January 28, 2017

Dave's Comicbook Capsules Et Cetera

Intermittent Picks and Pans of Comics and Related Media 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 That 2016 calendar is still staked out in the back yard. Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): Deathstroke #11 In this installment: Bone Coda, Champions #4, Totally Awesome Hulk #14-15, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #15, Ms. Marvel v2 #14, Deathstroke #10-11, Hanna-Barbera's Future Quest #9 (of 12), Hanna-Barbera's The Flintstones #7, Mega Princess #2-3 (of 5), Ragnarok #11, My Little Pony Friends Forever #36, Optimus Prime #2-3, The Four Color Comic Book History of Comics #3. Current Wait List (books either Diamond didn't ship or my store failed to order): Atomic Robo: the Temple of Od #1 (of 5), Mickey's Inferno "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 month. Voltron Season 2 arrived, but that's tangential enough to comics I'm not going to review it this time. And I have no particular interest in Archie, so I didn't watch Riverdale. Digital Content: Unless I find a really compelling reason to do so, I won't be turning this into a webcomic review column. Rather, stuff in this section will be full books available for reading online or for download, usually for pay. I will often be reading these things on my iPhone if it's at all possible. Nothing this month. Trades: Trade paperbacks, collections, graphic novels, pocket manga, whatever. If it's bigger than a "floppy" it goes here. Bone Coda: Cartoon Books - This is mostly interviews and a somewhat rambling analysis of the series as a whole, but it leads off with 38 page story taking place during the journey home. It doesn't end with arriving back in Boneville, but thanks to Quest for the Spark we do know the Bone cousins made it back home in one piece. One thing I learned from Smith's autobiography section is that the place that inspired him to go into comics is also where I got my comics for the first few years of grad school (Monkey's Retreat, which pretty much stopped carrying comics a few years later). Anyway, it's not really a coda in the musical sense, more of an intermezzo. Still, worth the $10 I paid on Amazon. Floppies: No, I don't have any particular disdain for the monthlies, but they *are* floppy, yes? Champions #4: Marvel - It continues to read like episodic kidvid shifted by a page or two. Deal with previous cliffhanger, head out, land in new cliffhanger that appears to be totally unrelated (although I suppose there could be some super-convoluted plot behind this all). Much as I like Ramos's art and usually like Waid's writing, this feels like Waid is just hacking these out for a paycheck rather than because he has any particular story he wants to tell. Neutral. $3.99 Totally Awesome Hulk #14: Marvel - Basketball versus giant robots finishes up, and we're firmly in the "now Maddie is being unreasonable" part of the storyline. Kinda feels like marking time, though, as if Pak knows there's another stupid crossover coming so he's not willing to start anything significant. Very mildly recommended. $3.99 Totally Awesome Hulk #15: Marvel - Meanwhile, almost totally ignoring the previous two-parter, Amadeus joins up with a bunch of other Asian superheroes for a benefit event and then an evening on the town. While there's a fight scene promised for part two, the closest we get here is Shang Chi and Jimmy Woo fighting over who picks up the check for dinner (which, okay, is an actual fight scene). Perhaps because it ignores most of what's going on, this is a much more enjoyable story than most recent issues of the title. Recommended. $3.99 Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #15: Marvel - This issue's special guest star is Ironheart, who is (conveniently) the only one available to respond to an SOS when "that can't be Doctor Doom, can it?" attacks. So, it's time to compare and contrast the girl geniuses, and Riri gets to be the old fogey for once. Some good bits, but kinda mopey. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Ms. Marvel v2 #14: Marvel - With last issue being a mis-timed attempt to be topical, this is the first actual story of Kamala's new phase in life...and it's a bit abrupt. The basic theme is "cyber stalking taken to a supervillain level," complete with a little moral quandary thrown in when Kamala tries turning the tables and realizes maybe she shouldn't have. I get the feeling this is tied to events in Awesome Hulk. