Standard Disclaimers: Please set appropriate followups. Recommendation does not factor in price. Not all books will have arrived in your area this week. Was without cable all weekend, feh. 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 - Omega the Unknown #6 (of 10): Marvel - Very much a middle bit. Everyone gets some time on screen, even the ambulatory giant hand, but not much "happens" in the usual sense. Things start to happen, but don't reach any sort of result yet. The last page is a tribute to Steve Gerber. $2.99/$3.05Cn ClanDestine #2 (of 5): Marvel - Several flashbacks, a few advances on the whole dual-layer mysterious foe plot, and then tossed into a crossover with Excalibur from quite a while back. Looks nice, at least. $2.99/$3.05Cn The Twelve #3 (of 12): Marvel - More alienation. While Fiery Mask is on the cover, he doesn't dominate the issue, it rotates pretty thoroughly through about half the cast. A sort or relationship is growing between the Phantom Reporter and the Black Widow...a weird sort. Recommended. $2.99/$3.05Cn 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): Doctor Who #1, Damage Control #2 (of 3), Blue Beetle #24 Justice League: the New Frontier DVD: Warner Brothers - I got the Best Buy exclusive special edition of this, which comes in a cardboard window box with a 3.5" (9cm) tall Hal Jordan PVC figure (Wal-Mart's special deal was a CD comic included with the stripped-down version of the movie). The second disc in the special edition has a couple of featurettes and three episodes of JLU (Dark Heart, To Another Shore, Task Force X). The main disc has the movie, a featurette and a sneak peek of Batman Gotham Knight. Oh, the movie, right. :) Now, I didn't read the comic this is based on (gasp, horror), so I can't comment on how well it adapted the thing...although given that the DVD cover brags that this is the first ever PG-13 JL animated movie, I suspect it didn't get bowdlerized, at least (although the main PG-13 aspect seems to be the use of blood). Now, normally I complain about how a comic adaptation of a movie or TV show is too short, not enough pages to cover the minutes...it's pretty obvious we have the opposite here, with the movie not having enough minutes to fully present the story. I say this because this movie is just SWIMMING in themes and motifs that are barely touched on, and which no doubt got fuller play in the comic. However, the underlying structure of the movie is pretty clear and well-developed, and it's not about any of those surface themes (except Cold War paranoia, but even that indirectly). No, what this movie clearly sets out to do is tell a 1950s atomic monster movie, with superheroes. Specifically, the parallels to Godzilla/Gojira, but direct and metaphorical, are pretty strong, and only get more clear in the final act (for Oxygen Destroyer substitute Shrink Ray). But instead of a lone heroic scientist sacrificing himself to destroy the threat, an entire class of people rises to the occasion. This diffusion of burden does weaken the impact a little, since you have to follow what amounts to a single "character" arc across several people, each taking an aspect of the heroic journey (one learns to trust, one learns what he'll fight for, one learns what he can truly do, etc). The figure that comes with the Best Buy set is nice, it has three points of articulation (neck and shoulders) and comes with a little lantern prop with a wire handle that can be held loosely in the left hand. Recommended. $19.99 at Best Buy. Beowulf Director's Cut: Paramount - Not reviewing the movie at all here. But the Director's Cut at Target came with an "exclusive" comic, and *that* I'm reviewing. :) Yeah, a big week for chasing down store exclusives (for what it's worth, Wal-Mart's exclusive was bundling a Beowulf computer game in with the DVD, not interested in that). I put "exclusive" in quotes, because it's just a shrunken down version of the first issue of IDW's adaptation (written by Chris Ryall, drawn by Gabriel Rodriguez), and the shrinking makes it hard to read some of the fonts. It's a decent adaptation, not too terribly compressed, but it's not like the movie was telling a deep and involved tale. The included issue makes it up to Beowulf reopening Hrothgar's hall, and doesn't really add much to the story already told in the movie (i.e. no extra dialogue to speak of). The comic itself gets a Mildly Recommended (and is available separately at more readable size), not gonna render judgement on the movie overall (I liked it in the theater, but I tend to watch movies with a far less critical eye than I read comics). $16.99 for the DVD at Target. Geekish aside: below are a little more than three pounds (aboug 1.4kg) of comics. The Clockwork Girl #3 (of 4): Arcana Kids - The theme this issue is naivete, and how it can be both wonderful and terrible. The first half is all about the wonder side, the second half about how innocence can lead to careless actions that hurt. Recommended. $1.99/$2.25Cn Project Superpowers #1: Dynamite - Continuing the confusing cover designs of the #0, this looks like "S introducing The Green Lama, Black Terror", no actual title on the cover. Boo, hiss. At least the inside is a bit better. The parade of unnamed or barely named