October 29, 2015

Dave's Comicbook Capsules Et Cetera

Intermittent Picks and Pans of Comics and Related Media 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 Overload teaching really wears me out by the end of the week. Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): The Courageous Princess vol 3, Ms. Marvel #19. In this installment: 1999 Episodes 5-12, Kentucky Fried Chicken presents the Colonel of Two Worlds, Hilo: the Boy Who Crashed to Earth Book 1, The Courageous Princess vol 3, Little Pony Drawing Book, SHIELD #11, Ms. Marvel #19, Spider-Man 2099 #1-2, Invader Zim #4, Gold Digger #225, Astro City #28, My Little Pony Friends Forever #21, My Little Pony Frienship is Magic #35, Transformers Robots in Disguise #3, Transformers Redemption, The Transformers #46, Atomic Robo and the Ring of Fire #1-2 (of 5). Current Wait List (books either Diamond didn't ship or my store failed to order): Toil & Trouble #2, Gold Digger Halloween Special 2015 "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. I enjoyed the Iron Giant Signature Edition showing, but will hold off on reviewing until the DVD is released. 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 iPhone if it's at all possible. 1999 Episodes 5-12: Amazon Kindle Store - I actually contributed to this one, with several scenes being the result of discussions between me and Priest over pseudoscience, so conflict of interest kicks in here. :) It's worth noting that we finally get a scene set in the "present" of 2018, instead of merely narrated from then. $2.99 Kentucky Fried Chicken presents The Colonel of Two Worlds: DC - This was a one-shot done for NYCC and I wasn't at NYCC, but scans happen. The premise is that Colonel Sunder comes from Earth-3 to...well, not do a whole lot, it turns out. Rather than "evil version" as usually happens with Earth-3 concepts, Bedard went with "reversed all virtues" including being as lazy as Colonel Sanders is supposed to be industrious. Tom Derenick puts the Flash in a rather weird new costume in what may be an attempt to visually establish that this isn't the main continuity, or something. The two Rogues who work with Sunder spend a fair amount of time complaining about the plot, and one gets the impression that they're acting as mouthpieces for everyone involved in the creation of this turkey. Or chicken. Whatever. I think this was free at NYCC, which is about what it's worth. Trades: Trade paperbacks, collections, graphic novels, pocket manga, whatever. If it's bigger than a "floppy" it goes here. Hilo: the Boy who Crashed to Earth book 1: Random House - This was a "fill out an Amazon order" purchase, that had sat on my wishlist for a few months (the other two books in this section made up the rest of that order). On the one hand, I generally like Judd Winick's stuff. On the other, hardcover "aimed at the youth market" stuff often doesn't end up being much like a creator's standard comics work. Fortunately, this one worked out well. The high concept is sort of "What if Astro Boy lost to Tenma and fled through a wormhole to present-day Earth?" Lots of differences in the details, of course, and this volume is mostly about Hilo remembering his past and deciding to go home and continue the struggle. A good, fun start. Recommended. $13.99/$16.99Cn The Courageous Princess vol 3: the Dragon Queen: Antarctic Press - The mashups fly fast and furious as things head towards the climax of the storyline. It FEELS like most of the book is devoted to the final battle, although on checking back I see only about a third of it is. The core theme of the series is driven home quite well: personal power corrupts, but the power of friendship does not corrupt and will always win in the end. Strongly recommended. $19.99/$25.99Cn Little Pony Drawing Book: Impact - I've reviewed a lot of How To Draw books, mostly robot ones, and the usual pattern is "a few pages on art materials, a few on perspective and primitives, and then a bunch of stuff that's barely removed from the 'draw a circle, draw a line through the circle, draw the Mona Lisa' joke." Too advanced for beginners, too basic for people who know what they're doing, not really pitched at any level in particular. Happily, this unofficial My Little Pony drawing book avoids the good for no one problem. Plenty of specific advice to let experienced artists learn a new style, plenty of basic advice for beginners (it helps that the style is simple enough for beginners to master). And for a property defined by animation, it helpfully shows various walk cycles for trot, canter, etc. The last quarter of the book is about extending the style to non-pony species (including unicorns and pegasi...I suspect that putting them in this section was in part to reinforce their claim to not be infringing on MLP trademarks). Recommended. $22.99/$25.50Cn Floppies: No, I don't have any particular disdain for the monthlies, but they *are* floppy, yes? SHIELD #11: Marvel - Howard Chaykin guest-draws a Dominic Fortune story, and...something's terribly wrong. Many of the faces look like they're from different perspectives than the heads they're pasted onto, or eyes and mouths facing different ways, etc. It feels less like "lazy hackwork to get a check" and more "Did Chaykin suffer a stroke? He should see a doctor." Waid's story is okay, although it's getting harder to mesh Waid's hypercompetent Coulson with the one on the show who seems to have missed several beats and has yet to recover. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Spider-Man 2099 #1: Marvel - After last year's aborted relaunch, I was very wary of this one. Granted, it's really just a renumbering, picking up where the previous series left off (albeit with some fallout from Amazing Spider-Man #1 and the Secret Wars 2099 series). As such, it doesn't make for a great starting point, since it's really just the middle of a storyline. And it kinda meanders around in a way that would be fine for a #13 but isn't for a #1. I'll give it a couple more issues to see if PAD manages to get the breathing room to actually tell his own stories rather than succumb to crossover du jour, but I'm not holding out a lot of hope. Neutral. $3.99 Spider-Man 2099 #2: Marvel - Thanks to Secret Wars scheduling weirdness, #2 came out two weeks after #1. A bit better, and it feels more like what should happen in a first issue...you could almost have told the events of #1 in two or three pages here, removed some of the full page splashes to compensate, and had a solid first issue. (Sliney, by the way, doesn't seem to be reading the notes...a warehouse out on Long Island is drawn as a 10+ story building in the depths of Manhattan.) Mildly