March 2, 2011

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, Blizzard last Thursday. Pollen blooms today. Yay late winter in Kansas! Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): None 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 3/2/11: Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #8, Chaos War Dead Avengers #1, Shadowland Power Man #4, Transformers Timelines G2 Redux, Widowmaker #3, Invincible #77, Widowmaker #4, and Atomic Robo Deadly Art of Science #3, Transformers Foundation #1. Add Love & Capes Ever After #2 and Comic Book Comics #5. However, while Midtown and Van Lente himself think CBC #5 is out this week, Diamond's own list omits it. "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. Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #11: Marvel - Found it at Toys R Us. Okay, so the whole vanishing timeline thing from #10 had no effect? Granted, the MA books need to be more episodic and lean less heavily on continuity, but I expect that any kid who reads #10 and #11 back to back is going to be confused. In any case, Sue is not only in the Avengers this issue, she's leading them. And for a younger-audience book, relationships are certainly important here. The b-plot is about Captain America getting a potential girlfriend, after coming out and admitting to Nova that while he's interested in Sue as "that kind of friend" he knows she's off-limits in that respect. The a-plot has Hulk and the Thing, with Sue coming in later on to be clever and demonstrate that she can handle team and family. A good story from Tobin, but a confusing follow-on to last issue. Recommended. $3.99 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 #31: DC - Time to pick up a number of danglers from a few years ago. It strikes me that the cover might be more appropriate to a later issue in this arc, though, unless it's meant to be utterly symbolic. In the b-plot, we get a story that will probably cause a ****-storm in certain quarters, and that might even get a male writer fired if he tried it at a mainstream company like DC. There's some strong character moments in here, but the plot's nothing too special yet. Recommended. $2.99 Thunderbolts #154: Marvel - This issue is mainly about answering questions about Man-Thing. Both "who is he, anyway?" for newer readers, and "why are none of his friends coming to get him out of the Raft?" for long-time readers. Declan Shalvey's art generally looks better than the previous artist's, but it gets a bit blocky and ugly at times too. Recommended. $2.99 X-Factor #216: Marvel - Speaking of lingering questions, this one is full of 'em. Some answered, others merely asked again. One or more of the "gets a page every other issue" subplots are finally simmering to the surface as well, although it's not immediately obvious if they're all linked together. And Spider-Man trolls Monet. Recommended. $2.99 Avengers Academy #10: Marvel - This is the Speedball issue, although most of the viewpoint is back to Veil, and Hazmat gets a significant b-plot. While kinda inspired by one page in the issue, the cover is rather misleading (especially the "Magic 101" banner, when the actual story has maybe two panels involving magic). Sean Chen is the artist this time out, and my reaction was, "Wait, Chen following McKone? Unprecdented!" However, then I actually looked it up and saw McKone's X-O Manowar issue was after Chen's first, ah well. Still can't shake the feeling that Chen picked up after a McKone run on something, though. Anyway, even without the cover of #11 being shown on the lettercol, I've stopped expecting any efforts of the sort undertaken on the last page of this issue to work. There seems to be an editorial mandate in the way. But that doesn't stop characters from trying, I guess. Recommended. $2.99 Awards: "Sorry, This Celestial Isn't In Its Original Package" Award to Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #11 "Friends Don't Let Friends Get Dusty" Award to Secret Six #31 "Crossovers That Know Fear Itself Burn At The Giant-Size Man Thing's Touch" Award to Thunderbolts #154 "She's A Chest Master, Er, I Mean Chess Master" Award to X-Factor #216 "The Kind You Don't Bring Home To Mother" Award to Avengers Academy #10 Dave Van Domelen, "It's part Purgatory and part outlet mall. But there are no bargains here." - Black Alice, Secret Six #31
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