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. It's a $60+ week, none of it new Marvel. 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 - 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 World War Hulk Prologue: World Breaker #1: Marvel - A decent, if talky Peter David story leads off. Giarrusso then summarizes World War Hulk in his little kid style, and the Mastermind Excello story from last year's Amazing Fantasy is reprinted. Recommended. $3.99/$4.75Cn 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 Capsules: 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 section. Books of Note (Strongly Recommended or otherwise worthy): Blue Beetle #14, Cthulhu Tales: the Rising #1: Boom! Studios - Another anthology book, which I think shipped other places a few months ago. As with its predecessor, it's a mix of serious horror, silly takes on the tropes, and this time there's also a few quirky but serious tales. I especially liked the one linking Mahler's Third to the coming of Cthulhu. No real clunkers this time, and some pretty good pieces along with, worth the price. Recommended. $6.99 52 #51 (of 52): DC - Given how little of the initial premise has been resolved, it becomes clear this week that they don't even plan on trying to wrap it all up by next issue. It's a fairly slow issue, with some resolutions here and there, mostly related to the space-side plot, and either #52 will read like an outline, or a lot of stuff will be shoved off to be resolved in Countdown. Mildly recommended. $2.50/$2.99Cn Outsiders Annual #1: DC - McDaniel's art is uglier than usual, and that's saying something. We finally get the end of the story of the new Outsiders status quo as of a year ago, and...eh. It's okay, but nothing that really merited holding off a year to tell. Just another example of the high concept or Infinite Crisis and One Year Later failing to deliver. Mildly recommended. $3.99/$4.75Cn Justice Society of America #5: DC - No, I'm not buying the Justice League issues. Still, I don't think I really missed much. Some nice Legion fanwank here, although trying to figure out how or if any of the pre-Crisis stuff will fit together makes my brain hurt. Lovely art from Pasarin, and you can tell Johns is trying to evoke the classic "split up and find the macguffins" JLA/JSA plots. At least it's not too banal in the execution. Recommended. $2.99/$3.65Cn Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #29: DC - On the one hand, the resolution of the whole "fifdee tuu" thing was a bit lame, and it made a guy we've really never seen before out to be the prime mover of the plot...a trick Waid already played with Mr. You-Can't-Remember-Me. On the other hand, unlike a lot of the "making it up as we're going along" lameness around 52, at least it feels like this was his plan all along. Sharpe's art is okay, but feels flat in a lot of places where it should pop. Mildly recommended. $2.99/$3.65Cn Firestorm the Nuclear Man #35: DC - Speaking of evoking the old days over in JSA, Firestorm evokes the 1970s in a bad way. Namely, that the title seems to have been cancelled in mid-story, leaving it to other books to finish off the tale (see, for instance, Nova or Shogun Warriors). For an early-in-arc issue, it's okay, although I wonder if Pop Mhan was given any reference art for Parademons. But as a final issue it's kinda lame. Sigh. Neutral. $2.99/$3.65Cn Blue Beetle #14: DC - So sue me, I like Guy Gardner. He's easy to write poorly, but when written non-poorly he's an engaging character. And while Rogers has a few rough patches, he does by the end show that he gets Guy pretty well. And that Guy gets Ted. In terms of plot advancement, it's a bit slow, but it's enjoyable nonetheless. Strongly recommended. $2.99/$3.65Cn Astro City the Dark Age v2 #3 (of 4): DC/Wildstorm - Guh. This one is feeling like one of those issues that's meant to read as part of the entire 16 issue storyline in one sitting, not on its own. It has all sorts of threads flying everywhere that clearly will come together soon, but don't really feel at all connected right now. Especially in matters of tone. Mildly recommended. $2.99/$3.65Cn Transformers Spotlight #7 (Kup): IDW - Roche writes and draws this one, and he does a good job of modifying his art style for the horror-esque parts of the story. While not explicitly Mythos, it does feel like a "Lovecraft does Transformers" tale. Recommended. $3.99 Transformers Cybertron: Balancing Act: IDW - This is a collection of the Tfansformers Collectors' Club comic pieces. Let's see if it reads any better all in one piece than it did in short chunks, shall we? Could hardly do *worse*. And the answer? Eh. Aside from being written in chunklets and trying really hard to bring in all the Universe and non-cartoon Cybertron stuff, it's also writing around the edges of the Cybertron storyline, meaning that the climax comes when something unrelated to *this* story pops up and pulls a literal deus ex machina. It almost reads like a party game story, the kind where each person writes a sentence before passing it on. Plus, it relies on other Fanclub-only continuity in important ways, making the story less accessible to those who don't drop unreasonable amounts of money on convention exclusives. All told, it's at best hopelessly mediocre fanfic given good Dan Khanna art and crappy murkwerks coloring. Neutral. $9.99 Dork Tower #36: Dork Storm - Guest-starring Wil Wheaton and a bunch of typos that Kovalic didn't catch until last week! The suspense angle of the story works better if you don't recall what happened last issue, it turns out, making this a pretty good jumping-on point despite being in the middle of a storyline. :) Recommended. $3.49 PS238 #22: Do Gooder Press - Heh. Very clever plan enacted this issue. Plus Zodon's time trip makes another cameo. The cliffhanger from last issue is resolved a touch abruptly, while apparently not really resolving the underlying conflict of #21, but the strong parts of the issue more than made up for some of the less strong parts. Recommended. $2.99 Agents of Atlas Hardcover: Marvel - Collects the 6 issue series along with bonus material, shrinkwrapped for your protection. Normally, I don't buy collections of titles I bought as single issues, even series I liked as much as I did this, but I do make exceptions. This time, it was because of two reasons. One, the extensive extras, including reprints of the first appearances of all the main characters plus the What If? issue that first teamed most of them together. Two, I'd like to see more Agents of Atlas, and I figure that helping this collection sell better will make that more likely. :) After an hour of reading, I still haven't read all the extras, but I figure I should put the book down and finish my reviewing now. Needless to say, strongly recommended. $24.99/$40.00Cn 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 4/25: 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. Awards: "Not Even A CGC Hardshell Would Stop That Thing" Award to Cthulhu Tales: Rising #1 "A Mind Is A Terrible Thing" Award to 52 #51 (of 52) "Warden Peace" Award to Outsiders Annual #1 "Tyroc Never Gets No Lovin'" Award to Justice Society of America #5 "Born To Ruul" Award to Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #29 "Mike Looks Different" Award to Firestorm the Nuclear Man #35 "Follow Your Bliss...And Gimme A Brewski" Award to Blue Beetle #14 "But It's More Fun If My Lips Move While I Read" Award to Astro City the Dark Age v2 #3 (of 4) "Ia Ia Unicron Ftaghn" Award to Transformers Spotlight #7 (Kup) "Hi, I'm The New Toy For This Page" Award to Transformers Cybertron: Balancing Act "Bendy Straws!" Award to Dork Tower #36 "Why Suppress What You Can Suborn?" Award to PS238 #22 "I Wanna Visit That Hot Dog Stand" Award to Agents of Atlas HC
Dave Van Domelen, "If you value your santiy, you will read no further! You will put this book back and buy one of those superhero books by Geoff Johns with spandex and big-busted women!" - Cthulhu Tales: Rising, "The Pull of Insanity" opening page. And clearly, the speaker recks not with the sanity-destroying power of Geoff Johns.