so, for the books coming out on Wednesday, July 21, 2004…
Recommendation of the Week:
writer: Hans Rodionoff
artist: Kyle Hotz
on the Marvel site as a prequel to the upcoming Lions Gate
Entertainment film, I think this may be Rodionoff's first
actual comic book work. From the strength of this issue,
it's safe to say that if the movie sucks, it will not be
the fault of the script.
muck-encrusted swamp beast has had several series, several
jokes about its name, a few strange cross-overs with the
mainstream Marvel Universe and odd continuity laid upon
it in an attempt to somehow make it palatable. (Remember
that Howard The Duck first appeared in this series.) Rodionoff
has stripped it all away, and gotten back to the roots of
the character. (Sorry, it would have caused me too much
pain to skip the pun.)
Man-Thing is almost literally mindless, he makes a terrible
main character. But as a force of nature, lurking on the
edge of your vision, he can be terrifying. In fact, he barely
appears in this issue at all, but his presence seeps through
every page as an insurance claims adjuster tries to get
to the bottom of an apparent act of eco-terrorism.
the surface, that doesn't sound too scary. With Kyle Hotz
on the art, however, it can be. When something, shall we
say, breaks loose in the climax of the first issue, it's
the most gripping comics moment of the week. Not to mention
cover itself hints at it, with the glowering red eyes from
a tangle of branches, roots and fungi. Actually, the cover
as released shows less than the version we've got for art
here; the full thing proves that Hotz is having fun working
Man-Thing into the scenery. The approach has been taken
before with both Marvel and DC's swamp creatures, but when
done well, it's always cool. Hotz is a worthy successor
to guys like Val Mayerik, Berni Wrightson and Tom Yeates.
Rodionoff has yet to reveal exactly what Man-Thing's new
role actually is, he has set up the tension so well that
it will hook you for the whole ride. Hopefully, that will
carry over into the film. There are no Nexii of All Realities
buried in this swamp, no sorcerers, no ducks and not even
any "those who know fear BURN at the Man-Thing's touch."
Instead, there's just horror, building slowly and paying
Runners-Up in alphabetical order:
of Prey #70: DC has so much faith in Gail Simone's
work that they're giving this book a bi-weekly summer run.
Unfortunately, that also means that we only get Ed Benes'
art every other issue. Reading this reminded me of the old
Robin Williams line about a woman president - she wouldn't
bomb another country, she would just make it feel really
bad. Here, Oracle has found a very creative punishment for
a would-be archfoe that you would never believe Batman trying.
Plus, Simone makes Vixen interesting. Who'd a thunk it?
#62: Bendis has injected a bit of international
intrigue to this book with a plotline that is the all more
astounding for nobody having thought of it before. But that's
Bendis. However, since it is steeped in continuity, if you're
not reading this excellent book already, you might get a
Machina #2: Not as strong as the first issue, which
had one of the most devastating, emotionally confusing last
pages I've ever read. If you didn't read the first issue,
the appearance here of this recommendation really means
GO OUT AND GET THE FIRST ISSUE! The conflict here is definitely
not your typical superhero drag-out; how do you fight censorship?
Flash #212: Geoff Johns finally fills in a blank
of Flash continuity by providing an origin for the second
Mirror Master. Filled with action, pathos and Johns' usual
great characterization, this fits the spotlight criteria
of being an easy jump-on point and a great read. Another
week, it would have taken the number one spot.
League Elite #1: A great concept that has yet to
quite gel. At least Joe Casey has firmly set this apart
from The Authority. And Doug Mahnke's art is great.
We'll get into this one a little later this week.
#52: The former Prince of Darkness struggles with
that pesky Ragnarok, but in a much more grotesque fashion
than Thor ever faces. Despite this being the second part
of a four-parter, writer Mike Carey makes it pretty easy
to catch on to what is going on. I don't follow this book,
but now I'm interested in reading the trades.
X #26: Surprise. Of the twenty Marvel books featuring
Wolverine this week alone, the one with the least right
to exist actually has a pretty suspenseful take on the "black
ops" side of the mutant world. It's a jump on book, so knowing
what has gone before doesn't really matter. And again, considering
how much contradictory Marvel Mutant Fun goes on in other
books this week alone, it really doesn't matter.
Focusing on both Sabretooth and Mister Sinister both trying
to keep low profiles, the book really runs along, despite
several lapses in logic and design. It acknowledges a more
colorful existence for both characters and then tries to
deny it. But Tom Mandrake and Brent Anderson make for an
incredibly strong art team, canceling out each other's weaknesses.
if you're not into them already: Anything else
X, Guardians #1.
again, thanks to Brian's Books, 2767 El Camino Real in Santa
Clara, California. If you're in the Bay Area, check it out,
where you'll find a great selection of comics, trades, toys,
statues and cards, plus the Fanboy Planet Spotlight Book
in a place of honor on the wall. Well, maybe not so much
"honor" as they've agreed to put it up there anyway.
and write to us and let us know what you think, or talk
about it on the