Dave's Capsules for October 2022


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

In this installment: The League of Super-Pets, She-Hulk: Attorney At Law, Werewolf By Night (D+), Battle of the Super Sons, Beach WZRD #1, Adventure Finders Book 3 Chapter 11, Kaiju No. 8 vol 4, Animorphs vol 3 the Encounter, Constantine: Distorted Illusions, Zodiac Starforce vol 1-2, Pixie and Brutus: Gnome Sweet Gnome, Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings #4, Ultraman: the Mystery of UltraSeven #3 (of 5), Moon Knight #16, Moon Night Annual #1, Black Adam #5, Monkey Prince #7 (of 12), Star Trek Lower Decks #2 (of 3), Transformers Shattered Glass II #3 (of 5).

Current Wait List (books either Diamond didn't ship or my store failed to order): Black Adam #3 (kinda doubt I'll ever get hardcopy of this one)

"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.

Three Rocks.
The League of Super-Pets
: DC/WB - A pretty formulaic story, but formulae exist because they work, and this is a pretty good execution.  Note, other than Krypto himself, none of the other Super-Pets have anything to do with their comics versions...especially Chip, who is an actual squirrel rather than an alien who looks kinda like a squirrel.  The formula here is a combination of "loner needs to learn to accept help," "co-dependent character needs to find other friends," and "a bunch of losers get powers and need to hero up."  Also, a hairless guinea pig gains powers and defeats the Justice League with the help of a bunch of other guinea pigs she's given powers to, so it's up to the newly powered Super-Pets to stop her.  The fact that super-powered guinea pigs defeat the Justice League tells you most of what you need to know about the tone.  The fact that Krypto has a secret identity as glasses-wearing Bark Kent tells you the rest.  It is a silly setting with silly characters but serious stakes and emotional issues.  Oh, and there's a post-credits scene that sort of ties into another DCCU movie out this year.  Recommended.  Price varies by format, should also be available on HBO Max if you haven't jumped ship from that yet.

She-Hulk: Attorney-at-Law: Disney+ - To get this out of the way first, I enjoyed the series, and if it didn't really do the "legal dramedy" thing very well, I wasn't really looking for Erle Stanley Gardner here.  The one point on which there's legitimate controversy is the matter of the finale, in which fans of the comics saw it coming and I suspect a lot of MCU-only fans were given insufficient build-up.  There's a qualitative difference between talking to the camera and Byrne-style abuse of the fourth wall, and I think the show could have done a better job foreshadowing that they were going to go beyond mundane Shakespearean Asides.  Related to how they dealt with the finale, while it resolved the core plotline ("Whose life and show is this, anyway?") it kinda shrugged and gave up on the surface level plots.  Recommended.  

Hi, Ted.
Werewolf by Night
: Disney+ - This one-shot for Halloween is a love letter to Hammer-era horror films, shown in almost completely black and white, with only the Bloodstone being red.  The premise is that Ulysses Bloodstone has finally died, and there's a Most Dangerous Game competing for the Bloodstone itself.  Several of the characters are deliberately left unnamed until later on, to help preserve a little mystery for the comics fans.  The actual story is...decent.  This is really about the aesthetic.  The carefully slightly-shabby props, the sets that look like the home or grounds of a friend of the producer, and so forth.  While I'm not exactly a horror fan, I've seen enough cheesy horror via MST3K to know that this show really nailed that B-movie look and feel.  Recommended.   

Battle of the Super Sons: DC/WB - So, this doesn't seem to be in any particular continuity, but I'll admit to having fallen behind on the Bat-BluRays.  This does seem to be on its own, assuming that viewers have a general idea what's going on and using the opening credits to do a montage of Superman's life.  The main villain is Starro, used a little more intelligently than usual, but given a convenient achilles heel (or whatever a starfish has) so that Jon and Damian stand a chance against him.  Also, Bat-Cow has some scenes.  The bonus episodes are "The Demon's Quest" parts 1 and 2 from BTAS.  Recommended.  Price varies by format.

Digital Content:

Unless I find a really compelling reason to do so (such as a lack of regular comics), I won't be turning this into a webcomic review column.  Rather, stuff in this section will generally be full books available for reading online or for download, usually for pay.

Beach WZRD #1
: Self-Published - I've known McNostril's work through social media shares for a few years now, so when he posted about this 52-page book I decided to give it a try (it's also being published a page every other day on his website, but you can buy the whole thing at once at  https://mcnostril.com/product/beach-wzrd-1/ ).  The high concept is, "What if a Kiki's Delivery Service style of witch, in the modern day, ran into McNostril's sense of humor in the form of a Chaotic Sloshed wizard?"  Melody is on her first day of duty as the official Witch of the town beach, with no real idea what that involves (something of a dig at how Kiki herself was just sort of sent out into the world to figure things out), and suddenly a hellmouth opens and disgorges a seriously drunk wizard in a bikini and a ratty bath robe.  Melody learns more about magic than she probably wanted to know, including that wizards are generally considered insane and horrible, something that is demonstrated repeatedly.  The two characters have popped up in prototype form in various one-off gags, but now they're getting a long-form story.  Recommended.   $4.00 for PDF.

Adventure Finders Book 3 Chapter 11: Patreon.com - In Chapter 10, Arok himself arose from the pit, revealed to be an ancient beast pretending to be a god, and called into question the validity one of the biggest human sociopolitical blocs in the world, in what may be a metaphor for the creeping fascism in several democratic societies these days.  So, naturally, this chapter is a Meanwhile focusing on Aragog, who we last saw fleeing into the Forest of Deadly Doom that was lampshaded a few chapters ago as somewhere you definitely did not want to go.  There's also a significant chunk of page count getting back to our main protagonist Clariette, who had also been tossed somewhere you definitely did not want to go a few chapters ago and found that it wasn't too bad if you weren't a garbage person.  Hm, parallelism, yes?  Aragog's section is heavy on exposition and a few new characters, so Clariette balances that out with massive slaughter in a ballet of crossbow bolts and blades.  As one does.  Recommended.   $2/month (I failed to notice when the base level went up a while back, since I support at a higher tier)


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

Kaiju No. 8 vol 4: Viz - Ah, after teasing it for a couple of volumes, they finally commit to answering what happens when Kafka's secret really gets out, rather than being revealed only to people willing to keep it a secret.  And, as one might expect, it's pretty bad.  Not so bad that this is the final volume, of course, but bad enough that it's gonna require radically changing how society views kaiju if we're not in for a retitling to Kaiju No. 11 or something.  Recommended.  $9.99/$12.99Cn/#7.99UK (but less if you find it at Walmart or Target).

Animorphs vol 3: the Encounter: Scholastic/Graphix - This is something of a turning point for the kids, in that they're finally presented with a chance to go on the offense, without it being an urgent need.  They have time to plan, and the option of just not doing anything this time if it looks like their plan won't work.  But while that's the macro (not Marco) plot, this installment very much focuses on Tobias and his struggles with the hawk in his mind, since he no longer has the option to turn back into a human.  (I didn't read the original books, so I have no idea how much longer until Ax shows up and can help him with that, but he had his big psychological turning point this volume anyway.  Each volume of the comic continues to adapt a single volume of the original books.)  Recommended.  $12.99/$16.99Cn

The Threefold Oops.
Constantine: Distorted Illusions
: DC - While I was at B&N picking up Animorphs, I decided to poke around the rest of the YA GNs and collections, and I remembered this being mentioned by a friend as a "what the heck?" sort of book, so I grabbed it.  Written by Kami Garcia, who has mostly been writing the Teen Titans YA GNs, the premise is "What if 18 year old John Constantine had even a single positive influence in his life?"  He's still a jerk, but when things get really bad he's not left alone with his mistakes, and that makes all the difference.  Definitely an alternate take on DC's Magical Bastard, but it worked pretty well.  Recommended.  $16.99/$22.99Cn

Zodiac Starforce vol 1-2: Dark Horse - I also grabbed these on impulse in the same B&N run as Animorphs, and I kinda regret it...because the series ended on a cliffhanger and will never be continued because a trademark troll claimed his 2003 comic gave him all rights to all superteams with "Zodiac" in the name or even the theme, and proceeded to almost ruin the lives of the creators with his frivolous lawsuit.  (Yes, he also tried suing Toei over Saint Seiya, but they could get him laughed out of court without having to take out loans for legal fees.)  Anyway, these two volumes collect the first two Dark Horse miniseries along with various extras, design sketches, and so forth.  The Zodiac Starforce is your basic generational magical girl team, and the first volume picks up two years after the end of the series we never got to see.  They're retired, hardly even hang out together anymore, but still have powers.  And then monsters start showing up again...kind of a movie sequel to a one season magical girl series.  They defeat the threat, but in the process learn that they never really beat the baddie two years ago, it was just a temporary setback in a battle that's been going on for centuries.  In the second volume, they find that they're not even the only currently empowered team, and things are set up for raising the stakes...and then the troll killed the series right after the creators had set up what was clearly going to be a multi-volume arc.  Sigh.  If you want to support the creators a little and see what they had set up, the first volume ends on a satisfying enough note, since they weren't sure there was going to be a second.  But vol 2 really doesn't stand alone.  Volume 1 is $12.99/$17.50Cn, volume 2 is $17.99/$23.99Cn 

Pixie and Brutus: Gnome Sweet Gnome: Kickstarter - Unlike a lot of webcomic Kickstarter projects, this is not a collection of previously seen strips.  Rather, it's a chance for the creator (who doesn't actually put his full name anywhere on this book, but it's Ben Hed) to stretch out into a story that doesn't have to fit into identical-sized panels a half dozen or so at a time.  A somewhat delusional (even by the standards of animals in the Pixie and Brutus setting) albino squirrel has stolen the lawn gnome from P&B's yard, and the league of not super but fairly nice pets (and one raccoon) set out to get it back.  For those unfamiliar with P&B, Brutus is a retired military dog adopted by his now-civilian handler, and Pixie is a cute kitten.  Since Brutus wants to be a good influence on Pixie, the solution isn't "Climb the tree, eat the squirrel, and retrieve the gnome."  The resulting quest is a good showcase for the series regulars.  Recommended.  Um, no idea if it'll be available later or at what price, but I suppose watching Pet Foolery on instagram or Patreon will probably reveal something soonish.


