HOME ABOUT SUPPORT US SITES WE LIKE FORUM Search Fanboyplanet.com | Powered by Freefind FANBOY PLANET
Comics Today's Date:

The Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 01/11/06
brought to you by Brian's Books of Santa Clara

Each 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.

Ares #1
writer: Mike Oeming
artists: Travel Foreman and Derek Fridolfs

We've thrilled to the adventures of Hercules in all kinds of incarnations - some heroic, some drunken and some funny. Always, though he has been noble when the chips are down. Yet as Mike Oeming writes the character, he comes off as kind of a jerk when it comes to his half-brother, Ares, the God of War.

Of course, Oeming has had some experience in dealing with sibling rivalries among deities, creating the most affecting tales of Thor and Loki in years to finish off the Norse Thundergod's last run. The difference here is that Marvel's version of Ares (who occasionally wanders around Wonder Woman in the DC Universe) has been woefully underdeveloped in the first place.

Until now, Ares has lurked around the occasional Marvel story, a Greek echo of Loki. But Oeming makes the case that war in its essence may not be good, but it's not exactly evil. The incarnation of war does what must be done in order to ensure victory; more rational heads may abhor his acts, but without him they would have been destroyed.

Thus an embittered Ares imposes exile upon himself. He cannot fit amongst the Greek pantheon, for he has committed truly atrocious deeds that still secured Olympus. "Only base men revered me," he admits, "and I loathed them for it."

Oeming writes that the bulk of his story occurs "many years later," as Ares has settled into suburban life. You can take the man out of the war, but you cannot, apparently, take the war out of the man, as he raises his son to be tough. In third grade, the boy worries his teachers. What remains to be seen is if Ares has raised his son to be fair.

Still, this would not be conflict enough for a mini-series, though it might make an interesting novel. Things take a dark turn when Olympus calls again.

As he proved with Thor and with his own series Hammer of God, Oeming understands mythology. Though the bulk of the book takes place in modern day, the ancient prologue has the truly fantastical aura of an otherworldly tale. Both parts of the story read with equal believability.

Traversing both worlds, the art team of Travel Foreman and Derek Fridolfs make the mythical and the mundane shine. A bit redolent of Pascal Ferry's work, the artists have a slightly cartoonish side that never undercuts the horror implied by Ares' attititude.

As a penciler, Foreman is a good actor, capturing love and fear on the face of a violent man without letting us lose our sympathy. But he's definitely aided by the inking; Foreman's work on Doctor Spectrum last year did not stand out this much.

It's a little off the beaten path, though obviously not far off, but Ares is definitely a book to buy now and laugh at those who missed it later. Ares might not appreciate it, but Hercules would.


Captain Atom: Armageddon #4: Secretly, this book is more about defining and reshaping the Wildstorm universe than it is about Captain Atom, the hero whose power level is inversely proportional to the lameness of his costumes. As such, it works better than Wildcats: Nemesis, a book I keep trying to read but can't. This issue ramps up to Captain Atom confronting the Authority, and that's one clash that should be worth reading.

Desolation Jones #5: It's a creepy cool book. Yes, Desolation Jones is another riff on Ellis' prototypical hero, his own slice of Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion. But Ellis keeps coming up with intriguing new stories, and though the mini-series got a bit diverted a couple of issues ago, it's come back on track with its cyber-noir thriller. We also get tantalizing insight into the experiment that altered Jones, but of course not enough that we don't need to keep reading. Damn Ellis for always being challenging!

Elfquest: The Discovery #1: I recommend this solely because then legions of Elfquest fans will flood this site and maybe explain to me why there are legions of Elfquest fans. I kid because I love. I've tried to give Elfquest a fair shake, but I know it's just not for me, for I am not now nor have I ever been a 13-year-old girl who believes in eternal bonding with a lifemate yet occasional guilt-free hot sex with others that apparently does not involve genitalia. Again, I kid, I kid. Regardless of my appreciation of the material, or lack thereof, Wendy Pini is truly a great artist, and her husband Richard has helped her spin her mythos with consistency. This is not hack work; it's truly a labor of love and we absolutely respect that.

Fables #45: The end of "Arabian Nights" is just not what you might have thought it would be. Once again, Bill Willingham pulls surprises out of his hat, though I've seen him at conventions and I'm going to say, sorry, he's not nearly as sexy as Scheherezade.

Son of M #2: So many aspects of Quicksilver's continuity label him an ass. We've always known it, but readers rarely get the chance to see them all add up like this. Yet it's good. Artist Roy Allan Martinez draws Inhumans that look different, but you can still see the humanity within them. Both men and women appear handsome and beautiful, but clearly not in "classic" ways. I've raved enough about Hine elsewhere; it's time for a new unique artist to get his due here.

X-Men: The 198 #1 Why did Marvel arbitrarily choose 198 mutants to remain such? It's definitely a quirky but memorable decision, though 198 is neither the ten percent Marvel implied or the ninety percent the word "Decimation" actually means. This book begins with fire, exposing one of the most horrific of the "M Day" tragedies. David Hine transfers "Mr. M" from the pages of District X here, and it's welcome, as the character deserves more attention as a true spiritual leader among mutantkind. The art here is a little inconsistent, as is the choice of some other characters - if Callisto has lost her mutant abilities, why would she make a pilgrimage to Xavier's Mansion? It's nitpicking in the midst of a truly moving event in Marvel history.

Sight Unseen:

DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore: This time, DC gathers all of Moore's short stories (the previous edition, Across the Universe did not include The Killing Joke and Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?) in a book sure to please fans and piss Moore off by its very existence. Unless you fear his magical wrath, do yourself a favor and buy this.

Ultimate Extinction #1: Gah Lak Tus is coming, which means the Ultimate heroes will be doing some Gah Lak Tussling. Wow. That may be the worst joke I've ever written in recommendation of a book I'm dying to read.

Hey, write to us and let us know what you think, or talk about it on the forums!

Derek McCaw

Our Friends:

Official PayPal Seal

Copyrights and trademarks for existing entertainment (film, TV, comics, wrestling) properties are held by their respective owners and are used with permission or for promotional purposes of said properties. All other content ™ and © 2001, 2014 by Fanboy Planet™.
"The Fanboy Planet red planet logo is a trademark of Fanboy Planetâ„¢
If you want to quote us, let us know. We're media whores.
Movies | Comics | Wrestling | OnTV | Guest | Forums | About Us | Sites