Dave's Comicbook Capsules for May 2022

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Dave Van Domelen

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May 28, 2022, 4:56:27 PMMay 28
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Dave's Comicbook Capsules Et Cetera
Intermittent Picks and Pans of Comics and Related Media

Standard Disclaimers: Please set appropriate followups. Recommendation does
not factor in price. Not all books will have arrived in your area this month.
An archive can be found on my homepage, http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/Rants
Combine Diamond sucking with employee relations issues this month.

Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): Kaijumax
Season 6 #6 (of 6).

In this installment: Constantine: the House of Mystery, Moon Knight
Season 1, Kaiju No. 8, Tuki: Fight for Family, Galaxy the Prettiest Star FCBD
Preview, Monkey Prince #4 (of 12), Shang-Chi #12 (of 12), Avatar the Last
Airbender FCBD 2022, Norse Mythology III #3-4 (of 6), Arrowsmith Behind Enemy
Lines #4-5 (of 6), Kaijumax Season 6 #6 (of 6), My Little Pony #1,
Transformers: Last Bot Standing #1 (of 4), Transformers Beast Wars 2022
Annual, Transformers Beast Wars #15 (of 17), Transformers #43 (of 43).

Current Wait List (books either Diamond didn't ship or my store failed
to order): Moon Knight #11, Spectreman Heroes #1 (of 5), Blue Flame #8 (of
10), Transformers Beast Wars #16 (of 17), Transformers War's End #4 (of 4) .

Spectreman's releases were weird, with cover B being released one week
and cover A the next week, but no version actually went to my store.


"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.

Constantine: the House of Mystery: DC/WB - This is a collection of DC
Comics Presents shorts, headlined by the new title short, which is a sort of
coda to the New 52 continuity movies, featuring what happens to Constantine
after he sends Flash back to undo the entire doomed timeline. Hint: this is
John Constantine, so things do not go well for him. Also on the disk are the
Kamandi short (which I've seen before), a Losers on Dinosaur Island short
(decent), and an aggressively 60s retro Blue Beetle and the Question short
which tries to look like the old limited-animation Spider-Man or Johnny Quest
cartoons. The Constantine short is a decent ending and very in-character for
him, but the Blue Beetle short is why this set comes Recommended from me.
Price varies by format and store.

Moon Knight Season 1: Disney+ - Honoring previous incarnations while
doing something entirely different is what Moon Knight is all about, to be
frank. Yeah, this makes more changes than most (replacing Marlene with an
entirely new love interest, making Steven Grant a totally different
character, bringing in a new threat rather than adapting someone from the
comics, etc.) but I think it kept to the spirit of the character. Straddling
the line between gritty adventure and mysticism, and never being totally sure
that Marc can trust the evidence of his senses. I will say that the first
episode takes the risky path of being purely through Steven's eyes, leading
to a slower start...if you haven't watched this yet, you might want to budget
the time to watch the first two episodes in one sitting. Recommended.
Subscription to Disney+ required, may or may not come out on disc
eventually.


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.

Nothing this month. Adventure Finders is on hiatus, and Comixology is
increasingly useless.


Trades:

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

Kaiju No. 8 vol 1: Viz/Shonen Jump - I picked up the FCBD preview, which
covers most of chapter 3 of this volume, oddly. I was kinda on the fence
about picking up the whole thing, but ended up needing to make free shipping
on an Amazon order, and this was the right size. So I guess the FCBD comic
did its job? The premise here is that kaiju have been invading Earth for at
least a generation, but human military technology (aided by studying and
making use of kaiju remains) has stayed abreast of things so they're really
just minor problems, like localized earthquakes or bad building fires. Kaiju
who aren't immediately put down are numbered, so it tells you something about
the effectiveness of human defense forces that Japan is only up to Number 8.
Anyway, whoever's behind the kaiju is stepping things up now, resulting in
the on-the-nose-named Kafka becoming infected with kaiju-ness, turning into a
kaiju while retaining his own mind (mostly), and learning to change back at
will (usually). Problem: his lifelong dream is to join the defense forces
whose job is now to kill him. But, because he's a doofus manga protagonist,
he goes ahead with it anyway. One reason I was reluctant to pick this up was
the suggestion in the FCBD chapter that "can he hide his secret" would be a
long-running gag, but by the end of this volume it's clear that the creators
are going a different direction with the complication. Recommended.
$9.99/$12.99Cn/#7.99UK

