September 15, 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, Nasal irrigation is pretty thoroughly unpleasant. Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): Shadowland: Power Man #2 (of 4), Empowered vol 6 "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. Astro City Special: Silver Agent #2 (of 2): DC/Wildstorm - This is very narration-heavy, as many issues of Astro City tend to be. There's really only two proper scenes, both involving the same two characters, thirty years apart. Well, negative thirty. Time travel and all that. They're good scenes, at least. Otherwise, we get snapshots, short action sequences overlaid with narrative musings. The ending is left a little vague in some ways, but based on some things Busiek has said in response to questions about it, he might have meant it to be a little more clear-cut than some fans think it was. Mildly recommended. $3.99 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. The Transformers #11: IDW - I got cover B, with Bumblebee riding Thundercracker in a totally non-slashy fashion. Honest. Speaking of "not slash, honest," BB and TC have an extended heart to heart chat for the first third or so of the issue, followed by some of the benched Autobots being grumbly, and finally a short fight scene that ends with the "surprise" appearance of characters who are on BOTH covers. While I can definitely see how this one would also be condensed to one page, at least the opening scene was well-played and worth spending the time on. Recommended. $3.99 The Heroic Age Super Heroes #1: Marvel - This month's Handbook, this is one of the 198-style "quantity over depth" books, with three heroes per page regardless of their relative levels of importance. It's written in-character as Steve Rogers's notes about the characters. A good survey of the Marvel Universe, if lacking the depth that the normal OHOTMU format can allow. Rather than the traditional power grid, everyone has "Power" ranked 1-10 (almost no one under 5) and seven psychological dimensions also ranked 1-10. Since these are all positive attributes, it's unsurprising that almost everyone has numbers of five or better...most of the low numbers are Vulnerability (empathy for the plight of the weak, mainly) for immortals and the like. Although Deadpool has an Altriusm of 1, and Man-Thing's got a lot of zeroes given that he's mostly mindless. Note, it's all heroes, or at least protagonists. Villains get their book in November, and they'll probably have a lot of low numbers in their stats. Recommended. $3.99 The Amazing Spider-Man #643: Marvel - It's Baby Keep-Away, returning to the idea that Doc Ock can tap into pretty much every camera in the city that isn't massively secure. Most of the villains on the cover don't really factor into the story, but Doc Ock, Electro and Sandman are certainly enough on their own to make life difficult. Still not keen on Azaceta's art, but at least he does decent action sequences. Mildly recommended. $2.99 Thunderbolts #148: Marvel - Shadowland banner. Luke Cage is up to his eyeballs in this crossover, so it's only natural that he bring the T-bolts in at some point to deal with a major threat that otherwise looms off-screen in the main books. Parker's writing is on the upper side of his scale, which makes it pretty good. Shalvey's art is a bit better in terms of making it clear who's who, but the clunky addition of fake zip-a-tone dots to the finished work makes this issue overall a "no improvement" on the art. Still, worth picking up just for the "Ninja, please!" scene. Recommended. $2.99 Shadowland Power Man #2 (of 4): Marvel - Will this issue have a line to equal the awesome WTCHOP-ness of the "Power Man tax"? Well, given how many 70s Luke Cage villains show up this issue...yep, probably. There may be some debate about which line it is, though. There's even the awesomely offensive Hawkeye knockoff Comanche, although Shades only appears in flashbacks (one of my first exposures to PM/IF was #100, and I loved the idea of Shades and Comanche as knockoffs of Cyclops and Hawkeye, even if I didn't get grasp how badly they embraced stereotypes of the day). The last time we saw a reunion of some of these guys was back in Priest's Black Panther, and this time is just as good. And while the Next Issue blurb promises all the answers about the new Power Man, Van Lente makes it pretty clear what the broad strokes are without actually coming out and saying it. One might argue that this issue is an uneasy mix of camp and deadly serious, but I think Van Lente pulled off the combination very well. Asrar's art continues to work very well, too. Strongly recommended. $3.99 Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #6: Marvel - Looks like an issue of Thor this time. And, almost surprisingly, it's mainly a Thor story as well, mixing flashbacks of a story from centuries ago with its followup in modern times (while Nova spends most of the issue feeling VERY inadequate). Recommended. $2.99 Empowered vol 6: Dark Horse - Shrinkwrapped because Emp is all about being covered in flimsy, clingy and easily torn material. Death, death, undeath, psychosis, brief break for advice to potentially tied-up super-chicas, back to death. There are at least three different ways shown in this installment for supers to be active after death, although one of them is only hinted at. But for all the undead capes and ghosts and so forth, probably the scariest thing in this volume is a smiling face. Oh, and as much as Emp knows about the origins of her power (and a little more) is revealed now she has even more to worry about. Strongly recommended. $15.99 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 9/15/10: Invincible #72, 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). Add X-Factor #209 (my store got only one copy, and someone else with it on his pull got to the store before I did), plus Women of Gold Digger #1 and Gold Digger Books of Magic #2 (but that's probably just the usual "Diamond is incapable of shipping AP books everywhere in the country the same week). I've taken Brody's Ghost off the list because I've given up on Diamond ever shipping it and ordered it on, I should have it for next week's reviews. Awards: "At Least His Hair Didn't Turn Blue" Award to Astro City Special: Silver Agent #2 (of 2) "He Needs To Meet Shannon" Award to The Transformers #11 "Yellow On White Is Not A Good Font Choice" Award to The Heroic Age Super Heroes #1 "A Thousand Cameras And No One Notices The Ears?" Award to the Amazing Spider-Man #643 "Fear The Spork" Award to Thunderbolts #148 "EVERYBODY Laughs At Mr. Fish" Award to Shadowland: Power Man #2 (of 4) "Poor Polly" Award to Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #6 "Dirty, Sexy Jobs" Award to Empowered vol 6 Dave Van Domelen, "You making fun of the way I TALK, Maidboy?" "No, this is the way I ALWAYS talk." "*I* sound like this because my VOCAL CORDS are decomposing." "CONGRATULATIONS." "So what's YOUR excuse?" "Extreme BADASSEDNESS, pretty much." - Hardkore and Maid Man, Empowered vol 6
Back to the Main Rants Page.

Labor on back to the September 2010 Page.