April 23, 2008

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.
Happy Administrative Professionals Day!  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 -

     Nothing of interest to me.  Well, there was Iron Fist, but what with the
administrative side of my job eating my brain today, I wasn't really in the
mood to read what's never been a book I actually wanted to buy.

     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

     Books of Note (Strongly Recommended or otherwise worthy): Young Avengers
Presents #4 (of 6), Shadowpact #24

     Star Trek New Frontier #2: IDW - Art hasn't really improved.  The story
is a bit easier to follow, but still mainly aimed at people who have been
reading the series all along.  There's an interesting bit of business with
Morgan, though...a pity it's unlikely to ever have an impact outside of Peter
David's own books.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99
     Fallen Angel #26: IDW - Big boom time, and apparently "Henh" comes with
the Chief Examiner job.  The last scene is a bit confusing, in part because
it seems to be referring to a plot element that had not heretofore been
brought up, although it makes sense in retrospect.  Mildly recommended.
     Transformers Spotlight #14 (Grimlock): IDW - Yes, it's written by
Furman.  This is a direct sequel to Spotlight #1 (Shockwave), with a
Mysterious Government Project Suspiciously Like Sector 7 trying to revive
Grimlock to use as a weapon against the Decepticons (placing this right after
the end of Devastation and before All Hail Megatron), with it predictably
going wrong.  Furman gets in a brief "Me Grimlock" sequence before Grim's
self-repair systems get his vocalizer working properly, but it's mostly
Furman-style Grimlock (down to being a badass who still manages to get his
tailplate kicked).  Matere's art is a bit off, and the coloring team has
someone among them who likes pink too much.  Anyway, as a one issue character
sketch goes, it does a pretty good job of catching people up on any necessary
backstory and establishing what sort of person Grimlock is in this
continuity, while also advancing a few of the main plotlines.  Recommended.
     Avengers/Invaders Sketchbook: Marvel/Dynamite - Project Superpowers was
apparently warmup for Ross and Krueger to do this project.  A free promo
book.  Most of it is Alex Ross pencil sketches of various characters...the
Invaders, the Mighty Avengers, the New Avengers, plus a retconned-in team of
obscure characters (including the Black Widow currently seen in The Twelve).
Steve Sadowski's pencils for a few pages of fight scene flesh out the rest of
it.  It looks interesting, and this book itself is free so why not grab it?
Recommended.  Free.
     Ms. Marvel #26: Marvel - Ah, a fairly clever use of the Secret Invasion
conceits, playing off of existing plots in the book rather than disrupting
them, plus Aaron Stack gets some serious screen time.  All this and Agent Sum
gains some interesting backstory.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     She-Hulk v2 #28: Marvel - Given the cover showing Shulkie behind bars,
the Iron Man promo block under the issue number looks particularly sinister.
One of the themes of this issue seems to be that you don't need to be a
Skrull to steal someone's identity and sow dissent.  Recommended.
     Thor #8: Marvel - Lots of relationship stuff, both metaphorical and
literal (and not all of the combat happens in the metaphorical side).
Definitely a philosophy-dump issue, but a good one.  Recommended.
     Young Avengers Presents #4 (of 6): Marvel - The Vision's turn for the
cover, but it's really another two-for, with Stature (Cassie Lang) sharing an
issue that's by turns introspective, romantic, and "strange tales of Kung
Fu".  A bit talky at times, but that's forgivable, and Cornell does a good
job of working within what I consider the "Civil War Salvage" subgenre.  ;)
The art by Brooks and Mendoza is passable.  Strongly recommended.
     Justice League of America #20: DC - Well, I suppose it's equal
opportunity mind-control bee-kkake for the cover.  The actual threat implied
isn't much of a big deal, though...this is more of a character piece,
examining Wally West's place (or lack thereof) in the JLA.  McDuffie is good
with short character stories like this, and Van Sciver's art is okay (and, I
suppose, a nice bit of familiarity for Flash fans of a certain era).
Recommended.  $2.99US/Cn
     Shadowpact #24: DC - Well, while they don't come out and say it in so
many words, the reason behind the name "Shadowpact" is explained (and/or
retconned), as is the reason for the whole "always doomed" aspect.  This
issue is your basic penultimate build-up, with the villain on the move and a
cast of thousands, including three different Shadowpact teams.  Sturges
juggles them all pretty well, giving at least a little dimension to each of
the new arrivals while not ignoring the existing cast, very good economy of
writing (i.e. compression rather than decompression).  Plus, some nostalgia
for me and any other "old school" Blue Devil fans out there.  Winslade's art
is a little rough on faces, but good at storytelling.  Not really a jumping
on point, but worth going back and picking up some recent issues in order to
enjoy this one.  Strongly recommended.  $2.99US/Cn
     Number of the Beast #2 (of 8): DC/Wildstorm - More of the background
comes out, both in-story and in the profile pages at the end.  The parallels
to The Matrix (movie) are further strengthened here, but instead of machine
intelligences running things with the intent of keeping things settled, you
have bored techs playing games with the world.  Obviously, the point where we
get to start watching is the point where things start to fall apart, or there
wouldn't be much of a story.  :)  Recommended.  $2.99US/Cn
     Dynamo5 #12: Image - The big fight scene-slash-disaster movie, although
the title continues to run true to form by making the real clash one of
personalities and secrets.  Recommended.  $3.50Cn
     Official Handbook of the Gold Digger Universe #16: Antarctic Press -
Vaultron Team through Zero.  Yep, finally wrapped up the first round of
entries.  May will see what looks to be a condensed "everyone in one volume"
book.  This one is packed with werefolk, as one might expect, plus some
Agency Zero background in the Wonder Friends entry and Xane.  Recommended.
     Gold Digger v3 #95: Antarctic Press - I still think ether vents look
creepy.  The action shifts back to Quasi-Space, and despite all the action is
kinda fluffy in a plot sense.  On the other hand, with the big #100 thing
looming, pausing to actually establish (or re-establish) some of the
important plot points is a good idea, since one of Perry's writing flaws is a
tendency to leave things unsaid that he didn't intend to hide.  Recommended.
     Gold Digger Peebo Tales #3: Antarctic Press - Reprints in full color the
book-length "Tuna Thief" storyline seen in the Peebomanga digest.  It's a fun
story, but not at the top of the Peebo game.  It's a good game to be in the
middle of, though.  Recommended.  $3.50/$3.50Cn

