November 7, 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.
Almost done with Christmas shopping.  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 - 

     Nova #8: Marvel - Space zombies and Laika's comrade (although at first I
thought it might be a We3 crossover) at the end of the universe...okay,
Abnett and Lanning are capable of managing "cool" every so often.  Sadly, it
never lasts.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Thor #4: Marvel - It's kinda odd at Marvel these days...sometime they
use real world locations and events, sometimes they project them onto
existing fictional places, but every so often they fall back on the old trick
of making up an entirely new fictional nation onto which things are imaged.
JMS does that here, making what, as far as I know, is a new fictional African
nation in order to tell a Darfur-like story with Thor.  It all feels kinda
shoehorned, like the goal was to talk about African genocide first, and tell
Thor's story second or even third.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Captain Marvel #1 (of 5): Marvel - Okay, this one feels VERY "written
for the trade".  Yes, there's a sort of self-contained dramatic arc within
it, but it's very clearly focused on being Act I rather than on the immediate
semi-plot.  Reed tosses out a number of threads that may or may not be
resolved in five issues, conflicts both external and internal, so at least it
works on a craft level.  It just didn't...connect, I suppose.  Mildly
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): Fallen Angel
v2 #21 
     Also, last week's Book of Note, Weirdling, is supposedly shipping this

     Howard the Duck #2 (of 4): Marvel - Like #1, it's a mixture of inspired
and hackneyed, I think Templeton is trying a little TOO hard to be camp.  And
while he usually has a good ear for this sort of thing (#1 turned out pretty
well), it's a bit less successful this time.  Still, recommended.
     Annihilation: Conquest - Starlord #4 (of 4): Marvel - Cleverly, they
left this group completely out of the main miniseries' first issue, so there
wouldn't be any hint whether there was a Total Party Kill.  :)  Ending's a
bit anticlimactic, but overall it's a decent read.  Mildly recommended.
     Ms. Marvel #21: Marvel - Well, the mystery alien is IDed on the first
story page, but its previous appearance made so little impact on me that I
still don't recognise it.  We finally see Aaron's "signing bonus" and it's
about as disturbing as one might expect.  At least the plot's tying back
together.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Fantastic Four #551: Marvel - Guess I was wrong, McDuffie's still on the
book.  And from cosmic present he goes to time travel and the road Reed's
been traveling since throwing his lot in with the Illuminati.  Looks very
good at this point.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Superman #670: DC - The cover proclaims this the finale of "The Third
Kryptonian," and while Busiek avoids the most obvious cliche attendant to
this sort of plot, he runs straight into the second most obvious.  There's
some nifty "high end Superman tricks" here and there, although the "um, she
can hear you" gag is played once too often.  Recommended.  $3.99/$4.75Cn
(Looks like DC's not quite caught up on the exchange rate yet.)
     Welcome to Tranquility Armageddon #1: DC/Wildstorm - I actually didn't
order this, but it got put in my pull and I figured, "Eh, it's a light week,
what the heck."  Now, I don't know if this is a single plotline being poked
at, or more of a theme thing (i.e. everyone gets their own armageddon
glimpse), but it's a fairly fun story.  Gage writes, Googe does the framing
sequence art, and Domingues the main action (he seems to copy Googe slightly
in places, but either the penciller or the inker is a lot heavier with the
linework than Googe).  No real hint where this fits into the main Tranquility
plotline, other than "not during the zombie attack" and "after #6".  Most of
it is in a flashforward anyway.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     GIJoe: the Data Desk Handbook A-M: DDP - This wasn't on my pull either,
and I hadn't noticed it in Previews (sine I don't read the regular GIJoe
book), but I'm a sucker for guidebooks, and like mentioned above, slow week.
Sadly, Dr. Snako didn't make the cut.  There's different backgrounds for Joe
and Cobra characters (there don't seem to be any neutrals, although there's a
few "Identified Threats" that are non-Cobra but otherwise share the Cobra
page dress), but they all follow the same template: large full body art on
the edge side of the page, with a smaller piece taken from a comic (Marvel
comics seem to be included in the mix) below it.  VT100-style font info along
the staple side of the page, as taken from the files of J.R. Colton, with
occasional "addendum" text in red, then a few file notes like skillsets at
the bottom.  Oh, and the artist on Hawk can't draw a wheelchair correctly to
save his life.  Still, a good way to get caught up on the DDP continuity
before it all goes away (as rumors are circulating).  Recommended.  $5.50
[Later note: corrected Duke to Hawk.  Turns out there's no actual Cobra-
specific layout, just a generic "Identified Threat" one.  Also, I missed the
little tabs along the top of each page identifying things like reserve,
active, KIA, etc.  I'm told these were all originally printed in the backs of
issues of the DDP comics.]
     Transformers Spotlight #10 (Ramjet): IDW - Got the Musso cover (A).
This one'll be pretty easy to slot into the timeline project, since it
happens parallel to the Brasnya fight sequence (and it also marks one of the
more obvious non-deep-flashback Spotlights to not roughly parallel the
current issues of the main G1 series).  It's also got a veiled reference to
New Avengers/Transformers, cute (and yes, I'm sure that's what it is, Stuart
Moore wrote both this Spotlight and that miniseries).  Anyway, Ramjet's
mainly here as a representative of type, the sort of ambitious Decepticon
that Megatron has to keep his eyes on but doesn't keep close as he does
Starscream.  I love the Emcees, I hope we get more of them in future stories.
And I may kitbash myself one.  :) Recommended.  $3.99
     Fallen Angel v2 #21: IDW - The surface story, involving Jude dealing
with a Kim Jong Il pastiche, is nothing special, other than another step in
his progress towards becoming his father.  What's interesting in this issue
is that PAD brings to the front the idea that just as the city of Bete Noire
is more archetype than architecture, the population is composed of exemplars
as well.  Asia Minor isn't just a drug dealer, he's the Platonic ideal of the
Drug Dealer.  Bumper Rugs may have had purely mortal origins (as J.J. Sachs's
sister), but she's now The Whoremonger.  And so forth.  And Jude is tapping
into the power of these primal forms.  Veddy interestink.  (Aside: I wonder
if Asia was lying about Hitler not being a drug historically we
know he was very much one in later years...or if this is another significant
way in which the world of Fallen Angel is not our own.)  Recommended.  $3.99 

