Although this is March first, the comics came out the last week of February. I’m putting up a poll (which would be in the “alert” section on the homepage–one of the things I like about this theme–if it wasn’t for the Scans_Daily situation, so it’s in the sidebar) to see if anyone minds if the Pull List is changed to once a month rather than once a week. I’ll take it down and follow the results during the last week in March reviews. If it changes, it will start in April. If not, at least I’ll have one easy post during the work week. But on to this week’s list.
I picked up five comics, but not the five I thought. The three unconfirmed didn’t come, and I’m not surprised. They weren’t assured, but if I go to Scans_Daily and see them there I will be sad. However, I did get those Transformers comics I should have received last week (and others in the country did, so it’s more proof Diamond doesn’t like Connecticut), and I picked up one other comic to see I’ll have a new series, and to check up on an old favorite. So what did I get? You can check the spoiler-blocked reviews at ComiXology, or get all spoiled here.
WRITERS: Lean Moore & John Reppion
ARTIST & COLORS: Ben Templesmith
LETTERER: Richard Starkings
EDITOR: Denton J. Tipton
While on a search for milk, the TARDIS lands in an art gallery. (That’s the Doctor for you.) It turns out to be the homeworld of someone the Doctor once gave a lift to, a planet she left because the people avoid emotions even more than the Vulcans do. Each painting is of a deceased native, and can whisper their last words. Grayla’s last message was for the Doctor, saying that her people were right all along. The Doctor investigates and finds a monster that feeds off negative emotions. (That’s also the Doctor for you.) However, the Doctor is full of those because of all the monsters he’s fault and survivor’s guilt over the Time War, and the creature overfeeds and goes boom. Has the people listened to Grayla, they might have done this years ago. (I wonder if Martha ever got that milk for her tea? I prefer lemon juice myself.)
What they got right: It’s a good Doctor Who story in the vein of the current series. Emotion itself becomes a threat, even if it’s really the empathivore at fault. The Doctor and Martha “sound” like their TV counterparts, and when Templesmith gets a close reaction shot it looks like an expression the actor would use. I also like the designs of Grayla’s people and not making Grayla a former companion (although I’m sure there was at least one adventure before he dropped her off) is a deviation from what usually happens when someone takes a TARDIS trip. I’m not usually a fan of “painted” comics, but considering the story involves an art gallery, it’s not a bad choice, either.
What they got wrong: While the closeups look good, the far shots aren’t so good. The Doctor looks too thin, with bony fingers to match. Martha also has thin arms in one scene. The fact that they look like their wearing clothes a couple sizes to big doesn’t help this look. The ending could have used another page or two, but the rest of the story flows at a proper pace. And as much as I love Martha Jones (and not just because Freema is drop dead gorgeous!), I would have liked to have seen at least one Donna Noble story before the regular series starts up, with the original companions. The last story took place after season 4, so if they were going to flash back, a Donna story would have been nice.
Recommendation: A pretty good story, and definately a worthy addition to your Doctor Who library.
WRITER: Simon Furman
ARTIST: Nick Roche
COLORIST: Joana Lafuente
LETTERER: Robbie Robbins
EDITOR: Denton J. Tipton
Apparently, Skywatch has Shockwave captive and send him to take out the Dinobots and Cassettecons that used to be theirs, but now aren’t. He has a bomb planted inside him (because the whole reprogramming thing never workds) and if he doesn’t get the code in 24 hours, Shockwave goes boom. Shocky heads out, while back in Fallon, Nevada, the Machination goes to do Scorponok’s PR work and stamp out the Dinobots. Still mad at Grimlock for their current situation (see Spotlight: Shockwave), they’re forced to work with him to fend of the Sunstreaker clones until the Monsterbots arrive. Speaking of which, he and Hunter have found the Machination’s base of operations, and Hot Rod is on his way out.
What they got right: As far as this series goes it’s probably the better of the lot thus far, although that’s not saying much. More on that in a moment. I do like how the events of Spotlight: Shockwave factor into the story and to the Dinobots…sorry, “Dynobots” reactions to their former commander. It is nice to see the Monsterbots arrive to rescue the Dinos. And again, while I’m about to complain about Roche’s character designs, his layouts and perspectives are otherwise well done. You can tell what’s going on most of the time.
What they got wrong: Most of the time. There are a couple scenes that all I can tell you is that a battle is taking place. Sometimes there are just too many characters in a panel, and since the Dinobots color schemes are too similar, there are moments I can’t tell which ones are in the panel. Also, Swoop’s character model seems to be based on his appearance in the Animated series rather than any G1 look, which is a bit distracting, and I can’t tell if Sludge is supposed to be super huge or Snarl and Slag are super short, but Sludge looks like a junkpile robot in dino mode.
Then there’s the story, that deserves it’s own paragraph. What is with Scorponok? “(W)hen you cease to be impressed, you cease to be.” What? We’ve actually gone lower than Saturday Morning Cartoon Villain Cliche #1? How? When did he become a sadistic jerk? And two things I’m so over are the evil government organization Skywatch and all the different storylines going on here (Five, by my reconing.) And only one out of five was worth paying attention to outside of wrapping up the Fuman pile-on to make way for the new direction.
Recommendation: If you really need to know how to bridge Furman and Shane McCarthy’s takes on the Robots in Disguise, then get it. Otherwise this really is Furman at his worse. Sure, that’s just my opinion, but what review isn’t?
