February 20, 2008

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.
Typed the First Looks on my new EEE PC.  Rants, Capsules can be found on my 
             homepage, http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/Rants 

Special Comics-Related FanArt:


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 -

     Captain America #35: Marvel - Slow progress towards making the new Cap
into a real Captain America, but progress.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Thor #6: Marvel - Now that Asgard has settled in, it's time for an issue
of how the locals react to and interact with the Aesir, and this is a good
one of that type.  Followed by a lot of sturm und drang as the "bring back
the Aesir" plot comes to a head.  Recommended.
     Young Avengers Presents #2 (of 6): Marvel - Hulkling focus.
Specifically, Hulkling meets Mar-Vell.  We seem to be developing a theme of
legacies here.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     New Warriors #9: Marvel - Not much to say about this one.  Fight scene
against forgettable villains, some trust issue angst, background on the
supporting cast, and sinister plans afoot.  More of the same, basically.
Mildly recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     She-Hulk v2 #26: Marvel - It's hard to angst without pants, but Jen
manages it.  A decent balance of serious and humor, though, about what PAD
usually manages when he's trying to be deadly serious.  Recommended.
     Damage Control #2 (of 3): Marvel - And McDuffie's view of Penance gets
air time, yay!  And fun fallout from WWH some of it literally fallout.  Or
shrapnel.  Strongly 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): Cable &
Deadpool #50 

     Startling Tales of Super Weirdness Presents Adventures into Darkness:
Ronin Arts - No, this isn't a comic, it's a Mutants & Masterminds Superlink
product.  But I figured it was worth mentioning here.  AiD is a
counterfactual by Ken Hite (those of you who know Hite should at this moment
be gasping in shock that he'd write a counterfactual) revolving around the
following premise: what if, while recovering from illness in 1937, Lovecraft
was convinced by a combination of friends and a young Julius Schwartz to
write comics for (and generally let others write under his name for) Ned
Pines's comics line, generally known as Nedor Comics?  This infusion of a
steady paycheck let him regain his health (in reality, he died in 1937), and
he was involved in Nedor's comics for nearly a decade.  As a result, at the
same time we're seeing Alex Ross putting his spin on characters like the
Fighting Yank over in Project Superpowers, Hite gives us a glimpse at what
might have happened had H.P. Lovecraft put his own spin on these pulpish
superheroes.  Consider this to be Mythos-flavored Golden Age superheroism
rather than superhero-flavored Lovecraft, though...it's not really suitable
for running "straight" Call of Cthulhu in the True20 system.  It also needs
some work to use anyway, since the guy who did the stats (it wasn't Hite
himself) violated the rules in several places, mainly seeming unable to
properly assign Power Levels (i.e. it doesn't matter if a guy only spent 30
points, if his Attack is +5 and his Damage is +4, he's PL5, not PL2).  And
yes, it includes SAN loss rules for M&M 2nd Edition, and some advice on
tweaking them to suit your game.  Recommended.  $9.95 PDF download from Ronin
Arts, http://www.roninarts.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=508

