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The Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 05/17/06
Page 1 -- Fell #5

Also Out This Week:

52 #2: The experiment itself is grand and ambitious. Even on a weekly basis, though, it feels a bit rushed and unsatisfying, as the storyline splinters every time something gets good. A bit involving Kandor comes out of left field, and raises more questions than it could possibly answer in a couple of pages. That's frustrating storytelling, and the back-up feature, The History of the DC Universe feels even more so. It barely mentions what we really want to know before the dreaded "To Be Continued" pops up. Damn you, DC; I'll see you next week.

Batman Year 100 #4: A series like this, on the other hand, completely ignores continuity. But when Paul Pope sits behind it, that's more than okay. For some strange reason, Pope gets the energy of Batman, and even telling a dystopian tale of 2038 feels like this is a Batman worthy of being The Batman. It ends on a confusing note, and the book would only get my unreserved recommendation if Pope plans on delivering more.

Fear Agent #4: Like fellow Image writer Robert Kirkman, Rick Remender can write in a variety of genres with equal cool facility. As much as I want this guy to have success, I don't want DC or Marvel to ruin him by yoking his voice to something that isn't his. Though the fourth issue, and definitely in the middle of a plotline, Fear Agent #4 gets readers up to speed without being pedantic about it, and every page is a rush. How Remender will get a fifth issue after his ending here, I don't know. But next month, I'll be eager to see.

Jeremiah Harm #3: Keith Giffen seems to have created an intergalactic bad-ass we can all get behind. Not as alien or smart-assed as Lobo, Jeremiah Harm appears human, which makes it hard to catch up to this story playing out on Earth. Though filled with great ideas, Jeremiah Harm #3 does not offer a hand up to those who missed the first two issues. It may leave you cold; it left me lukewarm with a willingness to see where Giffen goes next.

Man-Bat #2: The presence of Hush and Murmur, the most twisted vaudeville team in the DCU, undercuts the attempt to make Man-Bat into a straight up horror character. We know he must be innocent, but Bruce Jones still makes it believable that not even Batman understands that. Rare nice touch: Batman reacting with nauseated horror at the slaughter of the Langstrom family. Not much surprises Batman, but I'll buy that this did.

Retro Rocket #2: Finally, a book that takes the things about manga that makes it cool without slavishly imitating it! This combines the giant robot and mecha genres with some American angles and makes one fun book. It's not earth-shattering, but it is a nice diversion.

Rex Mundi #18: Another book that has had some great critical response but which I'd missed. This week's release actually marks the end of its days at Image, and it may be too complex to jump into here. Instead, catch the trade for a cool alternate history religious conspiracy tale. Really, we don't get enough of those.

Sgt. Rock: The Prophecy #5: Though each issue has had its moment of dealing with the true horrors of World War II, this one focuses on the anti-semitism that made things so easy for the Nazis. Perhaps Kubert could have made his villain a little less piggish, but it's still bracing to see this veteran war title not shy away from the ugly truth.

Shadowpact #1: These mystical heroes can commit acts of incredible sorcerous atrocity. So why does everybody just seem befuddled and amiable when faced with the potential blood sacrifice of hundreds of citizens of a small town? Bill Willingham illustrates his own script here and it's competent, but both art and writing seem at odds with the subject matter. He also trots out an odd and perhaps unnecessary personal "One Year Later" device for the team - taken out of action before they really began.

Talent #1: A plane blows up, sending most of its flaming wreckage into the ocean. Incredibly, one passenger is found alive twelve hours later - underwater and just regaining consciousness. Not even he knows how he survived, but he begins learning that somehow, the other passengers live on through him. I describe the plot here because I want you to see that it's one damned cool idea, executed pretty well. At points the art feels a little muddy, but Talent reads really well, and it has a religious conspiracy angle, too. Let's all forget that code Da Vinci left and move on to something new - like Talent.

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

Derek McCaw

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