Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 03/09/05
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: Simone Bianchi
This week, DC releases two books with their
origins in Camelot, and they couldn't be more different.
One takes a bizarre hero and thrusts him into a slightly
more mundane setting that returns him to his early days
but loses some of his charm, and the other is Shining
The second salvo in Grant Morrison's Seven
Soldiers of Victory project, the Shining Knight has,
as expected, been radically re-thought. Originally quite
shining and strapping, Sir Justin had an origin similar
to that of Jack Kirby's Demon. Defending the last days of
Camelot (thus allowing the Golden Age series to shift back
and forth in time), the Shining Knight was given bullet-proof
armor by Merlin and sent into the 1940's. For reasons that
made sense then, this thrusting forward of Justin and his
winged horse Victory was done on purpose.
In the 21st Century, however, chaos makes
a better explanation than anything else. Though we've long
considered the fall of Camelot to be something rather ugly,
it has never been as disturbing as Morrison makes it here.
Let's be fair: a lot of that disturbing
quality comes from the beautifully ghastly artwork of Simone
Bianchi. This artist is new to me, but has a touch that
portrays innocence and extreme corruption with equal facility.
One shot of a maiden turning into a ghoul has a frightening
allure; Bianchi understands the seductiveness of evil, and
how little it actually has to hide.
Demons overrun Camelot, and among those
fighting back is a young knight named Justin. This boy is
smaller and weaker than the brawny red and gold hero now
occasionally appearing on Justice League Unlimited.
No Frazetta masterpiece, this Justin may have a noble heart,
but it seems that this onslaught is his first test.
Chased by the supernatural on a quest to
save his sweetheart, Justin ventures into a faerie realm.
There he encounters corruption on a level he cannot comprehend.
Just wait until he sees modern America.
Of the characters Morrison has chosen for
his new Seven Soldiers, the Shining Knight stands as the
only "founding" member. In the zero issue, another founder
bit the dust (not for the first time) when the Vigilante
met his end in the high desert of another dimension. Despite
the series seeming to be steeped in continuity, Morrison
is actually pulling a lot of this backstory out of his own
imagination. The characters may have connections to things
that have happened before in comics, but how they reached
this point is all found in the pages of Seven Soldiers
How this Sir Justin will shape up into
a hero for our times lies in future pages. For now, we've
just got one rich and dense beginning that continues what
should be the most intricate and exciting project of the
Armor X #1: I meant to give this
one a big extensive review after Keith Champagne let me
see it a while back - it's good, and if you think you've
seen it before, you're wrong. These guys from the fledgling
Across the Pond Studios have struck out in a new direction
that is absolutely worth your attention.
Blood of the Demon #1: Despite my
remarks above, this book isn't bad. It's just that throwing
back to the original Kirby run may now seem tame to many
readers. This is horror made palatable for younger audiences,
and a Prince of Hell made to serve as a more straightforward
superhero. After all we've seen Etrigan go through over
the years, this seems restrained. But John Byrne clearly
has an affinity for the Demon, and Will Pfeifer always writes
Fables #35: Jack of the Stories
conquers Hollywood. Oh, how I wish it were true. Along the
way, Bill Willingham drops a few hints as to what happened
in Fabletown in the meantime, ending one arc strongly and
getting us all whipped up for the next one.
Gotham Central #29: Sure, other
series have tackled ordinary cops facing down the extraordinary.
Other such series have even featured quotes from this very
website on the cover. But there's something satisfying about
seeing it happen with characters we already knew, and seeing
how deadly even an obscure villain can be to the average
joe. Every issue of Gotham Central that I've picked
up has left me with at least one thought-provoking moment,
and that's not bad.
Mary Jane Homecoming #1: I include
this for the young girls out there in our readership - both
of you. Spider-Man's girlfriend (and eventual wife) returns
in a mini-series that hopefully will not be her last. It
flies in the face of all the continuity I remember,
but you know what? I'm old, and Marvel must begin grooming
new readers to replace me when I go to Carousel.
Spider-Girl #84: Ibid.
Vimanarama #2: My love affair with
Grant Morrison had gone cold after The Filth confused
me and I had a hard time defending Seaguy. Then came
WE3, followed by this mini-series that has somehow
brought Bollywood to the superhero comic. If Seven Soldiers
seems too epic, give this a try.
Obscura v.2 #6: I dig alternate worlds full of superheroes
you may never have heard of, because anything can happen.
Because Alan Moore oversees this project, you can count
on anything happening.
Tales of Terror #3: I'm a sucker for horror in
the Old West, and like anthology books when they're well
done. So far, this one has been.
Designed To Claw Extra Money Out of
#1: He won't actually take your soul, but if you're
a sucker for every single book calculated to prey upon your
appreciation of Wolverine, you may not have much of one
left anyway. Interestingly, this manga-like mini-series
has that tall, handsome Logan. You know - the one played
by Hugh Jackman.
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