Dave's Capsules for January 2019

Items of Note (Strongly Recommended or otherwise worthy): Ms. Marvel v2 #37.

In this installment: Wonder Woman Golden Lasso Ice Cream, Reign of the Supermen DVD, The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins, Transformers Bumblebee: Win If You Dare, Stitched vol 2, Adventure Finders chapter 17, Captain Marvel #1, Ironheart #2, Ms. Marvel v2 #37,  Deathstroke #39, Catalyst Prime Astonisher #14, The Wrong Earth #5, Kaijumax Season 4 #4 (of 6), League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Tempest #4 (of 6), My Little Pony Nightmare Knights #4 (of 5), My Little Pony Friendship is Magic #74, My Little Pony 20/20,  Star Trek vs. Transformers #4 (of 5), Transformers Bumblebee: Go For The Gold, Transformers: Historia, Go-Bots #1-3, Atomic Robo Dawn of a New Era #1 (of 5).

Current Wait List (books either Diamond didn't ship or my store failed to order)Transformers: Historia didn't ship at the right time, but made it out on reorder just under the wire.

"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. 
Fortunately, the texture is not ropy.

Wonder Woman Golden Lasso Twirl Ice Cream: DC/Dreyer - Sure, why not review ice cream.  This purports to be a mix of vanilla, "light" caramel, graham cracker crumbs, and caramel-flavored candy stars.  The packaging includes a few panels of a comic where Wonder Woman fights Cheetah, you need to collect four cartons to get the whole story (or, you know, take pictures on the shelf at the store).  I didn't bother getting the story, it looked pretty meh.  The ice cream is nice enough, unlike a lot of caramel-flavored stuff it isn't overwhelmingly sweet.  The graham is hard to notice unless you're looking for it, and the candy stars tasted more butterscotch than caramel to me, although it's harder to pick up subtle notes with a half-frozen tongue.  It's a "light" ice cream, because of course the one branded with a woman has to be diet (eyeroll)...the Superman and Batman flavors are regular.  That said, I didn't notice the lack of fat, and the lack of sugar was a plus in my book due to the aforementioned caramel issue.  The packaging has no actual mention of the actual maker (Dreyer/Edy's), all the trademarks are DC/WB.  Dreyer's is your basic "slightly better than the cheap stuff" ice cream, which mostly shows in how rock-hard it is unless you let it sit out of the freezer for a few minutes before scooping (by contrast, the slightly higher end stuff like Ben & Jerry's is often fairly easy to scoop right out of the freezer with a regular spoon).  Pretty good for a "light" ice cream, although you may want to make sure you have a proper metal ice cream scoop if you don't plan to let it sit out for a few minutes before serving.  (Later correction: all three of the superhero flavors are light ice creams, they didn't single out Wonder Woman for that treatment.)

Reign of the Supermen: DC/WB - Technically, this movie got a theatrical release through the Fathom Entertainment program, but it's otherwise clearly a Direct To Video movie.  It's in the same continuity as most of the "serious" DC movies of the last few years, so adapting the sprawling mess of the Reign comics required a LOT of streamlining to avoid having to explain all the stuff not yet introduced in those videos.  So, necessity being the mother of editing, the result is a much tighter story than the original comics...but a five year old telling you about his interests tells a tighter story than the original Reign of the Supermen comics (especially since this doesn't just adapt the four issues of the four launch titles, but also goes all the way to Cyborg Superman's heel turn, the revelation of Eradicator's nature, and Mullet Superman).  Unfortunately, a single movie isn't enough time to do justice to all the character arcs...and the story doesn't merit more than a single movie.  So, for instance, Steel is practically useless, almost everything he does could have been given to someone else or even no one at all.  There's also a few attempts to insert new characters to fill gaps left by the tightening up, but it falls flat, there's no real emotional investment.  (If they'd made one of Cyborg Superman's followers Natasha Irons, that would have given him a reason to actually BE in this story, but the only one we get a focus on is a generic dude.)

The animation is generally decent, although they never really got Mullet Superman to look right.  His five o'clock shadow doesn't mesh well with his face, and I got a sort of Mike Gustovich feel off his face in a lot of his limited scenes...while I don't mind Gustovich's style that much in general, it stands out badly compared to the rest of the characters.  The voice work ranges from "hey, who's hanging around at the studio" to some decent choices (Rainn Wilson's snarky Lex Luthor is pretty good, and Nathan Fillion's few lines as Green Lantern are all great).  Jerry O'Connell does a decent Clark Kent voice, but his Superman voice is basically the same as his Clark voice.  But a lot of the voices were workmanlike and uninspired.

