August 25, 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, Traffic was dense today, by which I mean extremely stupid. Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): None, not like there was a lot in my pull box to begin with, though. "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. The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: Baen Books - Okay, not really comics related, save by a few tenuous links (one story is by long-time Legion fan Tony Pi, another by Rob Rogers, the author of the superhero novel Devil's Peak). But I've been reading this on and off over the past several weeks on my PDA, and almost every piece is very good. Most of the stories have some odd "improbable" twist to them (a few Lovecraft-meets-Doyle pieces, a quantum many worlds story, a crossover with Doyle's Lost World, etc) but they tend to stick to the rational. Despite Doyle's own belief in the fantastic, Holmes was a great debunker (i.e. the Hound of the Baskervilles), and that trend tends to continue here, albeit sometimes with a science fictional or horror bent (one story has real aliens, another has a hoax of aliens, for instance). Several stories are available for free on the Baen Free Library (, and the full ebook is only $4.00 with no DRM and available in a multitude of formats because Baen is cool. Recommended. Atomic Robo: Last Stop Teaser - Okay, it's just a teaser, see here: Not really enough to say much about even the animation much less the story, but it looks like it involves either hand-drawn animation or pretty good CG faking of same. Just go watch it, okay? 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. Nope. Why should Diamond fix their mistakes and reship in a timely manner? That'd be too much like being a BUSINESS. 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. X-Factor #208: Marvel - Diamond didn't ship this to my store, I had to get it at Hastings. It's another "cycle through the cast so everyone gets at least a few pages of business" issue, lots of plots advancing a bit here and there, while the main plots of the issue mainly confirm what was fairly obvious at the end of #207. Fairly good superheroic soap opera overall, though, exploiting the sorts of things that even the most bizarre regular soaps can't do. Recommended. $2.99 Legion of Super-Heroes #4: DC - "The Great Darkness Returns!" cries the banner on top of the cover. This...worries me. Fortunately, Levitz didn't (yet) try to go back to that well again, this is more of a loose ends thing, although it may tie into the overall "Doom of Titan" arc in some more definite way later. I'm liking how Levitz is taking the fairly one-note Earth Man that Johns left him and turning him into...well, still a nativist jerkwad, but one who clearly has principles and ethics. He's not in it for the power trip or even necessarily out of hatred or fear. A certain amount of willful ignorance, definitely. "Ethical racists" (to the extent they can exist at all) tend to be selectively blind, and Levitz is maneuvering a pretty good foil into place for him this issue. Recommended. $3.99 Invincible #74: Image/Skybound - Time for the endgame to begin, after an issue of recuperating from the big fight I missed in #72. Interestingly, Invincible himself doesn't seem to know much more about what he did in #72 than I do. :) Anyway, it's everyone back into the pool, albeit not before a little bit of weird relationship stuff. Let's just say that Allen the Alien is finally learning not to ask questions to which he doesn't really want the answers. Recommended. $2.99 Gold Digger Books of Magic #1: Antarctic Press - This is more like a gaming sourcebook than anything else, specifically the flavor text sections with illustrations. The premise is that Brianna Diggers is finally learning some formal magic from her father, and this is her combination textbook and class notes. It reads fairly well, although the transcription enchantments are a trifle buggy at times. :) The art is very quick line work, generally using skintight bodysuits (which Perry has at least made fairly standard among mages doing aura work in-story) to let Fred turn it out in a minimum of time. Recommended. $3.99 (Aside: those who read my reviews "live" on Wednesday nights may wonder why it took so long to post such a short's because a number of factors in addition to Diamond had me in a fairly foul mood when I got home, so I decided to cool off for a while before tackling the comics, lest I unfairly snark at them.) 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 8/25/10: 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, Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #5 (gosh, surprise surprise) and Welcome to Tranquility One Foot In The Grave #2, Atlas #1 (store only got one copy) and Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Update #3 (which I probably won't bother reviewing if it ever comes in). Add Guarding the Globe #1 and Prince of Power #4. I've cancelled my reorders of #2-3 and will order the trade through Amazon, because Diamond is even worse about shipping trades than they are in general. Of course, the trade is an overpriced six issue compilation including the Fall of an Avenger mini. Awards: "What's With All The Phossy Jaw?" Award to The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes "Oddly, For Shatterstar, That IS Tact" Award to X-Factor #208 "Garth, You May Need To Brush Up On What 'Identical Twin' Means" Award to Legion of Super-Heroes #4 "Mmm, Lobster Drenched In Butter" Award to Invincible #74 "Peebos Got Chakras?" Award to Gold Digger Books of Magic #1 Dave Van Domelen, "Please stop saying the things that come into your head first when I talk to you. Don't -- y'know what...just stop answering my questions." - Allen the Alien, displaying newfound wisdom, Invincible #74
Back to the Main Rants Page.

Crash on back to the August 2010 Page.