WRITER: Matt Wayne (no relation to Bruce)
ARTIST: Phil Moy
COLORIST: Heroic Age
EDITOR: Rachel Gluckstern (that’s still funny when I read it)
After helping Superman with the Toyman, Batman is on his way to El Paso, to act as Blue Beetle’s chemistry tutor. Instead they both end up dealing with trolls who came out of a popular MMORPG, “Craft of War”. The trolls work for the Thinker, a bad guy who now only exists as a virtual being. With help from other Craft of War players, Our heroes save the day and the loot.
What they got right: I do find myself liking the Blue Beetle stories the best. I think Batman’s just more fun with a kid partner, and Jamie’s the closest we’re getting to any Robin, at least for quite some time. It’s also nice to see Wayne have fun with a “transported to cyberspace/video game” world. They’re afraid to do that in comics anymore, and being more campy and less real worldy, they can get away with it a lot better anyway. And yeah, more secret files, this time the Thinker and Blue Beetle.
What they got wrong: As much as I like seeing Superman and all, this is the comic’s second visit in two issues to an area the cartoon isn’t getting to (Superman and Toyman this issue, Power Girl, and Lex Luthor last issue), and after some of the DCU “bleeding in” during the DCAU “Adventures” comics that was later negated by the show itself, I worry that we may have another case of Supes and Bats getting together before they’ve met in the source cartoon.
Recommendation: It’s fun. Buy it. Not much more I can say about that.
WRITER: Chris Mowry
ARTIST: Alex Milne
COLORIST: Josh Perez
LETTERER: Chris Mowry
EDITOR: Denton J. Tipton
All over the Earth, “meteorites” are crashing down. However, they’re actually Decepticons, who are seeking their Master. (If they mean Megatron, they’re a bit late.) Meanwhile, the Autobots and humans begin to work together, we finally get to the Decepticon-dumping and Sector Seven disbanning from the end of the movie, and…that’s pretty much it.
What they got right: As a set-up to the next movie, they’re doing rather well. The Autobots look good, and I like watching the humans and Autobots training together. We’re introduced to new non-movie toy characters from the latter half of the first movie toyline, which for fans is a plus. We get a lot of figures that never make it into the show/movie, and the comic is a good place to get them some characterisation (rather than having to create original characters–hello, Drift!).
What they got wrong: Not so much wrong as unavoidable. Not a whole lot happens in this issue, but it’s setting up the finale and the June-scheduled movie, so it does do it’s job. And I’m still not into the human character models, but either they’ve improved or I’m just getting used to it more.
Recommendation: What appear to be some minor plot points that may or may not be important later. Probably not the place to start collecting the movie comics, but not exactly a waste of money if your getting them individually. And you can deal with current comic prices.
Sonic Universe #1 [Archie]
WRITER: Ian Flynn
PENCILER: Tracy Yardley
INKER: Jim Amash
COLORIST: Jason Jensen
LETTERER: Teresa Davidson
COVER: Patrick “Spaz” Spaziante
EDITOR/MANAGING EDITOR: Mike Pellerito
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Victor Gorelick
Crossing between worlds (from a cameo in Sonic X, according to Mr. Caption Box), Shadow the Hedgehog (from the regular Archie Sonicverse) and Metal Sonic end up in another zone away from Mobius. Marine. After Metal gets away from Shadow, who meets Blaze the Cat and her racoon friend, Marine. Together the trio take on Metal Sonic, and Shadow brings a Chaos Emerald, a gift to Blaze from Sonic, to G.U.N headquarters. I’ve been out of the Sonic loop too long to know more than that.
Quick story: I used to be a reader of Sonic the Hedgehog and Knuckles the Enchidna. I was sorry when Knuckles was dropped, but the reason I stopped reading was that for some reason they tried to sandwich three stories into a normal-sized comic. There was the usual Sonic story, Tales of the Freedom Fighters, and a Knuckles story. It made it difficult to care about any of them and with limited funds I ended up dropping the title. Now it seems that they’ve scaled back to a main and back-story, perhaps using Sonic Universe to make a little space, and I may end up picking up the series again. (I did try Sonic X, but that was a poor take on the anime and had none of the main title’s magic, so I dropped that after a while.)
What they got right: The art is as good as I remember it. Marine may be my new favorite Sonic character because she’s just a bundle of fun in a cute package. Kind of like what Cream the Rabbit should have been over at Sonic X, but not with the same attitude. (Maybe if she had a better voice in the English dub.) If they wanted me to check in to the other comics to see what led up to this moment, they succeded. Everyone is interesting, and the discussion between Shadow and Metal Sonic gives you a good perspective on their philosophies.
What they got wrong: Waiting until issue 9 to give us a Knuckles story, if the strip at the end is to be believed. Otherwise, it does it’s job rather well. Perhaps a profile page (like the Secret Files in Batman: The Brave and the Bold) to tell new readers who Shadow, Metal, and G.U.N. are would have been a good idea.
Recommendation: If this gets Sonic back into my pull list, it has already won.
Best Scene of the Week
Sonic Universe #1
I actually wanted to use the Shadow/Metal discussion, but it was a bit too long to show, so I went with this one instead. Marine is just a bundle of fun. So that’s my reading for this week. I’ll make a post with the poll to auto-update on Monday morning.