As usual these days, the extras depend on the format.  The lowest tier Walmart carries is a two disk set with DVD and Blu-Ray, and the only extras on the DVD are trailers and a featurette on "JLA vs. the Fatal Five" (which is not in the main DTV DC continuity, but while it has Timm designs, it may be a standalone rather than JLU).  Mildly recommended, mostly for Lex and Hal, price varies depending on store and format.

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 Chapter 17: Patreon.com - Book 1 comes to an end with a frantic race for safety, having been abandoned practically on the threshold of civilization by "heroes" who can't look past their prejudices.  Presumably Book 2 will have some sort of reckoning on that, but for now Book 1 ends with the "you can't go home again," adage operating in the "because you are not the same person who left" mode.  Recommended.  $1/month for access.


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

The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins: :01 First Second - Adventure Zone is one of those things that I don't actually follow, but it's heavy into the meme space I inhabit.  Mostly because I don't do podcasts in general (just a preference in how I consume media), but I guess also because I've never really warmed to watching someone else play a tabletop RPGs.  But when I saw this on the endcap at Barnes & Noble, I decided to check it out and see what I was missing.  Not much, really.  There's a few decent running gags, but for the most part a lot of it was "you had to be there" humor.  I expect that existing fans of the Adventure Zone will enjoy this adaptation, but I found a week or so of D&D adventure strips in The Devil's Panties to be more fun than this entire TPB.  Very mildly recommended.  $19.99/$25.99Cn

Transformers Bumblebee: Win If You Dare: IDW - This is set in a sort of parallel to the original 1980s cartoon setting, but with a few later characters added (such as Windblade).  It's hard to say for sure what year it's actually set in at first, but eventually it becomes clear that it's pre-cellphone, probably late 80s or early 90s of the cartoon setting (so there's random high tech plot device stuff on top of the lack of cellphones).  Anyway, the main plot is that in the wake of his near death in a battle, Bumblebee is chafing in his convalescence and heads out driving, only to get entangled in a Decepticon plot (although it takes a while for him to discover that).  He gets a new human companion, and a lot of implied worldbuilding is done by writer James Asmus.  Artist Marcelo Ferreira is generally okay, although some of the facial expressions he puts on Bumblebee are kinda disturbing.  The wrap-up of the plot is very deus ex machina (which is in keeping with the G1 vibe) but also kinda abrupt...the sort of thing that really deserved a splash page in there somewhere, rather than 3-to-a-page panels.  Mildly recommended.  $9.99/$13.99 (but less at Walmart, part of the Bumblebee movie displays)

Stitched in Time...get it?
Stitched vol 2: Love in the Time of Assumption: Papercutz/Charmz - This actually came out a few months ago, but I missed it.  This continues the tale of a town of Universal Movie Monster riffs, starring Crimson the patchwork girl.  Assumption is the name of the town they live in, and this installment definitely starts off on a love triangle in the making.  On the one hand, there's a guy who's interested in Crimson for who she is now, but on the other hand at least one of the girls Crimson was stitched together from has a romantic past with another guy in town.  Man, necromancy comes with a lot more romantic complications than I'd have expected.  There is, however, a Main Plot, and it kicks in before the romantic plots can get very far.  Aaron Alexovich's art is very expressive and well-suited to this setting (hardly a surprise after his Serenity Rose series).  Recommended.  $9.99/$12.99Cn

(Hilo book 5 came out the last week of the month, I'll review it in February.)


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.)

Captain Marvel (2019) v(something) #1: Marvel - Man, the previous series (volume whatever minus one...Marvel no longer actually officially recognizes the volume in the indicia) had a lot of retcons, to judge from the Story So Far page.  But that's all in the past, it's time for Carol to catch up with stuff on Earth, after spending time offworld and in convoluted revisionist backstory.  Of course, given her friend group, "just hanging out" involves beating up kaiju in the harbor.  Kelly Thompson does a good job of setting up what Carol hopes will be the new status quo, including an uneasy work relationship with Tony Stark and a mentorship with a young hero...and then blows it to smithereens via a villain I can't believe Carol never fought during her Ms. Marvel days.  I mean, he's SO perfect for the "guys writing comics about women's lib" era.  Recommended.  $3.99

Ironheart #2: Marvel - A pretty slow issue, with Ironheart doing a lot of reflecting on her past (conveniently, as part of that past is relevant to the main plot, unbeknownst to her) and dealing with petty crime that rapidly escalates.  Not as good as #1, and it really feels like Writing For The Trade.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99

