Standard Disclaimers: Please set appropriate followups. Recommendation does not factor in price. Not all books will have arrived in your area this week. Got to drive on the lawn today, whee. 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 - Guardians of the Galaxy #1: Marvel - Geee, you gotta wonder if Abnett & Lanning are involved in any Warhammer 40K? I guess the spaceship with a gothic cathedral built into it might be a hint. ;) And the Chaos creature. In the end, though, it ends up setting up a premise for the team that's essentially Buffy The Cthulhu Slayer, with Warlock as Buffy, Gamora as Willow, etc. $2.99/$3.05Cn Iron Man Legacy of Doom #2 (of 4): Marvel - The Micheline psychobabble kicks in full force this issue, feh. Lim's art looks nice enough, but it's not enough to carry the day. $2.99/$3.05Cn Amazing Spider-Man #559: Marvel - Slott's back, woot. And cute visual gag from Martin, "Starbrand Coffee"...Starbucks style logo, but with the Starbrand. Also cool how Parkour plays a role in the new villain's schtick. Not to mention the ethics of being a celebrity photog, stalkers and someone actually paying attention to consumer technology as it relates to the news biz. Like last issue, somewhere between recommended and strongly 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): Amelia Rules! v4 TPB Conan #50: Dark Horse - 64 page special issue. First it wraps up the current Hand of Nergal story, then has a text page by Roy Thomas explaining the provenance of the Hand of Nergal, and finally a reprint of the Marvel version of the "same" story. Aside from a few names, though, the two have almost nothing in common...which makes sense, given that a few names are about all that came from the original Robert E. Howard fragment (a fragment which is given a nod and a wink in-story at the end of the new tale). Call it literary necromancy if you will, it's certainly interesting to watch in progress. Recommended. $4.99 Transformers: the Reign of Starscream #1 (of 4, I think): IDW - It's billed as a sequel to the movie, but only a couple of pages could be counted as that. The first chunk adds some material between the lines of the official prequel comic, plus retelling other parts from Starscream's POV. Then the middle retells the movie itself from Starscream's view, leading up to a touch of retconning (or at least rearranging of scenes) to set up the actual story that will start in #2. While I applaud the effort to keep the story comprehensible to people who haven't read any of the previous movieverse comics, most of this could have been done just as well (and a lot less murkily) as a text page, leaving more of the issue for actual story. We don't really get a lot out of Starscream's point of view here that couldn't have been done in maybe 4 pages of on-screen recap. And yeah, the art by Milne suffers from movie designs and colorist murk. Very mildly recommended. $3.99 Doctor Who #4 (of 5): IDW - Well, it's time to tie together all that foreshadowing from #1-3, and despite a little bit of robotic red herring, it's mainly "and here's the fiendish plan" stuff. Pierfederici's art varies from bad to forgettable, and I much preferred the little done in one stories to this arc. Neutral. $3.99 Scud the Disposable Assassin #24 (of 24): Image - The "Whole Shebang" is due out next month, and I suppose I could've just waited for that, given that I got rid of #1-20 back in 2000. Eh, whatever. ;) Here it is at last, the new ending of the series (the old ending, had #21 come out back in the 90s, would have been different as outlined in the interview at the end of the issue). It gets a bit incoherent in places, a sort of "racing to the end" feel, but it does tie together well in the end. And it gives new meaning to a love/hate relationship. Recommended. A bit heavy on the cursing and cartoony gore, though, if you're easily offended. Then again, if you're easily offended, you probably shouldn't come near this series in general. $3.50 (Aside: the cover stock either rolls REALLY easily, or the humidity is messing it up, because the cover of my copy's already trying to turn into a scroll.) Dynamo5 Annual #1: Image - This follows the "lots of short stories" style of Annual, starting with a reprint of Captain Dynamo's first appearance back in a Noble Causes anthology issue. The stories run in chronological order, with the first two being about Captain Dynamo, the third (with a strongly animated feel) concerning the Dynamo5 during their training, and the last one set some point after that training was complete. Plus the usual assortment of pinups and a text page explaining the rationale behind each of the stories. All in all, it's more of a Noble Causes Annual Guest Starring Dynamo5, for good or ill. And since I don't read Noble Causes, I was a bit at sea in a few places. Mildly recommended. $5.99 Action Comics Annual #11: DC - And, in a nice bit of juxtaposition, this one follows the "big event capstone" style of Annual. Unfortunately, I stopped reading regular issues of the Donner-cowritten book a few months back, and it looks like they really ramped up this particular plotline in the interim. Phantom Zone criminal takeover of Metropolis, Superman teamed up with his greatest foes, resolution of the Christopher Kent thing, etc. Big knock-down drag-out sort of thing. And, even beyond what I'd expect from having missed the lead-in, it feels...disconnected. Granted, I've been having that feeling on both Superman books on and off since they decided to splice the Silver Age stuff back in. Neo-retro Superman just hasn't felt right to me. I don't WANT the guy who can reshape planets into cubes. I don't WANT rainbow hues of Kryptonite. At least, not in any new stories. The old stories were fun, but this kind of "we'll make it just like the old days" stuff is kinda like literary saccharine: it's not as good as the real thing, and at least for me it leaves a nasty aftertaste. This pretty much crystalizes it for me, I think I'm going to avoid both Action and Superman for a while. Neutral. $4.99US/Cn [Later note: Okay, it's not just my brain