Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 04/13/05
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
Jane: Homecoming #2
artist: Takeshi Miyazawa
Have I gone
soft? Have I turned into a teenaged girl? How on Earth could
I be recommending Mary Jane as the spotlight book?
Of all the books offered up for preview this week, this
one was simply everything it purports to be. Sure, it's
not for the slavering Fanboy, but it's definitely for the
slavering Fanboy's sister, girlfriend, or daughter.
about the girl who will one day be Spider-Man's wife, Mary
Jane actually offers straightforward teen angst and
romance with nary a hint of superheroic action. Though presented
in the slightly cartoony manga style courtesy of artist
Takeshi Miyazawa, the book feels real. Somehow, writer Sean
McKeever has captured the rhythm of genuine teen-aged speech,
both in what they say and don't say to each other.
The book focuses
on Flash Thompson, Liz Allen, Mary Jane and Harry Osborn
as they blindly stumble through awkward first romances.
If you've ever walked the halls of a high school, you know
how it goes. Liz won't talk to Flash or Mary Jane, herself
hurt because Harry dumped her. Former best friends Flash
and Harry find it hard to figure out what's going on in
each other's lives. Before all four of them will grow up
and find themselves entangled with super-villains, these
little melodramas pass as earth-shattering.
But for all
teenagers, that part rings true. (Not the supervillain part,
the - oh, never mind.)
For teen girls,
Mary Jane herself has just enough of an aura of potential
glamour. Someday she will marry Peter Parker/Spider-Man,
and be a supermodel to boot. Today, she is an insecure girl,
just like her readers. She offers hope.
to forget the Spider-Man part, though. This book recasts
just about everything from "classic" continuity. Flash Thompson
has far more nuance than Stan Lee ever gave him, and Harry
follows the footsteps of his filmic alter ego, being far
cooler (and better looking than Steve Ditko or John Romita
ever drew him.
Mary Jane and Liz appear less idealized than they did forty
years ago. After all, the audience is a different gender.
They are less of an unattainable goal, and now actually
seem like, if not role models, at least kids you wouldn't
mind your daughters emulating.
It's quality. And Mary Jane doesn't promise anything
more than that. Too bad the rest of this week's books didn't
follow those guidelines (except for two: Fables and
Mnemovore -- see below)
But This Week, Most Are Really Just Lightly Jogging:
#826: Captain Marvel! Superman! And a special mystery
villain whose presence means that this is just another tie-in
to the fallout of Countdown to Infinite Crisis! As
easy as it can be to get swept up by Judd Winick's plotting,
it has become apparent that too often he sacrifices character
to tell his story. At least Captain Marvel isn't a smart-ass
like every member of the Outsiders. Unfortunately, he also
only appears in the first three pages, a perfect picture
of finely chiseled impotence. While I totally bought that
Shazam would remove the Blue Beetle's scarab from this plane
of existence (in Countdown), forbidding Captain Marvel
from stopping the release of one of the DCU's most dangerous
villains just seems...well, like an excuse for a three-issue
crossover with Superman. And yet I'll buy it. Probably,
so will you.
#3: Okay, still mired in rewriting the past, but Reginald
Hudlin finally makes his plot a little more clear. I'll
give him a bonus point for making Klaw seem truly dangerous
and not just powerfully, powerfully sad. Some villains should
never design a costume.
Little Boy Blue kicks demon butt, taking the battle back
to the homelands. It seems improbable, but not when Bill
Willingham tells it. Not a single issue of this book has
let the reader down. Let's all knock wood on that one, preferably
on the head of the talking puppet boy.
#4: So far, this has been a decent series, and writers
Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning have tied this first arc to
an interesting idea that truly takes Majestic from
superhero to science fiction. This approach made the character's
first series such a (sadly unread) gem; the only difference
is that originally, it only took one or two issues to tell
each story. How the market has changed...
#1: I can't quite explain what happened. I just know
that this book disturbed me to a surprising level.
#7: Already, an issue for new readers to jump aboard,
but Fabian Nicieza takes the opportunity to really profile
his characters. Along the way, he also touches base with
the common man's attitude towards these reformed supervillains.
For some of us old-time Fanboys, any excuse to get Bill
Sienkewicz art on mainstream Marvel Universe stuff works.
From 60 to
0 in One Issue:
Spider-Man #13: Despite causing a couple of nice character
moments, Reginald Hudlin seems to know very little about
Spider-Man. Everything in this book panders more to what
casual readers might think they know about any of
the characters than actually bothering to develop anything.
write to us and let us know what you think, or talk about
it on the forums!