January 27, 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 Okay, this week Wednesday wasn't nearly as bad as last week. 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. 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. None 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. Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers #1: IDW - Most, perhaps all, of this issue is told in flashback, ranging from "three years ago" (contemporaneous with Megatron's big push seen in flashback in All Hail Megatron) to a month ago, with a couple of scenes that may be present day or may be eight months ago or anywhere in between...Roche is ambitious with his asynchonous storytelling, but he's not careful enough with the datestamping, and the context doesn't make it clear where in the 8 month gap the unstamped "in transit" scenes happen. There is, however, a note on the inside front cover that the entire miniseries takes place before The Transformers #1. The story itself makes use of a lot of obscure characters and even drags in one of the squishies who we haven't seen since the last -Tion miniseries, and it shows some promise. I just hope it comes together rather than falling apart. Recommended. $3.99 Justice Society of America #35: DC - Your basic "worst nightmares" sort of issue, although thematically Willingham mixes it up plenty...some straightforward fears, some embarrassment, some indignation, etc. The core lesson is that thinking about it is often the best bet...those who don't think about their situations tend to do the worst. And, in addition to having a nice strong theme, this has the advantage of not dragging out. Enough to establish the problems, but it's wrapped up this issue. Recommended. $2.99 Astro City the Dark Age Book Four #1 (of 4): DC/Wildstorm - 1984, and the Williams Brothers have become their own faction rather than working within other groups. It's fairly unsubtly presented that they're turning into the same sort of person as the man they hunt, the whole "stare too long into the abyss" thing. In the background, a Watchmen-like mood is established, along with things like a Venom pastiche. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Ms. Marvel #49: Marvel - Considering that this is the penultimate issue, it feels fairly low-density. Mind you, in one of the few high-density nuggets we do get a good portrayal of how a long-lived schemer might view the world, setting up plots on a whim to see how they might turn out and then forgetting about them for years. Oh, and I'm not sure if this is what the artist intended, but apparently when Mystique towels off after a shower, the towel is part of her body. ;) Recommended. $2.99 X-Factor #201: Marvel - Ah, the plot thickens. Well, one does. Several of the subplots get unceremoniously put on hold, possibly because it'll soon be difficult to do plots set in Latveria without a bazillion Avengers running around underfoot. Recommended. $2.99 Iron Man: I Am Iron Man! #1 (of 2): Marvel - Hm, I was kinda hoping this would be a new story set in the movie universe...either a "what other characters were doing at the time" deal or a bridging piece between the first and second movies. But it's pretty much just an adaptation of the first Iron Man movie, and while Peter David does a decent job hacking things down to fit into two issues (which would be enough to accurately adapt a 22-30 minute show), it does rely a lot on the reader know what's supposed to happen. It's nice seeing Sean Chen drawing Iron Man again, but it's a fairly shallow treatment. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Avengers: the Initiative #32: Marvel - Gage continues to use this book to nibble around the edges of the big events, mostly telling the stories of Taskmaster, Constrictor and Diamondback while they carry spears in the main Siege books. It does have the annoying side effect that no one in this book seems to be allowed to accomplish anything major, just watching as the big stuff happens, but that's fairly normal for a "war story diary" kind of tale. Recommended. $2.99 The Amazing Spider-Man #619: Marvel - Slott and Martin continue the Mysterio sub-arc of the Gauntlet, peeling away most of the layers for the benefit of the reader (i.e. who is and isn't really dead), but still leaving a few up in the air. Or around the onion. Whatever, mixing metaphors is fun for the whole family! Recommended. $2.99 Gold Digger Tech Manual #10: Antarctic Press - Saurians, Shangri-La, a few tail-end Charlies and then an update section on stuff that's shown up since its proper position in the alphabet (from the Age of Wonders exploration stories that have been running post-#100). This includes the Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors pastiche vehicles. :) 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 1/27/10: Official Handbook of the Gold Digger Universe #22, Gold Digger v3 #105. Add Iron Man vs. Whiplash #3, Marvel Index #13. Awards: "Does She Have The Rest Of Mini-Fire-Convoy Stashed Somewhere?" Award to Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers #1 "BEESBEESBEES!" Award to Justice Society of America #35 "Gloo Schtick" Award to Astro City Dark Age Book Four #1 (of 4) "Sucks When Your Arch-Nemesis Doesn't Care Anymore" Award to Ms. Marvel #49 "But Does She Speak NCSoft?" Award to X-Factor #201 "I Can Haz Cheezburger" Award to Iron Man: I Am Iron Man! #1 (of 2) "Sometimes Crazy Works. Not THIS Time, Mind You" Award to Avengers: the Initiative #32 "The Ultimate 'Made Man'" Award to The Amazing Spider-Man #619 "Terro-Cord" Award to Gold Digger Technical Manual #10 Dave Van Domelen, "You should know that I'm BULLETPROOF and COMPLETELY unimpressed." - Ms. Marvel to police, Ms. Marvel #49
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