Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 07/06/05
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
Incredible Hulk #83
writer: Peter David
artist: Jorge Lucas
It has long
been rumored that Peter David really, really hates to get
caught up in company-wide crossovers. Allegedly the straw
that broke his camel's back the last time he wrote Hulk
was having the character be the center of Heroes Reborn.
Yeah, we all know how well that crossover worked out, so
it's really understandable - if it's true.
and yet when a writer of David's caliber puts his mind to
it, he can make his corner of a company-wide event into
such a strong statement that casual readers might just stay.
So it is with The Incredible Hulk #83, one small
piece of the huge event that is Marvel's House of M.
Trapped in a
world completely rewired by the mentally unstable Scarlet
Witch, heroes and villains no longer have their clear-cut
place. Why, under Magneto's rule, Bruce Banner would still
have developed the Gamma Bomb that transformed him into
Hulk is unclear; it's quite possible that the Scarlet Witch
transforms reality but still clings to certain tropes. (There
- I'm bucking for a no-prize.) What's important is that
even in this mutant dominated world, Banner searches for
peace with his altered ego.
To do that,
he has traveled to Australia and worked hard to be accepted
by its aboriginal peoples. Perhaps because Magneto recognizes
or remembers the aboriginal X-Man Gateway, the True People
are to be left alone by man and mutant. There Banner becomes
"Two Minds," finding his totem and hopefully, the secret
to his selves.
the war outside must intrude, or really, we would have no
story save for an interesting philosophical meditation.
Those don't sell books.
In this reality,
A.I.M. has become an organization we can actually empathize
with, seeking to redress cruel bigotries toward normal humans.
Thus David even uses the new Scorpion; whether on editorial
insistence or not, her presence comes as a surprise but
it works. Marvel will push its Next on us, but they also
keep handling the characters well. Somebody out there must
But don't pick
this up just because it features a "hot new character" and
ties into a much bigger story. Instead, focus on how well
it ties in to David's bigger picture with the Hulk. Constantly
at war with himself, Banner receives a totem animal that
fits him perfectly, if you ponder David's rationale for
it. Interestingly, too, in this reality Banner has the shaved
head that leads me to believe Xavier is reaching out to
restore the way things should be; the tragedy of the Hulk
lies in just how heroic and strong (in a noble way) he never
allows himself to be.
return to this title he has worked with a variety of artists,
each one bringing a very different look to the book but
always meshing well. This issue, Jorge Lucas illustrates.
His inking suffers from a little blockiness, but with coloring
by Javi Montes, the art looks like it could easily move
off the page and into a much better animated series than
Hulk last had.
entry in House of M has been interesting, though
it occasionally suffers from editorial problems, such as
being unclear on whether or not Johnny Storm is dead. But
this installment stands out for fitting in so well with
the regular rhythm of the title.
#10: Okay, I'm getting the message: every one of Marvel's
"Next" characters has been a teen-aged girl. So, girls,
would you please put down the Fruits Basket and pick
up an issue of Amazing Fantasy? Thank you. This issue
not only continues the surprisingly well-done adventures
of the new Scorpion, it also provides a bonus adventure
for Nina Price, Vampire By Night. That feature doesn't
start out quite so strongly, but it has room to grow, featuring
a vaguely Paris Hilton-like character cursed to be a bloodsucker.
Or is that the real thing?
Four: House of M #1: Just in time for movie-goers to
rush into comic book stores and be utterly confused, welcome
to an alternate reality in which the Four are not Fantastic
at all, but Fearsome. Led by Victor Von Doom in a strange
throwback to Marvel Super-Villain Team-up, the Four
are now enforcers for Magneto's will. They take care of
the dirty work that Erik Lensherr would rather not acknowledge
must be done. World domination can be messy, especially
when Doom works at it. In this book, Johnny Storm is dead,
but in Iron
Man: House of M #1, he lives. Go figure.
#33: Is this Ed Brubaker's DC swan song? If so, it's
a good one. Though a similar plotline ran in Birds of
Prey last summer, Brubaker and Greg Rucka have a very
different intention. A dead Robin has been found in an alley
in Gotham City, and of course the number one suspect has
to be Batman. But how can the ordinary cops of the GCPD
even be sure this actually is the Boy Wonder? Or
does Batman have a whole army of them? Every time this series
touches on the Dark Knight, it turns our view inside out
with refreshing consequences. And even though I don't believe
the cliffhanger, it still makes for a great shock.
#10: I haven't really understood Robert Kirkman's purpose
with the last few issues, nor does this one get any better
on that count. But he really has been having fun with the
Marvel Universe, and it's infectious. Sort of like the zombie
plague in his superior The Walking Dead. Each issue
has two short interlocking stories that ...well, add up
to a big joke on Sleepwalker, I guess. Still, it's been
strangely worth reading.
Brian Stelfreeze just does not do enough interior work.
Every issue has an abrupt start and stop, but dang, it's
good. Devin Grayson has created a tough, realistic protagonist
faced with opposition both explainable and, in the Matador,
completely out of the realm of sense. Stick with this one
to see where it goes.
#17: About the only comic writing assignment more thankless
than trying to revive Swamp Thing would be to attempt
a sequel to Watchmen. But Joshua M. Dysart has been
taking Swampie into new territory, and with Enrique Breccia
not quite made it disgusting but definitely tapped undiscovered
wells of horror.
Detectives Digest: I have mixed emotions about taking
established properties and forcing them into the sheep's
clothing of manga, but the Dead Boy Detectives has always
been a cool and underused concept. So, hey, whatever it
the She-Devil #6: Damn Frank Cho. He makes me feel so
write to us and let us know what you think, or talk about
it on the forums!