June 16, 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, http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/Rants A "scattered shower" decided to set up shop here all afternoon. 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. None 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. 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. Transformers Nefarious #4: IDW - I got cover B, with Ransack strafing the twins. Eat hot photons, ya turbo-revvin' punks! Sadly, artist Magno practically ignores the nifty Ransack toy and designs a Random Pile Of Panels robot that bears almost no resemblance to...well, anything much. Bah. On a similar note, the blocking suggests that we're supposed to recognize the character in the Last Page Reveal, but it's another Bayformery mess and rings no bells. Furman's story is decent, at least, and he manages to make the twins in-story annoying without being annoying to the reader. Mildly recommended. $3.99 REBELS #17: DC - The cover kinda gives away the big plot twist, eh? That aside, it's a decent enough story of interstellar conflict from Bedard, and the two new GL rookies are explained a little better. An old LSH character gets another new origin story in the teaser at the end, too. Recommended. $2.99 The Amazing Spider-Man #633: Marvel - I'm surprised it took this long for a production delay to cause the thrice-monthly book to accordion like this (including coming out at the same time as Web of Spider-Man, which I thought was supposed to be the off-week book). Not that I was champing at the bit to read the end of this arc...just to *see* it end. Anyway, it's over, and Wells took the opportunity to finally write an end to the Negative May subplot. Yes, I know this was meant to be the absolute lowest point, so that when the Grim Hunt kicked off Peter would be as put-upon as possible, but there's such a thing as piling on too much. Frankly, taking away Rhino's happy ending should have been enough, this was just despair porn padding. Neutral. $2.99 The Amazing Spider-Man #634: Marvel - New arc with main story by Joe Kelly and a couple of backups (the cover gives away the twist ending of DeMatteis's backup, oops). The spider hunt is on in earnest, with a bit more killing and maiming to make sure the reader knows they're Deadly Serious (but not Deadly Ernest, he's an Alpha Flight villain). On the other hand, Kelly's a lot better than Wells at keeping the humor flowing amid the darkness, both intentionally dark humor and "Spidey doesn't yet realize how deep this goes and so does his usual schtick" humor. That laughing past the graveyard actually does more than the blood and guts to make this feel dire, because it's clear to the reader that Spider-Man hasn't yet grasped the kind of trouble he's in. You get more Impending Doom that way. The main backup is an "untold tale of Kraven" and deals with the original's weltschmerz (I don't know enough about the mid-90s retcons to say if it's set shortly before Kraven's Last Hunt, or well before it, though). The last backup is billed on the cover as "Spidey Sundays" although the two-pager itself doesn't say it's a newspaper strip reprint. It's done by the newspaper team, though (Stan Lee and Marcos Martini). Recommended. $3.99 Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Update #2 (of 5): Marvel - Definitely one of the weirder updates, with stuff like King Solomon's Frogs, Night Shift and Verminus Rex. Oh, there's some old standbys like Attuma or Maximus. But there's a lot of demonic and generally bizarre stuff here. :) Recommended. $3.99 Age of Heroes #2 (of 4): Marvel - Heroic Age banner. Like #1, there's four stories, the lead (Gravity) taking half the issue, the second (American Son) taking most of what's left, then a two-pager (Young Masters) and a one-pager (Gauntlet). Speaking of production goofs, the Gravity story is a prequel to last week's Young Allies, although despite also being written by Sean McKeever doesn't really feel like it fits together. However, at least it's a story complete unto itself, unlike the second story, which is little more than an ad for the new American Son series. The Young Masters two-pager is confusingly laid out, going across the top half of both pages first without any obvious cues. Even as vignettes go, though, it's not worth the effort to decode, it's a clumsy introduction to the characters and little more. Slott's one-pager is okay, but rather saccharine. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Atlas #2: Marvel - Ah, the smell of retcons in the morning. While 3-D Man was part of the "What If?" 1950s Avengers, he was left out of the revived Agents of Atlas backstory, which stuck with actual Atlas characters (3-D Man being a retro-50s implant created in the 70s). But as this particular plot thickens, we get to see memories of events in the untold history of Department Zero...both with and without the original 3-D Man along for the ride. And therein lies the mystery. There's also implications that we may not have gotten the full story behind the crystal fragments that empower the various 3-D Men, that there was a missing step or two left out of Tremont's story back in Avengers. Meanwhile, Gorilla Man keeps up Spider-Man-like levels of snappy patter. :) 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 6/16/10: Gold Digger Peebri's Big Adventure #2, Invincible #72, Prince of Power #2, Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #3, Gold Digger v3 #118. Awards: "Because Silent, Mind-Controlled Characters Are SO Interesting To Read" Award to Transformers Nefarious #4 "Not Exactly DOVE-Tailing..." Award to REBELS #17 "A Piece Of Shed" Award to The Amazing Spider-Man #633 "Does Peter Porker Get The Human Flu?" Award to The Amazing Spider-Man #634 "It Doesn't Say If Lady Bullseye's Costume Is A Patterned Body Stocking Or White Makeup And Electrical Tape" Award to Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Update #2 (of 5) "Either This Is A Power I Hadn't Seen Before, Or A Really Weird Cover Art Error" Award to Age of Heroes #2 (of 4) "Gorillas: the Ultimate Trump Suit" Award to Atlas #2 Dave Van Domelen, "Once again...who ARE you people?" "CLEARLY we're the inner circle of a secret society that goes back to the MONGOL EMPIRE and has a DRAGON ADVISOR, duh." - 3-D Man and Gorilla Man, Atlas #2
Back to the Main Rants Page.

Or precipitate back to the June 2010 Rants Page.