July 16, 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.
Hope to check out the West Edmonton Mall.  Rants, Capsules can be found on my 
             homepage, http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/Rants 

     Note: I will be at a conference next week, so the reviews for next
week's books will be delayed, at least until Saturday.

First Look Comments:

     None.  Due to a bit of a time crunch, I decided to only read books I was
either planning to get or thinking of getting, and there was nothing in
either category this week.

     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): None.

     Transformers the Reign of Starscream #3: IDW - Nope, Arcee isn't any
sexier in comic form.  The movie design is pretty unflattering.  This issue
seems to mainly be about blowing up lots of non-movie toys, including some of
the Target exclusive Energon/Cybertron recolors, but Mowry makes a mistake in
not clearly naming everyone in this issue...he labels for the trade (i.e.
Cliffjumper is never named this issue, although he was last issue).  While
IDW continues to not admit anywhere on the comic to the length of its minis,
this feels like a part three of six.  In other words, if #4 is the
conclusion, the pacing sucks.  :) Milne does a decent job coming up with
pre-Earth modes for a lot of characters, but the shrapnel aesthetic still
works against him, and the color palette is muted enough to make
identification tricky.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99 (I got Cover A)
     Transformers Spotlight #17 (Hardhead): IDW - Revelation part 2.  I got
Roche's more stylized cover B.  Heh.  I like Hardhead as a sort of Brock
Samson character as Furman writes him, although on the muted side of Brock.
A different sort of badass than Grimlock.  There's also a pretty aggressive
"bring in the new product" effect, even though the product in question hit
stores in the 1980s (more Pretenders, implication of Headmasters ramping up,
and lots and lots of Micromasters).  Because this is part of an arc, the
story jumps around a bit, and Hardhead isn't really spotlighted as much as
the title character of previous Spotlights was, but I liked what we got of
him.  Recommended.  $3.99
     Marvel Illustrated the Iliad #8 (of 8): Marvel - Pretty much just
completing the set here, it's been kinda disappointing.  Making it a Secret
Invasion tie-in would probably have improved the series.  :)  Oh, and
speaking of disappointment, casual readers may wonder why there's no Trojan
Horse.  That's because the Iliad stops at Hector's funeral rites, much like
modern comics, the story is continued in the next event (the Odyssey).  To
the extent that there's ANY plot arc here beyond "the gods meddle around for
a while to ease the boredom," though, ending where it does makes sense.
Hector's really the only genuinely good guy in the story, and his death is a
dramatic point.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     X-Factor #33: Marvel - Secret Invasion tie-in.  Larry Stroman rejoins
Peter David (they worked together on the old X-Factor as well), and while I
like his bizarre style I'll admit it takes some getting used to.  Also,
there's a crucial scene involving Skrulls where Stroman's visual storytelling
falls down...are there several people in the scene, one Skrull "strobing"
between forms, etc?  It's kinda important, and rather vague.  It's also a
little iffy when the script calls for a sort of splitscreen, the two parallel
locales could be made a little more distinct.  Those issues aside, though, a
good issue.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Marvel Adventures Avengers #26: Marvel - Parker's not quite on his
A-game this issue, but it's one of his better "silly" issues (he tends to be
stronger when the humor is a little more subtle).  Interesting use of an old
stand-by plot device, too.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Amazing Spider-Man #566: Marvel - Okay, I just noticed that the "eyes on
chest" motif of the original Kraven is repeated on the new one's outfit.  So,
the eyes really are down there (although she's more of a gymnast in build, so
there's not as much reason to look at that set of eyes).  Decent issue from
Guggenheim, the usual quality of art from Phil Jimenez (he's ony credited
with breakdowns, but finisher Pennington sticks pretty close to Jimenez's
usual style), and some good callbacks to Kraven's Last Hunt back during an
earlier "weekly issues with rotating writers" era (six issues across three
titles, rather than renaming all three titles "Amazing").  Recommended.
     The Incredible Hercules #119: Marvel - Secret Invasion tie-in, complete
with a flashback to explain why the Skrull impostor is there (and set up a
quest for later).  Sometimes, even if the clever plan is dancing atop the
harpsichord, it's time for simple brutality, and much of this issue is quite
brutal.  Not necessarily simple, though, as things take a decidedly
Lovecraftian turn.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn

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 7/16: Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #40.


"Explosive Fingernails?  Been Done" Award to Transformers the Reign of
     Starscream #3

"Problem Decomposer" Award to Transformers Spotlight #17 (Hardhead)

"My Doom Needs To Go On A Diet" Award to Marvel Illustrated the Iliad #8 
     (of 8)

"Maybe He's An Eevee-morph?" Award to X-Factor #33

"At Least It Didn't Turn Into A Twinkie Ad" Award to Marvel Adventures
     Avengers #26

"Eyeholes Not Creepy At All, Nooooo" Award to Amazing Spider-Man #566

"A Real Beast In The Sack" Award to the Incredible Hercules #119

     Dave Van Domelen, "Um...Hard.  Head.  It's NOT just a name, y'know." -
Hardhead, Transformers Spotlight #17
     Bonus quote: "How can you have lived on this earth for THREE THOUSAND
YEARS and STILL not know a single blessed thing about women?"  "PRACTICE!" -
Snowbird and Hercules, Hercules #119
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