December 23, 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, My store may or may not get comics next week, Diamond wasn't clear. Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): Love & Capes #12, Iron Man vs. Whiplash #2 (of 4). "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. 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. Love and Capes #12: Maerkle Press - Double-sized wedding issue! Complete with two different covers to accomodate all the readers who got included as guests (most of them are also rearranged into the two page "vows" spread, plus a rather clever easter egg). There's a key in back to the covers, but not to the vows spread, making it a bit hard to track down who's who in that if you didn't buy both covers. As for the story, it uses time travel to accomplish two things: create a conflict for the issue, and let readers see how the couple first met (#1 picked up with them already dating). I've read a lot of Wedding Issues of comics, but this is easily one of the best of them. Of course, you'd expect that, given that the whole focus of his book is on the relationship side to begin with. :) Strongly recommended. $5.99 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 Tales of the Fallen #5: IDW - Ravage spotlight, yay spine-kitty! Plus an Ejector cameo, of sorts. Furman establishes a fairly animalistic personality for Ravage, definitely not the eloquent spy of G1. It also sets up a mystery, but it'd be a bit too spoilery for me to go into any detail here. I was amused by how the ending echoes Marvel G1 Transformers #20. Recommended. $3.99 Justice Society of America #34: DC - Your basic "setting up the new status quo" issue seen through the perceptions of the new threat. A few cute running gags, and something for the AR Legion fans. Willingham writes solo this issue, with okay art by Travis Moore. Recommended. $2.99 Iron Man vs. Whiplash #2 (of 4): Marvel - This right here is Guggenheim and Braga turning lemons into lemonade. Taking the main-continuity Tony Stark and not just teling a good Iron Man story with him despite all the baggage, but using the baggage (i.e. all the heroes hate his guts) to help drive the story. It's practically the antithesis to Fraction's recent storyline in the main Iron Man book, taking many of the same premises (Tony's tech is out there causing problems, he needs to put a stop to it, the world's against him, he's denied most of his resources, etc) and writing a very different and much more interesting story with them. THIS is the real Tony Stark, not Lobotomy Boy. Too bad he can't have learned any lessons from this story, since it's set between the first arc in Invincible Iron Man (Ezekiel Stane is in jail) and the whole Secret Invasion mire. So we know he still ends up thinking it's a good idea to blow his brains out a little at a time. Ah well. Nothing can really change the Marvel Status Quo anyway, so sit back and enjoy one of the good stories that can be told in the cracks between Events. Strongly recommended. $3.99 Avengers the Initiative #31: Marvel - "Siege: the Cabal" banner. This is mostly a Taskmaster focus, leading into his Siege appearances that I'm not reading elsewhere (I presume a montage near the end is a retelling of something in another book). But there's plenty of other characters getting development, plus some plot advancement (although, again, it mostly feeds into Event Books I won't be reading). Sandoval's art is pretty good, although there's places it looks like he's swipefiling Jurgens and Kitson. Recommended. $2.99 The Amazing Spider-Man #616: Marvel - Okay, the mystery turned out to be pretty straightforward, with no real indication of the Kravenovas being involved, but it's still a good character story. Granted, it's been done before (in X-Factor, quite a bit), but Van Lente pulls it off well. Recommended. $2.99 The Incredible Hercules #139: Marvel - Mostly fight scene, a mix of pairing off and overall melee, with a few cutaways for flashback or The Big Plot Coming Together. It even ends up tying very directly into Cho's arc from the biweekly split title. The Atlas backup is similarly fight-sceney, with some good banter and a rather too-intelligent chimera. Recommended $3.99 Invincible #69: Image - This is one of those times that the superhero fights take center stage, and we got two of 'em (although one of them seems mainly to be an excuse to keep Invincible distracted so that the other one isn't a foregone conclusion...not that it doesn't seem to provide some potential plot deviceage for the whole Viltrumite Invasion plotline). Colorist Plascencia does some interesting tricks with visual effects. At first glance it looks like 3-D blue-red effects, but I just happened to have some 3-D glasses on hand (the new Lego Club magazine that came in the mail today has 'em) and they don't seem to be 3-D, just visually trippy. 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 12/23/09: Official Handbook of the Gold Digger Universe #22, Gold Digger v3 #105. Awards: "Oh My Stars And Garters!" Award to Love and Capes #12 "I HAZ ALLSPARK NAO" Award to Transformers Tales of the Fallen #5 "Degeneration X" Award to JSA #34 "Someone In Scheveningen Is Probably Getting Fired" Award to Iron Man vs. Whiplast #2 (of 4) "Count Yourself Lucky To Still HAVE A Soul To Shoot" Award to Avengers the Initiative #31 "He Should Form A Support Group" Award to The Amazing Spider-Man #616 "Yeah, Like THAT'S Permanent" Award to The Incredible Hercules #139 "Sequid-tial Art" Award to Invincible #69 Dave Van Domelen, "You know, in my HEAD that sounded SWEET. Out loud it sounded kinda CREEPY." "NOW you see why I vetoed us writing our own vows." - Crusader and Abby, Love & Capes #12
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