Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 03/23/05
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: Cameron Stewart
A headless spectre haunts the halls of
a metropolitan hospital. Aliens walk among us. Pirates roam
the tunnels of the subway in Manhattan, terrorizing unsuspecting
commuters. JFK and Marilyn Monroe make a cozy love nest
in Trump Tower. In the DC Universe, most of these headlines
should be true, and yet it speaks to the blasé nature of
the populace that they all get dismissed as tabloid hackwork.
Enter the Manhattan Guardian - the newspaper,
not the titular hero. "Written by its readers," it chronicles
the strange goings-on in a world of supermen. From the job
interview former cop Jake Jordan has with the paper, it's
clear that something is strange within the paper's offices,
too. You might think the headline trumpeting the presence
of a golem in the streets would refer to sister book The
Monolith, but no, the Guardian has one working security
for the office.
But first, the pirates.
The book opens with visceral power, featuring
a daring train raid in search of a treasure map. Horrified
onlookers can only stare and cringe as these bottom-dwelling
buccaneers have at it. From the savagery of treachery on
the low rails Morrison jumps to the slow pain of a marriage
on the rocks.
Of course the elements have to come together,
but not until Jordan wins that job at the Manhattan Guardian,
as the Manhattan Guardian. It seems that somewhere
in the morass of continuity (not that it really matters),
the previous Guardian died, and his armor went up for sale.
Once again, Morrison has taken a piece
of obscure DC continuity and mixed it up so well that it
almost seems beside the point. Though this revamp of the
classic Simon and Kirby character has its nods to the past,
not knowing the history will not hurt you. This Guardian
stands on his own, with superficial bits and pieces of comics
standards for those who need it.
For the first time, too, the character
really gets to be the focus. The two previous Guardians,
both Jim Harper, played second fiddle to the Newsboy Legion
and Jimmy Olsen. Even post-Crisis, he never really
came into his own. Jake Jordan hasn't yet, either, but at
least his version of the Newsboy Legion makes more sense,
and sensibly stays in the background. The groundwork is
So is the artwork. Cameron Stewart proved
himself an artist of rich imagination collaborating with
Morrison on Seaguy, but ultimately, that book caused
more confusion than appreciation. Working on something a
little more straightforward, Stewart may get the attention
he deserves. Though Morrison has not allowed much in the
way of quiet moments here, Stewart hints he could handle
them. Not too many, please, because the flights of imagination
are what makes Morrison's writing so worthwhile.
The Seven Soldiers of Victory have
managed to be individually entertaining. Again, if the scope
of the project daunts you, have no fear. This book looks
to stand completely on its own. But they're like potato
chips; it's hard to read just one of these heroes.
Daredevil #71: Some fans may cheer;
some will mourn. Bendis and Maleev embark on their final
arc in a long and controversial run. We side with the mourners.
This Daredevil hasn't always been straightforward, but it's
always had a mark of realism that few creative teams can
match. Here, in part one of Decalogue, Bendis jumps
back to Daredevil's "missing year" as Kingpin, told from
the point of view of the citizens of Hell's Kitchen. Will
it change how you view the character? Probably not, but
it's still good comics.
Hawkman #38: After Geoff Johns and
Rags Morales left the book, it meandered for a while, trying
to find a new footing. Hawkman never stopped being
fun, however, and finally there's a good place for new readers
to jump aboard, setting up a new mystery with ex-Teen Titan
JLA: Classified #5: Next week, Countdown
to Infinite Crisis #1 will change everything you think
about the DC Universe. So this week, laugh while you can.
Legend #2: Not having actually read
Philip Wylie's source novel, Gladiator, it's hard
to say how much of the usual Howard Chaykin obsessions have
injected themselves in here. It sure looks like a lot. However,
they make sense, and Russ Heath continues doing some really
Runaways #2: Marvel's new line of
comics aimed at teens feels like a superhuman WB line-up.
Gather a variety of teens. Give them superpowers they don't
fully comprehend. Throw in some angst. However, this one
came first, and thus, actually works the best.
Spellbinders #1: See above. However,
Mike Carey, who does some really chilling stuff at Vertigo,
writes this book, and this first issue proves that he's
not about making it particularly safe.
Doc Frankenstein #1: Actually, Burlyman
releases a second printing this week, so if you already
bought it, you've got it. But a lot of people missed it,
and need to check it out. It's a great blend of pulp fiction,
the modern Prometheus and some modern-day concerns.
New West #1: From the shadowy depths
of Black Bull Comics, which I thought had gone away, comes
a new series from Jimmy Palmiotti and Phil Noto, the team
behind Beautiful Killer. Palmiotti's writing can
sometimes be uneven, but Noto brings out the best in him.
Spider-Man/Human Torch #3: It's
a shame this is only a limited series. But then, it would
also be a shame if Marvel extended it and couldn't keep
up the fun. Grab it while you can, and enjoy the best rivalry
in comics. With all due respect to Bendis' opinion, Johnny
Storm and Spider-Man make a better comedy team than Spidey
write to us and let us know what you think, or talk about
it on the forums!