Standard Disclaimers: Please set appropriate followups. Recommendation does not factor in price. Not all books will have arrived in your area this week. Edy's Eggnog ice cream...awesome or ick? Rants, Capsules can be found on my homepage, http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/Rants (Later note: the eggnog ice cream is okay.) "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. The only DVD I got was Wall*E. I just got the latest Akiko novel in the mail (as in, in the middle of reading comics), but I want to take the time to read it properly, so I'll cover it next 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 section. Books of Note (Strongly Recommended or otherwise worthy): Atomic Robo Dogs of War #4 (of 5) Transformers: Saga of the AllSpark #4: IDW - Finally found this in the discount bin at Hastings, a regional media chain store. And I'm glad I didn't go to any significant effort to pick this up. The two stories here are set after the main action of the movie. "Starscream's Militia" (yes, a callback to G1 episode "Starscream's Brigade") takes place right after Megatron's defeat, with Starscream using the sparks of Dispensor and other AllSpark-created life to reanimate the fallen Decepticons as "zombies" under his control, and features truly hideous art by "Boo". The story doesn't exactly make up for the art. "Scorpion Sting" wraps up the loose end of Scorponok out in the desert (and is therefore probably going to be contradicted by the next movie), okay story and art. Very mildly recommended. $3.99 (although I paid $2.00) Transformers Spotlight 3-D Edition: IDW - This is Transformers Spotlight #9 (Optimus Prime) redone in color 3-D (where they filter out the red and green and warp them around to create the illusion of depth when wearing red/green glasses). The idea's been around for a while...for instance, normalman Annual used it back in the 1980s. And for those who've been reading since then, yes they got Ray Zone to do the 3-D process here. The main problems with color 3-D are saturation (which is fixed by modern printing processes) and the fact you need to read under REALLY strong light or it's murkier than a Dreamwave book (not fixed). Under the right light, it's a bit neon (in the "my eyes are bleeding!" sense), but the effects work well. As they should, considering that Ray Zone has been at this for decades. The issue itself got a rating of Mildly Recommended (see http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/BW/Artifacts/Spotlight.shtml for more details), and this is like a really nifty redeco of a mediocre toy. Worth it as a novelty, I suppose, but otherwise neutral. $5.99. Monsterpocalypse #2 (of 3): Desperado - Desperado apparently has no pull with their printers, resulting in perpetually delayed books. That said, it could have used a little more delay for another editing pass (stuff like "simple mined" or a font where you can't tell A from R or D from O without a magnifying glass should have been caught). Since #1 came out, I've spent, um, way too much on the Monsterpocalypse game and become an official "Press Ganger" tournament organizer. So you might say I'm predisposed to want to like this book. Fortunately, editing issues aside, it's a definite step up from #1. Some character background, a bit of "Hey, piloting a giant robot is cool" that is often overlooked, and then a fight scene with Armodax and a Zor. Not sure which one, all them Zors look alike to me. ;) Recommended. $3.99 The Brave and the Bold #19: DC - I'm on the verge of dropping this book, but it looks like it's cancelled soon anyway, so I might as well see if the final issues are any good. David Hine and Doug Braithwaite bring us a story of Hal Jordan and the Phantom Stranger. The opening reads like Hine wanted an excuse to show off how many medical conditions he could name, and then it morphed into "Lotus-eaters in Space"...it looks like it might go somewhere interesting, but it's kinda meh so far. Mildly recommended. $2.99 US/Cn Ambush Bug Year None #4 (of 6): DC - Pretty incoherent even by the standards of this title, especially the opening scene with Didio. This issue mainly lambastes 52 and the "Guignol Age of Comics" that Didio's ushered in. Unfortunately (or fortunately), I don't read enough DC to get some of the gags, which veer into the extremely obscure, but I did like Batman's Secret Space Prison for Embarrassments From His Past. Coulda done without the Saw scene, though. No, it wasn't gross, just repetitive. Mildly recommended. $2.99 US/Cn Marvel Adventures Avengers #30: Marvel - Paul Tobin on writing, Matteo Lolli on art, and a rather 70s-feeling cover by "Nolan" (although Arreola's modern-style coloring misses the message). A very good introductory issue, both for the main cast and the new character Tobin brings in. Recommended. $2.99 (looks like they simply decided to stop printing Canadian prices) Avengers/Invaders #6 (of 12): Marvel/Dynamite - A somewhat conflicted issue, whipping back and forth