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Dave's Comicbook Capsules Et CeteraIntermittent 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 month. An archive can be found on my homepage, http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/Rants I guess I'll still spoiler-protect some month-old comics stuff. Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): Nothing this month. In this installment: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Legion of Super-Heroes (movie), Chainsaw Man vol 1-3, Happy Kanako's Killer Life vol 6, Way of the Househusband vol 9, Action Activists #3, Moon Knight #20, Monkey Prince #10 (of 12), Black Adam #7 (of 12), Gargoyles #2, Vampirella Year One #5 (of 6), My Little Pony #9, My Little Pony Classics Reimagined Little Fillies #3 (of 4). February floppies expected to arrive in the mail next month: Black Adam #8 (of 12), Draculina: Blood Simple #1 (of 6), Fantastic Four #4, Gargoyles #3, Monkey Prince #11 (of 12), My Little Pony Classics Reimagined Little Fillies #4 (of 4). My Little Pony #10 is due March 1, and may or may not ship with the February books. "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. Wakanda Forever: Disney/Marvel - As other reviewers have pointed out, this is not really a superhero movie. It's a movie in a superhero universe, but it's a movie about dealing with personal loss on the backdrop of international power politics. It's a bit long, and even then at least one of the deleted scenes really should have been left in at least in a truncated form since it explains a bit of a plot leap. Really...this was a story that should've been a D+ miniseries. It tried to do too much in 161 minutes, and 161 minutes was pushing the limits of moviegoer endurance even if every theater now has recliners. It would've been nice if the BluRay had an option to watch the movie with the deleted scenes re-inserted in their proper places (although one of them I think would need modification since the fate of a specific object changes), because if you're gonna watch an overly long movie in chunks at home, might as well have the chunks in order. Anyway, there were good story beats, but it really tried to do too much and be PRESTIGE in THEATERS (which did work out for Angela Basset, admittedly), at the cost of giving the story enough room to be itself. Mildly recommended. Price varies by store and format, Disney+ has just the movie without the extras (so far, anyway). Legion of Super-Heroes: DC/WB - This direct to video animated movie seems to be its own entirely separate continuity, playing mix and match with the trademarks while not being overly concerned about matching up to...well, anything. It's mostly the Supergirl and Brainy meet-cute movie (and since it IS a superhero movie, their meet-cute is a fight scene where she tries to beat his face in), and secondarily treating the Legion Espionage Squad characters like they're the Subs (okay, Arm-Fall-Off Boy is in the main cadre too, and he didn't even make it into the Subs). It's...okay. I mean, I've seen far worse done with the Legion property, and even making one of the Legion Academy people (who isn't someone who was ever in the Academy in any other continuity) a ham-handedly foreshadowed traitor was tolerable. PG-13, so they show a few charred corpses, have some mangled body horror stuff, and one character uses a current-day Naughty Word (where "grife" or "sprock" would have been far more appropriate). The extras include the "preview" for JLA vs. Fatal Five (which does not use this version of the Legion) and the STAS episodes introducing Supergirl (which were frankly a lot better than this movie). Mildly recommended. Price varies by store and format. Might be on HBO-whatever, I don't subscribe to that and don't care to check. Moon Girl hit D+ this month, but I won't have it all watched until next month. Digital Content: Unless I find a really compelling reason to do so (such as a lack of regular comics), I won't be turning this into a webcomic review column. Rather, stuff in this section will generally be full books available for reading online or for download, usually for pay. Action Activists #3: NYC Department of Education - Van Lente and Dunleavy return for another in this series of civics education comics that can be found free online, or you can order classroom sets of the hardcopies. https://www.weteachnyc.org/resources/resource/action-activists-3/ for the link. This one focuses on the immigrant experience, and avoids the really obvious picks, so it's informative to any but specialists or those with personal connections. :) Recommended. $Free (Adventure Finders delayed by life getting in the way.) Trades: Trade paperbacks, collections, graphic novels, pocket manga, whatever. If it's bigger than a "floppy" it goes here. Chainsaw Man vol 1-3: Viz/Shonen Jump - This is another of those manga that's part of the modern "newsstand" availability, sold at big box stores like Walmart and Target, in addition to bookstores. I decided to give it a try this month, and got through three volumes before deciding to order the rest (local Target had 1-3, plus 7, 9, 10, 11, but online sources could get me 4-11 inclusive so I went with that). On the surface, this is a splattergore "fight your way to the final boss" sort of storyline, in a world like our own but in which devils started cropping up a generation or so ago. It's like the world of Kaiju No. 8 in the sense that there's a public sector agency dedicated to dealing with the issue, using the tools of devils against other devils, but it's more of a recent thing than in Kaiju No. 8. A decade or so ago, the Gun Devil took advantage of worldwide fear and killed millions in almost an instant before vanishing...that's our Final Boss. Denji is a desperately poor kid stuck paying off his dad's mob debt, using his pet chainsaw devil Pochita to both cut trees and kill Devils, and in the first volume he dies. But since he actually treated Pochita well, instead of rising as a Fiend (which is where a Devil takes over a human body entirely), he rose as himself again, but with the chainsaw devil powers. Got it? Okay, now that's not really what the story's about. At least so far, it's an 80s style raunch-and-gross-out teen movie story. Denji is aggressively stupid and horny, and his fiend partner Power is aggressively stupid and murderous. The only reason Denji wants to kill the Gun Devil is because his hot boss has promised to grant him any wish if he succeeds and they both know that wish is gonna be sex. Their mostly-human coworkers are basically college-age students with a few twenty-somethings, because survival rates in the devil-hunting biz ain't great. Sure, a lot of the gross-out is blood and viscera, but there's also a lot of "you ate WHAT?" jokes and barf jokes, not to mention