October 1, 2008

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.
History shows again and again how....  Rants, Capsules can be found on my 
             homepage, http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/Rants 

First Look Comments:

     Invincible Iron Man #6: Marvel - Mixed-style retro cover.  The
cliffhanger resolution is pretty much As Expected, albeit with a slight
twist.  Pyrrhic victory time, in spades, which bodes ill for the rest of
Fraction's time on the book, however long that is.  Having victory turn into
ashes in your mouth every so often is fine, but making a habit of it kinda
goes against the point of escapist literature, yes?  Mildly recommended.
     Avengers/Invaders #5 (of 12): Marvel/Dynamite - A good mix of humor
(mostly involving Spider-Man) and eerie pathos (mostly involving the Human
Torch, but some with Iron Man).  Perhaps a few too many irons in the fire,
but they DO have 7 more issues in which to sort things out.  :)
Recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn   
     Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #44: Marvel - A little kaiju action, of
sorts, for the week of Monsterpocalypse's release, heh.  :)  Good script y
Sumerack, decent art from Meyers (although I think he mixed a bit too much
Red Skull into one of the character designs).  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn 
     Marvel Zombies 3 #1 (of 6): Marvel - First off, I didn't like the
original Marvel Zombies series, and I think the concept was good for about
one use, having used that up over in Ultimate FF.  That said, between Van
Lente on writing and Aaron Stack on the cover, I decided to give this one a
try, Funny right off the bat...Siege has apparently gotten himself
trademarked, and the TM even shows up in his cybereye display.  :) A lot of
obscure characters show up, and some of them get horribly killed, but you
kinda have to expect that in a zombie book.  Recommended.  $3.99/$4.05Cn

     Short, relatively spoiler-free reviews of books I actually bring home
(as opposed to reading in preview form in the shop or online).  If I get a
book late due to distributor foulups or whatever, I'll put it in the Missing

     Books of Note (Strongly Recommended or otherwise worthy): None.  Skip
week can be like that, though.  Doesn't help that two books didn't ship to
me, though.

