week, we take a look at the books coming out and try to pick
out the cream of the crop and, occasionally, alert you to
anything that might have curdled. Maybe we'll tip the balance
for you, in a new feature we're calling the Fanboy Planet
Preview Spotlight, brought to you courtesy of Brian's Books
in Santa Clara, California. You can call them our official
comic book shop, or just point out, as their employee Steve
does, that we simply hang out there waaaaay too much.
And so, for the books coming out on Wednesday, July
Recommendation of the Week:
writer: Mark Waid
artists: F. Leinil Yu and Gerry Alanguilan
week into this new spotlight feature and already I'm breaking
my own rule. Normally, it's my intention to point readers
toward a good first issue, or at least a good jumping on
point in a high quality ongoing series. But this week marks
the final issue of the mini-series that redefines Superman
for a new generation of readers. We may not know who they
are, but they sure get one heck of a Last Son of Krypton.
has artfully taken us from the super-powered farm boy wandering
the world to the confident hero that fully understands and
accepts his role. Moreover, he embraces his heritage in
order to make himself a better man.
full integration is made clear from the cover. With a superb
coloring job, light reflects off of Yu's bold Superman figure
in such a way that on the face, the outline of Clark Kent's
glasses seem to appear. Forget what Tarantino wrote in Kill
Bill and Jules Feiffer wrote in The Great Comic Book
Heroes; today's Superman is Clark Kent. Both
sides make the hero.
down against a supposed army of Kryptonians, Superman wins
back the hearts and minds of the citizens of Metropolis.
But of course, you knew he would. It's the little details
that make this such a great story. Along the way, Waid even
manages to imbue Lex Luthor with an aura of tragedy, one
that Superman himself can see.
Waid has also made Lois into a far more believable foil
for Superman and Clark. Though her brassiness does mean
she needs a red and blue rescue every now and then, she
remains a character with passion about injustices. Many
writers have confused this with harshness, when really,
Lois just wants to do as much of the right thing as possible.
You bet this makes her a fitting wife for Superman. (Or
makes him a fitting husband…)
Jimmy gets a moment or two here. Only Ma and Pa Kent are
missed, but it's likely on purpose so as not to distract
from the struggle with Kryptonian heritage. It might have
been nice to see Superman more overtly reconcile the knowledge
of his biological parents with those who really made him
what he is. If that absence has a moment of a twinge, it's
more than balanced out by a perfect ending.
jump onboard - this week it just means that you'll need
to get some back issues. The effort will be worth it. And
if you can, see that Bryan Singer gets those back issues,
Amazing Spider-Man #510: When Joe Quesada made a flippant
remark about bringing back Gwen Stacey, only one more word
could chill the very bones of fans: clones. Of course J.
Michael Straczynski had a more devastating way to do it.
If the tragic revelation at the end of this issue turns
out to be true, it really will change Spider-Man's life
forever. This is what Mark Millar is trying to do over in
his Marvel Knights Spider-Man, but JMS hit the nail
on the head succinctly and painfully.
X-Men #3: This week and last, other X books that shall
remain nameless, except one was written by a guy whose name
rhymes with Suck Boston, invalidated Grant Morrison's cap
to his revitalization of the venerable franchise. Thanks,
guys. Look over here and you see Joss Whedon once again
acknowledge Morrison and use that work as a springboard
into his own greatness. The Beast scraps with one of his
own again, but this time for good reason. Tensions simmer
between Kitty Pryde and Emma Frost, both historical and
simply personal. And Nick Fury gets to be a bad-ass without
impersonating Samuel L. Jackson. It works.
Avengers #500: Bendis isn't just disassembling the team
to rebuild from the ground up. Through the course of this
issue, he disassembles a couple of members individually.
The sharp work of David Finch renders a couple of gross-out
moments in horrible detail, and it's no wonder that in one
panel, a soldier has to hold down his own gorge rising.
This book has big, little and memorable moments. As it's
also really easy to jump into what's going on, it would
have gotten the spotlight if Birthright hadn't been
just so damned brilliant.
#630: Judd Winick has just been named the regular writer
on this title, no longer an arc-holder. Pick up this book
and you'll see why. He claimed at Comic-Con that Batman
is his favorite superhero, and it shows. The modern-era
Penguin gets the best character definition he has ever had
(with no small help from Dustin Nguyen and Richard Friend),
and just in time for Batman Begins, Winick ups the
ante on The Scarecrow. Then he still finds room to create
a new villain. None of it feels rushed or cramped; instead,
it's some of the best storytelling around.
#8: Why does this book rate a positive mention this
week? Because Jim Muniz and Mark Morales draw a really cool
Namor, with arrogance dripping from every pose he takes.
(Make no mistake, Namor consciously poses, too.) For the
first time, this Marvel Knights take surpasses the mainstream
FF book being released this week as well.
#102: What? That Suck Boston guy gets a mention? You betcha.
His work at Marvel has consistently left me cold, but I warmed
up a little in Action. In everything I've read by Chuck
Austen, it seemed like he sacrificed characterization to make
his plot work. This time, he's created a plot that is all
about characterization. There may be some sort of master
villain orchestrating "The Pain of the Gods," but I really
don't care about that. Instead, I'm caring about superheroes
dealing with the consequences of not actually being omnipotent,
and it's riveting stuff.
Green Lantern #179, with Kyle just killing time until,
perhaps, he gets killed off.
Excalibur #3, a confusing book that only proves that
Claremont loves Magneto too much.
Carnage vs. Venom #1, which should just give in and
be the grotesque horror book it wants to be, but without
the art being quite so horribly grotesque.
and write to us and let us know what you think, or talk
about it on the