April 28, 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, http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/Rants Free Comic Book Day Capsules will come out on Saturday. Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): None. "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. Avengers the Origin #1 (of 5): Marvel - Last week, Diamond spat out a bunch of reships and I accidentally bought a second copy of Iron Man Legacy #1 (I was in a hurry). My shop let me trade it in or get credit, and I decided to swap it for another reship that was on the new releases shelf, Avengers the Origin. After the two Earth's Mightiest Heroes minis, I'd gotten kinda tired of Joe Casey's re-imagining of the classic Avengers, which is why I didn't order this in the first place, but I was juuuust interested enough to give it a try this time. And I think I was right to avoid it in the first place. This issue takes the fairly short "Loki manipulates Hulk into rampaging and then messes with Rick Jones's SOS thereby assembling the Avengers" sequence from Avengers #1 and blows it out to a full issue. But rather than aiming just at Thor and getting the others by accident, he apparently deliberately assembles the entire team and sends them after Rick. Whose club of ham radio operators is now a cabal of hacker anarchists...yes, I can see a need for updating their specific technological hobby, but turning them from do-gooders into bomb-throwers (metaphorically, anyway) is not really a good update. It's rather Millar-y, in fact, re-imagining fundamentally good people as fundamentally venal people who only do good by accident. Also, in updating the tech, he gets it pretty badly wrong in at least one place. Not only will it be dated soon enough, it's not even correct *now*. At least Rick Jones and his pals used ham radios more or less correctly in the original story. I don't plan to pick up any other issues, and don't suggest you do so either. $3.99 Marvel Boy: the Uranian #3 (of 3): Marvel - As often happens with backstory-fill retcons, there's not a whole lot of resolution here because it takes place between the existing major conflicts. The sinister Uranian agenda plot can't get resolved here, because it wouldn't actually wrap up until modern times. But a side plot involving an antagonist created for this series did get a resolution, and the romantic side plot gets some time, but the overall feel of the ending is "to be continued". Not too frustrating, though, given that most of the continuation has already been told. :) The backups are three classic Marvel Boy tales, including one where he cheerfully relates how he resolved a dilemma by torturing the badguys, although he doesn't directly say so (he refers merely to using "there [sic] own methods of 'persuasion'"). 1950s Marvel Boy was certainly weird, though. 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. The Transformers #6: IDW - The first few pages make it abundantly clear that Mike Costa is a LOT more interested in examining the effect of leadership on people than he is in, oh, fight scenes. Menasor showed up, and the fight against him is practically background noise in the opening pages! By contrast, Last Stand of the Wreckers also addresses the issues of leadership, but revels in the combat elements. Oh, we do get a few pages where Figueroa gets to show his chops in terms of fight scenes, but it's over very quickly and then it's back to talking. At least Bumblebee finally stops being a wuss, although Rodimus apparently starts. I say "apparently" because there's a possible subplot-device going on here. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Justice Society #38: DC - More "this is how it all fell apart" flashbacks, then a little bit of plot motion as the story creeps ever closer to the inevitable time travel conclusion. The Superman flashback scene was pretty good, though. Mildly recommended. $2.99 Invincible #1 (Image Firsts edition): Image - I didn't order this, but when it showed up in my pull I decided to get it, since I never did read the first two dozen issues (just the #0 summary and info found in the Official Handbooks). It's really kinda weird reading this, knowing where things went. In this issue, the high concept is "The protagonist is the teenaged son of Superman and Lois Lane, and his powers have just started to manifest, bringing him into his dad's circles." Since he'd been expecting something like this to happen his whole life, he doesn't ditch his normal life, as he's planned around the possibility of powers