August, 2012

Dave's Unspoilt Capsules and Awards

Intermittent 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, My final paycheck is deposited today, tomorrow I apply for Unemployment. Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): Seraphina, Love and Capes: What to Expect #1 (of 6), Atomic Robo: Flying She-Devils of the Pacific #2 (of 5). In this installment: Seraphina, Love and Capes: What to Expect #1 (of 6), Double Barrel #3, Atomic Robo: Flying She-Devils of the Pacific #2 (of 5), Eldritch #6 (of 6), Gold Digger v3 #140, Marvel Super-Heroes Magazine #3, Young Justice #19. "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. Seraphina: Random House Children's Books - This got pretty big. See for a full review. Why do I have it listed here? Because this novel is set in the same world as Rachel Hartman's "Amy Unbounded" comics. Strongly recommended. $17.99 cover price, $11.98 at Amazon, $10.99 Kindle. Digital Content: Unless I find a really compelling reason to do so, I won't be turning this into a webcomic review column. Rather, stuff in this section will be full books available for reading online or for download, usually for pay. I will often be reading these things on my iPod if it's at all possible. Love & Capes: What To Expect #1 (of 6): IDW - Once in a while I'll make an exception to "wait for the digital comic price to drop" when I can't find the hardcopy, and Love & Capes is one of those exceptions. The previous miniseries ended on the discovery that Mark (Crusader, aka Superman with enough details changed to avoid lawsuit) and Abby (not really Lois Lane at all) were going to have a baby. So, obviously certain elements of "Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex" weren't a problem for them. But others (i.e. super- powered fetus) are addressed here as Abby navigates the OB/GYN options available to someone in the super-set. And, of course, friends and relatives need to get the news (some in their own way). This title continues to be one of the best "after the fight scene" superhero comics out there. Strongly recommended. $3.99 hardcopy or ComiXology. Double Barrel #3: Top Shelf - The coding has been fixed so that the letter column pages can be read on an iPod. :) Heck (pp 10-23) is more about Elliot as the damned duo cross the level of rage and a number of questions about Elliot and his uneasy relationship with Amy are answered. Crater XV (pp 29-81) answers what "Crater XV" is, although the plot tends to split off in a few too many directions for its own good (a romantic subplot threatens to push Army Shanks aside in favor of one of the previously tertiary characters, for instance). Penny From The Front (pp 84-90) takes a hard right turn out of goofy at the very end, not sure it works. What does work, though, is "Master of Feng Shui" (pp 91-98). It's your basic King Fu comic in terms of art and pacing, but it uses the modern interior decorating sense of Feng Shui as the means of combat. Lethally inauspicious chi flow. Call in the Ninja Interior Decorators! Jin gets four pages of Kids Say Cute Things and further builds up reasons to regret having a cartoonist for a father for later in life. The 116 page issue wraps up with a how-to about using Star Wars as a model for storytelling. Recommended. $1.99 Atomic Robo: the Flying She-Devils of the Pacific #2 (of 5): Red 5 Comics - Huh, Matt Speroni gets the feel of the book pretty well, I didn't even realize he was on the art instead of Wegener for this outing. Of course, with only Robo carried over from the regular cast, most differences in style could be written off as being the result of different characters. :) And he definitely has Robo's emotive character down pat. A fairly typical part two, with origins explained and the heroes reacting to the shocking events of the first part. There's also a little one-sided romantic tension before things blow up a lot. Clevinger's dialogue is at its usual sparkling level, as evidenced by things like the quote with this I end this review. Strongly recommended. $2.99 at ComiXology. Eldritch #6 (of 6): Slave Labor - While there was a big slobberknocker fight in this issue, it felt more like an afterthought. The real climax was the quiet scene between the resolution of the pool house cliffhanger and the main fight. If anything, the big fight accomplished the classic horror cliche of making sure no one but the main characters believes the truth, so that the horror can happen all over again. Perhaps a bit chatty, and a little aggressive in terms of trying to be even-handed on the magic vs. science issue. But it worked pretty well, resolving the main story while leaving things open for a volume two. Recommended. 99 cents at (also theoretically available at ComiXology, but it hadn't gone up there as of the end of August). Trades: Trade paperbacks, collections, graphic novels, pocket manga, whatever. If it's bigger than a "floppy" it goes here. Nothing this time. The final volume of Amelia Rules! came out in August, but I ordered it online and my copy didn't arrive in time to make it in this column. If I have a lot to say about it, though, I might repeat what I did with Seraphina. Floppies: If I actually pick up some monthly issues, they'll go here. Given my reluctance to put money in Diamond's hands, though, these would likely only be review copies or stuff found in oddball places. And no, I don't have any particular disdain for the monthlies, but they *are* floppy, yes? And like floppy disks they may be a doomed format. Gold Digger v3 #140: Antarctic Press - Sometimes foreshadowing is subtle, sometimes it's obvious, and sometimes it's like this issue and pretty much screams at you. Of course, since everyone involved in the second half of the issue is badguys and a minor character, you know that the foreshadowed event won't stop the badguys, at least not this issue. Still, it's a decent read getting to the inevitable ending, and Dreadwing shows a certain (very) low cunning in attempting to unmask a possible threat. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Marvel Super Heroes Magazine #3: Marvel - Woot, a Jeff Parker Marvel Adventures Super Heroes story! Dunno if it's an unused (and trimmed down) leftover or commissioned for this mag, but it's his lineup of Avengers (Giant Girl, Spidey, Wolverine, etc). Also, this issue skews realllly obscure in places, with a Krakoa maze (with art from GSXM #1) and Spragg the Living Hill. The story may be a touch meta for the intended audience, as it opens with Spider-Man explaining how things are going to go, thanks to being genre savvy, but I suppose when you have a villain like the Leader who sees nothing wrong with killing billions in order to create a handful of gamma-powered followers, it's a good idea to get some ironic distance from the whole thing. Mildly recommended. (And I have seen this on magazine racks, so it's not just available by subscription. I forgot to check the shelf price, though, and the subscription copy doesn't have a price on it.) Young Justice #19: DC - The Gorilla Unified Theory...all of DC's various super-gorillas get a more or less common origin (except Congorilla, whose nature is established as predating the whole Light thing). Even Sam Simeon gets a brief appearance as a young'un. The actual plot does take second place to exposition and the establishment of Gorilla City, so this makes a good place to skip ahead five years...which is what the book does. #20 will start filling in gaps between the Invasion stories, and hopefully we won't have to wait too long to get back to Gorilla City and see where they've ended up. Granted, we can pretty much take "Grodd goes evil" as a given, but Young Justice has been pretty good about playing with twists, and there's plenty of ways Gorilla Grodd could be a bad guy without falling into his original comics roles. Recommended. $2.99 Dave Van Domelen, "We've all seen things we can't explain. Hell, we're all DRINKING thinks we can't explain." - Captain May Carter, Atomic Robo: the Flying She-Devils of the Pacific #2 (of 5)
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