Dave's Partial Comicbook Capsules for March 2022

3 views
Skip to first unread message

Dave Van Domelen

unread,
Mar 30, 2022, 5:37:31 PMMar 30
to
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
I am really not enamored of snow days now that I'm a teacher.

Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): Happy Kanako's
Killer Life vol 1-2

In this installment: The Dictionary of Snow Hill, Adventure Finders Book
3 Episode 8, Happy Kanako's Killer Life vol 1-2, The Fox vol 2: Fox Hunt,
Misfile Next vol 1, The Abominable Charles Christopher vol 1-3, Shang-Chi
#10, Moon Knight #9, Devil's Reign: Moon Knight, Blue Flame #7, Transformers
Beast Wars #13.

Current Wait List (books either Diamond didn't ship or my store failed
to order): Monkey Prince #1, Norse Myth III #2, Draculina #2, Arrowsmith
Behind Enemy Lines #3, Transformers #41, Transformers Beast Wars #14, Astro
City That Was Then, Transformers War's End #2.

Yes, this month is kinda lean because the two comics distributors
apparently require that new store owners order three months ahead of becoming
new store owners, and the store where I shop has been having to piggyback on
another store's existing orders...and that store doesn't carry a lot of
stuff, hence not being the store I shop at. It got really bad this month,
because Diamond decided to also cancel all the orders made by the previous
owner with no notice, so I went from missing a couple of books to missing
more than half my pull. I don't normally list the missing books in the main
body, but since there's so many of them and I do a cut and paste each month,
I'll keep 'em in as placeholders for when (if) they eventually come in. I
might have to give up on my regular shop and buy comics elsewhere for a few
months if I want to get any at all. If I do buy this month's missing books
elsewhere (since re-orders might take until June), I'll edit them into this
review and repost it.


"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. Moon Knight started, but as usual I'll wait until
it finishes before reviewing it.


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.

The Dictionary of Snow Hill: Kindle Store - The high concept of this
Jess Nevins story is that a group of people seemingly suffering a shared
delusion were encouraged to write about their shared universe as part of the
start of therapy in a 1930s mental institution, with it becoming quickly
apparently that they're not insane (most of them) so much as they're in the
wrong universe. The conceit breaks in a lot of places if you think about it
too hard, but despite being arranged an encyclopedia (not a dictionary), it
manages to tell a reasonably coherent story. The two main chunks are "right
hand," and "left hand," ostensibly written from the POV of heroes and
villains respectively. It's deliberately an homage to the pulps without the
whole "wallowing in racism and sexism" parts. That's not to say that the
1930s of Snow Hill are free from those things, but rather they're recognized
in-story to be bad, and the heroes (and most of the villains) try to be
Better Than That. When Jess started writing this, he asked a bunch of online
(and presumably offline) friends for permission to have our names used, and I
totally forgot about that so I was pleasantly surprised to see he didn't take
the cheap way out and make me a mad scientist. :) Recommended. $2.99, also
part of Kindle Unlimited.

Adventure Finders Book 3 Episode 8: Patreon.com - A pause in the
fighting, as most of the heroes have gone underground, mostly literally. The
general theme of the three branches of the story this issue is that allies
are better than slaves or conquests. Slaves may become allies of someone
else, and conquests always exact their toll in blood. Recommended. Minimum
$1/month on Patreon.


Trades:

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

Happy Kanako's Killer Life vol 1-2: Seven Seas - (vol 4 is due out soon,
I have vol 3 on backorder.) This is another of those manga I first saw on
Tumblr, much like Way of the Househusband. But I guess what I saw on Tumblr
was a sort of ashcan version, since it was in black and white, while this
series is in full color. Kanako is kind of an inverse or converse or
whatever of Katsu the Immortal Dragon. Where he's a former organized crime
killer turned regular domestic husband, Kanako is a regular office girl who
stumbled into a job as a contract killer and found she was really good at it
and found the job very fulfilling. (And since this is a comedy, all of her
targets are deserving of her professional services, or at least not totally
innocent.) Done in the form of vignettes with a loose plot structure
connecting them (workplace relationships, a possible romantic relationship
with the cop who doesn't realize she's the killer he's after, etc), it's
hilarious as long as you don't mind a high body count (mostly off-camera).
Probably the only thing that doesn't work well for me is the creator's
penchant for animal-based puns, which don't always translate well. Strongly
recommended despite the occasional pun lost in translation. $14.99/$18.99Cn
per volume.

