June 24, 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.
Over 100F and my AC almost died, whee!  An archive can be found on my 
             homepage, http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/Rants 

     Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): The Incredible
Hercules #130

"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.

     None this week, sigh.

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.

     Eureka Dormant Gene #3 (of 4): Boom! Studios - And now more flashback
narration of dubious reliability in which Rashomon is made to look the
picture of objectivity.  It certainly has some good banter, but inside-out
storytelling doesn't always work for me, and this is one of the times it
doesn't.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99
     Farscape D'Argo's Lament #3 (of 4): Boom! Studios - Aha!  The subtitle
finally makes sense, as a bit of D'Argo's backstory (involving his tattoos)
is fleshed out.  On the minus side, another Annoying Character is added to a
cast already overloaded with them, and the backwards-name Tuckerization is
getting tedious.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99
     The Incredibles #3 (of 4): Boom! Kids - Still no sign of #2.  As a
result, I kinda missed the foreshadowing for the Big Reveal here.  It's an
okay story even without that, but the problem with stories that focus on a
disruption to the status quo is that you need a status quo to start with.
This probably would have worked better as the second miniseries, since the
little bit in #1 isn't enough to really establish how the Parr family's
situation was after the end of the movie.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99
     Transformers All Hail Megatron #12: IDW - Originally this was a 12 issue
maxiseries with a followup mini (All Hail Megatron: Coda, which is more of a
Spotlight-style thing), but they've decided to fold 'em together and run the
series to #16.  It's already the highest-numbered IDW series other than
Fallen Angel, I believe.  :)  However, since the covers had already been
commissioned before Coda got folded in, the retro poster style covers will
only show up as retailer incentives for #13-16, sigh.  Oh, and there's
actually an issue in front of me at the moment.  Things wrap up, and there's
some fairly clunky exposition tossed in to compensate for a lack of showing
things happening in the previous 11 issues, and some character threads that
were set aside a while back come back for the finale (for instance, while it
makes perfect sense with how he was characterized earlier, Thundercracker's
actions here feel like they came out of left field if you're reading the
floppies and not the collections).  Kup got a couple of good moments, though,
and someone told Drift to shove off.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99
     Justice League of America #34: DC - Well, Starbreaker looks a little
more imposing on the cover here, if more cliche'd.  Huh, Mark Propst is one
of the horde of inkers...there's a name I haven't seen in a while.  McDuffie
wraps up his whole Milestone crossover thing, drops in a retcon about
Starbreaker which more or less makes sense, and gives everyone a mental image
of Firestorm's power use that we probably didn't need.  Mildly recommended.
     Justice Society of America #28: DC - Ordway and Wiacek wrap up their run
by establishing that Jay, Alan and Ted are either being total jerks or Know
Something Ominous.  My money's on the first one, though.  Some fun WWII
action, but the Spectre tends to suck the drama out of things with his whole
omnipotence schtick.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99
     Thor #602: Marvel - The issue is split between Thor wrapping up the last
bit of old business and setting up his new situation, and our good ol' boy
from Oklahoma adjusting to life in Latveria.  Don Blake also gets a pretty
good scene with one of the significant if largely silent background
characters form JMS's run.  Recommended.  $3.99
     Avengers/Invaders #12 (of 12): Marvel - Well, it all wraps up, plenty
more cameos, lot sof gratuitous deaths *everyone* knows will be undone (it's
almost a mantra for Bucky as narrator) and there's actually one lasting
outcome of the whole affair.  The last bit does sort of feel like it was
added as an afterthought, a "we can't let anything really change, but there
needs to be some sort of reward for the self-sacrifice beyond stopping the
baddie".  Mildly recommended.  $2.99
     Wolverine First Class #16: Marvel - Well, regardless of the sliding time
scale, this IS still the time in Kitty's life when Dazzler wore a disco
outfit, and while it could be explained as millennial retro kitsch, PAD
firmly keeps the story set in the late 1970s.  The big plot twist gag is
particularly weak, unfortunately, even for PAD's predilictions.  Gurihiru's
art has a sort of Totally Spies meets Naruto look to it.  Mildly
recommended.  $2.99
     X-Factor #45: Marvel - And back to the Shatterstar side of the plot, and
even after revealing who the special someone was in the future thread, PAD
still plays coy for a goodly chunk of the issue with the real reveal.  OTOH,
everything's finally coming together into a single piece, the threads woven
into a skein and all that metaphorical stuff.  The art's a bit off this
issue, although I couldn't tell you which of the pencillers is the problem,
as this is the only book I can recall seeing either on and neither is gauche
enough to sign pages for later sale at cons.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99
     Ms. Marvel #40: Marvel - Dark Reign banner.  The RAIMI (Redundant Array
of Inexpensive MODOK Infants) plot continues and Deadpool (and his narrator)
get involved, plus Iron Patriot displays some genre awareness.  Must be a
side effect of being in the same book as Deadpool.  Unless we have a
veritable rainbow of herrings (not just red), it didn't take long at all for
certain recent plot elements to be undone, not that said plot element was
really the sort of thing I expected to last.  :)  Recommended.  $2.99  
     Avengers the Initiative #25: Marvel - Dark Reign banner.  Cute costume
joke here from Gage, too bad it contradicts something from Ms. Marvel #40.
Well, at least they don't have the same editor, that'd be a bit harder to
explain.  :)  This is Ramos's last issue, and I'm ready to move on.  The
"color over pencils with no inking" thing just isn't working for me here,
Ramos doesn't have a style that lends itself to that outside of very specific
moods, which admittedly applied in much of his time on the book.  I kinda
hope we see more of Gravity's adventures, for all that his scene has the feel
of being written out.  Recommended.  $2.99
     The Amazing Spider-Man #598: Marvel - Dark Reign banner.  Well, it was
obvious that Osborn shooting Spider-Man in the head wasn't fatal, but Kelly
finessed the "why" quite well.  A big chunk of this issue is Osborn
projecting his own flaws onto everyone else (although I think he's got it
right regarding Tony Stark vis a vis Sue Storm) while loads of torturing goes
on.  At least it's not the sort of torture porn seen in Ms. Marvel last year,
something also explained part by the same plot device that kept Spider-Man
alive.  Anyway, this arc has been full of pistols over mantles, there may not
be time to fire ALL of them next issue, but they seem to be making a go at
it.  Recommended.  $2.99
     The Incredible Hercules #130: Marvel - I see dead gods....  Pak and Van
Lente do a good job of twisting "courtroom comedy" tropes into a fairly
serious and emotionally moving story, and managing to turn it all into a
character development experience for Herc himself.  Or, at least, a
clarification of existing development.  Strongly recommended.  $2.99
     Dynamo5 #22: Image - Well, we have dovetailing on a couple of the
ongoing threads, although it does sorta interrupt the main plot.  Not that
Faerber's hesitated to break in on the main plot before.  :)  Recommended.
     Gold Digger Tech Manual #4: Antarctic Press - Most of this issue is
Brianna's gear, which means PEEBOS!  Dreadwing's stuff has to settle for
second place, and the Dynasty get one entry for all its fortress ships.
Brianna's power armors alone take up almost a quarter of the book.  :)
Recommended.  $3.95

