Dave's Capsules for March 2019

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

In this installment: The Magnificent Ms. Marvel #1, Captain Marvel #3, Marvel Rising #1 (of 5),  Ironheart #4, Deathstroke #42, Kaijumax season 4 #5 (of 6), My Little Pony Nightmare Knights #5 (of 5), My Little Pony Friendship is Magic #75-76, The Go-Bots #5 (of 5), League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Tempest #5 (of 6), Transformers #1-2.

Current Wait List (books either Diamond didn't ship or my store failed to order): Synergy: a Hasbro Creators Showcase (one-shot)

"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 pick up the Aquaman DVD, but I don't really expect to get time to watch it before the end of March, I'll review it in April.
A big fat goose egg for
these sections.

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 (Adventure Finders progress slowed by convention season stuff).  I suppose if I wanted to, I could get Atomic Robo #4 on Comixology, for some reason it came out a week early there. 


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

Nothing this month. 


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.)

The Magnificent Ms. Marvel #1: Marvel - One thing I really liked about Wilson's approach to the Teenaged Superhero thing was a conscious avoidance of the "parents forbid it" trope.  Kamala's mom found out, but was willing to let her continue doing what she thought was right.  In general, while she does maintain a secret identity for the usual reasons, people finding out has at most resulted in temporary complications, and largely avoided the usual cliches.  I say all of this because Ahmed launches face-first into Parental Forbiddance this issue, dismantling all the reasons Wilson had used to avoid it.  Now, granted, the Final Page Shocker sets things up for a Parents Learn To Accept It trope by the end of the opening arc, but it's still...not great that he went there.  I'd much rather have had acceptance turn to stronger trepidation, instead of a sudden cliche whiplash.  The rest of the issue is decent, but it's hard to get past the one use of a tiresome cliche that Wilson managed to avoid for so long.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99

Captain Marvel (2019) v(something) #3: Marvel - Speaking of cliches, curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal.  Sigh.  The book had a lot of potential, but between the, "Forget about all the stuff I set up in #2, I really wanted to tell an entirely different story," plot twist, and so much of this issue focusing on the Sudden But Inevitable Betrayal bit, I'm just not into it.  I'll give it a few more issues to wrap up this plot and see if the stuff I was actually interested in comes back, but I'm not holding out a lot of hope.  Neutral.  $3.99

Marvel Rising #1: Marvel - So, some of the gang from last year's Marvel Rising are back together for a college tour, plus Miles Morales, when Stuff Starts To Go Down.  I mean, the bulk of the issue is just costumed heroes hanging out in their costumed identities and doing high school student stuff...worrying about college, career, etc.  But there's a little bit of fighting, plus setup for the main series villain.  My only significant complaint about the issue is that the artist doesn't seem to be able to draw a woman who isn't skinny.  I mean, Squirrel Girl is maybe a tiny bit less skinny than the rest, but the contrast to how she's drawn in her own series is jarring.  Recommended.  $3.99

Ironheart #4: Marvel - Okay, so...captions.  Editorial captions, with references to past issues.  This issue REALLY needed them.  Why?  Because the middle half of it has Midnight Fire recounting a huge chunk of New Warriors plotline, and if I hadn't read those comics I would have had no clue that Ewing hadn't just made up the entire thing herself for this comic.  Sure, maybe the post-merger Earth had events occur slightly differently, with touches of Ultimate elements in there for all I know, but that's no reason to not refer readers to the full story that Midnight Fire summarizes.  I mean, this isn't as bad as last issue's "assume the reader knows everything about Ironheart's PTSD" scene, but there's a definite mismatch between writer and editor here.  Ewing is wallowing in continuity, and the editorial mandate seems to be to make no reference to actual comics, let the reader sink or swim and offer no guidance to those who foolishly decided to pick up a new comic.  If your editorial policy is to be hostile to new readers, it feels like you don't want new readers.  Or any readers.  Really on the edge of dropping this book.  $3.99

Deathstroke #41: DC -The Terminus Agenda: Prologue.  No, this isn't going to be a crossover with Marvel, it's a crossover with Teen Titans.  Basically, killing the Pulorians last issue (who apparently reverted to their human disguise forms in death, or maybe some of the homeless guys were really humans) makes Damian Wayne decide that Deathstroke has crossed a line and needs to be taken down.  So, that's the justification for the crossover.  This issue mainly works to establish that Deathstroke is back on a lot of naughty lists, and to bring in a bogeyman from Teen Titans so that the crossover can help advance the TT plotline on top of continuing to deal with Deathstroke's own uncertain situation.  Meanwhile, Jim Gordon and Wintergreen have an extended chat on ethics, professional and otherwise.  Recommended.  $3.99

Kaijumax season 4 #5 (of 6): Oni Press - It's the second to last issue, so SOMETHING needs to drop in the pot.  With several simmering plotlines, it could be any or even all of them, but the cover image kinda gives away at least one of the things coming to a head.  It's a testament to Cannon's plotting that even at this late stage, it's not until pretty close to the end that it starts to clear up which plots will, at least, be pushed off to next season (although one of the non-cover plots can't really stay simmering too much longer).  Recommended.  $3.99

