Back to the Main Rants Page.
Dave's Unspoilt Capsules and AwardsIntermittent 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 The Flamingo War is coming to campus.... A bit uneven for the first month with Hurley's. Apparently Antarctic Press is a "small publisher" as far as the Diamond reps are concerned, and I had to go digital on this month's Gold Digger stuff. Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): Nothing this time around. In this installment: Gold Digger #204-5, Gold Digger Halloween #9, Cow Boy strip archive, Feast, Mastering Manga 2, Astro City #5, Samurai Jack #1. "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 time. Thor: the Dark World hits U.S. screens November 6, though. 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. Gold Digger #204: Antarctic Press - This is your basic sitcom plot, the insecure partner testing the other, resulting in hurt feelings but in the end no real damage to the relationship. But Perry cranks it up to 11, making it a multi-generational issue for the mothers' side. Plenty of beefcake and cheesecake, of course, and some good side elements. Again, it's played like a sitcom (hard not to, when the guy being tested for integrity was raised in the jungle by squirrels). Recommended. $1.99 at ComiXology. Gold Digger #205: Antarctic Press - Back to action archaeology, and picking up threads from the long-simmering Ayane subplot. While most of the issue is the main plot, with Gina and some students re-exploring a tomb from early in the series and facing the power of wub, the last couple of pages may not mean a whole lot unless you've been following Ayane's plot thread, but it's more than just characters finding out things the long-time readers already know (they now also almost know as much as the GD Universe entry gave away years ago). Recommended. $1.99 at ComiXology. Gold Digger Halloween #9: Antarctic Press - Just two longer stories and a pin-up this time. The lead story hearkens back to the largely untold days when Cheetah was a costumed superhero, and is one of those times where Perry really needs to at least get someone to grayscale tone his inks. His hyperkinetic style of art is really hard to follow when it's just lines of mostly the same weight. Meanwhile, over in the second story, David Hutchison has either radically changed his style since the last time I paid close attention to something he drew, or the credits are incorrect. Mildly recommended. $1.99 at ComiXology. http://cow-boy-hosler.livejournal.com/ has an archive of the Cow Boy strips from around strip 85 to the end (posted in reverse order so you can just page through the archive in order). Worth a read if you like Jay Hosler's later works (Clan Apis, Sandwalk Adventures) or late 90s comics parody. (No relation to the current comic strip Cow & Boy.) Trades: Trade paperbacks, collections, graphic novels, pocket manga, whatever. If it's bigger than a "floppy" it goes here. Feast: Couscous Collective - The theme this time is food. Tales of food preparation, recipes, and stories built around meals. The Skin Horse story is pretty good, and some of the other vignettes are okay, but the recipes are less interesting to someone like me who doesn't really cook. It's possible to make a recipe interesting to non-cooks, of course, but most of the ones in here aren't. Mildly recommended. $8 plus shipping. Mastering Manga 2: Level Up with Mark Crilley: Impact - Mark Crilley's back with another compilation of short lessons in drawing with a manga style. It's written on the assumption that the reader hasn't necessarily read the first one, so there's the usual page on materials, etc. Starting with the anatomy of a panel, it has a couple sections on components (Part 1: heads and faces, Part 2: proportions and poses, which covers a lot of stuff like clothing and chibis) before part 3 puts it all together. The specific choices of lessons within each section feel a bit arbitrary, though. Part 3 is dominated by a few kinds of scene (forest, rainy day, desert) followed by several examples of creating multi-panel sequences. Still, aside from putting out a huge multi-volume set all at once, you have to make choices of what to cover and what not to cover. This is a good complement to the first volume. Recommended. $24.99/$27.99Cn (rather less on Amazon). Floppies: No, I don't have any particular disdain for the monthlies, but they *are* floppy, yes? Astro City #5: Vertigo - The framing sequence of the first issue returns, with the Broken Man talking to the reader as his agent. Various things in his conspiracy map launch into stories that we're not supposed to be seeing yet (a bit of pseudo-Lovecraft, a very short vignette about a Kobra-like guy) and then a steampunky bit the Broken Man lets us see to keep us out of trouble. Decent short stories, and they'll probably connect up to the overall arc in some way, but they do feel like odds and ends Busiek didn't feel like writing complete stories about. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Samurai Jack #1: IDW - I believe this was solicited as a four issue miniseries, but since it's IDW there's no evidence anywhere in the actual comic that it's limited. And, of course, since it's an IDW #1 there's ten variant covers. Some of those covers are by Tartakovsky, so while he's not writing this or doing the interiors, he's not entirely uninvolved. The setup scene establishes the plot device Aku used to learn his mastery of time, and sets Jack on a quest to reassemble said plot device so he can finally return home. The bulk of the issue, though, is Jack fighting a bunch of weirdos (including a pretty weak Wolverine riff) in order to earn the first part of the plot device. As he's looking for threads to weave into a rope, the total number of pieces (and thus the length of the quest) is arbitrary. A promising start, but it could get repetitive pretty quickly, and the writer is an unknown quantity to me. Mildly recommended. $3.99. No pony comics for me this month, MLP:FiM #12 and Annual #1 came out on October 30 and I won't be picking them up in Joplin until some time in November. Additionally, while I read several Transformers comics in October that were packed in with toys, I reviewed those with the toys (and they're reprints of stuff that came out months ago). Dave Van Domelen, "Please, no titles. I am merely a giant, extremely wise rat." - "Dish" in Feast