July 1, 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.
Tis the season for 24/7 fireworks idiocy.  An archive can be found on my 
             homepage, http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/Rants 

     Epic fail from Diamond this week.  About a third of the store's shipment
was not shipped...but rather than simply being a missing box, every title on
their invoice was there (there were three books I was expecting that weren't
on the invoice, business as usual there), just missing about a third of the
copies.  So the only stuff making it to the shelf was either on no one's pull
or got removed from some pull lists since the order was placed.  (It was
uneven, though, some books nearly made it to the shelf while others got two
copies to fill ten or so orders.)  Fortunately for me, if not for people who
couldn't be at the store in the middle of the afternoon, by hovering over the
counter (and actually being helpful in the triage) I managed to get all the
books on my pull that did ship, including the only copies of several.

     Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): Gold Digger:
Tifanny and Charlotte Second Semester #1

"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.

     Nothing.  I got Doktor Sleepless #12, but it turns out that was a reship
of an older issue and the title isn't sticking in my memory enough for me to
realize this fact until I'm six pages in.  And no one else noticed it on my
"not shipped" list as something I'd already reviewed either.  Probably time
to drop this book, eh? 

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.

     The Muppet Show #4 (of 4): Boom! Kids - The theme this time is psychic
phenomena, including a fortunteller for the guest star and a Pigs In Space
episode involving a region of space that grants telepathy via captions.  The
best of the four, but not good enough to keep me around for the other Muppet
comics.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99
     Farscape Strange Detractors #4 (of 4): Boom! Studios - Only copy to get
to the store, so I didn't get to pick which cover.  The pacing's pretty bad
here, with a LOT of montage stuff crammed in at the end.  Granted, the main
emotional storyline is resolved on-screen, but I think it would almost have
worked better to cut the montage scenes entirely and pick up after a "later"
sort of caption.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99
     Official Index to the Marvel Universe #7: Marvel - Oddly, this lone copy
my store got was mixed in with the special orders, suggesting it was tossed
in at the last minute when the warehouse tribe found a few more copies.  Iron
Man #215-259, Amazing Spider-Man #287-327 (the whole McFarlane run is in
there), and Uncanny X-Men #269-303.  There's also some errata for Index #1.
As the age of the mega-crossover and of the "de facto weekly Spider-book"
kicks into high gear, the cross-referencing gets pretty intense.  There's a
guide to the Blue Team/Gold Team stuff in the X-Men section, but apparently
they figured Spider-Man's inter-book continuity was clear enough to need no
special timelines.  Recommended.  $3.99
     Invincible Iron Man #15: Marvel - Yay, bloody tied-to-chair torture on
the cover.  Dark Reign banner, although that's sorta redundant in this case.
Mind you, while Tony's on the cover being tortured bloody, he's not the
victim of the actual torture inside.  At least it doesn't quite make it to
the level of torture porn, but it's still pretty Women In Refrigerators in
nature.  The majority of the issue, though, is split between Flowers for
Algernon on Tony and Maria Hill annoying Black Widow.  Neutral, and only that
good because Black Widow gets some good bits.  $2.99
     eXiles #4: Marvel - Wow, apparently there's ways in which Hank Pym can
screw up even WORSE.  Interesting setup, but pretty transparent plot device
and the Final Page Shocker strikes me as being misdirection rather than
revelation.  Recommended.  $2.99
     Agents of Atlas #7: Marvel - Dark Reign cap on the logo.  A little bit
more of Namor and Namora's background gets retconned, although it's a good
retcon and makes sense while not requiring major changes going forward (which
would likely end up ignored by the next writer anyway).  The origins of Lao
are fleshed out a little bit more in the backup, although nothing we hadn't
seen explained before.  Recommended.  $2.99
     Astro City Dark Age Book Three #3 (of 4): DC/Wildstorm - The story
veers, as it sometimes does, into the Big Damned Cosmic stuff rather than
staying solely on the Regular People.  It also seems to reach outside its era
a little to include a Liefeld jab, at least artistically.  A big chunk of the
issue is dedicated to introducing the awkwardly large Apollo 11 team,
although at least the Williams brothers are positioned so they're at least
watching the action, if not all that involved in it most of the time.  Mildly
recommended.  $3.99
     Secret Six #11: DC - Bloody bondage on the cover, although at least this
is supposed to be a book about vile people, unlike Iron Man.  Anyway, one of
the problems that comes with working for and with vile people is that a
rather large percentage of them are quite insane.  And it's the ones that
aren't visibly starkers at first glance, the ones that don't talk in poetry
or practice self-mutilation...those are the ones that are the most dangerous
to work for.  The Six find that they've been employed by such a person, and
because they're not uniformly vile or insane (well, they're all vile and/or
insane on some level, but not the *same* level) this causes team conflict.
You know, more than the usual attempted homicide.  Recommended.  $2.99
     Gold Digger Tech Manual #5: Antarctic Press - Okay, the reason the
Dynasty only got one page in #4 is because they get almost the entire issue
this time out.  Heck, symbiots alone get about half the issue, befitting
their status as the emerging all-purpose techno-mystical plot device and
"magic item" handwave of the Gold Digger Universe.  Oblivion gets an entry as
a thing rather than a place, given its nature as a created world.  The last
five pages start Gina's section, which may well fill all of #6 and most if
not all of #7.  Recommended.
     Gold Digger: Tifanny & Charlotte Second Semester #1: Antarctic Press -
Probably another four issue mini, but not listed as such on the cover.  This
issue is a single extended story, although still told in a series of
four-panel pages that mostly work as single installments...a comic strip
going directly to comicbook form while retaining comic strip storytelling
format.  The theme of the issue is ballet...Tif discovers she loves ballet,
and Charl discovers she likes men in ballet tights.  Pojo discovers that he
is apparently wrapped tightly around Tiff's little finger...and will probably
soon discover whether his werewolfen traits will save his feet from the
devastation that is Point Shoes.  (Tif has her were nature plus symbionts to
save her tootsies, while Charl's a hollow-boned genetic construct who can
always use her wings to take off any extra pressure.  Pojo'd better hope he
heals fast.)  Of course, this is the Gold Digger universe, so ballet manages
to involve multiple explosions.  Which, to be honest, would get me more
interested in ballet.  Strongly recommended.  $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 7/1/09: 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, Empowered v5.  My Empowered online order has been
delayed due to being on backorder, whee.  Add Transformers Spotlight
Metroplex, Gold Digger v3 #108, Gold Digger Peebo Tales #5.  My store's owner
plans to make a direct order from Antarctic at this point, but was distracted
today by the arrival of the Diamond Failboat.