from the start. There's still a few adjustment issues, of course...as much as you can intellectually plan for something like this, suddenly being a demigod will have an emotional impact that's hard to anticipate. There's more than a couple deliberate pokes at the Superman mythos (including a line about not actually being solar powered), but the somewhat camp tone in places is actually foreshadowing that the whole setup is phony. Recommended. $1.00 Invincible #71: Image - Meanwhile, on the other side of rivers of blood, betrayal and death, the final preps are made to go off into space for the Viltrumite War. A good contrast between the happy couple in #1 and the bitter reunion between Invincible's parents here, too, so nice timing. Kirkman also finishes bringing TechJacket back into things, not just in the main story but also in a backup story that will run for the next 8 issues (TechJacket's dad is off-model in the backup, though). Recommended. $2.99 The Amazing Spider-Man #629: Marvel - End of Stern's Captain Universe arc, plus backup by Wells and Bachalo. Okay, so the most obvious Captain Universe candidate wasn't gone with, although Stern did string along the red herring-ing for a while. And the story is definitely a sequel to the first clash between Spider-Man and the Juggernaut, tying off a number of loose ends. The short backup is told rather more confusingly (both script and art) than it needs to be, even given the whole multiple-personalities aspect to it. All in all, a decent issue, but that's about it. Mildly recommended. $2.99 Thunderbolts #143: Marvel - SIEGE trade dress. While the book continues next month, this is essentially the final issue of the Osborn-backed team. Most captured, a few on the run, but otherwise pretty much neutralized, so the book's being taken over by a new team in #144. The side story doesn't really affect the main Siege plot (the opening splash page is taken from the main plot, but this is otherwise all background), but that makes it a win for the good guys. Kinda like how the Initiative's main thing in Secret Invasion was a victory by having no impact...it kept the baddies from having more of an impact. The Mighty Avengers end up dashing off to the rest of the Big Plot, but all we see of it from here is their agog expressions at what's happening off-panel. The ending itself is fairly quiet, but decent, and takes place in the aftermath. Recommended. $2.99 Mighty Avengers #36: Marvel - SIEGE trade dress, final issue. And this one really is the end, as all the Avengers books are being cancelled and restarted (although the main book will inevitably get renumbered when the total of all issues reaches some multiple of 100). There's a bit of intersection with Thunderbolts, a few pages that are nearly identical in scripting (but not art) to TBolts #143, although Pietro's part of it gets expanded on some. Later, we also get to see what they were staring at in TBolts, although this issue ends before the resolution of Siege. The main plot, though, deals with the Ultron/Jocasta/Pym business and establishes what the whole thing with Janet was about. Unfortunately, Slott has to leave it a dangler, possibly due to editorial decisions regarding her disposition. Amusingly, once again we see that Pym's fundamentally screwed up nature saves the universe again. 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 4/28/10: I gave up on Diamond and just ordered the missing Antarctic Press books directly from their online store, and Diamond did cough up Marvel Boy, so the old missing list is cleared. Of course, I have a new missing book, Iron Man 2 Public Identity #1. Awards: "Um, Nurse Foster? I'm Pretty Sure Traceroute Doesn't Do That" Award to Avengers the Origin #1 (of 5). "The 220 Mile High Club" Award to Marvel Boy: the Uranian #3 (of 3) "TF Meets STFU" Award to The Transformers #6 "Not How He'd Wanted To Follow In Ted's Footsteps" Award to Justice Society of America #38 "Still, Fingerless Gloves And Secret IDs Don't Really Go Together, Do They?" Award to Invincible #1 "You'll Note The Gloves Now Have Fingers" Award to Invincible #71 "Hey, The Mole Man Deserves Some Of The Blame Too" Award to The Amazing Spider-Man #629 "Unsafe At Any Speed" Award to Thunderbolts #143 "It's A Bug AND A Feature" Award to Mighty Avengers #36 Dave Van Domelen, "And do you folks always, uhm, CELEBRATE by blowing up big fuschia robots?" "They're really more MAGENTA, honey." - TechJacket's neighbors, Invincible #71
Back to the Main Rants Page.

Follow the pollen back to the April 2010 Page.