October 27, 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 Maybe we can convince Amazon to buy out Diamond? Okay, so I gave up on Diamond shipping a few things and ordered them from Amazon last Thursday, getting them on Monday. So, of course, out of the dozen or so books I'm waiting on, those three are the ones that got shipped (although they shipped the hardcover of Amelia Rules rather than the softcover I ordered). Store's going to return 'em. Of course, to make things more fun, Diamond has decided that the current day to day manager of the shop is no longer allowed to phone Diamond to report problems. Two former managers are still authorized, of course, but now the owner (who's kinda busy with his money-making job) has to be called up to pass on any problems. Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): Amelia Rules vol 6 "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. Transformers Animated: Bots of Science: IDW - This is part of the "Adventures in Reading" series, you're more likely to find it at Target than at comic shops, I suppose. I got it through Amazon after giving up on Diamond (along with TF Prime and Amelia Rules below). This is a level 4 "Junior Graphic Novel" for the top end of the target audience, and it adapts the Bots of Science story from the Arrival comic. The cover is directly taken from Arrival #3, and all but two of the panels of the 11 page Ratchet/ Oil Slick story are used here, although a lot of them are cropped or changed in size to better fit the smaller pages and earlier readers. Narration blocks in larger font are inserted every few pages to clarify things that kids might not get. But the main reason to pick this up is that they also added eight pages at the beginning describing the Great War and showing some of the battle of the Hydrax Plateau (the aftermath of which is the focus of the adapted story). If they're not new to this book, they're at least new to me (I check the rest of Arrival, they're not from there). These pages will need some annotation, there's loads of characters who are either "blink and you miss them" or even adapted from G1 for this story. The big two page spread is full of annotation bait, like RiD Optimus Prime, Cyclonus, and what might be Overlord. Recommended. $3.99 Transformers Prime: IDW - A digest-sized book starring Cliffjumper and Arcee from the new Prime cartoon. Written by Mike Johnson, with art by four separate teams...so it could be seen in part as a test of how well IDW's stable can stick to the show's model sheets. Unfortunately, the decision to make it a digest size must have come late in the game, because the lettering is rather tiny. It's definitely set up as a four issue mini, the rotating art team letting them get all four parts out at once, I guess going to an instant TPB was a reasonable move. The story is fairly straightforward, with Arcee and Cliffjumper meeting by chance on the dead husk of Cybertron, finding a plot device, escaping to Earth with Starscream in pursuit. Lots of fighting, mostly against faceless no-names, and it's the classic prequel story of "enemy would have had this thing but they don't" that isn't necessary to the main series. More important is the emotional story, which while very action-movie-ish does add depth to the two stars. Recommended. $9.99 Amelia Rules vol 6 "True Things (Adults Don't Want Kids To Know)": Atheneum/Simon and Schuster - Volume 5 started the transition from kid to young adult, and this one pretty much rams it through. Sometimes the symbolism gets so heavy that Gownley hangs a lampshade on it, but it works. Essentially a five issue miniseries all at once, a continuing story but with clear breaks. Some of the supporting cast drift into the background while others come to the fore, as happens in life. And along the way there's loads of laughs and plenty of sentimentality-that-works. Strongly recommended. $10.99 Diamond kicked loose OHOTMU A-Z #4 this week, but still no #3. Not gonna review it, though. 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. Thunderbolts #149: Marvel - The Shadowland crossover wraps up, with a whole lot of undead ninjas getting re-dead. For a combat-focused issue it's pretty good, but unlike some of the better "doesn't affect the overall storyline" Siege tie-ins, this didn't really grab me. Sure, there's several Significant Character Moments, but they feel too much like checklisting. Mildly recommended. $2.99 Dynamo5 Sins of the Father #5 (of 5): Image - The main plot pretty much ends in the first few pages, leaving the bulk of the issue for aftermath. I expect the pacing would have worked better if the fight ended last issue, with the cliffhanger being "how will we deal with this?" rather than "will this be enough to defeat the Dominex?" It feels kinda cheap as it stands. The Notorious backup also wraps up, and I was barely interested enough to finish reading the few pages of it. Meh. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Gold Digger v3 #122: Antarctic Press - Once in a while, the "what has happened before" text boxes in this series reveal things that weren't exactly obvious in the stories they're summarizing, and this is a big one. Apparently Madrid's big change of heart during her captivity with the dragon ladies wasn't just psychological, it involved the actual death of the original Madrid, leaving only the overlay of Gina behind. Not sure how I feel about that particular revelation. Dao gets a similar, if less dramatic, rebooting that's revealed in-story, leaving both Djinn as effectively new characters with only tenuous connections to the ones that first appeared with their names. Hurm. Granted, it makes the direction Perry's taking their relationship a bit more plausible (i.e. no longer having to overcome what amounts to a pretty damned horrible past between them), but it still feels like a cheat. I enjoyed this issue a lot as I was reading it, but thinking about the consequences of the setup sours me a little on it. Mildly recommended. $2.99 Gold Digger Halloween Special #6: Antarctic Press - 00101111! Looks like Tif's got the hang of telling scary stories to Peebos in the lead story by Perry. Dunn's contribution is a bit more incoherent (on purpose), but it has a female version of Inframan, so much can be forgiven. The Rook story by Hutchison goes on too long for too little payoff, though, reading more like a promo for an upcoming series. At least the four pages of Ayane at the end are labeled as a promo (I'd rather have had 8 more pages of Ayane and no Rook, mind you). The usual assortment of pin-ups is okay, although the "I got a rock" line gets overused. 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 10/27/10: 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 #1-2, 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 Drift #4. Add Amazing Spider-Man #646 and Transformers Sector 7 #2. Awards: "Animated Tarantulas is HUGE" Award to Transformers Animated Bots of Science "Practically Begging For Stampy To Show Up" Award to Transformers Prime "Bovine Entropy" Award to Amelia Rules! vol 6 "I Got Head-Explody!" Award to Thunderbolts #149 "Um, Other Kind Of Head-Explody" Award to Dynamo5 Sins of the Father #5 (of 5) "Going Dao" Award to Gold Digger v3 #122 "Think Of The Poor Pumpkins!" Award to Gold Digger Halloween Special #6 Dave Van Domelen, "The Singing Tree will never be the same, obviously. And of course, there WILL be lawsuits. MANY lawsuits. Now, I'm not sure where the cow came from. We've never HAD a cow before." - Mall security, Amelia Rules! vol 6
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