recommended. $3.99 Ms. Marvel #19: Marvel - Final issue before the post-SW renumbering, and it goes out great. A lot of stuff gets wrapped up or resolved, but not everything. And it's on purpose, with Kamala refusing to do the cliche thing in a few cases just because it seems like the world is ending. By deliberately saying "Not now, but maybe later" to several plot points, she is demonstrating faith that there will be a later. Strongly recommended. $2.99 Invader Zim #4: Oni Press - The Tallest spend the entire issue messing with Zim, who then destroys half the universe, but not our half. I'm gonna give this one more issue, but the new writer seems not to care about continuity, instead going for one-off gags and killing Kenny. Some of the gags are funny, but it doesn't really feel like Invader Zim. More like a Teen Titans Go take on Invader Zim. Very mildly recommended. $3.99 Gold Digger #225: Antarctic Press - While Dreadwing works his way slowly towards the plot device, most of the issue is dominated by having the heroes fight off first the side effects of his passage and then some newly arrived Evil Universe twins (something symbolically referenced on the cover). Lots of big splash page layouts and explosions and stuff, but a pretty light read overall. Something that would fit better in a collected edition. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Astro City #28: DC/Vertigo - Another condensed biography of a hero followed by a half issue of new story. I appreciated the nod to continuity in the macguffin, although on the topic of continuity, some of the story's twists depended on the reader knowing more about Wolf Spider than was revealed in the biography section. Yeah, he's appeared before, but usually so deep in the background he might as well not have been there. Mildly recommended. $3.99 My Little Pony Friends Forever #21: IDW - Spike and Zecora try to figure out a mysterious illness that has swept Ponyville. Equestria does have a CDC (Canterlot Disease Corps) but their response speed is pathetic. The two share a brief moment (one page) of bonding over their shared outsider status, but otherwise any non-pony character could have teamed up with Zecora to make this story work. Mildly recommended. $3.99 My Little Pony Friendship is Magic #35: IDW - Siege of the Crystal Empire continues, with Sombra's presence and some Convenient Incompetence turning the tide of the battle. Several pages are devoted to sumamrizing the Fiendship issue that told Sombra's origins, which combines with the fight scene to make the issue feel a bit thin (the recap is important, though, since expecting readers to have read the entire pony output of IDW is a bad idea). As with Gold Digger, this fight-heavy issue will probably work better as part of a collected edition. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Transformers Robots in Disguise #3: IDW - This has theoretically been on my pull for months, but my store never seems to get any during the week of release. Anyway, looks like they dropped the Animated from the title, both on the cover and in the indicia. Anyway, the repeated theme of this issue is that Things Are Not What They Seem, quite appropriate for "robots in disguise," and I liked that we got a female Buffaloid who's also fairly bright (she's named Overhead rather than Strika, but same basic idea). Feeling more plot advancement and more ties to continuity in three issues of this title than 26 episodes of the cartoon. Recommended. $3.99 Transformers Redemption: IDW - I didn't order this in advance, because Livio does the art. But it got good enough buzz from people who had early looks that I decided to pick it up. It's...okay. Unsurprisingly, Livio's art made some of the sequences really hard to follow, including one that was either a flashback to a similar situation or fantasizing about a might-have- been, but sure looked like Slag destroying the macguffin near the start of the journey to deliver it. Throw in sequences where visibility is supposed to be bad (rust storms, corrupted ruins) and the story really suffers. Why does Livio keep getting work? He's not Bill Sienkewicz, underneath all the black and scratchiness is fairly mediocre art. Yeah, there's a lot of crunchy continuity and character background, but save yourself eight bucks and the eyestrain and read the TFWiki summary instead. $7.99 The Transformers #46: IDW - In case anyone's curious, the chapter title "Aphelion" is pronounced "ap-hee-lee-on", the ph is not meant to be a fff sound. It means "farthest point in orbit from the sun," and is thus rife with symbolic meaning. Galvatron's neo-Decepticon (or perhaps paleo-Decepticon, since he predates Megatron by a lot) movement gets into high swing, Blackrock's asspulls get more confirmed by other characters, and Aileron is adorable. Anerable, even. Nice bit of established lore about Caminus, the Torchbearers are more than just the six who turn into Victorion, it's more of an elite warrior-priest sort of group. Recommended. $3.99 Atomic Robo and the Ring of Fire #1-2: IDW - I've already read all of these pages online for free, but I still like having the issues in my hands all at once (and the paper copies have nice lettercols). Oddly, the cover omits the "and" from the title, but it's in the indicia. The fact that the web version runs half a page at a time means that the biggest panels we get are half-page, the only full page art is the cover. Given that the story involves giant robots (but not giant Robos, he's mostly small so far) and Biomegas (kaiju), that structural limitation may prove a significant hindrance in the climax, unless they do like Girl Genius does with their two-page-splashes and just runs stuff cut in half with a link to the full sized version on the second day. Storywise, it's a "rebuilding from the rubble" deal, with Robo having returned from the Old West the long way. In a box, possibly pine. Majestic-12/ULTRA is also getting more screen time and a chance to look like something other than Generic Evil Conspiracy...they genuinely think they're saving the world, and that leaving it to amateurs like Robo was a bad idea. But since this book is called Atomic Robo and not ULTRA, they're ultimately going to be proven wrong. As happens. It builds a little slowly in the first issue, even though the first issue is missing the online prologue chapters which would have made it build even MORE slowly, but so far so good. Recommended. $3.99 an issue. Dave Van Domelen, "What if it didn't work?" "Oh. Then we're all dead." "I HATE how the new kid always sugarcoats things." - Atomic Robo and the Ring of Fire #1 (of 5)
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