May 26, 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, Back from Green Bay, and full of cheese. 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. Zatanna #1: DC - My store got this on time, but I wasn't going to get it at first. But since I found a bunch of other stuff at Powers Comics in Green Bay while visiting my parents over the weekend, I decided to grab Zatanna as long as I was making a buy. It's a decent enough story with pretty good art (but, as the Howling Curmudgeons point out, some pretty bad coloring choices), but it's not going on my pull. Like a lot of legacy characters (in this case, Zatara's legacy), Zatanna has suffered a lot of concept flail as different writers struggle with "keeping to the legacy" versus "eliminating goofy golden age stuff". Dini's hewing closer to the legacy (she's got the fishnets and the sdrawkcab gnikaeps), so he has to find her a niche so that he's not just retelling the same old Zatanna/Zatara stories. He seems to be aiming at CSI: Supernature in this opening issue...while a valid path, it just didn't interest me enough to put this on my pull. $2.99 The Twelve Spearhead #1: Marvel - My regular store couldn't even get Diamond to admit this exists. This is a story set in WWII shortly before the titular Twelve ended up in the trap that left them to sleep away the generations, written by Chris Weston (who also inks the book). Pretty much all of the Twelve show up at some point, although most are carrying spears rather than being at the point of the spear. It's mainly Phantom Reporter and Mastermind Excello driving the story, with others (including the Invaders minus Namor) wending in and out. It's a decent story, but I don't really regret having missed it for months. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #2: Marvel - I think I might have missed this because it looks like an issue of Thor. Thor's logo is on the top, the book's own logo is nearly invisible along the bottom. Mind you, Thor barely even APPEARS in this issue, carrying a spear (well, a hammer) while Black Widow, Invisible Woman and Iron Man take the spotlight. The story, unfortunately, is an example of what happens on those occasions when Tobin writes down to his audience, with a mystery that's implausibly easy to figure out (as in, no one should've fallen for it in-story). Mildly recommended, mainly for the little bits not tied to the plot. $2.99 Age of Heroes #1 (of 4): Marvel - Heroic Age banner, naturally. This is an anthology book, what attracted me were the JJJameson story by Busiek and the Spider-Man story by Slott. The Busiek story is half the issue, the Slott story page. Oops. The Jameson piece is pretty good, at least, helping show how the zeitgeist has shifted and how political leaders are fundamentally different from battle leaders. The second longest piece, an attempt at relationship comedy involving Brother Voodoo the Sorceror Supreme, fell flat. The two-page MI:13 story was okay, and the one page Spidey story makes for a nice coda. Mildly 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 #7: IDW - Most of this issue catches up on the straitened circumstances into which most of the Decepticons have fallen since AHM ended, an echo of the Char years in the G1 cartoon, but there's a look in on the Terran side as well. Unfortunately, the obvious identity of the narrator pretty much saps any shock value the Final Page Reveal might have had. EJ Su is trying out a new style here, and all the robots look like they're wearing crude camouflage paint. At first I thought it was meant to make the Decepticons look grungy and ill-maintained, but even the Autobots suffer from it. I don't care for the look, it's even worse in its own way than Pat Lee's "everyone is covered in tiny cracks" thing. Mildly recommended. $3.99 The Amazing Spider-Man #632: Marvel - "Shed" Part 3. Lizard literally sheds his old identity, gains some intelligence points and gains a new power. In the process he becomes, well...Dr. Dinosaur played completely straight. Substitute "monkey" for "mammal" and "lizard" for "reptile" and you get pretty close. But where Dr. Dinosaur's demented antics balance threat and hilarity, the new Lizard is just kinda dull. Ooh, he's more powerful and ruthless and killed people. Yawn. He's also jettisoned (at least for now) the core inner conflict that made him more than just a ripoff of the Creature of the Black Lagoon. Neutral. $2.99 The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #37: Marvel - I'm pretty sure the Annuals got the same renumbering trick that the main book did when it hit #500. :) Of course, given that both of the stories in this issue are set in the early days of Spider-Man's career, they could have un-booted the numbering and it'd have fit right in. The lead story by Karl Kesel is set between Avengers #11 and #16 (original series) and features the first meeting between Captain America and Spider-Man. The writing tries to capture the feel of 1960s Marvel comics, but Siquiera's art really looks nothing like the era's, throwing off the effect. This story is the good kind of retcon, filling in minor gaps without really contradicting anything. The second story (an official Untold Tale of Spider-Man by Busiek and Oliffe) tells of how the in-setting Marvel Comics came to start printing Spider-Man comics, and why it never really helped Spidey himself. Both stories are interesting and well told. And if Age of Heroes is intending to hearken back to the past, I suppose one way to go about it is to simply retell the past with updates. :) Recommended. $3.99 (Hm, an Annual costing as much as many regular comics, that's certainly not hearkening back to the old days.) Thunderbolts #144: Marvel - "The Heroic Age" banner. New team, new direction, but still Parker at the helm, so I'm sticking around. I almost said "totally new team", but there's representatives of several old Tbolts rosters, including one from the Osborn run. This is the obligatory "assembling the team" issue, with flashbacks to the decisionmaking process (which Cage was involved with, but didn't have the only vote). At the very end, of course, we get the new threat, big reveal, etc. Given the way Parker has set up this team, odds are pretty good there'll be two teams of Thunderbolts soon enough (Mighty Thunderbolts and Dark Thunderbolts?), the only real suspense comes in figuring out who'll go which way. I expect at least one of the "good" Thunderbolts will go with the "bad" team and vice versa for various personal or professional reasons. Anyway, a fairly slow start, but a promising one. 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 5/26/10: Gold Digger Peebri's Big Adventure #2 Awards: "You Won't Much Like Brown Meat Either" Award to Zatanna #1 "I Guess Blue Blade Was Always A Buffoon" Award to The Twelve: Spearhead "He May Want To Ask For Imprisonment In The Negative Zone" Award to Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #2 "Lead, Follow Or Get Out Of The Way" Award to Age of Heroes #1 (of 4) "Never Let An Insecticon Do Your Social Engineering" Award to The Transformers #7 "Abusing The Biological Metaphor" Award to The Amazing Spider-Man #632 "Wikipedia Now Predates The Avengers...Can I Get A Reversion On That?" Award to The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #37 "Sell When It Hits Mach XVII" Award to Thunderbolts #144 Dave Van Domelen, "Hank Pym? Damn, they will let ANYBODY in this place." - Luke Cage, Thunderbolts #144
Back to the Main Rants Page.

Fly back to the May 2010 Rants Page via Milwaukee.