July 22, 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'm 39 for the first time. Oh, Rochester.... An archive can be found on my homepage, http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/Rants Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #36, Atomic Robo Shadow from Beyond Time #3 (of 5). "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. Well, I picked up the Moon Knight MU figure, but haven't gotten around to opening it. Maybe next 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. Amazing Spider-Man Annual #36: Marvel - Found at Hastings. Amusingly, this was in their computer as "The Wedding Singer", since the subtitle on the cover is "The Wedding Swinger". While set up as a single story (i.e. no backups or reprints), it's really two stories that happen to take place in the same location. The wedding-related one which complicate's Peter's personal life, and then the fight scene story which digs up some more of what may be his retconned past. It's all tied together by the name Reilly. :) While the plot implications may annoy some, I found it a very enjoyable read from Guggenheim, with very good art by Pat Oliffe. Strongly recommended. $3.99 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. Transformers All Hail Megatron #13: IDW - The lead story has Optimus Prime and Ironhide sitting around and talking about their past together, with Don Figueroa trying out a new style that...may go down in Transformers history as one of the most offputting ways of drawing Cybertronian faces ever. The second story seems to utterly ignore Starscream's development in #11-12 in favor of a blatant ripoff of the Astrotrain scene from the original TF movie. At least the experimental art works in this case. Mildly recommended. $3.99 All New Savage She-Hulk #4 (of 4): Marvel - Dark Reign banner. Eh, feels like Van Lente had an off day here. There's a few good bits here and there, but a lot of clunky dialogue and "oops, better wrap this up" plot yanking. And then it's To Be Continued In Hulk #600, whee (although the actual plot of the mini is pretty much resolved, it's more of getting a teaser for the next story). Venom and Scorpion have a backup that's a little better, although it's clearly set some time ago given that SHIELD is involved. Mildly recommended. $2.99 Wolverine First Class #17: Marvel - Wow, artist Ronan Cliquet is either Alan Davis using an inexplicable pseudonym because he wasn't happy with how the work turned out or a really dedicated Alan Davis imitator who doesn't quite manage it every so often. The story involves Wolverine's Patch identity and some old Madripoor business...even in the First Class setting one can't avoid continuity implants forever, I guess. (I remember Patch first being introduced in Marvel Comics Presents in the late 80s, I don't recall the ID being backfilled to decades earlier, but I'm not surprised either.) Mildly recommended. $2.99 Ms. Marvel #42: Marvel - Dark Reign banner. Heh, I have some ideas about what the deal is with the final page shocker, but I expect most readers will have come to similar conclusions. Most of the issue is a fight scene involving two blondes in skintight costumes hitting each other, pulling hair, end ending up covered in tar at one point. And, frankly, I'm not complaining. :) A fair amount of psychological analysis of Karla Sofen along the way, to the point where I have a second lower-probability theory that the Carol Danvers version in this issue might be a creation of Karla's own subconscious (hey, Karla's been hanging out with Storyteller stuff, it's certainly plausible). Recommended. $2.99 The Amazing Spider-Man #600: Marvel - Slott and JRjr do the main story, the promised wedding of JJJ Sr. and Aunt May (Reilly Parker Jameson). It's quite good. Not so good are the fall-flat-humor "Spider-Man Covers You'll Never See" that appear intermittently or Stan Lee's rambling not-in- continuity story. Waid and Doran (who's using a rather different style than I'm used to for her) contribute a short, touching flashback tale, as do Guggenheim and Breitweiser. Bob Gale and Mario Alberti's three-pager is so-so, while Zeb Wells and Derec Donovan have fun with the fact that while much has been retconned out of Spider-Man's life, the Spider-Mobile remains. The massively oversized issue ends with a teaser for the next Kraven-ette arc. Recommended. $4.99 Avengers the Initiative #26: Marvel - No Dark Reign banner, but with Iron Patriot and the Hood featured prominently on the cover, there might as well be such a banner. Gage addresses the question of whether it's justified to use the methods of evil to fight evil, but carefully avoids answering it or even biasing matters too much, as the New Warriors fight the new Initiative and have to fight dirty. Meanwhile, the Hood demonstrates that mayyyybe he's not as lame as I thought he was, while dealing with getting the new Initiative into the shape he wants. There's also a bit of a War of Kings crossover going on, what with the