Standard Disclaimers: Please set appropriate followups. Recommendation does not factor in price. Not all books will have arrived in your area this week. Overshadowing with salience since 1992. 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 #5 (of 6): Marvel - Penultimate part, so time to reveal the Grand Plans and all that, and on the plotting level it's decent. No great shakes overall, though. $2.99/$3.05Cn Nova #11: Marvel - Well, there's an interesting guest appearance, at least. A bit of foreshadowing was also plunked down with a loud thud that Nova managed to not hear, too. $2.99/$3.05Cn X-Factor #29: Marvel - Cute short-circuiting of cliches. And then things go to hell. Well, not literally. Probably. But maybe elsewhere on the Outer Planes. Ah, some badfun times ahead in this arc. Recommended. $2.99/$3.05Cn The Last Defenders #1 (of 6): Marvel - Cute use of the (more or less) same logo style as the New Defenders from the 80s. And using Stark's established high-handed jerkitude to explain the arbitrary nature of the new lineup. But despite the "official" lineup, Casey's keeping the camera on the New Defenders era cast as well. And Blazing Skull is fun. A promising start. Recommended. $2.99/$3.05Cn Capsules: 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 section. Books of Note (Strongly Recommended or otherwise worthy): Comic Book Comics #1 Secret Invasion Saga: Marvel - A freebie, intended to help set up and sell the whole "who's a Skrull?" thing. It's aptly named, using the old Marvel Saga style of narrated clips from various comics to try to place scattered events into a more coherent order (a task made tougher by all the recent "unrevealed history" sort of retcons) under Iron Man's monologue. It does a good job of summing up all the various Skrull events in the Marvel Universe, although it also drives home how strongly they're boxing themselves into a corner on this plot...it'll be very difficult to resolve this without a blatant deus ex machina. Recommended. $0.00 Amazing Spider-Man #552: Marvel - Month three of Brand New Day starts, with Bob Gale (who I don't know from Adam) writing and Phil Jimenez (who I most certainly DO know) drawing. Gale picks up on several of the threads from the first BND issue's backups (soup kitchen, mayoral run, Freak) and the Swing Shift special (the two cops, the bookmaking guy) while continuing the "DB" arc and dealing with fallout from Guggenheim's issues. Not sure what Doctor Bong is up to, though. :) Recommended. $2.99/$3.05Cn [Later note: several people have informed me that Gale is mainly known for his screenwriting.] The Twelve #2 (of 12): Marvel - More alienation. While Fiery Mask is on the cover, he doesn't dominate the issue, it rotates pretty thoroughly through about half the cast. A sort or relationship is growing between the Phantom Reporter and the Black Widow...a weird sort. Recommended. $2.99/$3.05Cn Transformers Spotlight #13 (Mirage): IDW - It's labeled "Cover A" but there doesn't seem to be a "Cover B", heh. Writer George Strayton plays with a variation of the "butterfly who dreams he's a man" conceit, while also setting it up so you can't be sure if it's a dream or interdimensional resonance of some sort. To some extent, this is more of a Punch/Counterpunch story, but it works reasonably well for Mirage too. Guidi's art is sometimes a bit rough in the story flow department, but otherwise good. Recommended. $3.99 Justice League the New Frontier Special #1: DC - Three main stories plus a "making of the DVD" feature at the back. The lead story is labeled "Chapter 10" and is solo Cooke, expanding on the line about having a $70,000 rock to keep the one from Metropolis in line. David Bullock, director of the DVD, draws the second Cooke-written story, in which the NF-verse Teen Titans get their start. Cooke pulls off period lingo without sounding all Haney. The third story, with art by DVD art director J. Bone, is the weak one of the lot, an attempt at camp humor in which Wonder Woman and Black Canary go to a Playboy Club to dispense some justice. There's also a fake ad for other NF-verse comics set in a 1962 that never was. A good read. Recommended. $4.99/$5.99Cn RASL #1: Cartoon Books - I totally missed this being solicited...if it hadn't