December 3, 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, To heck with the calendar, it's winter now here. Period. 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. Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog DVD: New Video NYC - I did watch the first part of this when it hit the web last year, but I don't really like watching longer-form things online, so I decided to wait for the DVD release. Then I missed the news that it had come out on DVD, oops. But when the one-shot comic came out the other week, I decided to see if this was on DVD yet, and sure enough, it was. On the one hand, the "cardboard cutout faux Silver Age" setting doesn't really do much for me. It's one of those things that's hard to do well, like any intentional camp. Plus, it starts as a romantic comedy (albeit fed through enough twists and filters to avoid most of the forumlas of that gendre), and I'm not much for those. But the three principles (Harris, Fillion and Day) are all very good, and the music is excellent. In essence, the comic that came out recently captures all the parts of the show that I didn't much like, while being unable to really get the parts that I do like. However, there was one theme that the comic managed to get that's found in the show...getting what you want isn't the same as wanting what you get. The "ELE application" extras are, as one might expect, pretty uneven in quality. Recommended. $8.65 at 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 Amazing Spider-Man #613: Marvel - Turned out it arrived at my store last week, but was in the wrong box and didn't get located until Friday. This time out, the only hint of the uberarc is the upper left corner box on the cover saying it's part of The Gauntlet, otherwise it plays out purely as a pretty good Electro-vs.-Spidey story. Recommended. $2.99 Also picked up late but not reviewing: Official Index to the Marvel Universe #11. 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 Marvels Project #4 (of 8): Marvel - This issue is dominated by giving some life to the man who would die in the process of assassinating Professor Erskine, and most of the other plot threads (including another "kill an obscure Golden Age character" scene) tie into this one. Torch and Namor are off-screen this issue, it's all about Captain America's origin. John Steel gets a few pages, though. Recommended. $3.99 Iron Man vs. Whiplash #1 (of 4): Marvel - A weird mix here. It's Earth-616, rather than movieverse, although it's clearly meant to tie into the fact that Whiplash is one of the villains in Iron Man 2. Whiplash visually evokes the Iron Man Armored Adventures version. And, to avoid the whole "I'd rather have a frontal lobotomy than have to have a bottle in front of me" storyline, it's all set "six months ago" during what looks to be the Order series, or thereabouts. Most notably, it happens when Tony Stark could still be said to have a good name that could be ruined (okay, that's really a lot more than 6 months ago as far as readers are concerned, but bear with me). Guggenheim and Braga are listed as writers, and I suspect Braga did a lot of the actual scripting, since it doesn't pop in the same way Guggenheim's Spider-Man scripts do. The art by Briones is decent, although it looks like he's either swipefiling or style-biting a lot of different artists throughout the issue. Mildly recommended, but good enough I'll pick up the next issue. $3.99 Empowered Special: Dark Horse - Despite being a floppy, this has the same page size as the regular volumes, no doubt to let it sit on the shelf nicely with them. The title of this story is "The Wench with a Million Sighs," and alternates between a fight scene between Emp and IrresistImmovable and various discussion of Emp's vocabulary of sighing (not quite a million, but there's a lot). A bit exposition-heavy for existing readers and somewhat light on detail in some areas for entirely new readers, but it's not too bad in either direction, a good balance. However, it does mean that there's less room for new good stuff, and there's no Really Outstanding bits this time, which means it's merely Recommended. $3.99 Yeah, that's it. Really slow week. 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 12/3/09: Official Handbook of the Gold Digger Universe #22, Gold Digger v3 #105. Awards: "A Horse, A Horse, My Metaphor A Horse!" Award to The Amazing Spider-Man #613 "Ferret Shock" Award to The Marvels Project #4 (of 8) "You'd Think He'd Have Known Better Than To Touch That" Award to Iron Man vs. Whiplash #1 (of 4) "Sigh-cotherapy" Award to Empowered Special Dave Van Domelen, "It's not enough to bash in heads, you've got to bash in minds!" - Captain Hammer
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