January 16, 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.
Time for the new semester to start.  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 -

     Damage Control #1 (of 3): Marvel - On the one hand, McDuffie's writing.
On the other hand, Damage Control as a property has been seriously messed up
lately.  Fortunately, the first order of business seems to be "fix Damage
Control."  And it's looking great so far.  I do kinda suspect that McDuffie
has written himself into the series as one of the characters, though.  :)
Strongly recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Young Avengers Presents Patriot #1 (of 6): Marvel - Brubaker and Medina
on this.  The story here is mainly about two angry young men trying to figure
out what it means to uphold Captain America's legacy, and neither is sure if
they're on the right track, but that doesn't stop them from trying.  I guess
each issue will focus on one member of the team (I didn't read the solicits,
but since the title in the indicia is just "Young Avengers Presents" that
would seem to make sense), before a hopeful eventual relaunch of Young
Avengers.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     The Order #7: Marvel - Last issue to go in the first TPB, and we're back
to a focus on Hellrung.  It's a fairly quiet climax, but a character arc
climax nonetheless.  I've ordered the TPB, I'll let y'all know how well the
story works all together.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     She-Hulk v2 #25: Marvel - Jen bitches and angsts a lot while weirdness
rains down all around her.  In the backup, PAD digs up an obscure old Shulkie
foe and puts him on a quest for meaning or somesuch.  :)  Finally, a second
backup has Jen beating the crud out of the fourth wall.  This oversize issue
wraps with a revised OHOTMU entry for Jen.  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): Atomic Robo #4
(of 6) 

     Ninja High School #156: Antarctic Press - Told in the form of Kuro's
letters to various members of his rather large nuclear family, a sort of
illustrated novella.  A lot of it is summary of what readers already know
(unless they're new this month, of course), but a trio of important new
developments arise as well.  Recommended.  $2.99/$2.99Cn
     Transformers Devastation #4 (of 6) (TF G1 #20): IDW - Got the Su cover
A.  Lots of explosions this issue, and as kinda expected the threats seen
last issue partially cancelled each other out in the short term.  There's
also some cliffhanging regarding the human cast.  In any case, things are
moving along at a decent pace, although it feels like there's no real
connection between the two main storylines (Sixshot story and
Headmasters)...this wouldn't be an issue if they just called this an
unlimited series, but for a "miniseries" to have two parallel arcs that don't
connect to each other is bad storytelling.  As Transformers #20 it'd be
recommended, but as Devastation #4 (of 6) it's only mildly recommended.
     Fallen Angel #23: IDW - The kid from last issue isn't around, but then
again, we're all about jumping around in the timeline for this arc, it looks
like, and he may not have arrived yet.  Hard to say.  Mildly recommended.
     Salvation Run #3 (of 7): DC - Yes, Diamond is capable of shipping
reorders in a timely fashion.  They just don't bother for smaller publishers.
Anyway, more crowd scene, but the lines finally get drawn in the conflict
established in #2.  And we find that someone else has been keeping their eyes
on the project besides the shadowing forces behind the planet itself.  No
outstanding moments, but a good read.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Justice League of America #17: DC - McDuffie's stretched a tad thin
lately, so Alan Burnett is running the lead story while McDuffie does a
backup focusing on What The Heck Is Up With Vixen.  The lead story ties in to
Salvation Run in a nice example of how you can have a big event impacting
other titles *without* having to slap a banner across the cover of every book
involved or derail ongoing stories.   Recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Shadowpact #21: DC - The details from last issue's Big Reveal are filled
in, the Earthbound side of the team tries to get in on the action, and
Detective Chimp trolls furries.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Booster Gold #6: DC - And here's the big payoff, the mission to save Ted
Kord, despite #5 being all about how it would be impossible.  I suspect Johns
is experimenting here with recompressed storytelling, the kind of chop and
change seen in older comics (and Saturday Matinee serials), but I'm
ambivalent regarding the results here.  I think he's shifting gears too
quickly now.  Anyway, at least he seems content to not pull the rug out again
right away, and there's actually a resolution that gets to stand until the
end of the issue.  :)  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Marvel Illustrated: the Iliad #2 (of 8): Marvel - This covers the
abortive fight between Menelaus and Paris, and then a whole lotta the gods
being utter bastards.  As is their wont, really.  Achilles is still sulking
in his tent, waiting for his cue.  Roy Thomas seems to have chosen to
emphasize in this issue that when the gods get too involved it just means
pain for all involved and little to no resolution...best to let the mortals
work things out themselves.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn 
     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
     Amazing Spider-Man #547: Marvel - Brand New Day continues.  Well, at
least we get Spider-Man in costume this issue, and Mr. Negative doesn't stay
in the shadows.  No decompressed pacing from Slott, here.  The "out" for the
cliffhanger is telegraphed a bit too obviously, hopefully it's revealed next
issue that Spider-Man figured it out himself before getting tangled up in
said cliffhanger.  :)  No backup stories, I wonder if we'll get a $3.99 issue
once a month with all the backups, or if the ones that bear continuing will
just get continued in the main part of the book.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn 
     Marvel Adventures Avengers #20: Marvel - Sumerak and Guara on creative
duty this time.  Once again, they're retelling the origin of an existing
villain, with enough twists to make it fresh, but with enough left the same
that it's pretty obvious who the bad guy is going to be.  Not at the level of
Parker's issues, but still a good read.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Atomic Robo #4 (of 6): Red 5 Comics - Most of this issue's main story is
a flashback to Atomic Robo's adventure on Mars, with a couple pages devoted
to the present day Egyptian brouhaha, and a backup in which Edison uses the
ghost of Rasputin in an attempt on Tesla's life...heh.  This issue is all
about the cutthroat world of science, man.  Generally a quieter issue,
though, probably on purpose for pacing reasons.  Not as full of pure win as
previous issues, so while it's still a very good comic, I'm breaking the
streak and only giving it a "recommended".  Best of the week, though.  $2.95
     Banana Sunday TPB: Oni Press - A friend recommended this the other week,
so I orderd a used library copy off Amazon (specifically the Sno Isle
Regional Library).  The original miniseries came out in 2005, and the
collection in 2006, so obviously you're not likely to find this on the
shelves of your local comic shop (but hey, it might be in your local library
if you're not in Sno Isle...Dewey number 741.5 NIBOT 2006).  It's your basic
"first week at a new high school, with SF/Fantasy elements added on" story,
in which a teenaged girl and her three talking primates (a superintelligent
orangutan, a romantically enthusiastic spider monkey who seems to be visually
based on the teen heartthrob phase Frank Sinatra went through, and a
dimwitted but supremely strong midget gorilla) arrive at a new school and try
to fit in.  It sounds odd to say this, but the plot is pretty standard for
its type...and yes, there's a type here, albeit more found in manga than in
American comics.  But the execution is very good, and it's worth hunting this
down.  I know there are still plenty of cheap used copies on Amazon, for
instance.  :)  Recommended.  $11.95 new, I got mine for about $9 with

