Sunday, January 17, 2010

Battle for the Planet of Junk Food For Thought

X-MEN LEGACY: SALVAGE (Marvel, 2009)
Collects X-Men Legacy Nos. 219-225 (cover dates February- August, 2009)
I was afraid that something like this might happen... a writer having nostalgia for '90s comics. Ugghhhhhhh, Mike Carey should have left that stuff for dead. This was pretty crappy overall and will ultimately have no bearing in long term X-continuity.

CAPTAIN BRITAIN OMNIBUS (Marvel, 2009; Hardcover)
Collects Captain America Nos. 305, 306, New Mutants Annual No. 2, Uncanny X-Men Annual No. 11, and selections from Captain Britain Nos. 1-14, The Daredevils Nos. 1-11, Marvel Super Heroes Nos. 377, 378 and The Mighty World of Marvel Nos. 7-16 (cover dates September, 1981- Annual 1987).
Alan Davis is one of my favorite artists/ writers, and it is fascinating to watch him evolve here. His early CB is pretty rough, and it takes a while for this book to actually get good, but when it does (around 50 pages in), it takes off. Alan Moore handles the writing for quite a while and does a fantastic job of rebooting the character. Jamie Delano picks up the writing chores after Moore leaves and also does a bang-up job. Captain Britain becomes a lovable buffoon in these pages, and this book picks up where the Panini UK trades left off. I have the first three of those, and am awaiting the release of the fourth (which was supposed to be out months ago already), but they don't touch the quality of this material. Loads of quality DVD-style extras in the back of the book made this well worth the upgrade from the two inferior Captain Britain trades that covered a portion of this 600+ page monster.
BLACK WIDOW: THE STING OF THE WIDOW (Marvel, 2009; Hardcover)
Collects Amazing Spider-Man No. 86, Daredevil No. 81 and selections from Amazing Adventures Nos. 1-8 and Tales of Suspense No. 52 (cover dates April, 1964- November, 1971).
Dated, lovable latter era Silver Age/ proto-Bronze Age goodness. I adore the whole militant vs. establishment era of youth culture, as it is hilarious here in 2010. The art restoration was lacking in a few of the issues, with the fine linework being obliterated. Was this the results of stats? Low resolution scans? Fiche? Who knows. I wish that this material would have gotten the Masterworks TLC that it deserves, though. Of course, it would have cost Masterworks cabbage, too. All in all, a nice package, hardcover with around 150 pages with nice paper and sewn binding at half the price of a Marvel Masterwork.

