July 23, 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.
Avoid the comic shop at the Edmonton Mall.  Rants, Capsules can be found on my 
             homepage, http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/Rants 

First Look Comments:

     None.  Just ran in, grabbed my comics, and went grocery shopping.

     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): Ambush Bug
Year None #1 (of 6)

     Fallen Angel #28: IDW - Starting this month, IDW seems to have decided
that the credits/title page will go at the end of the story, not the
beginning.  That's fine, except it's *also* the "Story So Far" page.  So you
have to turn to the last page to get caught up to where the first page is.
Not exactly a good editorial decision, guys.  Anyway, Moloch beats on people
while Lee, Jude and Mariah try to get closer to their destination and a
snarky demon pops between locations.  Decent scripting, but I'm not caring
for the way Woodward's doing the art, and the plot itself still hasn't
grabbed me.  Right now, the fact that it's been allowed to go to double-
digits in issue numbers is the strongest positive about it, and that's kinda
sad.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99
     Star Trek New Frontier #5: IDW - Okay, so this is the final issue.  It,
and the series as a whole, was just so-so.  Even discounting the murky art,
it just didn't feel like it was appropriate to a standalone miniseries.  Too
many plot threads run through it, not all of which are dealt with
consistently.  If there was going to be a #6 instead of a new #1, I wouldn't
mind that so much, but it's irksome given the way IDW insists on miniseries.
Neutral.  $3.99
     New Warriors #14: Marvel - Classic "two teams clash" cover (which I
think was first used in X-Men, but also homaged on Defenders #100).  Secret
Invasion tie-in.  Once again, the lack of a consistent art team and the large
cast of characters who are often in civvies combine to make the "downtime"
scenes really hard to follow.  Anyway, while there's a little Skrull-stomping
(literally, in one case), this issue is mostly about the sort of paranoia
fallout that the event is supposed to focus on.  Suddenly, the new Night
Thrasher is wondering if the Stamford team was influenced by a Skrull
infiltrator, and the original New Warriors (Initiative AWOLs) think that the
current team may be Skrulls, and hence the inter-team fight becomes fairly
inevitable.  :)  Mildly recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     She-Hulk v2 #31: Marvel - Part two of the X-Factor Secret Invasion
crossover.  More new artists, with "GG Studio" taking over art, but unlike
Turnbull over on New Warriors, Cucca's linework is clear.  The story mixes
ongoing fight scene (and some Jen-angst about what she might be becoming, as
a person) and flashbacks that explain who the Skrull du Jour is and why he's
important (and why he's in Detroit).  Echoes elements of the Hercules part of
the event.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Avengers the Initiative #15: Marvel - Secret Invasion tie-in.  Tolibao's
art is rather iffy in places, but at least everyone's in costume, so it's not
too hard to follow the crowd scenes.  This issue is another Crusader focus,
looking more at his background, why he turned coat, and his inevitable
decision gate...will be complete his betrayal of his own people, and of his
best friend (who you pretty much know will be part of the invasion force, so
I spoil nothing by saying he's an Alpha Flight Super-Skrull).  :)
Recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Justice League of America #23: DC - Secret Inv...er, wait.  While this
is mostly about the latest Amazo fighting the JLA while Benes indulges
himself with loads of fishnet stockings, the Vixen subplot gets a significant
advance.  I'm still teetering on the verge of dropping the book, though.
Mildly recommended.  $2.99 US/Cn
     Legion of Super-Heroes #44: DC - Heh, cute integration of the logo into
the flow of the cover design.  Sanford Greene's art is on the ugly side, not
helped by the deliberately chaotic fight scene nature of the story.  Perhaps
somewhat anticlimactically, though, the fights really don't solve the main
problem, but I'll admit the solution was clever.  Recommended.  $2.99 US/Cn
     The Brave and the Bold #15: DC - Nightwing and Hawkman on the cover.
And it looks like they're fighting someone who fires goop-covered arrows,
although I suspect it's just that the colorist can't do convincing blue-white
flames, given that there's such fireballs (but not flaming arrows) inside.
The Deadman story wraps up here pretty well, although I think Kolins could
have made it a bit clearer what was going on with Ollie (or, you know, Waid
could have actually had someone SAY it).  Recommended.  $2.99 US/Cn
     Ambush Bug Year None #1 (of 6): DC - Giffen, Fleming and Milgrom get
together to give us another AB mini, woot.  The "plot" this time is that some
time back Jonni DC was murdered, and now DC no longer makes any sense...and
irony of ironies, it's up to Ambush Bug to figure out why.  Lots of obscure
references (including a few that got brought out of obscurity lately, like
Yankee Poodle and Egg Fu) and snark about how comics have changed in recent
years (apparently putting a go-go checks tarp over a city will bring back
thought balloons and other silver age elements...who knew?).  Fleming's
definitely back on his A-game.  Strongly recommended.  $2.99 US/Cn
     Number of the Beast #8 (of 8): DC/Wildstorm - So, the last issue.  But
does the story actually end, or are we stuck with another Didio-style "to be
continued in the next event" thing?  Well, a little of column A, a little of
column B.  On the one hand, there's a definite sense of closure.  On the
other hand, it's the closure of a chapter.  A mystery is resolved, but now
things are all messed up and it's clear that to follow the story from this
point will require reading pretty much all the Wildstorm books, a prospect
I'm not keen on.  It doesn't help that this issue is put together by SIX line
artists (Sprouse on layouts, five others either finishing Sprouse's tighter
layout pages or doing the full pencil/ink work from the layouts), which blows
story cohesion right out the window.  A somewhat disappointing ending, but
the way DC has been going since someone murdered Jonni DC, it could have been
worse.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99 US/Cn
     Invincible #51: Image - New direction, essentially a chapter three for
Invincible (chapter one was being under Omni-Man's wing, chapter two was
rather longer and had him trying to be his own man but working for Omni-Man's
old organization), as he truly strikes out on his own.  He's now the mentor
figure, although ironically his new costume gets him some PR problems that
run counter to his role.  :)  Another short Firebreather ad/preview at the
end.  Recommended.  $2.99
     Gold Digger Tifanny & Charlotte #2: Antarctic Press - I have been
informed that this is a tentatively four issue series, and while it looks
like reprinted webcomic material it's in fact all new...it's just done in the
style of a compilation of short chapters.  :) It may continue past #4 if it
seems to be working out well.  Also, "Tifanny" rather than "Tiffany" is
apparently just Fred Perry's idiosyncratic spelling, but it stuck.  :)
Anyway, this issue is about the Secret Origin of Miss Giggle (who may or may
not get a revised entry in some later issue of OHOTGDU) and one of the
formative events of her recent life (involving a pastiche of the Teen Titans,
specifically the animated version).  And we learn that infinity is purple.
Recommended.  $3.50 US/Cn
     Gold Digger v3 #98: Antarctic Press - Sometimes you just need a fresh
eye on a problem.  We find that the Dynasty is actually trying to do good,
but are locked on a path that most people would argue isn't exactly
preferable to the evil the Dynasty is fighting...but they can't conceive of
another solution.  So it's up to Gina to do so, not just with brains but with
heart and guts.  If every point of light in the sky is your enemy, perhaps
there's a better way than just to fight....  Recommended.  $2.99 US/Cn
     The Official Handbook of the Gold Digger Universe #19: Antarctic Press -
Another "tentative limited series", it has in fact done well enough to
justify making it an ongoing (or at least extending its life for a while), so
they're in a sort of transitional period here as they rearrange things to
work better in an open-ended format.  This issue goes into mode detail on the
world of Jade, covering specific locations (whereas #18 had "Jade" as a whole
as a several-page entry).  Art is a combination of closeups of the Jade
worldmap seen in #18 (with locations highlighted in orange, although not all
entries get this treatment) and panels from relevant stories, with a couple
of character images from earlier issues standing against a Jade countryside
background.  Recommended.  $3.95 US/Cn

