Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 04/19/06
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
writers: Jim Krueger and Alex Ross
artists: Doug Brathwaite and Alex Ross
kids, we watched Superfriends and had no idea how
cheesy it was. We thrilled with every appearance of a new
superhero, feared every time the Legion of Doom had the
Justice League on the ropes and never noticed that their
plans, on the whole, were rather stupid. (Except for going
back in time to prevent the Trinity's origins - that was
a rare stroke of genius for a bunch of ostensibly evil geniuses.)
Alex Ross took those shows to heart, too. Each issue of
Justice reads like this is the League that allowed
Hanna-Barbera to do cartoons about them. The Elongated Man
still has a cordless phone, and Sue is still very much alive.
it's not the references that put this series in an earlier
time, it's the black and white terms, simple yet complex,
of the story. These Leaguers inspire, without question,
and perhaps the most devious element of Krueger and Ross'
plot is that the villains trying to make themselves appear
noble really reflects storytelling trends in comics for
the past decade.
it? Who here can tell me, right now, which side of the fence
Magneto is on? In Geoff Johns' hands, does Captain Cold
really seem all that evil? Once upon a time, though,
we could tell. We knew for sure.
and his collaborators take us back to a simpler time, yes,
but with all the story skills of adult masters. Kids could
read this book, but they might be a little scared by the
superb envisioning of Bizarro, the Parasite and Solomon
Grundy, all in a way undead creatures that have nothing
lovable about them. Even the mundane looking Metallo, still
wrapped in John Corben's smarmy physique, looks terrifying.
taken pages from changes in the DCU, too. The Lex Luthor
masterminding everything seems far too comfortable in business
suit and fedora to be the purple-and-green spandex guy from
the cartoons. A glimpse inside the Batcave reveals a Batmobile
from sometime between Burton and Schumacher.
remains are the heroes at their best. This is Superman as
wise father figure, though being overcome by his worst foes.
Wonder Woman seeks only to help, unashamed of her identity.
Even Aquaman, though currently strapped down to a table
by Brainiac, is a clear hero, unconflicted about his role
as a superhero.
the creative team brings in another stalwart of 70's Saturday
morning television: the Original Captain Marvel. A flurry
of yellow fists that made me think the Reverse Flash had
switched sides, this Captain Marvel reminds us that, oh,
yeah, the "M" in Shazam stands for Mercury. Within all that
power still stands the pure noble spirit of a child. In
just a few pages, Ross, Krueger and Brathwaite make that
point far better than four issues of First Thunder.
like Ross needs these extra kudos. But this series is working
for me far better than his Marvel work did, and part of
that comes from the smooth blending of his style with Doug
Brathwaite. Or maybe that's vice versa. The illustrations
are lush and human, with great use of cinematic lighting.
Heck, even Green Arrow's beard looks like a believable accoutrement.
it's because we just need to be reminded that with true
justice, we should get inspiration, too.
Pack #1: Marvel's revival of their youngest superteam
continues, with the same team that made X-Men/Power Pack
work. The story's moral might be a little heavy-handed for
adult readers, but again, kids will eat this up. And should.
Captain America is a great foil for the Pack, and writer
Doug Sumerak somehow makes even deadly super-villains seem
somehow believable in not wanting to kill a bunch of little
Max #1: Daniel Slott, who with Bendis makes Marvel worth
reading, offers up this little creator-owned gem from independent
publisher Mr. Comics. Super-powered monkeys are always good
for a laugh, and much of this book plays out as just a genial
parody of Superman, with a gorilla in the lead role, still
in a world of humans. No explanation given, none needed,
really, but Slott and conspirator James Fry throw in a few
nice touches that make it not nearly as unbelievable as
it should be. I particularly like Big Max's secret identity.
Where Slott killed me, though, and that's a good thing,
is in both the choice of his villain and how that villain
is ultimately defeated. Excellent, if not exactly earth-shattering,
work -- and worth picking up.
#84, Iron Man #7, Wolverine: Origins #1 and more...
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