Standard Disclaimers: Please set appropriate followups. Recommendation does not factor in price. Not all books will have arrived in your area this week. Okay, I HAD a V8. Meh. What now, genius? Rants, Capsules can be found on my homepage, http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/Rants In honor of the Iron Man movie opening this week, I made this: http://www.dvandom.com/kitbash/attunicorn.JPG 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 #13: Marvel - Annihilation is over for the time being, apparently, and Nova's off to deal with some Chaos mani...er, a psyker, I mean, psychic presence that follows in the wake of Galactus. It's okay. $2.99/$3.05Cn Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #39: Marvel - Sumerak writes. Heh, Kristoff the foreign exchange student from Latveria, viewing New York City through the lens of his homeland...so, how often DOES the Statue of Liberty come to life and attack, anyway? He may be better prepared for living in NYC than one might think, actually. Of course, Things Are Not What They Seem (although the Thing is pretty much what he seems). Recommended. $2.99/$3.05Cn Avengers/Invaders #1 (of 12): Marvel/Dynamite - The Invaders get introduced, tossed at a plausible time travel plot device, and the run into the Thunderbolts. Good "enter running" opening. Recommended. $2.99/$3.05Cn Invincible Iron Man #1: Marvel - Well, it's a good start from Fraction. He sets up Stark's personal nightmares, some of which show him to be something other than unreservedly futurist...and Zeke Stane is further set up to be the very dark side Tony fears. Where Obadiah was the evil businessman counterpart to Stark, Ezekiel is the evil technologist. This does tend to create the awkward situation of making the "superhero as reactionary maintainer of the status quo" theme come rather strongly to the front, and "futurist" Tony Stark into a sort of "I got mine, now let's stop progressing" neo-luddite. Still, an interesting start. Recommended. $2.99/$3.05Cn Amazing Spider-Man #558: Marvel - Bob Gale's turn at bat. The cover shows pretty much all the plot complications so far in BND, and to his credit Gale manages to work most of the into this story, service several subplots, AND wrap up the Freak danglers for now. On the strong side of 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): Hulk vs. Hercules #1 (of 1) DC Universe #0: DC - Well, it's fifty cents. Also, the Surprise Reveal made it onto the mainstream news (to the extent that the local light rock radio station is mainstream news). This is essentially a jam book, artistically, with various artists (and some old art taken from previous works, but not a lot) contributing to a sort of trailer for the Next Big Stupid Event Crossover. The narrator starts out seeming to be some sort of personification of reality (a la Marvel's Eternity), but while it's not 100% nailed down by the end, it's pretty clear he's meant to be the Big Reveal. Anyway, it's a valuable book in giving a quick Sampler (anyone remember DC Sampler? This is kinda like that) of upcoming plotlines to read or (mostly, in my case) avoid. Oh, and Night Girl's costume just got a little more risque. Recommended, not really on the merits of the storytelling (which tends towards purple and tedious) so much as in terms of seeing what's coming. 50 cents. Action Comics #864: DC - Essentially a lead-in to the upcoming Legion of Three Worlds series, with Batman coming to bring certain issues to Superman's attention as a premise for letting the reader know where the current version of continuity stands vis a vis the LSH. Or LSHes, as the case may be (LsSH?). The villainous narrator of the piece is pretty obvious to anyone familiar with the Legion, and the Big Reveal means little to anyone NOT familiar with it, a bit of pointless coyness that is apparently not limited to Sumerak (who did a similar thing over in Marvel Adventures Avengers recently). I can take or leave Prado's art, but it's fun seeing Batman and Lightning Lad provide opposite poles to Superman's social circle. Recommended. $2.99US/Cn Legion of Super-Heroes #41: DC - The "bureaucratic nightmare" plotline continues, along side the "mysterious killing machines" one. And it appears that Imra likes it rough...and if Timber Wolf is gonna pursue anything with Projectra HE'D better like it rough. The art by Lopresti and Ryan is a nice change from the regular artist, although they go off-model a bit. There's a backup feature about the flight rings with some pretty bad art by Sanford Greene. Recommended. $2.99US/Cn Teen Titans #58: DC - Long-time readers may have noticed that I tend to read books more or less in the order "worst to best" within a publisher, at least my expectation of that quality gradient. Of five DC books I'm reading this week, the fact that this is #4 does NOT mean I expect much of it. It just means this is a pretty weak week for DC as far as I'm concerned. Anyway, more Terror Titans stuff, but the main villain is the Future Megan left over in Miss Martian's head. It gets a bit needlessly gory (seriously, even in a fantasy sequence, do we NEED to see someone's spine ripped out in detail?). Mildly recommended. $2.99US/Cn Blue Beetle #26: DC - The post-Rogers series of fill-ins commences, and sadly it looks like he won't be back as the regular writer any