Standard Disclaimers: Please set appropriate followups. Recommendation does not factor in price. Not all books will have arrived in your area this week. Classes underway, proceding normally. Ish. An archive can be found on my homepage, http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/Rants Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): Booster Gold #21 (only Recommended, but notable) "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. Timestorm 2009-2099: Spider-Man One Shot: Marvel - Looks like the Timestorm miniseries is spawning a bunch of side story one-shots to flesh things out without making Timestorm into a maxiseries. This one is set between #2 and #3 of the miniseries, covering how a young Mig O'Hara ends up in a Spider-Man costume and fighting his first serious threat. Well, mostly getting in the original Spider-Man's way, but it's a start. All in all, it's kinda fluffy, in the sense that it didn't really need more than 8 pages to be told well, but even after you subtract out the "in case you didn't read Timestorm #2" stuff it's still at least 16 pages. Brian Reed's scripting helps make the fluff a little more palatable, but there's only so much he can do, and Wesley Craig's art isn't something I simply have to see more pages of. It might have worked better to just make Timestorm a 5 issue series and fold in both this story and the Wolverine one-shot that's coming. Mildly recommended. $2.99 Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z vol1: Marvel - Yeah, this came out last year. But I found it on clearance at Hastings for $6.98, which was certainly a good enough price. It updates and expands on entries from the 2003-8 guidebooks covering a few alternate realities (1602, 2099, etc) and then all of A, plus B through Blackwing. Effectively four times as much material as in one of the floppycopy versions of A-Z...at six times the price. Yes, it looks nicer on the shelf, if you're looking to have books as decor, but it runs smack into a fatal flaw as an information resource: it's too expensive for something that goes out of date as quickly as this material does. For instance, it's already incomplete on 2099 and Aegis, and even at the time of publication it was out of date in that it didn't include an entry on the new Ant-Man. At $4-5 a pop, it's worth keeping up with material that will start being outdated the week it hits shelves. But not at $25. Especially since the official Marvel Wiki now exists, and seems to be more complete and more up to date (although having the powergrid be up for fan votes seems to be a Bad Idea on the Marvel Wiki). So, $300 for an out of date and incomplete version of what can be had online for free? Not for me, sorry. If I find more volumes for $7 I may get them, since hardcopy isn't susceptible to things like "we're going to remove the Wiki, it's not making money," and I'm also just old-school enough to like rummaging through physical pages. But I can't recommend these hardcover volumes at anywhere near full price. $24.99/$40.00Cn cover price. Wolverine First Class vol 1: Marvel - A collection of #1-4 available at Target, it's a floppy trade, basically. The pages are slightly oversized, and they're sold in with the kiddie books. I grabbed this on a lark, figuring $4.49 for four issues was worth a shot, given that I liked Van Lente's last issue of WFC. A few of the themes of the series get hammered a little too hard, at least for reading stories as a collection, but it doesn't begin to approach the levels seen in 1970s Marvel comics, and it does demonstrate that the title's being written without the expectation of every reader getting every issue. There's two single-issue stories and one two-parter in here, and unlike the Marvel Adventures books the First Class ones seem to be set in the main "Earth-616" continuity, just in the gaps between issues of Uncanny X-Men (if with some timeline sliding so that the stories aren't happening in the 1970s). All the original covers are included, but the individual issue credits are taken out. So I'm not sure if Andrea DiVito and Salva Espin work together on all four issues, or if DiVito draws some and Espin draws others. Style looks about the same across all issues, though, regardless of how the division of labor worked out. Recommended. $4.99 cover price, scanned for $4.49. 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. Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers #2 (of 4): Marvel - Well, no one around here got #1, but at least I have confirmation that the thing exists in general terms. :) This seems to be a Marvel Adventures book, albeit without the MA banner, but I suppose I'd need to see the first issue to be sure. It might just be under the MA editorial desk but set in 616 (among other realities, since Lockjaw has a flashback to working with TechNet). The gist of the plot is summarized pretty early on, though, and I had no problem keeping up. I *did* get a bit tired of "Ms. Lion is a ditz" gags, though. (I don't know if Ms. Lion ever appeared in an 616 book, she originated in the Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends cartoon as Aunt May's dog, and I don't really feel like wiki'ing to find out more). Recommended. $2.99 X-Factor #44: Marvel - The three-way split on plotlines gets a bit annoying here, especially how coy PAD is being about identities in the future story. The round-robin art isn't too jarring in transitions this time, although one of the artists does eyes in an uncomfortably Gulacy-like way (and it's not a feature of Gulacy's art that I like). Mildly recommended. $2.99 The Amazing Spider-Man #597: Marvel - Apparently, someone's been reading the Evil Overlord List. And there are clearly more agendas in this book than there are people. Oh, and ex-fiancees are always a pain. Recommended. $2.99 REBELS #5: DC - Lots of fighting and posturing and a little explaining, although the explanations are more often than not deliberately non- explanatory. The Fatal Five homage is pretty slow in building, although I have some amusing ideas on how we get Tharok's counterpart. :) Unless a Dominator is going to be joining the regular cast, though, I think Bedard spends a bit too much time on the Dominator scenes. Mildly recommended. $2.99 Booster Gold #21: DC - With Sturges-written Blue Beetle backup story, woot! The main story is more or less a Battle for the Cowl tie-in, if not credited as such on the cover. A decent one, as such things go, and well founded in Booster's own storyline. Gotta love the Beetle (Reyes) backup, though, with a generational giant robot mad scientist sort of plot. THINKO! I wonder if the as-yet-unseen current generation of the family is blonde.... Recommended, but on the high end of that because of the backup. $3.99 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 6/10/09: 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 Doktor Sleepless #12. Awards: "I Just Washed My Hair And I Can't Do A Think With It" Award to Timestorm 2009-2099: Spider-Man One Shot "I'd Forgotten How Painfully Bad Dave Hoover's Image-Wannabe Phase Was" Award to Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z vol 1 "Frink!" Award to Wolverine First Class vol 1 "Clearly Ms. Lyon's Getting The Power Gem" Award to Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers #2 (of 4) "Cortical Stimulator" Award to X-Factor #44 "Care To Upgrade To 'Too Stupid To Live?'" Award to The Amazing Spider-Man #597 "Not So Much 'Ciji' As 'C.G.'" Award to REBELS #5 "Sadly, No One Ever Reads The Manifesto Except The Forensic Linguists" Award to Booster Gold #21 Dave Van Domelen, "But...instead of robbing banks, why didn't he just market and sell his INCREDIBLY SOPHISTICATED ROBOT?" "Who can say? It was a different time and he's long dead, so you can't ask him." - Brenda and Doctor Alan Von Neumann Jr., Booster Gold #21Back to the Main Rants Page.
Observe the Solstice at the June 2009 Page.