May 28, 2016

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, Living in my very own house now, yay! Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): My Little Pony Friendship is Magic #42. In this installment: Hilo vol 2 Saving the Whole Wide World, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #7, The Totally Awesome Hulk #6, Ms. Marvel v2 #7, Gold Digger #232, Invader Zim #9, Astro City #35, Hanna-Barbera Future Quest #1, Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs #3, My Little Pony Friends Forever #28, My Little Pony Friendship is Magic #42, The Transformers #53, Transformers More than Meets the Eye #53. Current Wait List (books either Diamond didn't ship or my store failed to order): Toil and Trouble #5, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #3 AND #4. Pretty much giving up on those. Add Kaijumax Season 2 #1. "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. None this month. Yeah, there's an X-Men movie this month, but if I see it, it'll be after the opening weekend and only if word of mouth is good. Some of the early reviews weren't...promising. Not uniformly bad, mind you, but more "I regret wasting the time on this" reviews than I'd like. 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. Hilo vol 2: Saving the Whole Wide World: Random House - Well, at the end of vol 1, Hilo was off to fight Razorwark, leaving Earth behind. He comes back to Earth very early on in this volume, keeping D.J. as the narrator rather than picking up a new thread on another world. Most of the conflict in this volume comes from Razorwark's efforts to escape an interdimensional trap, dumping all sorts of monsters on Earth in the process and establishing that in some worlds the idea of random portals is pretty ho-hum. The main character development thrust of this volume, though, revolves around a rare instance of doing the "dark version of beloved childhood hero" right. I can't really say more without spoilering, but it takes a sort of "what if?" turn from Astro Boy to a dark place without making the hero unsympathetic or Evil For Shock Value. Recommended. $13.99/$17.99Cn Floppies: No, I don't have any particular disdain for the monthlies, but they *are* floppy, yes? Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #7: Marvel - One of two comics I got this week where a school science competition is part of the plot. In this case, it's FIRST Lego League, which in our reality doesn't actually involve nearly as many bricks as the setup shown here (seriously, the competition boards have maybe a $30 set's worth of bricks most years, not scale models of Manhattan). If I nitpick, it's because I'm in a generally annoyed mood by the introduction of an antagonist more suited to Not Brand Ecch, a nerdy Kree version of Mandark. Generally disappointing start to the second arc. Neutral. $3.99 Totally Awesome Hulk #6: Marvel - Decent character moment for the Chos, and a reasonably organic tie-in to events in Thor's own comic, the sort of inter-title worldbuilding continuity that made Marvel great (as opposed to the forced Event Mentality that made it suck). I mean, there's nothing here that's exceptionally good, just solid storytelling of a sort we don't get enough of from the Big Two anymore. Recommended. $3.99 Ms. Marvel v2 #7: Marvel - Here's the other science competition, a tri-state science fair. Of course, in a world where you have to be the next Reed Richards to make your mark (and in which public high schools get access to fabricator machines that can create clones, albeit with the help of reverse-engineered Loki stuff), you'd think holding such events in a populated area would be...discouraged. Especially when you have superheroes whose secret IDs are students involved in the competition. Then you're Just Asking For It. Still, we got a sweet skyshark out of it. There's a "Road to Civil War II" banner, but the only involvement is a final page where the plot device precog gets a vibe off someone on the cast...shades of Armageddon 2001. Recommended. $3.99 Gold Digger #232: Antarctic Press - Back to Briana's forest, which hosts some leftover conflicts from the big Dreadwing war. It feels weird to be doing all this aftermath stuff when the big battle just sort of got backgrounded and ended almost off-screen. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Invader Zim #9: Oni Press - Vasquez has a hand in this story, which does feel like a "real" Zim story. Dib disguises himself as an alien in a ploy to become Zim's intern and Get The Goods. Recommended. $3.99 Astro City #35: DC/Vertigo - At the heavy end of narration for this title, which is heavy indeed. The narrator is the son of the Jack in the Box from the original series, grandson of the original, and the flashbacks are chockablock with Ditko-inspired designs. It's particularly heavy on inspiration from the short-lived Blue Beetle Charlton book Ditko drew. It's more than just reminiscences, there's a few pages of current-day story involved, but it looks like part two next issue will be even more narration and flashbacks (albeit from the villain's point of view). Mildly recommended. $3.99 Hanna-Barbera Future Quest #1: DC - Once again, Jeff Parker takes a bunch of old characters and finds a way to tell a coherent story with them. The Big Threat that brings things together is a world-devouring Von Neumann machine sort of collective entity, defeated by the Space Force at the cost of the lives of the entire one. But as with Hilo, the evil robotic threat was not so much destroyed as trapped between dimensions, and its attempts to break out result in weirdness studied by both Doctor Quest and his rival Doctor Zin. Lots of random dimension gates providing an excuse to bring in just about anyone from the Hanna-Barbera sci fi cartoons (I hope that wasn't Tundro, though). Oh, and the art by Shaner and Steve Rude is icing on the cake. Recommended, although I have a hard time not hearing some of the characters as their versions from various parodies (Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Harvey Birdman, Venture Bros.). $3.99 Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs #3: Lion Force Comics - Yeah, the bad visual storytelling is back. From context, I think the vehicles are supposed to be transformers of a sort, but all the art gives me is that a character will be in one vehicle in one panel and a different one in the next. Was the penciller expecting the colorist to put in a morphing effect or something? There's other bits that look like one of the unnamed studio artists was expecting someone else to add a thing, and that thing never got added. It got really distracting, and the story wasn't strong enough to survive that. Very mildly recommended. No price printed anywhere on the book, either. The invoice at the shop said $2.99 like last issue, though. My Little Pony Friends Forever #28: IDW - Luna and the Cutie Mark Crusaders do a sleepover in a story that breaks the fourth wall an awful lot for a story without Pinkie Pie in it. Not a lot actually happens other than the last few pages, I just re-read it and I still can't remember much detail (other than Scootaloo's wings vanishing once or twice due to art errors). Very mildly recommended for a couple of gags. $3.99 My Little Pony Friendship is Magic #42: IDW - Katie Cook's final issue, and like #41 it's a style homage romp. Rarity helps Pinkie create from (questionably reliable) memory a children's book that is the Equestrian version of the Emperor's New Clothes. Loads of art styles (Rarity's default drawing style seems to be very Alphonse Mucha), some called out by name (and one called out rather more harshly, with "Lichtenstein brand canvas - now with carbon paper!"). Strongly recommended. $3.99 The Transformers #53: IDW - While I like Tramontano's line work better than Raimondelli's, the inking and colors don't really mesh well with it, feeling rushed. Lots of fighting and talking about fighting and then a version of Sky Reign that looks almost nothing like the toy. There's a few bits of good dialogue here and there, but then some real clunkers and "the plit ratchets forward for no obvious reason" moments. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Transformers More than Meets the Eye #53: IDW - Love and friendship and the things people will do for both. Well, except for Whirl. He just wants to shoot stuff. At least one Big Mystery of the book is resolved and a few more are set up, but a lot is left unresolved for after the Big Fight next issue. Recommended. $3.99 Dave Van Domelen, "Oh! I have an idea!" "I told you to stop having those!" - Pinkie Pie and Rarity, MLP:FiM #42 Bonus quote: "HE'LL survive, at any rate." "Because of the upgrade?" "Because I'll split this world open and tear down the sky before I allow him to come to even the SLIGHTEST harm." - Cyclonus and Whirl, about Tailgate, TF:MtMtE #53
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