The Fox vol 2: Fox Hunt: Dark Circle Comics - This came out a while ago,
I saw it at Ollie's for $3 and decided to grab it, having read a long thread
about the early 80s Archie superheroes fiasco the day before. This recent
revival is drawn and plotted by Dean Haspiel, with Mark Waid doing the
dialogue. The Fox is one of the Archie heroes I hadn't really read anything
starring...if it got an Impact version I certainly didn't read it. (checks)
Okay, he was in the Who's Who in Impact but never actually got used in a
story. I guess they shut Impact down before figuring out what to do with
him, although I do see a note that he was briefly in a DC-published second
try at Red Circle stuff after Final Crisis. Anyway, it looks like this was
the first attempt to make the Fox into anything but a generic "skilled
martial artist who puts on a costume" character. Oh, he doesn't have obvious
powers in this either, but he believes he has a Weirdness Magnet curse, which
keeps putting him into situations where he needs to put on the costume. (The
first volume of this series is subtitled Weirdness Magnet.) In this volume,
a tech billionaire he pissed off in the first volume puts out a bounty on his
head, and a lot of obscure even by Red Circle standards villains get dusted
off and sent to kill him, even as he tries to keep his son from becoming a
superhero too. Did I get my money's worth? Well, yeah, but not a high bar.
And the craft was good enough that I didn't have any trouble following the
story without having read the first arc, so there's that on the asset column.
But neither was I interested enough to track down any other issues. Mildly
recommended. $2.99 at Ollie's.

Misfile Next vol 1: Kickstarter - This is a book for a very specific
audience, that being readers of the Misfile webcomic who weren't satisfied
with the "and then it got fixed" ending. It's not really meant to be picked
up by new readers, and I was hesitant to even review it...but I figured if I
was going to review the other two Kickstarter collections I got this month, I
should do this too. So, here's the high concept of the original story: God
is an absentee landlord, the angels run the celestial bureaucracy with the
help of divine machinery, and a stoner angel (Rumisiel) screws up and
misfiles some stuff for a couple of high school students. One loses the last
two years of her life, the other switches gender. They bond over their
shared "blame Rumisiel" woes, try to live their lives and find a way to put
things back, and eventually Rumisiel comes up with a clever solution that
really shouldn't work but somehow does. The sequel "Hell High" is set about
a generation later as the glitches from Rumi's solution have resulted in
mortals being born in Hell itself, which is a Problem, but that's not what
this book is about. Having established in Hell High that the solution was
glitchy, creator Chris Hazelton decided to go back and write an epilogue
showing the shakedown period before things actually ended happily ever after,
and launched a Kickstarter for it. Then the story got out of control and
we're getting at least one more volume of this (along side Hell High
continuing and 6 Gun Mage being an ongoing thing...Hazelton has perhaps
bitten off a bit much). This is kinda the opposite of The Fox in terms of
new reader friendliness, I rather doubt anyone coming into this cold would be
able to follow it except on the very surface level as a comedy of genders.
Of course, you can go to misfile.com and do the massive archive trawl first,
I guess. Mildly recommended. $10.99

Stutterhug vol 1: Comforting Creatures: Kickstarter - From Sam Davies,
creator of Hex Vet, this is a collection of her silent animal-based strips.
(Ugh, and I managed to somehow tear the front cover already.) This is at the
"funny animals" end of anthropomorphic, with most of the pieces having
animals in bipedal stance and wearing clothing, but with a few exceptions
(which are still anthropomorphized to some extent). Davies's stylistic quirk
with eyes is in full force, with eyes usually being black ovals (or white
ovals if the face is too dark), but sometimes also being white with pupils
and irises, even sometimes having different eye types in the same panel.
This collection goes back to some pretty old works, though, so it's less that
it's still here and more that it was there back then. Anyway, generally cute
and comfortable, as the subtitle indicates, although there's a few on the
more wistful end. Recommended. $20.00


The Abominable Charles Christopher vol 1-3: Kickstarter - This is sort of the
Epic of Gilgamesh. I mean, Gilgamesh (albeit as a kid) is in it. And the
title character seems to be in the role of Enkidu. But it's the Epic of
Gilgamesh if Gilgamesh were Calvin of "and Hobbes" fame, for the most part.
Charles Christopher mostly just faffs about in the woods and the camera
drifts off to follow various woodland creatures for extended periods (and
occasionally palace cats). Eventually he meets up with Gilgamesh, who is
mostly a spoiled brat out having adventures, and you can see how maybe this
gets inflated into gods and monsters stuff in the retelling...but then the
actual mystic stuff shows up, oops. These volumes don't quite collect the
entire run so far of the webcomic, but as the webcomic kinda stopped updating
a while back, they come close. Vol 3 ends on a cliffhanger, and the handful
of strips that followed it did not address the cliffhanger at all, so nothing
missing yet. Anyway, it's a fun and sometimes bittersweet meandering read,
recommended. No list price.


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.)

Monkey Prince #1-2: DC - #1 is still missing, and while #2 did ship
three weeks late, I don't want to read it until I read #1.

