June 18, 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.
For the record?  Tornados really suck.  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 -

     Nothing.  Oh, they got First Looks this time, but there was nothing I
really wanted to read, and since comics were ready to pick up by the time I
got there, I didn't feel like hanging around to read Captain America or Iron

     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): Amazing
Spider-Man #563

     Cthulhu Tales #3: Boom! Studios - The lead story by Messner-Loebs shoots
for a sort of deadpan silly-bizarre but I think it would have worked better
with a few more pages.  The middle piece is serious, but with an interesting
twist (granted, you kinda see it coming, but it's still interesting).  The
last one is the most overtly silly, and it's okay.  Overall a decent issue,
but could have been better.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99
     Fallen Angel #27: IDW - Still no sign of #26, but I've gotten used to
reading this series out of order.  :/  Oddly, it seemed less disjointed than
my initial impression, since it was starting in media res.  Heh.  A cute
Twilight Zone reference, but this is mostly your standard "setting out on the
quest" issue, as the first bump in the road takes place in the "present"
scenes and the motivation and goals are laid out in the flashbacks.  Mildly
recommended.  $3.99
     Transformers Spotlight #15 (Wheelie): IDW - Making an executive call
here that Wheelie is #15 (IDW doesn't number these, and Cyclonus came out the
same week) on the grounds that Cyclonus is labeled as part 1 of a story that
this is not part 2 of.  :)  I got cover B, the retro-G1 piece, which
proclaims this to be #1 of 1.  While the idea of a Wheelie Spotlight was
greeted with a certain amount of derision (including from IDW itself, which
used it as the basis for April Foolery IIRC), Furman sets out to try to
establish Wheelie more or less as he's seen in the original movie, but
without being a child or a fool.  In places it's a little too much of a
Just-So Story, but it's otherwise pretty good.  Recommended.  $3.99
     Transformers Spotlight #16 (Cyclonus): IDW - Whoog.  You can really tell
this isn't meant to be a single-part story, given how aggressively the story
shifts scenes.  Sure, Cyclonus is on the cover and gets most of the
narration, but there's a load of plot lines that get service, both from
previous Spotlights and from the Earth-bound stories over in Infiltration,
Escalation and Devastation.  In fact, if you haven't been reading just about
ever IDW G1 series to date, you'll find this issue fairly incomprehensible
other than the core character sketch of Cyclonus.  I got the more
impressionistic Roche cover B.  Mildly recommended, the main problem is that
it's kinda hard to follow.  $3.99
     RASL #2: Cartoon Books - Man, I didn't even notice this on the release
list, it's been so long since #1 that I'd forgotten about it.  We get a
little bit more backstory, hints about how Rasl (that's his name) got his
ability to dimension-shift, and he spends a lot of time around hookers and
nude dancers (no actual nudity shown).  #1 was mostly "this has potential",
but #2 isn't really paying off yet.  I'll give it another issue, but this may
be something that is a poor fit to telling on the installment plan.  Mildly
recommended.  $3.50/$3.75Cn
     Justice League of America #22: DC - A lot of relationship stuff, and
Vixen finally does something about her situation, but I was left with the
feeling that McDuffie was just tossing pieces together because they were
laying around, and then dumping out a Big Threat in order to avoid resolving
anything else.  The Benes art isn't exactl endearing the title to me,
either.  Mildly recommended, and on the verge of being dropped.  $2.99 US/Cn 
     The Brave and the Bold #14: DC - Time for another arc, this one focusing
on a threat to Nanda Parbat.  It's okay, but somewhat infodumpy.  Kolins's
art is pretty good, and Wait's story is bad, but neither does it really grab
me.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99 US/Cn
     Marvel Illustrated the Iliad #7 (of 8): Marvel - Achilles is done
brooding in his tent, and the slaughter begins, but Zeus also lets all the
gods go muck about with things, so nothing really gets accomplished.  Yay,
deus ex machina.  And we're 7/8 of the way done, but the final battle of
Achilles and Hector, as well as the Trojan Horse, are still yet to come.
Yes, just about all of that Iliad that ever gets adapted other places is
contained in the first half of #1, and in #8.  Neutral.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     X-Factor #32: Marvel - In the wake of the Arcade-wrought devastation,
it's time to change the setting.  While I think more could have been done
with the "Mutant Town sans mutants" idea, there may have been an editorial
mandate involved, or PAD simply didn't have more to say here.  So that
particular chapter wraps up and we briefly see the setup for the new Way
Things Are...along with a sneaky way to maybe get Layla back.  :)  A bit of a
downer in places, but you gotta expect that after your neighborhood gets
blown up.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     The Amazing Spider-Man #563: Marvel - Gale does a great job of keeping
up the patter and giving us antagonists who aren't monsters or one-
dimensional obstacles.  And McKone's art goes very well with it.  Strongly
recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     The Incredible Hercules #118: Marvel - Ah, that staple of superhero
comics, the "visions of everyone's greatest fears" story.  But since Herc is
around, it's not just a psychodrama, there's a sufficiency of hitting as
well.  While the plot is pretty standard, bordering on cliche, and it
sometimes gets a bit talky, Van Lente's scripting carries it admirably over
any rough spots, and Sandoval's visual storytelling is strong.  Oh, and one
of the characters seems to have hitherto unrevealed abilities....
Recommended, almost strongly recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Marvel Adventures Avengers #25: Marvel - "It's a story...of a man named
Zola.  Who was cloning up some very handsome boys...."  Clever way of getting
something like the classic Zola look without the "He happened to think it was
an improvement" explanation of the original.  The story by Parker wallows in
another of the cliches of not just superhero but all scifi/fantasy actioners,
and while it's moderately clever in places, the issue as a whole is one of
his weaker ones.  Still, recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     PS238 #32: Do Gooder Press - This is mostly Tyler talking to Captain
Clarinet about the ups and downs (mostly downs) of having powers, and how
Cap's certainly precocious when it comes to angst.  There's a two page
dramatis personae after the main story, a nice addition considering that this
really should be a title people can pick up at any point.  The inside back
cover is a character sheet for the PS238 RPG which is, um, late.  I'd make
some smart remark about this being typical for Hero Games, but I haven't
really paid any attention to Hero releases since FRED came out.
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 6/18: Fallen Angel #26, Marvel Adventures Spider-Man
     Not missing is the Transformers Movie Prequel Special, I simply didn't
get it.  More than half of it was the Target DVD pack-in that I already have,
and I decided the other piece wasn't worth $4.
     Also, I didn't order the Beast Wars Sourcebook TPB, because I figured
I'd wait to see if it was really that improved before shelling out the
money.  From what I've seen of others' comments, it seems to have been
tweaked a bit, but not improved THAT much.  And at $25, even with my pull
discount, it struck me as a bit much to throw after the $25 I spent (I had to
pay full price and shipping for #1) on the individual issues.  Still,
DeepDiscount.com has it for $17, so I may go for it later.


