Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 05/17/05
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: Brian K. Vaughan
artists: Tony Harris, Tom Feister and Karl Story
first page splashes broken glass and blood, as "The Great
Machine" begs flesh and bone to defy gravity. Unfortunately
for the hero, his powers only work on the mechanical. Yet
his desperate flight continues onto the second page, rushing
and praying that he can save a plummeting woman.
Harris' second page pulls back to reveal more falling bodies,
and this is no doubt the moment of The Great Machine's greatest
triumph and greatest failure. It's a moment that haunts
us in the real world, too, for it takes place on September
11, 2001. On that day, Mitchell Hundred prevented the collapse
of the second tower. Still, hundreds lost their lives, and
that weight follows him with every step of his new life
as a politician.
portrayed with a faraway look in his eyes, it's hard to
tell if his power or his failure keeps him distant from
his constituents and co-workers. That dissonance while struggling
to be a politician actually true to his beliefs makes the
protagonist of Ex Machina compelling month after
month. And if you haven't read this book yet, Brian K. Vaughan
offers a jumping on point that briefly recaps the driving
forces of this book while offering a vignette that only
sharpens longtime readers' view of Mitchell Hundred.
on cleaning up the city, but honest about it being a political
move, Mayor Hundred targets...what? Hookers? Peep shows?
Nope. Hundred takes on the fortune tellers. Opponents argue
that they're only fleecing tourists, but the Mayor points
out that tourists are what will save New York City's economy.
may sound like dry stuff to the casual reader, but it's
not, because Vaughan does not limit this book to policy
debates. Every political issue ends up having an echo in
in point: a low-level City Hall employee has a powerful
argument against shutting down the fortune tellers, for
one warned her of 9/11. It could be superstitious claptrap,
and of course the reader is welcome to think either way.
However, a key component of Hundred's character is an insistence
on weighing all the evidence for himself, and his personal
investigation only leads him to more questions.
issue of this book has provided food for thought. Conservative,
liberal, somewhere in between - Vaughan invites you all
to think. You can agree or disagree, and indeed, sometimes
Mayor Hundred is full of crap. But Vaughan also makes it
clear why he thinks the way he does, and he also intersperses
the poking of your brain with suspense and occasional action.
central mystery of Hundred's life remains. What actually
gave him his powers? Is that something going to create more?
Some answers came in the last arc, but it may still be a
while before all will be revealed.
us in hoping that it's still a good long while.
#2: Though it may defy a bit of Marvel continuity -
but what Marvel book doesn't these days? -- Hercules
takes the uneasy mix of demigod and standard superhero fare
and points out just how ridiculous it is. Yet as writer
Frank Tieri points out, so were the ancient Greek myths.
Blending it all together creates a somewhat satirical book
that castigates our culture while still defending our need
for heroes, even when our hero is an egotistical alcoholic
Lion of Olympus.
Classified #7: The first half is full of the hijinks
you've come to expect, and some confusing dialogue from
Etrigan. Somehow, the plot is much thicker than the creative
team wants to let on, and just as you start pondering that,
they throw in devastating heartbreak without it seeming
exploitative. It's great to see Kevin Maguire stretching
himself with the range of expressiveness in his art; oh,
heck, it's just great to see Kevin Maguire working.
#62: Even if you haven't been reading all along and
understand all the backstory and machinations of Heaven,
Hell and the former ruler of the latter, this issue makes
for a neat stand-alone story. Be warned, though: this harsh
examination of morality may just sucker you into scouring
the stands for trades and back issues.
#217: Ed Benes debuts on the Man of Steel, and for those
who have been drooling over his work on Birds of Prey,
it's about damned time. New writer Mark Verheiden takes
a close look at the new Fortress of Solitude, and starts
unraveling what makes Superman tick for him.
Avengers #4: I could write something really pretentious,
but I can't come up with a reason why I like this book any
more profound than - it's just fun. Every issue has been
fun. Keep it up, Marvel.
#16: Kurt Busiek and Cary Nord start a new arc this
issue, and their collaborations so far have made this an
incredible book even for those that don't like barbarian
From Blue #10: It's been a long time coming, but Second
2 Some Studios' breakthrough title finally reaches the end
of its story. It's either a woman's book that guys won't
mind reading or a guys' book for women. Split the difference
and just buy the danged thing.
Goon #12: I'm just a-gonna keep recommendin' this title
until you chuckleheads start buyin' it.
write to us and let us know what you think, or talk about
it on the forums!