Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 06/15/05
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
of Prey #83
writer: Gail Simone
artists: Joe Bennett and Jack Jadson
In all honesty,
the best comic book you could possibly read this week is
Batman Begins. No, I don't mean the comic book adaptation,
though I'm sure a lot of love went into it; if you have
ten bucks to drop, it should be in your local cinema.
But you're a
comic book reader. You have slightly more than ten bucks,
and you need to ride the pulp pony. So pick up this Bat-book
that actually doesn't have Batman in it at all, rarely does,
in fact, and never needs to. What Birds of Prey does
have is some of the best writing and deepest characterization
on the stands. If that intellectual appeal doesn't work
for you, try great action and strong women (in all senses
of the phrase) kicking butt.
issue covers the middle of a complex storyline, Gail Simone
knows how to keep new readers up to speed. Good thing, too,
because no doubt many will be attracted by the huge "The
OMAC Project Tie-in" logo on the cover. Unlike many such
tie-ins, Birds of Prey really does have something
integral to the overall scheme of things. In fact, Simone
had been planting seeds for that mini-series for months
Due to a confrontation
with Brainiac 13, Barbara Gordon, aka Oracle, has gained
the ability to literally surf the web with her mind. On
one such trip, she encountered the satellite we would come
to know as Brother I, and in this issue, it takes steps
to ensure Oracle will never find it again.
The sweep of
Birds of Prey, however, is so great that that's less
than a third of the action. Meanwhile, Black Canary and
Wildcat have been undercover trying to keep a drug ring
from pumping its poison into Gotham City. Possibly working
against them? Former affiliate of the Birds of Prey (I'm
really not sure they call themselves that) The Huntress,
who has set herself up to reclaim her birthright as ...mob
boss of Gotham City.
It isn't all
tying together yet, but no doubt Simone intends it to. Her
entire run has proven that she will do it skillfully as
The book has
recently had a change of art teams, with Simone's original
collaborator Ed Benes getting a promotion (?) to one of
the Superman books. New artists Bennett and Jadson do not
work in quite as many pin-up shots as Benes did, but this
seems more appropriate. With the possible exception of The
Huntress and her ab-displaying costume, the Birds of Prey
wouldn't sit still for being thought of as objects. Even
Huntress would only allow it for about a minute before she
kicked you in your fanboys.
League Unlimited putting so much attention on both Black
Canary and Huntress, this book was bound to get a higher
profile anyway, undoing any damage from the live-action
series. Catch it now while the recent issues are still relatively
inexpensive. Birds of Prey is one of the best books
DC has, and more and more people are figuring that out.
#74: Though the thematic elements of doing a Decalogue
haven't been the most overt in this arc, Bendis and Maleev
have still been managing to top themselves. Considering
how powerful all their work on this book has been, that's
saying something. Putting a bit of focus on Matt Murdock's
marriage, the story takes a surprising turn that, needless
to say, has me on edge for the next issue.
There's something deceptively good about a writer that can
present us with a joke character like Squirrel Girl and
still make us think her effective as a crimefighter, even
as we laugh. Unfortunately, her sidekick Monkey Joe may
not have as high an opinion of Dan Slott after this issue.
You should, though.
Um, ew. Gray and Palmiotti do something with Hawkman that
I never thought I'd see and never really hoped to see. Really.
But I'm still hooked as they put their own spin on the mythos
that Geoff Johns tried to straighten out. It may be about
to get more complicated, but considering that Hawkman may
be very integral to the coming Crisis, this book bears reading.
#3: Hercules redoes his legendary Twelve Labors for
a reality show. So far, this book has walked a fine line
between being an interesting adventure and low comedy. It
helps that Frank Tieri does remember that though Hercules
is a drunken idiot, emphasis apparently on idiot, he is
still a hero.
The Witch Boy #2: The Seven Soldiers Saga continues with
this creepy title that brings a few different elements into
focus. As his bigger picture unfolds, Grant Morrison still
remembers that he has to build great characters.
Knights 4 #19: Every run on the Fantastic Four has to
include an Inhumans story. Though this territory has been
covered before, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa looks to be bringing
in ties to real world concerns in a way that earlier writers
haven't. The art, too, looks great.
#3: This book just creeps me out.
#461: Claremont makes a fairly coherent attempt to fit
this super-team in the larger scheme of the X-books. To
do it, he has to bring back the X-Babies and Mojo, but that's
okay. This issue is fun and surprisingly accessible, and
something about the cover makes me think that Claremont
wants to remind us all that yes, ahem, this book
is really the ultimate X-Men.
#3: This quirky mini-series comes to the kind of end
that Morrison only occasionally accomplishes: satisfying.
His rides are always worthwhile, but they still often lead
to headscratching. Not so here. Vimanarama has been
bold, unique and even sweet. Somehow I don't think I'll
ever be saying that about Klarion.
write to us and let us know what you think, or talk about
it on the forums!