August 8, 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.
Upper 90s (F) all week, whee....  Rants, Capsules can be found on my 

     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.
     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

     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.  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 (, 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
     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.
     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.


"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

- Burnout, Gen13 v4 #11 (it's a dance kinda like the Twist, FWIW).
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