December 19, 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 my electricity back Thursday night.  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 - (Note, comics will come in either Thursday or
Friday, depending on how UPS runs the holiday.)

     Captain America #33: Marvel - Eh, not much to say on this one.  It's
okay, and finally resolves some stuff, but overall the arc still doesn't
really grab me.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Captain Marvel #2 (of 5): Marvel - It looks like someone involved in
this is messing with time.  That, or Reed was plotting on index cards and
they got shuffled.  Decent heart to heart scene with Danvers, but otherwise
still not a very satisfying standalone read.  Mildly recommended.
     Thor #5: Marvel - The revealed reborn god this time out is a bit of a
trick play, an amusing twist.  JMS throws in a bunch of new complications
this issue, but there is also cake.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     New Warriors #7: Marvel - Thanks to the new artist, I'm back to not
being able to tell half of these people apart.  Story-wise, the implied
revelation about Thrash is confirmed.  Gah, the artist makes Ultra Girl look
nasty.  Anyway, art badness aside, they're playing to the strengths of the
premise.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Hulk vs. Fin Fang Foom #1: Marvel - PAS's story seems to be set back in
the old "Hulk Smash" days (to the extent it's in continuity at all), and
Jorge Lucas is in full Kirby pastiche mode.  We also get some OHOTMU-style
entries for the mains in very abbreviated form.  It wrap up with a reprint of
the first ever Fin Fang Foom story.  Recommended.  $3.99/$4.05Cn

     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): Official
Handbook of the Invincible Universe TPB

     Official Handbook of the Invincible Universe TPB: Image - Well, you
wouldn't think a 2-issue perfect bound series would need a TPB, so I didn't
order this initially.  Then I saw the hosue ads that put it at about 24 pages
more than the combined original series, with promises of new material.  So I
sucked it up and ordered from (I'd rather support my FLGS,
but backorders through Diamond these days take slightly longer to arrive than
the heat death of the universe).  Turns out there's four new entries, one
updated entry (reformatted because part of it was spun off into a new entry),
a five page intro by Peter Sanderson, and some "making of" art gallery
stuff.  As far as I can tell, none of the old entries got any new material.
Most of the time, this is no big deal...Bi-Plane isn't getting any less dead,
after all.  But the characters tightly involved in the Sequid plot really
could've used a few lines to reveal what was up with that.  And Dupli-Kate's
own recent events might have merited a line or two.  If you already have the
original series, it's probably not worth picking up (the new entries are
Anissa the Viltrumite, Oliver, and a couple of one-off villains).  But if you
haven't bought the original issues, this is Strongly Recommended.  $12.99
     The Scream #2 (of 4): Dark Horse - The protagonist figures out at least
some of what's going on, and it's made clear that this is set in a 'real'
world rather than a superhero one.  Anyone know what "foux" means?  Babelfish
isn't translating it as anything, and I don't own a hardcopy French to
English dictionary.  :)  The cover is a tad deceptive, and feels more like
it's intended to be showing next issue or something.  Mildly recommended.
     Cable & Deadpool #48: Marvel - Brother Voodoo is the team-up guest this
issue, although Strange is still hanging about.  It's your basic symbolic
soul battle thing with the fate of all realities hanging in the balance sort
of know, "Tuesday".  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     She-Hulk v2 #24: Marvel - The story sort of wanders around, but given
that it's time to establish the rest of the new status quo in the wake of the
opening two-parter, that's kinda to be expected.  PAD does a decent job of
justifying why he's mostly ignoring previous characterization for Shulkie,
although I hope he works in some of Slott's stuff later.  Recommended.
     Marvel Illustrated: the Iliad #1 (of 8): Marvel - I'd make a joke about
spoiler alerts here, but as "Troy" showed us a while back, you can adapt the
Iliad more or less faithfully but still tweak important details.  :)  Anyway,
the Iliad is a very long work, so even though Thomas chooses to summarize a
lot of the early stuff (like, say, the first nine years of the war), there's
a lot he could easily focus on in later issues that's normally dropped in
other adaptations.  Not sure how tightly he worked this up and how much he
left in the hands of artist Sepulveda, but it definitely looks like how
Thomas did Conan, in terms of layout, etc.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Marvel Holiday Special 2007 #1: Marvel - Garrity and Farago's
contribution this time is all one piece rather than scattered about like last
year.  Unfortunately, the artist on it (Lou Kang) is only so-so.  His general
blocking and so forth is good, but I don't care for his face work.  The story
takes place in a shadowy "somewhere" in continuity prior to Civil War.
Cebulski does a piece with the Loners, and it's kinda opaque to people (like
me) who didn't read Loners.  Carey's piece at the end is more of a "What
The?" piece of loopiness, but it has a cute send-up of the latest Big Event
Thing as its zinger.  Recommended.  $3.99/$4.05Cn
     Marvel Adventures Avengers #19: Marvel - Templeton brings in a sexy new
Super Adaptoid and what seems to be a female version of the Mad Thinker (who
really should take on the codename Brawllerina if she recurs).  Some elements
are hammered home a little too hard (i.e. treating the readers as a little
dim), but generally a solid story.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Superman #671: DC - Heh, Jay Hosler got consulted on this issue.  Well,
if you want to tell a story involving superheroes and insects, he's certainly
the go-to guy.  Busiek's otherwise having fun with Superman's restored
pre-Crisis levels of power, while still finding ways to challenge him that
don't always involve magic or other Kryptonians.  :)  Recommended.
     Justice League of America #16: DC - Icky Image-style art from Benitez,
but McDuffie does a decent job of starting up a Tangent crossover story
here.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Shadowpact #20: DC - The swapping back and forth between the two stories
this issue is a little awkward in places, but Kieron Dwyer's art generally
suits the raw and warlike nature of both stories.  And Sturges ties a few
more threads together, and brings back a few old faces.  Or muzzles,
whatever.  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 12/19:

     Still missing and might come in: Fallen Angel #15, 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.


"I Like The Rough Layout For Dupli-Kate In The Jam Piece Better" Award to
     Official Handbook of the Invincible Universe TPB

"Letting It All Out" Award to The Scream #2 (of 4)

"Deadpool, Disassemble!" Award to Cable & Deadpool #48

"Extremely Tough Love" Award to She-Hulk v2 #24

"Those Topless Towers Aren't What I Thought They'd Be" Award to Marvel
     Illustrated: The Iliad #1 (of 8)

"But There's No Sense Crying Over Every Mistake.  You Just Keep On Trying 
     Till You Run Out Of Cake" Award to Marvel Holiday Special 2007 #1

"Not A Setting Where Red Hair And Green Eyes Really Narrows It Down Much,
     I'm Afraid" Award to Marvel Adventures Avengers #20

"Bring On The Blattidae!" Award to Superman #671

"Flash In The Plan" Award to Justice League of America #16

"Passing The Sniff Test" Award to Shadowpact #20

     Dave Van Domelen, "So, would it be awkward if I licked your face?"  "A
little bit, yeah." - Shadowpact #20 (identifying the speakers would be
something of a spoiler)
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