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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 I typed several capsules up on my iPod via an SSH app while doing a hardware test on my desktop machine. Rather annoying and slow, but doable. Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): Iron Man Titanium #1, Evolution: the Story of Life on Earth 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 1/12/11: Transformers Ironhide #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, Science Dog #1, 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, Brody's Ghost vol 2 (going ahead and ordering this on Amazon) and Official Index to the Marvel Universe v2 #9. Add Widowmaker #3 and Booster Gold #40 (my store got them, but got massively shorted and I got the fuzzy end of the popsicle on those two). "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. 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. Got a bunch from a friend who shops at a store Diamond isn't trying to kill. Most of them are earlier parts of series that have marched on since then: Gorilla-Man #2, Taskmaster #2, Chaos War #1, Atlas #4, Invincible #72 and Dynamo5 Sins of the Father #3. Except for Chaos War, though, there wasn't much covered in the issues that I wasn't able to pick up later on. This isn't to say they're not worth reading, but rather that the writers did a good job of making the story readable even with a missing piece. Chaos War #1 does, however, make the rest of the series make a bit more sense in retrospect. It's also the only #1 on the list, though, so it can be forgiven for being less insulated from the missing issue syndrome. Iron Man Titanium merits a review, though, as does the Hercules trade I got from Amazon today. Iron Man Titanium #1 (one-shot): Marvel - This is an anthology of three utterly disconnected Iron Man stories. If there's a common thread at all, it's that in all three stories the antagonist is using elements of an established foe, but isn't them (bootleg Titanium Man armors, bootleg Mauler armor, Ultimo's big brother). The lead story is really the only reason to buy this issue, but it's more than enough. Adam Warren introduces the sort of interesting and intelligent antagonist who is doomed to be either ignored by other writers or brought back just to be killed off by a hack writer interested in showing how hardcore his new character is. But as a done in one story, it's really good and shows why Adam Warren should be writing Iron Man regularly. Too bad it seems unlikely he'll get the shot, since Marvel editorial seems more interested in having technophobes and mystics write the book. The Mauler story is a nice enough bit of fluff, but the not-Ultimo story is way too plot-devicey (and reeks of having sat in a virtual drawer for a year or two after being created on spec). Strongly recommended, if a bit overpriced. $4.99 The Incredible Hercules: the New Prince of Power TPB: Marvel - This collects Fall of an Avenger #1-2 (both issues of which were Strongly Recommended) and Prince of Power #1-4 (#2-4 of which I never got, thanks Diamond, but #1 was a Book of Note). So, twenty buck (well, thirteen at Amazon) TPB for three issues. It's a little rearranged, with the Venus and Namora backup from Fall collected together between Fall and Prince. I would say that the rest of the story works pretty well other than the fact that it ends on a "to be continued in Chaos War #1". The main plot threads do get wrapped up, but almost offhandedly...Amadeus gets plot device power, fixes all the problems raised in the miniseries, hands the power off to Herc, and we're off to the Chaos War. Recommended. $19.99 cover price, $13.59 at Amazon. 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. Secret Six #29: DC - The team doesn't really have a group symbol per se, so the themed cover has the gram in front of a stylized skull with a 6 on its forehead. This is the second half of a crossover with Action Comics #896, which I did skim on the shelf but decided not to buy. Ragdoll narrates a reasonably complete summary of those events, about all I'm still confused about is "Lois" but I don't actually care too much about the matter. :) Most of the issue is Luthor and Vandal Savage posturing against each other and things blowing up, but the very end reveals the rest of Scandal's background, the important point that makes her different from all of Vandal's other offspring. Recommended. $2.99 R.E.B.E.L.S. #24: DC - Of course, this book does have a group symbol, the star-grasping hand. Thos issue is all about the romance...or at least sex. Okay, and Starro is making his move, but that's more of a subplot. Good spectrum of relationship storytelling. Recommended. $2.99 Chaos War Dead Avengers #3 (of 3): Marvel - Well, even the dead may die, and a few characters do get their shots at, if not redemption, at least a sort of Purgatorio cleansimg. ultimately it has a net zero impact on the main story (so far, anyway, although I suppose it might get pulled into the climax). Mildly recommended. $3.99 The Amazing Spider-Man #651: Marvel - Okay, they lampshade the Tron thing. A decent main story, which both provides a number of reasons to not always use the stealth suit, and also cements the new Hobgoblin as the anti-Spidey. The backup story finishes up the latest enkewlening of Mac Gargan and sets up the next arc. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #10: Marvel - Black Widow gets the cover, and deservedly so. Ooooookay. There's a next issue blurb, so the book isn't cancelled, but I think Tobin just pushed the cosmic reset button on this alternate timeline. And in the way he did it, he made the past dozen or so issues about Reed, who barely appeared prior to now. An interesting plot, but it also torpedoes a lot of the character development that has been one of the book's big draws. Mildly recommended. $2.99 Gold Digger #124: Antarctic Press - Time to go order #123 online, I guess. The Grand Game between Dreadwing and Ancient Gina takes center stage, although given how Perry writes there's no guarantee #123 had anything to do with it. :) Nor will #125 necessarily deal with it either...in fact, I'd be surprised if it did, I think Perry's more likely to focus on the personal story stuff for an odd-multiple-of-25 issue. But back to this one, it's a fun little chess game with all of reality on the line. Also, the second comic I've read today to involve an anthropomorph greeting someone with "HAI". Recommended. $2.99 Evolution: The Story of Life on Earth: Hill & Wang - This is a hardcover GN written by Jay Hosler (Sandwalk Adventures, Clan Apis) and illustrated by Kevin Cannon and Zander Cannon. I didn't even bother going through Diamond on this one, got it from Amazon. :) The conceit of this book is that an alien ruler is being walked through a scientific exhibition on the evolution of life on this blue-green planet their astronomers discovered. And since the ruler is your basic Upper Class Idiot, it gives Hosler an excuse to first explain things in more technical terms and then break it down into simpler words for a younger audience. (This framing setup carries over from "The Stuff of Life", which the Cannon brothers drew by which was written by Mark Schultz, and which was more focused on human evolution.) Now, this isn't Hosler's first comic to address evolution (Sandwalk Adventures was a mix of Darwin's theories and Darwin's life), but it definitely goes into more detail about the "what happened" and not just the why and how. Well-written, well-drawn, funny and informative. Strongly recommended. $18.95 cover price, $12.78 on Amazon Awards: "Maybe Turn Down The Giggle Dial" Award to Iron Man: Titanium #1 "The Wisdom To Know The Difference" Award to The Incredible Hercules: The New Prince of Power TPB "Now THAT Is Passive-Aggressive" Award to Secret Six #29 "Best Date Lobo's Had In Ages" Award to R.E.B.E.L.S. #24 "Oooh, A Flashback To Marvel Comics Presents" Award to Chaos War: Dead Avengers #3 (of 3) "I'd Call That A -1/4 Limitation For Anyone Else, -1/2 for Spider-Man" Award to the Amazing Spider-Man #651 "A Bit Timey-Wimey, Eh?" Award to Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #10 "Without So Much Rat In It, Please" Award to Gold Digger v3 #124 "Eukaryote, I Carry Barley?" Award to Evolution: The Story of Life on Earth Dave Van Domelen, "Sorry, big guy, I only got two hands. He will be missed. By everything but the pavement. HA HA HA" - Hobgoblin, the Amazing Spider-Man #651
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