Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 01/18/05
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: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
artists: Darick Robertson and Wayne Faucher
At face value, writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
has done nothing new with Nightcrawler, nor even any of
the other X-Men. Only five issues in and already he has
a small soap opera going on, as Kurt Wagner feels torn between
new acquaintance Christine Palmer (perhaps aka Night Nurse)
and new old love Storm. (That being, I suppose, fall-out
from the dynamic established in X2 -- must
we completely mirror what the movies do?)
Never mind that the writer also seems to
be building a relationship between Storm and Wolverine,
which Chris Claremont fully intends to happen by X-Men:
The End. Claremont also has Nightcrawler interested
in the new Marvel Girl - see? It's too convoluted.
Yet this piece must praise a book, and
despite being trapped in all the drawbacks of most X-books,
Nightcrawler is worthy of praise. Underneath the
reflexive melodrama, Aguirre-Sacasa has begun weaving light
and effective tales of urban horror.
Some might think that a natural for Kurt
Wagner, the mutant that looks like a demon. But that has
always been the point of the character; he seeks the light,
and despite once dating a sorceress, Kurt always seems more
at home just having fun. The first time he got a solo shot,
it involved swashbuckling adventure, and fans knew that
was where he belonged.
But now, the former derring-doer and ex-priest
cannot seem to extricate himself from the long dark night
of the soulless. Somehow, this suddenly seems like where
he belongs, too.
After running through a strange pastiche
of Rosemary's Baby and The Omen, Kurt finds
himself in a situation reminiscent of Ghostbusters.
Much to his chagrin, he turns out to be who you're gonna
call when subway trains become haunted. This isn't going
to end with a marshmallow man, though, as the ghosts that
ride the rails can apparently reach out and kill. Of course
the Mayor of New York wants it all kept hush-hush, especially
since the city will shortly be celebrating a subway centennial.
In his own words, Kurt is no Dr. Strange
or even a Brother Voodoo. But he is a hero, and if this
is the niche fate (and Marvel editorial) has cast him into,
he'll do the best he can.
The result keeps on being entertaining.
Robertson's take on the characters still seems a little
unsteady, as their ages seem to waver. His Storm also shifts
back and forth between regal and spoiled rock star princess.
Yet there's a willful innocence in Kurt's expressions that
seems perfectly appropriate. And Wolverine carries himself
a lot older than his companions, even if he doesn't look
much older, which is a nice touch.
If we're going to suffer a dozen X-spin-offs,
they should all be this good. And unfortunately for our
budget, many are.
Hawkman #36: Strangely enough, pitting
the Hawks against zombies ends up being a long overdue idea.
Throw in Deadman, a character who may know more about the
heroes of St. Roch than he's telling, and you've got an
intriguing, if slightly gross, superhero story. With Geoff
Johns gone, the book has shifted tone, but never lost touch
of its pulpish roots. If anything, new writers Gray and
Palmiotti have made it more lurid. That ought to perk up
Lucifer #58: Do the boys in the
Bible Belt know about this book? A mortal woman struggles
with omnipotence, creating a new universe just to see how
it's done. Writer Mike Carey gives us evolution, intelligent
design, a throwaway cosmology and of course, occasional
snide remarks from the former Prince of Lies.
Trigger #2: Conspiracy from a government,
oops, pardon, fictional corporation that believes it knows
better than the rest of us. Civil liberties be regularly
damned as Ethicorp does everything it can to maintain the
peace, even brainwash a few of us to kill those considered
a threat to the American way of life. Jason Hall's new Vertigo
book may not be quite as subversive as he thinks it is,
but that's not nearly as important as the fact that it's
a good story.
X-Men #166: Peter Milligan takes
a shot at the Marvel bank account's favorite mutants, with
mixed results. He's trying to strike a balance between the
scope of Morrison's work on New X-Men and the intimacy
of Claremont which, clearly, editorial loves. It doesn't
quite gel with this first issue, but chances are that the
book will get stronger. Plus, Salvador Larocca's art just
gets better and better.
Freedom Force #1: Based on the classic
superhero PC game, this may have a built-in fanbase, and
could not possibly be as bad as the City of Heroes
comic book. (Love the game...)
Pigtale #1: I have no idea what
this is, but the buzz on it is almost unbelievable. So I'll
be checking it out. Maybe you should, too.
Plastic Man #14: Come on, people,
Kyle Baker makes with the funny every month on this thing.
Powers #8: And thus concludes our
monthly kowtowing to Brian Michael Bendis.
Biggest Disappointment of the Week:
Space Ghost #3: Not only does the
"origin" story seem tired, but his costume gets a pointless
redesign, until mysteriously it reverts to the way we know
it. At this point, they might as well explain how this grim
avenger became a talk-show host. That might be fun. Disguising
this all under Alex Ross covers makes this a bad con job,
too - but not as bad as Wonder Woman #212, which
features some truly wretched art under a nice painted cover.
Cable & Deadpool #11: Say, does
anybody else remember when Cable declared himself the Messiah
and took over the world? Is it just me, or is it really
weird when an event that big never merits a mention in any
other book, especially when you've got Wolverine running
through every lame title in need of a boost with weak "crossovers"
to "Enemy of the State?" Okay. Just had to get that off
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