Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 04/26/06
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
writer: Will Pfeifer
artists: David Lopez and Alvaro Lopez
Right now in
fandom, Will Pfeifer has a job almost as hard as Josh Dysart's
in writing Swamp Thing after Alan Moore. Maybe Ed
Brubaker has not yet ascended to Mooreish heights, but he
had managed to make Catwoman's slide from bad to good believable.
Then along came
Identity Crisis and the idea that Zatanna had altered
the minds of many of DC's villains. Brubaker left Catwoman,
and Pfeifer got stuck explaining how much of his predecessor's
beloved work was just sort of …not true.
Sure, none of
it is true. But try telling that to fans.
Just as the
repercussions began, it was One Year Later. Selina Kyle,
the woman we know as Catwoman, can't deal with the consequences
of being mind-controlled, as she's got one main moral concern:
her baby daughter Helena. Instead, her sister Holly prowls
the night in the leather get-up of Catwoman. Except nobody
seems to know that.
they would. Holly has nowhere near the assurance of Selina,
and Pfeifer and his art team make no bones about it. She
seems to know a lot in theory about being whatever it is
you'd classify Catwoman, but in practice, she tends to come
does solve the conflicts before her, just not in the way
Selina would. It's sloppy and it's savage, but it may also
be injecting life into this title. Unlike many other characters
less well-known than Catwoman, her secret identity is less
important to the general public than her image.
The two Lopezes
play with Selina's image quite well, and that's a strangely
daring chance they're taking which should garner some interest.
Since she's a new mom, Selina Kyle hasn't shaken the baby
fat, and though still drawn attractively, her body has clearly
not recovered from birth. Artistically, this book carries
a more realistic tone.
Of course, we
still don't know exactly what's going on in the wake of
Infinite Crisis, so the book raises some important
questions. (And probably answers one - is Batman so uptight
because he's a virgin? The answer would be no.) Since when
have Catwoman and the Huntress been so close that Selina
would name the baby after her? Perhaps the continuity waves
are still rocking the continuity boat.
If that's the
case, the waves also allowed for the resurrection of one
of my favorite obscure Bat-villains, the other major reason
I'm putting this book in the spotlight. Rethought and updated
for the twenty-first century, readers get to meet the Film
Freak after too long an absence. Of course, he died the
first time he fought Batman, so the absence is understandable.
Yet the Film
Freak's time has come again. A perfect fit between the old
and new schools of Batman villains, he should be one to
watch throughout all the Bat-titles, once we figure out
just who's who on which earth.
of the Week:
Way #3: Maybe next month I'll skip the praising of this.
Each issue has been satisfying in and of itself, building
on the pseudo-conspiracy and none so gently prodding at
the American Dream in a superhero context. Let me put my
pretentiousness away for a moment to explain it another
way: if you like good superhero stories that might make
you think, The American Way is for you. It's just
Creature #2: A high-octane mix of just about every movie
monster with a dash of the future, this book got me running
to the back issue bins to get the first issue. I think the
Doll of the title only has that as a nickname, but I can't
be sure, as she's wrapped in bandages reminiscent of the
Mummy for reasons that haven't become clear. What is clear
is that Rick Remender's writing is snappy, smoothly blending
the diverse sources into a book you just have to dig. And
that might be meant literally.
Do we really need a book written and drawn by Jack Kirby
from beyond the grave? Apparently so. If the King isn't
secretly orchestrating the whole thing, he ought to be.
That would be a plot worthy of him. And though it's not
particularly easy jumping into Godland at this point,
you can soon catch up enough to go along with it. Remember
that Kirby didn't always make the most sense even when you
started with him - it's just the breadth of ideas that moved
things along. Tom Scioli and Joe Casey have channeled this
style perfectly, a task harder than it seems.
Hulk #94: Please, Greg Pak, don't ever return Hulk to
Earth. You're doing so well with him in outer space, I don't
want this to end. Whether you knew it or not, readers, you've
seen many of the major characters here before. How Pak ties
them into Marvel continuity is a forehead slapping stroke
of cleverness. At times poignant, heart-pounding and even
out and out heroic, this book makes a great read, and you
can pick up this issue without losing a beat. Then the cliffhanger
will have you hooked.
#31: In principle, I don't like character names that
are just adjectives. Despite that, Robert Kirkman does write
one of the best superhero comic books around. Not a single
issue has faltered, and even though this month seems quieter
than most, it still has good action leavened with great
characterization. You owe it to yourself, if not to Kirkman.
of the Universe #1: They brought back Ron Marz, the
man who introduced Kyle Rayner in the first place. What
Mr. Marz seems not to have noticed is that other writers
have allowed the character to grow as a human being. Even
One Year Later, it's like Marz never left. Kyle is back
to being unreasonably insecure, only now with the power
of a god, or at least the power of his third dead girlfriend.
The art is inconsistent and the story not particularly gripping.
As much as I wanted Kyle to stick around, this isn't how
I wanted it.
#1: Sword and sorcery (and gunplay) is making a comeback
on the stands, and this book reads pretty well. Allen Warner's
script acknowledges that his heroine, Skye, wears an outfit
that seems a little impractical for anything other than
prostitution, but she's also a strong enough character to
overcome that nod to convention. It's not quite blazing
new territory, but Skye Runner has potential.
Loves Mary Jane #5: Charming. Simply charming. Yet it
also believably transitions from Mary Jane loving Spider-Man
to Mary Jane loving Peter Parker. We may know that doesn't
merit a title change, but MJ doesn't yet.
#41: Admittedly riffing off of Lone Wolf and Cub,
Stuart Moore gets all the honor and all the savagery of
Wolverine. Forget about what Logan remembers about his past.
Forget about his appearing in umpteen other books this month.
Don't worry about where this fits in continuity. C. P. Smith's
art perfectly captures the tone of Moore's story, in turns
eerie and touching. This is what single-issue stories should
do, and makes you wonder why they don't happen more often.
#8: Finally, the secret origin of Layla unfolds. She
knows things. What she doesn't know exactly is why this
book just isn't as cool as it was with Ryan Sook drawing
it. Dennis Calero seems a competent draftsman, but his storytelling
seems static and posed. Sook captured moving images. However,
Peter David continues capturing moving ideas with his writing,
so X-Factor may still be one of the best books out
Hey, write to us and
let us know what you think, or talk about it on the