raunchy teasing. The end result is that the horror part never quite makes it through, for all that some of the characters are on the verge of failing SAN checks, because the gore is more often than not a laugh line for physical humor. I mean, the title character grows chainsaws out of his arms and face, if this were in color the main color would be red (although the covers imply that devils might have other colors of blood. Anyway, events at the end of volume 3 suggest there might be a significant change in the book, including a bit of rug-yanking in terms of Denji's goals, but the fact that there's 8 more volumes already out reassures the reader that Denji will find some reason to go on. Recommended with the MASSIVE proviso that you need to be able to laugh at massively over the top gore. Like, "Revenge of the Nerds XIII: Jason and Leatherface Go To School" levels. $9.99/$12.99Cn/#7.99UK per volume, Target has them 20% off. Happy Kanako's Killer Life vol 6: Seven Seas - And now for something a little more restrained and civil, the story of an assassin trying to either kill her ex or get back together with him and no one can tell which it is, least of all the ex (who also doesn't care). This installment focuses on Kanako's new circle of female assassin friends, and what passes for Girls' Night Out for them, I guess. Y'know, I'm reading and watching a lot of romcom sort of stories this month, and the only one where the romantically involved people don't at some point try to kill each other is CHAINSAW MAN. But where CSM is high school raunch, this is Hallmark Movie stuff, but everyone is an assassin. I mean, if Hallmark Movies featured more hitmen and hitwomen, I might be more interested in the channel. (I cannot say for sure that they involve zero hitpeople in love right now, though, because they might.) This also has a bit of the old sitcom "anxiety-based humor," although the stakes are less "I will be so embarrassed/I'll get fired/he'll dump me" and more "I'm literally dead if this goes wrong." So it's tolerable. Recommended. $14.99/$18.99Cn Way of the Househusband vol 9: Viz - This was a bit of a weird one to read, I kept wanting to check and make sure I didn't accidentally re-buy a volume. That's because the season season of the animated adaptation on Netflix is almost entirely from this volume's stories. Maybe entirely, actually. But it was a good season, and the stories do come across slightly differently in this format. Recommended. $12.99/$17.99Cn/#9.99UK Floppies: No, I don't have any particular disdain for the monthlies, but they *are* floppy, yes? (And not all of them come out monthly, or on a regular schedule in general, so I can't just call this section "Monthlies" or even "Periodicals" as that implies a regular period.) Other than Vampirella Year One #5 (of 6), all of these came out in January. And Vampi was originally supposed to be out a month or two ago as well. Moon Knight #20: Marvel - Mass killing of a previous writer's supporting characters on a book is generally tacky at best, contemptuous at worst. Especially when the in-story reason is to show that a new threat is a Badass. It's kind of the dark side to a continuity-mining writer like MacKay, he may be running through the Obscure Characters Index lately, but this time he's mostly to break the toys rather than put them back in the box when he's done. Nice Blade backup, at least. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Monkey Prince #10 (of 12): DC - Crossover time! Almost definitely planned for at the start, because otherwise interrupting the final arc of a miniseries with a crossover is too stupid even for DC. In this one, a cloud of Terrigen Mists is...no, wait, different plot device escaping containment and becoming weather. Planned or not, it does lead to a distraction from the Ultra-Humanite plot as Monkey and Supergirl fight some random people turned into monsters by the plot device, and then provides a deus ex machina to let Ultra-Humanite pull a plot device out of his back pocket. I'm starting to wonder if this was pitched as an ongoing, but approved as a 12-issue series, so Yang had to find a way to accelerate the endgame. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Black Adam #7 (of 12): DC - A break before this book enters another crossover to get a look at Teth Adam before he got corrupted. Happy-Pants Adam, in other words. The plot device used on Black Adam previously gets explained and reused, giving Malik some insight into his ancestor while (naturally) almost killing him. Recommended. $3.99 Gargoyles #2: Dynamite - Weisman is bound and determined to introduce every character from the cartoon and from the previous comic series before letting the plot go much of anywhere, as far as I can tell. Sigh. Hardly the first time the opening issues of a series would have been better served by a "Official Handbook" one-shot or miniseries, so that the actual story could start without needing to have everyone take their turn upon the stage. Very mildly recommended. $3.99 Vampirella Year One #5 (of 6): Dynamite - As an increasingly gravid Vampi in the present has to worry about angry (well, Concerned) mobs, she continues to narrate her origin story to her unborn child. She's finally on Earth, and does not understand the language (and her red swimsuit is sort of explained, but not really). It's not worldbuilding (everything's basically real world late 1960s, although she does meet up with a guy who might really have magic powers), and the "Hugh Stone" gag does wear thin pretty quickly. This feels like it needed to be stretched out to fill an issue just so that the time on Earth could end on a Big Reveal. Mildly recommended. $3.99 My Little Pony #9: IDW - Finally getting back to the main plot, long after I've stopped caring. Even Discord just isn't feeling it, as he condescendingly puts the ponies in a cliffhanger after they've spent the entire issue questing. Meh. $3.99 My Little Pony Classics Imagined: Little Fillies #3 (of 4): IDW - The fourth wall is more of a vague suggestion by this point, as the adaptation (and I use the term loosely) tears through many chapters of the original and handwaves away a few of the more serious consequences...because part of the kayfabe here is maintaining the conceit that little kids are the main audience for this comic. (I somehow doubt many of the readers are under 18, and most are probably over 30.) Still, the tongue in cheek treatment is charming in its way, and a faithful adaptation would probably take 24 or more issues while being very tedious due to the different sensibilities of readership back in the day. Recommended. $3.99 Dave Van Domelen, "Which part of 'death trap' do you need explained to you?" - [spoiler] to Malik, Black Adam #7 (of 12)
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