Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) wrote,
Dave Van Domelen

Comics for December 29, 2010

                   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.
An archive can be found on my homepage, http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/Rants 
     Last Diamond shipment of the year, last chance to fix things.

     Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): None.

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 12/29/10: Invincible #72, Transformers Ironhide #4,
Gorilla Man #2, Atlas #4, Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Update
#3 (which I probably won't bother reviewing if it ever comes in), Guarding
the Globe #1-2, Dynamo5 Sins of the Father #3, Science Dog #1, Chaos War #1,
Taskmaster #2, Transformers Drift #4, Official Index to the Marvel Universe
v2 #7, Tron Betrayal #2, Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #8, Chaos War Dead
Avengers #1, Shadowland Power Man #4, Transformers Timelines G2 Redux and
Gold Digger v3 #123, Hercules New Prince of Power TPB.  No new books to add,
and a bunch of the older stuff I had a friend pick up for me, they'll come
off the list once I have 'em in hand.

"Other Media" Capsules:

     Things that are comics-related but not necessarily comics (i.e.
comics-based movies like Iron Man or Hulk), or that aren't going to be
available via comic shops (like comic pack-ins with DVDs) will go in this
section when I have any to mention.  They may not be as timely as comic
reviews, especially if I decide to review novels that take me a week or two
(or ten) to get around to.

     Nothing this week.

     Sometimes I get a comic a week or two late because of Diamond's
combination of neglect and incompetence.  If it's more than a week late,
though, I won't review it unless it's very notable.  Additionally, I will
often get tradepaperbacks long after publication or even sometimes before
Diamond ships them, and those will go here.  If I'm reasonably sure I'm
reviewing something that didn't ship this week, this is the section for it.

     Avengers the Ultimate Character Guide: Marvel/DK - I don't know when
this came out, other than "fairly recently," I stumbled across it at Barnes &
Noble.  It's a hardcover book, 208 pages long, 204 of those pages being
devoted to one-page guide entries to pretty much everyone who's been called
an Avenger or a major Avengers foe, from Amadeus Cho to Yondu.  The entries
are fairly terse, and definitely pitched for a younger audience (i.e. Starfox
is described as having had "close friendships" with many female superheroes),
but it's a pretty well-made overview.  They include a power rank bar but
don't really explain what the numbers mean or how high they go, but the fact
that Galactus is all 7s suggests the scale is 1-7.  :)  It's odd that
Firestar has a higher energy projection rating (7) than Firelord does (5),
these might be numbers taken from Marvel.com's fan voting.  Obviously, when
Spider-Man and Cloud 9 both get the same amount of space, there's going to be
problems, but within that restriction it's a pretty good reference.
Recommended.  $16.99/$19.99Cn.

New Comics:
     Comics and comic collections that I got this week and were actually
supposed to be out this week, as far as I can tell.  These reviews will
generally be spoiler-free, but the occasional bit will slip in.

     Transformers Sector 7 #4 (of 5): IDW - Turns out that what Midtown had
listed last week was *just* the retailer incentive cover, so this is actually
on time.  Set in WWII, the story advances to the next generation of the
Simmons family in a sort of Sgt. Rock tale but with a much higher mortality
rate for the good guys (and replace War Wheel with reverse-engineered
Cybertronian tech).  It does in many ways feel like a deliberate attempt to
take those old fantastic WWII stories and make them more "realistic," by
which I mean more deadly and horrific.  Lou Kang goes with pretty standard
comic art, no stylistic filips to make it hard to follow (or outright messes
like Jae Lee's WWII TFs).  Recommended.  $3.99

     DC Comics Presents THUNDER Agents 100-Page Spectacular: DC - This
perfect-bound but still kinda floppy collection reprints #1, #2 and #7 of the
original THUNDER Agents series from 1966 (actually, I think it's just the
Menthor story from #7, not all of that issue).  THUNDER Agents is one of
those properties that looms a lot larger in the fannish lore than its actual
newsstand impact would suggest.  Every few years, someone announces or even
launches a revival, but so far none have lasted.  And, frankly, I wasn't
exactly intrigued by what I saw of DC's revival, which is why I haven't been
getting it.  But I never did read the full copies of these original issues,
hence ordering the 100-Page Spectacular.  The stories, despite their age,
hold up rather well, building a fairly complete world in the space of two
oversized issues (although the jump from #2 to #7 is pretty jarring, since a
bunch more world-building happened between those issues).  Recommended.

     Widowmaker #2 (of 4): Marvel - The cover image of Black Widow playing
dominatrix with Ronin on a leash is either a major spoiler or runs counter to
the situation as seen in #1 (and is just there because someone wanted a bit
of BDSM sneaked in).  That aside, the main action is a deliberately confusing
fight scene in which many of the participants aren't what they seem, but the
writer doesn't seem too clear on when they figure it out, as if he lost his
notes halfway though.  Swierczynski is not up to the task of telling a muddle
like this properly, unfortunately, and it shows the seams in the
storytelling.  The change in art also makes it blatant that this was
originally a crossover rather than a mini.  When you come down to it, almost
nothing happens here that you'll need to know in order to follow #3, except
maybe two pages' worth.  Neutral.  $3.99

     Spider-Girl #2: Marvel - Wow, talk about thematic whiplash.  #1 was
mainly about how cool it can be to be a superhero, despite the danger.  How
Spider-Girl had the sort of supportive family that teen supers rarely have,
didn't need to hide her activities from her father, and if there'd been
setbacks in the past she was still seeing things through a positive lens.
This issue is about none of these things.  It's all about cost and loss and
pain and turning Spider-Girl into yet another Haunted Hero.  Even the scene
at the end, which pulls Anya out of her tailspin, doesn't change the fact
that a lot of what made the character interesting to me just got tossed into
the trashcan.  I have enough faith in Tobin's writing that I'm not
immediately dropping the book, but it just dropped WAY down in my
estimation.  Tying it in with the stupid Red Hulk thing (which I now know
about thanks to OHOTMU, and find utterly uninteresting) is just twisting the
knife.  $2.99


"And Yes, Squirrel Girl Defeated Thanos, It Says So Right Here" Award to
     Avengers the Ultimate Character Guide 

"Jetfeuer Ist Veraergert, Ja?" Award to Transformers Sector 7 #4 (of 5)

"Poor Menthor Doesn't Even Get To Be On The Cover" Award to DC Comics
     Presents THUNDER Agents 100-Page Spectacular

"Of Course, Just Because Natasha Recognizes Him Doesn't Mean He's Ever
     Appeared In A Comic Before" Award to Widowmaker #2 (of 4)

"Fail Whale" Award to Spider-Girl #2

   Dave Van Domelen, not a particularly quoteable week, although I was amused by the gigantic computer in THUNDER Agents that was nonetheless easily tipped over to become a fatal threat.
Tags: comics
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