January 7, 2009

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.
Diamond REALLY shorted us this week.   Rants, Capsules can be found on my 
             homepage, http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/Rants 

     http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/Rants/Best08.html is now out, with a
compilation of the best books I read in 2008!

"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.  I saw some of the new Brave and the Bold action
figures, but wasn't too impressed, and didn't see any I wanted to buy.  Might
get the Blue Beetle figure if I can find it solo (only saw it in a two-pack
with Kanjar Ro).

Comics Capsules:
     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): None.

     Cthulhu Tales #10: Boom! Studios - The lead story, "Rite to Life", is
sort of a sequel to the Shadow Over Innsmouth set in modern day Washington
state.  It's a bit incoherent, in the bad way.  "Comeback Tour" is the main
story, in grayscale art by "Chee" and with a darkly humorous story by Mark
Rahner.  High concept is that several of the old gods have formed a rock band
in an attempt to gain worshippers, but things ain't going smoothly.
Definitely the reason to buy this issue.  The third story is part one of what
looks like a followup to the Fall of Cthulhu storyline, eh.  Recommended.
     War of Kings Saga: Marvel - Well, it was free and a bunch of my books
this week didn't get shipped, so....  Wow, am I glad I didn't waste money on
the comics summarized here.  Maybe the scripting was good in some of them,
but the plots covered here are, well, not something I would have enjoyed
reading at the time.  Although, if you *do* think you'd have enjoyed reading
these stories, there's helpful guides in the back to which TPBs you need to
read and in what order.  Free.
     Official Index to the Marvel Universe #1: Marvel - This covers
Spider-Man headlining books from Amazing Fantasy #15 (August 1962) through
Amazing Spider-Man Annual #4 (November 1967), Iron Man from Tales of Suspense
#39 (March 1963) through #73 (January 1966) and X-Men #1 (September 1963)
through #50 (November 1968).  The Captain America stories in ToS are also
indexed.  Fairly thorough entries, and they include notes about future
revelations and retcons that are connected to the indexed stories.
Obviously, I haven't read this in full yet, it's rather text-dense, but it
looks like a good start.  Recommended.  $3.99.
     The Invincible Iron Man #9: Marvel - Dark Reign tie-in.  Mostly Tony
trying to undo the plot device brought up last issue, while other people act
stupid and/or brutal.  Meh.  I'll give Fraction one more issue to convince me
this direction has anything to it.  Neutral.  Also, both my Marvel books have
ads for Dark Avengers showing a Cap-themed Iron Man armor, and a several page
preview of a new Wizard of Oz adaptation (faithful to book, not movie) by
Shanower and Skottie "at least my bizarre style works here" Young.  $2.99 
     The Amazing Spider-Man #582: Marvel - Slott and McKone wrap up the
Molten Man issue, tying together the last of the loose threads and setting up
a potentially amusing new running gag (see end quote).  Recommended.  $2.99
     Secret Six #5: DC - Faces of Evil tie-in.  Not really sure what that
means, though, unless it's just a cover art gimmick.  We do see Junior's
face, though, and it's pretty evil.  And gruesome.  A lot of gruesome to go
around this issue, really...the usual mix of witty banter and carnage.  Very
quotable, too.  Recommended.  $2.99
     Blue Monday Thieves Like Us #1 (of 5): Oni - The creator's just Chynna
Clugston now, I guess I missed the drop of "-Major".  Not that it's likely to
be relevant to the story or to me personally.  :) A change that IS relevant,
however, is the art.  A much crisper style for Chynna, with purely black and
white line work and fills.  No grayscales and very few tones, with most of
them being the sort of thing that may actually be manually done with line
work as well.  The figure work itself is also subtly different, perhaps
intended to give the impression of the characters aging.  Mind you, only a
few months have passed since the last story, although it's hard to be certain
of time references in Chynna's works...is it the 80s, or is everyone just
into retro?  :) (Although the fact that Tower Records is referenced does tend
to suggest 1980s.)  The main action (pun intended, as you'll see if you read
this issue) takes place at a zoo in February, as an amusing running gag runs
through all the various romantic subplots.  Recommended.  $3.50

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 1/7/09: Official Handbook of the Gold Digger Universe
#22, Transformers Maximum Dinobots #1, Transformers Return of the Fallen
Prequel #1.  Add Transformers Maximum Dinobots #2, Doktor Sleepless #11,
Marvel Zombies 3 #4.


"And Then There's Shub-Niggurath's Duet With Bing Crosby" Award to Cthulhu
     Tales #10

"Someone Watched Too Much Chronicles of Riddick" Award to War of Kings Saga

"The Early Drafts Probably Had Lines Like, 'I Can't Take Any More Of This
     X-Retcon Stuff!'" Award to Official Index to the Marvel Universe #1

"There's Always A Repulsor To The Head" Award to The Invincible Iron Man #9

"We're Not A Couple!" Award to The Amazing Spider-Man #582

"Your Health Is Hazardous To Cigarettes" Award to Secret Six #5

"Stuck In A Rut" Award to Blue Monday Thieves Like Us #1 (of 5)

     Dave Van Domelen, "Harry, you and I are friends.  What I have with
Spider-Man?  Honestly?  That's something else."  "I can live with that.
Wait...is he your boyfriend?"  "What?"  "That would explain a LOT."  "He's
NOT my --"  "Like all your 'Girl Problems'--"  "Aaand cut."  "You sure take
lots of pictures of him..."  "End scene." - Peter Parker and Harry Osborn,
ASM #582
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