September 26, 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.
Home internet's been wonky on and off.  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 - 

     Omega the Unknown #1 (of 10): Marvel - Another "hey, everyone, it's a
Real Writer with literary merit and stuff" comic.  The deliberately not
computer lettering, the subdued color pallette and so forth reinforce the
pretention.  Lethem is adapting Gerber's original story, but I never got
around to reading that, so I couldn't say how close he hews.  It reads okay,
but doesn't grab me.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     Iron Man: Enter the Mandarin #2 (of 6): Marvel - Continuing the new
telling of the first clash between the two.  Decent enough for a retcon tale.
     Ms. Marvel #20: Marvel - Okay ending to the arc, I suppose.  The whole
"turning blue" thing gets a reveal too, but not one that means anything to
me.  Mildly Recommended.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     Howard the Duck #1 (of 4): Marvel - It seems to be Gerber Revival Week.
This time with Ty Templeton on writing and Bobillo on art.  And like the
original, Howard still exists in the Marvel U, he just gets stuck with the
weird underbelly and lesser lights...or even knockoffs of lesser lights.
Good script from Ty, but the art isn't quite working for me.  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): Blue Beetle
#19, Akiko Flights of Fancy TPB - the High-Flying Expanded Edition.

     Annihilation: Conquest - Starlord #3 (of 4): Marvel - A little recon,
then more running battles and snark, plus the body count reverses slightly.
Recommended.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     Cable & Deadpool #45: Marvel - Skottie Young shoots for retro on the
cover and unsurprisingly misses by a lot.  Interior artist Reilly Brown
doesn't know the difference between a machinegun and a rifle.  The story is
fun with temporal mechanics and repeated mashing of the reset button.
Recommended.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     Avengers the Initiative #6: Marvel - Um.  Centers on a "who nearly
murdered someone" plot, decent enough until the final page reveal.  Steve
Uy's art is so-so.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     Teen Titans #51: DC - Well, we may or may not find out how the dark
future Titans are still around now that two of their members got killed off
in Big Events in the present (they may be lying, you see), and I get the vibe
that as nasty and frelled up as they may be, they're trying to impart one
last lesson to their past selves before the next Crisis wipes 'em out
completely.  Generally gonna hold off on judging the plot, though.  Sean
McKeever's script, however, has lots of great bits to it, and overcomes some
of the flaws in the art.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #34: DC - On the other hand,
Calero's art just got even farther from what I'd consider either good or
appropriate to the feel of the story.  Bedard does some jumping around with
non-linear storytelling, plus some flashbacks to bring an old fan favorite
back into the new timeline (well, a favorite of this fan), and seems to be
striking a decent balance between respecting the old and putting a new spin
on the character.  Mostly a series of running fights, but an entertaining
one. Recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn 
     Justice League of America #13: DC - Whee, variant covers.  I got the
right-hand one.  Semi-spoiler: see, this is what happens when you let the
Joker pick the restraint device.  I wouldn't even let him pick the HQ's cable
TV plan.  The art from Benitez is bad 90s Image stuff with little to no sense
of actually laying out a page to tell a story, focused more on pinup value.
McDuffie's scripting is good, although the plot is a bit drawn out.  I mean,
he's now had two issues to do what amounts to setting the stage for the
actual story, and it's starting to drag.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn 
     Blue Beetle #19: DC - I thought I'd seen all the Giganta jokes, but
Rogers comes up with a few new ones, heh.  No Titans link this issue, by the
way, back to Jaime's own plotlines, as one of the subplots simmering pretty
much since the first arc blows wide open.  The foreshadow/payoff sequence is
perhaps a little too blatant, but the scripting continues to be outstanding.
Guest artist Baldeon's pretty good too.  Strongly recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Astro City Dark Ages Book 2 #4 (of 4): DC/Wildstorm - The 1977 piece of
the sprawling and somewhat slow-moving story wraps up, with the cosmic stuff
bleeding over onto the street for the climax.  Well, the big
terms of drama, the climax already happened, this is just noisy denounment
and putting things on ice for a while.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Gold Digger Tangent #3: Antarctic Press - And it didn't take me months
to get this time!  Could've stood to have a bit more proofreading, but at
least the Edge Guard half was pretty easy to pick up this time.  I still
prefer the Ayane half.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.45Cn
     Akiko Flights of Fancy TPB - The High-Flying Expanded Edition: Sirius -
This has the complete issues 39, 48-52, plus all the backup features (which
weren't included in the other TPBs) and a few pages here and there of new
material.  The very last bit has Akiko at (almost) 16, which I believe is
even ahead of where the current novels are (of course, there's also the
"Akiko at 80" backup included).  While not much for long-form storytelling,
it's a great survey not only of Crilley's artistic evolution on the "regular"
stuff, but the backups are also where he's always chosen to demonstrate his
flexibility as an artist.  Some artists have a simplified style because it's
all they can do (for instance, Scott Adams or Cathy Guisewite), but even
without the gorgeous backgrounds Crilley's always included in his stories,
you can see clearly here how broad his skillset is on characters too.  It's
easy to forget lately that manga styling is only his most recent choice in
art, but this gives the whole gamut.  Strongly recommended.  $24.95

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 9/26:

     Still missing and might come in: Fallen Angel #15, Doktor Sleepless #2,
PS238 #25.  I think Miki Falls: Autumn was supposed to come out this week,
but I forgot to check the bookstore and stopped trying to get it through
Diamond, so figure on next week for that.  Update: Waldenbooks says October
for MF:A.
     Cancelled by Diamond: Transformers Timelines.


"Ready For His Teamup With Kiryu" Award to Annihilation; Conquest - Starlord
     #3 (of 4)

"Cut!  Take Two!" Award to Cable & Deadpool #45

"Bizarro Dan Slott" Award to Avengers the Initiative #6

"Following Zweig's Law To The Letter" Award to Teen Titans #51

"Don't Get Fooled Again" Award to Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes

"Hair Club For Black Superpowered Men" Award to Justice League of America #13

"Yes, Yogurt Can Go Bad" Award to Blue Beetle #19

"Taking The Codename A Little Too Literally" Award to Astro City the Dark
     Age Book Two #4 (of 4)

"How Many Kinds Of Kobolds ARE There In The GDVerse?" Award to Gold Digger
     Tangent #3

"I Bet There's A Market For A Collection Of Akiko Lettercols" Award to 
     Akiko Flights of Fancy TPB - the High-Flying Expanded Edition

     Dave Van Domelen, "Don't stare.  Your mind fixates.  Next thing you're
cruising some real WEIRD chat rooms." - Peacemaker, on the dangers of ogling
Giganta, Blue Beetle #19
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