November 12, 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.
Finally had to turn the heat on Saturday.  Rants, Capsules can be found on my 

"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.

     Hellboy II the Golden Army comics: Universal/Dark Horse - Two comics
here, actually.  The Target exclusive of the regular edition comes
shrinkwrapped with a minicomic that collects several Mignola-drawn-and-
written stories (King Vold, The Hydra And The Lion, Pancakes), and the DVD
has an epilogue comic on it.  The Best Buy exclusive also has a Golden Army
figure/statue and a notebook reproduction, but I didn't want them enough to
drop another $30+ on the set.  :)
     I should note that the only Hellboy comics I own are those that come
with DVDs, and a few Hellboy pieces in anthologies.  Which means if I've seen
a story twice, you know it's heavily reproduced, as is the case with
Pancakes.  However, Pancakes is a really good two-page story, so I don't mind
seeing it again.  ;)  The other two stories are decent short pieces, although
both show signs of being "some ideas I had kicking around" stories, as
Mignola admits to in the endnotes.  Minor annoyance, the minicomic is a
little too tall to fit inside the DVD case.
     The epilogue comic is "animated" in the sense that it pans around the
panels and occasionally uses moving cut-outs.  The dialogue has voice actors,
but their speech bubbles still float around their heads.  The narration boxes
are a bit hard to read, though, and they don't get spoken.  All told, it's
about five minutes.  The plot involves a guy named Zinco finding the remains
of Kronen from the first movie and trying to revive it's not so much
an epilogue to Golden Army as it is to the first movie.  Or consider it a
teaser for the third movie, I guess.  The art is painted, but kinda bland
when it's not directly copying a Mignola design.  The story is basically one
scene and then a sort of montage.  
     Anyway, it's a good movie, and the comic pack-in for the Target version
is worth picking up if you don't have these stories already.  Recommended.
$16.99 at Target this week, presumably it'll go up to $19.99 in a week.

Comics Capsules:
     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): Cthulhu Tales
#8, Amazing Spider-Man #577