obscure characters is absent, we only get a handful of characters, all of whom are at least sketched out if not really fleshed out. Recommended. $3.50 Ninja High School #157: Antarctic Press - A somewhat confusing issue, lots of characters popping in and out and generally making me feel like there were some pages dropped by the printer. Dunn seems to be having so much fun drawing the mob scene that he forgets to tie things together visually once in a while. (He also draws Meppy's outfit on the last page in such a way to make it look at first glance like she's a herm, classic TMI there.) Cute easter eggs and Gold Digger cameo, but overall just mildly recommended. $2.99/$2.99Cn Transformers Devastation #5 (of 6): IDW - Cover B was the only one the store had left, but I think I would have gotten it anyway. It's such a twisted display of domestic bliss, Decepticon style. Megatron and Starscream (who looks pretty femme) in profile, side by side, smiling in satisfaction as the world burns behind them. It's like Starscream is just about to turn and say, "I love you," with Megatron replying, "I know." ;) Unfortunately, the cover tells a clearer story than the entire comic inside, which is so shattered in focus between the multitude of plot threads (plus a couple of flashbacks) that I was left with the feeling I'd just read the equivalent of a movie trailer. Lots of significant bits, many explosions, several cliffhangers, but it just didn't hang together very well. And as if there weren't enough plot threads native to Devastation, they also hare off onto Spotlight Arcee's plot (in a scene that would be even more confusing if I'd gotten this issue three weeks ago when it actually came out, instead of a week after reading Spotlight Arcee). Mildly recommended. $3.99 Transformers Devastation #6 (of 6): IDW - I really shouldn't be surprised. Rather than actually bring things together and resolve anything in this issue, Furman instead tosses MORE elements into the pot and then just has everyone dash off in different directions after killing off some random minor characters. Not to mention, cover A (which is the one I got) is misleading. They should really stop lying to readers with this miniseries titling...Devastation isn't a single story, or even really a chapter. It's a randomly chosen chunk from the middle of several intertwining stories...the cover should emphasize that this is Transformers #22, and leave the "#6 of 6" stuff to the title page. I'd be a lot less annoyed at Furman's "throw another plot into the curry" approach here if this weren't supposedly the end of a miniseries. It'd still be mildly annoying, but not on the level of wanting to find IDW's head office people and metaphorically slap them around. Neutral. $3.99 Fallen Angel #24: IDW - For reference, the main action of #22 takes place during pages 18-19 of this issue, which leads to a somewhat confusing transition since it's not like IDW uses footnotes to point this sort of thing out. This is also one of the ways in which Woodward's aggressive style- shifting causes problems, because there's a lot of threads flying around here and a lot of characters showing up who were last seen in a different style and therefore kinda hard to recognize. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Doctor Who #1: IDW - Written by Gary Russell, drawn by Nick Roche, and set during the "Smith and Jones" era of the Tennant Doctor. It starts with the quest for the perfect chocolate milkshake, a use of time travel I heartily approve of...not that I'm a chocolate milkshake fanatic, I simply approve of the idea of using vast power over time and space to indulge in whimsical things like this. Of course, being the Doctor, he manages to find trouble, or have it find him, but it all wraps up neatly (well, messily for some of those concerned) by the last page. Roche drops the storytelling ball once or twice, but otherwise it was an excellent read on both the writing and artistic fronts. Strongly recommended. $3.99 The Order: The Next Right Thing TPB: Marvel - Collects The Order #1-5. Collecting #1-7 would have been better from a story flow viewpoint (the Order gets its first high profile success by turning Namor back, and #7 focuses almost completely on that plot so you get a sense of closure). However, Fraction's been so aggressively juggling plotlines in this book that there's no good breakpoint short of #7, and even #7 leaves several plots from #6 totally unaddressed and dangling. This is a TPB in the simple sense of "re-sell people the first five issues" and not in any kind of "this is a complete story" sense. And at only two dollars cheaper than just buying the individual issues originally, about the only justification for it is to do this instead of reprinting #1-5 to meet backorders. Oh, it's turned out to be a pretty good series, but the specific choices made in releasing this trade are annoying. Especially with Fraction announcing that the series will end at #12, meaning lopsided collections or something. Might be better to wait and see if they release a complete series TPB later. $12.99/$21.00Cn (wow, this cover was laid out ages ago...that's a STUPID exchange rate!) Thor #6: Marvel - Now that Asgard has settled in, it's time for an issue of how the locals