Dave's Comicbook Capsules et cetera for March 2018

Archive of older reviews
Items of note: None this month.  It happens.

In this installment: Lego DC Super-Heroes the Flash DVD, Adventure Finders vol 1, Black [AF] America's Sweetheart, Ms Marvel v2 #28, Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #29, The World of Krypton #1, Black Lightning Cold Dead Hands $5 (of 6), Deathstroke #29, Justice League #40-41, Future Quest Presents #8, Invader Zim #29, The Tick 2018 #3, My Little Pony Friendship is Magic #64, My Little Pony Legends of Magic #12 (of 12-ish), Transformers vs. Visionaries #3-4 (of 5), Transformers Lost Light #16, Atomic Robo the Spectre of Tomorrow #5 (of 5), The Comic Book History of Comics vol 2 #4 (of 4).

Current Wait List: None, all caught up and no new hassles.  If I didn't review it, it's because I either didn't want to read it, or didn't know about it.

"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.

Lego DC Comics Super Heroes The Flash: DC/WB - The first conflict between Lego Flash and Lego Reverse Flash (plus introducing the Atom, Ace the Bathound, B'dg, a very funky Doctor Fate, and a yrev yrros Zatanna). By making these a series of direct to video movies instead of a TV series, I think they've managed to avoid the premise getting too stale, and the general attitude of the stories suggests you not get too hung up on continuity (i.e. don't go looking for earlier instances of Lego Flash doing things he" first learns" here...there might be some, but it's kinda counter to the tone to even ask). In some ways, this is a Lego update of Waid's "first" Eobard Thawne story, using the "embittered fanboy" aspect. But since Lego DC doesn't do subtle, RF goes full supervillain pretty soon after getting the adulation he seeks. This isn't as good as some of the previous Lego DC outings, but still worth the price of admission (which is $10-20 depending on format and store). Recommended.

I didn't watch Krypton. I only got four episodes of Jessica Jones season 2 watched, I may or may not review it once I finish. It's not as engaging as season 1, though, as evidenced by the fact I watched four eps the first weekend it was out and then none since.

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.

Adventure Finders volume 1: Antarctic Press - AP made this available as a Freebie Friday, taking a cue from publishers like Baen by making part one free and inexpensive downloads of later parts. This is a Rod Espinosa series, and it definitely feels like one. Strong female protagonist who is on the edge of adulthood, strong but inexperienced and uncertain, wanting more than her upbringing has allowed her? Check. Vaguely European fantasy setting with tweaks here and there? Check. The Patriarchy being one of the antagonists? Check. Lovely art? Check. Unfortunately, the story feels like he's going through a checklist as well, or maybe filing the serial numbers off a computer FRPG's plotline. If you've never read any of Espinosa's works, but enjoy fantasy adventure stories, you'll like this. But I'd recommend Courageous Princess or Neotopia instead, because even if the later volumes go someplace interesting, the first volume hasn't really inspired me to read further.


Trade paperbacks, collections, graphic novels, pocket manga, whatever. If it's bigger than a "floppy" it goes here.

Black [AF] America's Sweetheart: Black Mask - I forget exactly where I saw this, probably facebook, but I put it on my Amazon shopping list as a "make it to free shipping" buy and ended up buying it this month. The Black Mask setting is one where superhuman powers started emerging fairly recently, but only among black people. (blacksuperpowers.com is their site.) Black Mask itself is definitely something of a rookie publisher, as evidenced by some of the unusual choices in paper stock and page count (76 pages for this graphic novella), as well as some formatting goofs (using staple-bound inner margins in a square bound book, so I had to crack the binding to see some of the captions and dialogue).

The basic premise is "What if the super-powered baby that landed in the middle of flyover country from a mysterious place grew up to be a black girl instead of a white boy?" Her heroic ID is Good Girl, and she basically has Superman's powerset and All American heroic attitude. Her goal isn't just to help people, but also to try to work against the fear and bigotry being fanned by the whole "only black people have powers" thing. 96 pages might have been better for this story, given how much of the issue is given over to battling and arguing with her Marvel Cinematic Universe opponent (i.e. same powers but stronger, and with an opposing philosophy). She doesn't really get a chance to deal with her first PR setbacks before the fight scene starts, and I think another dozen or so pages of trying to dig out of that hole before being pounded into a literal hole. Osajyefo has some intriguing worldbuilding here, but the pacing is a bit uneven.

