Quick update: They were out of G-Man: Learning to Fly and Greatest American Hero #3, so I didn’t get those this week. (Hopefully there’s a GAH trade in the future.) I also had to pass on the Booster Gold trade due to finances. However, I picked up last week’s Doctor Who Classics and added it to my four new acquisitions. Check the spoiler-blocked version at ComiXology, and the full stuff below.
Doctor Who: The Time Machination
PUBLISHER: IDW (May 2009)
WRITER: Tony Lee
ARTIST: Paul Grist
COLORIST: Phil Elliot
LETTERER: Malaka Studio
DESIGN: Neil Uyetake
EDITOR: Denton J. Tipton
London, 1889. The Doctor’s TARDIS is low on juice, but getting to the rift in Cardiff to recharge is going to be difficult with Torchwood on his tail. So he acquires the services of H.G. Wells (whom he met in the episode “Timelash”), who in turn goes to a scientist friend of his, Johnathan Smith. No surprise for a Doctor Who story with a character named “John Smith”, he turns out to be a time-traveller from the 51st century, out to stop the fourth Doctor from stopping the plans of his master, Magnus Greel (from the episode “The Talons of Weng-Chiang”, a scene of which ends up in this story). However, he knew the current Doctor would come to save the previous one, and lured him into a trap with Torchwood agents. However again, the Doctor already knew that would happen and used Wells to set a trap of his own. “Smith” is taken away by Torchwood agents (Wells tricks them into believing “Smith” is the Doctor) long enough for Doctor 4 and Leela to proceed unabated.
What they got right: Once again Lee proves he knows his Who, weaving past and future in more ways than one, to make an interesting tale. Unlike Russel T’s use of Shakespeare, H.G. Wells is quite believable in being H.G. Wells, who apparently still hasn’t made the switch to author. The Doctor’s plan to fool “John Smith” is brilliant. He borrows well from the episodes “Timelash”, “The Talons of Weng-Chiang”, and even the library arc from last season.
What they got wrong: I’m used to the 10th Doctor’s use of “time-wimey” stunts (out Bill&Teding Bill and Ted), but how exactly did he even learn someone was going to try and stop his previous self’s adventure, or that he was prepared to use Torchwood to stop Dr10 from stopping him? Like I said, I’m used to it, but what I’m not used to is the art. I believe Paul Grist works on Torchwood comics from what I hear, but it’s not a style I’m used to after previous comics. I’m hoping this is a one-shot deal (like the Gallery one-shot last month), and the regular series will feature (hopefully) Pia again or one of her stand ins during the Forgotten mini-series. (Just please, not Nick Roche!)
Also, is it just me, or is the paper of a lower (not necessarily poor) quality than usual? And it’s a bigger size, like the old Silver Age comics. I’m hoping the latter justifies the $3.99 normal price, since you’d think cheaper paper would mean a cheaper price (which is what some money-conscious readers are willing to settle for to get the prices down).
Recommendation: A good story and the art isn’t so much bad as it is not what I’m used to. Worth picking up, and I can’t wait for Lee’s ongoing series run.
Transformers: All Hail Megatron #11
PUBLISHER: IDW (May 2008)
WRITER: Shane McCarthy
ARTIST: Guido Guidi
COLORIST: Josh Burcham & Felix Serrano
LETTERER: Chris Mowry
EDITORS: Andy Schmidt & Denton J. Tipton
The moment we’ve all been waiting for has arrived. The Autobots are back on Earth, and bringing it to the Decepticons. All throughout, though Megatron has prepared for every variable, and even tells Starscream that once the Decepticons win, he plans to make them closer to what he’s always said they were supposed to be, and Starscream may even someday succeed in overthrowing Megatron. This unites all Decepticons against the Autobots, with the humans wondering who the good guys are, if any. But then they have their own problems to deal with. Megatron has also had sleeper agents among the military machines, and they’re coming out to play–including an EU plane carrying a nuclear bomb!
What they got right: The back stories are over, we’re mostly up to date (not counting Hunter), and now it’s time for the fightin’! Even then, we get story, from Starscream and Megatron have another “spark-to-spark” chat, to the humans wondering if the new arrivals are their friends or just another set of foes, to the full reach of Megatron’s infiltration scheme. (During Furman’s run, the Decepticons used evil human clones, and now we learn even the war machines have been replaced.) There is really nothing to complain about.
What they got wrong: What did I just tell you?
Recommendation: You’ll have to decide for yourself if the previous stories were worth it (there were a number of missteps, even ignoring ones that made sense when “what if” became “what is”), but not we’re coming close to the originally planned finale (the Coda stories are being folded into All Hail Megatron), and it’s already the most satisfying finale thus far. It makes me even gladder that Furman’s off the main title.
Marvel Adventures: The Avengers #36
PUBLISHER: Marvel Comics (July 2009)
WRITER: Paul Tobin
ARTIST: Jacopo Camangni
LETTERER: Dave Sharpe
COVER: Guara & Sotocolor
PRODUCTION: Paul Acerios
CONSULTING: Ralph Macchio
EDITOR: Nathan Cosby
The Avengers take in a street fair, when Tigra finds an old necklace–and accidentally releases a genie. Brank, however, gets annoyed when Tigra isn’t willing to come up with her three wishes (since she knows those seldom ends well) and runs off to find the Hulk. In the year 2021, Bruce will go back in time and use the Hulk to defeat Brank. Now he wants revenge before the “crime” was even committed. (Wow, that’s two for this week–I wonder if he knows “John Smith” up there?) Tigra accidentally uses two of her wishes, but finally she decides to specifically word her third to trap Brank in a magic lamp, thus saving the day.
