January 6, 2010

The Year We Make...Excuses

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. An archive can be found on my homepage, http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/Rants When you get down to -20 degrees or so, F vs. C no longer matters. Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): None "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. None this week. Late Books: These are comics that were not listed as shipping during the week they were reviewed. Sometimes someone recommends a book to me that's already out, and I grab it over the weekend. Sometimes it's a trade paperback I ordered online rather than trusting Diamond. Sometimes the store screwed up or I was inobservant and I missed something I meant to get. USUALLY, though, it's because Diamond didn't ship what it was supposed to ship and I had to scrounge around or wait on a reorder. Origins of Siege: Marvel - This is a freebie Event Promo book that was supposed to ship to stores during dead week last week, but as my store got no shipment at all last week, it arrived here this week. The promo has three main parts: a special prelude by Bendis in which Loki explains to Osborn why Asgard needs to be removed from Oklahoma, the first few pages of Siege #1 in which said removal is put in motion (also by Bendis, and rather soporific despite the explosions), and then a series of one-page abridged origin stories of major players in Siege written by Van Lente (although he's not in the main credits or on the cover) and drawn by various people. It's free, so go ahead and grab it, if only to see if you find the Siege setup more interesting than I did. 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. Transformers Tales of the Fallen #6: IDW - The Arcee issue, and boy does she HAVE issues. (Hasbro doesn't seem to have any clue what to do with her since the combiner mode was dropped from the movie, naming seems almost random now.) This goes with the original concept seen in the movie novelization that Arcee is one mind split among three bodies, rather than three separate robots, and I do prefer that version. It ties into Reign of Starscream, establishing how we got from the purple single-body Arcee to the new triple-body one, and also provides some background for Mudflap and Skids (who weren't in Reign, I just double-checked, but apparently they worked with Arcee some time in the past). It doesn't do much for Arcee's characterization, simply redefining her gimmick, but it changes the Twins from comic relief to somewhat tragic figures. Recommended. $3.99 Suicide Squad #67: DC - A special "raised from the dead" issue that's really a renamed issue of Secret Six, a faux crossover. The main plot involves Waller deciding she wants Deadshot back on Task Force X, while in the background a Black Lantern sets out to get vengeance beyond the grave on Deadshot. Yeah, not Deadshot's day. Some good scenes (notably Bane as Scary Dad Before A Date), but the story itself doesn't really hang together very well, as if Ostrander and Simone wrote their pages with minimal consultation from an outline that both diverged from. Mildly recommended. $2.99 Nation X: X-Factor #1 (One Shot): Marvel - I didn't have this on my pull, but it was such a slow week I grabbed a copy anyway. Aside from a short fight scene that pretty much screams "I was told to put in a fight scene", this is a character-driven book, as the members of X-Factor reconnect with other X-folks who are all gathering on the plot device that is Utopia. And by reconnect I mean "have sex with" in at least one case. :) The real conflict of the issue is between Madrox, Cyclops...and Madrox's memories of future Cyclops. Current regular artist DeLandro is on duty here, reinforcing my feeling that this started life as a regular issue of the title before the Siege tie-in got added (in fact, it feels like it has to happen after that all wraps up, as it can't happen before #200 and certainly doesn't fit between #200 and #201). Still, despite the continuity weirdness, it works on its own. Recommended. $3.99 The Amazing Spider-Man Presents: Jackpot #1 (of 3): Marvel - Diamond decided not to ship this to my store, but I found it at the newsstand. Not really Guggenheim's best work, unfortunately, although he's deliberately made Jackpot run counter to Spider-Man in enough ways that what works for writing Spidey doesn't apply here. Melo's art is generally good, although there's a couple panels where Jackpot goes off-model and it feels like sloppy swipefiling or something. It shows promise, though. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Marvel Boy: The Uranian #1 (of 3): Marvel - Definitely the week for Marvel books with colons in their titles. The main story in this oversized issue is by Jeff Parker with art from Felix Ruiz (who seems to be taking a lot from Sienkiewicz in terms of inking style), telling of how Bob Grayson came to Earth and what he found there. It integrates his old backstory with the retcons seen in Agents of Atlas pretty well, while keeping the more sinister aspects of his origins far enough in the background that they don't overwhelm the general sense of naive optimism Bob had in the 1950s. The two backups are reprints of original Marvel Boy stories, for which the artists are known (Russ Heath and Bill Everett) but not the writers. The first one is the original Marvel Boy story, which has been reprinted recently in an AoA collection. The second one is more space opera-ish and occasionally pretty painful to read. :) If I were the writer of that one I'd want to stay unidentified. I suspect the reason it was included, though, was that it shows dissent among the Uranians as one of the plot points, thereby setting up some of the retcons Parker introduced. Recommended. $3.99 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 1/6/10: Official Handbook of the Gold Digger Universe #22, Gold Digger v3 #105. Awards: "JMS Did That Plot With Balder A While Back" Award to Origins of Siege "Sorry, But It's Medical Experiments For The Lot O' You" Award to Transformers Tales of the Fallen #6 "Fiddling While Home Burns" Award to Suicide Squad #67 "A Sunburst...On Her Crotch. Who The Hell Designed Dazzler's New Costume?" Award to Nation X: X-Factor #1 "So, Your Costume Covers 95% Of Your Body But Not THAT Part?" Award to The Amazing Spider-Man Presents: Jackpot #1 (of 3) "Mind If I Borrow Your Interocitor?" Award to Marvel Boy: The Uranian #1 (of 3) Dave Van Domelen, "Don't I resent you for some reason?" "Probably, but who can keep track?" "Good point." - Monet and Dani, Nation X: X-Factor #1
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