Dave's Capsules for November 2018

Items of Note (Strongly Recommended or otherwise worthy): Nothing this month.

In this installment: Spider Force #2 (of 3), Ms. Marvel v2 #36, Deathstroke #37, Catalyst Prime Astonisher #12, The Wrong Earth #3, Kaijumax Season 4 #3 (of 6), Real Science Adventures: the Nicodemus Job #5 (of 5), My Little Pony Nightmare Knights #2 (of 5), My Little Pony Friendship is Magic #72, Transformers Unicron #6 (of 6), Optimus Prime #25 (of 25), Transformers Lost Light #25 (of 25), Star Trek vs. Transformers #2 (of 4).

Current Wait List (books either Diamond didn't ship or my store failed to order)Nothing.  Kaijumax didn't get shipped, but the reorder came through 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.  I did quite like the new She-Ra on Netflix, though.

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.


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

Nothing this month.  I have a few things coming in the mail that released in November, but they won't be in my hands until December.


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.)

Spider-Force #2 (of 3): Marvel - Huh...I thought we hadn't yet caught up to the "I've killed them all" bit at the start of #1, but I guess we did?  Lots of introductions and telepathic gleaning of backstories while the villain of the piece gets on with her villainy, and Kaine shows he doesn't really know how freefall works.  A bit on the disjointed side, maybe trying to fit a few too many set pieces into a story that needs to service a different story's plot.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99

Ms. Marvel v2 #36: Marvel - A pseudo-historical story, in which present-day characters take on the roles of figures in an old tale that may or may not have happened.  Not a common trope, and when it does get used it's more often in TV than in comics.  In this case, it's framed as Bruno making suppositions about how Kamala could have Inhuman ancestry, but it's played straight enough that the reader is maybe expected to think it's what did happen?  Bruno had a bunch of cross-time visions during the previous arc, after all, so his "wonderings" might just be his brain reassembling pieces of the truth that overwhelmed him earlier.  Still ended up feeling kinda forced, though.  Mildly recommended. 

Planetary gear.  No,
it's not Elijah Snow's.

Deathstroke #37: DC - We don't actually get to see what happened after the end of #36, because even the reader is not supposed to be sure whether it even happened.  This is very much a gaslighting storyline, in which everyone involved is very familiar with the concept but also used to dealing with multiple layers of buried intrigue.  In fact, for most of the issue we don't see Slade at all, the focus shifts to Rose/Willow and Jericho.  As with most such wheels within wheels planetary gear plots, it's hard to evaluate how well it worked until it has finished spinning though.  Provisionally recommended.  $3.99

Catalyst Prime Astonisher #12 (vol 3 #3): Lion Forge - Speaking of wheels within wheels, we do get a few more answers to "what's the deal with Astonisher's fake city?" here, but most of the other dangling questions go unanswered or are answered by more questions.  The main fight scene resolves the rescue mission started in present day last issue, at the risk of dragging the title even deeper into solipsism.  Still perhaps more convoluted than it needs to be, though.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99

The Wrong Earth #3: Ahoy Comics - Not really a lot to say that I didn't say last month.  Things tick forwards, various characters start to adapt to what's going on, neither protagonist much likes the other's world but that's to be expected.  The story came out of the gate pretty fast, but there's a certain amount of, "Well, now what?" to it.  The characters may have plans, but the reader finds out that most of those plans are already scuttled, lending an air of futility to things.  The faux-golden age backup is pretty flat, and the text pieces seem to focus on weird for its own sake, rather than weirdness to tell a story or make a point.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99

Kaijumax Season 4 #3 (of 6): Oni Press - The various alliances of both convenience and inconvenience firm up here as the three main arcs move along.  However, while the Black Goat's bit gets the cover and may be the one that ultimately incites the climax, Xian's arc hits its climax NOW.  But not climax in the "the rest is resolution," sense, more of the Shakespearean tragedy act 3 deal, where we can expect things to fall apart over the next three issues.  She may even be headed for a Heroic Sacrifice, although the rule for prison dramas do work differently than regular dramas.  Recommended.  $3.99

Real Science Adventures: the Nicodemus Job #5 (of 5): IDW - The  main job ties up suspiciously easily, but when did a heist movie ever come together that well?  Never, and this is no exception.  This was pitched initially as a sort of origin story of an earlier team of Action Scientists, albeit one that will have to take their act on the road pretty soon no matter how things shake out on their inaugural mission, and in that respect it did pretty well.  I wouldn't mind seeing them get another miniseries down the line, perhaps a really big caper to get people out of The City before it falls to the Crusaders....  Recommended.  $3.99

