July 6, 2011

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 Managed to bruise my chest tripping over a curb on the 4th of July. I have been regularly reading comics, as in getting issues every month rather than sporadically, since Alpha Flight #12-13 in 1984. I got my first comics pull in college, in 1988, and with only the occasional gaps I've maintained a pull at one shop or another for the past 23 years. But that's about to come to an end. Regardless of whether I have a job in September or not (still don't have one), I will not have a comics pull. It's not because I think comics aren't worth reading...there's still plenty of good ones. It's not because of publisher shenanigans...I've seen worse. The blame lays squarely at the feet of Diamond Comics Distribution, which has made it practically a part time job to try to keep up with monthly comics. Sure, some of the problems were the fault of my store, but even then things could have been fixed if Diamond were willing to actually sell comics to anyone who wanted to buy them, and not just to the biggest customers. Reading comics should be entertaining and relaxing, not frustrating and maddening. But that's what they're becoming, thanks to Diamond. I've ordered a handful of books for August, mostly titles that are ending, and after that it's going to be trades or the occasional standalone I might see at a bookstore. If I end up moving somewhere with a good comic shop I may slowly go back to monthlies, but at least for the foreseeable future I'm done with monthly comics as a regular Wednesday thing. Reviews will probably continue, but sporadically and certainly not tied to Wednesdays. Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): None 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 7/6/11: Shadowland Power Man #4, Transformers Timelines G2 Redux, Gold Digger #127, Transformers Dark of the Moon Rising Storm #3-4, X-Factor #218, Transformers Foundation #3, Time Lincoln Jack to the Future, Science Dog Special #2, Captain America: America's Avenger. Add Secret Six #35 (store was shorted). "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. 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. The Transformers #21: IDW - CHAOS BEGINS HERE! Whee. Can't say I'll be keeping up with this series in TPB form. The issue is split into two stories. The first is pretentious/portentious and sets up the departure of most of the Autobots for Cybertron to deal with Galvatron's horde, the second shows the other side of the same day as the few leftbehinds set up...eh, I'd have a hard time caring in the best of times. Both stories are terribly coy about some Horrible Secret that is revealed, not actually letting the reader in on it at the time, only to allude to it on the last page in a way that makes me wonder why they bothered being so roundabout. Didn't readers already know that secret? Or is it a different one that looks the same but is supposedly worse? Meh. Neutral. $3.99 Adventure Comics #528: DC - One nice thing about DC's rejigger is that it does make it easier to make a clean break with the four of their books I still read. The Academy storyline is coming to an end with the upperclassmen graduating this issue and the newbies arguing about what's ahead for them. And then the Big Saturn Queen Plot blows a lot of stuff up, so I suspect the remaining plot threads will be tied off next issue simply by blowing up the Academy or something (or killing the students, although I doubt they'll go that far) and rendering most of the threads moot. Mildly recommended. $2.99 Captain America & Thor: Avengers #1 (of 1): Marvel - A tie-in book for both movies. Of course, Cap's gotten a couple of tie-ins already, and Thor's already out of most theaters, so one gets a feeling that it's an orphan project. Still, with Van Lente writing both stories and Ron Lim drawing them, I figured it was worth the risk. :) The Cap story is presumably set somewhere during the movie, Cap and the Howling Commandoes taking on a secret Hydra base and the horrors contained therein. The Thor story is a definite prequel, in which Thor and Loki come to appreciate each other's talents a little better (and some Simonson-era baddies get movieverse versions). Both are good reads. Recommended. $4.99 Thunderbolts #160: Marvel - Time to try stopping the Juggernaut. But since this isn't the main Fear Itself event book, fat chance of that happening. Still, it's a decent read and the headtrip sequences take good advantage of Shalvey's non-standard art style. And while it's not allowed to resolve the larger plot, it's readable on its own. Recommended. $2.99 Spider-Girl #8: Marvel - Final issue, pushed back presumably so it'd mesh in more closely with the Spider Island Spider-Girl miniseries. In fact, Spider-Island does sort of deus ex machina things for this issue. It's awash in plot devices, though, so that one hardly stands out. Especially since they also use the "random shot fries the plot device no one had noticed" trick, felling the complex and insidious organization via the equivalent of a Big Red Button. I've seen enough good writing from Tobin to suspect that if he had a full 12 issues to work with, the resolution would have been a lot less hackneyed, but this isn't so much a graceful exit as a bum's rush. Neutral. $2.99 Awards: "And Lo, The Narrator Was Mightily Impressed" Award to The Transformers #21 "Okay, Comet Queen Has Tipped Over Into Creepy Now" Award to Adventure Comics #528 "Cut Off One And IA IA CTHULHU FTAGHN" Award to Captain America & Thor: Avengers #1 (of 10 "Oh, And HASTUR HASTUR HASTUR" Award to Thunderbolts #160 "Actually, Her Gloves Should Have Just Filled Up With Webbing" Award to Spider-Girl #8 Dave Van Domelen, "I'm a super-SOLDIER, Dugan...not a super-SAILOR." - Captain America, Captain America & Thor: Avengers #1
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