Standard Disclaimers: Please set appropriate followups. Recommendation does not factor in price. Not all books will have arrived in your area this week. Spring break, so of course it's cold out. 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 - Damage Control #3 (of 3): Marvel - Cute mad libs recap page. The moral of today's story is that while you may not be able to fight City Hall, you CAN fight the Chrysler Building. Plus, Damage Control has its own version of the Caged Demonwolf now, to my amusement. Strongly 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): The Incredible Hercules #115 The Unwanted: Diablo Productions - This is a review copy, so I'll be picking at it more than usual. A graphic novel, this book will be solicited in the May issue of Previews for a July release. The webpage at http://www.misterdiablo.com/unwanted has a few pages of preview that set up the premise and demonstrate the art pretty well. A generally professional- looking work, although I have substantial problems with the lettering by Jason Arthur. It's a very good font (I only know for sure it IS a font because there's one place where a ? is put in place of a ', and you don't get that from hand lettering), but it looks like the word balloons were drawn without much concern for the actual amount of dialogue, and there's a lot of mismatches and places where text breaks awkwardly between two bubbles. The art by Juan Romera is a good fit for the horror subject matter, mildly reminscent of Mignola, especially in the line weights. The only problem I have with the art at all is that it's sometimes hard to tell apart the kids with lines from the redshirts...on a couple of occasions I had to double check because I could have sworn a character currently talking had been killed a few pages ago, only to find it was someone who looked a lot alike. Well, okay, Romera's tendency to sign a lot of the pages gets distracting, too. Finally, the story procedes from a well-worn horror trope: foolish person acquires a mystic artifact of great evil and finds to their detriment that magic really does exist, and this specific magical thing is hungry for blood/pain/fear/etc. Writer "Diablo" along with Mark Michaels do a decent job of pacing the story and giving the various characters distinct voices (for instance, after one character uses language the FCC wouldn't approve of, it tells you something about another character when he says "frigging"). Their spin on the cliche at the core of the story is that the viewpoint characters are all "unwanted", kids that the juvenile corrections system routinely processes through and does nothing for...except these are "lucky" enough to be part of an attempt to fix that. Quotes around the lucky, of course, because it puts them in an isolated location with people disinclined to believe them when a demon runs amok. Sometimes you can't win. The hopelessness of their mundane situation is driven home sufficiently well that there's genuine suspense regarding whether they'll survive or not (and I'm not going to give that away). I'll admit to not being a serious connoisseur of horror, but I've got enough experience with the bad stuff via MST3K to know this is at least competent. Worth a look. $15.00/$21.00Cn Justice League of America #19: DC - Well, this title's side of Salvation Run ends, but I wouldn't really say it resolved. A piece of the story is revealed, at least, but only a small one as Burnett wraps up this arc. The art by Benes is merely bland this time, as opposed to "MY EYES, THEY BURN" level. Mildly recommended. $2.99 (DC now has the price the same for the U.S. and Canada) The Brave and the Bold #11: DC - I've lost track of all the retcons involved in continuing to use the old Crime Syndicate characters, and Waid doesn't really worry himself overmuch in establishing the current status quo. Probably for the best, since that'll avoid tying this arc too strongly to a backstory that's bound to change again before the decade is out. A mix of fight scenes and exposition, it felt like it was mostly marking time until #12 could come along and resolve things. Mildly recommended. $2.99 Shadowpact #23: DC - Welp, the Blue Devil courtroom drama reaches a resolution, in such a way as to suggest that (gasp, surprise) he was being played all along, but the main plot takes a left turn into the whole Sun King thing at the end, so there's no indication whether BD's situation will be addressed again for a few issues. Winslade's art looks a bit rough and rushed even for him this time out, and the story felt kinda like Sturges got bored with the BD plot and decided to wrap it up ASAP before moving on to something else. Mildly recommended. $2.99 Marvel Illustrated the Iliad #4 (of 8): Marvel - Not a lot advances here...the gods continue to be fickle, Achilles continues to sulk in his tent, a guy with a ferret on his head gets whacked. The only significant plot point is that the idea of impersonating Achilles is planted in Patroclus's mind. Mildly recommended. $2.99/$3.05Cn Captain Marvel #4 (of 5): Marvel - Lots of angst, religious conversions and repetition of the questions raised last issue, but no actual resolutions. Reed and Weeks aren't quite phoning it in, but it comes close. Neutral. $2.99/$3.05Cn Amazing Spider-Man #554: Marvel - Gale's month wraps up with a "to be continued next time I come up in the rotation" semi-resolution. But while the plot aspect is so-so, the scripting is very much worth reading, and there's one splash page worth the cover price on its own. Recommended. $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. I'm half expecting at this point to find out that the coyote pup Amadeus keeps around is actually a Coyote pup, if you catch my drift. 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 - Hm, one problem with stock covers is that they're not always correct once they're used. Both Supernaut and Aralune are shown on this generic cover, and at least Supernaut hasn't had that armor for a few issues. Of course, given that Kitson's just doing breakdowns for Saltares suggests he's having trouble keeping to a monthly schedule, so we can probably expect a few more stale covers before this is over. Anyway, it 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. Fewer of the things I like about the series can be found in this issue, but still recommended. $2.99/$3.05Cn Marvel Adventures Avengers #22: Marvel - Sumerak and Guara again this issue. This time out, Wakanda is brought into the MA universe, and along with it the recently implanted mainstream "Storm and T'Challa have a long history" thing. An okay issue, but I wasn't feeling the tension. Mildly recommended. $2.99/$3.05Cn [Later clarification: Storm and T'Challa meeting as youths is an old Claremont story, largely ignored until recently. I'm talking about all the additional backstory that got loaded in so as to justify the wedding.] Invincible #49: Image - Big ol' battle scene followed by loads of disillusionment and anger, setting up the Issue 50 "Nothing Will Be The Same" conflict. On the one hand, it's a payoff for something that's been building for quite a while. On the other hand, it's been building so MUCH over the past couple of years that Invincible finally finding out feels kinda like a case of, "What took you so long, Sherlock?" 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 3/19: Still missing and almost definitely won't come in: Fallen Angel #15, PS238 #25, (both of these have been covered in my CBR Special), Sky Sharks #2, Gamma Files. Awards: "Huh, The Instructions ARE Printed On The Heel" Award to The Unwanted "What Evil Lurks In The Hearts Of Gorillas?" Award to Justice League of America #19 "Conflicting Imp-eratives" Award to The Brave and the Bold #11 "Juris Imprudence" Award to Shadowpact #23 "ALL Of The Gods Are Gods Of Bad Decisions" Award to Marvel Illustrated the Iliad #4 (of 8) "I Thought Identity Crisis Was A DC Crossover?" Award to Captain Marvel #4 (of 5) "Oh, Crap, It's An Artificial Saiyan" Award to Amazing Spider-Man #554 "Keep The Pup Away From Zeus, Then" Award to Incredible Hercules #115 "I Don't Think This Is What Harry Chapin Was Thinking Of" Award to Thor #7 "The Problem With A Common Source For Your Powers" Award to The Order #9 "Does That Mean My Dinner Tonight Was Exotic Cuisine?" Award to Marvel Adventures Avengers #22 "You Are Far Too Trusting" Award to Invincible #49 Dave Van Domelen, "Who are YOU anyway? The god of BAD DECISIONS?" - Ares, Incredible Hercules #115. At least it's a portfolio everyone can relate to....Back to the Main Rants Page.
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