March 21, 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.
Down to 205 pounds (93kg), woot.  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 - 

     Nothing.  They came in, there just wasn't anything I wanted to read,
even for free.

     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): Cable &
Deadpool #38, Gold Digger v3 #83

     Ms. Marvel #13: Marvel - This issue is mainly about recovering from
crossovers and trying to find something to do other than just hit people
until they fall down or surrender.  Does kinda suffer from trying to deal
with the lead character's new status as pro-reg Wolverine (i.e. appearing in
every other title), but Reed does a good job with what he has, and the
scripting is quite good in places.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     X-Factor #17: Marvel - Something of a transitional issue with teasing
involved.  Still, pretty good, especially on the "getting inside their heads
and under their skin" level.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     Wonder Man #4 (of 5): Marvel - Todd Nauck picks up the art chores this
issue, which I suppose will be good news for the people who disliked the
original series artist.  A bit rambly, especially where the Real Villain is
revealed, but decent.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     Marvel Adventures Avengers #11: Marvel - Sometimes you can push the
humor too hard, and Parker does so here.  It's just too goofy, Parker should
throttle back a bit.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     Cable & Deadpool #38: Marvel - Muahahaha!  Agent X guests, so we get
double the weird narration, in multiple fruity flavors!  Strongly
recommended.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     Civil War Battle Damage Report: Marvel - A guidebook, catching readers
up on how their favorite characters have been used and abused.  Most of the
book is half page entries in white on black (some a little more than half,
some a little less, although Captain America gets a full page), and then the
last few pages have thumbnails of dozens of minor players with one line
assessments in tiny text, usually "potential recruit" or "enemy combatant".
At least it establishes who's all still alive.  Information-dense, and
definitely something you should pick up if you intend to keep reading Marvel
books but, like me, haven't been keeping close track of Civil War.
     52 #46 (of 52): DC - Mostly Black Adam versus the mad scientists, which
is a fun romp.  There's some bits of other plots picked up after as well,
although it's moderately annoying that characters followed in minute detail
in previous issues have undergone changes without explanation (oh, the
changes make sense and don't come out of nowhere, but still).  Recommended.
     Aquaman Sword of Atlantis #50: DC - Tad Williams takes over on writing,
and it gets a bit goofy.  Shawn McManus's art is at the more cartoony end of
his style as well, and I'm afraid they're trying to evoke the silver age
Aquaman, rather than the pulp feel Busiek had been shooting for.  At least
Williams doesn't seem to be making the usual novels-to-comics pacing
mistakes, so I'll give him a few more issues to get his feet under him.
Mildly recommended.  $3.99/$4.75Cn
     The Brave and the Bold #2: DC - Green Lantern and Supergirl are the
title stars.  And gosh, the new Supergirl is annoying.  Even moreso than she
can be in LSH.  There's a few clever bits in here, and I admit I do like
Supergirl's "disguise", but the main reason for reading this is the Perez
art.  Recommended mainly on that basis.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Justice Society of America #4: DC - I got the regular cover, the
incentive cover didn't make sense anyway (well, it made sense once I read the
interior, but it didn't do a good job of selling itself).  I think this is
the end of the opening arc, but it feels so anticlimactic that...well, insert
your own Geoff Johns complaint here.  Eaglesham provides nice art to look at,
and while the plot is weak, at least the scripting is generally interesting.
Recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Shadowpact #11: DC - Heh.  Willingham loves playing with expectations,
and even *knowing* that I still figured on this issue's main plot stretching
into #12 for the Big Finale.  Oh, there's plenty of subplots still running,
and I suppose he could wrap one or more of them up for the obligatory "end of
year one" issue next month, but I don't mind.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Conan #38: Dark Horse - A couple of long-running arcs and subplots come
to a head or to an end (although, all things considered, a character dying
doesn't mean they're out of the book) here.  At times it felt like a case of,
"Oh, I should get around to wrapping that up," but it was otherwise handled
well.  Recommended.
     Transformers Official Movie Prequel #2 (of 4): IDW - I got cover A.
Mostly focuses on Megatron's arrival on Earth and subsequent fate, but has
some nice Victorian-era stuff as well.  Still no idea who the protagonist of
#1 is, unless he was Optimus Prime in disguise.  The action focuses mainly on
vehicle modes and humans, so the ugly movie designs aren't as much of a
factor, and Figueroa's art generally looks better than in #1.  Recommended.
     Transformers Spotlight #6 (Soundwave): IDW - Forgot to check variants on
this one, got cover B because that was what was in my pull.  I like it better
anyway.  Befitting Soundwave's role as observer in the shadows, this fills in
some backstory in the IDW-verse from his POV.  Not quite the loyal aide seen
in the cartoon, but neither purely the opportunistic schemer of his
techspecs, Soundwave even finds himself in a more heroic role here.  All in
all, a good fleshing out of a character who so often is thought of as a
cipher in Megatron's shadow.  Recommended.  $3.99
     Gold Digger v3 #83: Antarctic Press - Cute homage cover.  In fact,
except where it briefly drifts into the inevitable Heavy Metal: the Movie
homage, it's largely a pastiche of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney.  And a
little Perry Mason.  And some Scooby Doo.  Yet, despite all the loopiness
(and when you let PeeBri do what she did this issue, it's VERY loopy) it
comes to a very serious and cathartic head.  Strongly recommended.
     The Official Handbook of the Gold Digger Universe #4: Antarctic Press -
Debra (D'bra) through Dynasty of the Stars.  Amusingly, the only entry under
"Diggers" is the Diggers Mansion, due to the idiosyncratic alphabetization
scheme used in this series.  Lots of dragons, though.  And Djinn.  And
Dwarves, oh my.  Recommended.  $3.95/$4.55Cn
     Empowered vol 1: Dark Horse - Ooooh, Adam Warren's "damsel in distress"
TPB comes shrink-wrapped and with a parental advisory label.  (I'll note that
three comics that came out this week that showed bare breasts did not come
shrink-wrapped).  Mind you, this book is all about the tease, and nothing is
*actually* shown, but it comes awfully close in places (and the costume
doesn't really leave much to the imagination even when it isn't torn), hence
the protective measures.  :) As is his wont, Warren black-bars any naughty
language, too.  Anyway, this whole thing started as a way to deal with the
increasing amount of "bondage babe" art he was being commissioned to do, at
least putting it in some sort of context.  Along the way, the star character
took on a personality and got longer stories.  So this TPB is a collection of
shorts that eventually coalesce into a continuing storyline.  And, if you
don't mind a little (okay, a LOT of) teasing and innuendo, it's hilarious.
Strongly recommended.  $14.95 (248 pages, B&W)

