March 26, 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.
Now it's warmer, but allergies are worse.  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 -

     Young X-Men #1: Marvel - Normally, I wouldn't even bother with a First
Look for something like this, a "fallout" series spawned by Messiah CompleX.
But Guggenheim's the writer, and I liked his scripting on Amazing Spider-Man,
so I figured I'd give it a shot.  Was a slim week for FLs anyway.  Guggenheim
seems a bit too enamored of ripping the flesh from people, though...I'd call
it a running gag if it were remotely funny.  The big final page shocker gets
more of a sigh than a gasp from me, too.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Amazing Spider-Man #555: Marvel - Zeb Wells starts his stint with a snow
storm.  And Mesoamerican pseudoninjas, always fun times with those.  :)
Wells has a good ear for banter both in civvies and n costume.  Bachalo's art
gets a little weird in places, but is otherwise good.  Recommended.

     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): Damage Control
#3 (of 3)

     Gargoyles #8: Slave Labor Graphics - If this were animated, it would
switch scenes every minute or less.  Even with timestamps on every scene, it
jumps around too much, something made even more obvious by the few times
where we stay with a scene longer than a page...because those times are the
stronger parts of the issue.  Robby Bevard does a good job of hewing to the
model sheets, but I wouldn't have minded seeing a bit more of his normal
style show through.  Mildly recommended.  $3.95
     Ninja High School #159: Antarctic Press - "Rivalsan Requiem" wraps up
this segment of Tetsuo's storyline (with Bevard doing a complement to his
work on Gargoyles, with writing and screentones, heh).  The title is a touch
misleading, but not actually dishonest, given that there's more than one way
to earn a requiem.  Recommended.  $2.99/$2.99Cn
     Badger Saves the World #4 (of 5): IDW - Alberto Dose picks up the art
tasks, as Caron wasn't able to maintain the pace of a monthly.  As for
Baron's story, it feels kinda scattered, as if the original final two issues
were being compressed into one issue in order to make more room for a
different plotline in #5.  At least, I presume it's still a five issue
mini...for all that IDW is married to the idea of the miniseries, they almost
never say in the actual comic how long the series will be.  :/  Mildly
recommended.  $3.99
     Fallen Angel #25: IDW - Ooh, foil enhanced cover.  Mind you, it's not
often an IDW book gets out of the single digits of issue numbers, much less
to #25, so I guess it merits celebrating.  Woodward's style choices this
issue make it a little hard to figure out who some of the characters are at
times, since he goes for a blockier, rawer look.  The story bounces around a
bit, but gathers most of the characters and plot threads together in time for
the big "Oh ****" end of the issue (but not the end of the arc).  A sort of
mini-Who's Who rounds out the issue.  Recommended.  $3.99
     Star Trek New Frontier Second Stage #1 (of 5?): IDW - Set in the wake of
"Missing In Action", this is the second STNF comic (there was a one-shot
several years ago).  It feels like they're not really expecting anyone to buy
this if they haven't already read the novels, though, given how few of the
characters get much of an introduction.  Stephen Thompson's art is an
unpleasant mix of scratchy/rough and wooden, and characters look like zombies
half the time.  Peter David's story has some interesting elements to it,
although I expect someone who hasn't read the novels would be somewhat less
interested.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99
     Teen Titans #57: DC - More Terror Titans, spotlighting Ravager for the
most part.  Not a whole lot to say about this one.  Mildly recommended.
     Legion of Super-Heroes #40: DC - This issue is all over the place, but
if it has a binding theme at all, it's that "team leader" and "administrator"
take radically different skill sets.  Garth has the first, and utterly lacks
the second.  Brainy seems to be the opposite, and Shooter may be setting up
the idea of a split leadership.  Otherwise, a fair amount of driving points
home with sledgehammers.  Manapul's art is serviceable.  Mildly recommended.
     Blue Beetle #25: DC - Cute cover homage to the Giffen/DeMatteis JL, with
Jaime sharing the cover with Guy Gardner, Booster Gold, Fire and Ice.  The
story inside has a really hard act to follow in #24, and is really more of a
denounment than anything else (although it has plenty of fighty).  I suspect
that the fact that Rogers has to actually wrap things up before taking some
time off is part of why this isn't as strong as previous issues, since he has
to make sure to service the plot.  Recommended.  $2.99US/Cn
     New Warriors #10: Marvel - Huh, this might be the first issue of the
series NOT to be a First Look.  Thrash's big "fool the team" plan kicks in,
Jubilee gets more and more suspicious, and we find out a bit more about the
tech crew.  I'm not sure if it's self control or writer ignorance that keeps
Jubes from bringing up her own homeless stint (she was introduced as such
back in Uncanny X-Men back when) when the tech guy is guilting her, though.
Recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn 
     She-Hulk v2 #27: Marvel - The Slott-era cast finally makes an
appearance, and we get a few more looks at Shulkie's "Five Year Gap" (okay,
it wasn't that long, but the same principle applies), plus some unlikely
character rehabilitation.  Jaz finally reveals her Big Secret (well, at least
part of it), making me wonder if a swing past Wisconsin might be in the
cards.  (No, she's not secretly a cow...that trick only works the other
direction.)  PAD brings us some nice high-density angst.  Recommended.
     Ms. Marvel #25: Marvel - Secret Invasion tie-in.  Something of a
tease-and-switch, though, but at least it doesn't make the past few arcs
nonsensical.  There's no Aaron Stack this issue, which is a strike against,
but Carol picks up the snark slack handily, especially when she declares the
location of a secret base to be, " cute!  Some old school Doctor Doom
@#$% right here...."  Heh.  There's also a retro-styled B-story with art by
Frenz and Sal Buscema, where Reed goes a little TOO camp at times, but the
sentiment is appreciated nonetheless.  Recommended.  $3.99/$4.05Cn 
     Marvel Atlas #2 (of 2): Marvel - In this Secret Invasion tie-in, we find
that the entire continent of Africa is secretly a Skrull with an eating
disorder.  Well, not really.  Nor is it a tie-in.  But the fact that this was
even a remotely plusible concept indicates...well, something.  This issue
covers the Americas (including the myriad of tiny ficitonal Latin American
nations mostly carved out of the fringes of Brazil), Africa (similar
situation, with a lot of the fictional nations clustering around the south
end of Ethiopia), the Middle East, and a few totally fictional places like
Atlantis.  The United States entry has sub-entries for Camp Hammond, Gamma
Base and Manhattan.  The inside back cover is split between an abbreviated
Subterranea entry and very short listings (general location and first issue
appearance) of the several dozen fictional nations shown on the maps but not
rating their own entries (giving each of them a page would easily boost this
to a three issue series).  While I would have liked another issue's worth to
get the full treatment on these, at least there's some mention, and they
didn't just ignore these countries like I thought they had last issue.
Recommended.  $3.99/$4.05Cn  [Later notes: There's actually a few fictional
nations left out of the appendix, too.  Some interesting placement choices
include putting two fictional countries along the entire Iran/Iraq border
(making the Iran/Iraq war kinda difficult) and the fact that while Wakanda
was stuck into part of Ethopia, several of its neighbors are clearly South
Africa stand-ins.  The Voortrekkers trekked a LOT, I guess.]
     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.  A bit more high-strung than C.D.,
mind you.  Strongly recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn

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 3/26:

     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.
     Add Amelia Rules! #20.  Also, I was hoping to read enough of the Iron
Man movie novelization to review it this week, but the release date seems to
have been pushed back.  A friend of mine got a copy out of the back room at
Books A Million, but the stores in my area are a bit stricter about street


"The Y-Word" Award to Gargoyles #8

"Suddenly, I'm Not Half The Man I Used To Be" Award to Ninja High School #159

"Badger Badger Badger Badger Badger Badger Badger Badger Badger Mushroom
     Mushroom...SNAAAAKE!" Award to Badger Saves The World #4 (of 5)

"A Tragic End To A Loyal Son Who LOOOOVED His Mother" Award to Fallen Angel

"Bellicose Jellicos" Award to Star Trek New Frontier Second Stage #1 (of 5)

"Playing 'Hide The Pastrami'" Award to Teen Titans #57

"Bankrupt In More Ways Than One" Award to Legion of Super-Heroes #40

"But Now The Reach Can Infiltrate His Locker!" Award to Blue Beetle #25

"Slider Spayer" Award to New Warriors #10

"Wonder If There's An Annual In The Works" Award to She-Hulk v2 #27

"Leaning On The Fourth Wall A Little" Award to Ms. Marvel #25

"Actually, It's Argentina That's The Skrull In Disguise" Award to Marvel 
     Atlas #2 (of 2)

"A Home's Castle Is Its Man" Award to Damage Control #3 (of 3)

     Dave Van Domelen, "I'm Paco.  And I am going to hit you with this STICK
until your get the #&%$ OFF MY PLANET." - Blue Beetle #25
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