Standard Disclaimers: Please set appropriate followups. Recommendation does not factor in price. Not all books will have arrived in your area this week. Upper 90s (F) all week, whee.... Rants, Capsules can be found on my homepage, http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/Rants Note: The local McD's only get toy shipments every other week, so no Legion figures this time. 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 - Annihilation: Conquest Quasar #2 (of 4): Marvel - Not really any better than last issue. Gage may do pretty well with street level drama in StormWatch PHD, but not so much here in the cosmic stuff. $2.99/$3.75Cn Captain America #29: Marvel - The plot threads are slowly coming together, although it doesn't seem to be going towards the overt goal. $2.99/$3.75Cn Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #22: Marvel - PAD resolves his remaining big thread here, and while nothing is really sealed with a bow in terms of long term plots, it IS a good short term resolution and catharsis. Recommended. $2.99/$3.75Cn Capsules: 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 section. Books of Note (Strongly Recommended or otherwise worthy): None. Mind you, only half the books I read today actually came out this week.... Levitation: Physics and Psychology in the Service of Deception GN: G.T. Labs - Like Wire Mothers, this is a smaller sized book. This is essentially the history and development of the levitation trick through three major users: the original developer, the first to replicate it, and a man who then cheapened it...sort of a "ruse and fall" story. Some of the lettering choices used to represent putting on a stage voice are overly distracting, but it's a good story overall. Recommended. $12.95 Omega Flight #5 (of 5): Marvel - Eh. Well, it ends. Some emotional resolutions, and of course the main threat is stopped, but it really didn't feel like much of a story. And if the series had been open-ended as originally solicited, I don't think it would have really justified going past this arc anyway. Very mildly recommended. $2.99/$3.75Cn New Avengers/Transformers #2 (of 4): Marvel/IDW - The constipated Wolverine on the cover is not exactly gonna sell books. The story inside is pretty much a running hero-on-hero fight scene until the plot device is neutalized. Doom gets to be Doom, and Spider-Man gives lip to giant robots, but all in all it felt padded. Between #1 and #2 you get about one issue's worth of story. Mildly recommended. $2.99/$3.75Cn X-Factor #22: Marvel - Oh ho, very clever legal maneuvering in the A plot. And given that Peter David's taking over She-Hulk soon, I can certainly see him actually getting to go somewhere with this, even if it's only in two books...better than being confined to one ignored book. The B plot (Siryn and M) has some good scripting, but doesn't go much of anywhere. The C and D plots (okay, I'm gonna give up on labeling, because you KNOW I'd hit an M plot eventually and it wouldn't actually involve M, thereby being needlessly confusing) get some interesting service as well, and it's nice to see Guido back in form even if no one seems to appreciate his humor. Recommended. $2.99/$3.75Cn Gen13 v4 #11: DC/Wildstorm - Okay, so the Authoriteens (Kid Apollo, Daybreaker, The Intern, Contractor, Nestling and Jack Hatfield...who's the spirit of small towns) are all Haney-style Teen Titans in terms of dialogue. Ow. The pain. Anyway, this is merely the middle of the arc, taking place before current issues of Tranquility, one long fight scene plus headtrippy exposition. Which, I might add, seems to be all about ignoring the groundrules of the whole 52 worlds thing and setting Wildstorm off in its own set of worlds independent of DC. Whee! Still, it's reasonably fun. Recommended. $2.99/$3.65Cn StormWatch PHD vol 1 TPB: DC/Wildstorm - People have been suggesting I try this title, so when the TPB didn't hit shelves at my store, I ordered it online (deepdiscount.com, which seems to do comics stuff on an "order it from the publisher after a customer orders it" basis, but it's cheap and has free shipping). This TPB contains the WorldStorm preview story, then issues #1-4 and #6-7 of the series. I suspect the weird break is because #5 is a standalone spotlight flashback issue, while #6-7 form a single story, and pushing the TPB to 7-and-a-fraction issues would be going too far. #5 will probably be in the next volume. I do have a quibble with the ordering, though...the WorldStorm piece should have been placed between #1 and #2, since it involves Jackson King writing up his thoughts after the events of #1, and going from that to #1 is kinda jarring. Anyway, the premise of PHD is that in the rebooted continuity, while many details have changed (i.e. StormWatch vs. Aliens either didn't happen at all, or didn't claim any of the victims seen originally, since Winter and Fuji are still around), StormWatch has still entered a bit of a decline of