December 22, 2010

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, Santa Claus is more plausible than a complete Diamond shipment. Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): Atomic Robo: Deadly Art of Science #2 (of 5) 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 12/22/10: Invincible #72, Transformers Ironhide #4, Gorilla Man #2, Atlas #4, Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Update #3 (which I probably won't bother reviewing if it ever comes in), Guarding the Globe #1-2, Dynamo5 Sins of the Father #3, Science Dog #1, Chaos War #1, Taskmaster #2, Transformers Drift #4, Official Index to the Marvel Universe v2 #7, Tron Betrayal #2, Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #8, Chaos War Dead Avengers #1, Shadowland Power Man #4, Transformers Timelines G2 Redux and Gold Digger v3 #123, Hercules New Prince of Power TPB. Add Transformers Sector 7 #4. Also, I'm taking Tom Strong off my pull and officially giving up on ever seeing (or, frankly, caring about) the missing issues. "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. Time-Shifting: Sometimes I get a comic a week or two late because of Diamond's combination of neglect and incompetence. If it's more than a week late, though, I won't review it unless it's very notable. Additionally, I will often get tradepaperbacks long after publication or even sometimes before Diamond ships them, and those will go here. If I'm reasonably sure I'm reviewing something that didn't ship this week, this is the section for it. Atomic Robo: Deadly Art of Science #2 (of 5): Red5 Comics - Ah, another boring day in the lab, discovering the Vampire Dimension and so forth. But at night, exciting pulp vigilante adventures! Romance! Extremely annoyed pulp vigilantes who don't particularly approve of the romance! Strongly recommended. $3.50 Also, see below for the CBR Special 2. 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. Legion of Super-Heroes #8: DC - The Durlan assassin plot comes to the fore this issue, so there's a lot of orange on the page. The two pages of leadership election results, though, may provide more characterization bits than the entire rest of the issue, as we see who everyone voted for (not a secret ballot). Recommended. $3.99 Chaos War: Dead Avengers #2 (of 3): Marvel - Still no #1 anywhere around here. This is the middle issue of a siege, lots of emotional loose ends being brought up if not actually dealt with. And we learn some Kree profanities, because sergeants are sergeants the universe 'round. Still, it's very much a side story, with no real indication that it will have an impact on the Chaos War itself, which means it stands or falls on these character bits. I think Van Lente bit off a bit more than he has space to chew here. A three-issue series focusing on just one of the dead Avengers might have worked, but it's just too superficial if you didn't already care about the characters. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Invincible #76: Image - Loads more bloodshed and fighting, but the Vultrumite leader makes an Important Decision just shy of what would have been at least a tactical victory, and we're not told what it is. The final page shocker has Invincible deciding he knows what it is, but there's no guarantee he's right. Despite being confined to a single title, the Viltrumite War feels a lot bigger than Chaos War, probably because it's a one-writer show and doesn't suffer from Marvel's utter lack of top-level vision. Rather than an in-setting backup story, this time we get a preview of "The Li'l Depressed Boy," which tries really really hard to be indie. Recommended. $2.99 Dynamo5 Holiday Special 2010: Image - The main story isn't really holiday-themed, it just takes place around Christmas for the characters. It's dominated by a standalone story that's an obvious mirror to the D5 characters' lives...and in the standard storytelling style it would be used to resolve the questions about Hector that were raised at the end of Sins of the Father. Instead, Faerber makes sure that the reader knows that those questions are far from answered. On the surface, it looks like they are, but people who actually know Hector are less than confident about it. There's also a bunch of 1-2 page epilogues that are really just ways to keep several other subplots simmering (i.e. Firebirds, Synergy, the FLAG command thing), with the last one being setup for the next D5 miniseries. Recommended. $3.99 Awards: "Sometimes You NEED A Flexible View Of Pacifism" Award to Atomic Robo: Deadly Art of Science "Of COURSE He Voted For Himself" Award to Legion of Super-Heroes #8 "Besides, Mantis Would Find A Way To Kill Him If He Did" Award to Chaos War: Dead Avengers #2 (of 3) "I Only Showed You Your Own Entrails, Quit Whining" Award to Invincible #76 "Did She Steal That Girl's Scrunchie?" Award to Dynamo5 Holiday Special 2010 Dave Van Domelen, "C'MON. I've done SOME adventuring. Fought a monster from outer space a while back." "What?" "And wrestled with vampire monsters from another UNIVERSE just this afternoon!" "Yeah, saying things like that is going to make me want to trust you with firearms." - Atomic Robo and Jack Tarot