Ms. Marvel v2 #37: Marvel - While technically #38 is the last Wilson issue, that's going to be something of an anthology special issue, so this is her solo farewell to the characters she's created and nurtured for the last five years.  As befits the tone of the series, there's no Grand Epic Plot, just a regular day of stuff going wrong in Jersey City and Kamala doing her best to hold it together, with a little (okay, a lot) of help from her friends and neighbors. Nakia sums it up pretty well, "They're supposed to be babysitting today, which I see has gone exactly as well as I expected...." (I normally dislike the "baby in peril" plot device, but this issue really doesn't do it...it's more like "Here, you take the baby!" repeated several times while things erupt around them.)  Really good "Farewell, but it's not over" issue.  Strongly recommended.  $3.99

Deathstroke #39: DC - One of the recurring themes in this series has been "everyone has their own plots, and when plans intersect it can have very strange results."  Batman and Deathstroke and the mothers of their respective children, for instance.  But when you toss in at least two methods of manipulating perception of reality (possibly more), you get the Arkham arc.  Fun, but definitely confusing, with no guarantee that the resolution will clarify what exactly WAS real.  Recommended.  $3.99

Catalyst Prime Astonisher #14 (vol 3 #5): Lion Forge - Speaking of having no guarantee of finding out what was real, here's Astonisher.  Maybe there's explanations and resolution this issue, maybe those are more lies and illusions.  Ultimately, the title character is a narcissist with the power to literally make everything about him, but he has a lot of unexamined crap rattling around in his own mind.  To be continued...eventually?  No solicitations for #15 in the next three months, so I guess this is meant to be the end of the volume.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99

This "Tommy" update is a lot
edgier than the original.
The Wrong Earth #5: Ahoy Comics - With the way home...not very usable...the two versions of Dragonfly(man) start to adjust to their new homes.  Neither quite has the hang of it yet, but Dragonfly is starting to care about other people again, and Dragonflyman is starting to see that maybe...well, okay, I think he still needs to do a little more work on that.  Peyer clearly wants to avoid making it look like either Alpha or Omega is objectively "right" about how the world works, but Dragonfly does seem to be coming off as the more redeemable.  The backup story is another Omegaverse tale, during a time when Dragonfly was starting to lose his faith in humanity and turning all grim and gritty, but wasn't quite there yet.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99

Kaijumax Season 4 #4 (of 6): Oni Press - Now is the time for the bodies to start hitting the floor, as betryals and revenge start to kick in.  Not all of the ongoing plots hit boiling point, though, and Cannon's clearly saving some of them for at least next issue, if not next season.  Such as one of the plots from season 1 that pops back up and makes itself felt with numerous crunching sounds.  I am darkly amused at how the topic of prison prostitution was worked into the story. Recommended.  $3.99

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: the Tempest #4 (of 6): Top Shelf/Knockabout - Doesn't come with 3-D glasses, but has a lot more pages in 3-D than #3.  The genre/style switching comes fast and furious, even compared to the previous issues, which seems to be related to how the Master Plan is reaching fruition.  (Aside: I probably should read Black Dossier one of these days, as there's a lot more tied into it here than I expected initially.)  While many of the waters are being muddied, one thing that is becoming clear is that there may not be any good guys in this one...just protagonists, pushing their own agendas.  Even the antagonists are protagonists.  Provisionally recommended, this is one of those things that could well fall apart in the end, but even then it could be a good falling apart.  $3.99

My Little Pony Nightmare Knights #4 (of 5): IDW - Infodump time, as the origin of Eris and how she came to be in charge of this particular alternate reality is told, via a combination of direct autobiographical monologuing and Stuff People Heard.  Lots of nightmare realm stuff in which the characters face their fears and overcome them...or fail to.  This seems to be leading to a climax where "those who have gained redemption are the best at offering it," will be the key to victory.  Recommended.  $3.99

My Little Pony Friendship is Magic #74: IDW - Another "Zephyr Breeze hasn't quite got the hang of this adulting thing" story, and not as weird as the regular cover suggests.  Still, a good Lesson story, and unlike some issues of the comic that go the pedantic route, the lesson is an all-ages thing.  It does go to the "Comic-Con but with something other than comics" motif again, though, and maybe they should find a different formula?  Mildly recommended.  $3.99

My Little Pony 20/20: IDW - So, IDW is celebrating their 20th anniversary as a company by doing one-shots in which they look either 20 years into the past or into the future of the setting.  This one is 20 years in the past, which I suppose means IDW continuity falls firmly on the side of human aging rather than pony aging for the mortals, with the current day being 20 years since the day the Mane 6 got their Cutie Marks.  A fairly light and low-stakes story (well, there's a chance all of spacetime will collapse, but no one seems TOO worried about that point, most of the actual threats are things like getting tangled up in vines) that serves to summarize all the character growth seen in the series without presenting the present-day Mane 6 as smoothed off paragons.  Recommended.  $4.99

