Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 02/08/06
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
of Romance #1
writer: Tom Beland
artists: Cory Walker and Cliff Rathburn
Mandrill gives gift suggestions in the first panel. Not
a mandrill as in the member of the baboon family, but the
actual Marvel villain the Mandrill. Either way, it's probably
a little embarrassing, as he's just been captured by Spider-Man.
Of course, by
his own admittance, the Mandrill has no need to really romance
women. He emits a pheromone which makes them do anything
he tells them to do. Yet writer Tom Beland actually characterizes
him as apologetic about the power. This is not one of Spider-Man's
more serious adventures.
It is, however,
one of the most fun Spider-Man stories we've had in a long
time. Everything lost in the seriousness of "The Other"
and the stupidity of some of its melodrama disappears in
the Web of Romance.
more to give Mary Jane a personality than has happened in
months. Sure, she's a super-model, but she moves easily
among people no matter their background, and fits in as
one of the guys. Web of Romance deals matter-of-factly
with Peter Parker's basic uncomfortability with being a
To the book's
credit, it's just a bit that adds depth, not particularly
belabored. Peter's main concern is finding the perfect Valentine's
Day gift. Why not? It's the season, and Marvel is going
to beat this one to death.
doing it so enjoyably.
still pop up, and Beland also takes advantage of the teen
rivalry between Peter Parker and the Human Torch. (Note
to Marvel: playing that up in a book always seems to push
it up a notch in this reviewer's critical esteem.) The focus
remains on making this relationship make sense, and not
just take it for granted as a piece of the Spider-mythos.
Art team Cory
Walker and Cliff Rathburn turn in an impressive job, straddling
a line between the softer lines of a manga book without
losing the harder edge of superhero art. They make Captain
America (or rather, Steve Rogers) look like an All-American
boy while still retaining his individuality.
Will this add
anything to continuity? Possibly, as Beland has a solution
that dangles a plot thread for some other writer to have
fun with later. But even if it doesn't, Web of Romance
stands for fun, and the best of what Spider-Man should be
#69: In the second part of a two-part story that still
just fits like a detailed piece of a jigsaw puzzle, this
issue delivers the usual action and intrigue. It's clever
and complicated. In fact, at this point maybe a bit too
complicated. Yet buying back issues or trade paperbacks
of this series will be well worth the expense, as this book
will stand as one people talk about as one of the best for
years to come. Plus I so want the videogame to get out of
its development hell and into publication.
Allegedly, Ares will become a major Marvel player next year,
and Mike Oeming makes a good case for that to be a very
good thing. The Gods of Olympus have kidnapped the (perhaps)
mortal son of lost Ares, in hopes that they could recruit
the God of War to return and defend them from …zombie gods
from the Far East pantheons. Of course they're nervous;
Asgard has already fallen, and apparently Hercules doesn't
do much good in the immortal realm, a rather interesting
take on the stalwart Marvel hero who is at best a supporting
character here. It's all about Ares, and this is a god who
will make things interesting.
of the Dark Knight #200: The story is so-so, yet another
confrontation with the Joker that involves explosives and
mindgames. Despite the bombast on the cover, we've read
this one before. But the art by Bart Sears is something
else. Morphing into a new style, inking himself, there's
something more dynamic and warm than he's ever had before,
which bodes well for the upcoming revival of Warlord.
It's still recognizably Bart Sears, but it's lost some of
the grotesqueness that his artwork used to be prone to have.
Richards, Son of a Genius #1: Chris Eliopoulos and Marc
Sumerak rock. Many of these stories have appeared elsewhere,
but like X-Men Power Pack, this one needs to stand
on its own to be handed to children where its hypnotic power
will hook them, hook them, hook them. Brilliant stuff, especially
for kids that find themselves fascinated by the Fantastic
Four and yet a little bit unnerved by the menaces they face.
Nothing can be too scary when H.E.R.B.I.E. is around, not
even a horde of Doombots. Because they are a bunch of short
stories, you can even parse them out at successive bedtimes.
Hulk #92: Apparently the Illuminati have gotten together
behind Bruce Banner's back and plotted with Nick Fury for
his banishment. At least, that's what I got out of the first
couple of pages of Greg Pak's first assignment on a regular
ongoing Marvel book. Yes, get the Hulk out of the way of
the Civil War. He's far more interesting on his own, especially
with the clever Pak writing him. It's now literally the
Hulk's world, those pesky aliens are just living in it.
But for how long?
#4: If the Western comic book is going to make a strong
comeback, Jonah Hex will lead the way. This issue
features Clint Eastwood vs. Christopher Walken in one of
the best Westerns they never made. Sublime art and unflinching
storytelling with (so far) done in one issue stories makes
this one of the best books on the market right now. Please
keep it alive.
#3: I shouldn't like this book. It's a horrible manipulative
premise. But Robert Kirkland writes dark comedy without
stooping to anything too cartoonish, even when giving us
flying Iron Man heads. Every issue has raised the stakes,
and this universe's version of the Galactus Trilogy is going
to be a hoot. Heck, it already is - a bloody decaying hoot.
#226: This looks suspiciously like it plays off of events
in Infinite Crisis #5, but it's still fun. First
of all, because it features five pages of glorious artwork
by Tim Sale, which should remind everyone how much they
loved Superman For All Seasons. As the two Supermen
battle each other, they live out each other's history in
an arc that will continue next week in Action Comics.
It's a clever way to contrast the two's personalities, and
DC has matched some interesting artists with major touchstones
in the characters' backgrounds. Howard Chaykin draws a cool
Kal-L, no doubt about it.
Apocalypse returns! If you care about this sort of thing,
it's momentous. Even though this one is really aimed more
at hardcore fans, it's aimed well. The book also experiments
with separating out an important subplot as a back-up feature
focusing on the new Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The gambit
has been working well enough for Ed Brubaker over in X-Men:
Deadly Genesis, and it allows for a little more focus
and cohesion than X-books are usually rumored to have.
releases their scale model of the Nautilus from Disney's
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. We saw this baby at
San Diego, and it's beautiful. Ordinarily, we wouldn't recommend
a prop because they're ridiculously expensive, but it's
just SO DAMN COOL.
Hey, write to us and
let us know what you think, or talk about it on the