November 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.
80F on Monday, snow showers today.  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 - 

     Black Panther #32: Marvel - I'll admit, I'm a little surprised Hudlin's
stayed on this long.  Anyway, while the high concept on this arc looks
interesting, the actual writing is the worst I've seen from Hudlin, it clunks
badly in several scenes.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Cable & Deadpool #47: Marvel - Dr. Strange is the guest in this latest
issue of Twisted Team-up Theater, and it's a grand tour of killing his way
across the Ditkorealms, whee!  Ron Lim art is much appreciated after getting
past yet another lame Skottie Young cover.  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): MidKnight #1,
PS238 #27

     Ultimate Marvel Sampler #1: Marvel - Eh, it's free.  A lot of art
(ranging from pencils to completed color work) and vapid hype, but no writing
on display on even the most completed pages.  So, hype and pretty pictures
but no stories?  Sounds about like what I've come to expect from Ultimate
Marvel.  Feh.  
     She-Hulk v2 #23: Marvel - Extended fight scene with a few twists, but
very little new or even particularly interesting.  At least the mystery of
Shulkie's partner isn't dragged out past this issue.  Mildly recommended.
     Marvel Adventures Avengers #18: Marvel - Ty Templeton on writing.
Hercules enters the MA continuity, but he only speaks Greek at this point,
which leads to about the sort of misunderstandings you'd expect.  Mind you,
ol' Herc is prone to that sort of thing even when he's speaking English.  Fun
fluff.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.05Cn
     Conan #46: Dark Horse - And the tales of Conan as a youth finally come
to a close.  The big battle ends, and Conan is welcomed back into his
village, but starts to wonder if he wants to BE back.  Obviously, he picks
the road over the hearth.  :)  A decent enough tale, wrapping up the
Busiek/Ruth origins arc.  Recommended.  $2.99
     The Scream #1: Dark Horse - Peter David and Bart Sears (whose style is
so dominating that even though he only does breakdowns inside, it still looks
like his work).  The feel I got from the solicits was "The Hulk, sort of".
And, with an emphasis on the "sort of", that's what it seems to be.  The
theme of the emergence of the repressed id is certainly strong here.  It
rambles a bit, but by the end of the first issue there's a decent picture of
what's going on, which is good, given how "uncertainty about reality" seems
to be another major theme here.  Provisionally recommended.  $2.99
     Action Comics #859: DC - Looks like this is a six-parter with the
Lightning Saga Legion, not a one-shot as I thought when I read the solicits
for #858.  It's your basic "villains take over Earth and the Legion's on the
run" storyline, although it does seem like they're kinda scraping the bottom
of the barrel for threats this time.  Nice art, loads of easter eggs (my
goodness that's a lot of costume-displaying glass tubes), and I appreciate
the captions.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     The Brave and the Bold #8: DC - Flash and Doom Patrol.  Mostly concerned
with the current Wally West version and the current post-Byrne creepy Doom
Patrol, neither of which I'm exactly caught up on.  Waid and Perez still
manage a decent story, but I expect it might have a bit more impact if this
wasn't my first exposure to Wally's kids.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn 
     Shadowpact #19: DC - the Protege story, if not the overall arc, comes to
a head and a close this issue.  Sturges's writing is good, but Winslade's art
is scratchy and rough in ways that don't appeal to me.  Mildly recommended.
     Sky Sharks #4: Antarctic Press - Hm, among the amazing inventions of
this alternate past comes pre-packaged sugary breakfast cereal a decade or so
before it existed in real life.  :)  Anyway, the villainous triumvirate is
collapsing even faster than I'd expected, but the fact it's happening is
unsurprising.  The only mystery is whether the remaining two will wipe each
other out or get taken down externally.  Mildly recommended.  $3.50Cn
     Gold Digger v3 #90: Antarctic Press - In videogames, you often see a
stage where the final boss shows up for an inconclusive fight around midgame,
either directly or watching up close as his minions attack, and that's
largely what the main action of this issue feels like.  And that somewhat
overshadows the intended emotional conflicts of the issue.  Mildly
recommended.  $2.99/$3.45Cn
     MidKnight #1: Red5 Comics - All I knew about this going in was from the
house ads in Atomic Robo, which looked like a Batman Animated sort of comics.
And while this isn't what I'd call a light week, I figured I'd give it a try.
This property has actually been kicking around for a decade (I missed seeing
it at Mid-Ohio Con in 1997, it looks like, pity), but largely tied up in
Development Hell with one animation optioner or another.  And it's still in
Development, but this time with someone willing to let the Hodgeses keep the
comicbook rights, which they took to Red5.  High concept could be described
as "What if DCAU Batman and Black Canary were married with a kid, but still
fought crime in addition to having day jobs?"  Well, not exactly Batman and
Dinah, of course, but the mapping is reasonably close in places.  The pacing
is a bit off in places, but it's a promising start.  As an aside, I wish Red5
would actually provide contact email.  I don't really feel like mucking about
with cut and paste into their web contact form, hence don't send them copies
of my reviews of their books.  That bit of web-annoyance aside, recommended.
$2.95 (in teeeeeeny little print under the issue number)
     Invincible #46: Image - Heh, faux Spider-Man action on the cover.
Clearly, Invincible and Rex Splode have studied Combat Banter, as the running
fight scenes that dominate this issue are no reason for them to stop chatting
about their relationship issues with Eve (Rex's oh-so-dead relationship, and
Invincible's possibly dead-on-arrival one that Rex has been trying to set
up).  Just another day on the job, but with flying body parts.  And a wholly
unsurprising surprise revelation in the opening scene.  :)  Oh, and "arm-
pitting" makes its return.  Recommended.  $2.99
     PS238 #27: Do Gooder Press - Still waiting on #25 in hardcopy.  This
issue is mostly a sort of dream sequence flashback combination in which we
finally learn Principal Crandall's Dark Secret, woot.  And nice fakeout on
the cover, too.  A bit chatty, but you've got to expect that when dealing
with so much backstory at once.  The back cover announces that a Hero System
PS238 RPG will be coming next year, hmmmm.  Strongly 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 11/21:

