July 15, 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.
I'll wait until Fri/Sat to see Harry Potter.  An archive can be found on my 
             homepage, http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/Rants 

     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.

     Perseus: the Hunt for Medusa's Head: Graphic Universe - This is an
educational comic, I found it at Barnes & Noble with the other comics/manga
in the kiddie section, but I don't recall seeing it the line in Previews.  48
page perfect-bound adaptation of the myths about Perseus, adapted by Paul
Storrie and Thomas Yeates.  You can tell it's pitched at younger kids, given
how Zeus's proclivities are sort of danced around, but all in all it's a
decent adaptation despite some compression.  The backmatter explains some of
the choices made and lists references, including Clash of the Titans
(although it doesn't say that Clash takes a fair number of liberties with the
story).  Worth taking a look at.  Storrie also did a Hercules book for this
series, but B&N didn't have it in stock at the time.  $8.95, so it's really
being sold at the "textbook" level rather than the "comicbook" level.

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.

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.

     Farscape D'Argo's Lament #4 (of 4): Boom! Studios - A decent ending,
although now that it's over I can't help but feel that it would have worked
better if tightened up into three issues so that the shorthand-cliche nature
of most of the characters wasn't quite as obvious.  Mildly recommended.
     The Brave and the Bold #25: DC - Hardware and Blue Beetle, done-in-one
story, mostly from Beetle's POV but most of the exposition is about Hardware.
Generally good writing from Beechen and competent art from Roger Robinson,
plus a good Xanatos Gambit at the core of the plot.  Also has the preview
pages for Doom Patrol.  Recommended.  $2.99  
     Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers #3 (of 4): Marvel - Well, in any macguffin
hunt storyline, there's going to be a bit after all the introductions and
before the endgame where it's just the characters chasing the macguffin some,
and that's this issue.  The first part is "we have to wrap this up next
issue" easy, and the second only a little challenging compared to how hard it
should've been.  Fairly missable.  Has a short preview of Marvel Adventures
Super Heroes #14 starring Hawkeye and the Blonde Phantom, which I may just
want to pick up.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99
     Timestorm 2009-2099 #3 (of 4): Marvel - Back to the main story after
several one-shot side stories.  Well, sorta.  A chunk is devoted to Relur's
origins (sigh, laaaaaame backwards-spelling name, guys) and then there's
recapping of the one-shots.  But Mig's dad advances the actual plot a little
in between all this, and Cerebra has some flashbacks to fill in more origin
stories.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99
     X-Factor #46: Marvel - All the threads get at least a few panels this
time around, although the X-continuity flies fast and furious.  I suppose in
this issue just about everything is laid out for readers who've read every
X-book since 1992 and memorized them, but it reads as annoyingly coy to me.
Oh, and as long as I'm referencing tvtropes.com this week, it looks like we
have some Xanatos Roulette going on here.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99
     The Amazing Spider-Man #599: Marvel - Dark Reign banner.  Still no
Annual, sigh.  American Son wraps up with a variation of the time-worn "but
then you'd be just like him" plot device...but this is one of those cases
where it's the only ending that makes sense for the characters.  Not sure I'm
keen on how things get set up for the future, though.  This issue is mostly
fight scene with a rotating team of artists who aren't 100% consistent in
keeping to the model sheets (especially on Harry's shield), which can make
things hard to follow.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99
     The Mighty Avengers #27: Marvel - While googling to see if one of the
plot devices in the flashback sequence this issue was a bit of obscure
Kirbiana, I found that A) it's apparently new, and B) it seems to tie into
War of Kings, whee.  Most of the issue is devoted to setting up this plot
device, and it's part of the dangling USAgent/Quicksilver thread (and I am
amused at how USAjerk uses "Alpha Flight" as a verb in a very tacky way).
Pym's plot device thingy is revealed as well, it's not terribly impressive
but I suppose it's useful.  :) Includes preview pages from an upcoming issue
of Fantastic Four that left me utterly uninterested.  Recommended, despite
trepidations over being sucked into an X-over.  $2.99
     Marvel Adventures Avengers #38: Marvel - The villain is a little too
blatantly mustache-twirly even for a kidbook.  Not Tobin's best work, a
rather forgettable stack of cliches in general.  Also has the MASH #14
preview.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99
     Dark Reign: Mr. Negative #2 (of 3): Marvel - Innnnteresting.
Mr. Negative's a classic Jeckyl/Hyde sort of character, but it's generally
been presented as his dark side being the secondary persona and his light
side the "real" Mr. Li, or at least closer to the truth, but this issue casts
some serious doubt on which version more closely reflects Martin Li as he was
before taking on the Mr. Negative identity...while at the same time throwing
evidence the other way as well.  Recommended.  $3.99
     Agents of Atlas #8: Marvel - "Housekeeping" is the main theme of this
issue, between tying up some loose Dark Reign ends (there's no DR banner,
though) and getting back to the underlying "reform the corrupt elements of
Atlas" plotline.  Temujin's Starscream act is at least lightening up a
little, if only because he's given a chance to show there's some cattle to go
with that hat.  And speaking of untrustworthy subordinates, Lao's continuing
to demonstrate that his idea of serving the cause involves constant trials by
fire.  :)  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 7/15/09: 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, Amazing Spider-Man Annual #36.  Add New Mutants
     Sigh.  I got a notice from deepdiscount.com that my Empowered order had
been cancelled.  So I ordered another copy from an Amazon reseller, who had
it in stock and shipped right away.  Then I got an email from deepdiscount
saying their system had erroneously cancelled a bunch of orders, and my order
wasn't cancelled.  I emailed back requesting it be cancelled anyway, but it
turns out that the error was "set to cancelled when we mean it actually
shipped" so now I'll have two copies.  Maybe I can sell one to my store.


"If There's Anything Zeus Loves More Than Mortal Women, It's Irony" Award
     to Perseus: the Hunt for Medusa's Head

"Maybe Now He Really WILL Shut Up" Award to Farscape D'Argo's Lament #4 
     (of 4) 

"Gizmonic Institute" Award to The Brave and the Bold #25

"Shouldn't Neils Have Bounced?" Award to Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers #3 
     (of 4)

"Actually, The Towel Is Full Of Nanomachines" Award to Timestorm 2009-2099
     #3 (of 4)

"Looking For A New Branch" Award to X-Factor #45

"Don't **** Crazy" Award to The Amazing Spider-Man #599

"He Also Stopped Off For A New Costume On His Way From Indonesia" Award to 
     The Mighty Avengers #27

"I Was Kinda Hoping For That To Be Mr. Lao" Award to Marvel Adventures
     Avengers #38

"Um, Osborn, YOU Have The Exoskeleton, He Has An Endoskeleton" Award to 
     Dark Reign: Mr. Negative #2 (of 3)

"We're There Yet" Award to Agents of Atlas #8

     Dave Van Domelen, "Harry...really.  The grown-ups are talking.  Go to
your room so I can finish murdering Spider-Man, or I'm going to break your
DAMN NECK." - Iron Patriot, The Amazing Spider-Man #599
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