starting to denature. The Donner-cowritten stuff has been hit with numerous production delays, resulting in the pieces coming out in haphazard ways. This actually picks up from pre-Legion-arc stuff that I'd skipped over last year. Whee. Remember, kids, stunt-casting of writing assignments can kill. Well, kill story coherence and reader interest.] X-Factor the Quick and the Dead #1 (of 1): Marvel - Your basic "man and his demons" story. Pietro's in a jail cell, beaten and delusional, no powers of any kind, having imaginary conversations with the important people in his life. There's a sort of creepy "Baltar and Number Six" vibe at times, but that's intentional. I think it would have worked better if released as a MAX title or something, the use of code-approved pseudo cussin' works against the mood, makes what's supposed to be a powerful epiphany feel kinda goofy. Oh, and I'm still not really a fan of Raimondi's art. Mildly recommended. 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. It's possible Fraction will take it someplace other than a "here's the line where we should quit" theme, but I have my doubts. Still, an interesting start. Recommended. $2.99/$3.05Cn Amazing Spider-Man #558: Marvel - Bob Gale's turn at bat, playing clean-up to tie things together before the cycle begins anew with Slott next week. 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 The Official Handbook of the Gold Digger Universe #17: Antarctic Press - This is the "Appendix", a combination of new characters, updates, and people too obscure to get an entry the first time around but getting some recent mentions to bring them above the threshold (such as Agen, who's been around for a while, but showed up in the recent arc after the first issue of OHOTGDU came out). It even had some characters who haven't appeared yet, although some of that is vagaries of publishing timing (i.e. the Tiffany & Charlotte book is due out any week now, and has some new characters). Some crossover and miniseries characters get dredged up as well, like Konam from Asrial vs. Cheetah. In short, a sort of catch-all "anything we might have missed" issue. To judge from the preview of #18's cover, I'd guess it's an expanded Races/Species issue, going back over them in more detail. Recommended. $3.95/$3.95Cn Gold Digger v3 #96: Antarctic Press - RoboMODOK! This issue is all set in Quasi-Space, continuing to follow Brit and Gina as Gina finds out more about how things work, how things don't work, and what's apt to try to kill you into many tiny pieces. Emphasis on that last one after about the midpoint of the issue. And Ether Vents still creep me out. Recommended. $2.99/$2.99Cn PS238 #31: Do Gooder Press - Whoops, radical setting change. You can't go home again, sure, but it's rarely so literal and rapid in terms of "either you've changed, or home has". Tyler's momentous decision is clarified, at least for the readers (he's still as confused as ever, really), and we get another look into the past of the setting. Plus backups of Full Frontal Nerdity (hm, dragon-halfbreed mammaries...sure, why not?) and Backwards Compatible (which seems to be groping about for a way to not just be another PvP clone). Recommended. $2.99 Amelia Rules! vol 4: Renaissance Press - FCBD 2006, issues #17-19, and FCBD 2007's lead story (also reprinted in #20). Not that you'd know this from looking at the TPB itself...this series has a really annoying tendency to not say where any of the material was originally published, and the somewhat time-shifty nature of the storyline can make it seem like sequentially published issues shouldn't follow each other. Still, that's more of a geekly complaint, the stories inside by Jimmy Gownley are quite solid (at least one getting a "strongly recommended" from me the first time around), and the price is good for 168 pages of 'em. Strongly recommended if you haven't bought the individual issues already. $11.99/$13.99Cn 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 5/7: Amelia Rules! #20, but I've been told it's just the 2007 FCBD issue repackaged, so no rush. Not to mention it's also reprinted (minus the Apathy Kat stuff) in the TPB I just got. Awards: "It's Probably Wrong Of Me To Want To See Jim Davis's 'The Hand of Nermal' As A Parody" Award to Conan #50 "Don't Worry, Brawl, We'll Fix It In Post" Award to Transformers: the Reign of Starscream #1 (of 4) "Gee, I Wonder If That Button Will Be Important In The Climax?" Award to Doctor Who #4 (of 5) "Forget Dancing On The Head Of A Pin, How Many Can You Fit On A Ritz?" Award to Scud the Disposable Assassin #24 (of 24) "At Least He Didn't Hit On BOTH Firebirds" Award to Dynamo5 Annual #1 "Didn't I See This Plot Device In Season 1 Of The Legion Cartoon?" Award to Action Comics Annual #11 "But He Forgot To Tap His Icon!" Award to X-Factor the Quick and the Dead #1 "What ARE Little Boys Made Of?" Award to Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #39 "Wait'll He Finds Out Swordsman's Last Name" Award to Avengers/Invaders #1 (of 12) "The Girl Genius Universe Seems To Be Missing A Madboy" Award to The Invincible Iron Man #1 "Not Exactly Whitewashing, Huck, But It'll Do" Award to Amazing Spider-Man #558 "My Eyes Are Up Here...And Up Here" Award to Official Handbook of the Gold Digger Universe #17 "Into The Valley Of In-Jokes Rode The NINE THOUUUUUSAAAAANNND!" Award to Gold Digger v3 #96 "If You Accept That Dragons And Mammals Are Even Interfertile, Why Should The Rest Of The Baggage Bother You?" Award to PS238 #31 (well, more to the Full Frontal Nerdity strips) "Chicks Dig Lithuanian Cussin'" Award to Amelia Rules! v4 Dave Van Domelen, "In a recent story on the sci-fi game 'Mass Effect,' a Fox News panelist described the game as 'LUKE SKYWALKER MEETS DEBBIE DOES DALLAS.'" "Really?" "Yeah. Do you want to --" "Do they have a SCRIPT for that?" "No, it was a metaphor for --" "Can we get someone WORKING on a script for that?" - Preacher from Crispygamer.com and Mark Hamill, PS238 #31 (the Backward Compatible strips).Back to the Main Rants Page.
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