Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 01/11/05
week we look through the upcoming releases to offer our two
cents as to what's hot and what's not. You can agree with
us or not, but spend your money wisely.
brought to you by Brian's Books of Santa
writer: Bill Willingham
artist: Mark Buckingham and Steve Leialoha
this issue brings an arc to a close, or perhaps a pause,
it also stands as an extremely powerful single story. Whether
you've been following this all along, or again just want
to check in and see what the fuss is about with this book,
it will resonate in its heartbreak.
As usual, things
are in a state of chaos for Fabletown, what with political
upheaval and the loss of a strong leader in Snow White.
She has retreated upstate to "The Farm," where those storybook
creatures that cannot pass must stay away from prying human
eyes. Impregnated by the Big Bad Wolf, Snow White's litter
vary in human-like appearance, and since they also all fly,
it's the country life for them. (See? If you haven't
been reading this title, you're suddenly intrigued.)
The tots' paternal
grandfather, the North Wind, showed up last issue, and Willingham
dropped hints that he has ties to the mysterious Adversary
that had driven the Fables to Earth. All that, however,
takes a backseat to a murder mystery, as something has begun
picking off the denizens of The Farm one by one. They go
without a struggle, suffocated without force or drowning.
Somehow, their breath just ...disappears.
Leading up to
the solution, Willingham plants plenty of intrigue. It helps
that even the most minor characters in Fables burst
with personality. Credit that to Buckingham and Leialoha
on the art. Like Eduardo Risso on 100 Bullets, these
two do not waste their panels. Though cartoonish, their
stylization serves the purpose of giving emotion and meaning
In a subtle
touch, if you're a long-time fan, you can even notice how
major character Rose Red has changed physically in adjusting
to life on The Farm. More overtly, Buckingham and Leialoha
careen from capturing the joy of furry one-year-olds that
can fly to a devastating solitary climax for one character
that demonstrates just how much change this series has wrought.
This book has
never failed to be interesting, and always rises above cheap
jabs at the fairy tales we all think we know. It's something
more, restoring the sense of danger that got Disneyed out
of the source material, but also reminding us that stories
are meant to reflect ourselves.
takes "children's literature" and places it firmly as just
#57: I've read this series piece-meal, going back to
the trade paperbacks while trying to keep up with current
issues, and even when I don't understand what's going on,
Brian Azzarello still has me on the edge of my seat. As
pretentious and dull as his Superman run is, 100
Bullets blows everything else away. It's just one you
have to really have to start from the beginning.
#46: Tom Fowler and Rodney Ramos take over the art chores
from Phil Hester and Ande Parks, and it sure changes the
mood. In her new role of Speedy, Mia looks a little too
apple-cheeked. Then again, she loves the rush. Judd Winick
gets to visit his pal Geoff Johns' Teen Titans turf, and
it makes for an enjoyable stop.
I believe I've mentioned before how much I enjoy the underused
Crime Syndicate of America. Still posing as the JLA, they
find it much harder than they thought it would be. Kurt
Busiek has a lock on their characters, and Ron Garney's
art gets stronger with every issue in this run. And man,
what a great last page...
#1: The recent mini-series proved fun, establishing
Mr. Majestic (and the larger Wildstorm Universe) has a place
in the DC Universe. But it wasn't really what had made the
original series such a fan favorite. Now he, Superman and
the Eradicator have journeyed back to the Wildstorm Earth,
only to find it completely devoid of animal life. This
is the kind of huge plot that makes the characters stand
out from Superman, and oddly enough, the only thing that
actually hinders it is the presence of the Man of Steel.
Don't worry - he leaves, which gives me hope that the second
issue will be even better.
Human Torch #1: One of the most underused elements of
Marvel history is the friendship/rivalry between the wall-crawler
and Johnny Storm. (Does the Human Torch have any other kind?)
This mini-series aims to change that, highlighting hidden
moments from their history together. Yeah, yeah, Spider-Man
has always been the loner hero, but something about the
two together just makes sense. Spidey needs a friend, and
the poor guy has the Torch. It's fun and frothy, and though
not marked with a Marvel Age banner, this book could be
given to children. Make that it should be shared
with a child, because it's the rare book truly appropriate
and entertaining for all ages.
Part of the new Marvel Next initiative, X 23 foists
the literal next generation of Marvel hero upon us. Though
I like Wolverine, I've never been a fan of the knock-off
character theory that seems to plague such popular properties.
The good news is that as a character, X 23 is no Thunderstrike
nor Vengeance. Though this first issue shows promise, she's
also no Beta Ray Bill. Give it time, if reading about Wolverine's
hot teenage female clone sounds good to you.
Saga of Beta Ray Bill #1 I have no clue, but the character
is so bizarre and yet so fully realized that any appearance
of his is worth a look. Michael Avon Oeming and Andrea DiVito
continue this story from their recent Ragnarok in The
Mighty Thor -- sure, they killed the guy, but ironically,
they also wrote the first Thor worth reading in years. This
is a pretty safe bet.
Birds of Prey: Sensei & Student
This collects Gail Simone's
kick-butt arc that made Lady Shiva seem almost noble. It's
simply top-notch comics, and if you don't have it, now is
the time to get it in one neat package.
X: Mr. M That's a lot of consonants. But this is
also a gritty, off-beat work set on the fringe of mutant
mania. Though it features a member of the X-Men, there's
a reason it's not actually called Bishop. If you
like books like Powers and Top Ten and cry
over the coming end of NYPD Blue, read this book
through your tears.
I'm Over It:
Comics #823: Chuck Austen, thy redemption hath ended.
After building up an intriguing conflict between Lois and
Lana, he somehow manages to both overplay it and completely
dismiss it in two panels. That's a rare talent. To top it
off, I've lost track of not just who the bad guy is, but
who my candidates are. Fans apparently drove Ron Zimmerman
out of the business; it's time to let Chuck Austen write
bad television, too.
If You Can't
Say Anything Nice About Bendis, Don't Say Anything At All:
#7: I like this book. I do. But right now, it is completely
tied in to Secret War, a title whose next issue is
due sometime after Hell freezes over or Kevin Smith completes
Daredevil/Bullseye: The Target. Everything about
The Pulse would be great if it weren't underscoring
a story we won't understand for another year - at least.
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