October 29, 2008

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.
It's "Really Hate Peoplesoft" season.  Rants, Capsules can be found on my 
             homepage, http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/Rants 

"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.

     Spectactular Spider-Man Rhino Action Figure: Well, it looks like the
animation model, and hides most of the joints pretty well.  Too well for them
to do much, unfortunately.  The ball joint elbows don't bend much, due to the
big muscles.  It looks like it has ball joint hips, but actually that's part
of an action gimmick so lame they don't even mention it on the package!
Squeeze the legs together, and the torso twitches backwards a little, the
horn "goring" by maybe a centimeter of total motion.  And this robs it of any
useful hip articulation.  This is one of those toys that is just as well left
in the package as taken out, and if you're going to leave it in the package
you might as well leave it on the shelf.  Especially since it's $10.44 at
Wal-Mart, and shortpacked enough that it's unlikely you'll see it there.  (I
also saw but passed on the Green Goblin and Electro figures, which looked
even less impressive.)

Comics Capsules:
     Short, relatively spoiler-free reviews of books I actually bring home
(as opposed to reading in preview form in the shop or online).  If I get a
book late due to distributor foulups or whatever, I'll put it in the Missing

     Books of Note (Strongly Recommended or otherwise worthy): Gold Digger
Halloween Special #4, Empowered vol 4

     Cthulhu Tales #7: Boom! Studios - Two stories this time.  Brian Augstyn
pens a tale of the old British Empire with a nice twist based on expectations
the title generated.  Cadigan's modern-time story is more of an outline of a
story, too narraty.  I can see how it was supposed to work, but I don't think
it did.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99 (I got cover A, the mini-thulhu
     Justice League of America #26: DC - After all the pointless meandering
that was supposedly part of this story (such as the Amazo diversion), the
meat of it is rather rushed and only gets to sketch out some interesting
ideas.  It'd have been a LOT better if we'd gotten to the start of this issue
back in #22 or #23 and had the rest of the arc to develop the alternate
setting.  Not that Brown Bomber really deserved more time than he got, mind
you.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99 US/Cn
     Legion of Super-Heroes #47: DC - Rick Leonardi does guest art, and
either he or inker Don Green keeps his stylistic flourishes down to a low
roar, which I appreciated.  Not that I dislike his style, but it works better
when he's on a book from the start, rather than jumping in on a book with a
huge cast.  Good tension between magic and mysticism, avoiding most of the
"stupid skeptic" traps that often entangle rationalists in fantastic worlds.
Recommended.  $2.99 US/Cn
     Thor #11: Marvel - Don Blake goes on a date, Loki continues to subtly
stir up trouble in Asgard...but the meat of this has Thor celebrating a
particular anniversary (and thus nailing down some passage of time) very
effectively.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.50Cn 
     Avengers the Initiative #18: Marvel - This part of the Marvel U is still
in the middle of the Skrull invasion.  A rather bloody issue, as one might
expect, but it does a good job of setting up a self-contained menace that the
heroes can defeat without having to worry about whether it impacts the
overall SI plotline at all.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.50Cn 
     Amazing Spider-Man #575: Marvel - Joe Kelly writes, Chris Bachalo
draws.  A touch gory in places, not for those with weak stomachs.  And I
found the throwaway opening scene a bit more interesting than the ongoing
plot, unfortunately.  Still, it's nice to see a threat rehabilitated...this
guy used to be taken seriously even when he was a little goofy, so bringing
him back in a serious mode isn't unwelcome.  I do feel like I missed
something in this story, maybe they're events from an Annual or a Secret
Invasion miniseries thing.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.50Cn 
     The Incredible Hercules #122: Marvel - Heh, the issue title (which is
buried at the end) is a callback to a slightly different setting for Amazons.
Pak and Van Lente still co-credited on writing, Clayton Henry and Salva Espin
are listed on art.  No massively LOL moments, but a good solid issue.
Recommended.  $2.99/$3.50Cn
     Gold Digger Halloween Special #4: Antarctic Press - Yay, more Peebo
stories!  Hutchison's Ghostbusters riff was a bit weak, but it's otherwise a
very good issue.  My only real disappointment is that the scene shown on the
cover isn't part of a story.  :)  Strongly recommended.  $2.99 US/Cn
     Empowered vol 4: Dark Horse Books - Yes, still being shrinkwrapped.  And
a Parental Advisory sticker on the cover, not the shrinkwrap.  :) A bit more
Naughty Stuff this time out, though, so it's merited.  Anyway, while "dealing
with adversity" has always been a theme in this series, in vol 4 it's THE
theme.  Emp deals with her usual problems, Ninjette deals with last volume's
situation, Sistah Spooky and Thugboy each get at least a bit of a spotlight.
And a plucky young cancer patient does a most excellent job of dealing with
his own problems.  Most excellent indeed (rubs hands together villainously).
Oh, and in addition to a recappy bit at the start, the MySpace Dark Horse
story is reproduced at the beginning (in color), which makes for a good intro
as well for anyone who's starting on this volume.  Strongly recommended.

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 10/29: Atomic Robo v2 #2 (Diamond now lists it as
"Backordered, not stocked", but a friend of mine who shops at the same store
as the artist should be able to grab me a copy), Transformers Saga of the
AllSpark #4.  (I've been informed Ninja High School #164 had a printing error
and needed to be reprinted, my store should have since been credited for the
original and re-invoiced when it actually ships.)


"It WAS A Viciously Sharp Slice Of Mango" Award to Cthulhu Tales #7

"Trapped In Fanfic...SHUDDER" Award to Justice League of America #26

"Is That Even Legal?" Award to Legion of Super-Heroes #47

"Verily, I Hath The Clicker" Award to Thor #11

"Mmm, Skrull Smoothies" Award to Avengers the Initiative #18

"Some Smells Just Don't Wash Out Of Spandex" Award to Amazing Spider-Man

"Head Of The Clan" Award to The Incredible Hercules #122

"OM NOM NOM NOM" Award to Gold Digger Halloween Special #4

"Criminals Are A Superstitious, Cowardly Lot, So My Disguise Must Be...
     Yvette, Watch Out For That Open Window!" Award to Empowered vol 4

     Dave Van Domelen, "'Gibbously tumescent STORM CLOUDS,' though...?  Even
for YOU, that's a seriously FLORID turn of speech..." - Ninjette to the Caged
Demonwolf, Empowered vol 4.
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