December 1, 2022

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 month. An archive can be found on my homepage, And off to another comic shop and a new delayed schedule, yay. Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): Einstein In this installment: Kayleigh Has A Slasher Boyfriend #1, Health & Wealth: A Graphic Guide To The US Healthcare System, Einstein, Diana and Nubia: Princesses of the Amazons, Fantastic Four #1, Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings #5, Ultraman: the Mystery of UltraSeven #4 (of 5), Moon Knight #17, Black Adam #6 (of 12), Monkey Prince #8 (of 12), Vampirella Year One #4 (of 6), Star Trek Lower Decks #3 (of 3), My Little Pony #6, My Little Pony Classics Reimagined #1, Transformers Shattered Glass II #4 (of 5). Important Note: my new store is abandoning local weekly pickup, which means if I don't want to pay more for shipping than for comics I'm switching to getting monthly books. (And lately the local pickups haven't been available until Thursday anyway, hence this review not being posted in November.) That pushes things back to the point that it's almost not worth doing reviews of monthly books, because two months might pass before anyone can act on my recommendations...and unless you're lucky enough to live near one of the few remaining good comic shops, the book I recommend might be long gone (and ComiXology is no longer even remotely a viable alternative). I'm not sure if I'm going to drop the floppies section entirely, but I'll probably switch this section to just reviewing notable books with the rest in an "also read" list without details. Since all my monthlies will be at least a month late starting in 2023, there's not much point tracking late books separately. I'm also far less likely to pick up a new series on impulse, because I won't be able to add it to my orders until two months down the line and might miss the issues in between if they don't make it to the shelf. "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. I got the Doom Patrol S3 and Peacemaker S1 sets near the end of the month, but there's no way I'm getting either watched before December, so I'll review them next month. I did get Doom Patrol started, and the first episode really does feel like an S2 finale (they had to stop filming early due to COVID). 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. Kayleigh Has A Slasher Boyfriend #1: - This is a collection of works that started as a Tumblr joke and turned into something of a webcomic. The premise is that Kayleigh is a camp counselor at a came that has your basic hockey-mask-wearing slasher...and she's decided they're dating, obliviously foiling all his attempts to kill her or any other campers. So, mostly a collection of vignettes, with the art quality depending on how much time the artist spent on a particular gag, anywhere from quick sketches to fully colored pieces. Recommended. Pay what you want via KoFi link. Health & Wealth: A Graphic Guide to the US Healthcare System: - An educational comic done in the style of a Richard Scarry book. The purpose is to explain to Americans how our healthcare system is Not Normal, and why even with good intentions (and those are suspect) our insurance system has resulted in wasted money and failed health outcomes. So, you know, commie propaganda or something. The online version is free, but you can also order hardcopies either singly or in classroom packs for you indoctrination needs. Adventure Finders delayed by Espinosa's personal life stuff. Trades: Trade paperbacks, collections, graphic novels, pocket manga, whatever. If it's bigger than a "floppy" it goes here. Einstein: :01 First Second - While Ottaviani does a lot of science biographies, this is the third in a series with specific trade dress (after Feynmann and Hawking). It takes an interesting storytelling approach of eschewing narrative captions...sort of. When a character speaks with an oval speech bubble, it's something the character said at the time to the others (if any) in the scene with them. When they speak with a more rectangular bubble, it's the character addressing the reader with either "later I knew" stuff or laying out background (such as the state of Physics at the time). Well, usually. In purely imaginary situations, like the conversation Einstein has with Newton, it's all ovals. As with the Hawking comic, Ottaviani does not try to hide Einstein's negative character traits...he was charming but also a cad. There's a lot of characters identified as "Future Ex-Girlfriend" and there's a touching sequence making it clear that Einstein never even met his first child before she died in infancy. Sometimes people who knew Einstein make excuses for him in the narrative dialogue, but Ottaviani does not. Artistically, Dye goes for a more cartoony and scratchy style, but still keeps people looking correct within the style (e.g. no caption needed the second time Niels Bohr comes on panel, it's obviously him). Strongly recommended. $32.99/$43.99Cn Diana and Nubia: Princesses of the Amazons: DC - Sequel to Diana: Princess of the Amazons (because the OGNs featuring existing properties get sequels, while the ones that create new ones like Primer and Anti/Hero are abandoned), this introduces Nubia, but as an alternate timeline daughter of Hippolyta. Like Diana in the previous book, she suffers from a lack of same-age friends, and she does something about it. That something is to, um, break reality. Oops. She and Diana wake up in a new merged universe (there's some lampshading of "DC tends to do that a lot" later on), first expecting the other is Circe, then slowly coming to find that they were getting what they wished for. Then there's the quest to undo the merger, which of course doesn't go the way they wanted...or does it? A decent all-ages story, with enough winks at older readers to keep me engaged. :) Recommended. $9.99/$13.50Cn 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.) Fantastic Four #1: Marvel - While North's Squirrel Girl never quite grabbed me, I was willing to give him a shot on the FF. Technically, this is a Thing and Alicia story, the rest of the FF are only mentioned a few times and do not appear. While there's very little clobberin', it's a good done in one Sci-Fi Mystery story in which Ben and Alicia's main assets are their brains and their hearts (although Ben has to break some stuff occasionally). Recommended. $4.99 (oversized issue) Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings #5 (of 6-and-an-Annual): Marvel - As promised on the cover, the origin of the Ten Rings is outlined in between fight scenes in the Game of Death riff. And, of course, Yang mines more Chinese mythology, tying the rings to Nezha's wind-fire wheels and generally establishing that Ta Lo is Marvel's version of pretty much all the Taoist mysticism stuff in Chinese myth (not just the Jade Emperor as we've