March 12, 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.
Screen-off trick worked a charm.  Rants, Capsules can be found on my 

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 #36: Marvel - The "riot in Washington" arc wraps up,
with status quo nearly re-established (and the characters explicitly bringing
that up), but it feels more like a short breather than an actual resolution.
     The Immortal Iron Fist #13: Marvel - Round 6 of the, Capital
Cities of Heaven Tournament.  Loads of artists as usual, and lots of shifting
about in time, but the main plot is finally coming to a head.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     The Incredible Hercules #115: Marvel - The visual storytelling is rather
muddled at the start, but it's cool to see the Behemoth (from the
anti-Godzilla squad) back in action.  And some really good Herc backstory
action.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Thor #7: Marvel - Speaking of bringing up old myths, Thor does a little
plot-relevant reminiscing as well.  Not as emotionally stirring as Herc's,
but an interesting insight into where JMS is taking the story nonetheless.
Art by Marko Djurdevic generally does a good job of capturing the Nordic
style, although I'm not keen on his Surtur (looks too much like a Hellboy in
his with-horns mode).  Mildly recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     The Order #9: Marvel - Turns out Heavy is a spear carrier from Iron
Man's most recent revised origin.  Anyway, the Evil Plot comes to a head this
issue, and with three more to go in te series the pacing is making me
wonder.  Either this fight will drag out a bit, or it ends in #10 or #11 and
the rest is denounment.  A bit less of the things I like about the series can
be found in this issue, but still 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): Atomic Robo #6
(of 6), Empowered vol 3

     Ninja High School #158: Antarctic Press - The action shifts back to
Tetsuo Rivalsan's personal arc, as he wrestles with his dreams and desires in
both figurative and literal manners.  A fair amount of Nanashi fanservice as
well, although the story is mainly Tetsuo soul-searching.  Recommended.
     Amazing Spider-Man #553: Marvel - Gale goes a little bit too far over
the top once in a while, but just the right amount over the top the rest of
the time.  Plus plenty of good banter.  Generally good art from Jimenez,
although his design of the featured villain runs into "Jack of Hearts
Syndrome", in that no other artist is gonna want to touch it.  ;)
Recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Avengers the Initiative #10: Marvel - Still bouncing around through
multiple layers of flashback, and we get our first definite no-kidding
fatality (plus more mutilation and maiming, plus some emotional scarring
totally unrelated to KIA).  Slott, Gage and Caselli can't *quite* pull of
this asynchronous storytelling smoothly, but it's a game attempt.
Recommended.  $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.
     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
     Superman #674: DC - Lots of neat toys, the return of a villain I've
never heard of, and tales of Daxam.  Pretty much a "scene set" sort of
issue from Busiek.  Art by Guedes is pretty good, if not too memorable.
Recommended, provisionally.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Salvation Run #5 (of 7): DC - About half an issue's worth of content
padded out with brawl scenes.  The mystery of the exile world is at least
partially answered, though.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Green Arrow and Black Canary #6: DC - This was a fast read, very
low-density storytelling.  Some good bits, but it felt kinda frothy.  Mildly
recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Booster Gold #7: DC - Okay, so they DID break the timeline.  And Johns
doesn't keep us in suspense about why things went wrong, either.
Recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Gen13 v4 #18: DC/Wildstorm - All the various "deathtraps" of #17
(although they're not really traps) are sprung and dealt with, and Kat
demonstrates that her most dangerous assets have nothing to do with her
Gen-active status.  And hot dogs are consumed.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Transformers Animated vol 2: IDW - Yeah, pretty much given up on getting
these through Diamond, so they show up now whenever my online source's
shipments show up ( for reference).  This digest-sized full
color volume has the same pagecount as vol 1, but only adapts Blast From The
Past (Dinobots first appearance) and Nanosec, meaning there's more space to
properly tell the stories.  There's also no profile pages like vol 1, freeing
up even more story pages.  At 50 pages for Blast and 68 pages for Nanosec,
that's pretty much in the sweet spot for my "22 pages per 8-12 minutes of
animation" adaptation rule of thumb.  Some of the captions are a bit too
"talking down to the kiddies", but it's not like they get in the way of the
cel art.  :) Good episodes, if not the best of the first season, and it does
make it clear that IDW's not going to try to adapt everything in these
volumes.  Recommended.  $7.99
     Badger Saves the World #3 (of 5): IDW - Still pretty uneven, both in
storytelling and art.  Amusingly, plans to get Badger out of the way may well
have sent him exactly where he needs to be, thus demonstrating how fortune
loves a fool.  The semi-political stuff is a bit heavy-handed, but only a few
pages.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99
     Doctor Who #2: IDW - Well, the main action is sort of a one-shot, but a
continuing thread becomes a much bigger deal here, and there's several
cutaways to scenes not directly related to this issue's festivities.  Gary
Russell definitely has comic book pacing down, though, an even with the
uberplot-servicing going on, he still delivers a solid story and great
dialogue.  The art by Jose Maria Beroy is okay, although it's hard to say for
sure how much is his baseline style and how much is a deliberate attempt to
capture the era the main action occurs in (the early 1970s).  Recommended.
     Atomic Robo #6 (of 6): Red5 Comics - While it's as chock full of snarky
robot goodness as any other issue, my favorite thing is on the back
cover...where volume two is announced.  :)  The main fight is a classic case
of what happens when you have the same arch enemy for 70 years...move and
counter move, expectations both met and shattered.  The backup is shorter
than most, and gives the first meeting of Robo and one of his crew.  Strongly
recommended.  $2.95
     Serenity Better Days #1 (of 3): Dark Horse - Whedon's experience in
writing comics is finally paying off, and this mini is off to a much better
start than the previous Serenity mini, in terms of using the medium.  And
that aside, it looks like the theme of this one is, "The only thing worse
than things going to hell is things going well."  ;)  Recommended.  $2.99
     Empowered vol 3 (of 5): Dark Horse - Shrinkwrapped as usual.  Not that
it really NEEDS it, although binding the book tightly in a fragile and thin
membrane does seem to be...apt.  Oh, and while the "Parental Advisory"
sticker over Ocelotina's pelvis may also be somewhat apt as well, it doesn't
really cover anything saucy, so sad.  There's a fair amount of "made for
something else" material in here, which causes it to hang together more like
vol 1 than vol 2 in terms of story flow, but it's all good, and the whole
ninja bounty plot gets resolved quite satisfyingly.  Butts are kicked (and
shot, and vaporized), names are taken (and provided).  Strongly recommended.

