Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 05/03/06
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: Peter David
artists: Mike Wieringo and Karl Kesel
the unthinkable happened. While out dining with Jarvis,
Aunt May Parker looked out the window and thought she saw
Ben Parker's death was integral to the origin of a flagship
character. Returning from the grave would be heretical,
and undo much of Spider-Man's motivation.
Yet just as
Ed Brubaker revived Bucky in a way that played fair with
fan's expectations, it looks like Peter David will impress
us before we have a chance to be outraged. In both cases,
color us surprised. But that's not fair to David, who started
on Spider-Man and may be one of the best writers to ever
handle the character. We should trust him.
The story backtracks
a bit, going back to that night Peter Parker walked home
from a television appearance. Outside his home, police cars
gather. Fans know this scene as well as they know a shadowed
Bruce Wayne getting startled and inspired by a bat.
Except no burglar
surprised Uncle Ben. It is instead Ben who comforts Peter
after Aunt May fell dead of a heart attack. From the beginning,
then, Peter admits his powers to his Uncle, who becomes
In some ways,
it's a mirror of the House of M reality that Peter
experienced. This time, Spider-Man remains strictly a personality,
with Peter becoming more seduced by fame. Too bad he turns
his back on Ben before that famous saying can be uttered.
two realities collide, and therein lies David's tale. It
doesn't betray what we know, but it opens up a whole new
can of worms. Would this be the Ben Parker that May loved?
Or can she still find happiness with a fey old superhero
butler? It's to David's credit that we can wonder without
Kesel turn in another sterling art job, handling every moment
with aplomb. Most of this story focuses on everyday moments,
which they do very well. Though cartoony, the combo feels
like it catches fluidity, moments in time and real emotion
as it happens, not just poses.
Where this issue
ends leads to a possibly far-flinging storyline, which seems
potentially convoluted but still fun. And that's what stands
out for this issue (another which barely acknowledges the
Iron Spider-suit) - fun for the readers. The creative team
isn't rewriting history to capture fans' attention; they're
just telling one heck of a good story.
Also in the
Even with so many possible alternate universes, for the
Exiles, dead stays dead. That fact alone makes each team
loss bizarrely moving; it's still hard to recover from the
loss of their Mimic, Calvin Rankin. Writer Tony Bedard hasn't
been afraid to get rid of popular characters, and this issue
proves to be no exception. Anything can happen and will,
which makes for one of Marvel's most quietly powerful books.
#5: The first arc comes to a close, and Simon Moore's
master plan becomes a little clearer. This isn't a book
for everyone, as the constant cockroaches will probably
cause many to skitter. But it's a compelling conspiracy
mystery crossed with out and out horror in a pretty straightforward
way. I smell movie deal…but this comic will definitely be
better than anything Hollywood could do with it.
Dead: Boom! Studios is doing its best to ride/create
a zombie boom in comics, and this "Survivor's Journal" makes
an interesting take on what is essentially a pin-up book.
Unfortunately, the narration actually distracts from some
of the artwork, putting caption boxes where the painting
should just speak for itself. If the journal entries synced
up perfectly (sometimes they fit really well), then it would
be forgivable. But some of the paintings are clearly just
flights of fancy, surrounding the events after a vaguely-defined
"Lazarus Plague." This book isn't for the squeamish, but
it also isn't for anyone looking for a gripping zombie story.
Sure, you can fear the dead, but that doesn't mean you have
to spend extra money looking at pictures of them.
League Unlimited #21: It's hard to know whether
or not we should consider these comics canon, though the
book often spins off events in the animated series. Case
in point: this issue which explores the love triangle among
Vixen, Hawkgirl and a very popular Green Lantern. It doesn't
quite resolve things, but does expand on ideas in "Ancient
History" in a way that makes that ending make sense.
If you love the show and miss it already, keep this book
Redux: I Should Have Been a Blonde: The joke may be
just about played out, but before it is, let's give credit
to two people for successfully squeezing an extra minute
out of it. Frank Cho delivers the best cover yet (though
Kyle Baker's effort was great), a visual gag that's
almost subtle. Almost. Then Peter David rewrites a Patsy
Walker story in a way that sort of nods to her later Marvel
career. It's bizarre, it's silly and yet unlike almost every
other Redux story except the great "President Stripper,"
it remains completely in context. Nice work and just about
worth buying. We're probably better off, though, waiting
for a Redux trade paperback.
Sea of Red
#9: Quite honestly, vampires and pirates are two of
my favorite things. The only thing that could make this
book better would be, perhaps, to include monkeys and the
blonde from Frank Cho's Marvel Romance Redux cover.
Why have I not discovered this book before? It's a little
hard jumping in and getting exactly what's going on, but
it's interesting enough that it makes me want to check out
the back issues and get the full story.
#27: Rumor has it that DC may be canceling this book,
which would be a shame. Joshua M. Dysart and Enrique Breccia
have combined to deliver exactly what this book should have:
thought-provoking horror with a dash of heroism. The return
of an old foe just proves it. Dysart accomplishes it with
cleverness and surprise. Sure, he's not riffing off of Alan
Moore's work; instead, he's trying to do something just
a little bit different and (gasp) uniquely his own. It works.
So check it out.
of the Worlds Second Wave #2: Switching to black and
white has rarely worked so well for a book. The artwork
really pops out in grey tones. What could have been just
an exercise in rehashing the familiar turns into something
new, with consequences from the Martians' first landing
already lending a fatalistic pall to life on Earth. Juxtapose
that with a crumbling marriage and you've got a dramatic
spin that makes this a good read - in two issues more real
connection than last summer's movie.
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