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 7/26: Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #40.  Add Scud the
Disposable Assassin: the Whole Shebang (but this one is the store's
fault...they put my copy on the shelf and it sold before anyone caught the
error, so I have to wait on a reorder).


"Dunno If Tantric Magic Will Be Able To Fix That" Award to Fallen Angel #28

"And I Don't WANT To Know If Tantric Magic Can Fix This" Award to Star Trek
     New Frontier #5

"Putting The Boot To Him" Award to New Warriors #14

"Symbols Crashing" Award to She-Hulk v2 #31

"If Thine Eye Offends Thee" Award to Avengers the Initiative #15

"Composite Superman Wants His Schtick Back" Award to Justice League of
     America #23

"Super-Bureaucracy Is The Mightiest Of All Powers!" Award to Legion of
     Super-Heroes #44

"A Crackerjack Job" Award to The Brave and the Bold #15

"I Need A Yoo-Hoo" Award to Ambush Bug Year None #1 (of 6)

"No Reset Button This Time" Award to Number of the Beast #8 (of 8)

"I Can't Be The Only One Getting A Miracleman Vibe Off This" Award to
     Invincible #51

"But Does She Have A Purple Crayon?" Award to Gold Digger Tifanny & 
     Charlotte #2

"Gurren LOL-gann" Award to Gold Digger v3 #98

"Jade-Walking" Award to Official Handbook of the Gold Digger Universe #19

     Dave Van Domelen, "And just because galactic space ants landed in your
backyard ONE TIME...doesn't mean you have to stop picnicking FOREVER!" 
- Tifanny 'Gia, who had a...unique...childhood.
Back to the Main Rants Page.

Or get baked by the July 2008 Rants.