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 3/21:

     Still missing Gold Digger Tangent #2, Fred Perry's S-Guild #1,
Dr. Debunko: the Short Stories, Roy Thomas's Anthem #4, Devil's Panties #7,
#8 (Diamond cancelled the reorder on Devil's Panties #7), Dino Wars #3.  Add
Dino Wars #4.


"A Deluxe Apartment In The Sky" Award to Ms. Marvel #13

"Well, It's No Americone Dream" Award to X-Factor #17

"Trust, But Verify" Award to Wonder Man #4 (of 5)

"The IT Factor" Award to Marvel Adventures Avengers #11

"My Mental Spacebar Keeps Jamming          " Award to Cable & Deadpool #38

"Which State Gets Stuck With Slapstick?" Award to Civil War Battle Damage 

"He Needs A Calming Pie" Award to 52 #46 (of 52)

"Squidboy II?" Award to Aquaman Sword of Atlantis #50

"Rings And Ringers" Award to The Brave and the Bold #2

"Legacy Viral Meme" Award to Justice Society of America #4

"His Scansion Needs Work Too" Award to Shadowpact #11

"Golly, That Crazy Gizmo Really Works!" Award to Conan #38

"Fancy Meeting You Here, Skyfire" Award to Transformers Official Movie
     Prequel #2 (of 4)

"He Who Hesitates Is Lost" Award to Transformers Spotlight: Soundwave

"OBJECTION!" Award to Gold Digger v3 #83

"My Eyes Are Down Here" Award to The Official Handbook of the Gold Digger
     Universe #4

"Seeking A Little Parity" Award to Empowered vol 1

     Dave Van Domelen, "But you STILL will not let the immortal demongoat
watch your FILTHY ANIMAL COUPLING?" - He Whose Name Is Too Scary To Be
Spoken, Empowered vol 1
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