Standard Disclaimers: Please set appropriate followups. Recommendation does not factor in price. Not all books will have arrived in your area this week. Not as light a week as I thought it'd be. Rants, Capsules can be found on my homepage, http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/Rants "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. Wolverine: Election Day: Pocket Star Books - Like a lot of Marvel novels, this exists in a sort of "not quite Earth-616" setting, to the extent that while all the stuff starts as being able to fit into 616, the story itself isn't acknowledged by the comics, making this a divergence. (Speaking of not quite fitting, while the painted cover is nicely dynamic, I'm pretty sure it rarely snows that deeply in Washington D.C. in early November.) It's a pretty good read, and I had no trouble reading most of it in one sitting yesterday (got about 80 pages in the day before, but was kinda busy and couldn't give it much time). The law of character conservation does make certain plot twists a bit obvious, although PAD's tendency to bury easter eggs cast a little doubt on some of the otherwise-obvious bits. He also managed to work in one of his recurring things, the thought processes of sharks. The ending is a bit disappointing, in that we get the equivalent of those video game cut scenes where you get to see but not actually fight the final boss, leaving things open for the villain's reuse. Recommended. $7.99/$9.50Cn 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): None Transformers Timelines #3: FP Comics - I am astonished! Diamond actually shipped this one, more or less on time! I never did get last year's through Diamond. The story picks up directly from...somewhere else. It never says where, and it's not Timelines #2 (I did finally get a CBR of that, and doublechecked it just now). Maybe something in the Collectors' Club magazine, which I don't get. [Later note: I've had this confirmed. Cliffjumper chased the clear-plastic Club Exclusive toys through a plot hole, and while they landed in the main Club setting, Cliffy got dumped in Shattered Glass.] Anyway, how Cliffjumper got into the Shattered Glass universe isn't too important, as the story mainly focuses on how he deals with being there (in and among the worldbuilding infodumps). Figueroa's art is pretty good, and Ben Yee's story is okay, burdened by a G1-like need to trot all the toys on-camera in one issue (for those who don't follow TF fandom, most of the characters in here were BotCon 2008 convention exclusive toys). [Later note: the story continues in Club-Exclusive text stories.] There's also character data pages for evil porn-stache Rodimus and heroic Starscream. But what really makes this issue worth picking up is the inclusion of the three page April Fool's gag "leaked preview" of the Shattered Glass story, by M "Insert Quip Here" Sipher and Trent Troop. Tally ho! Recommended. $4.95 Transformers Animated The Arrival #5: IDW - Eh, fairly weak issue. The lead story treads pretty familiar ground and doesn't really spend enough time on it to go past the cliche. The much longer second story with art by Boo (ick) takes place during the first Lockdown episode and milks a gag rather too long. Reversing the relative pagecounts of these might have helped. Neutral. $3.99 (I got Cover B) Marvel Zombies 3 #3 (of 4): Marvel - This issue is fairly evenly split between Aaron fighting zombies and various zombies explaining the Big Plan (most of which was fairly obvious as soon as Morbius was revealed last issue). Jocasta gets a couple of pages to angst, though. Mildly recommended, mainly for Aaron's clever carnage. $3.99 She-Hulk: Cosmic Collision One-Shot: Marvel - A fairly thin premise, but it works to get a bunch of female heroes together and let them interact for a bit before fighting a Big Damn Menace, tying in somewhat to PAD's Captain Marvel run. Asrar's art is pretty good for this, although I don't much like his version of the prime mover of the plot. Plenty of cute dialogue, such as when Jaz is introduced to Phyla-Vell. PAD also demonstrates that he could do a good Guardians of the Galaxy should A&L leave. Recommended. $3.99 Amazing Spider-Man #579: Marvel - Fairly simple plot, "escape the trap while chatting to keep everyone's mind off impending doom." Waid does a good job with it, while also advancing a few subplots for other writers to play with. Recommended. $2.99 Justice Society of America #21: DC - Lots of fighting and referring back to (supposedly) interesting things that happened in various Kingdom one-shots in the past week or two. So much carnage that you know there's gonna be a reset button of some sort. Mildly recommended. $2.99 Ninja High School #165: Antarctic Press - Well, the issue title is "Finale", but it's more of a penultimate issue. Things get a bit confusing as everyone's fighting Yuudai and appearances are occasionally changing (for a panel or two I thought Super-Saiyan Yuudai was actually Ricky, for instance). The Two Ricky mystery is resolved, at least. In an interesting format choice, the frontispiece splash is reproduced with color as the rear non-flip alternate cover. Mildly recommended. $2.99 US/Cn Gold Digger v3 #101: Antarctic Press - Cute cover copy, a burst proclaiming "101st Issue!" but with the "10" really tiny. We get a Three Year Gap after the events of #100, which I suppose works fine since the past three years realtime of the comic probably fit into a few months. :) The returning on-screen cast is pared down to just Gina and Brit, with a half dozen or so new archaeology-heroes introduced