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 1/16:

     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.


"The Pen Still Needs To Work On Beating Out That Sword" Award to Ninja
     High School #156

"Who Says Only The Decepticons Get To Teleport Away When The Going Gets
     Tough?" Award to Transformers Devastation #4 (of 6)

"Beating A Death Horse" Award to Fallen Angel #23

"Peace Or Else" Award to Salvation Run #3 (of 7)

"I Still Don't Know What Comes From Beyond" Award to Justice League of
     America #17

"Stupid Magical Viral Meme" Award to Shadowpact #21

"Do The Beetles Get To Have Lanterns?" Award to Booster Gold #6

"Oooh, Dissed By Sarpedon" Award to Marvel Illustrated: the Iliad #2 (of 8)

"And What's That Dryptosaur Doing With That Struthiomimus?" Award to Cable &
     Deadpool #49

"Okay, Someone In The Beak Household Is A Mega-Geek To Know About That
     Particular Spider-Man Costume" Award to New Warriors #8

"And At Least He's Not Yet Reduced To *Wearing* That Costume" Award to 
     Amazing Spider-Man #547

"I Guess Whirlwind Was Too Busy To Be The Stalker This Time" Award to 
     Marvel Adventures Avengers #20

"Between This And Futurama, Hawking Just Can't Catch A Break" Award to
     Atomic Robo #4 (of 6)

"Tripitaka Sympathizes With Your Plight, Miss" Award to Banana Sunday TPB

     Dave Van Domelen, "Or do we truly WANT the phrase 'ROBOT PORNOGRAPHY' to
be broadcast across the COSMOS to be some distant, advanced ALIEN
civilization's FIRST impression of mankind?  I rather thought NOT." - Carl
Sagan, Atomic Robo #4 (of 6)
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