Dave's Capsules for December 2022

Items of Note (Strongly Recommended or otherwise worthy): Love and Capes: Home for the Holidays, Moon Knight #18

In this installment: Doom Patrol Season 3, Peacemaker Season 1, Adventure Finders Book 3 Chapter 12, D&D Dungeon Club: Roll Call, Love and Capes: Home for the Holidays, Fantastic Four #2, Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings #6 (of 6), Moon Knight #18, Monkey Prince #9 (of 12), Blue Flame #10 (of 10), Gargoyles #1, My Little Pony #7, My Little Pony Classics Reimagined #2, Transformers Shattered Glass II #5 (of 5).

Note, next month some of my books will be shifted to orders at a new store and arrive in February, but I'll still have enough weekly pickup books to keep up the usual format for floppies.

"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.

Wax on, wax off.
Doom Patrol Season 3
: DC/WB - The pacing is a little weird, because COVID interrupted shooting and what ended up as S3E1 was originally going to be the S2 finale, wrapping up a lot of the character arcs and setting up the next set of dysfunctions.  They were able to move a few things up so that the actual final episode of S2 still felt sufficiently foreshadowy of the next arc, at least.  This season is the Sisterhood of Dada, in which the Brotherhood of Dada is tweaked to free it from Mr. Nobody (who was the S1 baddie), but every character in it is still based at least somewhat on a BoD character even if they're never given the codenames.  A few of the comics bits are somewhat perfunctory and disposed of quickly, as if the writers changed their minds during the gap and decided to just power through.  Also, while it's more or less justified later on, I found Cliff's self-destruction arc to be just annoying, I ended up muting whenever he was on screen during several episodes.  So...a mixed bag.  Some good stuff, but also a lot of stuff that felt perfunctory.  It managed to leave some danglers in case season 4 happened (which it miraculously DID, given DC/HBO's Summer of Long Knives...the season started this month), but it's one of those "and then they lived weirdly ever after" things rather than the sort of cliffhanger that'd be really annoying in the event of cancellation.  Mildly recommended.  Price varies by store.

Peacemaker Season 1: DC/WB - So, this series spinning out of The Suicide Squad has about as much swearing as Doom Patrol, maybe a little more nudity (by time, there's some that could arguably called more extreme), and a much lower regard for the sanctity of life.  Back in The Suicide Squad, one of the early gags was how Bloodsport and Peacemaker had virtually identical origins, but by the end of the movie Bloodsport showed he could break out of his conditioning and Peacemaker couldn't.  The emotional plotline of this season explores the ways in which Peacemaker's origin was different, and also provides him a supporting cast that lets him explore the ways in which "psycho killer who calls himself a hero" can be different beyond the simple heel/face turns.  Hardened government operatives, actual amoral psychos, and people who are definitely better than Peacemaker but stuck in a raw deal let Peacemaker remain consistent with his portrayal in The Suicide Squad while also being a little more sympathetic and a credible protagonist.  Not a likeable protagonist, but not 100% asshole either.  Maybe 85%, as one of the supporting cast grudgingly admits (although their adjective is rather stronger than asshole).  Also, John Cena actually plays the piano in one scene, I did not see that coming.  Keeping in mind that you need a high tolerance for bloodshed, cussin, and amoral protagonists, it's pretty well done.  Recommended with lots of warning labels.  Price varies by format or whether you're actually still paying for HBO Max.

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.

Adventure Finders Book 3 Chapter 12: Patreon.com - While we still don't get back to the Big Fight, some of the other plot threads are starting to weave back together as Clari takes center stage again in a forlorn hope against the ruler of the underground prison.  The theme of "Allies are the real power" is hammered home with vigor.  Recommended.  $2/month on Patreon.


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

But 5e even recommends
solo or small parties use
NPC minions....
D&D Dungeon Club: Roll Call: Harper Alley - I was just browsing the manga/GN shelves at Walmart when I saw this and something made me take a closer look...at which point I saw the writer credit: Molly Knox Ostertag.  While I'm not actually that interested in a story of middle school kids playing D&D as a general thing, Ostertag is one of those writers I'll follow just about anywhere at least once per property.  Amusingly, this is the absolute least magical/fantastic story by Ostertag that I've read, in that the D&D stuff is just showing what goes on in the RPG being played by the characters, with the "real world" of the story being solidly real.  No witch boys or selkies or superheroes.  And yeah, the middle school angst did wear on me a bit.  Without going into Personal Details, let's just say I lived through similar circumstances but the protagonist's reaction didn't resonate with me. Anyway, I stuck it out, and it was a decent story overall, but I'm not sure I'll pick up any sequels that come out.  Mildly recommended.  $19.99/$24.99Cn (but I paid $14.98 at Walmart)

Love and Capes: Home for the Holidays: Maerkle Press - The latest direct-from-Kickstarter installment of "Not quite the DCU, but perhaps a kinder version" in which the heroes and supporting cast have emerged from COVID and are now dealing with both Christmas and New Year's Eve with family and friends.  For those not familiar with Love and Capes, it's one of those comics where the actual superhero battle stuff is mostly off-screen or dealt with in a few pages, and the focus is on the personal lives and friendships (kinda like how Invincible was for a while after the initial arc and before getting caught up in the gorefests and interplanetary drama).  This is technically a collection of a Patreon-delivered webcomic, although during final assembly Zahler realized that there were a few scenes that needed adding, and the last of those new pages got delivered to the Patreon readers on December 29, the same day my physical copy arrived.  :)  If you'd like a story about how Superman and Batman are friends and they have family issues to deal with but it's not CW-style teen angst, you'll want to pick up as many of the L&C collections as you can find, and then this one.  Strongly recommended.  $9.99 cover price  (The Kickstarter version also came with a clever one-page fold-up comic that's like an Al Jaffee piece dialed up to 11. Well, 8, because that's how many thin panels there are when you unfold the whole thing.)

