July 5, 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.
Dryer broke again, air drying clothes now.  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 - 

     Omega Flight #4 (of 5): Marvel - Big running fight scene with decent
banter and minimal angst.  Looks like they skipped the inking step on the
art, thought.  Decent enough, even if a few characters were Acting
Appropriately Stupid, to borrow a term from It Came From The Late Late Late
Show.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99/$3.75Cnn
     X-Factor #21: Marvel - A whole bunch of threads flying around this
issue, to the point it feels double sized...and that's before hitting the
Endangered Species backup (which was okay, but nothing to inspire me to pick
up all the other books it's in).  Recommended.  $2.999/$3.75Cn
     Deadpool/GLI Summer Fun Spectacular: Marvel - Several short stories by
Slott and Nicieza.  Not all are great, but all are good.  The commentary on
Civil War/Initiative is a tad heavy-handed, but the matters being commented
on don't really lend themselves to subtlety, eh?  Plus, Slott and Nicieza do
remind us that there's safe pockets out there for fun characters.  Strongly
recommended.  $3.99/$4.75Cn

     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): PS238 #24

     Outsiders #49: DC - CheckOut is finally over, yay.  Yet another issue of
running around in secret bases while Egg Fu does dastardly things, wrapped up
with a Deus Ex Machina and then setting up a New Direction.  Feh.  Outsiders
is apparently going weekly for #50-54, so I'll know pretty quickly if I'm
dropping it (I'm THIS close to doing so already).  Avoid.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Aquaman Sword of Atlantis #53: DC - Heh.  Williams is definitely getting
in the groove here, and while McManus's art is a bit cartoony at times, he
has a good storytelling style.  We also see the usual "Well, nobody TOLD me
my powers weren't supposed to do that" sort of inventiveness that often comes
with a newbie picking up the torch, the sort of thing we should've seen
earlier.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Welcome to Tranquility #8: DC/Wildstorm - With the big arc over, it's
time for some vignettes.  There's three stories here, with four artists
(Googe does one page of framing, then Pearson, Chriscross and Jeanty do the
main stories), all overlapping at least a little.  They focus on the Lindo
sisters (who grow up to be the sheriff and a sidekick), the ghoulish
cryptkeeper guy, and Emoticon.  All are origin stories of a sort, some more
obviously than others (the Lindo story is at the subtle end).  Recommended.
     New Avengers/Transformers #1 (of 4): Marvel - Stuart Moore writes, Tyler
Kirkham pencils.  Takes place at a divergence point before Civil War.  Mostly
the Avengers this issue, but parallels to the "standard operating procedure"
of IDW Decepticons are in place.  All told, while it's not actually
disappointing yet, neither am I really filled with confidence for the rest of
the series.  It feels like this entire issue should have been the first eight
pages of the story, not the first twenty or so.  It's especially dangerous to
spend so much time writing people out of character before revealing that
there's a reason beyond "hack writer".  Mildly recommended.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     New Warriors #2: Marvel - Cute Heroes reference.  Anyway, this book
seems to be headed in the direction of an uncommon but not unheard-of plot
hook...seeking out those with experience as supers but who lost their powers,
and offering them new powers.  Kind of like the Darkstars snatching up
de-ringed Green Lanterns.  It's still moving kinda slowly, but in a promising
direction.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     Thor #1: Marvel - If God did not exist, Man would have to create Him.
That seems to be a central conceit of this issue.  JMS has been steeped
enough in mythology through the decades that I don't doubt he can pull this
off, and he's had enough comics experience now that the pacing should be
acceptable.  The writing is  both portentious and pretentious, but isn't that
about right for Thor?  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     Ms. Marvel #17: Marvel - Things fall apart, the center cannot hold
because it has this big gene scrambler bomb strapped to it...in some ways,
AIM got a big boost to its "interestingness" levels.  On the other hand, it's
not like any of the other many many AIM revamps of the past decade have
stuck, who's to say that a good one will have any more luck than the bad
ones? Still, recommended.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     Irredeemable Ant-Man #10: Marvel - Given that #12 is the last issue, one
might expect a World War Hulk tie-in to be a desperation move that failed.
Well, not really.  It manages to tie in without being gimmicky, and it does
set up the endgame nicely.  Oh, and lest anyone think Black Fox is being a
cad, the Wii *does* belong to him.  :)  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     Cable & Deadpool #42: Marvel - Another delayed book.  Horrible cover,
and the flashback scenes are done in way too Liefeldian a style, but the
Deadpool scenes are worth reading.  The Cable scenes, both flashback and non,
tend to be a bit too plodding, although his introduction of Gambit is good.
Recommended.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #29: Marvel - Peter David's back on the
book, and Pop Mhan's with him.  Not that I really like Mhan's art, but at
least he's "broken in" as it were.  :)  The colorist missed a memo, though,
as there's one fairly important panel where someone's supposed to be stone
hued, and he isn't.  Decent story, although the nature of the villain
requires some selective forgetting to work as a "Kid Spider-Man" foe (as
tends to happen when you use an old Thor villain).  Recommended.
     Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Mystic Arcana: The Book of
Marvel Magic: Marvel - Only delayed by about a month.  :/  Anyway, this is
arcane in more than one sense, as most of the big mystic characters have
already been covered in A-Z or one of the other recent books, so we get a
bunch of obscure characters and events, which suits me fine.  Very few
characters get even two pages, and there's no 8 page chunks like Iron Man in
the Mighty Avengers Most Wanted.  :)  There's also pages devoted to types of
mystic artifact (swords, talismen, tomes) and an appendix covering the less
famous ones that didn't make it into the main entries.  Recommended.
     Transformers Spotlight: Galvatron (#8): IDW - I got cover B, by Milne.
Both were good, though.  Set shortly after Escalation #6, this provides a
brand new origin for Galvatron that does NOT involve him being an alteration
of Megatron.  Major points for just that.  :)  It also has a whole bunch of
Cybertronian mode Autobots, AND several pages of Guidi designs so we can
clearly ID who's who and what their modes are (in the event they don't
transform in the story).  There's still plenty of vague spots left open, but
that's because it ties into the whole mystery plot Furman's been weaving
around several of the stories in Spotlight (notably Nightbeat's issue).  The
actual story has some weaknesses, largely due to the too-coy nature of some
of the storytelling, but nothing fatal.  Recommended.  $3.99
     Dynamo5 #5: Image - Starting the "The Chrysalis Affair" arc, although
I'd really say that started in #4.  Almost entirely hero-side stuff this
time, very little on the personal life side, although Scatterbrain gets some
fun business.  Recommended.  $3.50/$3.75Cn (hmm, exchange rate's about to
     Gold Digger v3 #87: Antarctic Press - Publication pace is certainly
picking up!  One of the problems with a deep and rich backstory is that it's
possible to forget to remind new readers of what's up.  Last issue's Ayane
scene turns out not to have been much of a revelation, as the "Last Issue"
box suggests that Ayane's mysterious past was already known.  Then again,
given how none of this is actually in her OHOTGDU entry (the entries this
week for Jeeves and Jarvis, her manservants, do contain this info, though),
maybe Perry simply meant to say more last issue than he did, or meant for the
Last Issue box to say less than it did.  He can be a bit coy that way, both
re-revealing the known as if it were known and continuing after an opaque
scene as if it were all spelled out.  Anyway, that aside, a bunch of stuff
does get brought together this issue in what I'm presuming now IS an actual
revelation about Zero, and all my complaints at the head of the review are
really about last issue.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.45Cn  [Later note: I'm told
that #86 was supposed to be the Big Reveal about Ayane, in which case it
didn't really work.]
     Official Handbook of the Gold Digger Universe #7: Antarctic Press - Jade
Wizards through Kryn.  Thanks to the idiosyncratic alphabetizing system and
similar first names, both of the Diggers parentals (Jon and Julia) get to be
in the same book.  Recommended.  $3.95/$4.55Cn  [A few later corrections: the
proper title has "Gold Digger Sourcebook" at the start, and D'oh, that's what
I get for making a clever comment before actually reading the entries...Jon
is Julia's father-in-law.]
     PS238 #24: Do Gooder Press - Some of the Charles stuff gets wrapped up,
although it's more an excuse to toss out even more plot threads on the eve of
an alien invasion.  :)  Some really good Full Frontal Nerdity and Nodwick
strips, too.  Aaron Williams is in fine form.  Strongly 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 7/5:

     Still missing and might come in: Fallen Angel #15, Invincible #43.  Add
Miki Falls: Summer.
     Cancelled by Diamond (again): Dr. Debunko: the Short Stories, Devil's
Panties #7-8.
     Passed on intentionally: Action #851, Astounding Wolf-Man #2.


"Oh, And The Deus Ex Machina Is Telegraphed On The Cover" Award to Outsiders

"Been Chatting With Buddy, Have We?" Award to Aquaman Sword of Atlantis #53

"A Hunka Hunka Burning...Ew" Award to Welcome to Tranquility #8

"Imagine How PISSED Doom Must Be" Award to New Avengers/Transformers #1 (of

"Waste Not, Want Not" Award to New Warriors #2

"You Wouldn't Think Non-Existence Would Get Old" Award to Thor #1

"Head Of Household" Award to Ms. Marvel #17

"Internal Affairs" Award to The Irredeemable Ant-Man #10 (of 12)

"Sunfire Needs To Sue His Tailor" Award to Cable & Deadpool #42

"The Sacrifices We Make In The Name Of Art" Award to Marvel Adventures 
     Spider-Man #29

"Practically An Alpha Flight Handbook" Award to OHOTMU Mystic Arcana: The
     Book of Marvel Magic

"Unissons?" Award to Transformers Spotlight: Galvatron

"+5 Synergy Bonus To Taunt" Award to Dynamo5 #5

"Ninjas Are @$$holes" Award to Gold Digger v3 #87

"Hit Points: ALL OF THEM" Award to the Kraken in OHOTGDU #7

"A Noble Passion" Award to PS238 #24

     Dave Van Domelen, "Apparently torn purple pants WERE the best he could
do -- a tiara?  REALLY?" - Ant-Man on the Hulk's sartorial sense,
Irredeemable Ant-Man #10
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