time soon (Sturges is listed in Previews as the next regular, which I suppose is okay since I've been liking his Shadowpact). The high concept here is that the entire issue is in Spanish, with translations at the end. Well, ALMOST all in Spanish, there's a few bits here and there in English. I remember enough Spanish from high school that I could mostly follow it without the script (although the art is a let-down...there's a bit where I only knew Traci was in astral projection because of the script). Annoyingly, the Scarab is back to its cypher font, and the script just says "Scarab speak" for all of its lines, so I'll have to dig out the translator for THAT. Gimmicks of language aside, it was a decent light done-in-one story. Recommended. $3.50US/Cn Hulk vs. Hercules #1 (of 1): Marvel - Didn't realize this was part of Pak & Van Lente's regular story until someone asked me why I hadn't picked it up last week. It's set during the cross-country beer run shown at the start of the most recent regular Herc issue, but told mostly in flashback by Athena. After a few pages of various-artist deep flashbacks, we get an untold story of Hulk during his "Crossroads" days (not the failed comic company, the arc that followed Hulk #300), where the near-mindless Hulk spent some time in Olympus. This story serves two purposes...the in-story one being to point out to Amadeus Cho that as genial as Herc may be, he's still a hero in the ancient Greek sense of the word, capable of atrocities. The out of story one is to remind people who Demogorge is, since he's showing up soon in the regular book. As a back-up, the Hulk/Herc fight from Tales to Astonish #79 is presented, along with the original lettercol. Oh, and the main story has FOOTNOTES. Ah, nostalgia. Strongly recommended. (That thing I mentioned a few reviews back about review ordering? I put this first in the Marvels simply because it's from last week...I never said I followed SIMPLE patterns. Or consistent ones.) $3.99/$4.05Cn Avengers the Initiative #12: Marvel - Uy's art is rather foggy and squishy this issue, not sure if he was shooting for a "filmed through cotton" look for mood purposes, or just had an off day, though. The KIA fallout wraps up, we establish who died, who didn't, and who did but it warn't no-how permanent. And the issue ends pretty much as #1 began, with Cloud 9, who has graduated and gotten a new costume and all that...and lost a piece or two of her soul along the way. Recommended. $2.99/$3.05Cn The Order #10: Marvel - Looks like this is the final issue, not #12 as I thought it'd be. The art is a rushed-looking mix of creators (Kitson breakdowns, Saltares pencils, inks by a trio of people) and there's generally a feeling of "Eh, shut it down, neither of the original creators wanna do this anymore." A pity, and the series wraps up on a big downer to boot, likely to have its danglers continued over in Invincible Iron Man (where Fraction went). Zeke Stane gets some fun bits, but it all feels phoned in. Neutral. $2.99/$3.05Cn New Warriors #11: Marvel - I suppose this issue could in part be considered foreshadowing for some stuff in Avengers the Initiative, except it's about four months too late to be *fore*shadowing. :) The other two plotlines this issue focus on the down sides of the new New Warriors setup, from public opinion to Thrash's "mushroom farmer" style of management. Still got some problems keeping everyons straight, though...they could stand to use the intro page like Initiative does and put headshots of everyone in there with names and power descriptions. I mean, I've been reading this for 11 issues and still don't know who all of them are, not reliably. Recommended despite that flaw, $2.99/$3.05Cn Gold Digger Tangent #4: Antarctic Press - The Ayane story wraps up in three pages, leaving the balance of the issue to resolve the Contessa story in Northern Edge Guard. As usual, the art is very rushed, as this is from a webcomic Fred Perry does in his copious free time, but the stories are fun. It's a good idea to read the "what has gone before" page carefully first, though, since the pacing assumes you can archive-trawl at any time to figure out what's going on. :) Recommended. $2.99US/Cn 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 4/30: Amelia Rules #20. Sigh. At least the FCBD version shipped (I asked the store, all the FCBD stuff I wanted in advance did show up, yay!). Awards: "Still Not As Creepy As Ocelotina's Costume, Though" Award to DC Universe #0 "Guys, No One Uses Chalk Outlines Anymore" Award to Action Comics #864 "Polymorphic Perversity" Award to Legion of Super-Heroes #41 "Megan And Cham Should Date" Award to Teen Titans #58 "Como se dice 'cute gimmick' en espanol?" Award to Blue Beetle #26 "Big Brother Is Watching You...Hungrily" Award to Hulk vs. Hercules #1 (of 1) "For J.T. Marsh, Flying Isn't About Freedom, It's About Responsibility" Award to Avengers the Initiative #12 "Don't Get Out Of The Car, Dummies!" Award to The Order #10 "A Turn In The Starr Chamber" Award to New Warriors #11 "Not Excelling So Much This Time, Saga" Award to Gold Digger Tangent #4 Dave Van Domelen, "Feh. The RED SKULL did not appreciate me either." - Baron von Blitzschlag, too verdammnt old to angst, Avengers the Initiative #12Back to the Main Rants Page.
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