Dave's CBR Special 2


"Diamond Has Gotten Even More Incompetent Lately" December 25, 2010

Once again, I've racked up a list of a couple dozen books that Diamond simply won't ship to my store, and asked a friend to look for them at his shop. I gave him a list of everything with a Previews catalog date of August 2010 or older, since by this point those are so late my store can return them should the eventually ship. And as with last time, the ones he couldn't find hardcopies of for me, he dug up CBR format scans. The harder it gets to buy comics, the easier it gets to find pirate scans. He found the following, which I'll review once they arrive in the mail: Invincible #72, Atlas #4, Dynamo5 Sins of the Father #3, Gorilla Man #2, Chaos War #1, Iron Man: Titanium #1, Taskmaster #2. And now, the CBRs. I generally intend to buy these comics if I ever FIND them (with some noted exceptions), but that's looking increasingly unlikely. (Oh, and he also got me a CBR of OHOTMU A-Z #3, but I won't be reviewing that.) Transformers: Ironhide #4 (of 4): IDW - Okay, this one I might not buy if I find it in person. The first half has Ironhide blowing up Insecticons in various ways, then the plot device kicks in and the rest of the issue is Alpha Trion being a condescending ass. It's as if they took an Ironhide Spotlight set pre-war and then padded it out into a miniseries just so they could A) undo killing off Sunstreaker and Ironhide and B) explain how Cybertron became marginally habitable between Stormbringer and All Hail Megatron. Heck, Ironhide himself thinks the whole thing was an utter waste of time, invoking DRHenry's Law: when characters in the story start complaining about how stupid the plot is, you're in trouble. I suggest that a Transformers fan with better image-mangling skils than mine try to assemble the Lost Spotlight out of just the flashbacks. :) Avoid. $3.99 Transformers: Drift #4 (of 4): IDW - Yes, two miniseries in a row, Diamond shipped the first three and then decided we didn't need to see the final issue in Manhattan KS. Like Ironhide, there's a whole lot of fighting against nameless foes here too, with most of the combatants designed in a style that makes them hard to tell apart. Unlike Ironhide, this only felt padded out about two to one rather than four to one, and the ending wasn't quite as pointless. In fact, McCarthy actually managed to capture the idea that this is the beginning of finding meaning, the start of a personal journey, rather than nihilistic "Oh, I needed someone to kill bugs for a while, now go clean up". The giant third sword is also explained, but it's still dumb. :) Mildly recommended. $3.99 Tron: Betrayal #2 (of 2): Marvel - Just to be on the safe side, Diamond wants to protect me from the ends of Marvel's miniserieses as well (Shadowland Power Man #4 is also on the Missing Books list, but it's new enough I didn't ask my friend to get it yet). Anyway, this does a pretty good job of fleshing out the background for Tron: Legacy without giving away the (admittedly really obvious) plot twists of the movie. It even answers a question that hadn't occured to me, regarding the Isos. And unlike the original movie adaptation, the art doesn't decline in quality, looking just as good here as in #1. Mind you, some of the fight scenes are badly laid out and confusing, but one could say it's an accurate depiction of the fights in the movie. :) Recommended. $4.99 Guarding the Globe #1-2: Image - I'd actually started wondering if this title was vaporware, given that neither issue had shipped here. Of course, the fact it had to change titles from "Guardians of the Globe" (probably ran afoul of DC's lawyers) likely caused problems for Diamond's already overtaxed Windows 3.1-based inventory system. #1 is mainly focued on the idea that a new team is necessary, given the deaths and retirements from the team over the years in Invincible, with one newbie recruited from Nepal. And #2 makes me think they're going to tread the DC Guardians of the Globe territory pretty heavily, what with national stereotypes abounding. Yeah, Invincible is all about the retro-80s stuff, but do we NEED another boomerang-slinging Aussie super? I suppose we haven't had TOO many chupacabra-based supers yet, though. Anyway, like the main Invincible book, it's a mix of 80s-style superheroics and ultraviolence. A fairly fun read, once you get past the wink-wink-nudge-nudge stuff. $3.50 each. Science Dog Special #1: Image - Turns out this is entirely reprints of backups from Invincible, with new material in the upcoming issue. So, since I already own this material, it's just as well I didn't pay for it again. :) It's rather deliberately heavy on exposition, since it's meant to be a comic within the comic and a bit of a retro-Silver Age one at that, and I'm thinking that small doses work better with it anyway. Mildly recommended. $3.50 No Awards this time out. Dave Van Domelen, "You were always going to get killed, sooner or later." - Alpha Trion to Ironhide
Back to the Main Rants Page.

Retrograde on back to the December 2010 Page.