January 30, 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.
Warm weekend, cold week, good ordering.  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 -

     Annihilation Conquest #4 (of 6): Marvel - Torture and plans of genocide
and a few quips here and there.  So-so.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Clandestine #1 (of 5): Marvel - Does a good job of laying out who they
are and what they're about, and of course the Davis/Farmer art is
lovely...but I just don't find it interesting enough to buy into.
     Omega the Unknown #5 (of 10): Marvel - Oooookay, they named a fast food
franchise in here "Butter Dog".  If you don't know what that refers to, do
NOT google it if you squick easily.  :)  Other than that, the weirdness keeps
going much as before.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Ms. Marvel #24: Marvel - The Brood arc wraps up reasonably well, and
Stack gets one good panel.  Then we dive into the very implausible (in light
of the arc JUST FINISHED) Secret Invasion tie-in revelation.  Recommended
other than the last page.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     The Twelve #2 (of 12): Marvel - This one is about settling in.  Not
everyone gets focus, and a lot of it shows how Golden Age heroes could be
jerks (not talking feet of clay revisionism here, just Superdickery kinds of
things).  Presumably we'll get the rest of the cast next issue.  It IS driven
home how this isn't a team, though.  Not yet, and maybe not ever.  Just a
bunch of extreme people thrown together by fate and then stranded in a future
none of them are really ready for...although some think they are.
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): Miki Falls

     Project Superpowers #0: Dynamite Entertainment - Originally solicited as
just Superpowers, I guess they ran into a problem with DC's Super-Powers
title trademarks (now being used on an action figure line).  Of course, the
cover just has a big stylized S, so even though I emailed my shop to be aware
of the title change, it still didn't get put in my pull, since the cover
title was "S".  D'oh!  Like The Twelve, this takes a bunch of Golden Age
characters and revives them.  And since this IS Dynamite, there's five
variant covers, most of them retailer incentives.  I got the right side of
the wraparound, the one with Blue Beetle (the Golden Age one, but in Kingdom
Come-ish armor in Ross's painted art, and renamed Scarab).  Like The Twelve,
it involves Golden Age heroes trapped for decades and released in the modern
day, in a world that's been going quite wrong (although, since this isn't
Marvel, they have to settle for a page or so of sketching out the ways the
world's in trouble).  Unfortunately, Krueger suffers from excessive coyness.
Only a handful of the large cast is ever named, so if you're not an obscure
comics expert it's just a bunch of unfamiliar costumes with no names.  Bad
form for a #0 issue that's meant to rope in readers...they don't even have a
text page to lay out the real life origins of the characters, and the indicia
is the only place most of them get named.  In other words, this is a book
they seem to assume will sell purely on the art and the creator names
attached, because they don't seem to care if anyone knows who the characters
are.  Very mildly recommended, but cheap enough to give a shot.  $1.00
     Conan #48: Dark Horse - Conan fights zombies all issue, with a few
cutaways to supporting cast either hiding from zombies, making zombies, or
becoming zombies.  A very zombie issue, and also very much the middle part of
the story (most of the establishing stuff is done, but nothing resolves).
Mildly recommended.  $2.99
     The Clockwork Girl #2 (of 4): Arcana -  Very decompressed, lots of slow
travel time pages, but at least we get to see why the tinkerer hates the
biologist.  The art is murky and oversaturated, although it may be
intentionally that way and not the result of a printing goof.  There's a
little of the charm seen in #1, but it's kinda disappointing overall.  Mildly
recommended.  $1.99/$2.50Cn
     Action #861: DC - We get a bit more of an idea what the evil Justice
League's all about this issue, plus the Big Plan (which of course obligingly
falls apart shortly after being revealed).  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn 
     Badger Saves The World #2 (of 5): IDW - Yet another Stooge trio shows up
as part of the badguy organization (Larry, Curly and Moe have something like
a half dozen incarnations in the Badgerverse, it seems), we get to see how
Ham's patron really needs to get with the times, and there's some pretty
broad satire.  Caron's art is a bit off again this issue, and he needs to
work on his Bruce Lee likeness.  Kinda a wobbly issue overall.  Mildly
recommended.  $3.99
     Amazing Spider-Man Swing Shift Director's Cut: Marvel - This is the Free
Comic Book Day story, but un-redacted.  Y'see, they tweaked things back then
so as to not give away all the One More Day spoilers, passing this off as
having been set some time in the past.  Mind you, it doesn't actually fit
seamlessly into Brand New Day *either*, unless it's supposed to be Spidey's
last outing before 100 days more of inactivity (it's established that at the
start of this story he's been semi-retired for long enough that it's affected
Bugle circulation).  Still, it's a good story from Slott and lovely art from
Jimenez.  They follow it with Brevoort's mission statement for Brand New Day
and a sort of year one series bible that includes some info not yet revealed
in Amazing.  The rotating writing teams for the first four months are also
listed, making it clear that The Other was in part a trial run for the
thrice-monthly Amazing Spider-Man, each writer taking a three issue chunk in
rotation, under the guidance of a head writer.  Unfortunately, other than
Slott, the writers in the team don't thrill me (Guggenheim, Gale and Wells).
If you didn't get the FCBD version, it's worth picking this up for the story.
But it's a bit pricey just for the redactions and background info.
     Fantastic Four #553: Marvel - the end of McDuffie's run, and of my
interest (I shun Milllar).  I am amused that time travel ideas I've been
messing with lately are also brought up here, albeit in a slightly different
way, but with the same storytelling purpose: how can a time travel story have
any drama if it can only either branch off a parallel or it's doomed to
linearity?   Recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Avengers Initiative #9: Marvel - Well, we catch up to the in media res
opening of last issuem although I wouldn't be surprised to see more
flashbacks next issue.  The body count is pretty high, although a lot of 'em
are just KIA's word that the injuries were fatal.  Given the nature of his
abilities, it'd be simple enough for him to be sub-fatally injuring them to
make a point.  With most writers, I'd figure they mostly are dead...like the
Titans East Special, we have a big pile of obscure characters who seem to
have "please kill me for dramatic effect" stencilled on their foreheads
(especially large targets are painted on Thor Girl, who doesn't even fit into
the new Thor direction, and Crusader, a heroic Skrull on the eve of a big
evil Skrull crossover).  But even Gage, as co-writer, has a track record of
being more into maiming than killing.  Mildly recommended for now, since it
could be as lame as it reads on first glance as a result of editorial edict,
after all.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Miki Falls Winter: Harper Teen - The final installment in Miki's story
(although Mark Crilley will be doing a series of "prequel" comics on
YouTube).  It actually came out a few weeks ago, but distribution is spotty
and I only just got my copy.  Anyway, this is the Big Finale, and we do catch
up to the opening scene of Spring at a bit past the midpoint, leaving time
for not just one, but three "and then what?" twists, including a rather
effective final fakeout.  Sure, the final result was pretty much what I
expected would happen (there's only so many endings that wouldn't be dramatic
cop-outs, and I didn't think Crilley would take any of the other ones OR a
cop-out), but it's all about the journey.  The twists and turns it takes that
may make it take longer than a straight shot (in fact, there's a literal
recapitulation of that dramatic path in the final run to 'freedom' in the
first half of this volume) but result in resolution rather than mere ending.
A 600+ page fantasy romance novel gets its proper resolution here.  Strongly
recommended.  $7.99/$9.99Cn (I got mine from deepdiscount.com for $7.43 with
free shipping.)