Curse my sudden but inevitable
betrayal!  MUAHAHAHA!
My Little Pony Nightmare Knights #5 (of 5): IDW - Definitely not the sort of ending one would expect from a MLP story, but given that the audience for the comic likely skews a bit older than for the show, not too unsuspected.  They even lampshade the difference between how a Heist Caper tends to end and how a MLP story tends to end, in the form of one of the characters being genre-savvy.  Ultimately, though, the savvy one's wrong about the MLP cosm winning this time, and it's a good thing they carried out a Heist Caper plan anyway.  Ultimately, it's a victory, but not an unalloyed one.  Friendship can't do everything, even if it can do more than anyone expected.  Recommended.  $3.99

My Little Pony Friendship is Magic #75-76: IDW - Big anniversary issue #75 took a little longer to get out, so #76 came hot on its heels.  One problem with running this storyline in overlap with Nightmare Knights is that it's got Yet Another Chaos Entity Worse Than Discord.  It ends up feeling like they're going back to that well too often (and it also kinda retcons Discord himself, making him out to be less "redeemed villain" and more "was never really a villain, but he took the fall for the real villain"...kinda weakening all the efforts made to reform him).  Repetition and retcons aside, Katie Cook does a good job of writing "Lovecraft with pastel ponies" here, as a seemingly simple quest for magical artifacts ends up unlocking an ancient evil, and Price's art does a great job of adding depth and humor as always.  (Amusingly, there's another repetition...the same character who works on Caper logic in Nightmare Knights also short-circuits a Pony Ending to one scene.)  Anyway, the scripting and art are great, but the plot itself is kinda Dragonball Eternal Escalation in nature.  Recommended so long as you don't think about the plot too much.  $7.99 for double-sized #75, $3.99 for regular-sized #76.
Crasher?  I 'ardly KNOW 'er!

Go-Bots #5 (of 5): IDW - So much anticlimax.  The main stuff comes down to, "Um, well, that was kind of a bad idea, maybe the next generation will do better?"  Plus a bit more Planet of the Apes homage as some of the human astronauts find their way home and try to avert the future they've witnessed.  The series started out pretty strong, but it almost feels like Scioli sort of lost interest in the second half and just tied it off as a just so story.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Tempest #5 (of 6): IDW - A lot more 3D, but readable without using the glasses.  This is largely the "Antagonist's plan has rolled out and everyone scrambles to react," phase of the story, although there's still what seem to be independent actors moving around in the background and taking advantage of the chaos.  While Jess Nevins seems to have fallen behind on the annotations due to paying gigs, I didn't really find myself needing to know who most of the "someone else's pop culture" references were about in order to follow things.  That's one of the advantages of dealing in archetypes...I don't need to know the specifics to recognize a bigfoot humor comic character, or a Victorian horror piece, and their expected roles in a story (or how the crisis subverts them).  A bit of nudity as usual, so don't read around the easily scandalized.  This issue is not that strong as a standalone, as it's really just an extended bridge between the "crisis starts" beat and the "heroes do something about it next issue" beat.  Mildly recommended.  $4.99

Transformers #1-2: IDW - Not The Transformers, just Transformers.  So, this is the start of the new IDW Continuity...probably.  Until we get a second book in the setting, though, it's no more the foundation of a continuity than Go-Bots or Star Trek vs. Transformers.  Cybertron is a relatively innocent world here, and while it does know strife and danger, it has not known war in living memory (although there's implication that war has happened in the forgotten past), nor even intentional killing outside of the context of war.  The viewpoint character, Rubble, was born yesterday and is getting shown around before starting his first job and settling down to decide on an altmode.  So, right there, we have several sharp breaks with "IDW1" continuity, including a situation where something like the Functionists couldn't have arisen...there can be no altmode determinism when you're free to pick an altmode after having time to settle in.  Grizzled veteran Bumblebee shows Rubble around and generally has to remind himself to be patient with the turbo-revving young punk.  Meanwhile, there's political conflict between Orion Pax and Megatron, who seem to head blocs dedicated to "enjoy the paradise we have" and "spread out to other worlds" respectively.  Cleverly, the proto-Decepticons don't try to torturously find a way to make "Decepticon" a badge of honor...they're the Ascenticons, whose symbol is a stylized rocket aimed to the heavens (and almost, but not quite, an upside down version of the Decepticon symbol).  It's a slow build, taking advantage of the twice-monthly schedule to be gradual with things.  #2 basically continues the threads of #1, fleshing out some of the themes, temporizing on a few of the more extreme elements (i.e. it's not so much that NO ONE can remember deliberate killing, just that very few are old enough to), and adding a few more factions to the mix.  New writer Ruckley hasn't done Transformers before, but has done his research (more or less, the interview at the end makes one wonder).  The art chores are split, Angel Hernandez covers the Rubble/BB scenes and Cachet Whitman does the Orion and Megatron pages in both issues.  Recommended.  $3.99 each.

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), has mowed the weeds in his front yard for the first time this year, is 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.

"Well, you remember that time Prowl was stuck under a collapsed pylon for ten cycles?"  "I do."  "Half his rescuers requested esteem-reinforcement counseling afterwards.  Two of them still cannot be around him without their joints freezing." - Ironhide and Orion Pax, on the multiversal constant that is Prowl, Transformers #1
Dave's Capsules for March 2019 Dave's Capsules for March 2019 Reviewed by Dvandom on Friday, March 29, 2019 Rating: 5
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