Star Trek vs. Transformers #4 (of 5): IDW - Oops, five issue series, not four.  It'd be nice if they ever put that sort of information on the cover.  Yes, I will occasionally complain about this until companies go back to actually listing the miniseries nature of their miniseries.  Now, with a big battle between Fortress Tiberius and Trypticon D-7 this issue, it would have actually worked pretty well as the finale of a 4 issue series, but it ends up being pretty anticlimactic.  Then everyone runs off to do the actual finale on another planet.  Somewhat disappointing issue.  $3.99

Transformers Bumblebee: Go For The Gold: IDW - A prequel to Win If You Dare, pretty much just the fight scene referenced at the beginning of that book.  Same writer and penciler, but a different inker, who has a lot of trouble adapting their style to fit the penciler...it settles down after a few pages, but those first few pages are rough going.  It's kind of an unnecessary story, especially since it came out after Win If You Dare, and doesn't really add much.  It's basically an extended fight scene that starts ending almost immediately and then takes the rest of the issue to wind down.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99

Transformers: Historia: IDW - This is basically a summary of the IDW "first continuity" in chronological order, so a lot of Big Damn Spoilers right at the beginning if you're not caught up on the books.  Seriously, key points that were mysteries driving several years' worth of storylines get explained on the first page.  This is a useful post-mortem sort of read, helping tighten up some of the weirder retcons by placing them in context, but it's very dry.  The format of two columns of text interspersed with a lot of art can be hard to follow ("Do I read this like two columns of text, or like a 2x3 grid comic?  There's three blocks of text and three images...."), and there's some spelling and usage errors that really shouldn't have slipped through, especially given how much this book got delayed.  Probably the biggest problem in terms of content, though, was a page where the timeline switched back and forth between two different timeloop versions of Shockwave, and didn't make it clear which one was being discussed, leading to a rather confusing page even for someone who already knows the storyline in that era.   (McFeely really needed to stick to calling the second-time-around Shockwave by his assumed ID for every even during the overlapped times.)  Mildly recommended.  $5.99

Leader-1, who is done with being
a Mini-Con.
Go-Bots #1-3: IDW - Scioli's over the top faux Kirby style never really grabbed me in his Transformers vs. GI Joe book, but he's going for a different sort of story and layout, a many tiny panels style.  The Previews entries I checked don't list an ending issue, so like TF/GIJoe it'll probably go until IDW stops getting mysterious packages in the middle of the night with completed art from Scioli.  Anyway, I decided to pick this series up after reading a scan of #1 (which I then bought), and #2-3 both came out in January, because those mysterious packages arrive at IDW irregularly, so I got to read three issues in a relatively short time.  And the transition between 2 and 3 was still kinda jarring, until I realized which 1970s SF movie Scioli was homaging.  In fact, in some ways, the whole series is based on that movie and its prequels/sequels.  He's doing an interesting job of bringing in all the various elements of "classic" Go-Bots cosmology but in a rather different way.  The pacing is weird (#1-2 mostly take place over the course of a really chaotic night, #3 takes place significantly later), and the occasional use of 12-20 panel grids gives it a density of storytelling lacking in the splash-heavy TF vs. GIJoe, but I'm solidly along for this ride.  Recommended.  $3.99 each.

Atomic Robo Dawn of a New Era #1 (of 5): IDW - Dawn of a new era indeed.  Skip ahead to the new Tesladyne being sufficiently set up to bring in its first crop of newbies (resulting in fungus-girl suffering some impostor syndrome as a mentor to them) while Bernard tries to get back on the horse.  Or quadrupedal robot drone, as it were.  Oh, and Robo has secret children to raise.  Not much else to say here, it's heavy on setup, to the point that the plot complications are mostly implied at this point, and could very well end up being something not introduced until #2 (kinda like how the Oblongs cartoon and many episodes of Futurama would take a sharp left turn after the opening scene).  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), owner of way too many not-yet-reviewed BotBots, 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.

"His coat is quite fetching, dost thou agree?" "No, no, I don't agree, Thor.  He looks like a seven-foot-tall dystopian Russian pimp." -Thor and Iron Man on supervillain couture, Captain Marvel #1
Dave's Capsules for January 2019 Dave's Capsules for January 2019 Reviewed by Dvandom on Friday, February 01, 2019 Rating: 5
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