Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 03/08/06
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
the Nuclear Man #23
writer: Stuart Moore
artists: Jamal Igle and Keith Champagne
Welcome to a
week of comics that are good, but not nearly as spectacular
as the hype would have you believe. Though some first issues
read pretty well, it seems like time to focus on something
from the One Year Later event at DC, and particularly a
book that has floundered, but now seems to have a strong
direction as a result of jumping forward in time. And now
it's worth jumping onboard.
That book, of
course, would be Firestorm the Nuclear Man, which
suffered initially from Kyle Rayner syndrome, casting a
loser as its protagonist. Other strips had done okay with
that; you might argue that it's the Spider-Man appeal. Unfortunately
for Jason Rusch, becoming Firestorm didn't make him any
less of a loser.
Moore came along.
only implemented an editorial decision, but he still smoothly
transitioned Jason from a constant screw-up to a guy doing
more than just trying to do the right thing. As the book
counted down to Infinite Crisis, the new Firestorm
started seeming more important, but not in a way that felt
shoved down our throats. The company-wide crossover may
have been controversial, but it certainly helped focus Firestorm.
Now it's one
year later, after devastating events in space. Just when
Moore established a status quo that satisfied old and new
fans, he has to shake it up again. And it works.
This is the
place to pick up Firestorm. The character is sure
of himself, even though he still has personality issues
with his new fusion. Though "a year ago" we had Professor
Stein back, something has happened to him, but Jason has
found a new partner to roll with the punches. He's trusted
as a superhero, definitely a change from the guy afraid
of the JLA somehow busting him for stealing Ronnie Raymond's
For now, the
book nods to both the past and future, familiar but not
Jamal Igle has
been doing solid pencils for a few issues. He's a talented
artist that hasn't quite yet hit upon a way to make his
style unique. Over those pencils now lie the inks of Keith
Champagne, late of JSA, proving himself to be an
inker that lets his pencillers breathe.
Yes, I know Keith. He's a good inker - but an even better
writer and I hope we see him helm a book soon.)
This is solid
comics storytelling, for those that like superheroes. It's
been given a good shot in the arm creatively, and it should
be rewarded by you reading it. Then the reward will be yours.
Virgin #1: Despite a salacious cover, this effort from
Steven T. Seagle and Becky Cloonan may actually be taking
a pretty balanced look at its hotbutton issue. Titular character
Adam Chamberlin isn't some fanatic. He's made an honest,
thoughtful choice, and as a Christian chosen to share his
beliefs. Unfortunately, his supporting characters aren't
so well-balanced on either side. Surrounded by stereotypes
both conservative and liberal, Adam doesn't have a chance
yet to become much of a full-blooded character as he fights
temptation. The series shows some promise, though.
#3: Three issues in and the creep factor has yet to
lag. Simon Oliver keeps adding layers to the characterization
in the book, while the mystery surrounding it grows richer.
Each issue, Tony Moore gets better and better. If cockroaches
are too disgusting for you, then you should avoid this book.
But you're missing some quality stuff.
In the world of Fables, scary stories turn sweet
on a dime, and vice versa. When it comes to a story from
the lands controlled by The Adversary, you can bet that
no matter how innocent things seem, they can only get worse.
As two wooden toys plead their case for flesh, it all looks
so charming, even heart-warming. Perhaps it goes to show
that love is for dummies.
Family #1: As a fan of Chris Weston, I welcome any chance
to relish his art. The story, too, is a decent one previously
untold and wedged into a revised and expanded origin of
the Fantastic Four. Joe Casey gets to offer new insights
into those early days, and yet the question keeps nagging:
did we need it?
Fantastic Four #10: And then comes this Fantastic Four
spin-off. Meant for all ages (and thankfully, Marvel really
means that), this book carves out a brave new world of continuity
- what the Ultimate line originally claimed it would be.
Picking and choosing through history and reshaping it to
fit his whims, writer Jeff Parker is busy creating the Fantastic
Four that kids think they know. He appeals to younger
readers without insulting adults, making a book that the
whole family really could enjoy, except of course for your
wife who doesn't really understand why you love comics so
much. But your kids will get it, and love it.
#14: After fits and starts, the long road of The
Pulse finally reaches an end. Michael Gaydos has returned
to wrap up the "solo" adventures of Jessica Jones. With
Brian Michael Bendis writing, we get a last detailed look
at a heroine who has shown us both her best and her worst.
Finally, we can see the person that Luke Cage really did
fall in love with, for believable reasons. That makes her
descent into self-loathing all the more tragic in hindsight,
and her redemption all the more thrilling. It took a while
to get her, but well done, Mr. Bendis and Mr. Gaydos.
Son of M
#4: Lockjaw really needs to stay with the Thing. Hanging
out with Quicksilver only leads him into trouble. Without
the speedster's powers, Pietro Maximoff is nothing but a
super-ass, and David Hine has not been afraid of proving
and expanding upon that idea. Unfortunately, as the character
Crystal implies, Quicksilver will always make you pay for
caring about him. In our case it's, what, $2.99?
#36: Promethea destroyed her world. Unfortunately for
Tom Strong and many other heroes that Alan Moore created
for America's Best Comics, more than one book depended on
that world. Moore closes the door on one of his most beloved
titles, with more than a little of his philosophy bleeding
through. We shouldn't be sad, as the title ends on a high
note, but it does also mean that Moore's work in mainstream
comics is finally over. We'll miss him.
198 #3: Do you hear the mutants singing a song of angry
men? The 198 has been better than it should have
been. As engrossing as it is, though, it's hard not to shake
the feeling that this nifty little story ultimately won't
mean much. How long can we trust this "new" status quo?
Hi Puffy Amiyumi #2: The first issue seemed like
something kids would like. Then came this issue. Maybe kids
will still like it, but it doesn't seem like DC editorial
paid much attention to whether or not the stories here will
be appropriate for children. Sure, it's a reflection of
society, but this book depends an awful lot on low humor.
Worse, the lead story involves kidney sales and Puffy Amiyumi
selling their souls. The first issue I'd have easily passed
to my six year old; this one, no way.
Hey, write to us and
let us know what you think, or talk about it on the