     Still missing and might come in: Fallen Angel #15, Doktor Sleepless #2,
PS238 #25, Transformers Beast Wars Sourcebook #1m (all of these have been
covered in my CBR Special) Sky Sharks #2 and Gamma Files.  Add Official
Handbook to the Gold Digger Universe #11.


"And By 'New Reader Friendly' We Mean 'Readers Intimately Familiar With 
     Mainline Marvel History' Of Course" Award to Ultimate Marvel Sampler #1

"You'd Think That Trick Would've Stopped Working On Creel Long Ago" Award to
     She-Hulk v2 #23

"This Award Requires Installation Of The 'Symbol' Font" Award to Marvel
     Adventures Avengers #18

"Home Is Where The Heart Is...The Excorporated Heart Of Your Enemy, That
     Is" Award to Conan #46

"I Refuse To Make A 'Going Postal' Joke Here" Award to The Scream #1

"But Did Steph Finally Get One?" Award to Action Comics #859  [Later note:
     yes, she did.]

"Jim Henson's Doom Patrol Babies" Award to The Brave and the Bold #8

"He Finally Got His Devil's Dozen" Award to Shadowpact #19

"Still Waiting To See Someone Else In the Jetpack" Award to Sky Sharks #4

"The Heart-To-Heart With Gina Was Somewhat Less Painful" Award to Gold Digger
     v3 #90

"Much Hotter Than Alfred" Award to MidKnight #1 (and, actually, it's always
     in all caps font, so I don't really know if it should be MidKnight or
     just Midknight, but I like my way)

"Invincible Vs. Capcom" Award to Invincible #46

"Article II Anyone?" Award to PS238 #27

     Dave Van Domelen, "Brianna...about your ARMOR'S silhouette..."
"...What?" - Gold Digger #90, debuting the Winger Mk. I armor, apparently.

     P.S. Welcome to the world, Anne Wittlin Clark! 
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