August 18, 2010

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, My main desktop iMac is in for repairs, limping along on the old one. Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): None "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. I saw the Scott Pilgrim movie, and liked it. Of course, I've only read about 8 pages of the comic, part of some FCBD compilation I think, so I can't really say how well things match. I *can* say that I'm glad it's really compressed, because I don't think I'd have made it through more than one volume of Scott being a jerk. :) Also, I got my serial code for the new City of Heroes expansion, but since my old iLamp is incapable of running it, I can't comment until my new (but not quite new enough to still be under warranty) desktop is repaired. 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. Hawkeye & Mockingbird #3: Marvel - Well, this is one of those issues that will read a lot better in the trade, but is kinda marking time as a floppy. Clint and Bobbi are both on tenterhooks thanks to the shooting of Bobbi's mom, and the snipe at each other throughout the issue, like the worst of the Green Arrow vs. Black Canary issues, while Dominic Fortune enjoys the floor show. Otherwise, it's mostly fight scenes against faceless minions... first human ones, then robotic, ending in a deathtrap. It's an okay read, but lacks most of the strengths of the first two issues, and some of the negativity feels padded out so that it can resolve next issue. Mildly recommended. $2.99 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 Nefarious #6: IDW - Um, okay? Things explode. There's a backstory dump that explains the badguy's motivations. More characters appear who are utterly unidentifyable (Blazemaster is mentioned, but I can't figure out which of the masses of metal scrap he's supposed to be). I think we're supposed to think the movieverse Fortress Maximus is involved in this somewhere, but he's another scrap mess. This series ended up accomplishing almost nothing...all that really "happened" was that Ravage came back from the dead, and that really took place in another series, it was merely explained (more or less) in this one. Bleh. $3.99 Age of Heroes #4 (of 4): Marvel - The lead story focuses on Shuri, the new Black Panther, and is setting up her new title. I am utterly uninterested in checking out said title. The second story is actually pretty good, although it requires that Captain America have been revived in the 1960s in order for the timeline to work, so it probably can't fit into continuity without some "clarification" retcons. The Zodiac two-paged made zero sense and does nothing to make me curious about who these idiots are. Cloud Nine's one-pager is a nice little coda for her, but is more symbolic than "could actually happen" unless she's a quick-change expert. Mildly recommended, and that only for the second story. $3.99 Shadowland Power Man #1 (of 4): Marvel - The Shadowland event doesn't really interest me, and the basic idea of a new Power Man doesn't grab me either, but Van Lente's writing this, so I figured I'd give it a shot. There's a short summary of the event on the first page, enough to catch me up on things, and like a lot of the new Marvel books lately it ends in a summary of the this case, the stories of the original Power Man and Iron Fist. Most of this I knew already, of course, although the Jessica Jones retcon was useful info. The important part of the ending summary, for me, was the clue it dropped regarding the Final Page Shocker, where the new Power Man meets the previous and...well, they don't get on well. Van Lente does a good job of mixing old and new, and I'm interested in seeing where this goes (which, of course, means Diamond will stop shipping copies to all the stores within 60 miles of me). Recommended. $3.99 The Amazing Spider-Man #640: Marvel - OMIT continues. We pick up after the assassination attempt on Aunt May, as Kingpin sends his man to take care of others on the list and Spider-Man realizes he can't keep having his loved ones in the crosshairs. The actual mechanism of how One More Day plays out is not yet revealed, but a sort of deal with the devil is definitely about to be involved. I'll admit to a weakness for "counterfictionals" like this, where some minimal change (seen two issues ago) leads to dominoes falling just differently enough to lead the storyline in a new direction without massively changing things that they don't want to change, but this issue isn't the interesting part of it. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Thunderbolts #147: Marvel - Crossing over with Avengers Academy, with the "Scared Straight" banner. It starts by wrapping up the Terrigen mission from #2, and is mostly an event report narrated by John Walker, who doesn't yet know why things went into the pot at the Raft while the Academy kids were there. Their plotline is only glossed across, avoiding giving too much away, which is a good thing considering that the Academy side runs through #4 as well. :) I still don't much care for how Kev Walker's art makes everyone look old and Sin City-ish, but I'm enjoying Parker's writing. Recommended. $2.99 Avengers Academy #3: Marvel - "Scared Straight" banner. The first half of the issue is business as usual, with Hazmat being the main POV character when it's viable, and we get more of her origin (and she's a Digimon fan, heh). The whole Rogue parallel is played up even more, including "my extremely dangerous powers manifested while kissing my boyfriend". Finesse is mostly backburnered, although we do get to see she's not unbeatable in single combat against a trained fighter. :) Anyway, when the crossover gets going, it's mainly "meanwhile" sort of stuff, with only a few panels of contact between the two issues, and that's fine by me. Parallel crossovers are generally less obviously manipulative than serial don't have to read Thunderbolts to follow the story in Academy, and vice versa. Recommended. $2.99 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 8/18/10: Invincible #72, Prince of Power #2-3, Brody's Ghost vol 1 (which my store was charged for, but not shipped), Tom Strong and the Robots of Doom #3, Transformers Ironhide #4, Gorilla Man #2, Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #5 (gosh, surprise surprise) and Welcome to Tranquility One Foot In The Grave #2. Add Atlas #1 (store only got one copy) and Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Update #3 (which I probably won't bother reviewing if it ever comes in). Awards: "The Jugglers Were More Interesting" Award to Hawkeye & Mockingbird #3 "So...Buzzsaw Is A Helicopter Now?" Award to Transformers Nefarious #6 "Queen Divine Justice Woulda Made A Much More Interesting Choice" Award to Age of Heroes #4 (of 4) "Gotta Upgrade Your Infrastructure, Dude" Award to Shadowland Power Man #1 (of 4) "Twue Wuv" Award to The Amazing Spider-Man #640 "He Lost His Limbs, Not His Powers, Moron" Award to Thunderbolts #147 "She Might Make Him Rust, Though" Award to Avengers Academy #3 Dave Van Domelen, "Can't you taste the mind-control drugs in the food? How many 'vaccines' have they given you? HENRY PYM IS SHRINKING TO MICROSCOPIC SIZE AND REWIRING YOUR BRAIN --" "Dude." - Ghost and Mettle, Avengers Academy #3
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