December 9, 2009

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. An archive can be found on my homepage, I've spent way too much time today smelling burning rubber. Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): None. "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. Late Books: These are comics that were not listed as shipping during the week they were reviewed. Sometimes someone recommends a book to me that's already out, and I grab it over the weekend. Sometimes it's a trade paperback I ordered online rather than trusting Diamond. Sometimes the store screwed up or I was inobservant and I missed something I meant to get. USUALLY, though, it's because Diamond didn't ship what it was supposed to ship and I had to scrounge around or wait on a reorder. Nothing this week. New Comics: Comics and comic collections that I got this week and were actually supposed to be out this week, as far as I can tell. These reviews will generally be spoiler-free, but the occasional bit will slip in. Transformers Timelines #4: FunPub - Gasp! It actually shipped to my store without requiring months of reordering! Anyway, the FP comics are made to provide fiction for BotCon's annual batch of redecos that they sell for a few hundred bucks a set, and the theme this time was the Elite Guard, taking the TF:Animated concept and putting it in a pseudo-G1 context. The main story is a tale of Kup's youth, with the framing sequence being an odd re- envisioning of the 1980s movie's "story time" with Universe Cyclonus and redecos of Cybertron Sideways taking the role of Sweeps attacking. Rik Alvarez goes a bit overboard with bits of the story in places, but for a comic that has to bring in a bunch of "new" characters (old names, new bodies, new interactions) it does pretty well. Khanna's art on the framing sequence is rather busy, but Guidi's flashback story art is pretty good. Recommended. $4.95 The Transformers #2: IDW - Lots more characters strut on stage to get the new design treatment, but otherwise it's mostly a lot of "what now?" discussions and false starts. Leaving, then not leaving. Fighting, then stopping suddenly and talking. The storytelling equivalent of an engine stalling, although clearly a sense of flailing about was intentional. It just doesn't strike me as the best way to go in a title that's theoreticaly trying to pick up new readers. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Adventure Comics #5: DC - Okay, the "Supergirl Pieta" cover has been done to death, so I suppose it's only appropriate that a Black Lantern ring zombify it. And as long as we're in a dark parody spirit, I should point out that much of this issue is a Legion of Net.Heroes story. Several of them, in fact, as "net.heroes rail at their Writers" is a fairly common theme in the LNH. In the end, of course, he's proven right in hating the DC writers. The Kon-El backup is fairly short, but takes some interesting twists in the whole "parallel the original Superboy" shtick. Recommended. $3.99 REBELS #11: DC - Blackest Night. Sadly, the potential of Vril Dox II with a power ring isn't really fulfilled. Oh, he's Vril enough in general, but he doesn't do much with the ring beyond standard tricks. Of course, in the chaos of the three-front battle here (REBELS/Sinestro Corps, Starro, Black Lanterns), there's not a lot of time for anyone to get too much screen space. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Booster Gold #27: DC - Blackest Night. It looks like there's a plot device out there to destroy Black Lanterns, but they're being kinda inconsistent about how well it works. Not a problem, though, since there's a good story wrapped around the plot devices here. Recommended. $3.99 Secret Six #16: DC - Not Blackest Night, but there's a graveyard on the cover anyway. Most of the issue is narrated by Black Alice, who's the girl in the graveyard on the cover...she seems to be essentially a mystic Adaptoid, but the more power she tries to copy the less time it last and the harder it is to control. This story is essentially an audition for her, although we get some idea of Bane's new (profitable) direction for the team as well. Recommended. $2.99 SWORD #2: Marvel - A bit of dialogue between the Beast and Death's Head suggests that this takes place in DH's personal timeline VERY early in his career, before his interactions with the Transformers. This also allows for the new design Sanders gave him to come undone (possibly as a result of repairs from this issue's events) before his next in-personal-timeline appearance. :) Sorry, just don't care for the curly horns. It's also set after Dark Reign, to judge from Noh-Varr's status as ex-Avenger. A big chunk of the issue involves Gyrich showing that sort of implausibly effective action seen in villains