December 23, 2009
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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, http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/Rants
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
"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
"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