January 13, 2010

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 Now it's nearly 50F out, brace for flood as snow melts, I guess. Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): The More Than Complete Action Philosophers! "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. 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. The More Than Complete Action Philosophers!: Evil Twin Comics - Officially, this came out just before Christmas, but my preorder online (I decided not to waste time with Diamond on this) didn't ship until this week and I have my doubts it hit stores when Midtown's list says it did. Anyway, where the original three volumes of TPB for Action Philosophers! were simply in-order collection of the original nine issues, this phonebook edition rearranges the biographies into chronological order, roughly grouping them into ancient, medieval, Modern and contemporary philosophers. Each section gets one new entry, although the only internal clues to which ones are new are the writing-order numbering in each story (i.e. "instroducing Action Philospher #27!"). The new pieces are Epicurus (the sage), Rumi (who inspired the whirling dervishes), Auguste Comte (Positivism) and William James (Pragmatism). The new pieces aren't as strong as the originals, but they did kinda hit some of the best ones in the old series. You can see my refiew of the originals at http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/Rants/080608.html. If you don't have the originals, this collection is strongly recommended. If you do have the originals, this is only mildly recommended. $24.95 cover price, $17.47 at DeepDiscount.com. 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. Adventure Comics #6: DC - No Legion backup this time either, the entire issue is devoted to wrapping up Superboy's existential crisis as well as advancing the Luthor/Brainiac teamup plot. Johns definitely knows how to write Luthor as a total jerk who happens to be utterly right, and the retro- continuity implant of some of his past is smoothly done (it's a retcon of the "doesn't contradict things" sort...if Lex were from Smallville he'd certainly have good reason to try to hide it when reinventing himself). Recommended. $3.99 Secret Six #17: DC - Blackest Night banner, picks up from Suicide Squad #67. A three-cornered fight between Task Force X, the Secret Six and the Black Lanterns dominates the issue, and the pieces fit together better than in Suicide Squad. Calafiore and Wright make an interesting choice in how to portray the Black Lantern "emotion vision", and once I figured out what it was supposed to be it worked very well. Recommended. $2.99 REBELS #12: DC - The Black Lantern stuff gets written out pretty quickly, and it's back to the multi-front war on Starro. The Omega Men thread is a bit plot devicey, but otherwise Bedard and Borges make it work. Recommended. $2.99 Booster Gold #28: DC - Blue Beetle is back to having the backup feature, although this won't last too much longer, they've decided to drop the idea and go back to $2.99 books. In the main story, Blackest Night isn't even mentioned, we're back to the Coast City plot, with Booster and an unnamed opponent popping in and out of the life of Hank Henshaw. The backup has an interesting echo of the recent Brave and the Bold cartoon, resolving all the "the Scarab has been acting weird lately" threads in a fairly conflict- generating fashion. Both main and lead involve a lot of backstory drops, suggesting that they hoped people would come for the Blackest Night tie-in and then stick around. Recommended, and a good place to start if you haven't been reading the book. $3.99 SWORD #3: Marvel - The cover's a little misleading, but only in detail, not in theme. And SWORD shares more in common with REBELS than a penchant for acronyms..."Unit" is a real Vril Dox type, and we get his origins (probably, he could be lying) this issue. There's a definite theme running through this title of people doing what they thing is right, even if they know it's dangerous or even a little stupid, for reasons that are flawed in ways they may or may not realize. About the only uncomplicated motivations belong to Unit (if he's not lying) and Death's Head (a job's a job, yes?). Recommended. $2.99 The Marvels Project #5 (of 8): Marvel - Hm, I almost forgot to write a review for this one, not really a great sign. The fallout of Cap's origin continues to dominate the story, with various loose ends tied off and others set up (for instance, putting Noah Burstein's family into the story to tie his work on Luke Cage into the Super Soldier Serum project in a generational fashion). While a few characters of importance step onto the stage, the story itself doesn't do a whole lot, it's more of a pause to reflect and gather things up before moving onward. It can't really be said to be padding or even significant decompression, but it just sort of feels like a break in the flow. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #19: Marvel - Featuring the Invisible Woman. More of the origin story of the MA Avengers, and in terms of the actual story hooks it's really more a spotlight on Nova or Vision than on Sue (although Reed is revealed to be doing something behind Sue's back here). Of course, Nova got a cover already, and Vision gets one next time, so I guess it was Sue or Plant Man. Cute UNCLE reference early on, and some good depth added to the characterization of Diablo. Recommended. $2.99 The Amazing Spider-Man #617: Marvel - I got the variant cover where Rhino hasn't get gotten through the wall (there's also one where he's partially through, plus the regular cover where his head is sticking through). The Gauntlet has been all about revamping members of Spider-Man's rogue's gallery in one way or another, and it's the Rhino's turn. But Joe Kelly manages to create a Ruthless New Rhino and ALSO find a way to redeem the old Rhino. And along with Pulido on the art in the backup, he writes a very good story about what the Rhino has been up to since last he showed up. My only worry is that this is just being set up so that someone can be horribly murdered for shock value later on...it's got that vibe to it, which is why I only give this "recommended" rather than strongly recommended. $3.99 Gold Digger v3 #113: Antarctic Press - Whoa, massive backstory time, as Dark Bird's motivation and background gets a serious upgrade from "air merc". Plenty happens this issue, but most of it is seen in flashback or the old standby "narration from flashback of the plan over current events showing the plan going off the rails". Perry manages to keep it visually clear when the timeline shifts, though, so no problems. And despite Diamond's (lack of) efforts, I got some Transformers content this week after all. :) Recommended. $2.99 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 1/13/10: Official Handbook of the Gold Digger Universe #22, Gold Digger v3 #105. Add The Transformers #3. Awards: "When Does 'Whirling Dervish Secrets Revealed' Come Out In Paperback?" Award to The More Than Complete Action Philosophers! TPB "Where Did I Leave That Space Brain?" Award to Adventure Comics #6 "Wait, She Didn't Have TIME To Decay Before Getting A Ring!" Award to Secret Six #17 "Well, That Explains Why We Didn't See Him As A Black Lantern" Award to REBELS #12 "Bialya Can Be" Award to Booster Gold #28 "At Least It Wasn't A Post Office Box" Award to SWORD #3 "Angels In The Outclassed" Award to The Marvels Project #5 (of 8) "The Rose Petals Were A Bit Much, Though" Award to Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #19 "Hey, It Worked For The Hulk" Award to The Amazing Spider-Man #617 "Me Say You Full Of Cesium Salami" Award to Gold Digger v3 #113 Dave Van Domelen, "My bed *hovers*. I have a *hovering* bed. I sleep in *the future*." - Nova, Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #19
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