August 13, 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.
Whee, power failure at work Tuesday.  Rants, Capsules can be found on my 

First Look Comments:

     Squadron Supreme #2: Marvel - Chaykin continues messing with the JMS
Supreme Power setting.  We get more of the origin of the pseudo-FF, a lttle
bit with the Iron Man and Captain America analogues, and a little bit of
Spider-Gothchick.  Mostly it's the FF-ish people, though.  Eh.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Captain America #41: Marvel - Moving towards the climax, ever so
slowly.  The pace picks up a bit this issue, but it feels like the wrong
stuff was left out.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Amazing Spider-Man #568: Marvel - New arc banner, "New Ways To Die!" is
the name, and Green Goblin on the cover is the game.  Quite a lot happens
this issue, actually, even allowing for the fact it's oversized, and we get
to see that Mephisto's deal wasn't a complete "get out of baggage free"
card.  The backup is a good piece focusing on Eddie Brock, and looking a
little more into the mystery of Mister Negative.  Recommended.  $3.99/$4.05Cn 
     X-Factor: Layla Miller #1 (of 1): Marvel - Layla's time-exile is dealt
with here, and while not everything is wrapped up in a bow yet, there's
plenty of actual resolution (of an emotional kind, if not an events kind) and
strong hints about how things will go from here.  Recommended.  $3.99/$4.05Cn 

     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.

     Cthulhu Tales #4: Boom! Studios - Mark Waid's clever "Pi of the
Beholder" dominates this issue, poking at the mathematical side of the Mythos
that is often glossed over.  Mark Sable's "There Will Be Blood" is one of
those stories that intentionally ends at what might be the beginning of a
longer tale.  Recommended.  $3.99
     Doctor Who #6: IDW - End of the first series.  And I think there may be
more words in this issue than in all the previous five put together, man.
Loads of dense-packed narration boxes and dialogue bubbles as all the bits
get explained and some minor characters get one last hurrah.  Plus some
foreshadowing for a future series that I probably won't buy.  All told, this
series has been somewhat disappointing, and after all the bloviation this
issue it wraps up on what's supposed to be a Big Damn Climax, but what comes
across as anticlimactic.  There's some nice isolated moments here and there,
and I think Gary Russell would probably be better off avoiding Big Plots and
just doing vignettes.  Very mildly recommended.  $3.99
     Transformers: the Reign of Starscream #4: IDW - Got cover B.  The action
shifts entirely to Cybertron, as almost all of the remaining non-movie toy
characters get in on the game and Starscream puts his Master Plan into
effect.  The art by Milne is still rather cluttered, an unavoidable problem
with the movie designs, though, especially since all the Target recolor toys
get redesigned with spiky movie appearances.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99
     Transformers Animated the Arrival #1: IDW - Got cover A.  Rather than
just adapt the "Transform And Roll Out" pilot "movie" or take it as read and
move on, Isenberg instead mixes sequences from TARO with events that happened
in the gaps.  The repeated scenes each emphasize the point of view of one of
the characters, and most of them get some sort of spotlight, even ones who
didn't actually show up in TARO.  Brizuela's art does a good job of keeping
to the animation models without being slavish about it.  This looks like it
might be shaping up to be something like Avengers Earth's Mightiest Heroes,
covering the first season of TF: Animated with a mix of POV shots and behind
the scenes.  And it's off to a good start if that's the plan.  Recommended.
     Galaxy Quest: Global Warning #1: IDW - This more or less picks up where
the movie left off, with a new series being launched.  Only, since Lobdell is
having to create a conflict to drive the new story, the "happily ever after"
of the movie kinda has to go away, at least for a while.  It's too early to
tell if Lobdell managed to capture what made the movie good, but at least he
makes no obvious missteps this time out.  Recommended.  $3.99
     Igor Movie Adaptation #1: IDW - Barbara Kesel writes, Grant Bond draws.
The pacing is about as sped-up as you'd expect from a four issue series
adapting a movie, although I suspect Kesel was able to squeeze a lot of
establishing shot stuff down because Naraghi introduced it in the prequel
series.  I was a bit surprised by the shattering of status quo, though, if
only because the prequel made the quo so statusy for me.  :) The art is okay,
but not as good as in the prequel...which is odd, given that it's the same
artist.  Maybe he was rushed, or maybe he did this one first and then went
back and did the prequel once he'd gotten his legs?  Hm.  Mildly recommended.
     Marvel Adventures Hulk #14: Marvel - Plenty of easter egg references in
the lead-in, but then it's off to bring another classic villain into the MA
fold.  This story is either set before MA Avengers starts, or it's purely
coincidental that a janitor named Sam Sterns shows up.  :)  But he's not the
villain of the piece, just the complication.  There's a touch of heavy handed
Social Message in the story, but otherwise no complaints.  Recommended.
     Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #40: Marvel - Finally dug this up at
Hastings (regional media chain).  Spidey goes a bit cosmic here, as Amora
(the Enchantress) decides he'd make a good pawn.  Now, most of the time it
feels like this title is set a few years before MA Avengers (not that there's
significant continuity in the MA titles anyway), but it's explicitly stated
here that the highschool-aged Spidey works with the Avengers.  Hm.  That bit
of continuity aside, it's a fairly fun tale of Asgardian arsewhoopery.
Recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #42: Marvel - Black Cat is the featured
antagonist, but plays more like the BTAS Catwoman than like the 616 Felicia
Hardy.  Otherwise, a self-consciously by-the-numbers "heroes battle then team
up" story.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Amazing Spider-Man #567: Marvel - More than a little creepy getting
Kravenette's birth date there at the end.  And in true Spidey fashion, he
manages to repair the damage to his secret at the cost of more damage to his
reputation and interpersonal relations.  Good resolution to Kraven's First
Hunt, even if it was really just an opening salvo.  Recommended.
     The Last Defenders #6 (of 6): Marvel - And thus the first chapter ends,
with Casey leaving himself enough of an out that these can still be the Last
Defenders even if another team is assembled later.  :)  The story's decent
enough, but the kind of thing that could easily have been told via montage
and flashback in under an issue in the Olden Days, leaving plenty of room for
the actual conflict that's been foreshadowed all along.  Mildly recommended.
     Green Arrow and Black Canary #11: DC - Time for flashbacks, with the
origin of the League Of Assassins (faux).  Some amusing bits here and there,
but it felt kinda padded, just trying to put off the revelation of who posed
as Ra's al Ghul until the last page.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99 US/Cn
     Booster Gold #11: DC - A step back from the "happily ever after"
epilogue previously, we pick up right after Michelle has been recovered from
the timestream and dump her (and Booster) into a new time wobble.  It looks
like between this issue and next, we'll see the same story three or even four
times via various time manglings and loopbacks, and Dixon's handling it
pretty well so far.  And Skeets is just ADORABLE in disguise.  Recommended.
$2.99 US/Cn
     Gen13 v4 #21: DC/Wildstorm - Part of the World's End event.  Main story
written by Beatty, drawn by Huddleston.  Another I/O teleportation jump for
the team goes wonky, and they finally pop out six months after Number of the
Beast, to see how blowed-up things got.  It's okay.  Backup story is part
three of something about Lynch, by Gage and Hairsine.  Dunno who the Tao guy
he's after is, or if Tao is who he finds at the end of the piece, nor do I
really care.  I suppose I'll find out, since the backup finishes over in
StormWatch PHD, which I'll be getting.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99 US/Cn
     Atomic Robo v2 #1 (of 5): Red5 Comics - Looks like they're shooting for
a more coherent arc this time, set in 1943.  While Robo's still fun, a lot
more of the issue is standard War Comic stuff with normal joes...well-
written, but not Atomic Robo level.  The backup is a short and sweet kaiju
battle.  Recommended.  $2.95

