March 17, 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, We're slated to get 2-5 inches of snow on the Vernal Equinox. Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): Hercules: Fall of an Avenger #1 (of 2) "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. Nothing this week, but Gold Digger Sacred Library #3 is definitely late. 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 Nefarious #1: IDW - Billed across the top as "The Official Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Sequel!" This picks up from Tales of the Fallen #5 and the mystery of Ravage's revival, with Soundwave doing most (but not all) of the narration. Rather chatty in narrator mode, he is. The new player in the game is partially revealed, and we get to see a bunch of non-movie characters slug it out (including Rumble as a blue rhino) and an obligatory one-shot death of a non-movie character. At least he got a few lines before being zorched. It's Furman at his most Furmanny, for both good and ill...all it needs to get the full Furman is Grimlock to show up and say "Hh." Mildly recommended. $3.99 Time Lincoln #1: Antarctic Press - Originally slated to come out a little closer to Lincoln's birthday. The inside front cover claims that this is meant to be a non-comedic treatment of the idea of a time-traveling Lincoln (alluding to but not directly mentioning Bill & Ted), but that's not the same as a serious treatment. It's more camp than comedy, wallowing in the absrudity and over-the-top-ness of its premise. A one-shot, it pretty much covers the beginning and end of Time Lincoln's adventures while giving only glimpses of the middle. All in all, it really doesn't work as a one-shot. There just way too much infodump, it reads like a proposal for a series rather than a story. There's interesting ideas in there, but no real room to develop them. Also, Einstein's fake German is kinda grating (I don't think he uses "den" correctly even once). Mildly recommended. $3.99 Booster Gold #30: DC - Back to no-backup status and $2.99 cover price. The Coast City arc wraps up with a literal bang, and while once again Booster can't save everyone, it's not a completely hopeless and dark ending. More of the curtain is pulled aside for the readers as well, and a bunch of metacosmological stuff revealed. Recommended. $2.99 The Amazing Spider-Man #625: Marvel - The cover shows the new kewl Rhino versus the old Rhino, filling me with trepidation regarding the possibility of old Rhino's beloved being refrigeratored. And...yeah. Kelly does a good job writing the story, and if "no one can have a happy ending" weren't so damned common in comics these days I might be able to appreciate it more. But yes, here's a spoiler: Oksana gets killed, Rhino goes back to being the Rhino and kills the new Rhino in a shower of entrails, and COMIX R SRS BIZNS, HAPPY ENDINGS R FR KIDDIZ. Meh. $2.99 Avengers vs. Agents of Atlas #3 (of 4): Marvel - Ramos is overusing his "mouth open showing all 32 teeth" expression on the cover. The interior art by Hardman (main story) and Kirk (backup) is pretty good, if a bit darkly inked in the main story. Most of the main story is "everyone versus Hulk", but eventually that fight finishes about how you'd expect and they get on with trying to figure out the plot device. There's also a cute bit of Stark insecurity (the Pym of 1963 was much more a scientist than Stark, and had yet to foul up royally and repeatedly). The backup has Venus answering letters from various Marvel characters, and Deadpool's isn't the creepiest. Recommended. $3.99 Hercules: Fall of an Avenger #1 (of 2): Marvel - Being dead is no impediment to the Prince of Power! Well, okay, it is. But this is his wake, and that's for the living. (Aside: yes, I just complained about gratuitous death over in Spider-Man. But Hercules wasn't created to be killed off in order to motivate someone to return to the status quo...he died after saving all of reality. Let no man or god count himself happy until he's dead, and Herc would qualify as happy, methinks.) The informal service has various characters remembering Herc, some with new tales of their shared past, others summarizing what the readers already know (although they had to cut away from Alflyse's fond remembrances lest the book lose its T+ rating). Ariel Olivetti's painted art suits the "misty watercolored memories" sort of feel of the wake, while Pak and Van Lente do a good job of combining sorrow and humor, the way a wake should be. The backup story by Paul Tobin (with adequate art by Reilly Brown) has Venus and Namora traveling around cleaning up Herc's investment portfolio. Although it's more like a junk drawer. Herc tended to spend the riches of Olympus on whims (he owned pieces of seventeen breweries, an adult toy store, a nude beach, many many wineries) but a lot of his investments were in people who cared for him. Like the main story, there's a mix of humor and sorrow, especially the sequence in which Venus has to inform Herc's many mortal lovers of his demise. It ends on what may or may not turn into a fight scene, although I have my suspicions on that regard. Strongly 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 3/17/10: Official Handbook of the Gold Digger Universe #22, Gold Digger v3 #105, Gold Digger Sacred Library #3. Add Marvel Boy: the Uranian #3 (which wasn't at Hastings either, suggesting a problem at Marvel's end since Diamond does list it as shipping). Awards: "What Does Frenzy Turn Into, A Weasel?" Award to Transformers Nefarious #1 "Void And Null" Award to Time Lincoln #1 "One Death Is A Tragedy, Seven Million Is A Crossover" Award to Booster Gold #30 "What's That WiRring Noise?" Award to The Amazing Spider-Man #625 "The Other Mountain Of Venus" Award to Avengers vs. Agents of Atlas #3 (of 4) "Checking Wikipedia, I See That Not Only Is Northstar Not Currently Dead, There May Be Two Of Him Running Around Now" Award to Hercules: Fall of An Avenger #1 (of 2) As an aside, half the books I got this week involved time travel in some fashion. Hmmm. Dave Van Domelen, "If you had any real courage you'd stay and help me train you." - identity of speaker and book would be a spoiler here, so I'll just leave it at that. :)
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