     Conan #49: Dark Horse - The villains are laid out more clearly,
motivations established, and survivors revealed.  Pretty much just gearing up
for the Big Boom in #50.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99
     The Scream #4: Dark Horse - Eh, so-so.  It ends with a sort of
resolution, enough to tie things off if there's never another issue, but it's
only a small resolution.  Very much a chapter one sort of thing.  Aside from
the plot, which was unremarkable, the scripting and art were also
unremarkable.  Neutral. $2.99
     Transformers Spotlight #12 (Arcee): IDW - The Monstructor plot threads
get picked up again, and while Arcee is the title spotlight, Fortress Maximus
is as much in the focus as she is.  Furman sets up a contrast of cold justice
and hot vengeance, although the "Arcee as psycho bitch" characterization
doesn't exactly thrill me.  At least Furman provides sufficient motivation
for it here.  Milne's art gets pretty busy in places, although most of the
bits that are hard to follow are supposed to be.  There's still too much love
for harsh lighting contrast by the coloring team, though.  Anyway, warm up
the MSTing circuits, Grimlock's getting the Spotlight next month.  ;)  Mildly
recommended.  $3.99 (I got Cover A)
     Prince Of Heroes vol 1 #2 (of 3): Antarctic Press - This still needs
captions to indicate timing.  Also, this issue reads as HORRIBLY padded.
Loads of splash pages that really don't make use of the extra space, that
would work far better as part of a 4-6 panel layout.  Sure, it's extra-sized
so there's still an issue's worth of story (although Espinosa cops to writing
for the trade in the opening notes), but it felt even shorter than a regular
issue.  My disappointment from #1 continues unabated, and odds are #3 will be
my last issue of this title.  Neutral.  $3.50/$3.50Cn
     Official Handbook of the Gold Digger Universe #14: Antarctic Press -
Subtracto through Theodore Diggers (who gets a big entry, as one might
expect).  Several team entries this time, and somewhat heavier than usual on
the minor villains/antagonists.  Recommended.  $3.95/$3.95Cn
     Gold Digger v3 #93: Antarctic Press - Back to Brit's homecoming voyage,
with a big revelation, a tie-in to recent issues, and a lot of threads
starting to come together.  It does kinda pull a "tell rather than show" on
concurrent events in the Earthbound plot, though.  Recommended.
     Green Arrow and Black Canary #5: DC - A skip-jump through Ollie's life,
revealing the Truth (until it gets retconned again) about his relationship
(or lack thereof) with Connor.  The cover is not only disingenuous, it's
outright incorrect, though.  Oh, and while Amanda Connor is listed as the
only artist on the cover, she only does the cover...the interior is Andre
Coelho (who does a pretty good job).  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Justice League of America #18: DC - Ick.  Really getting tired of what
Benes passes off as art.  Burnett's story is pretty good, though.  The backup
by McDuffie and Meyers focuses on Red Tornado, so no resolution on Vixen
yet.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     The Brave and the Bold #10: DC - Superman and Silent Knight, plus
Aquaman and the original roster Teen Titans.  Two more tales of Megistus's
transtemporal scavenger hunt, one opposed by design and the other by
happenstance, with the Challs wrapped around it.  Fun to see Perez drawing
the original Teen Titans.  :)  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Shadowpact #22: DC - The Unbound arc comes to a finale, and Sturges does
a pretty good job of it.  Winslade's art is a bit off in places, every so
often it looks like he was rushed on the inking.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn 
     Marvel Illustrated the Iliad #3 (of 8): Marvel - The takeaway lesson
from this installment is that Zeus is a fickle jerk.  And that sometimes a
deus ex machina means that the plot makes no sense.  Basically, the battle
seesaws all over the place as Zeus throws his weight around and forbids
anyone of the other gods from enjoying the same privilege.  Short form: this
is a part of the story that usually gets left out of adaptations, and for
good reason.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Amazing Spider-Man #551: Marvel - Guggenheim's month wraps up with
Menace driven off and possibly thwarted, but not without giving Jackpot loads
of angst.  And I'm starting to get a Rose/Thorn vibe here.  Well-scripted,
though.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     The Order #8: Marvel - The first arc may be over, but we're not done
with the framing interview trick.  Mulholland Black this time.  The main
story doesn't dwell exclusively on her, though, being mainly about the
S.H.A.D.O.W. plot.  And a clever use of compatible technologies.  Annoyingly,
just as I decide to start picking this book up, it's announced it'll be
ending at #12.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Marvel Adventures Avengers #21: Marvel - Sumerak and Guara again.  It's
time to bring in the Russian contingent, with a Crimson Dynamo and Black
Widow story, which has echoes of both mainstream Marvel and the Ultimate
versions.  A bit narrate-y, but good.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Cable & Deadpool #50: Marvel - Final issue.  Still with crapy Skottie
Young cover art, it's like he banged out a dozen or so in one afternoon and
they're still working through the pile.  However, inside is pure gold.
Seriously, Deadpool and a host of guest stars versus Venom-symbionted
dinosaurs in Manhattan?  Hard to go wrong with that premise, and Nicieza goes
quite right with it.  Strongly recommended.  $3.99/$4.05Cn
     Invincible #48: Image - While there's a little bit of the usual personal
life stuff here, it's mainly one of Kirkman's occasional forays into showing
the foreground action, as a villain takes down pretty much everyone in the
extended universe (including Savage Dragon, Dynamo5 and Freak Force on top of
the usual Kirkman stable).  Recommended.  $2.99

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 2/20:

     Still missing and might come in: Fallen Angel #15, PS238 #25, (both of
these have been covered in my CBR Special), Sky Sharks #2, Gamma Files,
Transformers Devastation #5 (of 6). 
     The Order TPB came in, but it's only #1-5 rather than #1-7, so I left it
in my pull for now.  I'll get it and scavenge the intervening issues over the
weekend, dropped enough cash on comics today as it is.


"Sometimes Virtue Isn't Exactly A Virtue" Award to Conan #49

"Feel The Power Of My Utter Lameness!" Award to The Scream #4

"The Fangs Are A Bit Much" Award to Transformers Spotlight #12 (Arcee)

"Not Even The Only Comic I Read Today With A Pantsed Lady Brawler" Award to
     Prince of Heroes vol 1 #2 (of 3)

"No, That's Not Megatron On Next Issue's Cover" Award to Official Handbook 
     of the Gold Digger Universe #14

"But Do They Have Smudburgers?" Award to Gold Digger v3 #93

"Fashion Show In Green" Award to Green Arrow and Black Canary #5

"A Head-Shrinker Got To Bronze Tiger On The Cover" Award to Justice League
     of America #18

"That Impurity Isn't Yellow" Award to The Brave and the Bold #10

"I Just Wonder WHERE She Kept It" Award to Shadowpact #22

"A Charioteer's Lot Is Not A Happy One" Award to Marvel Illustrated: The 
     Iliad #3 (of 8)

"Waiting For Him To Get Called 'Porker'" Award to Amazing Spider-Man #551

"They're Doing Really Cool Things With USB 3.0" Award to The Order #8

"I Still Prefer The MkV" Award to Marvel Adventures Avengers #21

"Sumo Slammin'" Award to Cable & Deadpool #50

"BUT NOTHING IS BENEATH ME!" Award to Invincible #48

     Dave Van Domelen, "And you just HAPPENED to have a roll of duct tape on
your person?"  "I always carry duct tape.  What -- don't you?" - Nightmaster
and Enchantress, Shadowpact #22
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