I almost picked up "Little Witches" when I saw it on the shelf, but I figured I should finish one weird Little Women adaptation before starting another.  (It has nothing to do with Little Witch Academia, and from skimming it seems to go off the rails about as much as Little Fillies does, just in different directions.)  Maybe I'll get it next 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.)

Fantastic Four #2: Marvel - Now a focus on Reed and Sue in another small town with weird stuff happening.  I feel that North is flanderizing Reed a little, the first page is wince-worthy in that regard, but after things get rolling he's a bit more humanized.  Thematically, the story is a nice compare and contrast with #1, in that a small town mystery is encountered, investigated, and solved, but the solution goes in a different direction.  Recommended.  $3.99

Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings #6 (of 6): Marvel - Hm, looks like the Annual got renamed as Shang-Chi Master of the Ten Rings, so I might be getting two copies of this due to having put the "new series" on my pull at the new store.  Oh well.  I do wonder if Yang was planning on another dozen issues and had to suddenly wrap everything up in six issues and an annual, because this is something of a letdown, pulling off a lot of masks in order to set up the finale next month (next week, a bit of a compression on the schedule there).  Mildly recommended.  $3.99

Moon Knight #18: Marvel - Yeah, this is a big payoff issue as Moon Knight and Tigra take on a ballroom full of powerful vampires amid many quotable lines.  Like, he doesn't actually call Dracula a nerd, but only because Dracula himself isn't present.  But it's not all vampire slaying and combat quips, Soldier gets a good focus moment as well (see the pull quote at the bottom).  Strongly recommended.  $3.99

Monkey Prince #9 (of 12): DC - Yang breaks up the formula quite a bit here.  It starts like the previous two arcs, with the family moving to another city, mom and dad going to work for another supervillain...but then it goes sideways and the villain they were minioning for was a red herring.  More of Marcus's family tree comes to light, and the odds of him making it through high school as a normal kid were probably zero anyway.  Recommended.  $3.99

That's EARTH'S Butt!
The Blue Flame #10 (of 10)
: Vault Comics - Welp, Cantwell doubles down on the ambiguity, regarding which Blue Flame is the real one.  Is the whole world at stake, or just one man's life and family?  There's a slight implication of that answer here, but it's left deliberately ambiguous...with a message of "It doesn't matter if it's the whole world or just a few people, you have to care."  High degree of difficulty on that, and I'm not convinced that Cantwell pulled it off (or even that he conveyed to the reader what he was trying to pull off), but at least there wasn't a horribly cop-out in either direction.  The collected trade is already solicited, and it might be a better read all at once, but if you're interested in a superhero story that delves into questions of identity without simply saying, "Oh, he's actually delusional," you might find this worth the effort.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99

Gargoyles #1: Dynamite - There's not a whole lot of story this issue, because it has a LOT of heavy lifting to do just introducing the cast.  It doesn't just include all the characters who showed up in the cartoon (which was a lot by the end), it also apparently uses the previous comics run that I gave up on after an arc or two.  I feel that this would have been better served with a Handbook style book with an 8 page story wrapping around the handbook entries, because that's about how much story there was, and the character introduction was pretty shallow.  I suppose if they still did that, this would be a #0 issue, next issue (in a few months) is the real start of things.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99

My Little Pony #7: IDW - Filler.  Aggressive filler.  It reads almost like an "I Can Read" book in terms of having almost no plot stakes, just a walk through a premise to give each main character a short scene that lays out one personality trait.  I mean, the vocabulary level is above that of the I Can Read books, but the story feels like it came from one of those.  It's a pity that this is the first A-cover that fan artist PonyBerzerker (Konrad Kachel) got.  Neutral.  $3.99

My Little Pony Classics Reimagined #2: IDW - Well, I haven't read the book, but Pinkie has.  The tone set in #1 continues, although this time Discord argues with the editorial captions, and there's a one page Watchmen homage for some reason or other.  I suspect that Brown is trying to stay as close to the spirit of the original book as possible while also straying as far from the letter of it as she can get away with (and it's not like there's a licensor for Little Women to irk).  Recommended.  $3.99

Transformers Shattered Glass II #5 (of 5): IDW - And the IDW era of Transformers comes to an end, on a somewhat hopeful note that even in a dystopian Mirror Universe the good guys can win...or at least stave off destruction a little.  I wonder if they'd originally planned Shattered Glass as a 3 series arc, because there's a lot of plot threads whipping together as Soundwave narrates stuff.  There's also a G1-worthy death count, which I suppose provides some level of closure in the sense that you can't have a dangling plot thread if all the antagonists connected to it are dead.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99

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), survived the big cold snap, is an occasional science advisor in fiction, and part of the development team for the upcoming City of Titans MMO.
"It's kind of funny, Reese.  I was never good at ANYTHING.  Never any good at school, never could find a job I CLICKED with.  SQUARE PEG in a ROUND HOLE world.  Hydra LOVES guys like that.  Because Hydra is good at ONE thing: telling guys like me that it's not their FAULT.  That it's the WORLD'S fault that they're so angry." - Soldier, Moon Knight #18


Dave's Capsules for December 2022 Dave's Capsules for December 2022 Reviewed by Dvandom on Thursday, December 29, 2022 Rating: 5
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