Artistically, Jennifer Johnson appears to be drawing directly into the computer, and has chosen to avoid the use of black lines except for deep shadows and actual black clothing. I think the letterer might have done well to consider using dark brown or gray instead of black, as the word balloons look more out of place when they're the only black lines.

Mildly recommended. Shows some promise. $9.99


No, I don't have any particular disdain for the monthlies, but they are floppy, yes?  
Ms. Marvel v2 #28: Marvel - Teenage Wasteland wraps up with lots of explosions, a mega mecha kaiju, and cancellation of the...well, not really an apocalypse, but it would've been bad for the totally not-fictional Jersey City. And maybe parts of Newark (which may or may not be fictional).  Kamala's fate is finally revealed (too horrible to mention here), and she gets closure with Captain Marvel as part of the "please pretend Civil War II wasn't as bad as it really was" reputation rehabilitation tour.  Recommended. $3.99
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #29: Marvel - This issue really felt like it was marking time, treading over stuff already discussed or shown in #28, just so that the arc could be padded out to a full six issue trade paperback length or something.  Really, this issue is missable. $3.99     

The World of Krypton #1: DC - A freebie that reprints part of the mid-80s World of Krypton miniseries and then has a few teasers about the Krypton TV show. I'd never read the original comic, I might get the TPB at some point, it's kinda interesting. But it failed to sell me on watching the show.       

Black Lightning Cold Dead Hands #5 (of 6): DC - "Aha, you've fallen into my trap!" "No, you've fallen into MY trap!" "I beg to differ!" Well, okay, that's only the second half of the issue, but it's still kinda drawn out given that the final issue is shaping up to be almost entirely a slugfest.  It's not exactly padding, as there's important Characters Figure Things Out That The Readers Already Knew plot advancement and resolution going on, but it still feels like it's peaking a little early. Mildly recommended. $3.99     

Deathstroke #29: DC - Well, no outright reference to the movie "Chinatown" as the arc named after it ends, but certainly an appropriate level of "what the heck just happened here?"-ness. Several plot threads get resolved, for varying values of resolution, and Slade's relationship with Tara gets shaded from SUPER CREEPY to merely very creepy...still a stand-out moment of horribleness for a guy whose baseline is "kills people for money."  Recommended. $3.99

Justice League #40-41: DC - #40 is a sort of bottle episode, except the bottle is very doomed. So, I guess it's a lifeboat episode, as the two Justice League teams need to decide who lives and who dies, and whether to give The Fan the satisfaction of following his headcanon for the teams. Also, Ceiling Bat is watching you debate. #41 just sort of skips past resolving the cliffhanger of #40 and focuses on the more morally interesting aftermath, with a bit of a Deathstroke crossover. #41 is all about how it's hard to have principles, since the amoral and self-centered can really mess with you by applying leverage to those principles. But Priest comes at it from askew directions rather than the usual "...or the hostages die" sort of manipulation. Recommended. $2.99 each.

Future Quest Presents: Mightor #8: DC - A one-shot featuring the new Mightor introduced in the Future Quest maxiseries. Happy 13th Birthday, have an alien invasion! Fun story from Parker and Steve Lieber. Recommended.  $3.99 

Invader Zim #29: Oni - And now for a Dib-focused story. It's a bit heavily into pushing a single joke (the idea that a soda brand named Poop exists), but it's otherwise the sort of thing that might have made for a lower-tier episode back when the show was running. Mildly recommended.  $3.99 

The Tick 2018 #3: NEC - Whenever a character has a Mysterious Origin for long enough, the temptation starts to set in...reveal the truth! Thing is, the truth is almost always a disappointment. And this whole arc demonstrates that even in a humor book, that can happen. Nor is it being self-aware enough to milk the disappointment for humor. Probably dropping this title soon, the main draw for me was the artist, who isn't even on the book this issue. Neutral. $3.99
Fashions from, like, four generations
ago, in MLP terms.

