July 11, 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.
Sometimes bitching to Corporate works.  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 - 

     Captain America #28: Marvel - Bits and pieces of a half dozen plot
threads inch forward.  So-so.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     The Order #1: Marvel - Here's what Kitson left LSH to do.  That it's an
Initiative team taking the name of the "evil Defenders who conquered the
world to ease the workload in protecting it" is hardly a good omen.  Fraction
tells a decent story about a sort of Morituri-lite team with a deliberately
rotating tech-enhanced team that's kinda the other face of what the new New
Warriors are doing.  There's a somewhat suspicious One Year Gap in it,
though.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     Avengers the Initiative #4: Marvel - World War Hulk tie-in, so it has
double the event bannerage.  And it actually has an event of importance to
the main plot, looks like.  The book's own threads do continue, at least, so
it's not a total sacrifice to the crossover beast.  But neither is it all
that good.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99/$3.75Cn

     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): Deadpool/GLI
Summer Spectacular

     Superman #664: DC - The overarching theme of this issue is "what to do
in case Superman gets mind-controlled," something we've seen a bit of in JLU,
among other places.  It's a bit too calm and clinical, but otherwise works.
Recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Justice Society of America #7: DC - Lightning "Saga" epilogue, although
it's really picking up on the pre-LS storyline with the latest Steel legacy.
Superman chatting with Thom may get the cover, but it's really just a few
pages here and there.  Citizen Steel gets a nice bit of origin wrapup,
though, and I very much appreciated the "stop angsting and get in the game"
attitude Power Girl brought to the table.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Shadowpact #15: DC - Doctor Gotham sets up and then gets a
confrontation, which ends rather...dramatically.  Suspiciously so, in fact.
A bit on the talky side, but amusing talk.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Gen13 v4 #10: DC/Wildstorm - Welcome to Tranquility!  Don't mind the
giant robots.  ;)  Okay, wrong Tranquility (for those scratching their heads,
much of the new Transformers movie is set in the fictional L.A. civic of
Tranquility), although this one has a Griffith Observatory too,
interestingly.  No relation.  Anyway, Simone's shifting narrator motif
continues to start out unclear, taking a few pages to establish firmly who's
doing the narration.  The start of the issue involves the trappings of
superherodom, and we end on that staple of cliches, the hero-on-hero (more or
less, although the Liberty Snots aren't particularly heroic) fight.  A fun
issue about legacies, both splashy and quiet.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn 
     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.  To expand on that, since someone quibbled after the First Look
last week, I mean it's obvious that Kolins has very tight pencils, which were
just scanned in and darkened by the colorist, rather than going with a
separate inking step.  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
     Invincible #43: Image - Heh.  Yes, Invincible is really about the life
between the fight scenes for a young superhero (which is why the fights are
often compressed to splash pages), but this issue really presses the point.
Sure, there's evil alien empires and cyborgs and stuff, but the real
conflicts revolve around whether Mark should drop out of college, and his
dating life.  :)  A fun book.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.20Cn
     Stephen Colbert's Tek Jansen #1 (of 5): Oni Press - And it's only what,
four months late?  Yep, solicited for March.  Anyway, it's out now, with two
stories between the matte cardstock covers.  Now, there's always a danger in
this sort of adaptation...you really can't fully capture the cheesy animation
and bizarre voice delivery of the Tek Jansen cartoon shorts in a static,
silent form, so part of the essence is lost.  Trying to be too "straight" of
an adaptation will lead to it falling flat, so each writer in this rotating
anthology needs to bring something new to the party.  The fact that the
tradition of the shorts favors starting in media res and ending on
cliffhangers that are never resolved does help, although I kinda hope some of
the things introduced in the first story (such as a sort of caged demonwolf)
recur.  Layman and Peyer definitely bring that essential spark in their lead
story, but Massey's second story falls a bit flat.  Overall, though,
recommended.  $3.99.
     Miki Falls: Summer: Harper Teen - Had to get this at Waldenbooks,
Diamond still doesn't seem to want to ship this title.  In this installment,
Miki gets deeper into the mystical reality that she stumbled onto in Spring,
and deeper into other things as well.  Complications a-plenty appear, but
enough good things also happen that in spite of the way Spring started (with
Miki falling), it's not certain if this one's going the way of comedy or
tragedy.  And while Miki seems to have been put in an impossible situation by
the end of the book, a few "outs" have already been brought up, although they
come with strings...nay, bridge cables attached.  Veers a little too much
into sitcom "anxiety humor" at times for my tastes, but generally good.
Recommended.  $7.99/$9.99Cn (168 pages)

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 7/12:

     Still missing and might come in: Fallen Angel #15
     Cancelled by Diamond (again): Dr. Debunko: the Short Stories, Devil's
Panties #7-8.


"Could You Look A Little MORE Crypto-Fascist (Er, Krypto-Fascist)?" Award to
     Superman #664

"But A Manwich Is A Meal!" Award to Justice Society of America #7

"As Long As There's No Nanospore Thingies To Ensure No One Can Rebuild"
     Award to Shadowpact #15

"Touched By An Angel" Award to Gen13 v4 #10

"Why Does He Even BOTHER With The Pistol?" Award to Omega Flight #4 (of 5)

"Hungry Like A Wolf" Award to X-Factor #21

"Poor Niels" Award to Deadpool/GLI Summer Spectacular

"Huh, Just Realized There's No Backup Story" Award to Invincible #43

"Equality's Not All It's Cracked Up To Be" Award to Stephen Colbert's Tek
     Jansen #1 (of 5)

"Time's Arrow" Award to Mike Falls: Summer (of Winter)

     Dave Van Domelen, "Even the freakin' WAITRESS gots a superhero name." -
Grunge, shortly before picking "Grunge" as a codename, Gen13 v4 #10
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