X-FACTOR: TIME AND A HALF (Marvel, 2009; Hardcover)
Collects X-Factor (Vol. 3) Nos. 39-45 (cover dates March- August, 2009)
More enjoyable stuff by Peter David, with solid artwork by Valentine De Landro and Marco Santucci. Oh, and the Shatterstar thing was hilarious. Was it a swipe at Liefeld? One can only hope...
X-MEN: INFERNO (Marvel, 2009; Hardcover)
Collects New Mutants (Vol. 1) Nos. 71-73, Uncanny X-Men Nos. 239-243, X-Factor (Vol. 1) Nos. 33-40, X-Factor Annual No. 4 and X-Terminators Nos. 1-4 (cover dates October, 1988- May, 1989).
This one falls under the category of 'not as good as I remembered it being'. I only bought the Uncanny X-Men issues off of the stands, so my initial interpretation of this crossover was that it was great. I had the old softcover trade that didn't cover as many bases as this expanded hardcover edition does and it seemed like a better read. The X-Terminators mini series sucks. I bought the first issue off of the stands and was so put off by Jon Bogdanove's artwork that I never followed through with the rest of the series. This was an okay read here in late 2009/ early 2010, but it was tired by the end. On the plus side, it was presented in a beautiful oversized hardcover package with nice paper and sewn binding, so at least it has that going for it.
Collects Mighty Avengers Nos. 21-26 and selections from Secret Invasion: Requiem (cover dates March- August, 2009).
WOW! Dan Slott's Avengers are worlds better than Brian Michael Bendis' Avengers, largely because these Avengers A) have actual adventures, B) fight villains, and C) actually act heroic. Amazing. That, and the issues took more than five or ten minutes a piece to read. It really feels like I got my money's worth, especially when compared to a Bendis picture book.
Collects The Immortal Iron Fist Nos. 21-27 (cover dates February- August, 2009)
AAAargggghhhh!! This series has been cancelled, and I feel partially responsible. Let me explain. I buy the hardcovers of this series rather than the floppies, or single issues, and I always feel guilty when a series that I have followed in this format is cancelled. If only I bought this title monthly, maybe it would have survived, the self-imposed guilt trip usually goes. I know that trade sales are factored in to a title's overall sales, but I can't help but think that maybe people like me (trade waiters) are really ruining the industry, at least as far as less popular titles go. With the exception of issue 27, this entire series has been of such undeniable quality writing-wise, if not always artwork-wise, that I for one am sad to see it end.
SPIDER-MAN: 24/7 (Marvel, 2009; Hardcover)
Collects Amazing Spider-Man Nos. 589-594 and selections from Amazing Spider-Man Extra! Nos. 2, 3 (cover dates March- July, 2009).
I really look forward to reading this title, and since the Brand New Day reboot, it hasn't let me down yet. Amazing Spider-Man has once again become Marvel's best title, with each issue packed to the brim with quality. Fred Van Lente's done-in-one Issue 589 featuring the return of the Spot was just fantastic. I was around when Spot first came out circa 1984, and although most people hated him at the time, I dug him. Bendis would have stretched Issue 589 out to a 6 issue arc. Mild spoiler ahead: I am not crazy about Spider-Man revealing his identity to the Fantastic Four. I also forgot, or was unaware, that Peter was aware of that fact that the world once knew his identity. The new Vulture seems interesting, and I am looking forward to finding out more about him. Man, there is just so much going on in this title that it's really exciting. I have no problem sliding my hard-earned money across the counter for this title.
SPIDER-MAN: AMERICAN SON (Marvel, 2009; Hardcover)
Collects Amazing Spider-Man Nos. 595-599 and selections from Amazing Spider-Ma: Extra! No. 3 (cover dates May- September, 2009).
Joe Kelly's run isn't quite as good as the rest of the 'Spidey Brain Trust"'s, but that could be because he was dealt the Norman Osborn/ H.A.M.M.E.R. hand. Don't get me wrong, this arc has it's moments and is overall an enjoyable read, but it wasn't great. That's okay, ASM is still the best title Marvel has going right now and every issue doesn't have to be the greatest issue ever made.
SPIDER-MAN: THE SHORT HALLOWEEN (Marvel, 2009; Hardcover)
Collects Spider-Man: The Short Halloween and selections from Amazing Spider-Man Family Nos. 4-6 (cover dates April- July, 2009).
A hit or miss collection, with Spider-Ma'Am and Spider-Ham falling under miss and the rest being mostly decent.
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel
Ah yes, cross-brand marketing at work. A few weekends ago it was super cold outside and there was nothing to do on a Sunday, so we went to McDonald's so that Billy could run around and burn some energy off in the play area. The toy that came with his Happy Meal was Alvin, and then he saw the ad for the movie... Fast forward a week, it was even colder outside, so I took him to see the movie. To say that my 3 year old loved it is a gross understatement. When we watch something like Wonder Pets on DVD and the 22 minute episode ends he says "There will be more". After the 90 minute movie, he also said "There will be more" and refused to leave. I was like "No buddy, that's it". He argued, all the way through the credits and until the theatre staff came in to clean. They had to tell him that there won't be more and that you have to go home. He really loved it. Me, not so much. I liked that he enjoyed it so much, and since 36 year old males are likely not the target audience for this move I think that it did what it set out to do. Cute for kids, lame for adults.

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