October 10, 2007 and CBR Special

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.
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

     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

     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.
     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.
     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.


"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

Dave's CBR Format Capsules Special


Diamond Just Doesn't Want My Money, Do They?

     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
     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.
     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.


"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 #15
Back to the Main Rants Page.

Or rake the leaves back to October 2007.