"The Game Is A Pseudopod, Watson!" Award to Cthulhu Tales #3

"Just Because It's The City Of Life Doesn't Mean YOU Get To Live" Award to
     Fallen Angel #27

"Shout Out For Scrounge!" Award to Transformers Spotlight #15 (Wheelie)

"Anatomical Separation, One Rank" Award to Transformers Spotlight #16 

"Maxwell's Other Demon" Award to RASL #2

"Angry, ANGRY Sex" Award to Justice League America #22

"Please Don't Throw Me In The Briar Patch!" Award to The Brave and the Bold

"The Fault Lies Not In Ourselves, But In The Stars" Award to Marvel 
     Illustrated the Iliad #7 (of 8)

"Disorderly Multiple Personalities" Award to X-Factor #32

"Twenty Bucks That He Wets 'Em At Thirty-Five!" Award to the Amazing
     Spider-Man #563

"Amadeus Is Missing An Important Subtext There" Award to The Incredible
     Hercules #118

"What's A Few Grad Students Here Or There?" Award to Marvel Adventures
     Avengers #25

"What Sort Of Clever Moron Would WANT To Run Something Called 'Praetorian'
     Given What Happened To A Dozen Or So Emperors?" Award to PS238 #32

     Dave Van Domelen, "Who knew that the true path to world peace might be
through adult beverages...besides Tony Stark, I mean." - Spider-Man, Amazing
Spider-Man #563
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