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 1/30:

     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, I have someone sending me a BW Sourcebook though, it just didn't
arrive yet today)), Sky Sharks #2, Gamma Files, Official Handbook to the Gold
Digger Universe #11.  Still no Transformers Animated, so I've given up on
Diamond and ordered it online.


"Oh, And Daredevil Is Renamed 'Devil, It Seems" Award to Project Superpowers

"Good, Bad, I'm The One With The Sword" Award to Conan #48

"Not Exactly A Proud Parent" Award to The Clockwork Girl #2 (of 4)

"You Say 'Sub' Like It's An Insult" Award to Actin Comics #861

"I Want A Crocheted Ambush Bug" Award to DC Nation this month

"Sorry, The Real Thing Is Far Weirder Than 'Chastity Slut'" Award to 
     Badger Saves The World #2 

"Irony?  You're DROWNING In It" Award to the "we don't want Spider-Man to be
     too tainted with the otherworldly" dictum in Amazing Spider Man Swing
     Shift Director's Cut

"This Is Gonna Have Hurt" Award to Fantastic Four #553

"Petard?  You're Hoisting In It" Award to Avengers the Initiative #9

"Leap Of Faith" Award to Miki Falls Winter

     Dave Van Domelen, "Screw it.  This room's for kicking ass.  You come
in.  You got an ass.  It gets kicked." - Ant-Man, Avengers the Initiative #9
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