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The Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 05/05/05
brought to you by Brian's Books of Santa Clara

Each 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.

Villains United #1
writer: Gail Simone
artists: Dale Eaglesham and Wade von Grawbadger

A few years ago, Mark Millar pitched a revival of The Secret Society of Super-Villains. Rumor has it he was soundly rebuffed, and that project morphed into Wanted. Clearly, though, in the wake of revelations made in Identity Crisis (wow, this is a lot of referencing), the villains of the DCU would almost have to start organizing.

And so they have.

Luckily, DC also organized a solid creative team to explain it all for you. Gail Simone gathers her villains together under the leadership of, naturally enough, Lex Luthor. By her villains, read all villains, but for six. The revelation from Dr. Light (and one must assume The Top) that the Justice League has been "adjusting" the attitudes of criminals has given the underworld reason enough to gather together into a sort of union.

Being villains, of course, those who would say no really have no choice. And that's where the opposition comes in.

Simone, no doubt with editorial approval, also revives another Silver Age DC property, and set up a new Secret Six. Over the next few months, villains will face off against villains, while still trying to make life miserable for the alleged good guys. If a traditional hero raises his pretty head here, though, it will be a letdown. Even though the Secret Six plans to divide up the world in a similar fashion to the villains in Wanted, they still have a curious nobility and credibility. We can get to the heroes later; we know right now who we want to see win.

As usual, Simone applies a deft touch with characterization. Taking the formerly lame Catman, she drops hints at a terrible change in his life that has upped his danger level considerably. It works because she makes him believable; we have no answers yet as to what happened or how, but neither do the other characters. Instead, Simone gives us subtle but consistent personalities. All right - Dr. Psycho might be over the top, but that's to be expected.

Most of the real action takes place offstage, though artists Eaglesham and von Grawbadger do get a few choice scenes. Actual plot takes precedence, and the art team works well there, too. Like a lot of the art teams in DC's employ right now, they're not necessarily flashy, but they're so solid that the overall effect is dazzling.

As DC heads toward its final Crisis, they keep taking sure steps like this that should guarantee we'll be with them all the way.


Amazing Fantasy #8 I really expected to hate this series as much as I did the one that became Arana. Instead, this new Scorpion has actually been, if not fun, fairly compelling. She has one of the most unfortunate powers ever, and has been thrust right into the heart of the Marvel Universe, and still it works.

Daredevil: Redemption #4 Where it fits in continuity matters not. Why Matt Murdock, accused of being Daredevil, would appear as Daredevil in an out of the way town where Daredevil should not be makes no sense. But every issue of this mini-series has peeled back a new layer of a complex story that doesn't need spandex.

GLA #2 It's amusing, it's sad and it's fun. And unlike the current JLA: Classified, none of it is tainted by the dramatic irony of a bigger continuity making it all ash. Read this.

JSA: The Golden Age TPB This classic mini-series by James Robinson and Paul Smith went a long way to show that the JSA was still a viable concept. Technically it's an Elseworlds tale, but you may not want to believe that.

Matador #1 Brian Stelfreeze doesn't do enough interior work. Devin Grayson writes metahuman crime stories better than most. The combination can't go wrong. Or at least, it doesn't in this first issue.

Power Pack #2 Completely worth buying just for the back-up feature: Franklin Richards, Son of a Genius

Shining Knight #2 Come to think of it, doesn't our modern conception of the superhero really stem from Camelot? Grant Morrison must think so, and he's completely sucked me in. To wit: "...And virtue would vanish from the world." "No. Not while one Knight of Camelot endures." I don't even care that the previous Shining Knight's sword was just used to kill Firestorm. Morrison makes me forget the past and remember why I love it.

Swamp Thing #15 Joshua M. Dysart faced the unenviable task of trying to revive a concept pretty much driven into the ground. Somehow, he has been hitting a stride that looks to carve a nice little corner of the Vertigo-verse, as well as shining some light on the past of the least-remembered cast member: Linda Holland.

Sight Unseen:

Deadworld #1 Zombie books are hot. Thus a classic zombie series returns to the stands.

Lex Luthor: Man of Steel #3: Astounding, astounding mini-series that this week features an appearance from the Dark Knight.

Lone and Level Sands Not quite business as usual for this website, but this historical graphic novel looks interesting. It's from A. David Lewis, the writer of Mortal Coils, who gives comic books an intellectual name.

It's The Same But ...The Same...

Batman: Dark Detective #1 It's not bad but...Silver St. Cloud again? We revisited her when Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers did a Legends of the Dark Knight, and sure, The Joker was cool in their classic run, but...ah, damn, fandom just keeps devouring itself.

Hey, write to us and let us know what you think, or talk about it on the forums!

Derek McCaw

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