January 9, 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.
Sometimes not email-blocking is a mistake.  Rants, Capsules can be found on my 
             homepage, http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/Rants 

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 -

     Cable & Deadpool #49: Marvel - Ka-Zar and Zabu fill in for Cable this
issue.  And we find out the horror that is Brainchild's porn collection!  And
it just gets better in the windup for the final issue.  Recommended.
     New Warriors #8: Marvel - Well, looks like Beak and Angel's kids didn't
get DeciMated into norms.  More of a philosophical conflict issue than a
physical conflict one, although Midnight's Fire's hair has a bit of a
conflict with physics.  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): None.

     Transformers Beast Wars the Ascending #4 (of 4): IDW - Well, the pile of
cameos in search of a plot comes to an end.  It may be the final issue, but
apparently Furman sees that as no reason not to introduce another dozen or so
characters.  While it's not quite as anticlimactic as humanly possible, it's
in the vicinity.  And what's up with Hardhead being a Herald of Shockaract?
Artistically...ehn.  The credits only list a rotating coloring team, but the
style shifts so radically that either some of the colorists were working from
very rough pencils, or there's an uncredited penciler or two in the mix with
Guidi.  Oh, and while Furman wrote both this and the Beast Wars Sourcebook,
he doesn't seem to have worried overmuch about keeping the two consistent.
Neutral...and only that high because it has Bump.  $3.99
     X-Factor #27: Marvel - More Messiah CompleX, whee.  The first few pages
end Madrox and Layla's future trip, and after that it's just a bunch of
crossover dross I have zero interest in.  Can we please be done with the
stupid X-over now?  There's no reason to buy this unless you actually like
the crossover, as I'm sure anything important to the X-Factor cast will be
recapitulated in future issues.  Avoid.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Amazing Spider-Man #546: Marvel - Sometimes following writers leads to
some weird buying choices.  While I find the whole One More Day thing
laughably stupid and ill-advised, I almost always love Slott's work on
Spider-Man (and the rest of hte time merely like it a lot).  However, since
I've at best been on the periphery of Spider-book continuity since, oh, the
1980s (Harry Osborn died?  Huh.), I don't have nearly as much emotional
investment in the now-invalidated stories.  Plus, I choose to see this as
happening on an Earth other than 616 anyway, since that seems a likely later
retcon.  ;)  That out of the way, now to the actual comic.  They're going to
a thrice-monthly gimmick, which means a lot of backup stories to flesh out
the oversized issues.  The main story, by Slott and McNiven, has the running
theme of "You know, I thought this would be a better life, but it isn't."
Appropriate enough, really.  And it ends quite nicely as Peter gets even more
reasons to angst.  The first backup is a two page spread of "the new status
quo", which is concise and answers none of the real questions people have.
Next is a few pages with Jackpot, eminently forgettable both in its
Guggenheim writing and its Land art.  Aunt May's three pages follows, by Gale
and Winslade, and it's quite good.  Finally, a decent three-paged about Harry
Osborn by Zeb Wells and Mike Deodato.  For a new reader, I'd call this a
mixed bag.  Some good stories, but it still seems to assume familiarity with
the old continuity.  And I don't expect anything in this will mollify pissed
off existing readers.  But if you happen to be in a similar position to me
regarding Spider-Man, it's a good read, and I have at least some faith that
Slott will make it a very good read.  $3.99/$4.05Cn
     The Twelve #1 (of 12): Marvel - JMS slips into being a bit too narrate-y
again, as he often does when thing go epic or long timespan, but to be fair
he has a LOT of infodump to deal with, introducing twelve characters who most
readers never heard of before.  Some of the characterization is on the "with
a brick" side off unsubtle, but it's a decent start, and one-note
characterization is better than NO note (i.e. Beast Wars the Ascending's
crowd scenes).  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Gen13 v4 #16: DC/Wildstorm - Oliver's story is pretty good, as the whole
"reality TV" plot continues to advance.  But Sunny Lee's art is...bad.  Oh,
focusing on details it looks good enough, but proportions are all out of
kilter either in ways both subtle and blatant, and it felt overall like
someone with very little talent or experience being "repaired" by inkers and
colorists as best as they could.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Teen Titans Lost Annual #1: DC - Well, Nick Cardy's certainly gotten
pretty good in the past thirty years.  :)  Quick background: four years ago,
Bob "the corny years of the Titans" Haney teamed up with penciller Jay
Stephens and inker Mike Allred to do an Elseworlds Teen Titans story.  It got
shelved, and since then Haney has passed away, but it's finally being
released without the Elseworlds mark on it, with a cover by Cardy (and a
sketchbook of his more recent work from around 2001 in the back).  The
story's high concept is wonderfully loopy, capturing the spirit of the Silver
Age.  However, the allegories are also massively ham-handed, capturing some
of the negative spirit of the Silver Age, and whether Haney's self-paordying
or just relatively unchanging, some of the actual scripting is kinda painful
to read.  Still, it's a fun nostalgia trip, even if it IS nostalgia for a
time before I was born.  Recommended.  $4.99/$5.99Cn
     Green Arrow and Black Canary #4: DC - Well, it opens with a bit of a
science blooper.  Not on the level of bringing a white dwarf star down to
Legion HQ, but...well, it doesn't matter how good Superman's hearing is, he
can't hear you faster than the speed of sound will carry it.  Then again,
Superman this week seems to assume that he can hear people from anywhere on
Earth instantly too, so maybe there's some sort of official handwave in
place.  The rest is mainly Ollie angsting and retconning about Connor.
Fairly well done all things considered, but maudlin nonetheless.  Mildly
recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Superman #672: DC - Well, once Lana gets out of this, she may have a
solution to Lexcorp's financial woes.  A nice elegant solution.  ;) On the
other hand, the transliterated buzzing lisp the Insect Queen has gets old
FAST.  The Chris Kent plot gets a complication that implies Batman overlooked
something important, it'll be interesting to see if he expresses any chagrin
for being wrong, assuming he actually was.  Mildly recommended.

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 1/9:

     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.  Add Salvation Run #3.  Not Diamond's fault, though,
orders shot up after #1 came out and the store didn't have enough ordered
(and this week was forward-alphabetical, so I got the short end).


"No, The Sourcebook Doesn't List Hardhead As A Herald...Or Hellscream, For
     That Matter, But At Least That One Makes SENSE" Award to Transformers
     Beast Wars the Ascending #4 (of 4)

"'Til Death Do Us Part" Award to X-Factor #27

"Serious As A Heart Attack" Award to Amazing Spider-Man #546

"It's Called Nair, Look Into It, Cap" Award to The Twelve #1 (of 12)

"When Come Back, Bring Pie" Award to Gen13 v4 #16

"Free Love Isn't Free" Award to Teen Titans Lost Annual #1

"Lies, Damned Lies, and Retcons" Award to Green Arrow and Black Canary #4

"Zeriously, Thiz Iz Annoying" Award to Zuperman #672

     Dave Van Domelen, "And there was no way even the world's most determined
virgin could keep up a pair of thigh-high stockings without garters.  Unless
stockings had changed suddenly and dramatically." - The Phantom Detective,
starting to think something's up, The Twelve #1
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