between the fairly quiet and subdued scenes with the New Avengers and the Robot Revolution on the Helicarrier. Individually they're good, together it loses something. Mildly recommended. $2.99 X-Factor #37: Marvel - Kinda weird seeing new artist DeLandro work with characters that Stroman designed, trying to turn his stylistic quirks into a more "standard" form. PAD continues to blog on the Previously page (heck, there's stuff here he didn't put on his actual blog). Anyway, this is very much a middle issue in terms of both of the running plots, ending with two Big Shockers (and for the record, the Teresa shocker isn't the first time that's been shown happening on-camera in an X-book). Recommended. $2.99 Amazing Spider-Man #578: Marvel - Waid picks up the pen (keyboard, really) this week, with art by Marcos Martin. Generally a good story, although the final page shocker is a touch implausible given the way voir dire works in high profile trials. I think it also may constitute a bit of a retcon. Amyway, those quibbles aside, a good issue. Recommended. $2.99 Invincible #55: Image - Totally random thought...if Mark got a female Viltrumite sidekick, would she be Invincibelle? This issue is bookended by surprisingly non-destructive "action", and otherwise a deliberately narration-heavy Allen the Alien story fills the main part of the book. There's a touch of the book's signature gore, those who are squeamish about exploding brainmeats may want to skip over the second page after the staples. :) The backup feature is a short New Jersey Gods story, promoting an upcoming comic. High concept: Giffen-style Kirby gods in southern New Jersey. The focus character has married a human and is trying to settle down, but friends, relatives and enemies keep stopping by. I may have to give #1 a look. Recommended. $2.99 Dynamo5 #18: Image - Guest Artist Marcio Takara does most of the pages, and the story takes place mostly concurrently with #17's mind-dive. The Final Page Shocker is interesting in that there's at LEAST two ways this could go, if not four, without being a total cheat. :) I mean, just thinking about the powers of two of the characters running around offers a couple of ways out (although it's certainly an...interesting move for one of those characters if it's them). The backup is Dodge's Bullets, a detective adventure story in (as far as I can tell) a "real" world rather than a superheroic one. Written by Faerber, drawn by Joe Eisma (who has a nice, clear style and knows how to draw a 'Cuda). Recommended. $3.50 Gold Digger Peebo Tales #4: Antarctic Press - (Still no Gold Digger #100 or OHOTGDU #21.) Okay, I will grant you that the "wacky time machine infinite loop duplicates" plot has been done before (see, for instance, the Brak Show), but rarely with such an elegant resolution. :) Recommended. $3.50 US/Cn Atomic Robo Dogs of War #4 (of 5): Red5 Comics - If Robo were human, I'd suggest he and Sparrow just cut to the chase and get a room. :) I continue to love how this section of the series works...romantic comedy banter mixed in with Nazi cyborgs, mecha and general super-science involving "brain in a jar" types. The backup is a short piece from 1950 involving what looks kinda like a North Korean Evangelion. Strongly recommended. $2.95 Twisted Toyfare Theater vol 9: Wizard Entertainment - More of the same, really. There's a certain amount of overlap with Robot Chicken, but that's inevitable by now. If you like crude humor involving action figures, you'll like this. $12.99 US/Cn 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 11/19: Gold Digger #100 and Official Handbook of the Gold Digger Universe #21. Add Love & Capes TPB. Awards: "Blackout Ate My Quarter!" Award to Transformers Saga of the AllSpark #4 "No, Not That Kind Of Zone" Award to Transformers Spotlight 3-D Edition "I Hate You, You Hate Me" Award to Monsterpocalypse #2 (of 3) "Does Circe Show Up Next Issue?" Award to The Brave and the Bold #19 "It Doesn't Make Much More Sense When You're Sober, Renee" Award to Ambush Bug Year None #4 (of 6) "The Gelato Isn't Evil, It's Just Bad For You" Award to Marvel Adventures Avengers #30 "Maybe If Readers All Wish Really Hard..." Award to Avengers/Invaders #6 (of 12) "I'm Surprised This Doesn't Happen To M More Often" Award to X-Factor #37 "At Least The Artist Resisted The Obvious Temptation" Award to the Amazing Spider-Man #578 "Make Love, Not War" Award to Invincible #55 "Has No One In This Book Heard Of Sports Bras?" Award to Dynamo5 #18 "And They Never Did Check The Pillow, Did They?" Award to Peebo Tales #4 "Grantsmanship Is Tough All Over, Babe" Award to Atomic Robo Dogs of War #4 (of 5) "Sadly, Kirk Later Learned That In This Universe, Men Get Pregnant" Award to Twisted Toyfare Theater vol 9 (and yes, that IS a Red Dwarf ref on my part) Dave Van Domelen, "I like how you think I have any control over what's happening right now." - Atomic RoboBack to the Main Rants Page.
Check for Thanksgiving leftovers at the November 2008 Rants Page.