September 10, 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. An archive can be found on my homepage, Sigh, Labor Delay means no 090909.html for my review archive. Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): Halo and Sprocket vol 2, The Incredible Hercules #134 "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. Nothing 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. The Moon Knight Saga: Marvel - Yeah, this actually shipped to my store last week, but we couldn't find it under the stacks of "do not put out until Halloween" freebies and I didn't want to wait. Anyway, this is narrated by Moon Knight, giving a summary of his life so far using art from his decades of appearances. Unlike some Saga books, there's no OHOTMU-style entries at the end...for all his "bit player" status, there's a LOT of history to try to cram in here. The purpose of this book is to get people interested in the latest take on the character, but in my case it failed. I prefer Moon Knight when he's trying harder to clamp down on his more brutal tendencies, while the current version is all about "bad people need bad things to happen to them," reveling in brutality (although admitting that the Punisher takes it too far). It's certainly a valid take on the character, just not one I want to read. Free at comic shops, you might be able to find it at newsstand but it wont be free there. Halo and Sprocket vol 2: Amaze Ink - I must've missed this on the weekly shipping pages, since I did have it ordered and it never shipped from Diamond. Fortunately, had it, and I found it when trolling for various things on my "not yet arrived" list. This volume (sized between regular comic page size and digest size) is mostly all-new material, with a few reprints from places like the Kansas City Star (odd that I missed it back in 2004). Lots of short tales concerning a fairly normal human and the angel and robot that live with her, each bringing a different skewed perspective on humanity. A delightful read from Kerry Callen. Strongly recommended. $8.95 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 Tales of the Fallen #2: IDW - I liked cover A better. This one is the tale of Sideswipe's arrival on Earth, and while the characterization and development are really shallow, it's still more depth than he got in the movie. It also hints at significant character growth in between this story and the movie, since this one is really just about catching a clue-by-four to the face...internalizing the lesson has to come later. Carlos Magno's art is decent, and he lends is own spin to the movie aesthetic, a somewhat "Byrne organic tech" feel. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Adventure Comics #2: DC - The lead Superboy story manages to work well with the whole "Superman vs. Luthor" conceit, creating some actual tension in terms of which way Connor will go. So far not a lot of tension in the Luthor/Brainiac scenes, but they're still in "unstoppable" mode, slaughtering their way through non-superhero opposition. The backup Legion story switches to Lightning Lad of the Johns Adult Legion and throws a nice big retcon log on the fire. Recommended, mostly for the lead. $3.99 Secret Six #13: DC - Okay, so it's not Tasmanian Devil. I'm told he's indisposed anyway. Lots of origin stuff and an amusing sequence with Bane in Renaissance Italy clothing. And several scenes of Ragdoll in Wonder Woman's clothing. Good banter, although the main plot parts are a little dryly talky. Recommended. $2.99 Booster Gold #24: DC - Blue Beetle continues as second feature, in which the origin of the Black Beetle gets a little more light shed on it and Sturges continues the plot threads left dangling with the cancellation of Jaime's own book. The Black Beetle is all over the Booster story too, and I have this horrible vision of a Darkest Beetle mega-event coming out of this story. Recommended. $3.99 Models Inc. #1 (of something): Marvel - Hm, it says it's a limited series, but not how many issues...ISTR four. Given Tobin's work on the Adventures line and the solicit for this series, I decided to give it a shot. Heh, there's a Champions Online ad in here. Anyway, I've been told that all the characters here are from Millie the Model's book, Patsy Walker's pre-Hellcat book or other similar titles of the era. Everyone who hadn't already been updated (Patsy never goes away long enough to need a drastic update) gets the treatment, and the group of supermodels gets integrated into the superhero world a little more tightly (Patsy is still Hellcat, Jill Jerold is dating Johnny Storm, Chili Storm lusts after She-Hulk, etc). Tobin does a good job of making the main story