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Dave's Unspoilt Capsules and AwardsThe 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. An archive can be found on my homepage, http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/Rants The new year kicks off with two more books on the missing list. Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): Ant-Man and Wasp #3 (of 3) 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 1/5/11: Invincible #72, Transformers Ironhide #4, Gorilla Man #2, Atlas #4, Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Update #3 (which I probably won't bother reviewing if it ever comes in), Guarding the Globe #1-2, Dynamo5 Sins of the Father #3, Science Dog #1, Chaos War #1, Taskmaster #2, Transformers Drift #4, Official Index to the Marvel Universe v2 #7, Tron Betrayal #2, Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #8, Chaos War Dead Avengers #1, Shadowland Power Man #4, Transformers Timelines G2 Redux and Gold Digger v3 #123. I went ahead and ordered Hercules New Prince of Power TPB on Amazon. Add Brody's Ghost vol 2 (no surprise there, vol 1 never did show up) and Official Index to the Marvel Universe v2 #9. "Other Media" Capsules: Things that are comics-related but not necessarily comics (i.e. comics-based movies like Iron Man or Hulk), or that aren't going to be available via comic shops (like comic pack-ins with DVDs) will go in this section when I have any to mention. They may not be as timely as comic reviews, especially if I decide to review novels that take me a week or two (or ten) to get around to. Nothing this week. Well, I did get the Iron Patriot action figure, and it's not too shabby, but it comes with the stupid plasma duncecap accessory. Time-Shifting: Sometimes I get a comic a week or two late because of Diamond's combination of neglect and incompetence. If it's more than a week late, though, I won't review it unless it's very notable. Additionally, I will often get tradepaperbacks long after publication or even sometimes before Diamond ships them, and those will go here. If I'm reasonably sure I'm reviewing something that didn't ship this week, this is the section for it. Nothing this week. New Comics: Comics and comic collections that I got this week and were actually supposed to be out this week, as far as I can tell. These reviews will generally be spoiler-free, but the occasional bit will slip in. The Transformers #15: IDW - So, having apparently decided to scrap earlier plans and change direction a few months ago, Costa spends much of this issue backfilling. Apparently Rodimus's jobbing in #13 took place several months before the events of #12, and this issue bounces all over to fill in backstory. Okay, so the actual plot elements make sense and have the potential to be interesting, but it all feels like a continuity kludge, like Costa got bored with the planned plot and rather than hand it off to another writer so he could do something else, he just shifted direction and waved his hands furiously to obfuscate any discontinuities. In short, pretty much how most of IDW's non-movie Transformers feels lately. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Adventure Comics #522: DC - DC's cover gimmick this month is white backgrounds and floating characters over some sort of symbol (the obvious Legion emblem here, but other books have abstractions of costume elements) and a tiny title name in the upper right. This particular cover has Scott Clark doing tiny-waisted cheesecake of several female Legionnaires...most of whom don't even appear in this issue (and one of whom is in a coma the entire time). It's really a Mon-El spotlight, if a bit meandering. The "backup" is a few pages of the DC Universe Online tie-in comic, meh. Mildly recommended. $2.99 X-Factor #213: Marvel - An all-fallout issue, as the revelations of #212 sink in and get stirred around. And Pip the Troll is apparently joining the cast for a while, which will give M someone to toss off rooftops. It also does a decent job of working the book into the larger X-universe without being excessive about things. Recommended. $2.99 Avengers Earth's Mightiest Heroes #3: Marvel - Diamond's new experiment with shipping on random days led to this arriving at my store last Friday, oddly. Again there's two stories written by Yost, with the first being in animated style with art by Clevinger and the second in a more standard comic book style drawn by Scherberger. The lead story introduces the Elders of the Universe, in which the Collector (who looks a lot like Adam Warlock) pits the Hulk against a Grandmaster-controlled Thor. Decent enough story. The second story is shorter than usual, featuring the Wasp protecting a fallen Captain America from the Wendigo. There's a bunch more datafile stuff at the end to make up for this, including spoilers for unaired episodes of the show (although for all I know, the relevant ep will air tonight). Recommended. $3.99 Iron Man Legacy #10: Marvel - Van Lente manages to work pretty much everything we need to know about the Pride into this issue without it being too terribly expository (for instance, rather than coming out and saying where the alien members of the Pride are from, he simply has them recognize a bit of relevant tech later on, which helps peg their origins). And he's even managed to fit a Big Damn Fight into the spaces between panels in Iron Man's timeline (no, Tony versus the Serpent Society isn't a Big Damn Fight, at least not by comparison). Recommended. $2.99 Ant-Man and Wasp #3 (of 3): Marvel - A brilliant scientist puts a blonde superhero in a series of inventive traps this issue. Of course, the blonde in question is Hank Pym and the scientist is Rappaccini, but I'm sure there's fans of the role-reversal of the standard damsel in distress trope. :) Seeley does a good job overall of keeping everyone in character while letting them interact in ways that aren't always a dead cert. Marvel's three issue minis always worry me, because you have to order the whole thing before the first issue comes out, but this one runs counter to the usual, and is well worth reading. Strongly recommended. $3.99 Awards: "Gun Like A Think" Award to The Transformers #15 "Apparently Stars Are Very High In Calories" Award to Adventure Comics #522 "He's Probably That Kind Of Troll Too" Award to X-Factor #213 "Two Eyes, No Horns, And Not Particular About The Color Of The People He Eats" Award to Avengers Earth's Mightiest Heroes #3 "Masterminds And Mutants" Award to Iron Man Legacy #10 "With A Pitch Like That, It's No Wonder So Many People Join A.I.M." Award to Ant-Man and Wasp #3 (of 3) Dave Van Domelen, "A.I.M. is the home of people like us. Hyper-intelligent outcasts with an overriding desire to save the world from the clutches of monkeys whose solution to problems is hitting them with a stick." - Monica Rappaccini, Ant-Man and Wasp #3 (of 3) Bonus Quote: "I've developed one hundred and fifty-seven methods of keeping you here long enough to hear my offer." - Monica Rappaccini, ibid, demonstrating a dedication to the art of trapping rarely seen outside of Scooby Doo.
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