September 9, 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, Good thing it's raining now, ragweed levels were at "chewy air" levels. 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. None this week. 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. None 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. Transformers Drift #1 (of 4): IDW - Yes, they put "(of 4)" on the cover for once. And the only variant cover was a retailer incentive. Could they be changing their ways? Anyway, this is the origin story of Drift, the pile of fanfic cliches that walks like a bot and turns into a car. Shane McCarthy clearly likes to write asynchronously, with nested flashbacks and the like, but his way of doing it feels less like "building drama" and more like "taunting anyone dumb enough to buy the monthlies," since it leads to poor pacing when spread out over several months. No real improvement here, although at least it's MOSTLY linear with only a couple panels of flashback in among the strobeshot scenes. Milne's art is reasonably easy to follow, although the designs of the new neutral faction introduced here are reminiscent of Gundam Wing Endless Waltz in terms of being over-done and fiddly. As for story...not a lot to go on yet. Deadlock (the once and future Drift) pisses off his Decepticon buddies by being too reckless, flees, ends up on a plot device planet with Mysterious Neutral Cybertronians and gets rebuilt to resemble them so that no one will be able to tell anyone apart next issue. Eh. I can't really recommend picking up this issue on its own, there's not enough THERE there yet, only the vaguest hint of a hint. $3.99 Welcome to Tranquility One Foot In The Grave #3: DC/Wildstorm - Still missing #2. Apparently very little time has passed since #1, though, just enough to have the villain of the piece introduced and his identity revealed in what I'm guessing was a Final Page Shocker. "Having superhuman powers as a kid means you never grow out of being a little psychopath" is the trope at work here, a storytelling device at least as old as the apocryphal childhood Gospels (where Jesus uses his powers to kill and then resurrect animals and other children, among other displays), and likely with roots in things like the life of Hermes. Of course, we saw this before to a lesser extent with the Gen13/Tranquility crossover and the whole "rotten teenagers" arc, but this dials it up to Lecter. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Adventure Comics #518: DC - The lead story skips ahead a bit (I'm sure the AR completists could tell me exactly how much) to pick up the Zaryan story a little later after Superboy's been a member for a while and the roster has increased in size. It's looking like one of the building subplots is the old "Dreamy gets all the Legionnaires kicked out on technicalities due to a prophecy that one of them would die" plot, but given how the story seems willing to skip over the original stories, it's entirely possible next issue will take place after that story has played out rather than retelling it on-screen. The Atom backup is only notable in that Oracle is competent. Mildly recommended. $3.99 [Later note: correction, I was mixing together two classic Legion stories that I only ever read as summaries. The old Dream Girl story didn't involve booting Legionnaires out on technicalities, that was a slightly later Saturn Girl story.] Booster Gold #36: DC - This issue feels a bit frantic. Not just the characters (who have plenty of reason to be frantic), but as if Giffen suddenly realized he had N issues' worth of stuff he wanted to do, only M issues left to do them in, and M is less than N. The not-exactly-Book- of-Destiny plot gets shuffled off so that Booster and Beetle can be put into another pickle and continue the tour of late 80s Giffen writing (I suppose they'll eventually have to end up in the "stupid costumes" era Legion at this rate). A few pages are also spent establishing how Booster's continuing to show up in Generation Lost, but it almost feels tacked on at the last minute, increasing the whole "hectic writer" mood. Mildly recommended. $2.99 The Amazing Spider-Man #641: Marvel - Final issue of One Moment In Time. The mechanism for "everybody forgets" is revealed, takes advantage of previous continuity and is generally pretty elegant. Similarly, it creates an effective "last straw" to fulfill the terms of the bargain with Mephisto and destroy the love between Peter and MJ while making it all a result of freely chosen actions. In an "Eternity Inc." moment, Mephisto was able to tweak one small moment in time and set dominoes in motion to obtain the desired results. That's a lot scarier than throwing around infinite power, when you think about it...and in keeping with the idea that when you deal with the Devil you should never really be sure if he ever did a single thing for you. Recommended. $3.99 The Amazing Spider-Man #642: Marvel - I'm surprised this hasn't happened more often during the thrice-monthly run. At least they saw it coming in time to mention it in the lettercol for #641. OMIT is over, and it's time to launch a new arc in which any villains who hadn't gotten the spotlight in the Kraven thing get a chance to reappear. Waid quickly reminds the reader of all the other crap in Peter's life lately and even takes the opportunity to make a sight gag out of it. Unfortunately, artist Azaceta really isn't up to the tone of the the extent I think his art works at all, it does so in a darker, more realistic story. Not so much in a supervillain gang-up in broad daylight. 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 9/9/10: Invincible #72, 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, Welcome to Tranquility One Foot In The Grave #2, 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), Guarding the Globe #1, Astro City Silver Agent #2, Dynamo5 Sins of the Father #3 (although that was only on Midtown's list, not Diamond's) and Science Dog #1 (ditto). Awards: "I Wonder If Any Copies Shipped To Central Wisconsin?" Award to Transformers Drift #1 "Paint Bucket" Award to Welcome To Tranquility One Foot In The Grave #3 "Awww, No Planetary Chance Machine?" Award to Adventure Comics #518 "Maybe Ted Can Get Gadget Hackwrench's Phone Number?" Award to Booster Gold #36 "At Least They Recognize Sentry Was A Bad Idea" Award to the Amazing Spider- Man #641 "The Most Dangerous Coffee Shop In New York" Award to the Amazing Spider-Man #642 Dave Van Domelen, "We need you to infect the world." "Well, when you make it sound so SEXY, how can I resist?" - Reed Richards and Tony Stark, the Amazing Spider-Man #641.
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