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Dave's Unspoilt Capsules and AwardsThe 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, http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/Rants And it's another Tuesday shipment. UPS gearing up, perhaps? Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): Gold Digger X-Mas Special #4 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 12/15/10: Invincible #72, Tom Strong and the Robots of Doom #3, Transformers Ironhide #4, Gorilla Man #2, Atlas #4, 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 #1-2, Dynamo5 Sins of the Father #3, Science Dog #1, Chaos War #1, Taskmaster #2, Transformers Drift #4, Official Index to the Marvel Universe v2 #7, Tom Strong and the Robots of Doom #6, Tron Betrayal #2, Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #8, Chaos War Dead Avengers #1, Shadowland Power Man #4, Transformers Timelines G2 Redux and Gold Digger v3 #123, Hercules New Prince of Power TPB. Add Atomic Robo and the Deadly Art of Science #2 (argh). "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. 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. Nothing this week. 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. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Update #5 (of 5): Marvel - No particular theme this time, just a little bit of everything, both new stuff (like Red She-Hulk) and older things that got left out (like Major Victory). Recommended. $3.99 Tron Original Movie Adaptation #2 (of 2): Marvel - Unfortunately, the story gets as rushed as I expected, but that in itself would have been okay if the art hadn't taken a nosedive. It looks like Pierfederici decided to digitally ink this (they show some inked pages at the end) and slapped a lot of lines together with 6 point line thickness. It looks sloppy and uneven, with a lot of faces deformed in one way or another. And no amount of fancy coloring tricks over that can compensate. Neutral. $3.99 X-Factor #212: Marvel - A lot of fighting, and along the way the whole "Rahne's real baby-daddy" thing comes out for the benefit of readers who don't follow all the X-Books. The general impression I got of the climax was that it was exactly the sort of clever plan that Hela wanted to have happen, so this is more the start of things than the end. Mildly recommended. $2.99 Thunderbolts #151: Marvel - The origin story of the current Ghost, as told to Moonstone. No connection at all to the previous Ghost(s) other than the general powerset and anti-corporate outlook...and a pretty decidedly Unreliable Narrator anyway. Recommended. $2.99 Iron Man Legacy #9: Marvel - Heh, nice to see editorial notes. A footnote specifically places this arc as happening between scenes of Iron Man #188, give or take an issue. Interestingly, that's mere months before I started reading Iron Man regularly. A few more footnotes about the Pride might have been useful, while they were at it. Anyway, this arc continues to fill in the Circuits Maximus era, showing that Tony didn't go it completely alone, we just didn't see some of the things that people did to help him out while Stane ran Stark's old company. And while Kurth's art isn't really that well-suited to standard superhero stories, it fits the "edge of desperation, crawling back up" feel of this arc quite well. Recommended. $2.99 Chaos War #4 (of 5): Marvel - On the other hand, Pham's art is just TOO scratchy here. Yes, there's also a desperate tone to it, but it's cosmically desperate, the end to all things. Khoi Pham's art is better suited to the sort of small despair seen in Iron Man Legacy. This reminds me of Coipel's work in Legion of Super-Heroes...grungy and dire in the wrong ways. Chaos War needs something more along the lines of a Kirby or Starlin, and the artistic mismatch makes it just feel so much smaller than it needs to be. Mildly recommended. $3.99 The Amazing Spider-Man #650 - Introducing Spider-Tron! Seriously, his new costume looks like Peter Parker saw the Tron: Legacy designs and thought, "I have to do something like that!" Okay, it's really just another in a long line of "Peter invents something to get around the powers of one of his foes," a point brought up during his job interview a couple issues ago. And the downsides of the suit are brought up pretty much right away, so there's a reasonable excuse for him to ditch it later on (or only use it on special occasions). The actual story flows pretty well, although it's REALLY heavy on the soap opera aspects. The backup with Mac Gargan isn't as good, although the wooden art is a big part of the problem. Recommended. $3.99 Avengers Academy #7: Marvel - Weird...I've always thought of McKone as a very tight penciler, but the two inkers who work over him this time make for some serious differences in style. The opening scene between Hank and Tigra doesn't even look like McKone's work. As for the story, with all six of the students having gotten spotlights, naturally it's time for the teachers. This takes place after the Ant-Man and Wasp miniseries, and picks up a lot of Pym's business from Initiative and Mighty Avengers. Recommended. $2.99 [Later note: the art credits are in error, McKone only did the cover.] Gold Digger X-Mas Special #4: Antarctic Press - In addition to the usual one-pagers and pinups, there's three short stories. Fred Perry's leads off the issue and gets the cover, a story of the 'Gia family and the sort of problem that a lot of real families encounter: what you do when one or more members of the family is called away on Christmas. Okay, so real families don't have superpowers or work for mysterious rescue organizations, but cops and firefighters and doctors often end up spending Christmas saving someone else's family. The second story is almost wordless, by Ben Dunn, and features a young Brit dealing with a hazard of the holidays in a world where magic is real. Finally, Gina and Penny have their annual gag gift exchange, although it's kinda hard to tell who's who with Chris Allen's art (more of an Archie influence than manga). Recommended. $3.50 Awards: "A Chin-Grab. Really?" Award to Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Update #5 (of 5) "The Art Has De-Rezzed" Award to Tron Original Movie Adaptation #2 (of 2) "In The Market For A God?" Award to X-Factor #212 "Like The Question, But With Worse Hygiene" Award to Thunderbolts #151 "Don't Make A Habit Of It" Award to Iron Man Legacy #9 "Activate The Noah Plan" Award to Chaos War #4 (of 5) "Stairs Must Be Really Fun" Award to the Amazing Spider-Man #650 "Eh, Who Needs Stairs?" Award to Avengers Academy #7 "All I Want For Christmas Is A 7-Foot Tall Woman" Award to Gold Digger X-Mas Special #4 Dave Van Domelen, "D-did I just get saved by LADY GAGA?" - Spider-Man, Amazing Spider-Man #650
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