November 29, 2015

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, Just what I wanted for Thanksgiving, a weekend of freezing rain. Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): Transformers More than Meets the Eye #46-47. In this installment: Jessica Jones (episodes 1-9), 1999 Episodes 13-21, Spacebat and the Fugitives chapters 1-2, The Garlicks Halloween Comicfest, SHIELD #12, Spider-Man 2099 #3, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #1, Ms. Marvel v2 #1, Gold Digger Halloween #11, Gold Digger #226, Astro City #29, Toil and Trouble #2-3, My Little Pony Friends Forever #22, My Little Pony Friendship is Magic #36, Transformers Robots in Disguise #4, The Transformers #47, Transformers More than Meets the Eye #46-47, Transformers Sins of the Wreckers #1, Atomic Robo and the Ring of Fire #3. Current Wait List (books either Diamond didn't ship or my store failed to order): Empowered Special Pew! Pew! Pew! "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. Jessica Jones: Marvel/Netflix - As with Daredevil, I'm not really a binge-watcher, although having Thanksgiving break let me get a few more watched than I otherwise would have. Disclaimer going in: I never read the Alias comic, and find the whole "Bendis wanted to use Jessica Drew, but couldn't, so changed her last name and a few small details" thing annoying. Furthermore, I was bugged right off the bat in the show by their extreme reluctance to NAME characters. The character credits read like they were written by someone who wasn't allowed to see the script. "Very Large Man"? Seriously? Sigh. Those initial annoyances aside, I'm liking it so far. Despite the liberal sprinkling of (eventually named, usually) Marvel Universe characters, it does still feel somewhat disconnected from the rest of the world to start with. This does distance it from the comic's obsession with aping Spider-Woman, at least, since Jessica Jones can't be a former (very short career) Avenger in the show. I decided to stop at Episode 9, a decision I made before actually getting that far, because of how many people I saw online saying things like "OMG Episode 9!" It's definitely intense and bloodier than most episodes prior to it, but it's also the climax of the arc, the turning point where control shifts from antagonist to protagonist. WARNING. This a show about rape. Less the literal sex act (although that is stated to have occurred), and more the way mind control can be used to do the same sort of thing, take away the feeling of controlling one's own life, and so forth. It takes the matter seriously, but that means if you've had a personal experience with rape and its related crimes, you will not want to treat this as light entertainment. Because it isn't light. It's damn dark. Furthermore, in the episode where it looks like they're maybe trying to make Killgrave more sympathetic, what they're really doing is establishing that he's not The Purple Man, he's really The White Man. His power is rape culture and white male privilege cranked up to superhuman levels. He always gets his way, people do what he says, and he honestly can't always tell if he's raping someone or if they're willing. I also picked up the text novel The Adventures of Jack and Miracle Girl to fill out a free shipping on Amazon, but I haven't read it yet. The cover has a very blatant Bruce Timm Supergirl riff for Miracle Girl, but a generally different style for Jack. 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. 1999 Episodes 13-21: Amazon Kindle Store - Penultimate chunk of the first arc, so a lot of stuff starts paying off or getting explained (including a big chunk of the technobabble I helped with). The Big Conflict is laid out more clearly, starting to overshadow the smaller personal stories. I found it an enjoyable read, but since I had a hand in writing it I will stop at calling this entry a plug rather than a review. $2.99 at the Kindle Store. Spacebat and the Fugitives Chapters 1-2: Thrillbent - After several months of no new content of interest to me (and not much new content at all, unfortunately), something popped up that I decided was worth the time to look at. However, since I wasn't too impressed by the creator's previous work (Motorcycle Samurai), I wasn't expecting much. Nor did I get much. The first two chapters are basically one fairly short fight scene, told in a lot of panels, in scratchy and deliberately ugly art. More chapters went up during November, but I wasn't interested enough to read them. Trades: Trade paperbacks, collections, graphic novels, pocket manga, whatever. If it's bigger than a "floppy" it goes here. None this month. Floppies: No, I don't have any particular disdain for the monthlies, but they *are* floppy, yes? The Garlicks Halloween Comicfest: Action Lab - I'm pretty sure this is the story of how the main character's parents met, but the storytelling is very (and apparently deliberately) confusing and even dreamlike. While the path of the story is linear, the characters themselves are rather less so. Interesting bit of backstory, in any case. SHIELD #12: Marvel - Final issue, although it's relaunching as Agents of SHIELD in January, I suppose this counts as one of the final pre-Secret Wars stories. They go out with a bang, having the TV show crew go on an epic quest to save the world from the consequences of a time travelers actions. The horrible doom is a little implausible (there'd be a lot more side- switching than depicted, IMO), and several of the plot points are rushed to the point of sloppiness, but hey, Waid's doing it in a single issue rather than a eight issue event series full of crossovers. Recommended. $3.99 Spider-Man 2099 #3: Marvel - Almost the entire issue is Mig interacting with the never-seen-before-last-issue Doctor Cronos, which mainly seems to serve the purpose of showing off the new gear in Spider-Man's suit. Since Cronos is totally disposable, this is another issue that could have had its purposes fulfilled by one or two pages. So, we have about one decent issue's worth of material in three issues. Taking it off my pull at this point. $3.99 Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #1: Marvel - In a world where there's kids who can build robot armies, it's rough to be in that awkward middle zone between normal and "robot armies." Lunella is in that zone, not quite accepted to the Future Foundation, but way too smart for public school. Too smart to fit in with her peers, so naturally she needs to start hanging out with a bright red slightly undersized Tyrannosaur. There's