April 18, 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.
Got down to 200 lbs this week.  Wootle!  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 - 

     None.  Diamond goofed and misshipped an entire box, which had mostly
promo stuff, including the First Looks.  At least it didn't have any of this
week's comics.

     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): The Brave and
the Bold #3, Cable & Deadpool #39.

     52 #50 (of 56, really): DC - This briefly sketches out the events of
WWIII, then shows one side of the final battle before moving on to the next
storyline.  It's kinda like a Cliff's Notes version of the story.  All the
main plot stuff is there, but a lot of the answers 52 was supposed to provide
were instead shuffled off into WWIII.  Mildly recommended.  $2.50/$2.99Cn
     World War III #1 (of 4, aka 52 #50.1): DC - Never mind all the other
World War III's DC has had, this is the real one.  Until the next one.
Y'see, until we have a real world WWIII, fiction set in some version of the
current day will never get a World War IV.  The LSH can have World War VII,
of course, because that's The Future.  But wouldn't want to confuse the
reader with continuity.  Anyway.  This one is subtitled "A Call To Arms," and
it sets up the threat, first flashing back to Week 45 for some establishing
stuff, and to clarify that yes, Black Adam did kill all those people,
regardless of how 52 #50 may muddy the waters.  And then there's a lot more
killing and maiming and blood spatters, whee.  Unfortunately, while this is
also supposed to answer some of the OYL questions along the way, it's not
always as clear as I suspect Ostrander intended.  Oliffe's art is relied on a
little too much, and it doesn't always deliver (i.e. it took a few
read-throughs to figure out what "Nightwing" drops with a loud "SKLANG").
And some of the answers should have been SHOWN in all the time we had in 52,
rather than being dropped in with some clunky expository dialogue ("Remember
how we fixed that problem?" "Yeah, that was brilliant." sort of stuff).
Mildly recommended.  $2.50/$2.99Cn
     World War III #2 (of 4): DC - In "The Valiant," J'onn roams around
angsting and dropping in on various people, some of who are dealing with
Black Adam, while others just happen to have left their issues until week 50
to resolve.  Again, why couldn't some of this been shown in 52 itself, in
place of some of the plots that took forever to go not much of anywhere?
Supergirl and Batgirl get sort of dealt with, and the whole Aquaman and Sub
Diego problem is resolved in a few pages.  Mildly recommended.  $2.50/$2.99Cn
     World War III #3 (of 4): DC - "Hell is for Heroes" is the subtitle on
this one.  And yes, you probably should read them in order.  :) Mainly the
Teen Titans fighting against Black Adam with some more dead heroes, plus
setup for Suicide Squad and the new Manhunter.  J'onn angsts some more.  Like
#2, kinda missable unless you're really interested in the characters covered
here, or want to read J'onn's rather drawn out and angsty personal story
across the series.  Mildly recommended.  $2.50/$2.99Cn
     World War III #4 (of 4): DC - This is pretty much the fight scene from
52 #50 from J'onn's point of view, with a bit more detail and less showing of
the tactical aspects (i.e. the heroes seem to be fighting more stupidly
here).  And then bum-bum-BUMMMMM from the Monitors being all ominous.  Oh, I
should probably mention that Booster Gold appears in all four issues, popping
in and out in an extended cameo of sorts, and making it feel like this whole
thing has just been a side show and waste of time.  Very mildly recommended.
     Aquaman Sword of Atlantis #51: DC - Shawn McManus's art is weird, but
meshes reasonably well with Tad Williams's storytelling.  It's clear that
Williams isn't one of those writers who comes in from "serious" writing with
the intent of "fixing" comics, he has a sense of both humor and history, and
it's serving him well during the breaking-in period.  I'm still a bit
confused about the whole Sub Diego thing (especially after reading WWIII),
but it looks like whatever the status quo is will be hashed out next issue.
Recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     The Brave and the Bold #3: DC - Batman and Blue Beetle on the cover.
And the Fatal Five.  Waid does a great job with the Batman/BB interaction, it
felt very true to the character of Jaime as established in his own book.  La