My Little Pony Friendship is Magic #64: IDW - This could be considered a sort of thematic tie-in to the opening episodes of Season 8. Rarity and Fluttershy both find out that the "rules of the game" for something they love doing are perhaps going to get in the way of their enjoyment. Fluttershy finds that animal shelters come with a lot of red tape (a more direct link to "School Daze") while Rarity finds that the cyclical nature of fashion has come back around to the not-actually-the-80s-but-looks-like-it styles of her youth, leading to angst over the choice between breaking the rules of fashion and being doomed to repeating herself. Rarity's problem has a more obvious solution, and is resolved first, fortunately. Fluttershy's is a bit thornier, and the resolution was a bit too pat. Anyway, loads of nostalgia for readers who lived through the 80s, but otherwise only mildly recommended. $3.99

My Little Pony Legends of Magic #12 (of 12): IDW - The end of the sprawling "assembling the Pillars" storyline, and also apparently the last regular issue. It's getting an Annual to tie off the remaining plot threads, but I guess they want to use this spot on the publishing schedule for something that isn't tied into last season. (Ponyville Mysteries is next, a tie-in to a chapter book series rather than directly to the show.) This is a very anticlimactic climax, though, something a prequel always has trouble avoiding. A bit more of Stygian's motivations are laid out, but the cartoon did an adequate job of that in the first place. It does, however, end on an interesting premise that hopefully will get a decent execution in the Annual. Mildly recommended. $3.99

Transformers vs. Visionaries #3-4 (of 5): IDW - A few days before I wrote this review, it was confirmed that the IDW "Hasbroverse" would be coming to an end, with all the crossover stuff ending and Transformers comics relaunching in a new universal stream. It really feels like Visaggio knew that before even starting this book, because it's full of low-impact deaths and a sense of futility. I guess I'll read the final issue next month, but even if I didn't know the end is coming, this series would have given that impression. Don't bother with it, even if you're a Visionaries fan. (Heck, why are you going to bring Visionaries back and not do the incantations?)  $3.99 each.  

Transformers Lost Light #16: IDW - The Autobots Are All Dead. But the series isn't over yet, so I imagine that Rodimus will somehow manage to annoy Primus into kicking him back into being alive. The bulk of this issue is about how the various characters deal with the "Oops, we didn't make it" issue, including various forms of denial, skepticism, bargaining, etc. One character is fully accepting, at least. Not that this is necessarily a good thing. It is, as Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy once suggested, less an afterlife and more of an "aprés vie." Not so much purgatory as a green room for the afterlife, where Cybertronians get to chill out if they're not quite ready to rejoin the AllSpark. Good character-driven stuff with some of the sort of post-mortem musing that's appropriate given the imminent ending of the continuity. Also, a definite feeling of "...then I will face God and walk backwards into hell." Recommended. $3.99

Atomic Robo the Spectre of Tomorrow #5 (of 5): IDW - Got well ahead of the online version this time. Seeing it on paper makes it really obvious that there's mostly just one line weight in all of the art, something I also found annoying in the She-Devils story in Real Science Adventures. The story itself wraps up nicely, with Robo having a Clever Plan but still almost having everything blow up in his face (and then there's an unforseen side effect of the Clever Plan, natch). Recommended. $3.99

Comic Book History of Comics v2 #4 (of 4, I guess): IDW - The cover claims this issue is about piracy, but that's really just a small part of the story being told. Rather, it's all about how the changing retail environment brings both opportunity and danger, especially once parasite capitalism got involved. Every form of distribution is shown to have its corruption and pitfalls, and yet none of this has killed comics yet. Why? Well, people want to make comics, people want to read comics. Somehow, we'll find ways to connect the two. Recommended. $3.99

Dvandom, aka Dave Van Domelen, is an Assistant Professor of Physical Science at Amarillo College, maintainer of one of the two longest-running Transformers fansites in existence (neither he nor Ben Yee is entirely sure who was first), long time online reviewer of comics, is finally getting his house painted by a professional, is an occasional science advisor in fiction, and part of the development team for the upcoming City of Titans MMO.

"And yet, if Rodimus was ever going to engage in a THEOLOGICAL CONVERSATION, this is exactly how it would play out." - Ultra Magnus as Rodimus yells at Primus, Lost Light #16.
Dave's Comicbook Capsules et cetera for March 2018 Dave's Comicbook Capsules et cetera for March 2018 Reviewed by Dvandom on Monday, April 02, 2018 Rating: 5
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