Tuki: Fight for Family: Cartoon Books - The second half of the
Kickstarted project. There's a very cinematic feel here, spending a lot of
time on what amounts to scenery and following extended actions...it's not
quite "decompressed" in the usual sense, but it's definitely one of those
places where an animated version would probably last about as long as it
takes to read the comic, because Smith uses a lot of space to stand in for
the passage of time. If Fight for Fire was building a found family, Fight
for Family is explaining why the found family has to stay
together...ironically, we know the least about Tuki himself, but everyone
else in his new clan has their "why I can't go back" reasons explained fully.
I guess Tuki's reason is less that he can't go back, and more that he's
definitely going to take everyone else with him from now on. Recommended.
$20.00


Floppies:

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.)

Galaxy the Prettiest Star FCBD Preview: DC - At Ozma High School, an
awkward young man turns out to be an alien princess in exile and in disguise.
Other than the name of the high school, though, it doesn't seem to otherwise
be going the Tip/Ozma route...just an easter egg. It is generally an
unsubtle metaphor about being transgendered, down to "Taylor" saying that it
physically hurts to hide as human. The story focuses on the human/alien
aspect, but the male/female dynamic isn't even a little below the surface.
While this is just the first chapter, doing a lot of setup for the inevitable
Space Stuff, it makes for a good self-contained story as well. Really, it's
an old school first issue in that way. Lots of exposition and setup, but a
complete dramatic arc as well, so that if you only ever read this part, you
don't feel like you're missing the ending. I'm not sure I'm going to get the
full GN, but I applaud this preview for doing a very good job of both giving
a complete story and letting the reader know enough to tell if they want more
(myself excepted). Free.

Monkey Prince #4 (of 12): DC - I guess this is going to be paced as a
trio of 4 issue arcs, because the Gotham stuff is resolved, and the story's
moving on to Amnesty Bay (Aquaman) next issue. Yang resolves enough of the
immediate conflicts while dropping some (pretty obvious) hints about the
villain behind the overall arc. It's also a good echo of the Monkey King's
"I just wanna stay home" issues in Journey to the West, only Sun Wukong at
least had a home and his son doesn't yet. When your parents are freelance
supervillain minions, it's hard to put down roots. Recommended. $3.99

Shang-Chi #12 (of 12): Marvel - Because ongoings are apparently not
something Shang-Chi gets, the title is relaunching with another #1 in July.
Big fight scene as the Ten Rings That Aren't Makulan Power Sources get a
workout in a fight that in some ways echoes the big fight at the end of the
movie while not replicating it (for one thing, he's fighting his grandfather
rather than his father, for another the threat to Earth isn't a Lovecraftian
horror). Then there's a few pages of "Where are they now?" epilogue and then
the promise of another series. In retrospect, it does feel like this was all
a planned thing, but it wasn't until the end that it came together...it felt
like it was just sort of wandering around and then in the last few issues it
was decided to wrap up the arc. Mildly recommended. $3.99

Avatar: the Last Airbender FCBD 2022: Dark Horse - Dark Horse breaks the
tradition of the FCBD offering being purely standalone stories meant to
remind readers that the graphic novels exist, with the first half of this
being a preview of an upcoming chibi comic in which I have no interest after
reading this. The second half is a done-in-one short story set at the beach,
in which the young and old generations clash in a war of shenanigans. Mildly
recommended. Free.

Norse Mythology III #3 and #4 (of 6): Dark Horse - Coming in towards
Ragnarok here, as the story of the Death (and staying dead) of Balder is told
in #3, and then the hunt for and punishment of Loki in #4, as drawn by
Colleen Doran. The depiction here makes it clear that even if Ragnarok
hadn't been foretold by the Norns, something like it was definitely coming.
Loki goes Too Far with Balder, and then everyone else escalates when he is
finally caught. Oaths are super-important to the Aesir, and it doesn't
matter how good a reason Odin has to break his blood brotherhood oath with
Loki, he's gonna pay dearly for doing so. Recommended. $3.99 each.

Arrowsmith Behind Enemy Lines #4-5 (of 6): Image - So many history
lessons. It really feels like this is a 4 issue miniseries with a 2 issue
sourcebook wedged into the middle. It's not that nothing happens plot-wise
in these two issues, but the actual story parts of #3-5 inclusive could
almost have been done in one issue. I mean, I like sourcebooks, but I'd
rather they be backup features than "Ignorant Protagonist needs everything
explained to them" stuff in the middle of the tale. Mildly recommended.
$3.99 each.

