August 1, 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.
Was awake 21 hours yesterday, bleh.  Rants, Capsules can be found on my 

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.  Was in Greensboro on Wednesday.

     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): None.

     Happy Meal Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century Toys: McDonald's -
This month, McD's is doing a Happy Meal promotion tie-in with the first
season of the new LSH cartoon.  Each week there's two characters (both male)
from the cartoon done as non-poseable PVC figures packed in book-shaped
cases.  They come with trading cards that describe both the character and the
scene shown on the case/card.  The box is mixed, half LSH and half
Build-A-Bear (McD's usually does this, a "boy" toy series parallel with a
"girl" toy series).  The LSH side has various animated images, a "defeat
Mano" game that involves having your figure punch out holes in the Mano image
(yes, it's as lame as it sounds, if not lamer) and an Interlac alphabet
translation.  Week 1 has Superman (can't call him Superboy anymore, lest the
lawyers get nervous) and Timberwolf, both in airborne poses so that they
can't stand on their own.  They rest against diorama-printed blisters and are
held in place by clear clamshell halves.  Neither can stand on its own, but
both are about the right size to be slapped on an Attacktix base for
kitbashing.  Most stores will sell you just the toy for about a buck, worth
grabbing at that price.  
     The Clockwork Girl #0: Arcana - Okay, it was a quarter, and steampunky,
I decided to give it a shot.  It sets up what looks like it's going to be a
sort of Romeo & Juliet relationship between the title character and a beast
boy created by the rival of Clockwork Girl's creator, with mechanism and
biology standing in for Montagues and Capulets.  I'm not sure this #0 sets
the right kind of tone for getting readers hooked, though.  It
failure.  We get this picture of mighty scientists on the first page, and
it's all downhill from there, feeling like they've peaked and never quite
managed to fulfil their potential.  Like the Clockwork Girl and Huxley the
beast boy (and yes, I get the Darwin reference there) are sad little "didn't
quite make it" creations.  And the story ends before you get much hint that
life won't keep sucking for all involved.  The second half of the book is
design sketches and "how this story came to be" stuff.  Overall, I'd like to
like this, but it just damps my enthusiasm.  Mildly recommended.  25 cents
     Ninja High School #151: Antarctic Press - Prince of Tennis parody this
time, with a side order of Bleach foreshadowing.  It was okay, but given that
I've been avoiding Prince of Tennis, I just didn't get into it.  Mildly
recommended.  $2.99/$4.05Cn
     Justice Society of America #8: DC - Time for Johns to show that yes, he
did read at least a few issues of the backstories of the characters he's
playing with.  The reference-dropping gets a bit ham-fisted at times, but it
is nice to see people remembering things like the Parobeck JSA series.
There's a few places where he's a bit annoyingly coy about some characters
(probably because he's waiting for their own spotlight issues), but I
generally liked it.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Welcome to Tranquility #9: DC/Wildstorm - Zombie apocalypse!  Some of
the threads running through the past few issues get brought together, plus
Gen13 guest appearance action.  A rather nifty "supernatural Western
antihero" character gets dropped in at the end of the main story, then
featured in the backup.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     The Irredeemable Ant-Man #11: Marvel - Penultimate issue!  And
sloooowing the pace down a wee bit, as most of the issue is devoted to
showing that while the protagonist is a jerk, the main antagonist is a
psycho.  And Iron Man is a putz.  But we knew that one already.  Mildly
recommended.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     Thor #2: Marvel - Speaking of slow, it's mostly angst and homesteading
this issue.  Decent as far as it goes, but feels kinda skippable.  Mildly
recommended.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     New Warriors #3: Marvel - Well, we get a somewhat macabre viewing of the
bodies from Stamford, and most of the issue is devoted to the idea that
maybe, just maybe, Thrash survived.  Microbe didn't, though.  The rest is
former-mutant Angst, with a nicely subtle Wolverine guest appearance.
Recommended.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     Fantastic Four #548: Marvel - Running fight/conflict issue, mainly with
the Wizard saying "I rule!  Admit it!" while the rest of the Frightful Four
worry about their inevitable and horrible beatings ("I'm with Mo.  WAIT for
Reed Richards to attack?  That's not a plan, it's a suicide note." - Titania,
invoking DRHenry's Law).  A lot of, "Bet you didn't expect this!"  "No, but
did you expect THIS?" counter-tactics.  McDuffie's not really on his A-game
this issue, unfortunately, and he also falls prey to some Identity
Crisis-ing.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #30: Marvel - It's odd to see the villain
of this story brought into the MA universe without his connection to the
traditional object of his obsessions.  I think Mhan is drawing Peter a little
too young, more like 12-13 instead of a high school student, which is odd
given that he had no problems drawing Spy Boy as a high school student.
Recommended.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four #4 (of 4): Marvel - A decent ending,
wrapping up a plot thread that's been dangling around for, oh, a couple of
decades while also resolving the main Hirogen story.  Recommended.
     Ms. Marvel #18: Marvel - Well, Reed definitely has an ear for the
nextwave'd version of Aaron Stack, who joins Carol's strike team this issue
(and generally bitches about things).  Sleepwalker also joins up, but doesn't
do much aside from being the butt of jokes.  Various subplots continue, and
one or two of them fold into the new main plot threat.  Plotwise a little
weak, but well scripted.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     She-Hulk v2 #20: Marvel - Huh, I thought Slott had a few more issues,
but I guess not.  That, or he has something else he has to do before PAD
comes onboard.  In any case, rather than leaving all sorts of danglers, or
focusing on one thread and leaving the rest to mentions in passing, we get a
series of 2-4 page short-short stories covering what seems to be all the
plots he'd planned for the next year or so.  Or, I think, several of the ones
he'd had planned for THIS year, that got overridden by all the Mega Event
Tie-In stuff.  Loads of resolutions, at golden age pace.  Recommended.
$2.99/$3.75Cn [Later note: Slott has one more issue, and will be spending it
dealing with all the other continuity problems in the Marvel U, or something
like that.]
     Wire Mothers: Harry Harlow and the Science of Love GN: G.T. Labs -
Nonstandard size pages (6"x9"), Ottaviani's latest science biography (he has
another out, but I'm having trouble shaking them loose, as due to a computer
crash my store never ordered 'em initially).  Anyway, it opens a little
confusingly (hint: the shadowed figure is Harry Harlow, and he's reading
scientific papers by other psychologists, probably Skinnerians or
neo-Freudians), but settles down into first some biography and then Harlow's
most famous work, discovery that whatever love is, it goes beyond food or sex
or conditioned response.  Given that I just got back from a conference with a
heavy focus on Cognitive Science, I was certainly ready to read dissing of
Behaviorists.  :)  Recommended.  $12.95
     Twisted Toyfare Theater 10th Anniversary Collection: Wizard - Most of
this 256 page collection is given over to the Top 25 "funniest" TTT strips
and some of their supporting material (OHOTMU-like entries, etc).  There's
also about 30 pages of bonus materials (reprints from non-Toyfare strips,
plus some of the one-panel stuff from Toyfare) so people who already own all
the TTT collections have motivation to buy this tome, like the suckers we
are.  Recommended if you don't already have the previous collections, neutral
otherwise (it's kinda expensive for 30-40 pages of new stuff).

