June 11, 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.
Back to blaming Diamond for problems.  Rants, Capsules can be found on my 
             homepage, http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/Rants 

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 -

     None.  The store was invoiced and charged for the First Looks, but
didn't actually GET any.

     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

     Doktor Sleepless #7: Avatar - "Marg Bar Amrika" is the subtitle.  No, I
don't know what it means, so I googled it.  "Death to America" is the
translation.  This is an issue for incrementing...a bit more of Reinhardt's
background, a couple of Insidious Plots click forward, and the Doktor rants
about the ways we die.  For the most part, just little things, although the
cliffhanger is a big thing (emotionally speaking) coming into play.  The
backmatter is given over to a scholarly conference talk about issues #1-6.
Don't worry, it's readable by non-specialists.  :)  Recommended.  $3.99
     Titans #3: DC - Okay, dropping the book now.  While the horrible
characterization does get an in-story explanation by the end, it's still
annoying...but the main problem is Benitez's hideous art.  Gag.  Avoid.
$2.99 US/Cn
     Green Arrow and Black Canary #9: DC - Mostly a running fight scene
interspersed with some chatting-with-Plas.  As horrible as Winick's work is
on Titans, it's quite good here...one gets the impression that he's pulling a
Chuck Dixon (taking on too many books and only doing a good job on one or two
of 'em a month...although ironically, after first typing this Capsule I heard
that Dixon is leaving DC entirely).  It's a bit heavy on the new character
cavalcade, but generally works.  Recommended.  $2.99 US/Cn
     Booster Gold #10: DC - Big running battle, but every so often it feels
like Johns just sort of forgets about someone involved and for a long stretch
it's down to just a couple of characters...then the crowd scene comes back
again.  The true villain (to the extent this is even villain-driven as
opposed to bad-decisions-by-the-protagonist-driven) is revealed and dealt
with, but the story's not resolved just yet...it concludes in #1,000,000 (the
twelfth actual issue) next month.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99 US/Cn
     Salvation Run #7 (of 7): DC - Well, it ends.  No real explanation, lots
of mysterious deaths, Martian Manhunter just left hanging (well, not
literally).  Presumably some of this will get brought up in Final Crisis or
somewhere else I'm not going to bother reading.  Sturges showed over in
Shadowpact that he's capable of ending a story in a satisfying manner, so
this may well be a result of editorial edict to leave more danglers than it
resolves.  Mildly recommended.  $3.50 US/Cn
     Number of the Beast #5 (of 8): DC/Wildstorm - The reason behind the
bunker becomes a little more clear, but mostly in the backmatter.  This issue
is mainly about Doctor Sin subverting things in one direction while Eidolon
tries to get The High to subvert them in another direction, and lots of
people die, both virtually and for real.  Not really a good place to start
reading, but decent enough as part of the overall story.  Recommended with
that proviso.  $2.99 US/Cn
     Hulk Raging Thunder #1 (of 1): Marvel - A Hulk/Thundra one-shot written
by Jeff Parker, plus a backup of Thundra's appearance in Fantastic Four
#133.  Heavy on the rectons here, with previous Thundra stories cast as lies
and deceptions meant to keep both citizens and allies happy.  The main story
is a bit narration-happy and doesn't really play to Parker's strengths as a
writer.  Fun Conway reprint, though.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99/$4.05Cn
     newuniversal SHOCKFRONT #2: Marvel - Kurth's art looks particularly ugly
in places this month.  On the story side, Ellis gives us a two page history
infodump describing the historical divergence that set up the status quo for
this world (i.e. the whole China as lone superpower bit), plus advances the
various plot threads a little.  Well, one gets blown up, but I suspect that
may only count as a little advancement for that thread.  :)  Mildly
recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Amazing Spider-Man #562: Marvel - Bob Gale's turn at bat, with McKone
art.  Cute running gag of how even the footnotes don't remember one of the
villains of the piece.  Nor can Spidey remember him.  Of course, there may be
reasons for that.  Anyway, it's a "Gambling at the Bar With No Name" story,
and the barkeep's the real focus of the issue.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn 
     The Twelve #6 (of 12): Marvel - Seems to be the week for "every plot
gets a little bit of advancement" for me, eh?  Because that's pretty much
what happens here.  The biggest element is the Secret Origin of Rockman
(which is left a little wiggle room in terms of whether it's true), although
the Phantom Reporter reaches a crossroads as well.  About time, given that
he's the main viewpoint character.  :)  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     The Last Defenders #4 (of 6): Marvel - Again, the cliffhanger gets
resolved, the team falls apart, and the next stage is set up, although given
that we've only got two more issues left, the next stage is likely the last
one, and it really only gets rolling on the last page.  Casey manages to
portray both Stark and Richmond as having valid points, even though it's
clear Richmond's got the more emotionally convincing argument.  Recommended.
     Invincible #50: Image - Three stories in this oversized special issue.
The main one, of course, is the resolution of Invincible vs. Steadman,
setting up the next phase of Invincible's life (in more ways than one).
Story two is the Secret Origin of Cecil Steadman, mirroring in some respects
Invincible's own life and offering a look at how things could go for our hero
despite his own best intentions.  Finally, we get the beginning of a Science
Dog story (Science Dog is metafiction, a fictional series within the
Invincible setting).  I admit to being a bit surprised at the lack of
"special issue kibble" (i.e. pinups, design sketches, lengthy interviews),
although Kirkman's used up most of that sort of thing in regular old issues.
:)  Recommended.  $4.99
     Penny Arcade v5 The Case of the Mummy's Gold: Dark Horse - The entirety
of 2004, with the Cthulhu Christmas special story split off to the back in
proper storybook form.  Plus a load of convention doodles at the end.  Oh,
and as you might have inferred from the subtitle of the collection, the cover
has a Hardy Boys look and feel.  This installment features the debut of Twisp
and Catsby.  Insubstantial!  I mean, recommended.  $12.95

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 6/11: Fallen Angel #26, Marvel Adventures Spider-Man


"Not What I Meant By 'Subnet Mask'" Award to Doktor Sleepless #7

"She Has Her Father's Eyes" Award to Titans #3

"Wow, The Dating Scene's Gotten A Lot More Complex" Award to Green Arrow 
     and Black Canary #9

"All We Need Now Is A #1/2" Award to Booster Gold #10

"People Keep Giving Me Guns!" Award to Salvation Run #7 (of 7)

"Well, It's SORT OF A Suit" Award to Number of the Beast #5 (of 8)

"Some Kiss" Award to Hulk Raging Thunder #1 (of 1)

"So...Scottsbluff Nebraska?" Award to newuniversal SHOCKFRONT #2

"Bum-looker!" Award to Amazing Spider-Man #562

"The Laughing Inkblot" Award to The Twelve #6 (of 12)

"Well, No Tears Shed Over That Mask, Anyway" Award to The Last Defenders #4
     (of 6)

"Waste Not, Want Not" Award to Invincible #50

"Will Ninja Gaiden II Kill The Entire Neighborhood On 'Hard' Setting?" 
     Award to Penny Arcade v5 The Case of the Mummy's Gold

     Dave Van Domelen, "Prison's really taken its toll on you, Dan..." -
Montana of the Enforcers, Amazing Spider-Man #562
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