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The Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 02/15/06
brought to you by Brian's Books of Santa Clara

Each 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.

She-Hulk #5
writer: Dan Slott
artists: Juan Bobillo
and Marcelo Sosa

The Greg Horn covers certainly don't hurt, because if you've thumbed through The Art Of Greg Horn, you can't quite shake the feeling that somewhere out there, there might really be a She-Hulk. But that's not why this title reaches the spotlight over and over.

Like Jonah Hex across the corral at DC, She-Hulk tends to tighter single issue stories. Though Dan Slott still weaves a couple of subplots through his narrative, they never overwhelm the main thread, and then he's done. More importantly, Slott leaves you with a great story. If I had been a kid who managed to sneak that cover into the house, I'd have been satisfied, not titillated, by my purchase.

Odd, then, that She-Hulk just came out of a situation in which she'd been accused of mucking too much in continuity. The consequences of that story play out in this issue, as she has brought Matt Hawk, the Two-Gun Kid, from out of a temporal cell and into the twenty-first century, at the risk of messing further with the time stream.

Why the Two-Gun Kid shouldn't go back into the Old West remains unexplained.

Clearly, the character has a history with the Avengers, but not knowing what that history is never gets in the way of enjoying the story. No matter what we know, Matt Hawk is a man out of time, yet not quite as out of time as you might think. He knows what a CD is from his previous jaunt, but cannot recognize a DVD.

Slott uses Hawk's predicament to good effect. A lawyer in his secret identity, he discovers that over a century of lawmaking just may have removed his idea of justice from the equation. Until he gets a license for his weaponry, the law forces Hawk to become the No-Gun Kid. Finding a place in She-Hulk's law firm will be rather hard.

Unfortunately for recurring character Awesome Andy, Matt Hawk finds a place in the firm's society quite easily. It seems that the block-headed android has developed a crush, and the Two-Gun Kid has shot all his hopes.

Though Juan Bobillo has gotten a lot of attention for the delicate cheesecake he draws, it's the characters like Andy that really should make his reputation. Andy has no face, yet every emotion is writ as large as the letters on his chalkboard. Inked by the subtle Marcelo Sosa, Bobillo's art only gets better each issue.

Let me not fail to mention that Slott manages to work Hawkeye in again. And again, his brief appearance here gives him more of a personality than most of his time spent taking up space in The Avengers. He proves himself worth more dead than alive. Sorry, George Bailey.

Pick up She-Hulk #5. You'll be as happy as the horse on that Horn cover (that Marvel left off of their website; trust me, he's grinning).


Apocalypse vs. Dracula #1: Throw in Abbot and Costello, and you just might have a franchise there. Yet surprisingly, this isn't stupid. Frank Tieri sets up both title characters in such a way that it's hard to know who to root for, because they both have a point. Of course, it's also one of those "we lose" scenarios, because once they're through with each other, they'll notice that the humans are still standing around. And neither one will like it.

Daredevil #82: Following a run that some already deem legendary is daunting. But Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark are up to the task. On the heels of Matt Murdock being thrown in prison, someone else dresses up as Daredevil and kicks some butt in Hell's Kitchen. Nobody knows who it is, but it is scant consolation to Murdock, trying hard to not get a shiv in prison. Someone gets a shiv. The only weak point here arises in the shoehorning in of Dakota North, minor Marvel heroine getting a massive relaunch this year because, well, they've relaunched just about everybody else.

Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi #1: DC's Cartoon Network books have the same rhythm that old Gold Key books had, but with a better track record for actually having the same feel of the source material. I don't watch Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi on television, but you might know a young child who does. This book is for her, and for Puffy AmiYumi

John Constantine, Hellblazer #217: New writer Denise Mina has done the worst thing she possibly could do to Constantine - make him feel for his fellow man. Of course, it's one of the best things she could do for us. An uncomfortable Constantine is an entertaining one, with artwork that just keeps bringing on the creep factor.

Justice #4: Lex Luthor towers above the citizens, his silky smooth voice booming through the populace. The super-villains have changed their ways; the Legion of Doom might as well change their names to the Legion of Hope. It's all about perception, and the people are about to get boondoggled to the hilt. Speaking of perception, I hate to feed the perceived ego of Alex Ross, but with this issue, he makes the Super Friends version of the Toyman cool.

Runaways #13: Brian K. Vaughan offers a solo story that makes this issue a perfect time to jump onboard. The youngest Runaway, Molly Hayes aka Princess Powerful, has been separated from the group, and falls in with a Fagin-like gang with a metahuman twist. Revel in the fun of this issue before Vaughan puts his young heroes through Hell again with an all-new Pride. Or are they all new?

Sgt. Rock: The Prophecy #2: The first issue was old school, pretty to look at with decent storytelling, but nothing spectacular. Now that Joe Kubert got the business of re-introducing Easy Company out of the way, he proves his talent as a storyteller still towers over the industry. This is a hard-hitting and angry war book. We might consider World War II to be simple and honest in its morality, but Kubert burns that away with one panel, few words and a devastating expression as Little Sure-Shot compares a synagogue burning to Wounded Knee and realizes that it's the same.

True Story Swear To God #16: Tom Beland passed this over to me at WonderCon this weekend after I thanked him profusely for the enjoyment I got out of Web of Romance. It's full of heart. Better yet, this particular issue covers Beland's first time at WonderCon. Aside from the book doing my usual job of lauding Keith Knight, it also offers inspiration to anyone who believes they have a story to tell and want to do it in comics.

Sight Unseen:

Batman: Year One Hundred #1: Paul Pope tells a tale of Gotham's future. Whenever Paul Pope does Batman, I'm riveted, even though I really don't like the way he draws Batman himself. That's some damned good storytelling.

The Goon #16: It's The Goon. Though not for everyone's tastes, it does what it does real good. So if you like the taste of zombies, mobsters and Spanish-speaking demons, Eric Powell's The Goon is for you.

New Avengers #16: The Marvel solicitation promises Alpha Flight in its final battle. While I might not believe that bit of hype, I do believe that Brian Michael Bendis will make it cool.

Noble Causes #17: It's a nifty book. I've praised it before; I'll praise it again, and Andy Mead will be happy with me.

Planetary Brigade #1: Spun off to the left of Hero Squared, this Boom! Studios team book from Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis promises to be the Justice League…their way. Never mind that they already did that and it was called Justice League. When these two writers get together, I always have room for more.

X-Men Deadly Genesis #4: The villain should hail from a time when I could keep my X-Men straight, and yet his mystery remains. I don't know about you, but I keep picking this one up in hope of answering just who the hell IS that?

X-Statix Presents Dead Girl #2: Though really about Dr. Strange, the first issue was a hoot. And now Dead Girl might actually star in the book that claims she does.

Hey, write to us and let us know what you think, or talk about it on the forums!

Derek McCaw

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