April 11, 2007

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.
I'm assessing assessment plans.  Recursion! Rants, Capsules can be found on my 
             homepage, http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/Rants 

First Look Comments:

     Books I read over the weekend as First Looks, but didn't buy, so can't
really say much in detail about.  DC has stopped having First Looks, so it's
just Marvel and Image...and there's word that Diamond doesn't want to bother
with the program at all anymore.

     Books for next week - 

     Squadron Supreme: Hyperion vs. Nighthawk #4 (of 4): Marvel - I didn't
read the other three issues, but it looks like I don't really need to, as
this issue goes back and retells the whole story from Nighthawk's
perspective, minus the smoke and mirrors.  As such, it's on the dry side.
The resolution is intentionally unsatisfying.  At least Gulacy's art isn't as
wooden as it used to be.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     Cable & Deadpool #39: Marvel - Ron Lim comes in on art.  T-Ray's pissed
that his previous appearance sucked, and wants revenge on Deadpool.  And the
writers, probably.  And maybe some of the readers, although I hear that one's
mutual.  Anyway, another wild and wacky fun tale that cheerfully gets away
with levels of Fourth-Wall-breaking that the Legion of Net.Heroes would frown
on.  And Cable's side of the family even gets a scene.  Strongly recommended.
     X-Factor #18: Marvel - Everyone's back in the same plotline by the end
of the issue, at least.  :) Some fun stuff here, including the sort of stuff
PAD wrote into his quickly ignored revamp of Major Disaster.  Khoi Pham does
a decent job on art.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.75Cn

     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): Gen13 v4 #7,
Amelia Rules #17

