December 3, 2014

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, Oops, forgot to do November until 60 minutes before the end of month. Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): Golden Age, Transformers: More than Meets the Eye #35 In this installment: Zion: A Love Story, Golden Age, Gold Digger Halloween #10, Spider-Man 2099 #6, Deadpool's Art of War #2 (of 4), Astro City #17, Q2: The Return of Quantum & Woody #2 (of 5), Transformers: Primacy #4 (of 4), Transformers (formerly Robots in Disguise) #35, Transformers: More than Meets the Eye #35, My Little Pony: Friends Forever #11, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #25. "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. Zion: A Love Story: Rather than repeat, just go to the Amazon link and read the review I posted there. Recommended. $1.99 now, will go up soon. (Priest will have another ebook up in January, and is gearing up some name recognition on Amazon in advance of April's "1999," which he did on purpose. Zion was sort of a "thing to do while blocked on other stuff" project.) 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 iPod if it's at all possible. Golden Age: Ginger Rabbit Studio - This is a sweet tale of 1946 Italy, in which a little girl discovers some superhero comics next to the body of a fallen soldier...and it doesn't get any darker than that. She's inspired to become a costumed hero, does good around town, trains to fight evil, and is generally a kid allowed to be a kid now that the war is over. Writers Rob Harrington and Giulie Speziani resist the temptation to throw in a "then things took a terrible turn" twist, and Cecilia Latella's art fits the tone very well. Even the dead soldier is just a thing that's part of the girl's world, not an occasion for horror or dread. The war is over, good triumphed over evil, and one little girl has decided to make sure good continues to triumph over evil. Strongly recommended. 99 cents on ComiXology. Trades: Trade paperbacks, collections, graphic novels, pocket manga, whatever. If it's bigger than a "floppy" it goes here. Nothing this time. Floppies: No, I don't have any particular disdain for the monthlies, but they *are* floppy, yes? Gold Digger Halloween #10: Antarctic Press - The cover story brings back the male Amazons based on the Mane Six of My Little Pony, plus some of the archeology students who kinda drifted off the plot radar lately. Actually, that's the only story, with the other feature being a bunch of reference pieces on the various were-races in GD (admittedly, a reasonably thematic thing for Halloween). Mildly recommended. $3.99 Spider-Man 2099 #6: Marvel - It's back to 2099 for Mig, along with two disposable alt-Spiders, as the "You know what would be cooler than Morlun? MORE Morluns!" crossover continues. So, a good chunk of the issue is running battles with an opponent who can't be beaten because this isn't the capstone issue of the event, but at least Mig gets a chance to deal with some left behind business in his own time. Of course, since he hasn't resolved the problem that was set up in #1 of this book yet, he's not staying. Sigh. While there's some good bits here and there, this is really a stereotypical crossover waste of space. The crossover story neither starts in this book nor ends in this book, and while a few plot points might be resolved and allow for minor victories, it really feels like I'm wasting my time in the bad way here. Very mildly recommended. $3.99 Deadpool's Art of War #2: Marvel - This title, on the other hand, managed to get stronger this issue. It's educational, integrating Sun Tzu's teachings into a story familiar to comicbook readers, and if it doesn't really fit into continuity...does anyone expect such from Deadpool anymore? He's become Ambush Bug in red and black, really. Recommended. $3.99 Astro City #17: DC/Vertigo - Back to more of a standard silver age trope in this done-in-one story, that of the extradimensional conqueror. Bits of Kang, Psycho-Man, Karza, and Annihilus go into this one, the story told from the point of view of a resident of a dimension that would have fallen next had the conqueror not run up against the Honor Guard first. A bit heavy on the summary-style, but it works pretty well nonetheless. Oh, and while the cake is not a lie, it isn't what it seems, either. Recommended. $3.99 Q2: The Return of Quantum & Woody #2 (of 5): Valiant - While certain aspects of Woody II's character were obscured by the art last issue, it's hard to avoid noticing them now that they're part of the text too. The natures of all the players in this new generation are at least sketched out, and the new duo are both living weapons of one sort of another who have been liberated by the original Quantum and given a nobler (or goofier, depending on who you ask) purpose. The antagonist shares an origin with Quantum II, but otherwise does not seem to be Dave II. To the extent there's a superhero plot here (the personal plot is "Woody I has found out Eric's still up to superhero crap and needs to be given a stern talking to before he gets someone else killed"), it seems to be "antagonist is trying to take down an evil-er organization but is doing plenty of crime himself along the way". Recommended. $3.99 Transformers: Primacy #4 (of 4): IDW - Ugh. While Bright's art might be causing some problems in Q2, it doesn't hold a candle to how Ramondelli's art has soured me on this already badly paced and told series. Lots of shooting and glowing and murky shadows and more glowing (but no actual lens flare, at least), ending with the Autobots victorious, Megatron in chains, and another miniseries inevitable. But if it's still these creators, it's not a miniseries I'll be getting. Avoid. $3.99 Transformers #35: IDW - Dropped the "Robots in Disguise" part, presumably because the upcoming cartoon uses that subtitle and they didn't want to get this series confused with a show tie-in. Lots of humans and Earth stuff and none of Thundercracker's scriptwriting. The more I see of Barber's vision of post-Cybertronian-war Earth, the more I find the one in Regeneration One to be more interesting. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye #35: IDW - Back to the main plot, with Rewind recalling his life millions of years ago while in the present the mystery of Brainstorm's briefcase is solved. And the memories are part of the main plot, because they don't line up with the history everyone else remembers...and that's part of the mystery of the briefcase. Roberts does a good job establishing a way to have a time travel plotline while preserving drama and existential dread. And everyone is saved (for the moment) by a running joke. Strongly recommended. And more than a little creepy. $3.99 My Little Pony: Friends Forever #11: IDW - Rainbow Dash and Spitfire, in which we get another personality for Spitfire, that of the "freaked out by being responsible for kids" pony. Jay Fosgitt does the art, which is more strongly influenced by modern "funny animal" style than pony style, with the contrast being a bit unsettling at times, although it usually works pretty well. Unrelated to style, though, is his inability to draw a recognizable Rainbow just line art, she'd look like an entirely different pegasus, and the colorist struggles to make her recognizable. Ted Anderson's story is, eh, about his usual level. Decent, cute in places, but nothing to rush to the comic shop for. Mildly recommended. $3.99 My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #25: IDW - Cook and Price take the Mane Six through a sendup of pretty much every cowboy-themed matinee serial, down to the "we gotta find the missing deed, or the bad guys will end up owning the farm/ranch/town!" plot device. It also includes an interesting postulate for Equestrian magical ethics that keeps Twilight Sparkle from being a plot-ending deus equus machina. Not 100% sure it's consistent with the animated canon, but at first glance it seems to work. (And if Twi had been lax in following it initially, she probably took it more to heart after Lesson Zero.) Recommended. $3.99 Dave Van Domelen, "I-- ... This conversation is ridiculous. YOU are ridiculous. Everything that has happened in the las few days is INTENSELY ridiculous. Six months into this SHAMBLES of a quest - six months! - and not a day goes by - not an HOUR - when I don't have to step back from this endless parade of NONSENSE - and remind myself, bu means of several blows to the head, that I am here of my OWN VOLITION, and not as the result of some - some ELABORATE TRAP by Optimus Prime." - Megatron, stomping all over DRHenry's Law, Transformers: More than Meets the Eye #35
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