"Doesn't Take A Psychic To Predict Beaker On Fire" Award to The Muppet Show
     #4 (of 4)

"At Least Rygel's Vomit Wasn't Explosive" Award to Farscape Strange
     Detractors #4 (of 4)

"Who'd Have Thought The Armor Wars Would Be The 'Good Old Days'?" Award
     to Official Index to the Marvel Universe #7

"Anyway thats why Im gone to keep trying to get smart so I can have that
     feeling agen.  Its good to no things and be smart and I wish I new
     evrything in the hole world.  I wish I coud be smart agen rite now.  If
     I coud I woud sit down and reed all the time" Award to the Invincible
     Iron Man #15

"If you are hearing thie message make your way to the domed city of Corinth,
     you will be safe there" Award to eXiles #4

"I Don't Wanna See Bob's Browser History" Award to Agents of Atlas #7

"Celestials With Tiny Feet" Award to Astro City Dark Age Book Three #3 (of 4) 

"I Didn't JUST Come To Gloat, I Can Multitask" Award to Secret Six #11

"Here's A Thought: Peebos With Ether Vents!  What?  I Didn't Say It Was
     A SANE Thought!" Award to Gold Digger Tech Manual #5

"Which Kind Of Saute Was That Again?" Award to Gold Digger: Tifanny and
     Charlotte Second Semester #1 

     Dave Van Domelen, "Um.  Please don't kill me.  Now I did ask NICELY for
you not to kill me!  Poor sport!  Poor sport!" - Ragdoll, Secret Six #11

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