Standard Disclaimers: Please set appropriate followups. Recommendation does not factor in price. Not all books will have arrived in your area this week. Was awake 21 hours yesterday, bleh. Rants, Capsules can be found on my homepage, http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/Rants First Look Comments: Books I read over the weekend as First Looks, but didn't buy, so can't really say much in detail about. DC has stopped having First Looks, so it's just Marvel and Image...and there's word that Diamond doesn't want to bother with the program at all anymore. Books for next week - None. Was in Greensboro on Wednesday. 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. Happy Meal Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century Toys: McDonald's - This month, McD's is doing a Happy Meal promotion tie-in with the first season of the new LSH cartoon. Each week there's two characters (both male) from the cartoon done as non-poseable PVC figures packed in book-shaped cases. They come with trading cards that describe both the character and the scene shown on the case/card. The box is mixed, half LSH and half Build-A-Bear (McD's usually does this, a "boy" toy series parallel with a "girl" toy series). The LSH side has various animated images, a "defeat Mano" game that involves having your figure punch out holes in the Mano image (yes, it's as lame as it sounds, if not lamer) and an Interlac alphabet translation. Week 1 has Superman (can't call him Superboy anymore, lest the lawyers get nervous) and Timberwolf, both in airborne poses so that they can't stand on their own. They rest against diorama-printed blisters and are held in place by clear clamshell halves. Neither can stand on its own, but both are about the right size to be slapped on an Attacktix base for kitbashing. Most stores will sell you just the toy for about a buck, worth grabbing at that price. The Clockwork Girl #0: Arcana - Okay, it was a quarter, and steampunky, I decided to give it a shot. It sets up what looks like it's going to be a sort of Romeo & Juliet relationship between the title character and a beast boy created by the rival of Clockwork Girl's creator, with mechanism and biology standing in for Montagues and Capulets. I'm not sure this #0 sets the right kind of tone for getting readers hooked, though. It feels...like failure. We get this picture of mighty scientists on the first page, and it's all downhill from there, feeling like they've peaked and never quite managed to fulfil their potential. Like the Clockwork Girl and Huxley the beast boy (and yes, I get the Darwin reference there) are sad little "didn't quite make it" creations. And the story ends before you get much hint that life won't keep sucking for all involved. The second half of the book is design sketches and "how this story came to be" stuff. Overall, I'd like to like this, but it just damps my enthusiasm. Mildly recommended. 25 cents Ninja High School #151: Antarctic Press - Prince of Tennis parody this time, with a side order of Bleach foreshadowing. It was okay, but given that I've been avoiding Prince of Tennis, I just didn't get into it. Mildly recommended. $2.99/$4.05Cn Justice Society of America #8: DC - Time for Johns to show that yes, he did read at least a few issues of the backstories of the characters he's playing with. The reference-dropping gets a bit ham-fisted at times, but it is nice to see people remembering things like the Parobeck JSA series. There's a few places where he's a bit annoyingly coy about some characters (probably because he's waiting for their own spotlight issues), but I generally liked it. Recommended. $2.99/$3.65Cn Welcome to Tranquility #9: DC/Wildstorm - Zombie apocalypse! Some of the threads running through the past few issues get brought together, plus Gen13 guest appearance action. A rather nifty "supernatural Western antihero" character gets dropped in at the end of the main story, then featured in the backup. Recommended. $2.99/$3.65Cn The Irredeemable Ant-Man #11: Marvel - Penultimate issue! And sloooowing the pace down a wee bit, as most of the issue is devoted to showing that while the protagonist is a jerk, the main antagonist is a psycho. And Iron Man is a putz. But we knew that one already. Mildly recommended. $2.99/$3.75Cn Thor #2: Marvel - Speaking of slow, it's mostly angst and homesteading this issue. Decent as far as it goes, but feels kinda skippable. Mildly recommended. $2.99/$3.75Cn New Warriors #3: Marvel - Well, we get a somewhat macabre viewing of the bodies from Stamford, and most of the issue is devoted to the idea that maybe, just maybe, Thrash survived. Microbe didn't, though. The rest is former-mutant Angst, with a nicely subtle Wolverine guest appearance. Recommended. $2.99/$3.75Cn Fantastic Four #548: Marvel - Running fight/conflict issue, mainly with the Wizard saying "I rule! Admit it!" while the rest of the Frightful Four worry about their inevitable and horrible beatings ("I'm with Mo. WAIT for Reed Richards to attack? That's not a plan, it's a suicide note." - Titania, invoking DRHenry's Law). A lot of, "Bet you didn't expect this!" "No, but did you expect THIS?" counter-tactics. McDuffie's not really on his A-game this issue, unfortunately, and he also falls prey to some Identity Crisis-ing. Mildly recommended. $2.99/$3.75Cn Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #30: Marvel - It's odd to see the villain of this story brought into the MA universe without his connection to the traditional object of his obsessions. I think Mhan is drawing Peter a little too young, more like 12-13 instead of a high school student, which is odd given that he had no problems drawing Spy Boy as a high school student. Recommended. $2.99/$3.75Cn Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four #4 (of 4): Marvel - A decent ending, wrapping up a plot thread that's been dangling around for, oh, a couple of decades while also resolving the main Hirogen story. Recommended. $2.99/$3.75Cn Ms. Marvel #18: Marvel - Well, Reed definitely has an ear for the nextwave'd version of Aaron Stack, who joins Carol's strike team this issue (and generally bitches about things). Sleepwalker also joins up, but doesn't do much aside from being the butt of jokes. Various subplots continue, and one or two of them fold into the new main plot threat. Plotwise a little weak, but well scripted. Recommended. $2.99/$3.75Cn She-Hulk v2 #20: Marvel - Huh, I thought Slott had a few more issues, but I guess not. That, or he has something else he has to do before PAD comes onboard. In any case, rather than leaving all sorts of danglers, or focusing on one thread and leaving the rest to mentions in passing, we get a series of 2-4 page short-short stories covering what seems to be all the plots he'd planned for the next year or so. Or, I think, several of the ones he'd had planned for THIS year, that got overridden by all the Mega Event Tie-In stuff. Loads of resolutions, at golden age pace. Recommended. $2.99/$3.75Cn [Later note: Slott has one more issue, and will be spending it dealing with all the other continuity problems in the Marvel U, or something like that.] Wire Mothers: Harry Harlow and the Science of Love GN: G.T. Labs - Nonstandard size pages (6"x9"), Ottaviani's latest science biography (he has another out, but I'm having trouble shaking them loose, as due to a computer crash my store never ordered 'em initially). Anyway, it opens a little confusingly (hint: the shadowed figure is Harry Harlow, and he's reading scientific papers by other psychologists, probably Skinnerians or neo-Freudians), but settles down into first some biography and then Harlow's most famous work, discovery that whatever love is, it goes beyond food or sex or conditioned response. Given that I just got back from a conference with a heavy focus on Cognitive Science, I was certainly ready to read dissing of Behaviorists. :) Recommended. $12.95 Twisted Toyfare Theater 10th Anniversary Collection: Wizard - Most of this 256 page collection is given over to the Top 25 "funniest" TTT strips and some of their supporting material (OHOTMU-like entries, etc). There's also about 30 pages of bonus materials (reprints from non-Toyfare strips, plus some of the one-panel stuff from Toyfare) so people who already own all the TTT collections have motivation to buy this tome, like the suckers we are. Recommended if you don't already have the previous collections, neutral otherwise (it's kinda expensive for 30-40 pages of new stuff). $29.99/$42.00Cn 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 8/3: Still missing and might come in: Fallen Angel #15, Levitation GN from GT Labs (store had computer crash in May, they never got ordered), Transformers Timelines (wasn't available on the retailer order form in the first place!). Cancelled by Diamond (again): Dr. Debunko: the Short Stories, Devil's Panties #7-8 (and the TPB that came in this week was of 1-6). Awards: "Clank's Kid Sister" Award to The Clockwork Girl #0 "What Next, A Talking Mace?" Award to Ninja High School #151 "Maybe He Should Join The Legion Instead?" Award to Justice Society of America #8 "What, You Thought He Was Being Metaphorical?" Award to Welcome to Tranquility #9 "Footnotes Are Your Friends" Award to The Irredeemable Ant-Man #11 (of 12) "Gonna Need A Zoning Variance On That" Award to Thor #2 "Stop Asking Me Where Baymax Is, I'm Not Hiro Takachiho!" Award to New Warriors #3 "Say, Isn't That A Hologram?" Award to Fantastic Four #548 "That's Why I Wear Slip-On Shoes" Award to Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #30 "Pop Music" Award to Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four #4 (of 4) "Google Is Your Friend" Award to Ms. Marvel #18 "Guess That Explains It" Award to She-Hulk v2 #20 "Tepid Monkey Love" Award to Wire Mothers: Harry Harlow and the Science of Love GN "I've Got A Pumpkin" Award to Twisted Toyfare Theater 10th Anniversary Collection Dave Van Domelen, "What the hell is he talking about?" "Lady, I got NO idea. I met that guy twenty minutes ago and he hasn't stopped TERRIFYING me since." - Ms. Marvel and Sleepwalker on the subject of Aaron StackBack to the Main Rants Page.
Evaporate back to the August 2007 Rants Page.