May 28, 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.
Sigh, stooopid holiday delays.  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 -

     Nova #14: Marvel - Hm.  Mostly fight scene, first against Silver Surfer
and then a rematch with Harrow, with some veiled angst between the two.  A&L
seem to be having trouble deciding quite where Nova really sits on the power
rankings, though, making it seem like he's sandbagging it.  Okay art, if
busy.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Avengers/Invaders #2 (of 12): Marvel/Dynamite - Sadowski's pencils look
a bit off, maybe inkers in the past have carried a larger burden than the
color finishers can handle here.  This issue finishes the opening brawl and
then lays out the complications...who gets captured, who flees, who just
wanders off unnoticed.  And Cap gets to call Iron Man a fascist.  :)
Recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Amazing Spider-Man #561: Marvel - More Slott, more op art, woot.
Paparazzi plot wraps up nicely, Slott gets to tease the readers a LOT, and
the mystery of Jackpot is more or less resolved.  :)  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): None.

     Hulk Movie Novelization: Ballantine/Del Rey - Well, one good thing about
the holiday delay, I got to finish this off in time for the week's review
column.  I should make a disclaimer here before going further: I really liked
Peter David's novelization of the previous Hulk movie.  Even the Gamma Poodle
worked in his hands.  That caveat aside, I didn't find anything in this new
novel that struck me as guaranteeing a bad movie.  It's pretty dour, and I
can certainly see how spending a lot more time in the Banner scenes (as I
hear an early cut of the movie did) would be a major downer.  But the pacing
seems decent, and I see no reason that it can't work well as a movie.  It'll
really be up to the acting, FX and editing.  As for the novel, it moves at a
decent clip, but it was pretty unremittingly downbeat.  Even Peter David's
penchant for injecting humor into the bleakest of situations didn't help a
lot.  I did like the cameos he slid in (while some are clearly in the movie,
others are unlikely to be in the movie script, or at best will require
careful watching of the credits to confirm).  Anyway, if you can get this at
a discount off cover price, go for it.  Otherwise, I guess it depends on how
much angst you can handle at a sitting.  Mildly recommended.  $7.99/$9.99Cn
(book publishers apparently haven't noticed the currency shift).
     Thor #9: Marvel - Heh, Volstagg and Hogun fail at banter.  A good issue,
blending together small stories and the larger one of What Loki's Up To Now.
Loki looks particularly freaky now that she's shaved off her eyebrows.
Recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     New Warriors #12: Marvel - Part of the team on the run from the
Machinesmith, while the rest fights among themselves.  There's some good bits
with Jono taking a leadership role, but otherwise it's very much a "middle
piece" without much setup and very little payoff.  Mildly recommended.
     She-Hulk v2 #29: Marvel - Well, the events surrounding Shulkie's
disbarment are finally shown, although I wouldn't go so far as to say it's
*explained* per se, since we get one of those "onion layer peeled back"
reveals.  Still, well put together.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Ms. Marvel #27: Marvel - First of two Coelho-drawn books for me this
week.  Well, the first of two he's on the cover credits for...turns out he's
not actually involved with Blue Beetle.  But thinking he was on two of my
books got me to scrutinize the art a little more closely than usual, and
there's a subtle wrongness to it.  The facial expressions sometimes fit
poorly with what's going on, which might be a language barrier, or might be a
case of careless swipefiling.  I'd tend to go with the language thing,
though, because the work is good enough most of the time to indicate actual
talent.  As for the story, it feels like Reed was told to get rid of
Lightning Strike before the Secret Invasion mini, and kinda had to rush it.
Mildly recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Young Avengers Presents #5 (of 6): Marvel - Stature gets the cover this
time, with Patriot being the other main figure, and Hawkeye and Wiccan in
supporting roles.  This doesn't really follow from #4's story, and is more
about Cassie's home life.  A bit angsty, but she *is* a teenager with a dead
father, so it kinda follows.  Some good bits, but overall didn't work for me
as well as other issues.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Teen Titans #59: DC - Hm, looks like the trademark lawyers don't let up
for a nanoclick.  There's a new "Dark Side Club" doing Roulette's schtick,
and using the names of Apokoliptian characters (i.e. Granny Goodness),
although sometimes spelled a little differently.  About the only thing that
threw me was that Robin didn't seem to have interacted with Clock King
before, so I guess it's another retcon wave.  The story itself is okay, but
only has a couple flashes of being more than mediocre.  Mildly recommended.
$2.99 US/Cn  [Later note: I've since seen pages of Final Crisis #1 that
explain the Dark Side Club, and it's pretty boring.  Ah well.]
     Legion of Super-Heroes #42: DC - Computo has changed everyone's
costumes!  Oh, wait, that was in the 80s.  Now it looks like someone has
simply bought new outfits for everyone.  Shooter manages to bring in some
bits of Waid's worldbuilding and advance a few character arcs, while also
using that as a set-up for a twist at the end (a twist I expect Brainy sees
coming but doesn't feel the need to tell anyone about).  Manapul's art slips
into shoddy every so often, although it's hard to tell if he was being rushed
by deadline or just trying to go for a raw, emotional look and not quite
making it.  Recommended.  $2.99 US/Cn
     Blue Beetle #27: DC - Well, the cover says Coelho's on this book, but
he's not actually in the interior credits anywhere.  Maybe there was a last
minute fill-in happening, or he's scheduled for #28 and there was a layout
goof on the cover.  Anyway, Baldeon is the actual artist, and I like the way
he draws the cast.  Pfeiffer gives us a done-in-one with a fairly simple plot
that serves a single purpose: make a guy who just saved the world feel
inadequate.  I can see why you'd want to do that, I just hope they don't go
too far and suck the fun out of Jaime, since that's one of the things that
makes the book work.  Recommended.  $2.99 US/Cn
     Shadowpact #25: DC - Big final issue blowout battle.  The Blue Devil
plot gets resolved a little quickly, to the point where it feels like Sturges
originally planned to have it resolve later on, but had to get things in
order before leaving.  The whole thing had the feel of having a lot of plot
ideas just being tossed in so that Sturges could get them on the page
somewhere, now that it's not possible to properly develop them.  Ah well.
Mildly recommended.  $2.99 US/Cn
     Number of the Beast #4 (of 8): DC/Wildstorm - Halfway in, and info is
still coming out in dribs and drabs.  This is a decompressed issue, lots of
slow pans across devastation and the like, but very little that couldn't have
been cut without affecting the story.  Mildly 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 5/29: Fallen Angel #26.


