February 2-ish, 2011

(Books delayed by weather)

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 Not only were comics delayed two days by weather, Diamond also only shipped about half of what was supposed to come out. At least the invoice matched the shipment, for once. Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): Agatha H. and the Airship City, The Amazing Spider-Man #653 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 2/4/11: 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), 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, Gold Digger v3 #123, Official Index to the Marvel Universe v2 #9, Widowmaker #3, Booster Gold #40, Time Lincoln Apocalypse Mao. (I've removed Guarding the Globe from my pull.) Add Invincible #77, Spider-Girl #3, Official Index to the Marvel Universe v2 #10, Iron Man Legacy #10. I think I may now on average be missing an issue of every other book on my pull over the past year...although some books miss more than once. "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. Agatha H. and the Airship City: Baen Books - I got this as an ebook from www.webscription.net back in December and found that trying to load it onto my old PDA just crashed it. Oops. So, Agatha Heterodyne is the direct reason I finally bought a new iPod Touch, on which I read this book. It's a prose adaptation of the ten monthly issues of Girl Genius (now known as Volumes 1-3), give or take. There's some bits removed (like DuMedd's Heterodyne Boys tale, which is pushed into the background) and others shuffled around (the prissy princess among the students is now Agatha's roommate initially, giving her a bit more screen time before she meets her fate in the Daring Escape). A lot of bits are fleshed out, either because Phil can no longer rely on the art to convey them (the big spread of Agatha's bedroom, for example, gets some more in-depth description here), or to give more development to characters who'd gotten short shrift in the comic. The prologue features the Heterodyne Boys in their first solid victory against the Other, making up for the absence of DuMedd's tale and helping establish the later stakes. Additionally, I got a strong feeling of revision here. I don't really mean outright retcons, although there's a couple of those here and there regarding minor characters. No, I mean that while the grand scope of the story was plotted out well in advance (seriously...in over eight years we still haven't caught up to the other side of the time-window scene from Girl Genius #1!), a lot of the details have swerved. So the prose retelling adjusts the foreshadowing to better fit what ended up happening, makes terminology and character accents more consistent with later developments, that sort of thing. And what appears to have been a dropped subplot regarding Krosp was picked up in the novel's version of the tale. It definitely adds some pathos to the closing chapters. In any case, it's a very good read, and if it lacks the visual zing of the Foglio's comic work, the writing still holds up well. Strongly recommended. $6 ebook at www.webscription.net 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. Nothing 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. Secret Six #30: DC - So, this is another crossover, this time to the Doom Patrol comic. My reaction to that was first, "Wait, there's a non-cancelled Doom Patrol comic out these days?" and second, "Looks like I might be dropping Secret Six if these crossovers keep happening." (A quick check of Previews shows that there's no crossovers for at least the next three issues, though, so I won't drop it yet.) There's maybe five pages of actual Secret Six plot, the rest introduces stuff that will only get resolved over in Doom Patrol, or spends time establishing who the current Patrol is. While it's nice seeing Ambush Bug again, I'm just right off of crossovers when they involve books I don't already read. Mild recommendation to avoid. $2.99 Legion of Super-Heroes Annual #1: DC - The cover features Emerald Empress in all her gaudy "Giffen trying to be Kirby-styled" gory. Er, glory. The faux-Kirby continues on the inside, with a vengeance. Giffen's art has been uglier, but not by a whole lot. The story itself is okay, if somewhat stilted in tone as if trying to match the stilted Kirby-oid art. Backups include a summary of the Legion as a board game and an Interlac primer. Very mildly recommended. $4.99 The Amazing Spider-Man #653: Marvel - Ah, now that's more like it. Big running fight scene with plenty of guest stars, good use of continuity without being impenetrable, snappy patter and schemes within schemes. And the Looter crosses over with Lovecraft in the backup. Great stuff from Slott and Van Lente (plus Caselli and Brown on art). Strongly recommended. $3.99 Awards: "And Any Plan Where You Need To Trust Diamond To Deliver Your Hat Is A Bad Plan" Award to Agatha H. and the Airship City "Deadbush Bugpool" Award to Secret Six #30 "Sorry, It Just Doesn't Krakl" Award to Legion of Super-Heroes Annual #1 "Agatha Harkness and Squirrel Girl Should Form A Team Of Super-Nannies" Award to the Amazing Spider-Man #653 Dave Van Domelen, "An attack by costumed lunatics. NOW this place officially feels like the Daily Bugle..." - Robbie Robertson, the Amazing Spider-Man #653
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