: IDW - Over on the AllSpark forums, one of the regulars has been doing single-page distillations of Transformers issues, or even entire miniseries. I think this one would start with three panels of various characters saying, "I have a plan," then the middle third of the page being a big battle spread, then three more panels at the bottom, with two characters (one Autobot, one Decepticon) saying, "Run away!" and then the last panel with Bumblebee saying, "I have a plan." The theme of the issue is "making things up on the fly," but it's hard to avoid thinking that maybe Costa's making things up just ahead of deadline himself. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Adventure Comics #517: DC - More stories from the early days of the Neo-Classical LSH, featuring one of the worst scene transitions I've seen in a while (page 3 to page it a flashback, did they lose a page, what?). This issue is pretty much Imra Angst, and Levitz hammers on it a bit too much, although I did enjoy the subplot of "Physics doesn't work like that, Rokk" in several scenes. The Atom backup retcons in a new threat that's always been in the background of Ray Palmer's life, I guess. It's hard to say what's old and what's new with his continuity when I don't actually care. :) And no, this story doesn't increase my amount of caring about neo-Palmer. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Booster Gold #35: DC - The "lost tale" continues, doing a good job of balancing the light-hearted low-consequences adventures of the JLI days and Booster's newfound maturity. They also draw a fine distinction between being an idiot and acting like one. What's weird is that things like the Darkstars, which I still think of as new in some ways, are being used for nostalgia now.... Recommended. $2.99 Gold Digger v3 #120: Antarctic Press - A bit prone to chunks of exposition, and the "damsels in distress" cover is a touch misleading, but overall a good story about the different ways people can deal with old pain and rage. Not everyone does it very well, but enough do well enough, and at least some hate is turned it dislike. Not just quantitatively different, but qualitatively as well. The climactic scene is worth reading just to see the reason behind the phrase, "Load-bearing villain". Recommended. $2.99 Super Stupor #3: - Available online or at conventions that Randy attends, rather than through Diamond. So, you know, I got it in a timely manner. :) Like the previous two issues, this is a smaller than normal 6"x9" size. And like the first two, it has a little bit of reprinted online material that serves as the nucleus for all-new material. Most paper comics produced by webcomickers are mainly reprints with maybe some bonus material, but Super Stupor reverse that ratio. And while the online strip is mostly dark humor gags, Randy Milholland's building up a rather serious world with silly trappings here (much like the Superguy universe he used to write in). This issue, with an EC-homage cover, involves the mystery of who's trying to kill off all the old EC-era storyteller characters, including the Scaretaker (who is on the cover). Along the way, a lot of setting background gets worked in, mostly seamlessly (and the one obvious exposition chunk is done in the style of the Scaretaker's old stories, so it fits the theme). Much of the issue is silly or snarky or a little bit NSFW (language and maybe some blood)...but there's a deep undercurrent of human tragedy and a very bittersweet ending. Strongly recommended. $3.95 (plus shipping). 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 8/11/10: Invincible #72, Prince of Power #2-3, Brody's Ghost vol 1 (which my store was charged for, but not shipped), Tom Strong and the Robots of Doom #3, Transformers Ironhide #4, Gorilla Man #2, Hawkeye and Mockingbird #3. Add Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #5 (gosh, surprise surprise) and Welcome to Tranquility One Foot In The Grave #2. I'm seriously considering paring my pull list down and ditching titles that Diamond doesn't want to bother selling me, shifting to buying direct from the publisher where it's a book I really like. Awards: "I Have A Cunning Plan" Award to The Transformers #10 "Newton's Third Law Is A B****" Award to Adventure Comics #517 "Okay, I Suppose That Sorta Counts As A Death Trap" Award to Booster Gold #35 "Certain Load-Bearing Villains Can Be Located With A Stud Finder, At Least The Kind Gina Builds" Award to Gold Digger v3 #120 "Many Kinds Of Moron" Award to Super Stupor #3 Dave Van Domelen, "How are your children, Eudora?" "Well. How are your clones, Heinrich?" "Failures. I try and try, but they never do as I hope." "Heinrich, you have to let children be who they are. You can't live through them, you know." "But that's the whole point of having clones!" - Super Stupor #3
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