early in a story, where they set up the horrible situation that then gets defused because of their subsequent reduction to the status of drooling idiots of ignore ever item on the Evil Overlord List. Hopefully Gillen doesn't fall too badly into that trap, and he does seem to be setting up the invocation of a different set of cliches, but it's still a somewhat bad sign. Mildly recommended. $2.99 Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #18: Marvel - Featuring Nova, who's definitely in a "classic" mode. Actually, the whole book is, as it's made clearer in this followup to last issue that both it and this are set in the past of the Marvel Adventures continuity (to the extent that it has continuity). For instance, Reed and Sue are still dating rather than married (which was probably alluded to last issue, but I missed it), and the Avengers get founded officially here. Mind you, it's not too far in the past, given the trappings of modern stuff, so maybe this is a full reboot of the MA setting. Or, as I suggested last time, an isolated alt-Earth that won't be revisited. Mildly recommended. $2.99 The Amazing Spider-Man #614: Marvel - The Electro arc ends with Big Changes, and a foreshadowing of what the rest of the Gauntlet will be about: amping up Spidey's rogues. Um, not always literally, though. I still haven't really warmed to the style of Azaceta's artwork, but the structure is good. Recommended. $2.99 Ninja High School #175: Antarctic Press - Looks like this is one of those months where we get AP books a week ahead of Midtown Comics. :) This issue is a combination of epilogue to the Shidoshi uber-arc (aka the coming of age of Ricky Feeple and Tetsuo Rivalsan) and setup for the next cohort, apparently centering on Bianca Feeple, who gets her own suitors (the Yoroidan Samurai Trooper with the British accent could get tiresome fast if the fakey accent doesn't moderate, though) after an Easter Egg hunt of sorts through the rebuilt Quagmire. The backup story is a chibified musical summary of Tetsuo's life, and then there's a glossary of some of the cast, both Shidoshi and post-Shidoshi. This issue marks the end of Bevard's rather impressive run on the title, which he has written or co-written for nearly a hundred issues. #176 will come out in a few months, to give Ben Dunn time to build up a backlog. Recommended. $3.99 Gold Digger X-Mas Special #3: Antarctic Press - As usual, a bunch of shorts covering holiday stuff for various characters at various times in their lives, some taking place in continuity and some definitely not. The two longest pieces are parodies of "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" (casting the were-rat trio as the stealers of mirth, appropriately) and the 12 Days of Christmas (I want ten racing Peebos!). Interestingly, the two more serious stories both involve Santa helping characters deal with absent parents. Recommended. $3.50 Gold Digger Tifanny & Charlotte Second Semester #4: Antarctic Press - A bizarre mashup of Rick Springfield's old SatAM cartoon, Josie and the Pussycats, and the "Jabba's Palace" sequence from Return of the Jedi, with just a touch of Muppet Show. This one isn't as good as most of the series, and I think part of it is that it goes TOO weird and wacky. The grounding is largely gone, and it's the conflict between mundane and bizarre that makes the title work. It's still good, but not as good as usual. Recommended. $3.99 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 12/9/09: Official Handbook of the Gold Digger Universe #22, Gold Digger v3 #105. No new missing books, amazingly. Awards: "Neon Dion" Award to Transformers Timelines #4 "Wait, What's My Motivation?" Award to The Transformers #2 "He Shoulda Gone To The Marvel Offices And Requested Asylum...Or To The Asylum Office And Requested Marvel" Award to Adventure Comics #5 "For Those Two, Trying To Kill Each Other Is Just Foreplay" Award to REBELS #11 "No, The Answer Is To Attack Them With Light YAGAMI" Award to Booster Gold #27 "Yes, You ARE Emo" Award to Secret Six #16 "Gyrich Needs More Vanguard Costume Pieces" Award to SWORD #2 "They Might Have Some Relationship Advice For Ben Grimm" Award to Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #18 "Print Is Dead" Award to The Amazing Spider-Man #614 "Ryo's Not The One I'd Think Of With That Accent Anyway" Award to Ninja High School #175 "Dead Puppies Aren't Much Fun" Award to Gold Digger X-Mas Special #3 "They Can Taste Good Deep-Fried, Though" Award to Gold Digger: Tifanny & Charlotte Second Semester #4 Dave Van Domelen, "Okay. This is a ludicrously high-tech gun so it doesn't have anything which makes a handily intimidating noise. So imagine a 'CLLLLICK!' at this point." - Commander Brand, SWORD #2
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