Standard Disclaimers: Please set appropriate followups. Recommendation does not factor in price. Not all books will have arrived in your area this week. Diabetes diagnosed a year ago this week. 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 - Penance Relentless #2 (of 5): Marvel - Again, if this were a brand new character without loads of history to be thrown under the bus, this might be kinda good. But there's always that nagging "why did they have to do that to Baldwin?" matter that irks me. $2.99/$3.75Cn Captain America #31: Marvel - Yes, all it takes to break the will of most Marvel characters these days is to just show them what's been done too their backstories lately.... $2.99/$3.75Cn The Mighty Avengers #5: Marvel - Meanwhile, in the Bendiszonewarp, the first day of the team continues. And continues. Points for Ares showing he has a brain, at least. $2.99/$3.75Cn 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): Atomic Robo #1, PS238 #26 Gargoyles #6: Slave Labor Graphics - Computerized comics assembly has brought with it new kinds of errors, such as typos in lettering rather than misspellings. But this is the first time I can recall seeing an entire page misplaced...but with the correct lettering layer. The art from page 16 (no page numbers) is also used on page 12, but page 12 has the correct speech bubbles for that page. And, except for the final panel, it ALMOST makes sense, which is why it didn't stand out at first. That goof aside, this was a lot more readable than previous issues, in terms of not overwhelming the reader with hordes of obscure and unexplained characters. It's not great, but it's at least readable, and has a few amusing moments. Mildly recommended. $3.95 The Clockwork Girl #1 (of 4): Arcana - Between the 25 cent zero issue and this one being 99 cents, this has got to be coming out of someone's advertising budget, there's no way a small press book like this could make up those kinds of "give it away" numbers with three issues to go, even if the price goes up to $4 an issue after this. Even counting the fact that the #0 story pages are repeated here (mostly, I think a few were changed). Tesla count: 1. Anyway, the story's set up here, if scantly, of two creations clearly destined to love one another despite the rivalry of their creators. Although, to be honest, it looks like more of a one-way hatred here rather than a Montague/Capulet situation...the mad biologist seems more resigned than anything else, it's the mad mechanist who's got the hate on. The pacing of the story feels off, like this is supposed to actually be excerpts from an even larger #1, much as #0 was excerpted from this. Still, I'm willing to give O'Reilly and Hanna time to get the kinks out. Recommended. $0.99/$1.25Cn Atomic Robo #1 (of 6): Red 5 Comics - And another retro robot with a web presence. :) Tesla count: 2. I'll freely admit to having never seen this character before the solicit in Diamond, and I have yet to check for any web content, but it stands well on its own. Set in 1938, the star is Nikola Tesla's robotic creation, who has been around long enough at this point to no longer have that new robot smell. Or naivete. In fact, he's downright snarky, if not quite to the level that Aaron Stack has reached lately over at Marvel. Brian Clevinger's story verges on disdain for the source material at times, but manages to be more along the lines of a roast for pulp heroics rather than an attack on it. Scott Wegener's art has a sort of Mike Mignola meets Jhonen Vasquez feel to it. Strongly recommended. $2.95 (Aside: Red 5 seems to have some serious capital behind it, as they're launching several other books this Fall/Winter. NeoZoic, a "gritty sci-fi fantasy" that seems to take the conceit of humans and dinosaurs coexisting in a low-fantasy sort of setting. Abyss, which seems to be a not-so-friendly jab at modern comics in the way Atomic Robo is a friendly jab. MidKnight, which looks kinda "Batman Animated" but doesn't really hint at much else in the house ad. It'll be interesting to see if they have legs.) New Avengers/Transformers #4 (of 4): Marvel - And so this one issue story spread out over four creeps to an end. And it's an end that drowns in plot device, to be honest, plus an obvious "dun dun DUUNN! To be continued?" sort of scene at the end. There is a nice bit of geek service with Spider-Man and Megatron, at least. All told, passable but nothing to get excited about. Mildly recommended. $2.99/$3.75Cn New Warriors #5: Marvel - End of the big fight scene, then the inevitable recriminations all around. Some decent bits, but felt a little padded. Mildly recommended. $2.99/$3.75Cn X-Factor #24: Marvel - Well, the Isolationist plot wraps