Dama felt a tad generic, though.  There's also some cute Supergirl bits to
lead into #4.  Oh, and yes, the Fatal Five.  Of the two comics I read this
week with the Fatal Five, I definitely like this one better.  :)  Strongly
recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century #1: DC - J. Torres on story,
Chynna Clugston on art, and it's the LSH.  Maybe my expectations were a bit
too high, but...eh.  It was okay.  It retells the first episode of the
current cartoon via what feels like an interview format with an unseen
interviewer.  But between the "retell the story" constraints on Torres and
the "imitate the animated look" constraints on Clugston, I don't really feel
I got either's best.  It was okay, but...missable.  Mildly recommended.
     Shadowpact #12: DC - As with the Ragman issue a while back, we get an
origins story on Nightmaster.  Derenick's art doesn't quite zing in the way
McManus's did on the Ragman story, though.  But it's a nice look back at
what's essentially a pretty obscure third-stringer, while also providing a
perfectly reasonable way to make him at least a second-stringer.  ;)
Recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Avengers Earth's Mightiest Heroes II #8 (of 8): Marvel - Well, the plots
that didn't wrap up last month wrap up here, and...yawn.  I think Casey was
just trying to juggle too many plots with too decompressed a storytelling
style, and it ended with nothing really having much impact.  Mildly
recommended.  $3.99/$4.75Cn
     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
     Marvel Adventures Avengers #12: Marvel - Parker's over the top goofy
writing is still here.  I don't know if it's an editorial directive, or if he
just decided it on his own, but I really preferred the slightly more
restrained humor of his first run.  Still, treating this as more of "how the
Impossible Man remembers it happening" sort of story, it's fun.  And it has a
nice dig or two at Planet Hulk.  Recommended.  $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.
     Conan #39: Dark Horse - A done in one story with art by Rafael Kayanan,
with the return of Janissa the Widowmaker.  It's disconnected from the
ongoing arc in most respects, so might have been an inventory piece waiting
for a space.  A good "dungeon crawl" story.  Recommended.  $2.99
     Transformers Target 2006 #1 (of unknown): IDW - Grrr.  I should've
looked through this on the shelf.  It was listed as Transformers Spotlight on
Diamond's list, suggesting it would be a new story set during the Target 2006
storyline.  Nope.  It's just a reprint of material I already have in the
Titan TPBs.  As such, I will not be reviewing it, as I've already covered
this.  I will also not be buying the rest of the series.  Nice Roche cover A,
but I feel kinda ripped off for actually believing the title it was shipped
under.  Also, IDW's annoying habit of not saying anywhere how many issues a
miniseries is comes into play here, and I don't feel like playing "count the
pages" to see how many it should be.  $3.99 down the pipes.
     Invincible #40: Image - Ruthlessly parallel storytelling between the
space and Earthbound plotlines.  Recover from setback, seem to gain the upper
hand, get overwhelmed, maybe there's hope...and then things go right in the
pot.  The Capes backup is pretty much denounment.  Recommended.

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
#4.  Add Fallen Angel #15 (we got more of #14 instead).


"Time To Break Out The Dictionaries, I Guess" Award to 52 #50 (of 52)

"Payoff?  What's That?" Award to World War III #1-4

"Tempest In A Teapot" Award to Aquaman Sword of Atlantis #51

"Nice S" Award to The Brave and the Bold #3

"Redrawn Together" Award to Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century

"Who Wants To Live Forever?" Award to Shadowpact #12

"What, Exactly, Is He Going To Jail FOR?" Award to Avengers Earth's Mightiest
     Heroes II #8 (of 8)

"Mmmm, Sammiches" Award to X-Factor #18

"Did The Earth Move For You Too?" Award to Marvel Adventures Avengers #12

"Duelling Delusions" Award to Cable & Deadpool #39

"By CROM, What A Woman!" Award to Conan #39

"A Funny Sense Of Deja Vu" Award to Transformers: Target 2006 #1 (of unknown) 

"Mmmm, Marrow!" Award to Invincible #40

     Dave Van Domelen, "Oh please, Bruce.  That's just silly.  Like we would
ever throw Hulk into space..." - Giant-Girl (I think), MA Avengers #12
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