Dave's Capsules for January 2020

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

In this installment: Adventure Finders Book 2 vol 1 chapter 6, Rise of the Tyrant #2, Ghost Spider #6, Venom: the End #1, Wonder Woman #750, Stabbity Bunny Emmet's Story, Vampirella #7, Dragonfly & Dragonflyman #3 (of 5), My Little Pony Friendship is Magic #85-86, ROM Dire Wraiths #1 (of 3), Transformers #15-16.

Current Wait List (books either Diamond didn't ship or my store failed to order)Nothing this time.

"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. 

I did pick up the Killing Joke animated adaptation, but didn't get around to watching it this month (the time I would have watched it I ended up using to see JoJo Rabbit with my brother).

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.

Adventure Finders Book 2 vol 1 chapter 6: Patreon.com - This is dominated by a structural revisit to the site of Book 1 Chapter 4, the first big town the group encountered on their original adventure.  But now they are veterans and have added some serious firepower to the party, and while they're not all as swaggeringly confident as they try to project, neither are they the easily cowed newbies who had to get pushed up against the wall before they'd make a stand.  As a result, there's a fair amount of petty (and not-so-petty) revenge taken on old tormentors, a good bookend to that part of their lives before they move on to challenges on an entirely new scale.  Recommended.  $1/month or more on Patreon.com.

Mazinger if Kouji were a mean drunk.
Rise of the Tyrant #2: Amigo Comics - I saw this on ComiXology and decided to give it a try, but nowhere on the store page is it called #2.  It was only when I went to see if another issue had dropped did I see that there WAS another issue, #1.  And zooming in on the indicia revealed this to be #2.  So, Amigo needs to work on its professional presentation a bit.  The fact I'm not leaping to get #1 is a sign of my ambivalence about this book.  The high concept is "Super robot fighting alien invaders, with a standard Chosen One pilot whose immaturity causes as many problems as the invaders."  But made "grown up" via extra body horror, cursing, drinking, and general We're Grown Up Now cliches.  I'm also not sure if this was originally written in Spanish and then translated, or written in English from the start by Spaniards...there's some definite translation issues in any case.  Now, all that said, they did make sure the book was accessible to new readers, in that I started on #2 and could mostly figure out what was going on (and the rest can be blamed on translation issues and murky art).  Very mildly recommended, $0.99 on ComiXology (full-sized issue).


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

None 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.)

Ghost Spider (2019) #6: Marvel - Ah, good...the Jackal plotline is largely back-burnered this month, with Gwen's main action scene involving faceless goons that are part of Man-Wolf's organization but not advancing any major plot.  It's good to have a breather, especially given how skeevy Jackal is.  A new front-burner arc gets a slow start, bringing in more Earth-65 versions of characters with a long Earth-616 history.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99
Lethal Protector to the bitter end.

Venom: the End #1: Marvel - So, the "the End" one-shots are kind of future-directed What If? stories, looking at one way the title character could come to their final day.  But Adam Warren is nothing if not too ambitious for his own good (on Patreon he said the script for this one took him 96 pages), and The End in this case is the end of all biological life in the universe.  As a result, this is less a story and more a history, snapshots and narrated explanations covering a span of over a trillion years.  The core conflict is between biological life championed by Venom (who kinda needs it to survive) and AI life intent on turning the entire universe into Computronium (and in response to my question on Patreon, Warren said he was unaware of Hickman's use of similar themes in Powers of X, they were both just drawing from the same speculative science sources).  This can also be considered a sort of stealth sequel to Iron Man: Hypervelocity.  A dense read, but worth it.  Recommended.  Get the Warren variant cover if you can find it.  $4.99

Wonder Woman #750: DC - I spent a few days in the hospital at the end of the month, my brother visited to help me in recovery, and he picked this up for me while I was in the hospital.  The main story is the climax of something I hadn't been following, a Year of the Villain big ol' clash between WW and Cheetah.  Since Year of the Villain isn't over, WW won but in a non-decisive way that let Cheetah run back off to the event comics, meh.  The rest is a mix of pin-ups and short stories (including a sequel to the internet-beloved Star-Blossom story, in which we find out that minotaur cheese exists but probably should not).  The short stories are generally decent, with art ranging from good to hideous (Riley Rossmo's is the hideous one).  I'm glad I have it for the Star-Blossom story, but it's not good enough to pay $10 for.  Mildly recommended, 96 pages.  $9.99