Shang-Chi #10: Marvel - It's not really a good month to be working at
any sort of prison for superhumans, between this and Devil's Reign. Shang
and the others realize that maybe a tech-based prison isn't going to do a
great job against the mystic threat grandpa unleashed on the entire
bloodline, so it's off the save the day. Or do a prison break. Whichever
seems to work at the time, eh? The gang (well, society) gets back together
as promised on the cover, and then everyone gets shoved off into the next
phase without any of the training or recovery time they need, which strikes
me as bad planning. Mildly recommended. $3.99

Moon Knight #9: Marvel - So, Marc is back from the crossover (not great
timing, unless my store just happened to get the one-shot a couple weeks
late?), and Solving Problems. Specifically, the problem of an apartment
building that has gained an extra floor that seems to be malign enough that
it can't be rented out. This goes beyond hostile architecture into downright
nasty architecture, and it turns out to be something that's shown up before
as MacKay mines more weird mystical history of Marvel's NYC. The solution is
fairly standard (for these days) Moon Knight, the kind of thing you get from
someone who knows he'll probably come back if he dies and is getting annoyed
by that fact. Recommended. $3.99

Devil's Reign: Moon Knight One-Shot: Marvel - Okay, I decided to pick up
the tie-in, which really only barely tied in, and thanks to the art and Marc
being unmasked most of the issue looked like a High School AU. Well, a very
rough high school, since it's set in a super-prison. The premise of the
crossover is that Mayor Wilson Fisk sends his power-armored goons to arrest
all the supervillains and all the superheroes who won't play ball and tosses
them in prison. It's one of those things where I suspect writers weren't
asked if they wanted to participate, they were told it was happening. So,
MacKay came up with a clever reason why Moon Knight would go along with this
nonsense, and it works pretty well. Not sure to what extent the fallout of
this will even be paid attention to...Marvel may not be as bad as DC in terms
of "continuity-schmontinuity," but I also don't get the impression that they
keep careful track of the status of minor villains. Content warning: a bit
gruesome in places. Otherwise, recommended. $3.99

The Blue Flame #7: Vault - The lines blur even further between the
versions of Blue Flame, although the "crappy Milwaukee mysteryman" version
seems to be more real in the sense that people in that world are becoming
aware that Blue Flame believes in the other reality, while the high-SF one is
more concerned with the Big Questions, not what may or may not be
hallucinations or faded memories or whatever. I believe I've commented
before that the book does have to pick a reality soon, even if it's "they're
both real," and while it hasn't passed the decision gate I can't help but
think it needs to stop waffling in the next couple of issues. Mildly
recommended. $3.99

Vampirella Dracula Unholy #4: Dynamite - Missing.

Draculina #2: Dynamite - Missing.

Arrowsmith Behind Enemy Lines #3: Image - Missing.

Astro City: That Was Then: Image - Missing.

Norse Mythology III #2 (of 6): Dark Horse - Missing.

Transformers Beast Wars #13: IDW - I suppose everyone has to do a 36
Hours homage eventually, and here's Burnham's, featuring a race through
Cheetor's memories. Winston Chan's art is a bit flat and often
background-less, but serviceable. The plot starts out as standard 36
Hours...Cheetor is back on Cybertron, as if the Axalon voyager hasn't
happened yet, and people keep asking him about the Tiwaz Maneuver. And, as
often happens in 36 Hours homages, Cheetor figures it out pretty quickly and
the questioner reveals themselves and changes the stakes (to a race, natch).
In the end, it's one of those "The reader finds out stuff but none of the
characters do" endings, a bit of a cheap shot. Mildly recommended. $3.99

Transformers Beast Wars #14: IDW - Missing.

Transformers: War's End #2 (of 4): IDW - Missing.

Transformers #41: IDW - Missing.


Dave Van Domelen, tagline quote cancelled by Diamond.


Otto J. Makela

unread,
Mar 31, 2022, 3:54:51 AMMar 31
to
dva...@eyrie.org (Dave Van Domelen) wrote:

> Yes, this month is kinda lean because the two comics distributors
> apparently require that new store owners order three months ahead of
> becoming new store owners, and the store where I shop has been having
> to piggyback on another store's existing orders...and that store
> doesn't carry a lot of stuff, hence not being the store I shop at. It
> got really bad this month, because Diamond decided to also cancel all
> the orders made by the previous owner with no notice, so I went from
> missing a couple of books to missing more than half my pull.

I remember talking to a local comics dealer here in Helsinki (who since
closed shop in part because he didn't want to deal with continuous stock
availablity issues), and just marveling how the whole US comics
wholesale system seems to be built intentionally for money laundering,
and run by career criminals.
--
/* * * Otto J. Makela <o...@iki.fi> * * * * * * * * * */
/* Phone: +358 40 765 5772, ICBM: N 60 10' E 24 55' */
/* Mail: Mechelininkatu 26 B 27, FI-00100 Helsinki */
/* * * Computers Rule 01001111 01001011 * * * * * * */
Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages