Free Comic Book Day 2016

Dave's Free Comic Book Day 2016 Capsules

In this installment: Awake #0, Drawn & Quarterly Presents Mooncop, Dreamjumper, Rom #0, Doctor Who FCBD 2016, Dark Horse FCBD 2016, Spectrum #0, The Tick FCBD 2016, Dark Lily & Friends, DC SuperHero Girls. So, here's the ground rules on these reviews. As free books, they're essentially extended ads. That means they're trying to get us to buy something later, whether it be another comic, or a movie, or even a roleplaying game. By hitting more than one store I was able to get ten physical books, a few of which fall into the "never heard of it before seeing it on the table" category. I'll be reviewing these based on how well I think they do their job, bonus points for convincing me to start picking up a book I wasn't already planning on. Awake #0: Action Lab - There's a LOT of worldbuilding to get through here (and that's kinda a pun on the storyline), and I don't think they quite managed it. I have a vague sense that there's these space-born people with elemental abilities who can talk to and repair planetary biospheres, and that those planets can get broken somehow in a way technology can't fix, but... that's about it. Sort of a sci-fi Avatar the Last Airbender, maybe? One issue might have been enough time to adequately set up one of the two parallel arcs, but I was left feeling like the creators really don't have a handle on serial writing. Not gonna pick up this book. Drawn & Quarterly Presents Mooncop (A Tom Gauld Sampler): Drawn & Quarterly - The first half is a preview of an upcoming Mooncop book, which takes as its premise that colonizing the Moon was...kinda dull. And the bloom is off the rose about a generation after the colonization. Looks to be taking the tone of a cop in a quiet dying rustbelt town or something. The second half is a bunch of Gauld's strips, almost all of which I have seen as facebook or Tumblr shares, I think. Gauld has a sort of Gorey-ish feel, but less macabre and more of Gorey's "the fantastic is kind of boring, really" tone. I may order Moon Cop, but since it's due in September I can't actually order it NOW. DreamJumper: Scholastic - This is either a prequel to or the first section of Book One: Nightmare Escape, a graphic novel that's part of Scholastic's business model of releasing entire stories to bookstores and largely bypassing traditional comics markets. Written by Greg Grunberg (played the telepathic cop in Heroes, among other things). Unlike Awake, this one does a good job of setting up the premise fairly clearly without infodump. It helps that it's based more in the present day (sure, it's almost entirely in a freakish fantasy realm, but it's clearly a fantasy realm informed by the dreams and nightmares of present-day kids). The protagonist seems to have a destiny of sorts, your basic Campbellian hero. This one is due in July, and is available for preorder on Amazon. Putting it on my list. Rom #0: IDW - Short Rom intro, sketchbook of Rom designs, and then an even shorter Action Man intro. The Marvel version's base premise of "Dire Wraiths have secretly invaded Earth, Rom is here to stop them" is preserved, although everyone gets redesigned (Wraiths more than Rom). Unfortunately, there's really not enough here to judge much more than the visuals, and they may be relying too much on nostalgia. I don't really have much Rom nostalgia, and I have even less for Action Man, who mostly does bog-standard spy movie stuff here before, umm dying. The ongoing will focus on his successor. Action Man and Rom are both in the catalog already (June start for Action Man, July for Rom), but I'm not sold on either. Doctor Who FCBD 2016: Titan - Four VERY short stories featuring each of the modern Doctors, although two of them have characters from the Tom Baker era (the Robot who was Baker's first opponent is in one, and Abslom Daak, Dalek-Killer, is in another). The 11-and-Daak one is a decent character study, while 9's piece is pretty self-contained. 12's piece is pretty badly done in story and art, though, and 10's involves what I presume to be comics-only companions who I don't find interesting. I mostly grabbed this because Hastings allowed seven comics and I have a soft spot for Abslom (I subscribed to the Marvel imports of the Doctor Who comics at the time Abslom got his start), but I don't intend to pick up any of the DW comics. Dark Horse Comics FCBD 2016: Dark Horse - The cover makes it look like this is a Serenity comic exclusively, but it's really an anthology with Serenity, Hellboy, and Aliens. The Serenity story is a bedtime story in which River tells Emma (Wash & Zoe's daughter) a version of the series and movie. Works pretty well. The Hellboy short is okay. The Aliens story is a preview of a new miniseries and mostly serves to set up that the protagonists are hosed, as tends to be the case. This one's not going to be changing my buying habits. Spectrum #0: Automatic Publishing - (Co-)written by Alan Tudyk and with art by Sarah Stone. Big infodump on the inside front cover, establishing that this is a future in which Earth has endured two alien invasions, only one of which was actually fought off, and even that seemed like a maybe. Now, at the same time as a previous threat comes back, there seems to be a completely unrelated thing, I can't even sustain enough interest to keep discussing it. Won't be picking up this book. The Tick FCBD 2016: New England Comics - Three tales of moderate amusement and dimensional catastrophe. NEC basically treats this as a once-yearly series of its own, so the "to be continued" element may well be in next year's FCBD? Jeff McClelland does a decent job writing the Tick, at least. Dark Lily & Friends Special for FCBD 2016: Space Goat Productions - Anthology with Dark Lily, Rocket Queen & the Wrench (the reason I grabbed this, but annoyingly it's just a few pages from the existing issues and not new material), Monster Elementary, and Mage, Inc. (which also seems to be a clip from an existing comic). Dark Lily doesn't really grab me, nor does Monster Elementary. Mage Inc. was kinda incoherent, bad choice of pages to preview perhaps? I guess I'll just go back to hoping Rocket Queen #4 comes out some time this year. DC SuperHero Girls #1 Special Edition: DC - This is basically the first chapter of an upcoming (July) GN, "Finals Crisis" (groan). Good to see the line getting a bit more support, although the story in this preview is kinda weak. Specifically, it treats Supergirl as being how she was the day she joined, rather than having picked up even a little bit of character development. Willing to give the GN a shot, though. Dave Van Domelen, supposes Atomic Robo didn't bother with a FCBD offering this year since everything they do is now free online first.
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