Stabbity Bunny Emmet's Story #1: Scout Comics - As part of my pseudo-New-Year's-Resolution to more aggressively try new books to fill the gaps in my pull left by last year's cancellations, I picked this up in the hopes that a one-shot might be new-reader friendly.  Ehh, not so much.  It's a side story that really should have been a regular issue of an ongoing, but since Scout ascribes to the "only limited series" publishing plan, it got to be a one-shot.  But it definitely reads like a done-in-one meant for regular readers in between arcs of a more traditional ongoing.  Stabbity himself is barely in the story, and I only got a vague idea of the world of the comic in the final pages.  It did a very bad job of convincing this new reader to try the main books...and a pretty weak job of even letting me know what the main books were like.  I shouldn't have to read a wikipedia page to understand a one-shot.  If nothing else, instead of a contextless piece of art on the inside front cover, they could have used the space for a one-paragraph description of the premise of the series(es).   This was a case of "That wasn't written for you" in the sense of really being aimed at existing readers with little concern for new people who might be willing to take a risk on a one-shot.  I don't really blame the writer, the editor should have done more to make sure that it was properly formatted.  #3.99

Vampirella vol 5 #7: Dynamite - In a break from the series so far, all of this is told in order, with no jumps to the therapist's office.  It tells the tale of the island vacation that Vampi took with Benny the witch...on the one hand, we know he survives this because he was on the plane back home at the start of things, but on the other hand things didn't look so great for him on the plane.  Priest goes back to a gag he used way back in Justice League Task Force, with this arc named Chokula.  Recommended.  $3.99

Dragonfly & Dragonflyman #3 (of 5): Ahoy Comics - Overtly, the Earth-Omega side of the continuing devil-dude plot is still darker and more disturbing.  But Earth-Alpha is probably CREEPIER given the plot device this issue.  It just raises so many questions whose answers would not even remotely fit the cheery innocence of Earth-Alpha.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99

My Little Pony Friendship is Magic #85: IDW - A done-in-one story by Mary Kenney in which Applejack tells Apple Blossom a story of overcoming her own fears as a filly.  Light and fluffy and ultimately pretty ignorable.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99

My Little Pony Friendship is Magic #86: IDW - A much better one-shot story by Whitley, in which Pinkie Pie and Maud Pie find themselves having to deal with challenges better suited to the other.  Walking a mile (or in Pinkie's case, several) in her sister's horseshoes.  Recommended.  $3.99

ROM Dire Wraiths #1 (of 3): IDW - Another "try something I didn't pre-order" book.  ROM gets little more than a cameo, this is really about an early Dire Wraith incursion used as a stealth Inhumanoids reboot.  The upside?  Inhumanoids were really unlikely to get any kind of treatment, so this is good.  The downside?  The Dire Wraiths' involvement mean that the human cast is gonna have a rough time of it even in the best case scenario, especially since this is set in 1969.  Technically, there's no guarantee that this is in the old IDW continuity and therefore would have to leave no trace on the timeline...but it sure feels like a leftover story from the old continuity.  Sal Buscema does some of the art for the backup story.  Mildly recommended, but I'll get the other two issues to see where it goes.  $4.99

Transformers #15: IDW - While there's a little bit on the Autobot side (including Bumblebee getting some very unwelcome truths dropped on him), this is mostly Megatron reminiscing about his past and putting his own house in order in the present.  Well, it's still the past, but the narrative present.  Ruckley is still very much writing for the trade, but this is a decent chapter of it.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99

Transformers #16: IDW - The first few pages involve a lot of characters catching up on what the reader already knows, with Starscream being cleverer than everyone he talks to.  Then the rest is an infiltration operation carried out mostly by Ascenticons who've had varying levels of screen time, and demonstrating that Ruckley's at least been reading summaries of the IDW first continuity.  Mildly 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), had kidney cancer but got the kidney removed and should be fine, is an occasional science advisor in fiction, and part of the development team for the upcoming City of Titans MMO.

"Save your protests for the end, Orion.  You will have several." - Sentinel Prime, Transformers #15
Dave's Capsules for January 2020 Dave's Capsules for January 2020 Reviewed by Dvandom on Friday, January 31, 2020 Rating: 5
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