December 10, 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.
Last week before final exams, woot.  Rants, Capsules can be found on my 

"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.  I didn't get any version of the Dark Knight
(single-disc is totally without extras, two-disc didn't have any extras that
appeal to me, Wal-Mart's exclusive comic is reprints of the first appearances
of Joker and Two-Face but comes with the one-disc...even the Blu-Ray doesn't
have much in terms of extras that interest me, making me think there'll be a
super duper deluxe edition next year).

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): None

     Amazing Spider-Man #580: Marvel - Roger Stern pops in for a done-in-one
story that brings back a fairly obscure villain.  It stands alone pretty
well, to the point that it could happen just about any time since BND started
with only minor tweaks needed.  :)  A good story from Stern with solid art
from Weeks.  Recommended.  $2.99
     Green Arrow and Black Canary #15: DC - New writer Andrew Kreisberg (who
I've never heard of before) takes over, and it's like he had a checklist of
new-writer cliches in front of him when he plotted this out.  Flashbacks to
the character's origins?  Check.  Snapshots of the important major events in
both title characters' lives?  Check.  Shuffling supporting cast off-screen
as quickly as possible?  Check.  Foreshadow the next big threat?  Check.
Have all of this worked around an extremely minor threat?  Check.  Still,
Kreisberg hangs some good scripting on the cookiecutter plot, and seems to
have a decent handle on the characters, so I won't drop the book just yet.
:)  Mildly recommended.  $2.99 (yeah, DC stopped listing Canadian prices too.)
     Justice League of America #27: DC - Well, the bad news is that Ed
"Hideously askew anatomy" Benes is still on the book.  The good news is that
McDuffie's now past the meandering plotline that was trying to pass itself
off as the previous arc, and into writing the Milestone characters he clearly
loves.  Oh, and I get the feeling that Black Canary is speaking for the
writer when she chews out the Trinity.  In short, there's a feeling that a
sigh of relief is running through the writing of this issue.  I would have
appreciated some sort of note about how the Milestone characters got into the
main DCU, as it's lazy writing to assume all readers have been reading all DC
books.  Still, it gives me hope that this arc won't follow the previous one
into my "books to give away" bin.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99
     Ambush Bug Year None #5 (of 6): DC - AB pops about the multiverse and
discovers the Dire Threat To All Reality posed by Dan Didio.  He mostly
ignores this, though, given that he's Ambush Bug.  The issue in general is
pretty uneven, as the last several have been.  There's a definite impression
that the creators find it all hilarious and don't really care if anyone else
does.  Sometimes they're right, sometimes not.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99
     Booster Gold #15: DC - Jurgens returns to the museum robbery plot as
promised, but it's starting to get kinda meandering.  While the opening scene
was kinda cute, most of the issue seemed to be merely a setup to let Booster
be all angsty.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99
     Secret Six #4: DC - Bane's paternal side continues to be the creepiest
thing about this book, which is saying something.  Story-wise, the macguffin
is spelled out for anyone who might missed its the point of
belaboring it.  Yes, yes, one card, five (or more) people, the Devil gets his
jollies.  Hammering this home detracts from the script in places,  but it's
still good enough to be Recommended.  $2.99
     Gen13 v4 #25: DC/Wildstorm - Well, the mall zombie thing wraps up, more
or less.  Lots of splattergore, as one might expect, especially since Roxy
figures out some new uses for her powers.  The backup seems to be about a guy
who helped them put heroes in Number of the Beast, but it still manages to
have no one I recognize despite having read NotB.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99
     Invincible #56: Image - Wow, does this issue ever suffer from mood
swings.  From the cutely charming, "Your mom totally knows we had sex" "No,
she doesn't, shhh" bit that keeps popping up, to domestic abuse and back.
And toss in a brief slugfest scene with Oliver that seems to have a backstory
I'm not familiar with, so I now go grab my OHTOIU and see if the golden
armored guy is in it...okay, it's Rampage, and he has probably the shortest
entry of anyone who actually gets their own entry.  Total cipher, although it
looks like maybe he'll get fleshed out a bit.  Heck, another 100 issues and
he might show up enough times to get a full backstory.  ;)  Recommended.
     PS238 #36: Do Gooder Press - The Order/Chaos arc wraps up nicely, while
spawning all sorts of danglers for Williams to pick up on later.  Tyler's
Clone gets a name (Toby) and his situation normalizes.  Well, to the extent
it possibly can.  A few important bits do happen off-screen, though, but may
well show up in flashback later once they become more immediately relevant.
Recommended.  $2.99
     Official Handbook to the Gold Digger Universe #21: Antarctic Press -
Well, #22 was supposed to ship today, at least I got #21 (and yeah, I had
them doublecheck to make sure there weren't copies of #22 hidden among the
#21's).  Anyway, this issue continues the "Realms and Dimensions" phase of
things, focusing on locations that aren't cities or states.  Arenas, secret
lairs, other homes, airports, etc.  All of these are on Earth, and most of
them are places where the heroes can find a fight or a tomb.  Or, given this
series, both.  Again, no new art aside from the cover's background (which
repurposes some character art, although not characters whose lair appears in
this issue, oops).  Recommended.  $3.95 US/Cn

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 12/10: Official Handbook of the Gold Digger Universe
#22, Love & Capes TPB, Transformers Maximum Dinobots #1.


"I Used To Own That Guy's First Appearance, But Traded It Away For A Monkey
     King Cel Book" Award to Amazing Spider-Man #580

"Sometimes They Forget Mia's Old Career" Award to Green Arrow and Black
     Canary #15

"No, But He'd Probably Get Along With Static's Father Pretty Well" Award to
     Justice League of America #27

"I Did NOT Need The Mental Image Of Ambush Bug Yuri" Award to Ambush Bug Year
     None #5 (of 6)

"Museum Attendance Is Up This Year" Award to Booster Gold #15

"It's Only One Rep, But It Really Works Your Delts" Award to Secret Six #4

"Only Letting Idiots Have Certain Powers Is The Universe's Way Of Protecting
     Itself" Award to Gen13 v4 #25

"This Is Not How We Solve Our Problems!" Award to Invincible #56

"This Looks Like A Job For Lethargic Lad!" Award to PS238 #36

"The Second Entry's An Arena Too, Really" Award to The Official Handbook of 
     the Gold Digger Universe #21

     Dave Van Domelen, "That's IT.  You are SO out of the Bureau."  "What
Bureau?"  "Good attitude.  Never mention it again." - Cecil and Toby, PS238
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