December 5, 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.
Last week of the regular semester!  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 - 

     Nova #9: Marvel - Apparently, dogs love armpitting.  The two part side
story ends decently, and I like Cosmo.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     New Warriors #6: Marvel - And the first arc wraps up with revelations.
Some petty, some major, some clearly faked.  There's a certain amount of
rah-rah involved too, but I can cope.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Fantastic Four #552: Marvel - The cliffhanger is resolved, there's a
little talking, then lots of fight scene and oration.  Plus some Valid
Points.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn

     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): PS238 #28,
Atomic Robo #3 (of 6)

     "Who Da Ubermensch?": Dark Horse Presents - Normally, I don't review
web-only content, because that's a slippery slope into trying to review the
bazillion webcomics out there.  But once in a while I'll make an exception,
and is one of
those exceptions.  It's flash-based, which is something of a nuisance
(i.e. non-trivial to make an offline copy, but I'm sure such either exist
already or will by the end of the day).  This is a full-color Empowered story
by Adam Warren, which is WHY I'm making the exception.  :)  Most of it is
introduction and recap, aiming this at people who haven't read Emp yet but
who hopefully will soon.  But there's a tiny bit of actual story in this 8
page story, and some cleverness on Emp's part.  However, she also manages to
end up in her usual fate anyway.  And that's the part that's there for the
existing readers, I think.  Heh.  Recommended.  Free online.
     Ninja High School #155: Antarctic Press - The cover homages "The Lady
and the Tramp," although I'd argue it's not clear which NHS character fills
which Disney role.  (rimshot)  Anyway, this brings the "last kitsune" subplot
to a head, with the Rumplestiltskin and Yuudai storylines simmering on the
back burner.  Oh, and I'd be remiss as a geek if I didn't point out that
while the splash page is "after Escher," it's not quite a copy of Relativity,
even allowing for rotation.  :)  Recommended.  $2.99/$2.99Cn (woot, parity!)
     The Twelve #0: Marvel - One of two "dredge up unrevamped 1940s
characters" projects out this month.  This zero issue reprints stories with
Rockman, Laughing Mask and the Phantom Reporter, then shows the updated
designs for the whole team and the same preview pages that appeared in
Previews.  An interesting look at the lesser lights of the Golden Age.  And
I'm amused that the Phantom Reporter has two secret identities: millionaire
playboy and cub reporter.  So, not only was he ripping off both Batman and
Superman, he was also a sort of proto-Moon Knight.  :)  Recommended.
     Ms. Marvel #22: Marvel - Aaron is only in this for one page, but he
steals the show as usual.  The main story is head-trippy but not as
compelling as Reed probably hoped.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Howard the Duck #3 (of 4): Marvel - She-Hulk is on the cover, but
Bobillo doesn't draw her like he did when he was her regular artist, oddly.
She looks like his usual inside, though.  Continuity-wise there's some issues
here, but not really worth getting tied in knots about.  And while Templeton
has some amusing core ideas here and the occasional clever moment, he
belabors some of his points and drains them of the funny.  Mildly
recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Avengers the Initiative Annual #1: Marvel - Part of the "Secret
Invasion" event, which I'll admit fills me with a sense of dread and
foreboding.  But, um, not the one I think Marvel Editorial wants me to feel.
Gage joins Slott on the writing.  Rather than a single big story, this Annual
is a collection of origin stories and foreshadowing, setting up at least
three future threats, two of which I'd guess are part of the Secret Invasion
thing, and the third confined to Initiative.  A decent read.  Recommended.
     Justice Society of America #11: DC - Eh, this issue sort of meanders
around, eventually getting to the point doesn't even really feel
like padding or decompression, just a serious lack of focus.  The obligatory
fight scene was decent, but didn't really seem to serve the plot in any
particular way.  It could have been any fight scene and done the same.
Starman addressing the reader was cute, though.  Mildly recommended.
     Justice League of America #15: DC - Man, I am getting so tired of Benes.
His art is just so stereotypically "Imitation Image Founder".  Oh, and
someone neglected to tell the editor that Giganta isn't wearing the leopard
print dress anymore (see recent issues of Blue Beetle), or he decided he
wanted the panties gag more than he wanted it to fit with current portrayal
of the character.  The issue is otherwise a big brawl of the "kitchen sink"
variety, with no particular direction or theme.  Some good bits, but a
feeling that McDuffie was just tossing in everything that came to mind.
Mildly recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Dynamo5 #9: Image - Not much to say, a bunch of little stuff moves
forward, one of the five finds a new power, and we see a new threat start to
assemble (well, probably a few new threats, all things considered).  No "big
wow" moments, but solid storytelling.  The pinup of Scrap is perhaps a bit
more suggestive than the artist intended (or the artist was trying to see how
much he could get away with).  Recommended.  $2.99 (Image gives up on a
separate Canadian price now, I see)
     Invincible #47: Image - Lots of subplot-servicing here too.  And while
it continues to be mainly about "what happens between the fight scenes" for
the heroes, we also get some time on the home life of the villains as well,
for a nice change of pace.  Recommended.  $2.99 (Aside: I notice now from the
back cover ad that the TPB of the Official Handbook of the Invincible
Universe contains content not found in the two issue series...24 PAGES more
material, d'oh.  And my store didn't order any for the shelf.  Since Diamond
lately sucks at sending out anything I try to backorder, it's a good thing lists it.)
     PS238 #28: Do Gooder Press - Ah, a caper!  Well, a mask-and-caper.
Moose!  Sorry, I'm being cryptically weird, but that's gonna happen when
reading this book.  Strongly recommended.  $2.99
     Atomic Robo #3 (of 6): Red5 Comics - By page 9, I had found and replaced
six "end of post quotes", if not more.  I think my number two choice nicely
sums up the issue, though: "Judging by how these things usually go, I think
it's safer to ASSUME mummies until proven otherwise."  "That's just good
advice in ANY line of work."  Very strongly recommended.  $2.95

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 12/5:

     Still missing and might come in: Fallen Angel #15, Doktor Sleepless #2,
PS238 #25, Transformers Beast Wars Sourcebook #1 (all of these have been
covered in my CBR Special), Sky Sharks #2, Gamma Files, Official Handbook to
the Gold Digger Universe #11.


"At Least She's Not In Violation Of Seatbelt Laws" Award to "Who Da

"High-Tech Etchings" Award to Ninja High School #155

"I Think The Heroes Killed More People Than The Villains Did" Award to 
     The Twelve #0

"There But For The Grace Of...Wait, I Went There After All" Award to Ms.
     Marvel #22

"This Looks Like A Job For...Keith Olbermann!" Award to Howard the Duck #3
     (of 4)

"Guess Southpaw's Not Involved After All" Award to Avengers the Initiative
     Annual #1

"Most Disguisting Explode-Self Power Ever" Award to Justice Society of
     America #11

"E.F. Hutton Has Nothing On The Bat" Award to Justice League of America #15

"Intellectual Real Estate" Award to Dynamo5 #9

"Epic Fail" Award to Invincible #47

"Attack Of The Servo-Bots" Award to PS238 #28

"Sorry, Egypt, All Streaks Gotta End Sometime" Award to Atomic Robo #3 (of 6)

     Dave Van Domelen, "I didn't found this crazy organization to NOT nuke
things." - Atomic Robo
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