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 3/12:

     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. 


"But Is She From New Jersey?" Award to Ninja High School #158

"A One-Man Furry Convention" Award to Amazing Spider-Man #553

"Porn For Amputation Fetishists" Award to Avengers the Initiative #10

"The Pit And The Pendula" Award to X-Factor #29

"Maybe Isaac And Patsy Would Have Been Better Off Over Here Than In 
     Avengers the Initiative" Award to The Last Defenders #1 (of 6)

"But Does The New Apartment Playset Come With Exclusive Superman Figure?"
     Award to Superman #674

"Mexican't Standoff?" Award to Salvation Run #5 (of 7)

"She Can Keep My Books Anytime" Award to Green Arrow and Black Canary #6

"And Here I Thought It Was A Coloring Error" Award to Booster Gold #7

"Gee, Maybe They ARE Brains" Award to Gen13 v4 #18

"Wally Wood's T.R.A.N.S.F.O.R.M.E.R.S. Agents" Award to Transformers Animated
     vol 2

"God Demands Munchies" Award to Badger Saves The World #3 (of 5)

"Sand In Shorts, Ick" Award to Doctor Who #2

"Women Love Him For His Brains" Award to Atomic Robo #6 (of 6)

"Who Secures The Security?" Award to Serenity Better Days #1 (of 3)

"Trade Of Restraint" Award to Empowered vol 3

     Dave Van Domelen, "Now you got a real face for radio, pal...if you
turned the radio all the way down...and unplugged it...and sold the radio."
- Spider-Man, talking smack, ASM #553
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