Kaijumax Season 6 #6 (of 6): Oni Press - This is narrated by Electrogor
at a time after the dust settles. Well, semi-narrated, as we get to see
plenty of things that he never knows about, making it more of a thematic
narration. In fact, it's often ironic narration, where he says something
cynical about people and monsters and the action on the page demonstrates the
opposite, which is a nice touch. The actual alien invasion is dealt with in
the first half of the issue as people and monsters make the REAL "hard
choices" to do the right thing regardless of how much it angers those in
power, and several parts of the status quo are damaged, if not actually
changed entirely yet. The rest of the issue is karmic comeuppance and
generally endings as happy as you're gonna get from a prison drama. (Aside:
the black goat running a "Kadathadone" clinic is brilliant.) Oddly, one of
the characters on the cover doesn't show up at all this issue, but I guess
they got their resolution earlier. Are the real monsters still the ones
running the world rather than those in Kaijumax? For the most part, yes.
But we get to end on notes of hope. Strongly recommended. $3.99

My Little Pony #1: IDW - The Generation 5 comic hit stores a day before
the second movie (Make Your Mark) hit Netflix, and is set an undisclosed but
not terribly short time after it (in fact, it amounts to a slight spoiler on
the resolution of Make Your Mark). It leads off looking like they plan to
make this the future (or at least a possible future) of Generation 4,
although there's still room for a fake-out, not to mention the always dubious
canonicity of the MLP comics. More annoyingly, it has the same main plot
threat as Make Your Mark: something is making magic fail at random and it
turns out there's something wrong with the crystal. Again. At least it's a
different something wrong, but when both major stories following up on the
start of G5 are "the magic is failing," that does not bode well. Is every
main story going to be about the magic failing, with other kinds of stories
relegated to the You Tube shorts? Meh. Mildly recommended. $3.99

Transformers: Last Bot Standing #1 (of 4): IDW - In a possible and far
distant future, a Cybertronian refugee comes to a world that's basically
steampunk cowboys, only to find it rather aggressively (and not necessarily
sanely) defended by the Last Bot, who seems to have decided that he will live
only long enough to make sure all other Cybertronians die. Oversized issues,
so it might have been originally pitched as a 6 issue series but they had to
get it in under the line of the license loss. I am not terribly impressed by
this first installment, though. (It won't be the final Transformers book
from IDW, though, as Shattered Glass II will start the month this ends. SG2
might have a carveout because of the toys.) Mildly recommended. $5.99

Transformers Beast Wars Annual 2022: IDW - Two rather similar short
pieces that feel like inventory stories, and then an extra cartoony "campfire
tale" in which a twisted version of Beast Machines is related by Cheetor as a
scary story. Yeah, I'm glad I didn't make any extra effort to get this.
Very mildly recommended. $5.99

Transformers: Beast Wars #15 (of 17): IDW - And now the accelerated plot
hits. The Vok issue an ultimatum, neither the Maximals nor Predacons can
comply, and it's all going to come down to convincing both sides to work
together against the Vok. There's even lampshading of how things might have
gone if there were more issues available, with characters bringing up and
dismissing alternative plans that won't work with only a week to go. Of
course, the whole ultimatum rings false, to the point where at best it'll
turn out the Vok's plan was to get Maximals and Predacons to work
together...and at worst no one will point out that if the Vok REALLY wanted
them off-planet they'd have offered to use their powers to help fix the
ships. Mildly recommended. $3.99

Transformers #43 (of 43): IDW - Things fall apart as too many plot
threads have to get tied together and the creative team doesn't have the
space to keep track of all the balls in the air. And it doesn't even finish
here, it finishes in...maybe War's End (which Diamond didn't ship on time),
maybe an annual I've heard tell about but not seen solicited anywhere?
Anyway, two of the big problems deal with each other, a lot of the other plot
devices are conveniently written out one way or another, and apparently it's
all going to come down to a confrontation between Optimus and Megatron
because there's no more time left to pay off foreshadowing. I'm not entirely
sure another 43 issues would have been enough time for Ruckley, mind you.
Mildly recommended. $5.99


Dave Van Domelen, "A-aren't you ANGRY?" "Sure. For like NINETY MINUTES
at a time with me, it's FURY, and ANGER, and DESTRUCTION, and all that. But
there's the REST of your life that you gotta live, TOO." - Interviewer and
Electrogor, Kaijumax Season 6 #6 (of 6)

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