Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 02/09/05
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: Grant Morrison
artist: Philip Bond
Forget Spider-Man India.
With his usual skewed vision, Morrison
brings us a tale of superbeings with a more Eastern perspective.
Maybe it's an after-effect of having read Morrison books
for so many years, but they're seeming more and more coherent.
Coupled with the just-finished WE3, the writer also
seems to be turning out the best work of his career with
little short bursts of imagination.
For Vimanarama clearly has an arc
to it from the outset, nothing short of alien beings, perhaps
a touch of the godhead and the potential end of everything.
What draws us in so quickly is how small and human Morrison
and artist Bond make it seem. Just lulling us into a false
sense of security.
If you look closely, Bond takes the time
to lay out strange scenes of humanity. From a few clues
in Morrison's script, the setting must be England, though
most of the characters are Indian immigrants. As young Ali
bicycles to rescue his brother, schoolgirls play volleyball
in perfect synchronicity - is this just a hint of Bollywood?
Maybe it's just me, but Bond is one of the rare artists
whose work suggests the need for a soundtrack. One full
page spends several panels showing time pass at Ali's destination;
none of it willl come back to haunt the story, but it does
Our hero feels trapped by his life. His
parents have arranged an impending marriage for him. Concerned
that God may hate him and stick him with an ugly wife, Ali
wants a way out. He finds it in spades, with a little dash
of Captain Marvel thrown in to the mix. Lured into an abandoned
(and buried) subway tunnel, Ali seems marked for great things
as he discovers an underground complex that cannot be manmade
- at least, no known men.
But Morrison cannot make it quite that
simple. Ali may be our protagonist, but he may not be our
hero. Fortunately, he meets his new bride and finds her
definitely to his liking. Unfortunately, she may be heir
to something on a cosmic scale.
the surface, Vimanarama may look like been there,
done that. True, Morrison may not be breaking new ground
in plotting, but his little twists and touches already show
we've got something quirky and interesting on our hands.
He's also giving mainstream comics reading audiences a taste
of a culture they're not going to get elsewhere. Spider-Man
India labors too hard to imitate its American template;
Vinamarama strikes out on its own, and any resemblance
to existing stories is purely coincidental or at least archetypal.
Again, there's that Bond art. A true cartoonist,
Bond's style hasn't yet differed enough from guys like Jim
Mahfood or even Ty Templeton. He's on his way, though, and
this book at least proves his willingness to go wild with
design and an adeptness at jumping from hard sci fi to organic
fantasy, all with a little touch of India.
Just a little, and just enough to sucker
us into wanting more.
4 #15 This issue makes a decent
jumping on point for some solid storytelling around Marvel's
First Family. Now that Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has finished
his epic a few issues back, he can focus on little arcs
that spotlight his imagination. The Four get an emergency
call from beyond time and that can't be good. Never mind
the threat to this reality; they're forced to put their
son's needs on hold. This book really focuses on the family
aspect of the characters, and this issue also marks the
moment when they all start morphing into their movie versions.
Batman: The Man Who Laughs If you've
never read the first appearance of the Joker way back in
Batman #1, this comic might surprise you with how
methodical the young Joker seems to be. Ed Brubaker blends
almost every interpretation of the Clown Prince of Crime
(including Tim Burton's) into a post-Crisis post-Zero Hour
post-Hypertime smoothie that acknowledges them all while
carving out some very disturbing territory. He's helped
in that disturbance by Doug Mahnke, one of the best artists
working in grotesquerie today. It's not for the kiddies,
but definitely one you'll have fun with.
Captain America #3: Ed, Ed, Ed.
I'm still annoyed you went exclusive with Marvel, though
I'm sure you had your reasons. But how can I stay mad? You
keep making me want to buy Captain America, and nobody
has done that to me since I was 12.
Fables #34: We've got a little two-parter
going on as Jack tries making it in Hollywood, without breaking
any of the rules for Fables. In a weird way, this story
is almost plausible, when a real trickster and phony meets
a land of tricksters and phonies.
JSA #70: The current arc may be
impenetrable for those not steeped in JSA lore, but if you
are an obsessive Fanboy (and that's why you're here),
Geoff Johns will have you hooked. Right now, those JSAers
with antecedent counterparts have gone back in time to keep
Per Degaton from wiping them all out from history. This
issue focuses on the Misters Terrific, and it's, well, terrific.
Doc Frankenstein #2: It took me
a few weeks to track down a copy of the first issue after
several taunts from Andy Mead at Brian's Books. When I finally
did, I grudgingly fell in love.
The Walking Dead #15: Just because
I want to put in print this week before Schachat does. I
HATE ZOMBIES! And yet, this book sucks me in every time.
Young Avengers #1: Naturally, the
youth in Marvel America feel a need to fill the gap left
by the old Avengers. This may actually be a cool book, but
it's far more notable for the fact that it appears that
Wolverine is nowhere to be found within its pages.
And Salt The Earth...
Alpha Flight #12: Despite "letters"
from "fans" "wanting" Marvel to give this book a reprieve,
it ends with this issue. I'd dance on its grave, if only
I could understand what was actually written on the tombstone.
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