"At Least He Doesn't Threaten Freddie Prinze" Award to the Hulk movie

"Loki, God Of Getting Too Close To The Pilot Light" Award to Thor #9

"You Sure You Want Someone With Those Powers In Your Setting, Marvel?"
     Award to New Warriors #12

"There Is Absolutely No Semiotics Involved In A Rampaging Giantess Breaking
     A Guy's Wand, Nooooo" Award to She-Hulk v2 #29

"Super-Bipolar Skrull" Award to Ms. Marvel #27

"Taking The 'Step' Part A Little Too Literally" Award to Young Avengers
     Presents #5 (of 6)

"At Least The Puzzle Wasn't A Rebus" Award to Teen Titans #59

"Do ANY Shapeshifters Wear Clothing?" Award to Legion of Super-Heroes #42

"At Least They Were Covering Hemingway And Not Milton" Award to Blue Beetle

"Once I Might Have Stayed And Raised A Cup, But Now I...Ah, Screw It And
     Pass The Flagon!" Award to Shadowpact #25

"When Tumbleweed Says To Bite Him, You Might Want To Consider Complying"
     Award to Number of the Beast #4 (of 8)

     Dave Van Domelen, "And, apparently, they were on SALE.  I checked." 
- Brainiac 5, always a careful consumer, LSH #42
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