up and all the details come out, it's okay. Maybe a little too resolved, though. Mildly recommended. $2.99/$3.75Cn Fantastic Four #550: Marvel - McDuffie wraps things up, gets in one last Gravity appearance, and puts the status quo back together for the next writer. A bit abrupt, but plenty of good bits. Recommended. $2.99/$3.75Cn Superman #668: DC - And now it's back to the "Third Kryptonian" plot again, leaving off on Arion and Subjekt 17, etc. A bit of a short attention span here. At least I finally have some idea who Clark's adopted son is, after seeing only side references to him for some time. Meanwhile, Kryptonians are blooming like astors, and some new guy's come to do a little gardening. Rick Leonardi's art is a bit odd in places (well, okay, it's ALWAYS a little odd, but I mean odd in a "doesn't fit well" sense). Story has some fun parts, but is also rather info-dumpy. Mildly recommended. $2.99/$3.65Cn Green Arrow and Black Canary #1: DC - Well, by the end of this issue we have a resolution to the wedding special cliffhanger, nice to see that some writers don't believe in stretching out a one month story into ten. I will say that keeping the corpse of your husband in a tube in the garage is simultaneously very creepy and very superhero-y. Winick's off to a good start here. Recommended. $3.50/$4.25Cn Booster Gold #3: DC - Heh, love the cover. And cute simultaneous riff on Back to the Future 3 and Marvel westerns. There's even a subtle Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy reference. But amid all the fan service, there's some good character pieces on Booster (in vino veritas annat) and advancement of the plot. Recommended. $2.99/$3.65Cn StormWatch PHD #12: DC/Wildstorm - Final issue, although you won't see notice of that on the cover. And while Gage may have stumbled a few times in recent issues, he clearly had this resolution planned out in advance and pulled it off without a hitch. A good ending to a sometimes uneven series. Recommended. $2.99/$3.65Cn PS238 #26: Do Gooder Press - Grr, Diamond still hasn't coughed up #25. And this isn't even the SECOND time I've gotten to read this title out of order because of Diamond's indifference, IIRC it's the third. Fortunately, this is one of those comics with a good "previously" page, so I wasn't lost or anything. Lots of fun time travel stuff too, but active and passive, and our young supervillains get a chance to shine. Literally, in a couple of cases. I would buy a book just staring Zodon and VonFogg. And you would too, if you know what's good for you. Kneel before VonFogg! Ahem. Strongly 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 10/10: Still missing and might come in: Fallen Angel #15, Doktor Sleepless #2, PS238 #25, Miki Falls Autumn (ordered online, but it was on backorder and didn't ship until today), Transformers Beast Wars Sourcebook #1. Cancelled by Diamond: Transformers Timelines. Awards: "Melange A Trois" Award to Gargoyles #6 "Not Staying To Bask?" Award to The Clockwork Girl #1 (of 4) "...And One Moving Violation" Award to Atomic Robo #1 (of 6) "Iron Works" Award to New Avengers/Transformers #4 (of 4) "Tattoo Removal" Award to New Warriors #5 "Think Like A Penguin" Award to X-Factor #24 "Wonder If This Was Gonna Be Double-Sized And Then The Second Half Got Reduced To A Montage?" Award to Fantastic Four #550 "Mmm, Cerebro-Spinal Fluid" Award to Superman #668 "Mutual Butt Admiration Society" Award to Green Arrow and Black Canary #1 "Kid Colt 45" Award to Booster Gold #3 "Is It Safe?" Award to StormWatch PHD #12 "Chairface Had It Backwards" Award to PS238 #26 Dave Van Domelen, "Do you know how it feels when SUPERMAN tells you you can't handle a cape?" - Booster Gold Bonus Quote: "WOW. (flips through sheets of charges) JEEZ, that's a lot of atrocities. Where did Helsingard find the time to SLEEP? (flip, flip, flip) I don't even know what this one MEANS." - Atomic Robo
Book of Note: PS238 #25 When it comes down to the argument about filesharing, the usual reasons given are "People are thieves" (given by the industry) and "Businesses charge too much" or "It's free advertising and we buy the stuff we like after trying it" (given by the customers). Lost in the shuffle for the simple reason that most filesharing is of music and movies is possibly the most compelling reason to fileshare comics: "I want to buy it, but no one will take my money!" Regular readers of mine will know that I almost never have a blank entry for my "Books Diamond Didn't Ship" section. In fact, if it weren't for the fact that I eventually give up on titles and take them off the list, I'd probably have a full screen's worth of stuff in that section by now. It usually happens with smaller publishers, but