Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 05/11/05
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
writer: Warren Ellis
artist: J. H. Williams III
At first glance,
Desolation Jones looks like something out of DC's
attempt to market 2000 A.D. comics to the US. You've got
your pale British hero with a really bad attitude. (For
that matter, you've got your pale British writer with same.)
As the pages go by, the quirky supporting cast fills in,
all also with requisite bad attitude.
But the deeper
this book goes, the more it becomes one of the best of what
the Wildstorm imprint stands for - not just an attitude,
but a view of the world that could be dark and scary if
not for the heroes really trying to make sense out of it
and maybe accidentally protect the rest of us from it.
of the mysterious "Desolation Test" conducted by the British
Secret Service, Jones now lives in Los Angeles. Working
as a private investigator of sorts, the pale, almost Elric-like
man specializes in cleaning up after all the exiled former
government agents roaming the City of Angels.
there are a lot. Various governments have agreed to let
Los Angeles serve as an open prison for former operatives,
particularly those who have undergone procedures and treatments
to make them slightly better (or worse) than human. In LaLa
Land, they might go unnoticed. Heck, they might go unnoticed
anywhere in the United States. One of Jones' cronies has
a stomach that requires sustenance only four times a year.
The drawback is that it must be raw meat in massive quantities.
But in the Midwest, they're used to cattle mutilations.
rears its head as a theme of this work, from the butler
from Brooklyn affecting a British accent to the spoiled
heiresses believing they are the most important things in
their father's life. Then there's the last page, in which
Williams reveals just what it is Jones can see as a result
of his desolation.
Such a motif
fits perfectly with its other loose tie-in. Ellis, long
influenced by the work of Michael Moorcock, has placed this
within The Cornelius Chronicles/Eternal Champion
cycle, as Jones gets his assignments from the so far unseen
"Jeronimus Cornelizoon," a promise of things getting pretty
manages to keep things straightforward, though his macguffin
may give you pause. It seems that Hitler spent the last
days of World War II directing pornography, and the precious
reel has been stolen from a private collector.
Though you might
think that could lead to visions of depravity, both Ellis
and Williams show remarkable restraint. Considering. The
focus here lies squarely on letting us into the mind of
Desolation Jones, while still keeping a few secrets. Haunted
by his past, as any good fictional detective should be,
Jones seems to be wistfully distant from humanity. It's
not that he struggles to reconnect; his experiences may
have made that impossible. But he does have a nobility belied
by his pale exterior.
Of course, I
could be all wrong about that, and Ellis and Williams could
throw me for a huge loop in issue number two. Bring it on.
Surprises and sure storytelling are really all I ask for
when I pick up a new book, and Desolation Jones fits
X #13: We've seen the hostage situation on cop shows
a hundred times before, but by putting it in a mutant context,
David Hine and Lan Medina give it a bit of a fresh twist.
District X may be the best of the X books by virtue
of its excellence and difference from all the rest. This
issue makes a perfect point to check out why we've said
#13: The basic concept behind this book still makes
me itch. And Claremont, who once had renown for his great
characterizations of women, seems to have reduced that ability
to different ways of portraying cattiness. BUT...the last
three pages set up House of M, and in this quiet
exchange between Dr. Strange and Professor X lies hope...for
a decent crossover.
Little Boy Blue continues his one-man war against the Adversary.
We're no closer to knowing who it is but...who cares? Willingham
makes me believe a young man with a horn and a crapload
of magical weapons can restore justice to the outer worlds
The Imperfects #1: Marvel does a videogame crossover
that could be just a cheaply hyped book. But they put Greg
Pak on the writing and the mysterious Renato Arlem on the
art, making for something creepier and more clever than
it deserves to be.
#8: Forget about the subplot ostensibly tying every
issue together. Kirkman finally does something memorable
at Marvel with this teaming of two one-dimensional "heroes"
grappling with their mutual flatness. The Punisher and Blade
glower at a meeting between mobsters and vampires, and though
there's some action, it's the characterization that makes
this worth a look.
#2: Hans: All is forgiven for the Man-Thing film.
This book just creeps me out. Worse (or better for the horror),
if I'm reading this right, it's an almost plausible menace
that our culture unleashed upon itself.
War #1: Yeah, it reveals the ending to the Adam Strange
mini-series, so don't read this until you've read that,
unless you don't care. Hawkman, who now is not actually
Thanagarian, regains his status as a spacefaring hero, along
with Kyle Rayner, thankfully not just swept under
the carpet just because Hal Jordan returned from the dead
to be Green Lantern. DC promises that this will draw new
battlelines for all of their universe's races, which may
be very important as we reach Final Crisis.
#8: Read this BEFORE you read Rann-Thanagar
War #1. I wish I had.
X-Men #10: But you already knew that.
City of Heroes
#1: A new series from Top Cow based on the computer
game. This time, Mark Waid scripts, so it has to be head
and shoulders above the previous comic book series. Maybe
at last we'll understand why Paragon City should by rights
have no civilians at all.
Rebirth #6: Um...you may notice other books in the DCU
that have pretty much shown us the consequences of this
issue. However, it's the telling, not necessarily the tale
itself, that makes it worthwhile. Geoff Johns loves, loves,
loves this character and Ethan Von Sciver has provided incredible
Man With The Screaming Brain #1: Based on a screenplay
by Bruce Campbell, this promises to be stupid silly horror
write to us and let us know what you think, or talk about
it on the forums!