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.)

Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings #4: Marvel - Okay, it looks like we're not in for an extended "and now someone else tries to steal the rings" plot, instead someone with enough power to just waltz in and take the rings does so and then establishes the Game of Rings (modeled after Bruce Lee's Game of Death, tower ascension and all) to determine who's really worthy of the rings.  So, more old foes of Shang-Chi's from the 70s along with some of the new ones (like the Red Eyes).  I do kinda suspect this is all being run by the Jade Emperor as part of his continued testing of his grandson, since it's unlikely they'll get more than a few issues out of this arc.  Reasonably interesting along the way, at least.  Recommended.  $3.99

Ultraman: the Mystery of UltraSeven #3 (of 5): Marvel - Lots of monster fighting interspersed with internal dialogue (which is a thing in Ultraman).  It feels a little padded, but I guess there was a little too much for a four issue series, so they had to stretch out the Coming To A Decision stuff.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99

Moon Knight #16: Marvel - Mr. Knight verbally spars with the head of Chinatown's vampires while Hunter's Moon physically spars with Nemean et al, and it's not going great for either.  Of course, since this is probably at least a 12 issue arc like Zodiac was, I wouldn't expect much success right now.  They'll recover, anyway, it's what the Fists of Khonshu do.  Recommended.  $3.99

Werewolf Season.
Moon Knight Annual #1
: Marvel - For Halloween, it's time to tie Jack Russell back in with Moon Knight and get all the retcons straight.  See, the current explanation for lycanthropy in the Marvel Universe is that Khonshu made them as his shock troops, and armed his Fists with silver weapons to keep the werewolves in line.  Yeah, that sounds like daddy birdskull.  Why would they fight, given that they've more or less been on the same side for a while?  Well, Jack read a prophecy that might let him end the curse, but it kinda requires doing things that Marc won't like.  Such as killing him, although that's not the real dealbreaker (after all, it never seems to stick).  But the best part of this all is the way the fight is resolved, which I'd love to make the pull quote for this month, but it's too much of a spoiler.  Recommended. $4.99

Black Adam #5 (of 12): DC - And now, the conclusion of the "Theogony" phase of the story.  Theogony is like geneaology, but for families of gods.  It's also Theo in agony, but with the suspect help of Batman, he thinks he has a handle on what's going on.  Something (other than the "of 12") tells me he's not necessarily any closer to figuring this out than he was in #1, of course.  Still, the story hangs together well enough in a narrative sense that it'll do for now, until the next layer is peeled away.  Recommended.  $3.99

Monkey Prince #7 (of 12): DC - So, chaotic multi-sided underwater fight, Monkey Prince mouthing off to royalty, and apparently the fragment of his father's staff is a Keith Giffen character.  Not a great read on its own, it's juggling too many threads and not giving enough focus to any of them, a bit of the old "writing for the trade."  Mildly recommended.  $3.99

Star Trek Lower Decks #2 (of 3): IDW - The main plot continues the Lower Decks tradition of subverting expectations and then re-subverting them before you can get too comfortable with the idea that maybe the trouble is over.  The bridge crew plot doesn't feel right, though, if only because they rarely pull so much focus in the show, and it really feels like the Holo-Dracula plot is going to very awkwardly dovetail (bat-tail?) into it.  Mildly recommended.  $6.99

Transformers Shattered Glass II #3 (of 5): IDW - Technically, this comic doesn't come out until November, but I got my copy of the "Decepticon Slicer" toy a week before the comic hit stands, and it comes with a cover variant of the issue.  Maybe the fact that the toy is named Decepticon Slicer is a spoiler for this miniseries, or maybe the lawyers just wanted to keep Decepticon associated with the character for legal reasons.  Anyway, there's apparently a mystery around Metroplex, basically chambering a round in Chekov's Gun.  Most of the issue is Slicer's internal monologue as he justifies his choices to himself, although there's a fair amount of carnage as he navel-gazes (and blows holes through navels).  It felt like we should've been following Slicer more closely for the entire series, rather than the camera suddenly falling on him for a single installment, and otherwise was kinda scattered-feeling.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99 for regular edition, part of the price of Decepticon Slicer ($50, but it's two Deluxe toys and a comic).  Note, while the Exo-Armor (Fasttrack redeco) appears on the exclusive cover, it's not in the actual issue.

Dvandom, aka Dave Van Domelen, is an Associate 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), blames irregularities in publication schedule for the dearth of floppies this month, is an occasional science advisor in fiction, and part of the development team for the upcoming City of Titans MMO.
"You have a cow?"  "Of COURSE I have a cow!"  "When was the last time you milked her?" - Jon Kent and Damian Wayne, Battle of the Super Sons


Dave's Capsules for October 2022 Dave's Capsules for October 2022 Reviewed by Dvandom on Saturday, October 29, 2022 Rating: 5
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