May 2, 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.
My A1C level is down to 5.1, yay!  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 - 

     Thunderbolts #114: Marvel - Some shouting, some fighting, a little bit
of characters not being strawmen for one side or the other.  Didn't suck, but
not calling out to my wallet either.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     Nova #2: Marvel - Well, it is amusing to see prime movers for the two
big events at Marvel having a little chat, having been totally unaware of the
other's crises beyond vague mentions here and there.  There's even some
callbacks to the original Nova comic.  But then the crap hits the story at
the end.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     The Immortal Iron Fist #5: Marvel - Mostly one timeframe this time,
setting up the Big Fights for #6.  As a result, the artist list isn't as long
as usual.  :)  Talky, with occasional bits of amusement.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     Amazing Spider-Man #540: Marvel - Spidey's dark turn continues as he
hunts his way up the food chain to find out who put the hit out on his
family.  Okay story.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     Annihilation Saga: Marvel - Like the old Marvel Saga series, this
one-shot summarizes the events of Annihilation in chronological order.
Recommended.  $1.99/$2.50Cn
     Invincible #41: Image - Four plots come to a conclusion here, a nice bit
of wrap-up.  Perhaps a bit rushed, but frankly, in a world full of
decompressed storytelling, I don't really mind the occasional flash-forward
bit.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.55Cn

     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): Welcome to
Tranquility #6

     Transformers Official Movie Prequel #4 (of 4): IDW - Well, as a prequel
it certainly can't have a significant resolution,  It was okay.
Starscream seems to have gotten the Standard Furman Grimlock Personality,
plus vocalisms, but with some of the classic Starscream snark.  Good Figueroa
art, especially since he gets to work with mainly humans and vehicles rather
than vague piles of scrap.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99
     Transformers Escalation #6 (of 6): IDW - The day is saved by characters
pulling out new abilities they hadn't displayed before, kinda cheaty.  Some
of the Spotlight stories come into play, and more mystic mumbo jumbo
worldbuilding happens.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99
     World War Hulk Prologue: World Breaker #1: Marvel - A decent, if talky
Peter David story leads off.  Annoyingly, it reveals important events in
She-Hulk's life that have not come up in her own book yet, and sorta blow the
cliffhanger she had going.  Giarrusso then summarizes World War Hulk in his
little kid style, and the Mastermind Excello story from last year's Amazing
Fantasy is reprinted.  I presume that means he's going to be important to
World War Hulk.  Recommended.  $3.99/$4.75Cn
     Fantastic Four #546: Marvel - Last week's book, I read it on the shelf
Sunday and decided to add it to my pull.  Okay, so the main action, a fight
against the Silver Surfer, isn't great, but it is decent.  However, what drew
me to this was the continuation of the McDuffieverse, as he picks up a plot
thread from Beyond (and also wraps up an Annihilation dangler).
Recommended.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     Thunderbolts Presents: Zemo Born Better #4 (of 4): Marvel - It ends
perhaps a little anticlimactically, but that seems to be the point...that it
is not so much climax as epiphany.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     Ms. Marvel #15: Marvel - Okay, is there ANY registered superheroine that
Tony Stark isn't thought to be nailing?  Sheesh.  Anyway, Reed seems to be
talking to Peter David, since there's some pretty good inter-book ties here,
such as with developments in Wonder Man, stuff PAD's done in Hulk, etc.  Oh,
and MODOK with a head cold is a fearsome sight.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.75Cn 
     Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #20: Marvel - The whole Arrow plot
comes to a head, with some good Betty Brant character time along the way.
Recommended.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     Wonder Man #5 (of 5): Marvel - Peter David book number three for me this
week, whee!  It's clarified that this whole thing took place before Civil
War, which I suppose is necessary to keep CW and the Initiative from being
the 500 pound gorilla in the room (to mix metaphors).  I was a bit surprised
by the ending of the framing sequence, but as soon as I knew for sure the
story was "backdated" I knew that the main plot had to end more or less like
it did, else suffer One Year Later syndrome (i.e. time has passed, why
haven't we seen such-and-such character in any other book?).  Currie's back
on art, and I still kinda like his weird style.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.75Cn 
     Avengers: the Initiative #2: Marvel - I've seen some savaging of #1
online, and honestly agree with the details of many of their criticisms.
However, I'm willing to cut Slott a pretty large amount of slack at this
point based on his prior work, and see where he takes things.  Many of those
problems are still present, although it's clear the reader is meant to think
of them as Bad Things.  And Slott plays around with a number of expectations
in a reasonably clever way.  Plus, lovely "reunion" scene at the end.
Recommended.  $2.99/$3.75Cn 
     All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Update #2 (of 4):
Marvel - Again, not a chunk of the alphabet but A-Z on another batch.  And
for once a cover that doesn't totally suck!  Probably most notable is that
Captain America gets an *eight page* entry, twice as much as the biggest
previous entry I can recall seeing.  Also, Avalanche finally gets a proper
Cretan name, with previous versions explained as aliases and anglicizations.
Glossary continues from the Back in Black handbook, with Entropy through
NASA.  Recommended.  $3.99/$4.75Cn  
     52 #52 (of 52): DC - "It ends here!" the cover proclaims.  The cover's a
wraparound crowd scene at a memorial for Elongated Man, the Question and
Isis.  The issue inside is oversized (at no increased cost), and does
adequately wrap up the storyline while also putting things into shape for
other writers to still be able to play with the toys.  A decent ending, if
tarnished by a meandering and sometimes pointless story preceding it.
Recommended.  $2.50/$2.99Cn
     Teen Titans #46: DC - The big fight scene finally comes to a close, and
we find out what Deathstroke was after all along.  And, frankly, the story
could have been told just as well if not better in fewer issues.  Mildly
recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Superman #662: DC - Superman gets back to the whole "Arion says you'll
doom humanity" plotline, probably in gearing up for #666.  Somewhat
meandering, but amusing along the way.  And it has Zatanna in a teddy.
[Later note: lingerie aficionados inform me it's not a teddy.  Whatever.
It's skimpy and bedroom-y.]  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil #3 (of 4): DC - A breather and some
complications.  A lot of it feels like setting up elements for future
stories, that Smith didn't really need 4 full issues to tell the story he
wanted to tell here, and used some of the extra for worldbuilding.
Recommended.  $5.99/$7.25Cn
     Welcome to Tranquility #6: DC/Wildstorm - Well, the first storyline
wraps up, with all the secrets laid out and the motivations explained.  And
some lovely banter along the way.  Strongly recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn

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 5/2:

     Still missing Gold Digger Tangent #2, Fred Perry's S-Guild #1,
Dr. Debunko: the Short Stories, Devil's Panties #7 and #8, Dino Wars #3 and
#4, Fallen Angel #15.  (The AP stuff has become the owner's fault, he still
hasn't gotten around to making a direct order from the publisher like he
keeps promising.)
     Oops!  Omega Flight wasn't in my pull, I thought it was, and then forgot
about it until the next day.  Will review it next week.


"Mike Chary As A Transformer" Award to Transformers Official Movie Prequel
     #4 (of 4)

"And I Will Hug Him And Squeeze Him And Call Him George" Award to
     Transformers Escalation #6 (of 6)

"Jen Shoulda Used Protection" Award to World War Hulk Prologue: World Breaker

"And She Was Such A Cute Baby" Award to Fantastic Four #545

"Blood Will Out...Except From The Rug" Award to Thunderbolts Presents: Zemo
     Born Better #4 (of 4)

"World's Biggest Kleenex" Award to Ms. Marvel #15

"This Is Why Some Guys Don't Like Aggressive Women" Award to Friendly
     Neighborhood Spider-Man #20

"Punch Line" Award to Wonder Man #5 (of 5)

"You Suck, Henry Pym" Award to Avengers: the Initiative #2

"Gonna Have To Count Up All The 'And Then Captain America Died' Bits In
     That Entry" Award to All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe
     A-Z Update #2 (of 4)

"Thandra's Gonna Be Annoyed" Award to 52 #52 (of 52)

"Dr. Spock Would Not Approve" Award to Teen Titans #46

"I Prefer It With The Extra C" Award to Superman #662

"Cat Butt Attack!" Award to Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil #3 (of 4)

"Flash-Frozen" Award to Welcome to Tranquility #6

     Dave Van Domelen, "You.  Young lady with the tentacles.  Will you
*please* do me this *one damn courtesy* and keep those *sausages* away from
my *pooper?*" - Mayor Fury, Welcome to Tranquility #6
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