feel set in a superhero world while still being about "normal" humans (to the extent that models are normal in the first place) and "normal" lives (see earlier codicil). The backup story by Sumerak stars real life fashionista Tim Gunn in a tale that stretches suspension of disbelief a bit...but given my limited exposure to Gunn (most recently when promoting this very appearance on a talk show...well, and the new season of his TV show, which has an ad on the back of this issue) Sumerak got the voice dead on. Recommended. $3.99 The Marvels Project #2 (of 8): Marvel - Brubaker and Epting continue to show the darker side of the Golden Age, but there's just enough hope in there to keep it from being a total "feet of clay" festival, especially the scenes involving the Human Torch. I would also like to note that the Phantom Bullet's costume would get him even more mockery today. Recommended. $3.99 Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #15: Marvel - Featuring Hulk and Tigra, written by Tobin. While definitely not in the 616 continuity (for one thing, Tigra's not on the run from the government), there's a sort of stealth crossover with Models Inc. in the form of a band called The Gears (who appear to be Beatles-ripoffs in Models Inc., so they're probably a fictional group from one of the old fashion-girl comics rather than a new look for the Punk/Rockabilly band of the same name that popped up when I googled the name). Like many of Tobin's MA Avengers stories, there's a fairly obvious case of "introduce brand new plot devices in the early story and them use them in the resoution" here, it *is* starting to get to the point of being a cliche for him. Tobin's a bit weaker when he's trying to be goofy than when he's shooting for a modicum of drama. Mildly recommended. $2.99 Dark Reign Young Avengers #4 (of 5): Marvel - Hm, in a couple of panels we find out more about most of the Young Masters' origins than has been revealed in the previous three issues (the coat that Coat of Arms uses doesn't look at all like the character it's supposed to come from, though, and I suspect Egghead and Big Zero may come from a property Marvel no longer has the license to so the comic won't ever spell things out clearly). Given the origins of the characters, of course, it's inevitable for chaos to's like a litany of disasters waiting to happen. Interesting, but the pacing feels wrong. Mildly recommended. $3.99 The Amazing Spider-Man #604: Marvel - Van Lente and Kitson. Somewhat anti-climactic finish to the Chameleon story, although Spider-Man does still have reason to swear bloody revenge on his old foe. It's a somewhat plot- devicey issue overall, but the plot devices make sense and help out both in the immediate term and also for the ongoing title. Recommended. $2.99 The Incredible Hercules #134: Marvel - Back to the Herc-side plot, and it seems to be Fashion Week at Marvel. Herc spends much of the issue going through the sorts of trials and tests common to Thor myths, but of course doing so in his own style, much to Zeus's chagrin. Just on those merits it'd be a good issue. But the last page bumps it up to Strongly 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 9/10/09: 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, Gold Digger v3 #105, Marvel Adventures Super-Heroes #14, Farscape: D'Argo's Trial #1, Middleman GN, Atomic Robo Shadow From Beyond Time #4. Add Farscape: D'Argo's Trial #2. Got a bunch of the old list in the mail from a friend today, I think I'll just do a "Diamond Stinks" special over the weekend. Also, ordered Middleman and Justice Machine from Amazon and I'm giving up on Maximum Dinobots. Awards: "When The Moon Hits Your Eye With A Big Piece Of Pipe..." Award to Moon Knight Saga "Take Your Victories Where You Can" Award to Halo and Sprocket vol 2 "He Apparently Mellowed Before The Movie, Not That Sideways Appreciates It" Award to Transformers Tales of the Fallen #2 "Krypto Needs To Date Sweetheart" Award to Adventure Comics #2 "Truly Where No Man Has Gone Before" Award to Secret Six #13 "Are The Purple Beetles Love Bugs?" Award to Booster Gold #24 "At Least SOMEONE Thinks AIM Uniforms Have Potential" Award to Models Inc. #1 "Puny Orchestra Not Play Hulk Off!" Award to Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #15 "To Some Women, That Just Raises The Challenge Rating" Award to Dark Reign Young Avengers #4 (of 5) "Poor, Doomed Harry" Award to The Amazing Spider-Man #604 "Poor, Doomed Hercules" Award to The Incredible Hercules #134 Dave Van Domelen, "You're giggling at his attempt to not starve to death." - Sprocket, Halo and Sprocket vol 2
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