Standard Disclaimers: Please set appropriate followups. Recommendation does not factor in price. Not all books will have arrived in your area this week. Kinda quiet with everyone off at NARST. Rants, Capsules can be found on my homepage, http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/Rants First Look Comments: Books I read over the weekend as First Looks, but didn't buy, so can't really say much in detail about. DC has stopped having First Looks, so it's just Marvel and Image...and there's word that Diamond doesn't want to bother with the program at all anymore. Books for next week - Nova #12: Marvel - Big technarchy action, to be continued in Annihilation Conquest. So, yeah...there's some immediate payoff, but it's just a step on the way to the crossover, etc. And waht we do get is, pun intended, a deus ex machina. $2.99/$3.05Cn Amazing Spider-Man #556: Marvel - Eh. There's a trick to mixing humor and bloody murder, and Wells doesn't seem to have it. The funny stuff is good enough, but then clunks badly against the blood and death. Mildly recommended. $2.99/$3.05Cn Capsules: Short, relatively spoiler-free reviews of books I actually bring home (as opposed to reading in preview form in the shop or online). If I get a book late due to distributor foulups or whatever, I'll put it in the Missing section. Books of Note (Strongly Recommended or otherwise worthy): Iron Man movie novelization Iron Man movie novelization: Del Rey/Ballantine Books - As often (but not always) happens, Peter David was tapped to turn the latest Marvel movie into a novel. And as almost always happens, he does a great job of it, to the point that one worries the movie won't be able to live up to it. I had some concern here, because PAD has never written Iron Man's own book before, being limited to guest appearances and one-offs previously (in fact, a friend pointed out that PAD rarely does the movie adaptations for properties he hasn't written the comics for, at least when it comes to Marvel). He's also not really a MilSF writer, and this is a very military-flavored character, especially in this origin story. However, PAD does a good job of doing both the tech and the MilSF flavoring, and he definitely grasps the essence of Tony Stark's character. To wit, he leads off the novel with that most terrifying of phrases, "Anthony Stark is bored." His (and Fergus & Ostby's) Tony is driven by the need to never leave open spaces in his brain, to move or die. And while this re-re-revamped Iron Man origin acts as a proper "coming of age" tale in which Stark acquires a deeper motivation, it's always underlying his inability to let himself just be bored. Now, there's a few flaws here and there, of course. The editing slips in places ("Shark" instead of "Stark" once, and Rhodey's name placed on the wrong speaker in another), and PAD's signature nod-and-wink stuff is present in several places (which annoys some people). But, all things considered, if the movie is even half as good as this book, it'll be a very good movie. Strongly recommended. $7.99/%10.99Cn ($5.97 at Wal-Mart) Iron Man Heart of Steel: Marvel - This is a Target-carried slightly oversized collection of Marvel Adventures Iron Man #3-6, I grabbed it on a whim on Tuesday. As with other Marvel Adventures titles, each issue is a self-contained story, and Van Lente does a pretty good job with them, although the plots tend to wrap up a bit too "just so" for my liking. The strongest tale, though, is the last one...it may also turn around a bit too quickly, but it hinges more on the dictates of a man's conscience than on any scientific plot device, so it feels more natural. Recommended. $4.99 Iron Man Movie Action Figures: Hasbro - As long as I'm on an Iron Man roll, here's a few short comments on the toys I've picked up. Iron Monger with battle smash action is disappointing. It's a good-looking mold, but as often happens with action gimmick figures, the gimmick introduces numerous flaws into the toy. The arm joints are deliberately loose to let them thrash around (which they don't do very convincingly), the right hip is totally frozen and the range of motion in the left hip isn't very useful. I'd recommend waiting for the second wave version that opens up to show Stane inside. Iron Man Mk01 is pretty nifty. Sure, the articulation is minimal, but that's movie-accurate. It has a nicely ad hoc look to it, obviously made from spare parts and minimal resources. My only quibble is that the placement of the firing flamethrower missile launcher is weird...giving that wrist a little range of motion would have helped a lot, but I'll probably end up cutting the launcher away anyway (it's one of those "pull back the end and let go" spring launchers). Both this and the Iron Monger are shortpacked, but it's worth digging around for this one. Finally, I snagged the Wal-Mart exclusive "stealth suit". This is the Mk03 mold done in black and silver, with flip-up racks added to the shoulders to accomodate a missile pod and a vulcan machine cannon. Yeah, it's War Machine, but they don't call it that (although in the novel PAD has Rhodey referred to as part of the war machine). Good mold, although the shoulder armor pieces tend to pop off. Once a Wal-Mart gets any of these, they get a couple dozen, so it shouldn't be too hard to find, but unless