October 24, 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.
Happy 36th Birthday tomorrow, Scott!  Rants, Capsules can be found on my 
             homepage, http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/Rants 

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 - 

     Annihilation: Conquest - Quasar #4 (of 4): Marvel - Eh.  Pretty
perfunctory "exploit the achilles' heel" conflict, followed by a Kyle Rayner-
ish validation scene (i.e. established hero tells the replacement that
they're up to the job, etc).  $2.99/$3.75Cn

     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): Blue Beetle

     Transformers Megatron Origin #4 (of 4): IDW - Okay, we're back to art
from Milne that conceals as much as it reveals, abetted in the former by
overly saturated colors and a failure to clearly separate foreground and
background.  As far as I can tell from the story, it's a decent wrapup of the
origins of the Decepticons as an outgrowth of Autobot decadence and
corruption, and Holmes does successfully play a bit with our expectations
(i.e. "Starscream is treacherous", when at this point in his development he's
not necessarily the same person he would later be known as).  I suspect that
Holmes has already looked at the completed series and found a dozen ways he
could have done things better, hopefully he'll implement these ideas in his
next story.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99 (I got the A cover by Milne, although
it wasn't a lot more interesting than the B cover.)
     Transformers Devastation #2 (of 6, TF G1 #18): IDW - Heh, I think it was
shown last issue, but I only now realized that Hot Rod is a Dodge Viper, and
hence modeled after Super Speedbreaker in vehicle mode (and with a robot mode
now inspired by Alternators Rodimus, at least in the "headlight chunks as
shoulderpads" bit from the Alt.Mirage mold).  The Zarak plot comes to a head
(ow, pun not intended this time, caught myself in the backblast) in an
effective if somewhat telegraphed way.  Recommended.  $3.99 (I got cover B by
     Doktor Sleepless #3: Avatar - Subtitle for this issue is Bastard of
Tomorrow.  We get a possible answer to one of the questions posed last issue,
some backstory for Nursey (and possible motives for Doktor Sleepless seeking
her out...TANC), and another antagonist is thrown into the mix.  The Doktor
himself only gets a couple quick bursts and tosses out a tech idea, this is
mostly about backstory rather than frontaction.  Some interesting ideas and a
sense that this is actually going somewhere other than "let me show you my
nifty tech ideas".  Recommended.  $3.99 (I got the black and white wraparound
     Cable & Deadpool #46: Marvel - This time around (pun intended) it's the
Kirby-era Fantastic Four that gets to have fun with Deadpool.  They do use
the reset gag once, but thankfully don't wear it out.  Recommended.
     She-Hulk v2 #22: Marvel - And Peter David takes over, radically changing
the status quo and leaving explanations for later.  Fairly straightforward
story, wrapped around setup oddity.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Update #4 (of 4):
Marvel - Hm, the Gamma Files book that was supposed to come out between #3
and #4 hasn't shipped yet.  There's a sort of vague theme to this issue, a
focus on Mar-Vell's life, times and enemies, although that's really just five
or six entries out of the whole thing.  Another couple if you consider the
two 1940s Marvel Boys to be thematically related.  Heh...with Marvel buying
out old 40s IP, they now have a serious surplus of Marvel Boy characters.
And these two new acquisitions even share half of an origin, despite being
(apparently) from different publishers, or at least different titles
separated by a few years.  :)  Recommended.  $3.99/$4.75Cn
     Gold Digger Halloween Special #3: Antarctic Press - As in previous
issues, it's a combination of pinups and short stories, mainly by AP pros (as
opposed to the yearbooks, annuals and swimsuit specials, which are largely
fanworks).  Perry leads off with a titillating take of costume selection, and
some delightful reactions from Luan.  ;)  JL Anderson's piece seems to trade
on knowledge of classic videogames that I don't know anything about, so I
didn't enjoy it all that much...too much reliance on nostalgia factor, not
enough on the story itself.  Ben Dunn's three-pager isn't really even a
story, just a costume show with panels tructure.  Hutchison's piece looks to
have Gina enter the reality of Mischief and Mayhem, but doesn't do a whole
lot with the premise.  All in all, so-so.  The lead story is very good, but
none of the rest really grabbed me.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99/$3.45Cn
     Gen13 v4 #13: DC/Wildstorm - Wow, the narration levels go through the
roof.  It's like Simone got tired of the story and didn't feel like actually
telling much of it, instead switching to fast-forward caption-filled summary
mode.  Granted, the real climax of the Authoriteen story was in #12, but the
denounment has them shuffled off almost offhandedly.  Then they fast-forward
over all the Tranquility appearances and get to the theoretically big payoff
with Megan and the "Gen14" group...which is over-narrated as well.  Oh,
there's some really good pages and panels here and there, but so much of it
felt like Simone just wanted to get over with the arc and move on.  Like
she'd written out the good pages a year ago, but lost interest in the arc
between then and now, and just sort of slapped enough structure around the
good pages to get 'em out so she could move on.  Kinda sad, really.  The good
pages are really good and the overall plot outline is solid, it's almost like
the multiple pencilers and inkers were joined by multiple writers, some
uncredited staff person taking Simone's partial scenes and writing blandly
around them.  :/ Mildly recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn  [Later note: Oh yeah,
Simon Oliver takes over next issue.  So she wanted to move on to something
else entirely.  Bleh.]
     Teen Titans #52: DC - McKeever's pacing is a bit off here, this middle
piece of the story is a little too dependent on the parts on either side, and
doesn't hang together very well on its own.  Writing for the trade,
basically.  Individual pieces are pretty good, they just don't hang together
very well.  Still, recommended for the pieces.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Superman #669: DC - Mostly flashback about the Third Kryptonian,
elaborately painting a very large bullseye on the character.  If this person
is still alive by the end of next issue, I'll be very surprised.  Decent
story, if somewhat sketchy.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Blue Beetle #20: DC - Sinestro Corps War tie-in.  Lately, it seems like
most event tie-ins derail the main story, at best giving a couple pages to
the ongoing subplots but otherwise just churning out a forgettable
crossover.  Rogers, however, is one of those all-too-rare writers these days
who can use a tie-in or crossover to his advantage, and the Reach plot gets a
BIG advance via the excuse of the Sinestro Corps.  Some of the character
development is a little ham-handed, but the overall quality level is
sufficient to forgive that.  Albuquerque's art slips in a few places (mainly
crowd scenes), but he continues to do a very good job of visual
storytelling.  And hey, it has Brik.  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 10/24:

     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.)
     Cancelled by Diamond: Transformers Timelines (also covered in the CBR


"Who Was That Slimy Businessman Again?" Award to Transformers Megatron 
     Origin #4 (of 4)

"There Are 10 Kinds Of Bond In This World" Award to Transformers 
     Devastation #2 (of 6)

"An Errant Thought" Award to Doktor Sleepless #3

"Just One Thing After Another" Award to Cable & Deadpool #46

"At Least It Wasn't In Its Form As The Sword" Award to She-Hulk v2 #22

"Hall Of Marvels" Award to All-New OHOTMU A-Z Update #4 (of 4)

"Just Back Away Slooooowly" Award to Gold Digger Halloween Special #3

"The Points Of No Return" Award to Gen13 v4 #13

"Man, I Can Really Be A Jerk" Award to Teen Titans #52

"GGGGGMILF?" Award to Superman #669

"A Peace Of My Mind" Award to Blue Beetle #20

     Dave Van Domelen, "Oh destiny, how it pleases you to caress a few and
molest others.  In the mines, we had no idea that destiny must be HARNESSED,
KICKED and RIDDEN until it takes you in the RIGHT DIRECTION...not just where
you WANT to go, but where you FORCE IT." - Megatron, practicing BDSM with
fate, Megatron Origin #4
     Bonus Quote: "I swear, I miss out on ALL the cool imprisonments." - Blue
Beetle, Teen Titans #52
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