Negative Zone thing. Sandoval's art is pretty good, just stylized enough to not be completely jarring as a followup to Ramos. Recommended. $2.99 The Incredible Hercules #131: Marvel - Covers like this one are often deliberately misleading, but this time around it's pretty accurate, down to some of the subtle touches. Otherwise, this issue is all about getting what you wanted and not particularly being happy about it. Herc, Amadeus, even Pluto "win" and thereby lose. Recommended. $2.99 Legion of 3 Worlds #5 (of 5): DC - I got the regular Dawnstar cover. Any Legionnaire or LEGIONnaire who hadn't appeared yet makes it into this issue one way or another, although only a few get speaking parts. Gates gets a lot of speaking parts, but that's part of his charm. The three worlds of the title get ironed out, establishing who the "mainline Earth" Legion is and where the others are from and going to. Oh, it's about half namechecking and fanboyish revamping by weight, with the other half dealing with Superboy Prime and the Time Trapper in a fairly elegant (if predictable) way. Much of this series has been about unbreaking the toys broken by other writers, but that doesn't stop Johns from doing some breaking himself (Black Witch? Really?). This is purest fanwank, but sometimes that's good enough for the fans. :) $3.99 Gold Digger Tech Manual #6: Antarctic Press - All Gina, and I wouldn't be surprised if all of #7 is Gina as well (heck, Hurt-Bots alone could probably fill an issue). Her lab and cars take up most of this issue, with oddities like her sonic shower and hyper dishwasher filling in the gaps. The car jargon flies a little thick for me, but gearhead-speak is inevitable when mad science meets motor vehicles. Recommended. $3.99 Gold Digger v3 #109: Antarctic Press - Another one-shot, this one delving more into Julia Diggers's past and her relationship with Master Leep, retconning a few things in here and there. The main storyline benefit is an explanation of why Master Leep's own master refused to teach women that went beyond sexism. Character-wise, it's a thematic continuation of last issue on the theme of family and motherhood. But with a lot more innuendo and femmefights. Recommended. $2.99 Invincible #64: Image - And now, the gore-drenched conclusion of the Conquest arc. I mean, DUDE. MARSHAL LAW wasn't this gory. Unfortunately, the sheer repetition actually manages to make the blood and flesh and tissues and shattered bones and ruined faces...boring. The only interesting parts of the issue are the ones that don't involve gore (they involve nudity). Mildly recommended, and that only for people not easily made queasy. $2.99 Atomic Robo Shadow from Beyond Time #3 (of 5): Red5 Comics - BWAHAHAHA! HEEHEEHEEHEE! IA IA IA! Ahem. We skip ahead to 1957, what with the Shadow being Beyond Time and all that, so one might presume that #5 might take place in the present day or even the future. Or all of the above at once. The only down side of this issue is that it's going to be almost impossible to pick just one quote for the end of this post. Clevinger and Wegener are firing on all cylinders, as well as some non-euclidian parallelpipeds here. YOU WANT THIS BOOK. $3.50 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 7/22/09: 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, New Mutants #3. Add Encyclopedia Mythologica, Incredibles #4, Farscape Gone & Back #1. In the past week I've gone from possibly having two copies of Empowered v5 on the way to possibly having none again. My Amazon-affiliate purchase got cancelled, and the DeepDiscount.com order went from "cancelled" to "oops, that was a glitch, not cancelled" to "shipped" to "unexpectedly backordered". It might be easier to track down Adam Warren in person and mug him for a copy. Awards: "My Cousins Are Mostly Doughy Guys" Award to The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #36 "I Think Insecticomics Already Did This Plot" Award to Transformers All Hail Megatron #13 "He Has A Thing For Green Chicks" Award to All New Savage She-Hulk #4 (of 4) "His Real Mutant Power Is Keeping That White Tux Clean" Award to Wolverine First Class #17 "Sorry, But I've Been Mostly Dead All Day" Award to Ms. Marvel #42 "At Last, The Real Reason Johnny Storm Hangs Out With Spider-Man" Award to The Amazing Spider-Man #600 "And Yet He Chooses To Look Like A Loser" Award to Avengers the Initiative #26 "Hey, Someone Remembered The Flaming Wheel!" Award to The Incredible Hercules #131 "Blogboy Prime" Award to Legion of 3 Worlds #5 (of 5) "I'm Sure The Sonic Shower Has Settings She's Not Telling Us About" Award to Gold Digger Tech Manual #6 "Could Have Used A Tar Pit" Award to Gold Digger v3 #109 "Yeah, Mighty Man Could Care Less" Award to Invincible #64 "Pathological Equations" Award to Atomic Robo Shadow from Beyond Time #3 (of 5) Dave Van Domelen, "Robo. Do you KNOW this rock?" "And how much does it hate you?" - Atomic Robo Shadow from Beyond Time #3 (of 5)
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