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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 week. An archive can be found on my homepage, http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/Rants 20 floppies, plus other stuff...maybe time to go back to weekly? Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): Lego Batman Movie, Hilo vol 3: The Great Big Boom In this installment: Powerless, Lego Batman Movie, Overwatch #10, Hilo vol 3: The Great Big Boom, Gold Digger #238, Invader Zim #17, Champions #5, Totally Awesome Hulk #16, Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #16, Ms Marvel v2 #15, Deathstroke #12-13, Astro City #41, Hanna-Barbera Future Quest #10 (of 12), Hanna-Barbera Flintstones #8, Mega Princess #4 (of 5), My Little Pony Friends Forever #37, My Little Pony Friendship is Magic #50-51, Optimus Prime #4, Transformers Till All Are One #7, Transformers Lost Light #2-3, Empowered and the Soldier of Love #1 (of 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. Powerless: DC/NBC - Ugh, no. Couldn't even grit it out through the whole pilot. Tried the second episode, got even less far into that. It's a generic "horrible office" sitcom with DC namedrops and the occasional bad special effects. It may well be a very good example of the subgenre, but I have zero interest in horrible office sitcoms. (I talked to some people who saw it and generally like horrible office sitcoms, they didn't like it either.) Lego Batman Movie: DC/WB - Yay! About my only complaint about this movie is that Harley Quinn wasn't voiced by Tara Strong (and the voice was pretty generic). Otherwise, this was an excellent Batman movie, clearly a later story told by the kids from The Lego Movie (in fact, I suspect the kid sister was in control of the storyline here). It focuses on the ways people deal with loss and fear of getting close without being preachy or boring about it, and it has that earnest kid trying to tell a good story sensibility. Strongly recommended. I decided to not pick up JLA Dark after reading some other reviews of it. 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. Overwatch #10: Dark Horse - This is the Very Special Holiday Issue everyone was talking about online in December. Structurally it's a faint echo of "Gift of the Magi" in the sense that Tracer keeps sacrificing of herself at Christmas, losing chance after chance to find the perfect gift for her girlfriend. For a backup-length story, it's decent, even though it does spend some of its limited pagecount on a montage of what everyone else is doing for the holidays. Recommended. Free on ComiXology. Trades: Trade paperbacks, collections, graphic novels, pocket manga, whatever. If it's bigger than a "floppy" it goes here. Hilo vol 3: The Great Big Boom: Random House Kids - After a quick side trip to deal with some of the immediate fallout of volume 2, Hilo and DJ head off to rescue Gina, and along the way we get the emotional climax of the series: the truth about why Hilo turned against Razorwark. Funny, light adventure and yet with a true sense of risk and menace. Judd Winick is definitely on his game here. Strongly recommended. $13.99/$18.99Cn (cheaper on Amazon, tho, which is where I got it) Floppies: No, I don't have any particular disdain for the monthlies, but they *are* floppy, yes? Gold Digger #238: Antarctic Press - Every so often, when a character has been messing around with stuff on a cosmic level, it's important to remind the reader that things like "made friends with cosmic horrors" are actually unusual and may not go over very well with the average dweller in the universe. Gina teams up with a newcomer to seek out a Djinn, forgetting that maybe her experience with Djinni has been...atypical. Recommended. $3.99 Invader Zim #17: Oni Press - As improbable and doofy as the exploits of Dib and Zim may be to the reader, imagine how they's sound when one or both of them is bragging? Well, you need imagine no longer, the main story involves Zim and Dib bragging about their accomplishments. It's...perhaps a bit too over the top, really. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Champions #5: Marvel - Really not feeling it. Another "heroes try to deal with an issue they can't just punch" story, even the characters think it's getting preachy. And Gwenpool is a one-page joke character who hasn't gotten better with time. Will stick it out one more issue, but I doubt it's going to turn around significantly. Neutral. $3.99 Totally Awesome Hulk #16: Marvel - The throwaway villain from the start of #15 steals a chunk of Manhattan and only the group from last issue is available to fight them. As good as #15 was, this is really just padded all to hell and back. A few good bits, but otherwise a 4-6 page transition stretched out to a full issue. Very mildly recommended. $3.99 Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #16: Marvel - Sigh. One of the tropes in fiction that annoys me no end is the False Skeptic. Some fantastic element is clearly present in the setting, but the False Skeptic refuses to believe in it. This is usually done to try to score points in real life, where the fictional thing is actually fictional, and cast the deniers as fools. In Marvel, the most frequent use of this trope is someone who refuses to believe in magic, even when hanging out with Doctor Strange. At least Luna is young enough that this sort of thing is plausible...she may be brilliant, but she's still a kid and not necessarily any more grown up than her classmates when it comes to issues of "being a jerk to someone's face about their beliefs." I was hoping Luna would approach magic as another thing to try to understand, not reflexively dismiss, but at least she's starting to grudgingly accept there may be something there. Neutral. $3.99 Ms. Marvel v2 #15: Marvel - The main story is no great shakes (and makes me wish for a Legion of Net.Heroes crossover), but the civvies scenes in between make it worthwhile. Recommended. $3.99 Deathstroke #12: DC - The one-off-ness of #11 is made into an actual important plot point, woo. Slade sets up an elegant legal catch-22 to help him remain at large, as Priest works hard to make it plausible for someone like Slade to not be constantly on the run. The issue is otherwise a bit scattered as a bunch of threads are spun out or continued, but it reads a little more coherently if you re-read it right before reading #13. Recommended. $2.99 Deathstroke #13: DC - An action need not be evil to be villainous. It just has to be something that most people would probably agree shouldn't be done for reasons other than "it's stupid". Thus, several villains end up at cross-purposes at the start of the issue, and the main conflict is finding ways for