Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 01/25/06
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
writer and artist: Kyle Baker
He won an Eisner
for Best Humor Comic with this book. The quality of Plastic
Man never faltered, even with fill-in issues by Scott
Morse. And yet Kyle Baker could not generate enough sales
to keep this run going.
Oh, DC promises
an announcement of new work from Kyle Baker soon. Sure,
it will be funny, possibly thought-provoking and definitely
challenging, three of the things that make me want to come
back to a book over and over again. But it won't be Plastic
Whether he knew
all the ins and outs of events in Infinite Crisis
or not, Baker managed to give them a sound tweak in this
last arc, "The Edwina Crisis." Crossovers, senseless deaths
and splash pages of superheroes standing around looking
muscular abound. The Spectre should be more upset about
what happened to him in this book than Infinite Crisis
#4, though it's about time somebody poked a hole in
The first three
pages of Plastic Man #20 demonstrate what an incredibly
versatile artist Baker is. Grim and gritty, the portrayal
of Billy Batson's funeral is perhaps over the top, but still
more purposefully composed than current favorites like Michael
Turner and Jim Lee. A magnificently detailed inset of Tawky
Tawny looks both ridiculous - how could such a lighthearted
boyish hero like Captain Marvel get sucked into these dark
stories - and arcane. It's like W.W. Denslow took a break
from Oz to draw a panel.
Of course, it's
also offset by a 12-gun salute of DC's finest improbably
proportioned heroines. Only Mary Marvel manages to still
the writing. Baker makes fun of the seriousness, but look
further. Mary Marvel's eulogy has depth, while poking fun
at those writers that say they're writing comics for the
children while blowing away Blue Beetle's head. Look, I
love the work, too, but please stop kidding yourselves.
Then the pages
turn. The artwork transitions into Plastic Man's cartoony
world. Ra's al Ghul gets kicked in the talias. When the
events of Infinite Crisis spill over to Plastic Man's
struggle, Wonder Woman and Superman can't stop bickering,
with the Man of Steel crying, "you never validate my feelings!"
You know, if
Superman of Earth-2 had pointed to that as the reason
the DC Universe had to be reborn, more people would have
instantly jumped on board.
I've gone back
to my DC Archives and read Jack Cole's original Plastic
Man stories over and over. Despite what the press releases
may have said, Baker didn't really return the character
to his roots. Cole's Plas, despite his elasticity, actually
seemed the sane anchor in a crazy world, whereas every creator
since has reversed that.
put his own spin on the character, he was also the first
since Jack Cole to do it right. He made Plastic Man his
own, and made it work. Apparently, though, not well enough.
So pick up this
book, possibly appropriate for all ages with once again
a great sight gag cover, and mourn its passing. On the up
side, once you're hooked, you can probably go back and get
a good deal on the back issues. Or not - because they're
more valuable than you know.
#649: Judd Winick has restored this title to a proud
front and center superhero book. Once again, the Red Hood
takes the stage, possibly answering the biggest question
that sharp readers have to be asking themselves: why the
heck hasn't he killed the Joker? All that and Chemo drops
on Bludhaven. It's a tight issue with enough story to satisfy,
though it's not one for the kiddies.
Panther #12: This book had faltered a lot, and I had
a skeptical eye on Reginald Hudlin bringing Luke Cage into
the mix. It seemed forced, capitalizing on the sudden heat
the character has from New Avengers. Yet this issue
does what comics don't do enough - comments on a real-world
event without losing sight of a fun story. In this case,
Hurricane Katrina has brought out the vampires of New Orleans,
which means you've got Black Panther, Cage, Blade and the
underutilized Brother Voodoo mixing it up.
Doom #3: Treasure the rare sight of Victor Von Doom
with simple joy on his face. This issue has lost a little
bit of the Rashomon feel that Brubaker started it
with, but it's still an interesting meditation on one of
the most powerful figures in the Marvel Universe.
#51: Many fans have objected to the revelation that
Selina Kyle, too, was one of those whose minds were altered
by Zatanna. The complaint was that Ed Brubaker had done
such a nice job of making her turn to good believable. Well,
people, good news: Will Pfeifer is taking both ingredients
handed him and making a tasty dish that should absolutely
satisfy. Restored to free will, Catwoman remains torn between
the light and the dark - plus a nod to her attraction to
Batman. This turned out a heck of a lot better than I thought
#81: The end of an era, as Bendis and Maleev close off
"The Murdock Papers" and their run on Daredevil.
This is the stuff, and they leave a whole mess of crap for
new creative team Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark, but in a
#3: Dan Slott has acknowledged a debt to Marvel Two-In-One,
and it has showed in every issue. Thanks to Arcade, Ben
Grimm takes on every Hulk that ever existed, including Mechano.
It's a treat for those steeped in Marvel lore, but a fun
read for everyone.
Power Pack #4: This one really is for the kids. Each
issue has been a good standalone, but I will stress again:
if Marvel collects this into a trade paperback, absolutely
pick this up for kids that are interested in comics. It's
a family friendly Wolverine, Beast, Nightcrawler and Cyclops.
Heck, even Mr. Sinister becomes threatening without being
terrifying. You might scoff, but if you're six and reading
your first X-Men book, it's crucial.
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