August 26, 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. College enrollment is programmed to suck. An archive can be found on my homepage, Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): Avengers the Initiative #27 "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. None this 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. None this week. More missing books, naturally. 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. Incredibles #0: BOOM! Kids - A standalone about the day Jack-Jack was born, printed on newsprint-style paper. It's better than the half of the first miniseries I've been able to read, but not good enough to keep my interest, I think Incredibles is joining the Drop List. It's just not worth the hassle of trying to follow a publisher Diamond only ships to us half the time unless I have a strong investment in the books, and I don't in this case. Recommended, but it's my last new issue (I may review my missing issues when I get them, though). $2.99 Justice Society of America #30: DC - Basically getting out of the cliffhanger, picking up what pieces can be picked up, establishing there's a long term problem, and then providing another (rather weaker) cliffhanger. Willingham's spending a lot of time moving pieces around, but is still mostly in the "bringing in new characters" mode and hasn't permanently removed any (although one or more are clearly on the way out). Mildly recommended. $2.99 Timestorm 2009-2099 #4 (of 4): Marvel - So, can this meandering trainwreck waiting to happen actually pull out something resembling fulfillment of the potential it showed in #1? Eh, not really. I'm not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing that several pages are devoted to saying that none of this will hold...I mean, it's almost a given these days that Big Event Comics result in zero lasting changes, so at least they're not trying to pretend that there won't be another timestorm next time a writer feels like playing random crossover. But there was almost nothing about this that felt even remotely like an ending. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Wolverine First Class #18: Marvel - I'm still not sure how this is supposed to fit into continuity, but Peter David tells the story here that was mostly implied to have happened off-screen over in X-Factor, firming up various retcons of the sort that semi-obscures like Matrox are amenable to. For the most part it's a good issue, but one page of gratuitous "I hate IP pirates" screeding breaks the mood rather significantly, and not in a good way. If they still used page numbers, I'd tell you which one to skip to improve your reading experience, but since they don't I'll just knock it down to mildly recommended. $2.99 Avengers the Initiative #27: Marvel - Ah, finally to the good stuff. This issue is split into two chapters, both focusing on the charge of the D-lister brigade on the Blastarr-held "42" prison. The first is a diary of one of the D-listers, the kind of story you generally don't get to tell with A-listers in someone else's playground...but when you're one of the Dazzler's less-well-known foes, it doesn't get farther down the D-list, yes? And it's a good story, with a bittersweet ending. The lead story alone is worth buying the book. The second is more about the actual attack, and while not as strong as the lead, it's no slouch, nor without its emotional moments. More bitter than sweet, though. Strongly recommended. $2.99 Ms. Marvel #44: Marvel - Dark Reign banner. War of the Marvels continues and Karla gets to be right a lot and not be listened to much, which is pretty much her lot in life. :) The Storyteller stuff is clearly involved here, and it seems to be a case of an attempt at making Carol's dreams come true only to find that reality has a way of messing with dreams. Recommended. $2.99 The Incredible Hercules #133: Marvel - The alternating plots continue as we get back to Amadeus Cho this issue. A big conceit for this story (which is part retelling of Cho's origin and part setting up the new plot) is how his life maps onto the thumbnail version of Campbell's "Heroic Journey" that tends to be all that people know of Campbell (I'll admit to not knowing too much more myself, but it's largely for lack of caring). Of course, when you hang out with one of the ectypes for Campbell's writing in the form of Hercules, you tend to find your life going down such paths whether you want to or not. But Pak and Van Lente don't limit the philosophy to the ancient past, there's plenty of quantum weirdness and Observer Effect stuff which is intrinsically weirder in the Marvel U than it can possibly be in real life. I wonder if the original Mastermind Excello will make an appearance in the flesh in this story, although the "might be finished some time before the heat death of the universe" Twelve series probably has him permanently tied up and limited to painted ads in the town that took his name. Recommended. $2.99 Dynamo5 #24: Image - Okay, Father Gideon's origin is revealed, and it makes things creepy in ways that are quite tangled and almost byzantine. There's probably official geneological terminology for all the stuff going on in this book, but it's certainly not covered by the normal terms. :) Most of the issue is payoff on the simmering Gideon plotline, but there's a short stop to pick up some leftovers from Myriad's plots and a little bit of Scrap's personal life. Recommended. $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 8/24/09: Official Handbook of the Gold Digger Universe #22, Transformers Maximum Dinobots #3, Ninja High School #169-171, Justice Machine vol 1 TPB, Gold Digger Tech Manual #3, Farscape Strange Detractors #2, Gold Digger v3 #105, Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers #1, Incredibles #2 and #4, New Mutants #3, Encyclopedia Mythologica, Farscape Gone & Back #1, Thor #602, Marvel Adventures Super-Heroes #14, Farscape: D'Argo's Trial #1, Transformers Animated Almanac, Middleman GN, Atomic Robo Shadow out of Time #4. Add Domo GN. Awards: "Tronasaurus Wrecks" Award to The Incredibles #0 "Spent All His Points On Presence Attack" Award to Justice Society of America #30 "She Needs To Meet Boudicca" Award to Timestorm 2009-2099 #4 (of 4) "Alone In A Crowd" Award to Wolverine First Class #18 "Suicide Machines" Award to Avengers the Initiative #27 "Alienation's For The (Rhymes With) Rich" Award to Ms. Marvel #44 "The Act Of Observing Observes The Disturbed" Award to The Incredible Hercules #133 "It's An Alien Thing, You Wouldn't Understand" Award to Dynamo5 #24 Dave Van Domelen, "For starters, that's a butter knife. You can't stab a guy with a butter knife. It's ridiculous." "Not to mention TREYF." - Logan and Kitty, Wolverine First Class #18
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