react to and interact with the Aesir, and this is a good one of that type. Followed by a lot of sturm und drang as the "bring back the Aesir" plot comes to a head. Recommended. Young Avengers Presents #2 (of 6): Marvel - Hulkling focus. Specifically, Hulkling meets Mar-Vell. We seem to be developing a theme of legacies here. Recommended. $2.99/$3.05Cn New Warriors #9: Marvel - Not much to say about this one. Fight scene against forgettable villains, some trust issue angst, background on the supporting cast, and sinister plans afoot. More of the same, basically. Mildly recommended. $2.99/$3.05Cn She-Hulk v2 #26: Marvel - It's hard to angst without pants, but Jen manages it. A decent balance of serious and humor, though, about what PAD usually manages when he's trying to be deadly serious. Recommended. $2.99/$3.05Cn Damage Control #2 (of 3): Marvel - And McDuffie's view of Penance gets air time, yay! And fun fallout from WWH, some of it literally fallout. Or shrapnel. Strongly recommended. $2.99/$3.05Cn Teen Titans #56: DC - Time for a new arc and a new threat, and I'm amused that McKeever digs out some obscure 1980s villains to toss into the mix, not to mention a legacy I didn't expect would happen (as in, much as I like the guy, he didn't really seem to merit a junior version). A touch on the angsty side, but when you make a deal with the devil and it goes sour you kinda have the right to angst on occasion. Recommended. $2.99/$3.65Cn (shouldn't DC have caught up to the exchange rate thing by now?) Justice Society of America #13: DC - This issue is mainly about bringing readers up to speed on the whole Kingdom Come timeline (Earth-22 these days, IIRC), in case there's anyone still reading comics anymore who didn't read Kingdom Come. An amusing not-exactly-a-tie-in with the Death of the Fourth World thing, too. Mildly recommended. $2.99/$3.65Cn Legion of Super-Heroes #39: DC - Light gray on very light blue is a REALLY bad combination, lettering person. The connecting conceit of this issue is some mysterious person looking over the LSH duty roster, but it's unreadable half the time because of the color choices. Manapul's art continues to be okay, if no great shakes, and Shooter's story is sort of meandering right now, wallowing in "life sucks". Not quite Legion of Emo-Heroes, but trending that way. Mildly recommended. $2.99/$3.65Cn Action Comics #862: DC - My store gave me the Giffen variant cover, woot. Actually, Gary Frank's looks a little better, but I decided to stick with this one. :) The Subs enter the fray, and the mystery of whether Ulu Vakk got a permanent gender swap is answered (although poor Staq gets his name consistently misspelled Stag), not to mention the mystery of why some of the more powerful try-out applicants got rejected in the first place. Heh. It's fanboyish, but I liked it. There's even a little link in here to the upcoming Lantern-o-rama event. Recommended. $2.99/$3.65Cn Blue Beetle #24: DC - Booyah. Everyone's on stage for this one, getting ready to wrap up the Reach storyline next issue. Rogers and Albuquerque are in fine fettle. Strongly recommended. $2.99/$3.65Cn PS238 #29: Do Gooder Press - It's the "Poly Mer is a very disturbing young lady" show. And for all his brains, Zodon's a touch lacking in common sense...he fails to pay attention to the low tech solutions a bit too often. And the Flea inspires envy in all around him! Well, in one or two people, anyway. Recommended. $2.99 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 2/27: Still missing and might come in: Fallen Angel #15, PS238 #25, (both of these have been covered in my CBR Special), Sky Sharks #2, Gamma Files. Got Devastation #5 at a shop in Topeka. Awards: "Well, The Rest Of The Challs Did Appear On Screen, If Only For A Second Or Two" Award to Justice League: the New Frontier DVD "And No Merrymaking!" Award to Beowulf DVD/comic "Did She Just Flash Him?" Award to The Clockwork Girl #3 (of 4) "Dynamic Joe" Award to Project Superpowers #1 "Not So Much Catgirl As Hyenagirl?" Award to Ninja High School #157 "Decepticon Gothic" Award to Transformers Devastation #5 (of 6) "Too Many Chiefs" Award to Transformers Devastation #6 (of 6) "Banter Bantamweight" Award to Fallen Angel #24 "But Are They Still In Mint Condition?" Award to Doctor Who #1 "We Who Are About To, Um, Lose Our Powers Salute You?" Award to The Order: The Next Right Thing TPB "Marked Bills" Award to Thor #6 "One Of The Young Avengers Is...A SKRULL! Oh, Wait, You Knew That Already" Award to Young Avengers Present #2 (of 6) "Time To Consider Carrying Spare Batteries?" Award to New Warriors #9 "Time To Consider Carrying Emergency Pants?" Award to She-Hulk v2 #26 "Art Deco Can Get So Touchy" Award to Damage Control #2 (of 3) "At Least He Doesn't Fake A Texas Drawl" Award to Teen Titans #56 "Thanos?" Award to Justice Society of America #13 "The Cruks Of The Matter" Award to Legion of Super-Heroes #39 "I Talk To The Trees...That's Why They Put Me Away" Award to Action Comics #862 "Thanks For The Memories" Award to Blue Beetle #24 "But Did He Buy Any Yoo Hoo?" Award to PS238 #29 Dave Van Domelen, "You cannot touch my staff." - the "improbably hot" Traci 13, Blue Beetle #24Back to the Main Rants Page.
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