been reviewed by the Howling Curmudegons, I'd still be ignorant. Fortunately, my store got a second batch in today (having sold out of the first batch last week) so I snagged one. This is Jeff "Bone" Smith's latest project. It's definitely a darker piece than Bone or Monster Society, with a protagonist who's definitely one of the bad'uns, at least to start. There's a somewhat opaque in media res followed by flashbacks sort of structure that lets us know from the beginning that things are going to get rough for our viewpoint character, possibly the impetus for changing his ways. This didn't grab me that strongly, and I've seen the tropes used before ("What Rough Beast" being a prime example), but I'm willing to keep reading for a few more issues. Mildly recommended. $3.50 (no actual price on the book itself, just on the invoice) Scud the Disposable Assassin #22 (of 24): Image - Big slobberknocker of a fight, but since this is all build-up to the apocalypse, "merely" having dozens of heavily armed robots fighting outside a portal to Hell is just an appetizer. Where #21 spent a lot of time setting up the premise and the changes to it, this issue gets down to the business of blowing stuff up and ratcheting up the emotional stakes (the only stakes you really CAN raise when your opening premise is armageddon). Recommended. $3.50 Dynamo5 #11: Image - Three main conflicts this issue. The kidnapping plot set up last issue is resolved, the supervillain team-up that's been building for a few issues sets up for action, and Visionary's mom battles against common sense. The scattered focus hurts the kidnapping plot, which feels like just an excuse to get the team out of the way while the supervillain plot advances. And should we really be rooting for one of the main characters to become an orphan? Mildly recommended. $3.50Cn Comic Book Comics #1: Evil Twin Comics - Billed as a history of comic books told as a comic book, this issue by writer Fred Van Lente (Marvel Adventures Iron Man etc) and artist Ryan Dunleavy (name not ringing a bell for me, sorry) starts with the Yellow Kid and ends with Jack Kirby choosing his famous pen name. Multiple threads weave together, from newspapers to cartoons to pulps as the roots of comics are laid down, and Van Lente sticks to a more thematic organization (like Gonick uses in his Cartoon History of the World/Universe/etc) with the timeline rolling back and forth to follow coherent pieces. Artistically, it's a sometimes deliberately mixed bag, with Dunleavy imitating various styles. The most obvious unevenness is in the choice of how to portray real people...sometimes they're simply abstractions of themselves (like Will Eisner or Joe Simon) while other times they're modifications of their most famous icons (Disney as Mickey Mouse with Walt's face, Dave Fleischer as the inkpot clown he rotoscope-modeled for). Still, despite some minor quibbles, this quarterly (tri-monthly? #2 is blurbed as coming in July) book is well worth reading, even if you think you know all about the history of comics. Strongly recommended. $3.95 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 3/5: Still missing and might come in: Fallen Angel #15, PS238 #25, (both of these have been covered in my CBR Special), Sky Sharks #2, Gamma Files. Awards: "Sucks To Be The Skrull Assigned To Infiltrating The Marvel Zombies Universe" Award to Secret Invasion Saga "Just Say NooOOOAAAAAGH!" Award to Amazing Spider-Man #552 "Someone Get That Man A Faraday Cage" Award to The Twelve #3 (of 12) "It's Either Real Or It's A Dream There's Nothing That Is In Between, Twilight" Award to Transformers Spotlight #13 (Mirage) "Finally, A Reason For Fishnets" Award to Justice League the New Frontier Special #1 "Wanna Arm-RASL?" Award to RASL #1 ">>>>> >>>>> >> >>> >>>> >>>>>>>>>>>" Award to Scud the Disposable Assassin #22 (of 24) "Airbags Deployed" Award to Dynamo5 #11 "Maybe You CAN Eat Medals" Award to Comic Book Comics #1 Dave Van Domelen, "Phony editors trying to hire fake artists...welcome to the comic book industry!" - Comic Book Comics #1, on Victor Fox pseudonymously trying to hire away Will Eisner's pen names thinking that they were real people.Back to the Main Rants Page.
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