August 3, 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, I have a contract, office keys, an apartment and a new credit union. Due to an ordering error by my store, I got more comics today than I'd expected. Ain't THAT an odd turn of events? ;) But since the week wouldn't be complete witout Diamond horror stories, the last (non-Hastings) place in Kearney to try carrying comics once got shipped a single $2.99 comic in a box for $15 or so shipping cost because Diamond had to send it from a different warehouse. No wonder they gave up on comics! Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): Secret Six #36 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 8/3/11: 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, Secret Six #35, Godzilla Gangsters & Goliaths #2, Invincible #81. "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. Cowboys and Aliens (Movie): Well, as just about any mainstream review of this movie will breathlessly inform you, this is based on a comic. I never read the comic, although I will note Van Lente's attached to the project, and gets his name in the movie's credits along with others. The basic idea of the movie is that aliens with poorly-explained motivations are doing the usual Alien Things (abductions, mining, blowing up cattle) in late 19th Century New Mexico, and a ragtag group of characters from Central Casting need to stop them before they can report that Earth is ripe for annihiliation and/or exploitation. Seriously, they hit every stereotype except an explicit Gabby Hayes pastiche, and the paper-thin motivation of the aliens even triggers DRHenry's Law (when informed that the aliens are after gold, Harrison Ford's character blurts, "What are they gonna do, BUY THINGS?"), despite some attempts to handwave it. All that aside, the actual acting is pretty good and the use of the stereotypes is effective. There's even some good casting against type, like the kindly preacher played by Clancy Brown. Not a movie for thinking about, but good summer entertainment. 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. Thunderbolts #161: Marvel - Fear Itself tie-in. Pretty much a break between fight scenes, as everyone wonders how they survived last issue and wonders how they'll survive next issue. There's also a non-shocking revelation about Fixer in the mix. Mildly recommended. $2.99 Herc #6: Marvel - Fear Itself tie-in. This one actually finishes this issue rather than being a middle piece. Pak and Van Lente make good drama from the intrinsic conflict between rationality and faith in a world where gods walk the Earth...but so do entities that are powerful but not gods. Several Moments Of Awesome from various characters and some emotional climaxes (even if the overall Fear Itself plot isn't affected at all). Recommended. $2.99 Avengers Academy #17: Marvel - Fear Itself tie-in. Another middle, mostly the students reacting to the killing they may or may not have done and seen in Washington DC, before getting dropped from the frying pan into the fire. While it lacks plot resolution, it has several good characterization moments. Recommended. $2.99 Adventure Comics #529: DC - FINAL ISSUE (although there will be more Legion after the renumbering). Basically it's Cosmic King versus all the remaining Academy kids in a final battle that makes the end of Secret Six look hopeful by comparison. It doesn't really resolve anything in the Blue Flame plot (which isn't going to wrap up before the renumbering, I'm guessing), and it "resolves" the Academy side by simply blowing stuff up and writing characters out. Not terribly satisfying, but it's an ending, I suppose. Mildly recommended. $2.99 Secret Six #36: DC - FINAL ISSUE (although the series will sort of continue as Suicide Squad with a new creative team and mostly new characters, including the infamous "What someone might think a suicide girl juggalo would look like if he only knew about either idea from a description given by a ten year old" Harley Quinn new look). Nothing goes according to plan, and yet everything goes according to plan. Not that Bane told anyone else the entire plan, but that gets back to his original appearances, yes? The master planner rather than the mere brute. The Six get about as big an ending as one could hope for, outnumbered and hopeless at the end as at the beginning. Recommended. $2.99 Awards: "You Know What Really Burns My Butt? A Flame, 'Bout That High" Award to Cowboys and Aliens "Blood From A Moonstone" Award to Thunderbolts #161 "Faith Can Move Mountains" Award to Herc #6 "Of Course, You Have To SURVIVE To Get PTSD" Award to Avengers Academy #17 "Apparently Any Team With 'Academy' In Its Name Is Legally Required To Have Casualties" Award to Adventure Comics #529 "Needs More Overkill" Award to Secret Six #36 Dave Van Domelen, "We're the Secret Six. We're ALWAYS outmatched. And we NEVER win." - Catman
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