Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 01/18/06
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
Dead Girl #1
writer: Peter Milligan
artists: Nick Dragotta and Mike Allred
This one will
probably drive continuity hounds nuts. Let's face it, though;
while DC has tightened the screws on its shared reality
to serve an overall story, Marvel has played it fast and
loose for quite some time. And few books played it looser
Less about superheroics
and more about attitude, the book divided fans. It played
off of some of Grant Morrison's tropes on New X-Men,
recasting Xavier as far more of a power player than any
other title allowed him - an idea that Brian Michael Bendis
seems to have made his own.
For grins, writer
Peter Milligan retroactively added in Doop to the Marvel
Universe, a character best described as an omnipotent pickle.
Strangely enough, it and Wolverine had been best friends
- heck, even Wolverine had a moment or two in the series
where it was clear the populace idolized him, not feared
him like in every other book.
Maybe it was
ahead of its time. Before Marvel figured out that it could
create subgenres with books like District X, it unleashed
Milligan and the brilliant Mike Allred on a superhero book
that was satire in the purest sense, not the parody that
the average reader seems to thrive on. Though occasionally
funny, X-Statix was also heartbreaking, and often
true in its observations about fame and heroism.
The series ended
in a blaze of glory for the characters, with a half-hearted
promise that they would return. That time is here.
this first issue seems to be barely about Dead Girl. Instead,
Milligan focuses on a depressed Dr. Strange. As Dr. Strange
stories go, it's actually quite a hoot, treating him as
the vaguely dissolute David Niven type that Garth Ennis
made him in Thor: Vikings.
has become the mundane for the Sorcerer Supreme, and at
a rather unfortunate time. It seems that dead supervillains
have figured out a way to cross back over into living for
limited amounts of time, hell bent on making their resurrections
might drive continuity minded fans crazy is in the idea
that some of these villains fall into an awkward time period.
Off-hand references make it seem like Marvel's mainstay
heroes have been fighting for decades, not particularly
Yet it only
fits, as Mike Allred has a style that always seems like
it should have existed in the sixties. I've never
been able to figure out for myself why that is, because
he also clearly has a style all his own. (It's part of what
makes Allred's The Golden Plates alternately cool
and disconcerting; heroes of scripture meet the Beat Generation.)
takes his shot at a style close to Allred's, and the combination
fits closely enough together so as not to be jarring. Some
pages definitely have a different layout style than Allred
would bring to it, but they still mesh with the whole.
that last page, which should break the internet in half…
No matter the
controversy, X-Statix is definitely welcome back.
#17: Saving one of the Twin Towers did not save Mayor
Hundred's America from a war with Iraq. Just as in reality,
the issue is never anything less than a political hot potato,
and Brian K. Vaughan manages to argue both sides without
seeming to judge either. You might consider Hundred's opinion
to be the writer's actual one, but the character seems as
torn as much of our populace on the issue. Once again, Vaughan
keeps offering up stories that make us think. Thank heavens
M #3: As I suspected last month, this issue picks up
the slack left by the second chapter. Returning its focus
on depowered mutants, the story adds depth to their plight,
while the overall plot takes a back seat. Paul Jenkins creates
little vignettes of forgotten issues the ex-mutants face,
and actually makes a Blob cameo seem sympathetic. The writing
gets matched by earthy artwork from Ramon Bachs and John
Hellblazer #216: New writer Denise Mina steps up to
write a nifty little debut. It reads as both first chapter
in her major arc and an almost stand-alone story, perfectly
designed to suck in new readers. It's horror and dread at
once both mundane and creatively evil. Already it's clear
that Mina, with longtime Hellblazer artist Leonard
Manco, has what it takes to carve out an intriguing new
run on one of Vertigo's flagship books.
For a quasi-anthology issue, Xander Cannon steps in to illustrate
charming and frightening tales told on a world that didn't
exist before this book began. The stories are cute and reflective,
and the whole thing serves as a nice breather after Lucifer
and his army successfully faced down the hosts of Heaven.
Even the quiet moments in this title have charm and grip
just like its predecessor, Sandman. We're going to
miss this one when it's gone, too.
Mister Miracle #3: Of all the Seven Soldiers
books, this one seems to have the most trouble really finding
its footing. Part of it lies in changing artists every issue,
as Morrison has to shift gears to work to a new draftsman's
strengths. But that doesn't dull the sheer ambition of this
book in particular, which recasts the struggle of the New
Gods into metaphors that Shiloh Martin can comprehend. Unlike
The Shining Knight, this book hasn't yet offered
a reason for continuity discrepancies, but since it's Grant
Morrison, we can let it slide.
The Prophecy #1: Written and drawn by one of comics'
few undisputed living masters, this book feels like a throwback
to Joe Kubert's heyday. The characterization has a slightly
stilted tone, as Kubert wants to make sure that a new reader
understands exactly who every member of Easy Company is,
just the way he did it back in the days of Our Army At
War. Any trace of pedantry pales, though, as each beautiful
panel unfolds. Fan favorites Adam and Andy Kubert are good
artists, but Joe keeps serving up these reminders that they're
still just reflections of the still powerful old man.
Origin #2: I really didn't know she had that screwed
up of a background. Many people have probably just taken
the character at face value. She is who Bendis says she
is. But that's not enough for him - noooooo, he has to team
with two of the hottest new artists and straighten all her
back story out. The Luna Brothers make an excellent mainstream
debut with this book, and it's a great story to boot.
7 Days To
Fame #2: I owe Buddy Scalera a good in-depth review
of this book. The first issue surprised the heck out of
me, being not what I expected story-wise at all. Damn if
Scalera doesn't make it seem chillingly reasonable that
a reality show featuring suicide is the next logical step.
This book is a little out of the norm, but it will be worth
your while to find it.
Superman #2: I didn't know I missed those goofy super-stories
of the sixties, until Morrison and Quitely told me I did
with the first issue of this series. This is the Superman
to inspire people, not that sensitive guy who hangs around
with a Batman that cries.
#5: Sure, Seth Green had to back this one into comics
on his way to a movie deal. It's clever and fun and hardly
annoying at all that Green gets to stride so easily among
media, doing practically whatever he wants. Never mind that
whole Four Kings thing.
#2: The deal with Disney should up Slave Labor Graphics'
profile, and the fact that they produced a cool if uneven
first issue should cement it. An anthology title explaining
all the ghosts in the Disneyland attraction, it fuses indie
cred with mainstream appeal without really compromising
#24: This one goes right to the top of the reading pile
tomorrow. If you don't know why, you'd best figure it out
After All These Months:
Neighborhood Spider-Man #4: The whole spider totem thing
takes a turn for the gross.
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