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 4/23: Amelia Rules #20.


"Well, She DOES Have A Rather Strong Influence On The Universe" Award to
     Star Trek New Frontier #2

"Well, It's Less Disgusting Than The Other Way She Could've Done It" Award to
     Fallen Angel #25

"Fire In The Sky" Award to Transformers Spotlight #14

"Does The Star-Nosed Guy Have Digging Powers?" Award to Avengers/Invaders

"It's All About The Fringe Benefits" Award to Ms. Marvel #26

"Gonna Need A Bigger Gun" Award to She-Hulk v2 #28

"Overcrowed" Award to Thor #8

"There Is Something To Be Said About Deliberately Distinctive Speech
     Patterns" Award to Young Avengers Presents #4 (of 6)

"STAR Labs Stands For 'Soft Target, Accessible Riches' Apparently" Award to
     Justice League of America #20

"The RX-78-1 Suit" Award to Shadowpact #24

"Vagina Aculeata?" Award to Number of the Beast #2 (of 8)

"Nice Set Of Lungs On Her" Award to Dynamo5 #12

"Wabbit Season" Award to Official Handbook of the Gold Digger Universe #16

"Eat Newtonian Mechanics!" Award to Gold Digger v3 #95

"Or Just Eat Some Tuna, I Guess" Award to Gold Digger Peebo Tales #3

     Dave Van Domelen, "I am a movie based on his short story." - Vision,
referring to his connection to Iron Lad, Young Avengers Presents #4 (of 6)
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