late, losing a lot of its support structure. In an attempt to replace that, Jackson has started a sort of bridging group, the Post-Human Division, made up of extremely talented normals or somehow diminished Post-Humans who can no longer play with the big boys and girls of StormWatch Prime. So we have combat experts, scientists, profilers, gadget guys, etc. The idea is that the core team seen here will be the prototype for police adjuncts across the country, and help hold the line until Prime can make it to whatever the problem is. Of course, most of the members are their own worst enemies, or the team's, or both, for maximum possible dysfunctionality and angst. Ironically, it's the gothy girl Betty Black who's the pillar of emotional and ethical strength for the team. She's a perky goth, though. Anyway, while Gage has vastly underwhelmed me elsewhere (notable Annihilation: Conquest), he does a pretty good job here. And Doug Mahnke's art suits the gritty and scuzzy atmosphere Gage is shooting for. Recommended. $17.99/$21.99Cn ($12.85 at deepdiscount.com) StormWatch PHD #5: DC/Wildstorm - And into the backissue bins I go. In essence, this issue is all about undoing the massacre of StormWatch/Aliens without retconning it away. So, it seems I was wrong about the extent of the changes WorldStorm has wrought to the setting...the TPB certainly made it feel like there was a lot changed in the backstory. (Note: I'm reviewing each book after I finish reading it, to try to preserve the sort of experience I'd have gotten if I'd been reading these all along.) Fill-in art by Matthew Smith is passable, although another potential reason for the exclusion from the TPB (i.e. keep the TPB all-Mahnke). Anyway, the story does suffer a bit from being a retcon-focused one, and it feels like an inventory story in some ways as well. Mildly recommended. $2.99/$3.65Cn StormWatch PHD #8: DC/Wildstorm - Andy Smith takes over art this issue. He's definitely changed since his early days as a Bart Sears imitator. Oh, it's still clearly him, but his style has tightened up a lot. There's also times it looks like he's trying to bring some Alan Davis into his repertoire. I wouldn't go quite so far as to say he's swipefiling, but there's definitely "growth by appropriation" happening here. As for the story, Gage finally brings StormWatch Prime fully on stage, resulting in a lot of vignette stuff while everyone meets everyone else and the groundwork is laid. The actual plot really doesn't kick in until the last few pages, and it really needs to be judged based on how it ends, so I'll leave off for now, see below. ;) Recommended. $2.99/$3.65Cn StormWatch PHD #9: DC/Wildstorm - When you come right down to it, a murder investigation is a good excuse to play "character sketch" with everyone on a large cast, and Gage dives in with all gusto. Recommended. $2.99/$3.65Cn StormWatch PHD #10: DC/Wildstorm - And, as chance would have it, a new issue of the title hit this week, and with it a new murder mystery. I'm sensing a potential rut here...yeah, killers are more dangerous than other types of criminals, and deserve devoting rare resources to them, but we've had six stories now, four of which were or are about finding killers, one about killers finding the cops, and one retcon one-shot. Gage should find another kind of crime for the next arc. :) Oh, nice Tranquility cameo this issue. Tranquility started out feeling so disconnected from anything, but they're doing a good job integrating it. Recommended. $2.99/$3.65Cn 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 8/8: Still missing and might come in: Fallen Angel #15 (actually showed up on the store's invoice, but was one of many books not actually shipped), Transformers Timelines (wasn't available on the retailer order form in the first place!). Add Dynamo5 #6 (another of the "on the invoice, not in the box" books this week). Cancelled by Diamond (again): Dr. Debunko: the Short Stories, Devil's Panties #7-8. Awards: "Fly By Wire" Award to Levitation: Physics And Psychology in the Service of Deception GN "I Say Thee Neigh!" Award to Omega Flight #5 (of 5) "Bah, Doom Has Little Patience For Crossovers" Award to New Avengers/ Transformers #2 (of 4) "Tying The Main Story Into The Backup" Award to X-Factor #22 "Half-Truths In The Gutters" Award to Gen13 v4 #11 "You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry...Or Scared...Or Horny...Or Much Of Anything, Really" Award to StormWatch Post Human Division vol 1 "Amazing How Much More Useful The Powerset Is When You're Not High All The Time" Award to StormWatch PHD #5 "Boys And Their Toys" Award to StormWatch PHD #8 "Perk-Splosion" Award to StormWatch PHD #9 "Not So Much Living In Perfect Harmony Anymore" Award to StormWatch PHD #10 Dave Van Domelen, "GAH! FRUG MUST NOT MEAN WHAT I THINKED IT MEANS!" - Burnout, Gen13 v4 #11 (it's a dance kinda like the Twist, FWIW).Back to the Main Rants Page.
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