     Iron Man DVD Comic: Wal-Mart - Both the regular and deluxe versions of
the Iron Man movie DVD are available with a bonus comic.  The regular DVD can
be bought in a two-pack with a second DVD that has a digital version of the
comic (plus the first episode of the upcoming Iron Man cartoon and some other
stuff) for $20, and the $25 deluxe DVD has a paper version of the comic
shrinkwrapped to it.  Either way, the packaging claims that the comic tells
the story behind Nick Fury's cameo at the end of the movie.  I got the
digital version, which can be watched on the DVD player.  Plan to hit pause a
lot unless you read VERY quickly, though.  Written by Gage, art by a guy I've
never heard of before.  :) Splash pages are dealt with by showing first the
whole thing and then zooming in on details.  Sometimes they zoom in too much
and words are cut off at the edges.  The story is essentially "what SHIELD
was doing in the background during the events of the movie," with occasional
scenes from the movie seen through surveillance or SHIELD agent POV.  It's a
bit heavu on the tell-don't-show, and has a few important retcons to it
(including stuff not found in the novelization either), but worth the time to
read.  Marvel Adventures Iron Man #9 is also included on the digital version,
and is a very good story.  Oh, as for the Iron Man Armored Adventures
cartoon, it's quite bad on pretty much every level, and I no longer mind that
it'll be showing on a channel I don't get (Nicktoon Network).  The animation
is CG-as-cel that makes Stormhawks look really good and even compares
unfavorably to the MTV Spider-Man cartoon of several years ago.  The less
said about the writing the better.  Anyway, I recommend, if you're getting
the DVD in some form, to get the Wal-Mart regular bonus version, $19.96.
     March on Ultimatum Saga one-shot: Marvel - Okay, I don't read any
Ultimate titles anymore, and don't care about the Ultimatum event, but this
freebie is a good summary of the history of the Ultimate Universe.  So it's
worth picking up.  :)  Recommended.  Free.
     Justice League of America #25: DC - Well, the whole Amazo/Ivo thing does
wrap up, but it feels like an afterthought as McDuffie chases after the next
big To Be Continued.  Being a special double-sized issue turns out to mean he
can avoid ending an issue on a resolution, stringing along into the next
plot.  I know this is a serial medium, but really.  The art from Benes
continues to be quite unattractive.  Neutral.  $3.99 US/Cn
     Doktor Sleepless #9: Avatar - "Engineer of your future doom" is the
subtitle.  We enter Book Two, which is apparently about the Doktor without
actually having him on-screen.  Consider it to be fallout, and just as
hazardous.  66 days after #8, a new character enters the mix and sees
firsthand just how screwed up Heavenside has gotten.  An interesting use of
color...the pallette is overwhelmingly blue and green and brown, with some
fleshtones (although those are often blued into shadow), but the new focus
character's pink shirt blazes forth in almost every panel where she appears.
Sore thumbs tend towards pink too, eh?  :)  Recommended.  $3.99
     Gold Digger Tifanny & Charlotte #3-4: Antarctic Press - Weird hiccup in
printing schedule put these two out the same week.  #3 is mostly about
Charlotte learning to drive (which gets about as weird as you might expect),
while #4 has Charl 'shipping Tif and Pojo, to the mute horror of both.  And
no small amount of horror on the part of this reader.  Both recommended.
$3.50 US/Cn
     The Official Handbook of the Gold Digger Universe #20: Antarctic Press -
This issue of the "Realms and Dimensions" segment of the series focuses on
Earth and the Moon, including places like Shangri-La and Poseidon Base.
Recommended.  $3.95 US/Cn
     Monsterpocalypse #0: Desperado - This comic was made as a convention
exclusive, but with the game's release coming up next week they put up a
digital version at http://www.monsterpocalypsegame.com/comic/issue-0 so I can
stop haunting eBay.  :)  This comic is a tie-in to the new kaiju (giant
monster) collectible miniatures game of the same name, focusing on members of
G.U.A.R.D., the main Good Guy faction.  Specifically, the crew of Sky
Sentinel, a Mazinger-like mech sent out to fight Gorghadra the Planet Eater.
It's pretty narration-heavy, and the page count doesn't really allow for more
than a teaser in terms of kaiju battling, nor does it really indicate whether
writers Nilson and Avery can tell a story.  The art by Karl Waller and Rick
Bonilla has a sort of Neal Adams 1970s feel to it, appropriate given the
general Showa Age feel of the setting.  Well, this corner of the setting,
anyway...there's also Cthulhu-inspired critters and Wellsian Martians running
around on top of 1970s kaiju and Ultraman.  It's free, so go look.
     Monsterpocalypse #1 (of 3): Desperado - This issue, the featured nasty
is Yasheth, of the Lords of Cthul, aka "Does this bug you, Arkham Press?  I'm
not touching you!"  (I heartily approve of any and all actions that annoy
Arkham Press's lawyers as they attempt to act like public domain works belong
to them, but that's neither here nor there.)  The art is the same team as #0,
but a little less Adams-y.  As for the story, we're still with most of the
crew of Sky Sentinel, but they're now the second string as Defender X
(pictured under construction in #0) has taken the limelight, punting a jobber
of a Planet Eater named Zorog that doesn't even have a figure (yet?).  The
plot seems to be a fairly standard "military squad on the rocks tries to come
together before the enemy blows them apart" deal with a new commander coming
in and facing resentment from the existing crew.  It's okay, but no great
shakes, and if you're not already a kaiju fan you can probably give this a
pass.  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 10/1: Atomic Robo v2 #2 (Diamond now lists it as
"Backordered, not stocked").  Add Transformers Saga of the AllSpark #4 and
Invincible #53.  March on Ultimatum Saga was also not shipped to my store,
but they gave me the First Look copy.


"Voyeur Eyes Only" Award to the Iron Man DVD exclusive comic

"They Like To Watch" Award to March On Ultimatum Saga

"Guest-Starring Grant Morrison" Award to Justice League of America #25

"Drink Pink" Award to Doktor Sleepless #9

"Orthogonal Parking" Award to Gold Digger Tifanny & Charlotte #3

"That 'Ship Has Sailed" Award to Gold Digger Tifanny & Charlotte #4

"Lost Horizontally" Award to Official Handbook of the Gold Digger
     Universe #20

"Gotta Work On Saving Up Those Power Dice" Award to Monsterpocalypse #0

"Them Cthul Guys All Got Weeble-Nature" Award to Monsterpocalypse #1

     Dave Van Domelen, "Ways in which the future has failed me: even now,
no-one will sell me a dolphin sandwich." - Warren Ellis twitter from the
backmatter of Doktor Sleepless #9
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