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 11/7:

     Still missing and might come in: Fallen Angel #15, Doktor Sleepless #2,
PS238 #25, Transformers Beast Wars Sourcebook #1.  (All of these have been
covered in my CBR Special.)  Add Sky Sharks #2 (which I guess I missed coming
out) and Gamma Files (which my store never got at all and I missed on the
release lists).  Turns out they dropped the ball on Confessions of a
Blabbermouth too, which I've ordered online and expect to have for next


"Play It By Ear" Award to Howard the Duck #2 (of 4)

"I Just Had The Image Of A Bug/Mantis/Groot Three-Way Pop Into My Brain 
     And Had To Share The Horror" Award to Annihilation: Conquest - Starlord
     #4 (of 4) (I'll explain for once, to enhance the ew...Mantis has already
     had a child by a Coatati plant-being, so she knows her way around 
     woody tissue.)

"Speaking Of Horrifying, Here's Aaron" Award to Ms. Marvel #21

"Damned Time Travelers, Where's My Flyswatter?" Award to Fantastic Four #551

"With All Due Kandor..." Award to Superman #670

"Good Thinking, Cassandra" Award to Welcome to Tranquility: Armageddon #1

"Poor Marissa" Award to GIJoe: the Data Desk Handbook A-M

"Nanomasters!" Award to Transformers Spotlight #10

"And His Brother, Ment Ali" Award to Fallen Angel v2 #21

     Dave Van Domelen, "What is this, Train Station Galactica?" - Howard the
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