even "Premiere Publishers" get nailed by Diamond's refusal to care at times. Sure, the initial lack of order is my store's goof as often as not, but it has taken on occasion several months and repeated calls to get Diamond to fulfill a reorder request from stock they had on hand. So...a friend of mine has been pretty aggressive about converting his hardcopy comics collection to digital format. Sometimes scanning his own books, but often just finding pre-scanned CBR format copies of books he has in his longboxes. Which, of course, means he can also easily find and download books he never owned in hardcopy. After repeated offers from him to find copies of books Diamond won't sell me, I've gone ahead and taken him up on it. Here's my current list of Stuff I'm Waiting For And Would Buy If I Could. It doesn't count stuff I gave up on long ago, like some of the later Donna Barr hardcopies, or back issues of G-Fan (which, if I really wanted, I could just order directly from the publisher...but it's partly a news magazine, so my incentive is low). The ordering is from "longest wait" (several months) to shortest (just over a week). For reference, I'm using SimpleComic to view the files. Dr. Debunko the Short Stories Devil's Panties #7, #8 Fallen Angel v2 #15 Transformers Timelines #2 Doktor Sleepless #2 PS238 #25 Transformers Beast Wars Sourcebook #1 Debunko may or may not exist as a CBR, I haven't really asked. I was going to just eventually buy the Devil's Panties books from the publisher, but I just checked their online store and they'll only sell the trade of #1-6 and a bundle of #1-12 now, so I guess I'm not going to bother...I read most of the content online already, and mainly buy the individual issues because I want money to go to the creator (although I've emailed her to see if she's got any copies she'll sell me direct). The other five books, however, I got CBR format copies of last night, and will now review. Note that these are not obscure little indie publishers...the Transformers Timelines one might count at that, I suppose, and is the only one on the list I'll currently believe is the publisher's fault rather than Diamond's. But two of the books are IDW, which got some sort of publisher award from Diamond last year, eh? I will still try to buy these, but I'm no longer going to tear my hair out over it. Fallen Angel v2 #15: IDW - The cover is yet another homage of the Action Comics cover with Superman holding a car overhead and smashing it into the hillside, although without the obligatory fleeing thugs that most homages include. This is the start of the story of Lee's predecessor, who is still not actually Peter David's Supergirl, but comes closer (and yes, there's some blatant references beyond just her name of Lin and her powers). Kristian Donaldson does guest art in a style reminscent or Mark Wheatly or Ken Steacy. While #16 did a good job of filling in gaps for me, it does feel more coherent now that I've read #15. Recommended. $3.99 Transformers Timelines #2 - Fun Publications - This is a publicly available (in theory) version of the BotCon 2007 exclusive comic. Given that it took until January 2007 for me to get the FP edition of the 2006 comic, you'll see why I don't hold out a lot of hope for seeing this one in person soon. Story by several people (Forest Lee, Pete Sinclair, Ben Yee), but actual writing just Lee. Alex "Made Car Wash Of Doom Look Good" Milne is on art. Where #1 featured Beast Wars, this one features Classics, tying in with the Classics recolors/remolds in the BotCon exclusive set. The Target exclusive Ultra Magnus gets in on the act too. Anyway, as one might expect from a convention comic, there's loads of fan references and general fanficky Gotta Explain 'Em All aspects sprinkled throughout. As for plot, call it "Revenge of the Gobots". The story ends on a big confusing fragfest that leaves several new characters probably dead and a few more possibly dead. Of course, given that this sub-continuity (which seems to come out of the end of the Marvel G1 comic) is unlikely to get more than 22 pages a year and will need to cycle in new convention exclusive characters every year, a really high death rate is really no hindrance. It's not like they'd have pages to devote to doing anything with Bugbite again, after all. Ends with More Than Meets The Eye pages for Springer (Cybertron Defense Hot Shot recolor), Bugbite (Classics Bumblebee recolor), and a one page text piece explaining how the Classics Mini-Cons came about (the Last Autobot spread bits of the Matrix and his own spark across Cybertron after TFG1 #80 and the little pieces grew into Mini-Cons). All in all, it's pretty much a 12-16 page story loaded down with a bunch