My Little Pony Nightmare Knights #2 (of 5): IDW - And now for the part of the heist movie where the team is assembled.  Specifically, Capper, Tempest (who is where we left her in the comics), and Trixie (who disputes any claims that she was ever a villain).  Or, in the parlance, the cat burglar/smooth operator, the muscle, and the distraction.  (Technically, Luna is the Client, and Stygian is the Mastermind.)  Some good interactions and discussions along the way, but the actual heist doesn't get underway until the final pages.  Recommended.  $3.99

My Little Pony Friendship is Magic #72: IDW - An interesting twist on the old chestnut about "the secret ingredient is love."  Recommended.  $3.99

Transformers Unicron #6 (of 6): IDW - So, in the end, it's all about forgiveness.  Of self, of others.  It's the magic of friendship.  Lots of short scenes here and there as things go to hell in a giant handbasket, and with four line artists involved it does get more confusing than it needed to be.  You can see in here a bunch of little resolutions to arcs that were probably going to be allowed to unfold more gradually, such as Slide's redemption, and several characters get Heroic Sacrifices in place of finishing their face turns more naturally, but hey, better than no resolution.  Recommended.  $7.99

Optimus Prime #25: IDW - For most of the issue, the left-side pages are Optimus Prime's life flashing before his optics, while the right-side pages catch up on everyone else in the wake of Unicron's assault on the galaxy.  The characters who got to share the spotlight each get at least some "where are they now?" in the months that followed, and if the timeline doesn't go as far forwards in that as Lost Light #25 does, it gives most of the cast some sort of new status quo.  If anyone fails to get a real resolution, it's Optimus himself.  But that's to be expected.  No matter how definitively dead Optimus Prime may be at any point, you can't count him out.  Even with the entire universe cancelled, he's just waiting to return when he's most needed.  The jerk.  There's very little cross-talk with Lost Light, but the one bit we do get is vital to finally putting a bow on the repairs Barber (and other writers) has been putting on Arcee's character.  Definitely stuck that landing.  (Interestingly, the scene that flashes back to Unicron #5 doesn't actually happen on-screen in Unicron #5, Optimus just went from faceplate to no faceplate without explanation, but it's a whole dramatic thing in Optimus #25.)  Recommended.  $3.99

Transformers Lost Light #25: IDW - Having this come out before Unicron #6 and Optimus Prime #25 was a bit of a spoiler, since even focusing mostly on the Lost Light crew meant giving away some of who and what survived Unicron's assault.  Basically, life goes on.  Happy for some, unfulfilling for others.  It's like having everyone actually show up to a reunion, not just the ones who never moved that far away.  MtMtE would be like high school hijinks, and then the core group of friends all went to college together, along with the jerk top dog from the rival high school and a bunch of new guys.  More hijinks ensued, more romance and self-discovery, slightly more planet-sized threats than the average college experience, but in the end...a lot of people end up peaking in college.  They either never recapture those glory days, or the lack of external structure is too much for them and their lives mostly fall apart.  The guy you always suspected would be in and out of prison did end up doing just that.  The quarterback who led the team to divisional championship is a drunk who gets by as a delivery driver.  The scam artist is still scamming, just on a bigger scale.  But the people who actually took the opportunity to grow the heck up?  They're mostly doing pretty well.  Maybe not as much fame and glory as they seemed headed for, but quiet success is nice too.  Of course, when you've had as many plot devices pass through your hands as the Lost Light crew has, maybe college never has to end....  Recommended.  $3.99
"Beam me anywhere but here!"

Star Trek vs. Transformers #2 (of 4): IDW - Meanwhile, in another continuity that the Lost Light has not visited (yet?), the initial misunderstandings are dealt with (by means of a few more fight scenes) and the predictable alliances are formed, and not to the benefit of the Enterprise and its crew.  The unremembered presence of Transformers on 20th Century Earth is briefly explained away as something lost in the noise of the various world wars (oddly, they use the soldier design from Encounter at Farpoint to illustrate this, rather than showing Khan).  Given the two shows involved, that's enough continuity to deal with the issue...neither is exactly an indexer's dream.  As one might expect from the middle of a series, things look pretty bad for the heroes at the end, but with a willingness to take some risks it might just turn around.  And we all know whose business risk is, yes?  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), a long time online reviewer of comics, an occasional science advisor in fiction, and part of the development team for the upcoming City of Titans MMO (and one of the winners of its first costume contest).

"You still don't see.  Soundwave believes in a higher power, sure.  But guys like you and me -- we don't have to.  All we need to believe in is the inherent good of doing good...and that someday, ultimately, that will be enough to stop evil. [...] Faith is just one path to the ultimate trick: confronting the evil in ourselves...and defeating that." - Prowl, Transformers Unicron #6 (of 6)
Dave's Capsules for November 2018 Dave's Capsules for November 2018 Reviewed by Dvandom on Wednesday, November 28, 2018 Rating: 5
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