you're a completist I wouldn't recommend getting more than one of this general mold (the Mk02 is very similar in mold as well, and Target has a store-exclusive red and silver repaint). There's really only one other toy from this line (other than the better Iron Monger) I want, and it's another non-movie character (probably appearing in the inevitable video game tie-in, for which there are ads in this week's comics), Titanium Man. All of these are at the $10 price point. Amazing Spider-Man #555: Marvel - Zeb Wells starts his stint with a snow storm. And Mesoamerican pseudoninjas, always fun times with those. :) Wells has a good ear for banter both in civvies and in costume. Bachalo's art gets a little weird in places, but is otherwise good. Recommended. $2.99/$3.05Cn Young Avengers Presents #3 (of 6): Marvel - Wiccan and Speed, with a leavening of Hulkling. Speed apparently overestimates his uncle, claiming to be "Quicksilver fast" while being able to circumnavigate the globe in seconds. We're talking Flash-level speed, the kind that Marvel speedsters rarely exhibit (being generally limited to subsonic velocities). The pair basically take an afternoon off to look for Wanda, and obviously don't find here since that would require a fifty part mega-crossover to showcase. But, as with the previous issues in this series, while they may not find what they're looking for, they might just find what they need. Urusov's art varies between fugly and passable, and the story kinda meanders. Mildly recommended. $2.99/$3.05Cn The Twelve #4 (of 12): Marvel - Laughing Mask gets the main action scene, Rockman the origin flashback (and with Abyssia being listed in the Marvel Atlas, the odds of him being delusional just dropped), Blue Blade gets to demonstrate why his death will be cheered by readers, and Black Widow gets to be creeeeepy. It's somewhat slow-moving and aimless, but this seems to be an intentional mood-setting thing on JMS's part, to get across how these time-tossed heroes feel adrift. Recommended. $2.99/$3.05Cn Project Superpowers #2: Dynamite Entertainment - The cover this time has "The Death-Defying 'Devil" (aka Nedor's Daredevil, the apostrophe being a particularly clunky way of implying that he's still really called Daredevil, even if Marvel owns the trademark now) and The Flame (who until now I've only seen in Rovin's Encyclopedia). Neither really has anything to do with the main plot yet, though. In your basic "split the team" cliche, when the Urn returned all the lost heroes to the land of the living, it dumped 'em out in random places around the globe, so we get a bunch of scenes as they show up. Some of them may have been around and not in the urn, though, it's not really clear. In fact, "not really clear" continues to be a problem with this series (I hesitate to give it the name "story" at this point), which more than usual for Ross and Krueger seems just an excuse to draw the characters fighting...and Ross isn't even doing the interiors. Oh, it tries to ram through the Fighting Yank's angsty storyline, but after only three issues (including the #0) of that, it's already wearing thin. Also, this is clearly a case of writing for the trade, with little thought given to making satisfying reads of the individual issues. Mildly recommended, and that mostly for a few good panels. $2.99 Action Comics #863: DC - The Legion arc wraps up, essentially a denounment with fisticuffs. Lots of nice pinups and warm fuzzy fannish iconography, but two big things separate this from Project Superpowers. One, I suspect more people know who these people are and care about them. Two, as thin as the storyline may be, it's been held solidly on track and been readable issue by issue, rather than being written for the trade. Recommended. $2.99US/Cn PS238 #30: Do Gooder Press - The Vegas arc wraps up, as often happens in this title, with people acting like adults rather than just beating on each other. Some beating does go on, of course. And some have perfectly valid excuses for not behaving like adults. While the story focus does bounce around a bit, it does mostly orbit around 84's personal growth...a sort of bildungsroman, or at least an important step along that path. Backups include the usual Full Frontal Nerdity, plus samples fom Aaron Williams's newest webcomic, Backwards Compatible. BC doesn't do a lot to distinguish it from any other PVP Online clone, though. 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 4/2: Amelia Rules #20 Awards: "War And Pizza" Award to Iron Man movie novelization "Briar Patch, Magnetosphere, Whatever" Award to Iron Man Heart of Steel "What Am I Gonna Do With All These Translucent Drumsticks?" Award to the Iron Man movie action figures "Mother Maya I?" Award to Amazing Spider-Man #555 "Not So Much The Last Person You Wanted To See, As It Is The Third Person" Award to Young Avengers Presents #3 (of 6) "But Is She A Perky Goth?" Award to The Twelve #4 (of 12) "Is That A Costume, Or Bodypaint?" Award to Project Superpowers #2 "His Real Power Is Super-Libido" Award to Action Comics #863 "He Should eBay 'Em" Award to PS238 #30 Dave Van Domelen, "Do you have any toys that contain anything REMOTELY RADIOACTIVE?" "We did, but there was a recall." - Zodon and a retail peon, PS238 #30Back to the Main Rants Page.
Rain back to the April 2008 Page.