of character introduction scenes. Mildly recommended if you can find it. $4.95 Doktor Sleepless #2: Avatar Press - The subtitle on this issue is Tesla Boy Gangster, and the CBR includes the alternate covers. Not a whole lot of plot here, there's some backstory and a bunch of "stop to show off another nifty feature of the setting" stuff, plus some weird questions asked and only partially answered. Interesting enough if you haven't been steeped in this sort of stuff already, but on the self-indulgent side. The fact that it doesn't seem to do a whole lot with the promising start of #1 doesn't help, it's kinda treading water. Mildly recommended. $3.99 (I presume...the CBR doesn't have the final cover versions with price and indicia). PS238 #25: Do Gooder Press - A bit anticlimactic to read this after reading #26, but ah well. A lot of the focus is on Cecil Holmes, the little conspiracy theorist who Revenant thought had been safely channeled into something harmless. Ha! It's really not Revenant's day in general...when getting bonked by one of Prospero's pingpong balls is the least undignified thing to happen to you.... The theme of this issue is, like with many in this series, "No plan survives contact with children, especially superhuman ones." At least the kids provide a few replacement plans that may stand a better chance of working. The CBR doesn't include the backup features, so I may post an amended review once I get the hardcopy. Strongly recommended. $2.99 Transformers Beast Wars Sourcebook #1: IDW - Ben Yee, who co-wrote this with Simon Furman, has a fair amount to say in terms of background and motivation at his website, http://www.bwtf.com. And since I read his comments before actually seeing the comic, that does make me a bit biased. :) I will, however, repeat what I said about Megatron Origin #1 and Eric Harding...it kinda sucks to have your first big pro outing screwed up by the people at the visual end of things. I mean, at least this time there isn't a story to get ruined by muddled art, but there's plenty of ways for production foulups to reflect badly on the writer. Stuff like utterly incorrect colors on BB, or showing a character in Transmetal robot mode and non-Transmetal beast mode. That aside, while the general look and feel of the Dreamwave "More Than Meets The Eye" books is followed with tweaks, it all looks a little open and empty, probably because the backgrounds are mostly white with a little mottling. The inside front cover lists the characters in this issue (Air Hammer to Drill Nuts) with artist credits. Yee and Furman do a decent job splicing together continuities (and non-continuities, like the Happy Meal toys) that were never really intended to mesh, and bringing some differences to characters that share a mold but not a name (i.e. Apache and B'Boom). Given that there's so much blank space in the entries, it would have been nice to include a note about the origins of each character (like, whether Beast Wars show, BW toys, BWII, BW Neo, convention exclusives, Happy Meal, etc...for instance, it would have helped to say that Blackarachnia's Transmetal form was a McToy). All told, it looks like a somewhat pale imitation of Dreamwave's books, but most of the fault lies clearly with the production people, not the writers or artists (well, except for Orange BB). The raw materials are good, they're just assembled in a half-assed fashion. Note, while the book mixes in a lot of Beast Wars lines, it does NOT include Beast Machines. I shudder to think of how they'd have tried to cram Blackarachnia into one page if they'd had to include her BMac version too. :) Speaking of the page counts, some of the two-page spread choices are a bit odd. Blackarachnia only gets one page for three distinct versions (so 6 pieces of commissioned art) of a well-known character, but obscure Cohrada gets a two-page spread, as does Big Mos. And I'm not sure why Double Punch is placed between Drill Bit and Drill Nuts. Recommended for the content, but you might want to wait for the likely trade paperback collection to see if they fix the production issues. $6.99. Awards: "Up, Up And Go ^&%$ Yourself!" Award to Fallen Angel v2 #15 "I Foresee Fanfic In Which It's Revealed Bugbite Doesn't Keep His Brain In His Head" Award to Transformers Timelines #2 "Already Thinking Of Ways To Mess With Shriekygirls" Award to Doktor Sleepless #2 "Dip-utized" Award to PS238 #25 "Break Uzumaki, At Your Service!" Award to Beast Wars Sourcebook #1 Dave Van Domelen, "What's about to happen here won't be fun for any of us. But of all the people here not having fun...YOU'LL be NOT having it the MOST." - Fallen Angel #15Back to the Main Rants Page.
Or rake the leaves back to October 2007.