one bit I didn't much care for, an apparent character death, but it might be misdirection and the character is merely badly injured and may show up later. Recommended. $3.99 Ms. Marvel v2 #1: Marvel - Post Secret Wars, jumping ahead several months to make room for the first arc or so of Kamala's Avengers membership. Now that she's an Avenger and a big public figure and spending a lot of time doing Avenger-y things, it's time to see what fallout that has in her personal life. A lot of her friends have moved on without her, and suddenly she's seeing her likeness used without her permission (public figure or not, that's not actually legal, but the person using her image is worse than a little image infringement). Miyazawa draws the main story, while Alphona draws a backup covering one of the things that happened in the gap. Herring did a great job blending them together, to the point that it's hard to tell when the backup story actually starts. Recommended. $4.99 Gold Digger Halloween Special 2015: Antarctic Press - Sadly, a pretty weak issue. The lead piece is just some costume sketches strung into a vignette, the second story is moderately amusing with weak art, and the third one is so visually ugly I couldn't bring myself to read it. Neutral. $3.99 Gold Digger #226: Antarctic Press - No, the Big Damn Battle from last issue is not continued. Rather, there's a sidestep into a dimension where alternate Ginas emerge after being killed at various points in her timeline, or something. It's all very timey-wimey and full of gratuitous Transformers references. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Astro City #29: DC/Vertigo - One of the recurring themes of this series and its previous volumes has been "ordinary people in an extraordinary world," and this new arc takes that one step farther by looking at the ordinary citizens of an "alien conquerers" world. Most of it is worldbuilding, showing through the eyes of a young insectoid boy with hopes for the future and his role in the conquering armies, seeing the revisionist history of his leaders, and hints that the population is getting brainwashed into being better soldiers. While that alone would be an interesting read, the Furst Family invades, setting up next issue as an inverted alien invasion tale. Recommended. $3.99 Toil and Trouble #2-3: BOOM/Arcana - The story of MacBeth continues, with something of an Iliad twist to it, the Weird Sisters manipulating and inhabiting mortals on all sides in an attempt to obtain the desired outcome. Both Smertae (the "good" sister) and Riata (the "ends justify the means" sister) use the same methods, which makes me think that the climax will involve Smertae realizing she has to let mortals make their own decisions for the cycle to end. Recommended. $3.99 My Little Pony Friends Forever #21: IDW - Pinkie Pie is asked by Celestia to bake the perfect cake for Luna's birthday. That's basically the entire plot. Pinkie gets a bit frazzled from the pressure, and Celestia confesses to feelings of guilt over Luna's fate, but really that's it. I like confection. Very mildly recommended. $3.99 My Little Pony Friendship is Magic #36: IDW - WAY on the other end of the scale from Friends Forever, Part 3 of the Siege of the Crystal Empire sets the stakes for the conflict, and they're very high. Like, "Even Chrysalis doesn't want to see this happen," high. Generally good penultimate chapter, although it does lean a little too hard on the "evil only wins because protagonist is rash" card. Recommended. $3.99 Transformers Robots in Disguise #4: IDW - And so the first arc ends, with a captured crimelord. There's a few bits recycled from the show, such as Sideswipe trying to pretend he's a Decepticon, but it generally works. And it fits better into the Prime continuity than the actual cartoon does. Recommended. $3.99 The Transformers #47: IDW - Optimus Prime just wants to see a giant woman.... Despite being the cover story, though, Optimus talking to the Torchbearers about his crisis of faith. They decide some percussive philosophical intervention is called for. Meanwhile, stuff in the Sol system is going straight to hell, and Needlenose crosses a line that he probably can't uncross. A bit scattered, but definitely going somewhere. Recommended. $3.99 Transformers More than Meets the Eye #46: IDW - Scavengers two-parter wraps up. As often happens with this series and this writers, a bunch of loveable goofballs end up dealing with some deep and serious philosophical and psychological stuff. It also reinforces the recurring theme of the IDW continuity that the rest of the galaxy REALLY hates Cybertron for what its nigh-eternal war has done to so many worlds. Strongly recommended. $3.99 Transformers More than Meets the Eye #47: IDW - Damn. So, Getaway's friendship with Tailgate has been creepy from the start, and this is where it pays off and all the cards end up on the least for the readers. And whodathunk Whirl would show some essential humanity? A definite tearjerker ending, although it seems to have a built-in recovery switch should Roberts want to use it. Letting one's feelings out can be cathartic, but also damaging. Strongly recommended. $3.99 Transformers Sins of the Wreckers #1: IDW - The previous Wreckers miniseries could be seen as a precursor to the character and relationship driven stories of MtMtE, and was notable as being a rare good story among some pretty mediocre stuff. That gives it a pretty high bar to jump in the sequel, since now the usual level of story is rather better. Roche even brings that point up in his afterword. Anyway, the Wreckers exist to do the dirty jobs in a dirty war, so it was inevitable that they'd have trouble adjusting to piece. Some have to box up their feelings, others have to be boxed up literally. Meanwhile, a sort of Sword of Damocles left over from Last Stand of the Wreckers is still out there, as is Verity Carlo. Oh, and Stakeout fights a bear. Recommended. $3.99 Atomic Robo and the Ring of Fire #3: IDW - Finally, the giant robot vs. kaiju action! Of course, if the giant robots could successfully deal with the kaiju, this would be the last issue, and it isn't. Robo spends most of the issue getting rebuilt, his plan for stopping the kaiju won't show up until #4. Recommended. $3.99 Dave Van Domelen, "This shouldn't take long." "Really? For something that shouldn't take long, you're carrying an awful lot of firepower." "The two are connected." - Fortress Maximus and Red Alert, More than Meets the Eye #46
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