December 16, 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, Happy Holidays, time for the end-of-semester head cold, wheeeee. Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): The Amazing Spider-Man #615 "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. Super Hero Squad Iron Man vs. MODOK: The Iron Man figure looks to be a red and yellow repaint of the "silver centurion" armor mold, and a redeco certainly makes sense given the bulk of the MODOK figure. They don't spell out what MODOK stands for, but I think it's Mobile Organism Designed Only for Kuteness (or Kawaii, I suppose). Adorable little giant head...and it's almost as articulated as the "real" thing. I don't much care for his characterization or voice in the cartoon, but I had to grab the toy. Recommended. $7 price point. 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. 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. Transformers Bumblebee #1: IDW - This picks up from the end of The Transformers #2, in which Bumblebee is elected leader of the Autobots. Zander Cannon writes, so I have some hope for the story being good. Chee draws, and it's pretty good, but ignores all of the redesigns done for The Transformers, which causes a bit of a disconnect. For the most part, it looks dark and oppressive, which fits the mood, but it isn't until the Frenzy scene that Chee's background in Lovecraftian stories really comes out. :) The story starts dark and gets darker, being about compromise and betrayal, but that seems to be the IDW mandate these days, I'll give it time to turn the glimmers of hope in it into something more like a fire. Provisionally recommended. $3.99 Official Index to the Marvel Universe #12: Marvel - Amazing Spider-Man #37-533, which isn't as big as it seems, since they rebooted the numbering in the late 90s and un-reboot it at #500. #533 is the infamous Civil War "unmasking" issue that probably had the most to do with the decision to do Brand New Day. Looks like Index #13 will catch up to BND, but with the title going more or less weekly it might take until #15 to catch up to the present. Iron Man is even more confusing with numbers, since it goes from #78 through #27, with the Director of SHIELD issues mixed in there and a bit of concept flail. This issue gets into 2008, so I suppose Iron Man's participation in Index #13 may be shorter than normal. Uncanny X-Men #457-489 gets into 2007, and there's a box explaining where Wolverine was during this time. $3.99 X-Factor #200: Marvel - Speaking of rebooting numbering, this folds in the 149 issues of the previous X-Factor (but doesn't count the Madrox miniseries, the first issue of which is reprinted as a backup here). The main story jumps ahead a few months and goes back to NYC, with a story involving the Fantastic Four (a nod to Madrox's first appearance being in FF, one presumes). Cansino's one of those artists who does real people very well and exaggerated superheroes not so well, as made obvious when Strong Guy and the Thing meet. The story itself is pretty good, though. The main backup has Siryn dealing with her issues (something the main story also touches on, but gets sidetracked from), and there's updated OHOTMU entries for the main cast after that. Well, mostly updated. The secret of Layla's knowing stuff isn't included, for instance. Recommended. $4.99 Ms. Marvel #48: Marvel - I wonder if they considered trying to reboot to #100 at any point by including the original 1970s series and any other miniseries and one-shots? Not that I expect it would have saved the book, which is cancelled as of #50. Anyway, this arc gets to the old Mystique thing alluded to last issue, promising to finally explain why Mystique hated Carol enough to sic Rogue on her way back when, and presumably resolve things between them one way or another. Reed makes good use of the setting-building he's been doing over the years on this book. Recommended. $2.99 Thunderbolts #139: Marvel - Agents of Atlas share the cover, and actually appear this time. Fairly straightforward plot, the new Thunderbolts set a trap for Atlas, do as well as they can with clearly substandard intel and support (i.e. to the point some wonder if they're being thrown to the wolves), and then everyone's plans go up in smoke. Recommended. $2.99 The Mighty Avengers #32: Marvel - Dark Avengers share the cover, but don't get their logo on it. Two trends continue in this issue: Big Damn Cosmic Threats, and people either praising Pym or being annoyed at all the praise (although Karnak's compliment is pretty backhanded...a sort of "you don't suck nearly as much anymore" thing). Also, I want Amadeus Cho's Kindle. Recommended. $2.99 The Amazing Spider-Man #615: Marvel - The Gauntlet shifts to Sandman, with a rather clever Ant Farm themed cover. Very good Van Lente and Pulido story inside the cover, too, with what might be a three layer mystery (Sandman is the obvious suspect and clearly not the one behind all of it, the Kravinovas are obvious backup suspects for anything with "The Gauntlet" on the cover and possibly innocent of some of the particulars too, leaving a third as yet unrevealed suspect). Strongly recommended. $2.99 Sherlock Ninja #1: Antarctic Press - Hey, Sherlock really was a student of "bartitsu" as per the explanation of how he survived Reichenbach Falls, so it's not a huge stretch (especially for AP) to give him ninjutsu. A done-in- one story, it's perhaps a bit wordy in setting things up (especially since a lot of pagecount is given over to fight scenes, leaving even less room for exposition), but it's a decent read. Recommended. $3.50 PS238 #42: Do Gooder Press - Shades of Invincible with the cover here, although I don't expect to see the same, um, splatter levels. At least, I hope not! :) ... Okay, no splatter, whew. Although 84's mom may have some 'splainin' to do. Still, lack of gore aside, there's a LOT of parallels to how Kirkman treats the Superman mythos over in Invincible, but taking splattergore off the table does mean Williams will be taking the resolution in a different direction. Recommended. $2.99 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 12/16/09: Official Handbook of the Gold Digger Universe #22, Gold Digger v3 #105. Add Love & Capes #12, unsurprisingly. Awards: "Chibi MODOK Demands Your Obedience! And Candy!" Award to Super Hero Squad Iron Man vs. MODOK "Badges? We Don't Need No Steenkin' ZZZZRT!" Award to Transformers Bumblebee #1 "Wait, What Number Is This Again?" Award to Official Index to the Marvel Universe #12 "Hopefully He Didn't Narrate In Bed" Award to X-Factor #200 "There's The Other Jedi Trick" Award to Ms. Marvel #48 "Tainted Love" Award to Thunderbolts #139 "Cut Herc Some Slack, He Was Killed By A Shirt Once" Award to The Mighty Avengers #32 "Um, One Of Those Avatars Has Lady Hips" Award to The Amazing Spider-Man #615 "Kindly Ignore The Sexual Subtext, Watsu-san" Award to Sherlock Ninja #1 "Maybe 83 Other Mothers Have Some 'Splainin' To Do Too" Award to PS238 #42 Dave Van Domelen, "I swear, say 'Scientist Supreme' one more time and I'm gonna punch you in the face." - USAgent, The Mighty Avengers #32
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