May 14, 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.
Ah, Final Exams week.  Gottaloveit.   Rants, Capsules can be found on my 

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 -

     Captain America #38: Marvel - Okay, I didn't see THAT twist coming.  And
I have to admit Brubaker's tripping some of my nostalgia triggers here, but
also memories of Bad Nostalgia.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     X-Factor #31: Marvel - Some clever twists in the damage control part of
the plot, and Cox's coloring helps over the weaknesses in Raimondi's line
art.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Avengers the Initiative #13: Marvel - Time for the second class to run
through Camp Hammond.  Gage takes over as sole writer this issue, and he
definitely likes writing Taskmaster.  This is mainly a done in one story
focusing on one of the newbs, and it works pretty well.  Recommended.

     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): Amazing
Spider-Man #559

     Project Superpowers #3: Dynamite Entertainment - Masquerade and the
Mighty Samson get the cover this issue.  And wow, this is the most incoherent
and rambling issue yet.  It's not even "writing for the trade" problems, the
trade paperback would have to rearrange a lot of the pages to make sense.
It's a story with attention deficit disorder...can't seem to focus on
anything.  Neutral.  $2.99
     Serenity Better Days #3 (of 3): Dark Horse - Speaking of incoherent,
this issue really should have been two issues.  Whedon's compressing things
too far, and the story suffers.  Plus...missiles that transform into combat
mecha?  Bwah?  There's good bits in there, mainly when he slows down to take
a breath, but a lot of scenes seem to be "let's just get this over with" in
terms of pacing.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99
     Cthulhu Tales #2: Boom! Studios - Got cover B.  The first story is a
nice bit of noir detective hopelessness.  Second is meh.  The third is the
"humorous" story for the issue, but it's more along the lines of snarky.
Fun, though.  Recommended for the first and third, the second is skippable.
     newuniversal SHOCKFRONT #1 (of 6?): Marvel - Pretty much picks up where
the first mini left off, following Justice, Starbrand and (as a viewpoint
character for much of the story) Nightmask.  A little bit of worldbuilding, a
big bit of gore (hint: Kickers Inc. ain't gonna work quite the same way in
this version of things), a little bit of character advancement, a lot of
easter eggs (i.e. Captain Stacy, officers DeWolff and Knight, etc).  Kinda
rambly, but otherwise okay.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     The Last Defenders #3 (of 6): Marvel - Ugh, why does Leinil Yu keep
getting work?  At least he's not on the interiors (although the interior
artist doesn't seem to grasp that Nighthawk has artificial wings, not a
cape).  As with #2, we resolve the cliffhanger, swap casts, then go into the
next cliffhanger, while Yandroth and a few other characters act all cryptic
in the middile section.  Nice to see someone using Junta, though, and Casey
clearly read Priest's work rather than just tossing him in based on a roster
entry.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     The Twelve #5 (of 12): Marvel - A somewhat more focused issue, mainly on
The Witness and the whole Dynamic Man/Captain Wonder interaction.  Nice pulpy
feel on the Witness story, and we finally get to see that Dynamic Man's heart
is in the right place, even if he's a racist jerk.  He's at least trying to
use his jerkitude to help others.  Oh, and Electro the robot gets some screen
time, no pun intended.  Recommended.  $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.  Marcos Martin definitely has a strong Ditko vibe to his art.  Like last
issue, somewhere between recommended and strongly recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     The All-New Iron Manual: Marvel - Okay, a bit misleading of a name.
This is not laid out like the original Iron Manual, full of Eliot Brown
diagrams of all the armor versions.  Rather, it's an Iron Man themed issue of
OHOTMU, mainly focusing on Iron Man's foes and supporting cast.  There's a
few Brown diagrams, and little pictures of all the armor versions, though.  I
do note that they don't try to reconcile the new numbering with the old
(i.e. no "Mark V" label).  The ordering is a little confusing, since it's by
last name where there's no codename, but the headers don't present the names
in "Lastname, Firstname" format.  Also, four of Stark's AIs get half page
entries at the very end.  Recommended.  $4.99/$5.05Cn [Later note: the "nose"
armor does not get included in the listing, not even as something like "Model
03 - Variant".  Bah.  Pretending it never happened doesn't mean it didn't.
At least it's on the cover.]
     Titans #2: DC - Wow.  There's like, one page where the art doesn't
totally suck.  And while it's not as incoherent a mess as #1, little things
like a dropped speech bubble on page 3 don't help.  It's like...Winick is
trying, and he's got some good ideas under this, but it's just not gelling.
And the craptacular art (although the one good page is quite good) doesn't
help him.  Teetering on the edge of being dropped, and if you haven't picked
it up yet, I'd advise you not bother.  $2.99 US/Cn
     Green Arrow and Black Canary #8: DC - The pulp-era poster style of
covers continues here.  Nice banter, a bit of much appreciated sharing of the
shared universe, and a cute bit of misdirection.  Recommended.  $2.99 US/Cn
     Booster Gold #9: DC - The alternate timeline story continues, and Johns
tells a more interesting story here than all of Identity/Infinite/Inane
Crisis, although I admit that's damning with faint praise.  Recommended.
$2.99 US/Cn
     Gen13 v4 #20: DC/Wildstorm - Ugh.  Really weak fill-in art on the final
part of the New York storyline.  Always a shame when that happens...
especially when there's supposed to be a big emotional moment in the climax,
and the new artist can't pull it off.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99 US/Cn
     Number of the Beast #3 (of 8): DC/Wildstorm - Well, the High (aka
Ellis's first Superman pastiche in StormWatch) gets most of the spotlight
this issue, although a few other heroes get a page or two here and there.
The underlying reality gets a little more light on it, but it's still not
clear if this virtual reality is just another I.O.-like piece of voyeurism a
la Gen13 or if there's something more important going on.  Recommended.
$2.99 US/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 5/14: Fallen Angel #26.  Whee.  The store orders it,
and it's not like IDW is a tiny publisher.  But Diamond can't seem to be
arsed to ship Fallen Angel to us with any regularity.


"Masquerade Of The Red Death" Award to Project Superpowers #3

"Explosion Envy" Award to Serenity Better Days #3 (of 3)

"No, She Doesn't Get An Automatic 4.0" Award to Cthulhu Tales #2

"Yes, I'm Mocking The Font Choice" Award to newuniversal SHOCKFRONT #1 (of 6)

"Taking 'Square Jawed' A Little To Literally, Mr. Yu?" Award to The Last
     Defenders #3 (of 6)

"Doktor Sleepless Needs To Smack Dynamic Man Around Some" Award to The
     Twelve #5 (of 12)

"Flat Stanley's Gothy Kid Sister" Award to Amazing Spider-Man #559

"On The Down Side, Now I Know What Happened During All Of Those Evil Tony/
     The Crossing Stories I Skipped" Award to The All New Iron Manual

"Not Being Able To Tell What's Going On Matters Less When You No Longer 
     CARE What's Going On, At Least" Award to Titans #2

"No, They Never DO Talk About The Goat Crap" Award to Green Arrow and
     Black Canary #9

"Does That Make Ted Kord The Daniel Jackson Character Here?" Award to Booster
     Gold #9

"Ew, A Supporting Cast That's Literally Ablative" Award to Gen13 v4 #20

"He Coulda Compared It To Fred Flintstone's House Interior" Award to 
     Number of the Beast #3 (of 8)

     Dave Van Domelen, "We'll handle these with the scary preacher, sir."
- Zoe, Serenity Better Days #3
Back to the Main Rants Page.

Sneeze your way back to the May 2008 Page.