along with a new villain or two. Well, okay, three returning characters, but Gespie is new enough that I don't really think of him as returning cast in the same way as, say, Charlie or Genn would be. :) In a few places it tries maybe a little too hard to be a Jumping On Point, but it's not like excessive exposition is out of character for Gina. In fact, LACK of excessive exposition is out of character for Gina. Recommended. $2.99 US/Cn I Hate Gallant Girl #1 (of 3): Image - This is an interesting concept let down by a few problems in the execution. First the concept, courtesy of Jim Valentino. This is an "old growth" superhero universe, and Gallant Girl is a sort of a cross between Wonder Woman and Miss America...no, not the Invaders heroine, the pageant queen. Every ten years, there's a pageant and a new Gallant Girl is chosen to join the nation's elite superhero team, the Fellowship of Freedom. Renee Tempete, the protagonist, grew up wanting to be Gallant Girl, confident that her elemental powers would let her win when she was old enough. Of course, given the title, it's not surprising she doesn't win. And the winner is a bimbo who barely has powers beyond filling out the costume. So Renee is caught in a potential "Singing in the Rain" situation, but a veteran hero (who is not fully named in the actual story...one of those execution things I mentioned, I know know his full codename thanks to the editor's page teasers thing on the inside back cover...this is also the only place in the actual book that it's made clear this is a 3 issue series, which I suppose at least puts this a step ahead of IDW) gives her a chance to do something else. Interesting premise, and aside from a few minor mistakes like the name thing, scripter Kat Cahill does a good job with it. But the art by Seth Damoose is a problem. Oh, it's good in general, and he's a competent visual storyteller. But based on the scripting, Renee is supposedly unattractive and at least a little hefty (one character calls her a "troll", although he's not exactly reliable...but even a more reliable character admits she fails on the physical beauty standard). But in the art, she at *worst* gives up a cup size on the actual Gallant Girl, and is slimmer in the hips...the costume would have to be taken in, not out as stated. She's shorter, and brunette rather than blonde, but otherwise looks nearly as attractive as Gallant Girl. There is, in fact, a striking mirror image layout in the scene transition between Renee and Gallant Girl that shows they could almost be twins. Sure, there's probably some "glasses ugly" going on here (i.e. put makeup and nicer clothing on Renee and she no longer looks frumpy), but I had a hard time believing that everyone in the book would accept that Renee wasn't good-looking enough to be Gallant Girl. (And yes, this is going on a lot longer than my usual reviews, but I got this issue on Wednesday so it was the only book I had to review that day.) Anyway, I've added this to my pull on the strength of the story and the potential it has, but I hope the artist does a better job of showing why Renee fails to meet the GG ideal other than being a brunette (all seven previous ones had been blonde). Recommended. $3.50 I Hate Gallant Girl #2 (of 3): Image - The main theme of this issue is that there's rot at the core of the Fellowship, something not terribly surprising for a team that's been around for several generations. Cahill does a pretty good job of keeping it up in the air who exactly is dirty, though, only confirming at the very end which side of the equation is negative. I actually think this would have been a stronger issue if they'd left off the last couple of pages and let the reader stew for a month over the possibility that they'd figured wrong on who the villain was, though. The art continues to not show a whole lot of difference between Gallant Girl and Tempest (yeah, she just happened to get a press-assigned codename that was the English translation of her given last name, although I suppose Blue Thunder could have slipped the codename to a tame reporter in advance). A friend pointed out the other week that this story could easily fit into the Empowered universe, and those parallels get even stronger this issue. But without anyone ending up in bondage (sorry, certain types of Emp fan). Recommended. $3.50 (Aside: the cover for #3 is shown on the back cover, and it hasn't been corrected to replace "Galaxy Gal" with the final name "Gallant Girl".) 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 12/4: Official Handbook of the Gold Digger Universe #21, Love & Capes TPB. Awards: "Sharks Are Shockingly Ill-Read" Award to Wolverine: Election Day "Cut The Jibba-Jabba!" Award to Transformers Timelines #3 "You Can't Teach A Sneech" Award to Transformers Animated the Arrival #5 "Fatal Stack Error" Award to Marvel Zombies 3 #3 (of 4) "Who Knew?" Award to She-Hulk: Cosmic Collision "And Starring In 1984 The Musical..." Award to Amazing Spider-Man #579 "Root Of All Evil?" Award to Justice Society of America #21 "Captain Katana II?" Award to Ninja High School #165 "Self-Aware, Gendered Gloves Are SUCH A Bad Idea" Award to Gold Digger v3 #101 "That Same Month, Fifty Caped Children Plummetted To Their Dooms" Award to I Hate Gallant Girl #1 (of 3) "But Will She Win A Capey?" Award to I Hate Gallant Girl #2 (of 3) Dave Van Domelen, "Mantis tends to do that. You get USED to it. Or at least I'm TOLD you do. Actually, it still pisses ME off royally." - Gamora, She-Hulk: Cosmic CollisionBack to the Main Rants Page.
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