     Fallen Angel #31: IDW - Well, the plot moves, and a moderately
interesting new character shows up, but the big plot device challenge is a
touch obvious...hopefully one or all of the characters actually caught onto
it already and are just playing along.  An interesting bit of cosmology is
dropped into the mix this issue, though: find a new way to sin, and you get
to become immortal, so that God can punish you forever.  Not that God is a
particularly nice guy in this setting.  :)  Mildly recommended.  $3.99
     Transformers Animated the Arrival #4: IDW - As usual, two stories.  The
lead story is a fairly simple "Powell is being a poo-head and gets his
comeuppance" tale, although it takes a look at an interesting point that the
cartoon never really addressed: the Autobots do not own their own
appearances, at least in vehicle mode.  They copied existing Earth vehicles,
and as such are open to lawsuits for theft of intellectual proprty!  Heh.
The second story looks at how Blackarachnia and Lockdown got into play and
knew to go after the Autobots.  We also get an official name for their team:
Autobot Spacebridge Repair Transport Unit 073063.  Arse-Too?  Heh.  [Later
correction: ASR, not ARS.  Sigh.  Asser-Too?]  Recommended.  $3.99
     Cthulhu Tales #8: Boom! Studios - A themed issue, and that theme is
"stuff that falls from space is BAD."  Also a rare all-serious issue.  The
lead story is a sequel to The Colour Out Of Space, picking up on the blasted
location of the Gardner farm in the present day.  Writer Christine Boylan
never actually points out the original story, so I had to Google to
doublecheck that the names match up (I read Colour in high school and have a
horrible memory for names anyway).  :)  "Theater of the Empty Eye," the
second story, pokes at the consequences of Mythos cosmology and touches on a
few things (Yuggoth, Azathoth) without being blatant about it.  Like the lead
story, McLean manages to make it fully part of the Cthulhu Mythos without
using the obvious trappings.  He even works in a subtle Yuri Gagarin homage.
Strongly recommended.  $3.99
     Amazing Spider-Man #577: Marvel - Another oversized issue that's mostly
self-contained.  Zeb Wells with artist Paolo Rivera tells the main story,
with the Punisher meeting up with Spidey for the first time since Civil War.
I really like how Rivera gives the Punisher a distinctive appearance, and
Wells really plays up how Spider-Man is probably the superhero most likely to
annoy the Punisher: so many of Spidey's villains try to get involved in
"normal" crime and therefore spill over onto Punisher's plate.  I think Wells
writes the main villain a bit stupidly, but otherwise liked the main story.
The backup, which is stuck in the middle of the issue as an interlude, is by
Joe Kelly and Barry Kitson.  "A Bookie Minute Mystery" has the Bookie trying
to figure out who the Spider-Tracer Killer is, and perhaps showing worse than
usual bad judgement in the process.  :)  Strongly recommended.  $3.99/$4.50Cn 
     Ninja High School #164: Antarctic Press - Heh, fallout from Ninja High
School vol 2 hits, while all the players converge on one (plot) point.  The
way plot threads are weaving together, you'd think NHS were approaching #100
rather than Gold Digger.  ;)  I found the backup feature more than a little
confusing, though, I'll probably have to read the entire backup in one
sitting once it finishes in order to suss it out.  It was full of Significant
Looks and the like that just didn't click for me.  As an aside, I wonder if
the cover on this issue was supposed to go on #165, since it features
characters who not only don't really appear this issue, but also haven't been
formally introduced in their depicted appearances IIRC.  Recommended.  $2.99
     Gen13 v4 #24: DC/Wildstorm - The story kinda meanders, bouncing from
horror cliches to bits of relationship business, with the occasional side
forays into bits of the rest of the world.  About the only thing resolved for
sure is that Roxy does wear panties.  And yes, this is relevant to the
story.  More or less.  The obligatory "part three of four" backup is a little
more comprehensible than most, since it seems to be the data dump part of the
story, but I'm still not picking up StormWatch to read the end.  :)  Mildly
recommended.  $2.99 US/Cn
     Green Arrow and Black Canary #14: DC - Winick wraps up his tenure on the
book by more or less establishing Connor Hawke's new status quo.  There's not
a whole lot of story, just setting up how he's leaving the cast for the next
writer.  Some closure, although neither hide nor hair of any other series
regulars aside from Connor and the two title characters.  Mildly
recommended.  $2.99 US/Cn
     Booster Gold #14: DC - Still no explanation why Starro needs talk shows,
but the Starro story gets resolved while setting up the next Big Threat to
the timestream.  A much sexier threat than Despero and Per Degaton, to say
the least.  A few good moments, but a definite feeling of being like a Bond
movie teaser with a mostly unrelated threat dealt with before running the
opening credits of the real story.  Hopefully Remender gets that rolling
soon.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99 US/Cn
     PS238 #35: Do Gooder Press - Definitely didn't go in any of the
directions I was expecting it to, especially in how the two Tylers interact.
Of course, that's because my expectations were geared towards the usual adult
reactions to things, and Williams shows us how a gradeschooler is going to
react.  :)  Recommended.  $2.99

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 11/12: Transformers Saga of the AllSpark #4.  Add
Gold Digger #100 and Official Handbook of the Gold Digger Universe #21.


"Flapjacks of Destiny" Award to Hellboy II pack-in comic

"Any Given Hackmaster Dungeoncrawl" Award to Fallen Angel #31

"Time To Unpimp Ze Auto" Award to Transformers Animated the Arrival #4

"Wait, *I'm* 38 Years Old..." Award to Cthulhu Tales #8

"I Ate A Bug" Award to Amazing Spider-Man #577

"Poor Osaka Castle" Award to Ninja High School #164 (Yes, I got the Gamera 
     vs. Barugon reference, I was researching that movie the other day in 
     order to make an Osaka Castle for Monsterpocalypse)

"Well, At Least SOMEONE Is Secure In Her Sexuality" Award to Gen13 v4 #24

"Stretching The Truth" Award to Green Arrow and Black Canary #14

"Yeah, But I Make This Look GOOD" Award to Booster Gold #14

"Bishie-In-Waiting?" Award to PS238 #35

     Dave Van Domelen, "Thank you, magic hand." - Batman, Booster Gold #14
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Check for Thanksgiving leftovers at the November 2008 Rants Page.