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 8/3:

     Still missing and might come in: Fallen Angel #15, Levitation GN from GT
Labs (store had computer crash in May, they never got ordered), Transformers
Timelines (wasn't available on the retailer order form in the first place!).
     Cancelled by Diamond (again): Dr. Debunko: the Short Stories, Devil's
Panties #7-8 (and the TPB that came in this week was of 1-6).


"Clank's Kid Sister" Award to The Clockwork Girl #0

"What Next, A Talking Mace?" Award to Ninja High School #151

"Maybe He Should Join The Legion Instead?" Award to Justice Society of 
     America #8

"What, You Thought He Was Being Metaphorical?" Award to Welcome to
     Tranquility #9

"Footnotes Are Your Friends" Award to The Irredeemable Ant-Man #11 (of 12)

"Gonna Need A Zoning Variance On That" Award to Thor #2

"Stop Asking Me Where Baymax Is, I'm Not Hiro Takachiho!" Award to New
     Warriors #3

"Say, Isn't That A Hologram?" Award to Fantastic Four #548

"That's Why I Wear Slip-On Shoes" Award to Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #30

"Pop Music" Award to Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four #4 (of 4)

"Google Is Your Friend" Award to Ms. Marvel #18

"Guess That Explains It" Award to She-Hulk v2 #20

"Tepid Monkey Love" Award to Wire Mothers: Harry Harlow and the Science of
     Love GN

"I've Got A Pumpkin" Award to Twisted Toyfare Theater 10th Anniversary 

     Dave Van Domelen, "What the hell is he talking about?"  "Lady, I got NO
idea.  I met that guy twenty minutes ago and he hasn't stopped TERRIFYING me
since." - Ms. Marvel and Sleepwalker on the subject of Aaron Stack
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