May 28, 2009

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.
Got speed trapped on Memorial Day, whee.  An archive can be found on my 

     Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): Amazing
Spider-Man #595

"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.

Late Books:
     These are comics that were not listed as shipping during the week they
were reviewed.  Sometimes someone recommends a book to me that's already out,
and I grab it over the weekend.  Sometimes it's a trade paperback I ordered
online rather than trusting Diamond.  Sometimes the store screwed up or I was
inobservant and I missed something I meant to get.  USUALLY, though, it's
because Diamond didn't ship what it was supposed to ship and I had to
scrounge around or wait on a reorder.

     Nothing this week.

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.

     Justice League of America #33: DC - More Milestone crossover stuff, and
a possible device for un-crossing it.  The fact that I barely know or care
about these characters doesn't really help, and for the most part they're
interchangeable cameos this issue.  Hardware gets a lot of screen time,
though, and I like his attitude.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99
     Justice Society of America #27: DC - Their only hope is to awaken
Ghidorah!  Er, never mind.  After some Nuklon angst, most of the issue is
your basic "fighting the wrong side of a threat" story, with a side order of
Stargirl possibly getting meta about her portrayal in recent years.  :)
Mildly recommended.  $2.99
     Eureka Dormant Gene #2 (of 4): BOOM! Studios - Mostly told in flashback,
from the point of view of Gene (with a touch of Franken Fran thrown in),
making it clear where the conflict comes from.  Definitely being set up as a
sort of tragedy in the Greek sense, complete with hubris.  The fifty foot
teenager is one one of the covers, but barely figures in the story (although
she may be foreshadowing).  Mildly recommended.  $3.99
     Farscape: D'Argo's Lament #2 (of 4): BOOM! Studios - Keystone Krimelords
time, and speaking of hubris, Jool assumes that HER plans won't wind up as
frelled as Crichton's.  Not that she's had a lot of exposure to Crichton's
plans at this point in continuity, as far as I can tell.  Mildly
recommended.  $3.99 
     Ignition City #3 (of 5): Avatar - More cards go on the table, and we get
a bit more on the Mongo-homage that's part of the backstory here, along with
a few more homages/pastiches/parodies of pulp space characters like Commando
Cody.  The mystery is more or less resolved here, in the sense that it turns
out to have been pretty easy to figure out but no one in authority cared
enough to look.  What the protagonist is really fighting here is despair on a
global level, and even if she manages to get vengeance for her father, I
rather doubt that in an Ellis book for Avatar that she'll beat despair.
Mildly recommended.  $3.99
     X-Men Future History: the Messiah War Sourcebook: Marvel - Okay, I'm not
particularly interested in X-books, but I've read bits and pieces of the
edges of this whole thing over the years, and I figured I'd like to see how
it all came together.  This wasn't a free Saga book though, so I did have to
think a bit before getting it.  Something of a mish-mash of styles, most of
this is in-character thoughts by Cable (not notable as a Reliable Narrator),
but the section on his weapons breaks to a different narrator, and then
there's an interview at the end with the new writer for Cable's stuff.  Given
the complexity of the snarled mass of retcons in Cable's life, this book
makes a game effort at summarizing the important points.  Mildly
recommended.  $3.99 
     Wolverine First Class #15: Marvel - A nice done-in-one story about how
even heroes can have hero-worship issues.  And it's the kind of story that,
sadly, couldn't really be done right now in the main continuity/time/etc, at
least not with the same characters.  In fact, of the three principals, only
Wolverine is still relatively unscathed.  Recommended.  $2.99
     Avengers/Invaders #11 (of 12): Marvel - Well, the whole "why doesn't
everything get changed right away" thing does get resolved, with only a
little bit too much exposition.  Iron Man gets a decent speech on the nature
of heroism and verges on changing his identity to Irony Man thanks to Bucky.
Mildly recommended.  $2.99
     The Amazing Spider-Man #595: Marvel - Dark Reign banner.  From the
promos for this arc, I was half expecting Flash Thompson to be involved as a
sort of surrogate son for Norman Osborn...and I suppose that could still
happen, but it's not what we get here.  Lots of great relationship stuff,
plus Wolverine as the voice of reason, heh.  Very good script from Joe Kelly,
the usual great art from Phil Jimenez.  Strongly recommended.  $2.99
     Ms. Marvel #39: Marvel - Dark Reign banner.  Just because she's a
sociopath doesn't mean she has no heart.  It's just a weird shape and maybe
located in the wrong place, but it's there.  I don't think Reed's trying to
"redeem" Karla, since it's still pretty clear in this issue that the deaths
of thousands don't faze her in the least, but she does have things she cares
about other than power.  She'd almost have to, given that she's had nigh-
infinite power at least once and knows it's not what it's cracked up to be.
Recommended.  $2.99
     Avengers the Initiative #24: Marvel - Dark Reign banner.  Initiative
Disassembled continues to disassemble as the Shadow Initiative arc wraps up,
the camp continues to shut down, a quick nod to Guardians of the Galaxy is
made, and things are set up for the new status quo to be established.
Ramos's art gets a bit freaky even for his current style, almost like he's
drawing influence from Erik Larsen.  Recommended.  $2.99
     The Incredible Hercules #129: Marvel - No banner, but a lotta dead
people on the cover.  And inside.  Plenty of applied aeschatology and
syncretism, and even a floor show.  Oh, and as per discussion with him over a
spoiler panel last week, Van Lente does know Minix isn't a browser.  :)
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 5/27/09: Official Handbook of the Gold Digger
Universe #22, Transformers Maximum Dinobots #3, Ninja High School #169-170,
Justice Machine vol 1 TPB, Gold Digger Tech Manual #3, Farscape Strange
Detractors #2, Gold Digger v3 #105, Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers #1, Gurren
Lagann v1, Incredibles #2.  Add the T-Minus GN, which I just went and ordered
online once I saw it wasn't on my store's invoice for this week.


"She's Outta Your League" Award to Justice League of America #33

"Why WAS She Walking Like A Supermodel?" Award to Justice Society of America 

"Miss Guidance" Award to Eureka Dormant Gene #2 (of 4)

"Do You Suppose The Titular Lament Is 'Why Am I Always Surrounded By
     Idiots?'" Award to Farscape: D'Argo's Lament #2 (of 4) 

"Veneran Crabs?  You Can't Be Serious" Award to Ignition City #3 (of 5)

"My Diary Is Five-Dimensional" Award to X-Men Future History: the Messiah 
     War Sourcebook

"Bleach And Straightener" Award to Wolverine First Class #15

"Dibs On The One With The Whip" Award to Avengers/Invaders #11 (of 12)

"Suit Up!" Award to The Amazing Spider-Man #595

"Redundant Array of Immature Brains" Award to Ms. Marvel #39

"Does Anyone In This Base Actually Work For Me?" Award to Avengers the
     Initiative #24

"Some Gods Play Dice With The Universe.  And Poker" Award to The Incredible
     Hercules #129

     Dave Van Domelen, "It terrifies me when the poster boy for Mutant PMS
preaches patience and makes sense." - Spider-Man, to Wolverine, The Amazing
Spider-Man #595
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Flower on back to May 2009.