December 28, 2017

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, TIL Apoxie Clay probably needs to have an expiration date on the can. Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): Ms. Marvel #25, Transformers Till All Are One Annual 2017 In this installment: Ms. Marvel #25, Inhumans Once and Future Kings #5 (of 5), Moon Girl #26, DC Holiday Special 2017, Deathstroke #26, Justice League #34-35, Future Quest Presents #5 (Birdman), Smoketown #5 (of 8), Invader Zim #26, The Tick 2017 #2, My Little Pony Holiday Special 2017, My Little Pony Friendship is Magic #61, My Little Pony Legends of Magic #9, Transformers Lost Light #12, Transformers Till All Are One Annual 2017, Empowered and Sistah Spooky High School Hell #1 (of 6). Current Wait List (books either Diamond didn't ship or my store failed to order): Comic Book History of Comics: Comics For All #1, Optimus Prime #14, Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands #2 (of 6). Note, this time it wasn't ALL Diamond's fault, the issues that led up to the store changing hands also result in some missed orders here and there back in September and early October, and the new owner wasn't able to fill in all the holes before the end of the month. "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. Nothing this month. 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. Nothing this month. Floppies: No, I don't have any particular disdain for the monthlies, but they *are* floppy, yes? Ms. Marvel v2 #25: Marvel - They seem to be holding off on the "legacy numbering" despite the Marvel Legacy top banner, since that lets them point out the big #25 this month. And the editorial bit on the lettercol page suggests that they might go semi-Legacy to get a #50 in six issues. Dunno if they'll ever fold in the Danvers Ms. Marvel titles for the full Legacy treatment. Anyway, this issue does not follow Kamala on her second "find myself" quest in just over a year. Rather, it stays in Jersey City as both a Kamala-shaped and Ms. Marvel-shaped hole needs filling somehow. Not quite a "We Are Robin" sort of deal, but definitely some attempts to deal with the missing hero and friend. Interestingly, none of the people filling in for Ms. Marvel know that she's also Kamala, although a few of them probably *should* by this point. Lots of fun dialogue, and while Nico Leon isn't Alphona, there's definitely the same sort of side story background stuff Alphona would include (like, why is the old guy at the retirement home throwing stuffed bunnies out his window? What happened last time Carol fed Fluffy?). Strongly recommended. $3.99 Inhumans: Once and Future Kings #5 (of 5): Marvel - Anticlimax after anticlimax, basically. As amusing as it can be to see plotters hoist upon their own petards, it does get a bit repetitive. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Moon Girl #26: Marvel - DD now officially off the masthead. Twinkie- colored Galactus isn't really explained, other than a "stuff happens" sort of line from Silver Surfer. (It doesn't help that his first appearance this issue, thanks to "moonlight coloring," looks like his original purple and blue.) The issue is mostly Luna not getting satisfactory answers while down below the mysterious fake FF causes trouble. Loads of setup, not a lot of payoff (although the image of the Thing wearing handcuffs on his thumbs is amusing). Mildly recommended. $3.99 DC Holiday Special 2017: DC - The framing sequence is "Clark Kent mopes around at Bibbo's bar about how Superman doesn't make a difference, so Bibbo tells him all sorts of superhero Christmas stories to show that heroes do make a difference." Cute, except there's no way Bibbo would know most of the stories presented, unless his bar gets cross-time clientele with very loose lips. A few of the stories do stand out as more than the standard "help people on the holidays/beat up crooks who are dressed like Santa or while dressed as Santa" variety, such as the Deathstroke story (think "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" but with guns) or the very weird Hannukah story involving a WWII soldier and his Nazi officer prisoner. Most are pretty forgettable or even eye-glazing, though. Mildly recommended, mostly because of the cost-to-quality ratio. $9.99. Deathstroke #26: DC - Today's theme is "Trying to fix other people tends to have unpredictable and often unpleasant consequences." Really, the underlying theme of the whole series has been how hard and dicey it is to change, no matter whether it comes from within or without. Red Lion's all about embracing who he is, a counterpoint to Slade (no, he doesn't appear this issue), Dr. Ikon is someone who did change and seemingly for the better buuuuut maybe not, etc. Slade claims to have been changed by something he saw in the Speed Force, but no one really believes him and even the reader hasn't been given much reason to do so either. Recommended. $3.99 Justice League #34-35: DC - Priest takes over the reins and the League starts to crumble, oops. One of the general rules of team books is that no one who has their own book is ever quite as good in the team book as in their own. That's because the team book needs to have reasons for the characters to stay in the team, so everyone tends to get a bit nerfed. This is usually expressed in terms of playing down everyone's secondary aspects (Superman is a pretty good detective except when working with Batman, that sort of thing). The core premise of this arc appears to be "What if we downplayed Batman's ability to always have the right plan and to function on ten minutes of sleep a year?" He misses little things, drops a ball or two, and things start to go horribly wrong. The day is still saved, but imperfectly. Since "Batman always has the right plan" has kinda been his schtick in the JL ever since Morrison decades ago, this comes as a bit of a shock to some readers, but I like the change of pace. Recommended. $2.99 each. Future Quest Presents: Birdman #5: DC - Well, #4 LOOKED like it was going to lead into this issue being about Space Ghost searching for the Galaxy Trio, but nope. Instead, Phil Hester and Steve Rude pop in with a Birdman story, perhaps to give Parker's team time to get caught up? The writing felt a little too much like Hester was trying to bring in elements of Harvey Birdman, Attorney At Law (especially super-snarky Avenger and various bits of sexual innuendo), and Rude's art was...okay. There were times it was hard to follow the action, something you'd think a veteran like Rude wouldn't mess up. The issue ends feeling like #6 will continue the story, but I guess it might not? (No, I don't really read advanced solicits for titles I already order.) Mildly recommended. $3.99 Smoketown #5 (of 8): Scout Comics - STILL not caught up to the events of #1. Or #2, really. It is, however, a reasonably direct followup to #4. At this point, though, I think I'm going to wait until I get #8, because this is really not written for serialized reading, it's very much written for the trade. Not in the usual "nothing happens in a single issue" sense, but rather things happen but with every new issue you need to read all the previous issues over again to follow what's happening. $3.99 Invader Zim #26: Oni - Ugh. The art this time isn't just off-model, it's really not the right style. It's more of an indie experimental comics artist trying to do cartoons thing, and I had trouble looking at it long enough to read the story...which wasn't really worth the effort. Avoid. $3.99 The Tick 2017 #2: NEC - Disjointed on purpose is still disjointed, and where #1 showed some promise, this issue fritters it away. Neutral. $3.99 My Little Pony Holiday Special 2017: IDW - Flim and Flam try to merchandize the heck out of Hearth Warming Day, Twilight and a few others try to convince everyone that F&F are just scamming them, are disdained as wet blankets, everyone learns important lessons, etc. Very forgettable, pretty preachy. Neutral. $4.99 My Little Pony Friendship is Magic #61: IDW - Set post-movie, with the Convocation of Creatures getting together to share cultural stuff for the first time in ages. A little bit United Nations, a lot of Holiday Folk Fair or other similar "everyone set up a booth to share your cultural heritage at the downtown convention center" things. Anderson and Price mostly have fun with sight gags and in-jokes, with a tiny bit of actual plot involving Twi finding a balance between friendship and paperwork. The very last pages, however, set up a Serious Conflict that will drive the rest of the arc. Recommended. $3.99 My Little Pony Legends of Magic #9: IDW - They're definitely falling into a pattern here, with the first half of the issue resolving one Pillar's problem, then they travel to the next Pillar's location and end on a cliffhanger. Even the characters start to notice the pattern and dance on the edge of DRHenry's Law ("When the characters start to complain about the plot, you're in trouble"). Aside: why do pony squeeze bottles even have triggers? Fleecs probably should've drawn something a little less modern-tech given that the stories take place a thousand years before the present, and the present is mostly "early 1900s musicals" in tone anyway. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Transformers Lost Light #12: IDW - I suspect I'm starting to get a little tired of nonlinear storytelling, particularly when the writer decides to throw "oh, it's a time echo" stuff around. It feels like Roberts isn't so much working from an outline as he is pulling repeated instances of "Oh, I just thought up something that would have been great thirty issues ago...I guess I'll drop it in anyway as a flashback or time echo or something." At least he seems to have gotten over his "make Getaway really blatantly Trump" fixation from #11. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Transformers Till All Are One Annual 2017: IDW - TAAO has been both Windblade's and Starscream's story, the two of them starting at opposite ends of the Idealism-Realpolitik spectrum and slowly moving inwards despite their personal desires. A sort of ethical tug of war that could land both of them in the mud. Mairghread Scott does a great job of resolving that struggle in this series capstone, with a lot of the other series danglers falling into place naturally in the resolution. There's a bunch of stuff that I'd have liked to see play out more gradually, but too much got kicked over by First Strike to allow that, and Scott chose to tie things off now rather than try to struggle through all the event-mandated changes. Artistically, Pitre-Durocher does a good job...the detail level is sometimes a bit lower than I'd like, but she manages to take an extended Restaurant Scene (well, bar scene, but the principle remains the same) and make it dynamic. Strongly recommended. $7.99 Empowered and Sistah Spooky's High School Hell #1 (of 6): Dark Horse - This issue is almost entirely recap and setup, so that you don't have to have read all of Empowered to follow it. For long-time readers, it serves to get us used to Carla Speed McNeil's takes on the characters. I will say that her inking style isn't very well-suited to Emp's hypermembrane, she treats it too much like regular cloth. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Dave Van Domelen, "However, this reporter feels confident that death is imminent." - Circuit, TF:TAAO Annual 2017, spreading holiday cheer.
Back to the Main Rants Page.

Back to the 2017 Archive.