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 6/24/09: 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, Doktor Sleepless #12.  Add Empowered v5, which I
have ordered online now, since I clearly can't trust Diamond to ship anything
as a backorder.


"Who Wouldn't Wanna Ride A T.rex?" Award to Eureka Dormant Gene #3 (of 4)

"It Frequently Commences, But Never Lasts" Award to Farscape: D'Argo's 
     Lament #3 (of 4)

"Um, Could We Get That Recipe Before We Pummel You?" Award to The Incredibles
     #3 (of 4)

"Sometimes A Cigar Is Just A Cigar, But This Isn't One Of Those Times,
     Apparently" Award to Transformers All Hail Megatron #12

"Explains His Fashion Sense" Award to Justice League of America #34

"Hen-Blocking?" Award to Justice Society of America #28

"Hey, Don, There's This Casino In Jersey You Might Like" Award to Thor #602

"When Not Even Bucky Stays Dead..." Award to Avengers/Invaders #12 (of 12)

"I Wonder What Wolverine Thinks Of Jessica Simpson?" Award to Wolverine
     First Class #16

"The Dude Abides" Award to X-Factor #45

"Maybe This One Takes Place After Initiative #25" Award to Ms. Marvel #40

"A Wedge Issue" Award to Avengers the Initiative #25

"A Depressingly Normal Day At The Osborn Household" Award to The Amazing
     Spider-Man #598

"At Least HE'S Still Dead, Not That It Stops Him From Showing Up Every Few
     Months" Award to The Incredible Hercules #130

"Fivethought Apparently Does Not Include Forethought" Award to Dynamo5 #22

"The Next Lazy Boy Of Doom Will Have A HUD Widescreen TV" Award to 
     Gold Digger Technical Manual #4

     Dave Van Domelen, "I'm not dropping babies in a volcano." - Sentry,
taking a clear and principled stand, in Ms. Marvel #40
Back to the Main Rants Page.

Observe the Solstice at the June 2009 Page.