October 20, 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, http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/Rants Even after 8 years at Kansas State, I own no purple clothing. Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): None this week. "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. Tower Prep: Cartoon Network - Well, No Ordinary Family was a fast decay for me, so when this came on opposite it, I decided to give it a shot. Another live action "strange boarding school" series in the footsteps of Unnatural History, but where that series is more of a traditional school adventures sort of thing, this is kinda "New Mutants meet the Prisoner". The power levels are really low, just enough to make them Special (eyeblink-ahead precog, vocal mimic, super-persuader, etc). Created by Paul Dini, some of the early ads (such as there were...not a lot of promotion) played up the super powers aspect, but at launch it was slotted as a mystery. The series premiere introduces the main protagonist (who has leveraged his powers into Naltorian-style martial arts prowess) and a few allies and enemies, plus the rough layout of the power structure. The comparisons to the Prisoner, by the way, are not forced. It's a pretty close fit. Definitely worth spending a few more weeks on. One thing that bugs me, though, is that the whole set up fairly screams "If you have more than two active brain cells, you will be planning an escape," which fits neither their stated mission (nurturing children with special talents, with the permission of their parents) nor the more obvious ulterior motives. If not for Dini's involvement, I'd write it off as the variant of the Idiot Plot in which the villains set out to try to prove the Evil Overlord List is wrong. And it still might be an Idiot Plot, even if Dini doesn't usually go to that well. Hopefully, though, there's a more interesting reason than "they're overconfident sadists who enjoy jerking the kids around". 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. Nothing. 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. Legion of Super-Heroes #6: DC - Had to get this at Hastings, Diamond shipped about half of the store's order again. The first story, focusing on Earth Man and those interacting with him, is pretty good. The second story was kinda scattered, a "visit to the Legion Academy" piece that not only felt like the one in Legion of Super-Heroes #304 (the first LSH comic I ever bought), it has some of the same Academy students! Man, some of those kids're never gonna graduate. Unfortunately, while I get the feeling there was supposed to be a sense of closure in this issue, as a story comes to an end and the baton is passed, it felt more like a simple case of running out of steam. Mildly recommended. $3.99 X-Factor #210: Marvel - Meanwhile, because PAD likes to split the team up lately.... The Rictor/Rahne thing shares space with M meeting a new character (well, I assume she's new, she's not in the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe page and I don't recognize the name). Frankly, the OB/GYN office banter is more interesting than the Hela plot, although that may qualify as faint praise and the damning therewith. Recommended. $2.99 Shadowland: Power Man #3 (of 4): Marvel - And so, we get the origin of the new Power Man's powers. And also get the origin of the new Power Man's powers. It's kinda like he was being made up as an RPG character and rolled the "roll two origins and combine" option. :) The real lesson of this issue, though, is if you're trying to keep secrets, CLEAR YOUR BROWSER HISTORY BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE COMPUTER. Sheesh. Lusers. At least Danny kinda has an excuse. Deadly Nightshade steals the show, of course, even if she's gone back to the Mickey Mouse hairdo. Recommended. $3.99 Chaos War #2 (of 5): Marvel - Okay, so I missed three issues of Prince of Power and an issue of Chaos War because Diamond wants comics to just go away and stop bothering them. So let's see if any of this makes sense! And fortunately, there's enough exposition that it does. Unfortunately, Khoi Pham's pencils are so scratchy that I sometimes needed all that exposition to figure out who some of the characters were. Still better than the Brandon Peterson cover, though, which looks like he used latex halloween masks of people to model for the faces. A decent enough Big Event Story, but the art drags it down with its murk and random lines. 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 10/20/10: Invincible #72, Tom Strong and the Robots of Doom #3, Transformers Ironhide #4, Gorilla Man #2, Atlas #4, Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Update #3 (which I probably won't bother reviewing if it ever comes in), Guarding the Globe #1, Dynamo5 Sins of the Father #3, Science Dog #1, Women of Gold Digger #1 and Gold Digger Books of Magic #2, Chaos War #1, Taskmaster #2, Transformers Prime, Transformers Animated Bots of Science, Iron Man: Titanium #1. Add Transformers Drift #4, Guarding the Globe #2 (I may just drop this, it's not like I'm ever going to see an issue), Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Update #4. Additionally, the latest Amelia Rules! book has shipped to bookstores, but Diamomd doesn't list it on their new releases page. Nor the upcoming releases for next week. Why break a habit of sucking? I'm just ordering it, Transformers Prime and Transformers Bots of Science from Amazon now (along with one more small thing to get me up to the free shipping threshold). Awards: "Well, Definitely Creepier Than Rover" Award to Tower Prep "Vote For Gates" Award to Legion of Super-Heroes #6 "Check Her Midichlorian Count?" Award to X-Factor #210 "Now Josten Probably Feels Like An Idiot" Award to Shadowland: Power Man #3 (of 4) "The Ultimate Expression Of The Peter Principle" Award to Chaos War #2 (of 3) Dave Van Domelen, "Ah mean, if ye were any FURTHER in the closet, ye'd have been in bloody Narnia." - Rahne, X-Factor #210
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