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 8/13:


"Sure Beats A Motherboard Full Of Ants" Award to Cthulhu Tales #4

"At Least The TARDIS Didn't Tow Anything" Award to Doctor Who #6

"Cybertron Meets Innsmouth" Award to Transformers Reign Of Starscream #4

"So, Coded Balloons?" Award to Cover A of Transformers Animated: the 
     Arrival #1

"Maybe The Sensors Were Damaged Too" Award to Galaxy Quest: Global Warning

"Yay, We Are Orphans!" Award to Igor Movie Adaptation #1

"Hulk, Dark Side, Whatever" Award to Marvel Adventures Hulk #14

"OOOOOOOOOO, AAAAAAAAAA" Award to Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #40

"Not Quite The Catfight I Wanted To See" Award to Marvel Adventures Spider-
     Man #42

"Vinnie, Vidi, Vici" Award to Amazing Spider-Man #567

"Just Don't Go Up Against Any Mutant Turtles, Ninja Or Otherwise" Award to
     The Last Defenders #6 (of 6)

"Shadowplay" Award to Green Arrow and Black Canary #11

"Let's Run Through That One More Time" Award to Booster Gold #11

"Trapped In The Spinny Of Futility" Award to Gen13 v4 #21

"Gear Krieg Crossover!" Award to Atomic Robo v2 #1 (of 5)

     Dave Van Domelen, "Not TWO PLUS TWO math.  More like, I don't know, DUCK
plus GRAVITY equals TOASTER." - Dr. Binder, Cthulhu Tales #4
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