already seen). Probably the only reason the Monkey King hasn't shown up yet is that Yang's using that side of things over at DC. Several more opponents get taken down (one might say a few get outright jobbed), leaving the main event as the leader of the, the Red Dot Collective. For a story supposedly structured around a fighting tournament, Yang doesn't seem all that interested in showing the fighting tournament. Like, I'm not asking for Dragonball levels of dragged out fight scenes, but two of the combatants basically get wiped out in under two pages, serving nothing more than to demonstrate how badass the new badguy is. Recommended despite some questionable pacing choices. $3.99 Ultraman: the Mystery of UltraSeven #4 (of 5): Marvel - Well, Marvel proves that they have some flexibility in how they use the Ultra properties this issue, with a rather different take on Ultraman Jack. That's the most interesting thing about this issue, though, since it's otherwise almost entirely Ultra-on-Ultra fight scene with a little light gloating by the real villain. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Moon Knight #17: Marvel - This is the turnaround point in the arc, after being badly beaten by the Proctor's hired killers and then taking the time to get his head together and do the research, Moon Knight turns the tables and starts seriously taking the fight to the enemy. Basically, while "the hero comes back and wins the rematch" is a pretty standard superhero trope, MacKay took a few issues out to show that Moon Knight earned it. A payoff issue, so maybe not the best place to START reading the title, even though MacKay does a good job of laying out basic information in a natural enough sounding way so that a new reader wouldn't be lost, per se. It just won't have as much impact if you haven't read the previous issues. Recommended. $3.99 Black Adam #6 (of 12): DC - A new artist takes over for the big Black Adam/Batman fight, and he's...kinda generic? Not really bad, and he does know how to draw at least two male body types, but it's a little bland. At least it doesn't actually confuse issues, which is good since this issue is solid head games, pretty much the only way someone like Batman could be expected to hold his own against a powerhouse like Black Adam (and having access to the wisdom of ancient gods doesn't mean you USE it correctly...although Adam does several things that really were the right move against Batman). Next issue promises to deal with Dark Crisis, after several months of "This takes place before the events of Dark Crisis" editorial notes, so it might be better to see this as the end of a six issue miniseries, to be followed by another miniseries. Recommended. $3.99 Monkey Prince #8 (of 12): DC - End of the Aquaman arc, MP gains a little (very little) respect from some of his allies and enemies, earns a new power, gets over one of his big problems, and of course that means he's due for a boot to the head next issue. Still, a decent middle. Recommended. $3.99 Vampirella Year One #4 (of 6): Dynamite - So, several years into Year One, Vampi is an adult, if not completely grown up yet. In the narration to her unborn child, she really hammers home the point (which had not really been brought up that much before?) that she was engineered to be altruistic by her mother, goaded by her genetically-reinforced conscience to try to do good. As for the story, not only does it do the usual Priest-style jumping around in time, it...doesn't really connect things as clearly as it could. It feels like a narration box or two got left out by accident? Mildly recommended. $3.99 (I accidentally bought two copies, because my current store's online ordering system is "stupid" in the sense of not keeping useful track of what you might already have on order, so even with the spreadsheet I set up to track my orders, there's nothing on the site to warn you that you're about to order a second copy. I do not like this system, and am glad to be going back to a traditional human-managed pull list, even if it means more delay.) Star Trek Lower Decks #3 (of 3): IDW - Whew, despite this never showing up as orderable from my old store, they did get it for the shelf, so I was able to pick it up. A good ending, North definitely gets how Lower Decks plots generally work. The often full-bleed art doesn't mesh well with his footnote habit, though. It's probably a good thing that the comics tend to be deuterocanonical, because otherwise I think Rutherford might have broken one of the setting's assumptions here. Recommended. $6.99 (in terms of page count, it's more of a 5 issue series plus a bunch of bonus one-pagers). My Little Pony #6: IDW - I suppose this wasn't a bad story on its own. The gang does some decent research, finds some useful clues, and more of the backstory is fleshed out. But I've been getting more and more disenchanted with the course reversal G5 has done, abandoning a clean reboot in favor for a badly spliced soft reboot to try to keep the very very different G5 setting in the same world as G4. It's like Transformers Energon and Cybertron all over again, awkward connections rather than letting the new story stand on its own. I've already ordered ahead the next several issues, so I might as well go at least to #12, but unless #13 has a writer I really like (such as Cook or Price), I'll be stopping at #12. $3.99 My Little Pony Classics Reimagined #1: IDW - Starting the Little Fillies adaptation. This takes the old Classics Illustrated conceit, but retells the story with the G4 cast...sort of. While I admit to never having read Little Women (or seen any other adaptation), they're very clearly not playing this one straight. It almost feels like Discord is running a game for them (he plays several roles, as a GM is wont to do), but not...quite. In any case, Brown's writing is amusing enough that I'll stick with this (if I can, it never showed up to order at my current store, my new store can't start until #3, so hopefully #2 makes it to the shelf locally). Ayoub's art style is certainly different, more shoujo manga influenced, but that's appropriate to the story. Recommended. $3.99 Transformers Shattered Glass II #4 (of 5): IDW - For a story where the point is to get over the past and look to the future, it sure has a lot of flashbacks. Like, more than half the issue is Flamewar having flashbacks to various events, not really in date order, so it can be a bit difficult to follow...this is definitely one of those places where timestamp captions would have been very helpful. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Dave Van Domelen, "It's a bit early to break the fourth wall, don't you think? We're only four pages in." - Rarity/Amy (I think that's who Rarity is playing, she's never addressed by name in the story), My Little Pony Classics Reimagined #1
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