each to obtain some part of their villainous goals (and a few non- villainous goals) in compromise. Oh, and in case the Wilson family wasn't messed up enough, another armful of ghost peppers gets tossed into the souffle. Recommended. $2.99 Astro City #41: DC/Vertigo - According to a count in the lettercol section, this is the 100th non-reprint issue of Astro City, including various specials and miniseries. So it's finally time to explain in detail the events leading up to how Romeyn Falls became Astro City. It does suffer somewhat from Busiek's tendency to use this series to summarize stories rather than tell them, but the extra page count does allow for some fleshed-out vignettes strung together on the summary. (The purple-skinned cosmic dude gets a few reaction shots to indicate that one of the "but that's another story" asides is Important, which I felt was to the detriment of the main story.) Mildly recommended. $4.99 Hanna-Barbera Future Quest #10 (of 12): DC - Mostly a downtime issue, as Omnikron gets driven off, everyone regroups to compare notes and explain to the Herculoids that not all robots are evil, etc. Several characters discover things about themselves, and a Plan Is Hatched. It's hard for me to evaluate this in isolation, though, as I still think this would have been done better as a 6-8 issue series with all the rambling origin stories in the middle shunted off into a second series. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Hanna-Barbera The Flintstones #8: DC - So, Wilma's mom helped discover agriculture. Just as religion has gone from invention to modern woes in the space of a few issues, the setting has gone from hunter-gatherer to civilization and division of labor within a generation. A bit rapid, but it works for the allegory: we're changing our world faster than we can change ourselves, and that's a Problem. Recommended. $3.99 Mega Princess #4 (of 5): kaboom! - After jumping to several conclusions and getting in trouble for it, Princess Max stumbles into the bigger picture. While still fairly light and fluffy in tone, the story makes it clear that Max's obsession with being a detective gets in the way of actually doing it right. Recommended. $3.99 My Little Pony Friends Forever #37: IDW - Rarity and Trixie have to work together to help Sapphire Shores put on a really big show. This seems to be set prior to Starlight Glimmer befriending Trixie, who is in a very needy and alone mode (and Rarity hasn't forgiven Trixie for the whole "dome over Ponyville" thing). OTOH, it's definitely post "Call of Cutie" in that Sweetie Belle has her cutie mark. A bit hard to place, and that's actually kinda important given that Trixie's character development has been pretty radical every time she's appeared in the show. Other than that, it's a fairly by-the-numbers story, albeit with some good dialogue and visual bits here and there from Whitley and Garbowska. Mildly recommended. $3.99 My Little Pony Friendship is Magic #50: IDW - Oversized 50th issue, although they don't use the extra pagecount to make the Accord story a stealth 4-parter. Rather, the second half is an aftermath tale in which Discord tries to mend fences and find a unique gift for Celestia's birthday. In the main story, the Andy Price art is very Andy Price, and Ted Anderson mines both cartoon and comic continuity to find a common theme in all the various "evil ponies/warped ponies/Discorded/Accorded ponies" plotlines. It makes sense, and works well as something that the reformed villain Starlight would figure out. Recommended. $5.99 My Little Pony Friendship is Magic #51: IDW - James Asmus didn't really impress me on his Quantum & Woody issues, and he's definitely off to a decompressedly slow start on his arc here (an arc with no name that I can find). A mysterious unicorn steals some books and seems to be intent on either erasing their knowledge or making it come alive...the writing isn't very clear on that. Several bits along the way feel like padding, so that he doesn't have to actually reveal anything until the very last page. Fleecs does a decent job on the art, but I get the feeling that Asmus is trying to tell a one issue story in three or four. Very mildly recommended. $3.99 Optimus Prime #4: IDW - Burcham's colors aren't as oversaturated this issue, but many cases they're undersaturated. I get the feeling he's having trouble matching the output of his computer screen to what actually shows up on the page. Barber's theme for the issue seems to be "Dealing with disillusionment and attempting rapproachment" to varying levels of success. He kind of cheats on one of the big interpersonal conflicts though, by interrupting it with a big unrelated fight scene. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Transformers Till All Are One #7: IDW - So, almost ignoring the zombie Titans rampaging below, this issue focuses on the attempt to infiltrate Carcer and wake him up. It ends on a Big Revelation which...isn't much of a revelation. Even after reading up on stuff on TFwiki I don't really see much there to justify the ominousness. I guess when you bury foreshadowing in side comments that get zero development at the time, that'll happen. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Transformers Lost Light #2-3: IDW - Gonna break pattern and review these together, because they really just feel like a single issue anyway (although there's a big "huh, when did THAT happen?" between issues regarding one character). While the away team deals with Functionalist Cybertron, the two main plots back on Necrobot's world involve "What is Anode's Deal?" and "What is Tailgate's Deal?" Tailgate's issues are fairly straightforward if not easily solved, and *probably* explain the disconnect mentioned earlier. Anode, on the other hand, we get from both sides of the plotline (there's a version of her on Functionist Cybertron), and like TAAO7 there's a problem with a Big Reveal that has no impact because it's poorly explained and seems to be a bit of an aft-pull. Mildly recommended. $3.99 each. Empowered and the Soldier of Love #1 (of 3): Dark Horse - A sinister magical girl is in town, and her goal seems to be destruction via excessive love. Well, lust, really. Most of the fun in this establishing issue comes from visual gags and new characters mining semi-obscure fandom (like a Priss look-alike weather controller named Konyo Wa Hurricane). Artist Karla Diaz does a pretty good job, although her Empowered doesn't really feel right, a little too generic I guess. Recommended. $3.99 Dave Van Domelen, "They tried to pet my face." "Can you blame them, Clarence? You're adorable!" - Clarence the giant otter and Mrs. Korimako, Hilo vol 3.
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