     Spider-Man 3 Novelization: Pocket Star Books - Once again, Peter David
does the adaptation duties.  I've been asked on several occasions why I read
the novelizations before seeing the movie, what with the whole spoilers
issue.  First, I don't really worry about the spoilers on actioners like this
(or Hulk, etc).  It's about the performance, and the special effects.
Second, I find that Peter David in specific is really good at fleshing out
the details of stuff that the movie only has enough time to brush against,
and this can actually help me in enjoying the movie (i.e. I liked the Hulk
movie, and I suspect having read the novel first is a big part of why).
Still, once in a while, it gives me a certain amount of trepidation when I
read the novel first, and this is one of those times.  My initial impression
of the villain lineup was that it was going to be too many villains,
resulting in a scattered and frantic plot.  Later, I thought I'd figured out
how they could pull it off without such problems...but now I know that's not
the case.  It really is kinda scattered and frenetic, even given 156 minutes
to work with.  PAD manages to tie things together pretty well, but I'm not
sure the movie will manage the same trick.  If you're thinking of seeing the
movie, I definitely recommend reading the novel too.  And even if you're not
planning to see the movie, the novel's a good read.  It even has a cameo by
Sachs & Violens, plus some obscure comic callbacks.  Recommended.
$7.99/$9.99Cn (355 pages)
     newuniversal #5: Marvel - The PSIForce update appears this issue, and
there's actually some interaction between powered characters, but a lot of
plot threads are just ignored to make room.  A decent read, though.
Recommended.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     She-Hulk v2 #17: Marvel - This seems to be the Adam Warren homage
issue.  Or Adam Warren in-joke issue, anyway.  Several Livewires callbacks,
plus what looks suspiciously like an Empowered ref.  The actual plot is no
great shakes, but still fun.  And ominous.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four #1 (of 4): Marvel - Okay, I have no
idea if this is supposed to be in the past of regular continuity, in the
Marvel Adventures continuity despite lacking a banner to that effect, or off
in its own little world.  It certainly doesn't take place in the here and now
of Earth-616, though.  Anyway, Parker brings the same sort of fun
storytelling here that he has in Marvel Adventures Avengers, if a little more
restrained with the goofball aspects.  Wieringo, obviously, has plenty of
experience with the characters, and does them justice.  Continuity issues
aside (and would have killed them to toss in a footnote?), a good start.
Recommended.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Spider-Man Back in Black:
Marvel - Not really tied to Back in Black, it's more of a Spider-Man-centric
A-Z Update issue, a mix of updates and never-before-indexed obscure
characters.  A bit heavy on the Clone Wars-era stuff, mind you.  It's missing
key information from Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man regarding the 2211 arc,
though.  This is odd, considering how these OHOTMUs lately have often been up
to date with that week's comics.  Maybe it got delayed.  Recommended.
     Transformers Official Movie Prequel #3 (of 4): IDW - Well, in case I
hadn't read the prequel novel to find out, the "A" cover of this one makes it
pretty clear that the unnamed Autobot in #1 was, indeed, Bumblebee.  A
somewhat scattered issue that almost but not definitely contradicts the
prequel novel (and definitely contradicts the spirit of it).  I do wonder how
they'll explain the gap between the events in 2003 and the movie in 2007,
though.  Unless the movie is supposed to be set in 2003?  Ah well.  Mildly
recommended.  $3.99
     Fallen Angel v2 #14: IDW - Back when v1 of Fallen Angel started up,
there was all sorts of speculation that Lee was meant to be Linda Danvers,
despite out-of-story evidence to the contrary (i.e. Fallen Angel was creator-
owned, making it tricky to bring in Supergirl stuff).  Eventually, it was all
sorted out, with Lee's origin as a literal fallen angel established and so
forth.  So, of course, this issue is dedicated to muddying those waters
again, in ways that could stand the out-of-story problems quite nicely.
Woodward has a lot of fun with the art, mixing grayscale and color,
impressionistic and photorealistic as the focus character's grip on reality
shifts and slides.  Recommended.  $3.99
     Dynamo5 #2: Image - Another fun issue, with a dark undercurrent.  The
Scoobying of the villain was a little too pat, all things considered, so I
fully expect Faerber to reveal something about it later.  I like how the back
cover is used like the back cover of a paperback book to promote the story
and lay out some teasers.  Recommended.  $3.50/$4.15Cn
     52 #49 (of 52): DC - Entering the final month, time for a detour into a
different miniseries that actually tells the real climax of this series,
whee.  Anyway, at least we get some fun Doc Magnus along the way, with a
fitting cover.  Plenty of good mad science all around, in fact.
Recommended.  $2.50/$2.99Cn
     Green Arrow #73: DC - McDaniel is still on the art, but otherwise things
are looking up.  There's a certain amount of angst-wallowing, sure, but then
those involved do something about the problems rather than just continuing to
angst.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Teen Titans #45: DC - More running fight scene stuff as the Titans/
Titans East clash starts to just drag.  I mean, there were some interesting
developments, but really, this is decompressed fight scene-ing.  Mildly
recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Gen13 v4 #7: DC/Wildstorm - I read recently someone commenting on Gen13,
to the effect that things might be fair (visually speaking) if everyone ran
around in a thong for an issue.  Now, while not everyone's in a thong, and
Caitlin's in a fur bikini, Grunge eschews clothing entirely.  Take THAT!  Or
should that be "Ze goggles, zey do nozing"?  Anyway, plenty of fun to be had
this issue, what with the dinosaurs and the flashbacks and the quick reminder
that IO is run by and for rich scumbags.  Strongly recommended.
     Amelia Rules #17: Renaissance Press - I think this may be the first
non-FCBD issue in over a year...fortunately, it partially makes up for that
by being double-sized.  I was a little worried that it would be padded out by
reprinting the FCBD stuff, but nope!  All new stuff, and on glossy paper, to
boot!  On the inside front cover, Gownley states that the original plan was
for five simple short stories, but clearly the stories ended up twining
around each other with flashbacks and digressions and the like.  The main
frame is the first day of fifth grade, but Amelia's first day in the new town
figures large as well, as does her last big adventure with her best friend
back in New York.  It's a bit more subdued overall than some other stories,
but that fits the "looking backwards/looking forwards" theme of the story.
Strongly recommended.  $4.95 (although it's kinda hard to read the price).

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 4/18:

     Still missing Gold Digger Tangent #2, Fred Perry's S-Guild #1,
Dr. Debunko: the Short Stories, Devil's Panties #7 and #8, Dino Wars #3 and


"Bob Ingersoll's Gonna Lose His Security Deposit" Award to Spider-Man 3
     Movie Adaptation

"Who All's Accredited To Award A Doctorate Of Mystery?" Award to 
     newuniversal #5

"You're Married, He Isn't...Might Not Really Be A Double Standard" Award to
     She-Hulk v2 #17

"Definitely The Wrong Side Of The Bed" Award to Spider-Man and the Fantastic
     Four #1 (of 4)

"It's The Rainbow W That Really Sells The Outfit" Award to Official Handbook
     of the Marvel Universe: Spider-Man Back In Black

"Welcome To Tranquility" Award to Transformers Official Movie Prequel #3 
     (of 4)

"Earth-Bound" Award to Fallen Angel v2 #14

"Excessive Police Force" Award to Dynamo5 #2

"Think Like A Bullet" Award to 52 #49 (of 52)

"Well, SOMEONE Had To Pick Up The Hacker Girl Baton" Award to Green Arrow #73

"How Two-Faced Can You...Oh, Nevermind" Award to Teen Titans #45

"Not Without Your Pants" Award to Gen13 v4 #7

"Better To Fade Away Than To Burn Out?" Award to Amelia Rules #17

     Dave Van Domelen, "Oh, shhhhhhhhhhhheena." - Caitlin, Gen13 v4 #7
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