Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 03/22/06
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 Legion of Super-Heroes #16
writer: Mark Waid
artists: Barry Kitson and Mick Gray
Every one of
the "One Year Later" books has had a level of accessibility,
but none so concisely summing up the status quo as this
title. Partly that's because it's not directly tied into
the Infinite Crisis, and if much time has passed
between issues, that was by Waid and Kitson's choice, not
Of course, they
are shaking things up, but the event forcing the title change
plays out organically, not as a stunt.
Before you get
to that, though, the first five pages do a good job of establishing
the new status quo. After fourteen issues of being at odds
with the adult world (and one great "bridging" issue last
month), the Legion has now been accepted.
original incarnation, these teens aren't well-behaved. But
Waid and Kitson, truly a storytelling team, deftly prove
that most of us would be driven crazy in this society. Adults
live their lives locked away mentally and physically, taking
decorum and modesty to a ridiculous extreme and lost in
cyberspace. A sense of community seems non-existent. Are
we sure this is the thirty-first century?
The new truce
between the Legion and the police is uneasy, and the super-heroes
definitely have the brashness of youth. Yet if they're not
careful, the Legion could become just another cog in the
machinery of thirty-first century society. Waid utilizes
that tension just a bit, as the members clearly do not all
agree that they should be public servants.
When a giant
fireball comes hurtling toward Earth, though, all differences
get put aside, even if the government is using them as just
another "resource." Then there's the matter of this mysterious
"S" symbol on it…
Just as we get
comfortable with the new status quo, Waid and Kitson handily
throw in a wrench. We are reminded once again that this
is not the Legion some of us grew up on; Waid has promised
in more than one interview that there may be an explanation
for them, too. After all, why should they change just because
the past does? (These continuity-wide events have always
played havoc with the logic of this title.)
co-plot helps add depth. Check out the look of an inspired
little boy, and the various non-powered Legionnaires working
on their headquarters. This is what we should be seeing
more often in real life - inspiration and an excited joy.
As a designer, Kitson also blends a believably futuristic
style with just enough concrete detail so as not to be disorienting.
makes one of three "One Year Later" fates for Supergirl,
Legion of Super-Heroes should be the most fun. It's
certainly one excellent comic. Perhaps this is why Cartoon
Network held off on their Justice League Unlimited
Legion episode until this upcoming weekend. In a rare moment
of corporate synergy, they could conceivably actually send
people into comic shops to find a book that matches the
Long live the
Legion - and Supergirl!
Way #2: 1961 has a nice soft glow about it, doesn't
it? Writer John Ridley reminds us that we had anti-Soviet
paranoia and a quiet cultural racism bubbling underneath
to undermine that hopeful time. But there was still hope,
and even if it's being manipulated by a slick ad guy, there
seems to even be some sincerity to it in the operation of
the "Civil Defense Corps." This book has some clever characterization
building that keeps it from just being a satire of the Justice
League, but it's seeing where Ridley is going with his plot
that should keep you coming back.
After Asgard fell, the other gods should have started quaking
in their boots. Michael Avon Oeming knows that, and though
this book spotlights the Grecian god of war, he's using
a vast knowledge of world culture for this tale. At first
glance, Ares should be a morally ambiguous character, and
hard to like as a father, but Oeming makes that a difficult
judgment to stand by. His son clearly loves him and has
also clearly been taught a great deal about honor - more
than Ares' disdainful half-brother Hercules has ever possessed
himself. The different cultures clash and blend very well
here, too, a tribute to some really nice work by Travel
#53: Who's a good Fanboy? Who's a good Fanboy? "One
Year Later" for Selina Kyle brings up something that could
fit into old Earth-2 continuity, as the erstwhile Catwoman
has a baby named - Helena. Mysteriously, Batman brings the
baby girl a teddy bear (with no bat symbol in sight on it).
And there's someone else leaping the rooftops in the leather
and spandex. It's an intriguing new status quo with mysteries
that look not so much mysterious as a natural progression.
#83: Matt Murdock will be nobody's bitch. Ed Brubaker
believes it, and you'd better believe it. The other thing
we'd better believe (until somebody tells us differently
years from now) is that Foggy Nelson is dead. DEAD. Bendis
thought he'd left the new creative team in a tough spot.
The new guys are making it even tougher and loving it.
Hulk #93: Though most of the alien races seem new to
us here, they're still explored far more coherently than
in Annihilation. That's due to our being able to
focus on a character we know and love: the Hulk. With an
intelligence level somewhere below the grey version of the
character, this space barbarian is having adventures Conan
could only dream of - and under the plotting of Greg Pak,
they feel just right.
Hellblazer #218: With Constantine off the magic pipe
for a while, Denise Mina has put him exactly where he doesn't
want to be. Remember when we didn't know who Brad Meltzer
was? I have a sneaking suspicion we're going to feel that
way about Mina - out of nowhere and building rapidly toward
being a fan favorite.
#20: The status quo doesn't actually feel all that changed
with this book, though clearly a year has done some things
for Chase. Still, it's as solid and interesting a concept
as it was the previous nineteen issues, so do yourself a
favor and pick it up.
#6: Thumbs up for Eros, indeed. It's about time somebody
picked up on the consequences of Eros' power, and Dan Slott
is just the man to do it. For those not in the know, this
is a guy who constantly emanates the equivalent of a psychic
roofie. Combined with his utter cocksurety (wouldn't you?),
this makes Eros, also occasionally known more humbly as
"Starfox," the guy all the other guys at the Avengers' parties
hate. It also makes him, at best, a serial date rapist who
can indeed use the excuse "she wanted it," except that he
made her want it in the first place. Slott treats this with
more humor than should be comfortable, but he does acknowledge
the dark undertone.
#5: Ryan Sook's absence is felt. Replacement artist
Dennis Calero is competent, but spending way too much time
doing obvious riffs on iconic images that it's distracting.
Rictor spends several pages as James Dean, until Calero
has no established pose to steal - then you wonder who Rictor
is supposed to be. It doesn't exactly overpower Peter David's
excellent plotting, but it leaves the book weaker than it
should be. Hopefully, the artist has gotten it out of his
system, because he will be on the book for a while.
#50: Walt Simonson, the man who gave us Thor as a frog,
writes. Howard Chaykin, an artist not afraid to mix it up
with sex and violence, draws. How can we not be there?
Infamy #3: I picked up the first issue after Comic-Con
(thanks, Carr) and somehow missed that the second came out.
It's a nice premise with a witness protection town of supervillains,
trying to stay reformed and not attract the attention of
the big guns they ratted out.
Supreme #1: J. Michael Straczynski and Gary Frank move
over to Marvel Knights. We'll lose the swearing, I think,
but we'll keep the intense plotting that was nicely set
Power: Hyperion #5: Read this one first. It will explain
a lot about the conflicts we can expect in the new Marvel
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let us know what you think, or talk about it on the