Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 02/16/05
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: Brian K. Vaughan
artists: Adrian Alphona and Craig Yeung
It must be fate. Just a few weeks ago,
the local library had a copy of the first digest of Runaways,
and it sparked enough interest in me to read the entire
previous run. Hmm, I thought as I reached the end, it seems
to me that Marvel plans on reviving this book soon.
This week, in fact.
In the first run of the book, the title
characters discovered that their parents were evil. More
than just the "they're ruining my life" kind of evil - actually
costumed supervillains kind of evil. As individual couples,
they had wreaked havoc on the West Coast. But when ancient
entities united them to destroy civilization as we know
it, they became a carefully controlled menace called The
Through the strength of youth, The Pride
was destroyed. Combined with relatively low sales, it made
a good stopping point. But this series is too good to die,
and thankfully, Brian K. Vaughan is too good a writer to
let a little thing like losing the original motivation for
a series to stop him.
So here's Runaways volume 2, and
already it's good. A power vacuum has been left by the destruction
of The Pride, and so every two bit super-villain from the
East Coast has decided that California is the place he ought
to be. With precious few heroes on the West, it should be
a villain's paradise.
Nobody counted on the children. Since we
last saw them, the so-called Runaways have really begun
gelling as a team, hardened by betrayal and loss. Moreover,
their dedication to justice has also really grown. They
have resolved to clean up the mess that, inadvertently,
they themselves caused, even if that mess did end up saving
When their crime-fighting dovetails with
their other mission, that of saving youth like themselves,
so much the better. For instance, the Wrecking Crew has
inducted a young member, and the Runaways want to show him
a better way of life. Vaughan also sets up an opposing group
of super-powered teens (including a Power Pack member) that
want to get kids off the streets, out of the tights and
into a normal life.
Too bad there's also this pesky message
from the future getting in their way.
and his original artists haven't missed a beat. The kids
look like realistic teens, though the cover painting by
Jo Chen does make the somewhat overweight Arsenic look more
idealized than she is inside the book. They also act fairly
realistically; Vaughan has a good ear for youthful dialogue.
Strangely, Marvel isn't giving us either
of the branding pushes that this book belongs under, Marvel
Age or Marvel Next. These teens have genuinely sparked an
interest in readers, and could fairly grow into the next
generation of Marvel Superheroes. At the same time, Runaways
should be absolutely riveting to kids.
Maybe it just goes to show that no matter
how you label a book, what really matters is its quality.
And it's good to have a book of this quality back on the
Ex Machina #8: If you want to make
it in the comics industry as a writer, maybe you should
change your name to Brian. Vaughan gives Bendis a run for
his money as one of the best writers working in comics right
now. He may not be as popular, but he's just as consistently
good, and this book has rarely had a dull moment, even though
it often deals rather sedately with real social issues without
cloaking it in mutant genetics.
JLA Classified #4: It's the sequel
to "Formerly Known as the Justice League," and though "I
Can't Believe It's Not the Justice League" is funny, it
has an unintended bittersweet edge by featuring Sue Dibny
and a happy-go-lucky and strangely dim Elongated Man. Balance
that out with the criminally underused Mary Marvel, however,
and give this book a shot.
New X-Men: Academy X #10: I haven't
really liked this book all that much, but do respect its
attempt to carve out a subgenre from the juggernaut of X-books.
This issue takes a pretty dark step, but that step follows
fairly and honestly out of characterizations that have been
set up for months. Suddenly it's not just an honorable book;
it's an interesting one.
Space Ghost #4: Aren't we past the
point of grim and gritty revamps? Apparently not, and at
least, finally, this mini-series has reached past scenarios
we've seen before to give us the all-new all-dark Jan and
Jace. Well, not that dark, which is a sorely needed reprieve
in this book. And then there's a terribly creepy Zorak...
Stormbreaker: The Saga of Beta Ray Bill
#2: For the very inhumanoid herald of Galactus here
alone, this book would be worth a look. But the creative
team also has a very firm handle on this hapless hero who
has just had two systems of belief shattered on him. It's
cosmic, it's spiritual AND it's a dessert topping.
Trigger #3: Love the concept. Like
the art, though John Watkiss has designed at least three
major unrelated characters to look so much alike that it's
sometimes hard to tell exactly who is in trouble from page
to page. The quality of the writing, however, leads me to
suspect that there's a reason for it that we will soon discover,
unless Ethicorp gets to us first.
Wolverine #25: "Enemy of the State"
reaches its conclusion. But Mark Millar and John Romita,
Jr. aren't done yet. Just buy it.
Astonishing X-Men #8: Do I really
have to say it?
Birds of Prey #79: Issue after issue,
this turns out to be one of the best books on the stands.
Get over your gynophobia and let this book kick your ass.
You'll be glad you did.
Green Lantern: Rebirth #4: Geoff
Johns will make you believe that you don't have to forget
"Emerald Twilight," but soon enough, you will be able to
Noble Causes #7: The fine seller
of comics at Brian's Books demanded that I read the first
arc of this book, and one day I must write a review. Well,
until the day I get the time to gush and admit the guy was
right, let me recommend this fine superhero soap opera,
designed to be that way from the get-go. Now get going.
Livewires #1: This counts as Marvel
Crap. They're already planning a follow-up mini-series.
I blame society.
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