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Deathstroke #10: DC - End of the "Four Rooms" story, mixing Deathstroke's origin (well, the "why he wears that motif" part), Rose's search for the non-Slade side of her heritage, Jericho's medical issues, and Slade's imprisonment. It's a bit scattered, although there's some links between scenes to tie it together. I don't much care for Cary Nord's art style in general, but it does fit the darker tone of this story. Recommended. $2.99 Deathstroke #11: DC - And now for a break from two-parters with Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz collaborating on the art for a story of Jack Ryder investigating a case of Deathstroke rolling up gang members in Chicago. At first, this seems pretty abrupt, since #10 ended on a sort-of cliffhanger, but by the end of the issue it's clear what was up. I really like the way Priest writes Ryder, as a true investigative reporter who actually investigates and stuff. A good foil for Deathstroke, even as his Creeper identity lets him survive any situation where he pushes DS too far. Strongly recommended. $2.99 Hanna-Barbera Future Quest #9: DC - Basically, a running battle of "everyone versus Omnikron" but since there's three more issues to go, of course someone screws it up. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Hanna-Barbera The Flintstones #7: DC - After all the positive buzz online, I ordered the trade of #1-6 and started picking up the monthlies. So I'm a little out of the loop on stuff, but Russell does a good job of bringing up "here's why this is a thing" details in dialogue, something of a lost art in modern comics. Anyway, while the original cartoon was "Honeymooners with rock puns" this is a much deeper social criticism. With rock puns. The main conflict this time is the idea of buying salvation, as the guy who invented religion gets desperate to pay the bills and starts selling indulgences. Meanwhile, the Great Gazoo in this version is an interstellar cop charged with protecting undeveloped worlds from exploitation, but he's not terribly confident humanity will be around much longer. It gets heavy-handed at times, but makes some good observations. Recommended. $3.99 Mega Princess #2-3 (of 5): kaboom! - The investigation continues, first to the tiny kingdom, then the undersea kingdom, with a break to find out that OOPS the fairy godmother might've overstepped her bounds. Sort of like Sistah Spooky, but significantly less ominous. Lots of cliches, but a fun light-hearted adventure. Recommended. $3.99 each. Ragnarok #11: IDW - Exposition time, as the main villain reveals how he came to be running the show, etc. Short on action, long on talking, I'd call it "writing for the trade" except Simonson doesn't seem to be bothering with pacing at all. He's writing for himself, and it's not always much for anyone else. This is one of those times. Neutral. $3.99 My Little Pony Friends Forever #36: IDW - Rainbow Dash and Soarin in a rather thin tale in which Soarin has to recover from feeling inferior to the rest of the Wonderbolts. Fleecs turns in on-model but not very inspiring art, and Christina Rice's story is kinda padded. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Optimus Prime #2: IDW - Kei Zama seems to be trying for a Geoff Senior feel here, in terms of scratchy lines and heavy shadows, while Burcham's colors are oversaturated as in the previous issue. The "white-guttered present day, black-guttered flashbacks" thing continues, sometimes with strong parallels and sometimes just abruptly changing focus. The Junkions get brought into the IDW continuity as a non-Cybertronian race that just happens to be mecha, and victims of the pre-Tyrest-Accord Cybertronian imperialism. They wish to bargain with Cybertron, but are so sinister that Wreck-Gar might as well start twirling his mustache. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Optimus Prime #3: IDW - Burcham seems to be getting dialed in, at least, but Zama's got serious problems consistently drawing the humans (Marissa Faireborn's head keeps changing size within a scene, for instance). The politics kick in the council debates whether it's even legal to make a deal with the Junkions, who naturally get even more sinister. At least Thundercracker has some good scenes to make it worth wading through Barber's overly complicated story structure. Mildly recommended. $3.99 The Four Color Comic Book History of Comics #3: IDW - As the cover indicates, this one starts off with the contributions of comics creators to WWII, but then moves into the romance and crime/horror comics of the 50s. The two-page "Herstory of Comics" backup covers Patricia Highsmith, who wrote a whackload of Nedor and Timely comics during WWII and then switched to a successful career as a novelist...destroying most of the evidence she'd ever written for comics. Recommended. $3.99 Dave Van Domelen, "What IS the solution to Chicago's gun violence...?" "Better AIM." - Jack Ryder and Deathstroke, Deathstroke #11
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