What they got right: Once again, Tobin shows how to combine action and fun to make a great story. He makes great use of all the characters, remembers the Hulk is sometimes Bruce (one of my complaints in his run has been his not using Bruce enough, unlike his predecessor, Jeff Parker), gives us a much better Tigra than her 616 counterpart, and pounds Wolverine some more. That always makes me happy. As for this issue’s artist, while he may be drawing the weakest Tigra in the series, it’s still a good Tigra, and I do like the work. I’ve just been developing a fiction crush on Tobin’s Tigra, so it’s important to me, but not enough for the “got wrong” section. Speaking of which:
What they got wrong: What was the point of Captain America and Thor showing up in this comic? They disappear to supposedly look for the Hulk, and then Wolverine just get Bruce on the com-line. Apparently nobody called them, even when the rest of the characters went into hiding to plan their next movie against Brank. Somehow they even rated the cover, but not the intro blurb. Seriously, what were they there for? A “Hulk likes the petting zoo” joke?
Recommendation: In the next time ad, it says that Tobin is going to take over Marvel Adventures Spider-Man in July. Read this comic and find out why this is a good thing. I may even start getting it again.
The Incredibles: Family Matters #2
PUBLISHER: Boom Kids! (April 2009)
WRITER: Mark Waid
ARTIST: Marcio Takara
COLORIST: Andrew Dalhouse
LETTERER: Jose Macasocol, Jr.
EDITOR: Paul Morrissey
COVER “A”: Sean Galloway
COVER “C”: Tom Sciolo after Jack Kirby
(cover “B” used here)
Mr. Incredible has confided in Frozone, but not his family, that he’s losing his powers. Frozone talks him into seeing Dr. Sunbright, the super hero doctor, but he can’t figure out why Bob’s losing his powers. He even loses to the new neighbor at basketball. (Violet, however, seems to be winning with the neighbor boy.) When Mr. Incredible’s power loss proves a hazard to their latest hero rescue, Helen “grounds” Bob until his powers can be restored.
What they got right: Between this and the other super hero comic he’s doing for Boom Studios, Irredeemable, Mark Waid seems to love torturing super heroes. At least here he pulls it off without the dark drama. The scene where Bob gets to “cut loose” without his powers is pretty much standard for the “hero loses his/her powers” story, but I can’t help but wonder if these new neighbors play into Bob’s power loss somehow. But I do love the little moments that bring back the feel of the movie, including the scene with the little girl and the train, the “B” cover that’s actually in the comic. You don’t get that very often in a comic nowadays with the usual “generic” cover hopefully featuring people actually in the comic.
What they got wrong: Artist Marcio Takara admits to it in the back-page interview, but I should still bring it up. Helen doesn’t come off so well in this issue, and Bob suffers a bit, too. However, the story and the rest of the art more than makes up for it. Still, it’s something for this section. Also, why more variant covers? I didn’t see the “C” cover, but “B” looks like what I wish more covers would go for these days. (This week, only the Doctor Who cover matched it.) Just one cover an issue, please. These are KIDS we’re talking about here. Why confuse them into thinking there’s an extra comic to buy? They’ll just be disappointed later.
Recommendation: Still having fun with this series. Still getting more.
Doctor Who Classics Series 2 #6
REPRINTER: IDW (May 2009)
(originally published in Doctor Who Monthly #64-66, Marvel UK, 1982
WRITER: Steve Parkhouse
ARTIST: Dave Gibbons
EDITOR: Alan McKenzie
IDW COLORIST/COVER: Charlie Kirchoff (over Dave Gibbons-cover)
IDW EDITOR: Denton J. Tipton
IDW DESIGNER: Amuri Osorio
Added by Shayde, the guy with a black ball for a head, the Doctor and Sir Justin continue their search for the Event Synthesizer. The trio meet up with a group from the connected planetary system Althrace, which exists in a white hole. There they learn the history of Melanicus, his defeat by Merlin, and his teaming with Catavolcus, another old foe of the Doctor (from the extended fiction, but I can’t find any personal data on him), and how he ended up in control of the Synthesizer. Now he has all of history fighting each other in a huge war, but by hooking up Shayde, an agent of the Time Lords within the Gallifreyian Matrix, to their organic machinery, they will be able to pinpoint Melanicus’s location.
What they got right: The recoloring is still excellent on this series. I believe the originals were in black and white. Doctor 5 is making himself some interesting companions, and Parkhouse continues to be one of my favorite Who comic writers.
What they got wrong: The science still make little sense to me, but this is a British sci-fi comic, where that happens a lot.
Recommendation: This story still stands up after all this time (no pun intended), and worth picking up.
Best Scene of the Week
Transformers: All Hail Megatron #11
Another loss for MA: Avengers? Is Tobin losing his touch? Or is it just that shot of Devastator was too cool not to win? Perhaps we’ll find out for sure next month!