Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 8/09/04
brought to you by Brian's Books of Santa
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.
I remind you that until Tuesday, August 17,
if you mention the code words "Doctor Light,"
Brian's Books will give you 15% off of all DC hardcovers.
Recommendation of the Week:
writer: Bill Willingham
artists: Tony Akins and Jimmy Palmiotti
The Adversary nearly destroyed Fabletown last issue, you'd
think that the story would go full throttle toward taking
the war back. Instead, Willingham chooses to go back to
The War, The Big One, Dubya Dubya Two, accomplishing two
regular readers get to be forced to stretch out their speculations
over a couple more months as to who exactly The Adversary
is (my money: Gepetto). Always importantly, the second accomplishment
is a change of pace that could pick up some new readers
who wonder how someone can write something like "Gepetto
is The Adversary" in all seriousness.
you newbies (and I welcome you), Fables is the flip
side of Shrek, putting beloved fairy tale characters,
myths and legends into modern day New York, where they have
hidden for centuries after all their homelands have been
conquered. Normally hidden, let us say, for in this World
War Two tale, Willingham makes it clear that a few "mundandes"
have stumbled across the secrets of one Bigby (or Big B.)
Wolf. It makes sense that this nominal villain of fairy
tales, clearly a hero in Fables, would not stomach
an Earthly dictator grasping across Europe for the world.
has laid it out like a standard war comic. Duffy, an old
veteran, entertains the still youthful Bigby in his parlor,
reminiscing about the bond they shared on the battlefield
and handing over his scrapbooks before he dies. Akins and
Palmiotti illustrate the scene warmly, with Bigby looking
a bit like Bruce Willis in jaunty mode, and make a subtle
nod to why fables shouldn't mix with mundanes. Though Duffy
gives Bigby a verbal slap on the nose for it, it clearly
pains the Wolf to see his old friend old and dying.
scene shifts back, as a cast of characters (with real character)
take shape behind enemy lines. How Bigby got selected for
this mission waits to be revealed in a later issue; for
now, Willingham strikes a balance between the tension of
a platoon trying not to be captured by the Nazis and their
slow realization that this "civilian" in a natty white suit
is not quite human.
on its own, this issue works as a wartime horror story,
so new readers have no need to worry about what came before.
(Though we do recommend the trade paperbacks.) Suspenseful,
cleanly drawn and well told, Fables #28 also draws
a natural conclusion for longtime readers. If the characters
we've come to know and love over the past 27 issues (and
a special) exist in this world, why not other darker literary
this question throws a whole monkey wrench in the identity
of The Adversary, but for now, we don't have to care. Instead,
we've got a ripping good yarn to read, and that's worth
Comics #818 It's exactly what the title implies. Big,
bold action with Superman cutting back on being the smart
alec of previous issues and being a hero. Yes, two weeks
in a row I recommend a Chuck Austen book. I feel so dirty.
Don't worry, I bag on Rob Liefeld later, so I haven't completely
sold out. This isn't a fantastic book, but it's a solid
one, and right now of all the Superman titles, Action
is proving the most enjoyable. Go figure.
of the Unknown #3 The first two issues were so steeped
in conspiracy and confusion as to be, well, challenging.
This was indeed Howard Chaykin's intent, and it finally
gels with this issue. The paranoid worldview disturbs me,
as it should, but these are finally Challengers that you
can understand, even if their name is rather quaint. And
Chaykin does it all without invalidating the previous team.
Incredible Hulk #75 Evidently the reputation this book
has for keeping The Hulk in the shadows no longer applies.
Though it climaxes a long-running arc, all the characters
seem to be as in the dark as any reader might be, so we
all have the same learning curve. Eventually, you'll get
up to speed, and Darick Robertson draws a very disturbing
Leader. Sometimes that's enough.
Invincible Iron Man #87/432 Direct tie-in to Avengers
#500, with enough back information filled in so as not
to lose new readers picking it up. Tony Harris, Dan Feister
and Charles Wallace draw a Tony Stark who may not actually
be handsome, but definitely has charisma. And this book
seems to be doing a good job of trying to put realistic
consequences of having a major businessman and politician
occasionally run around in armor. Thank heavens we don't
have that in real life.
Knights Spider-Man #5 Even if Mark Millar hadn't finally
done something a little new and different with old themes
this issue, this book would be worth it for one thing: Frank
Cho on art. Better yet, Frank Cho getting to draw both Mary
Jane and Felicia Hardy, bringing them both back up to supermodel
status. No, we still love Terry Dodson for this sort of
thing, but Cho has a certain something that is both classic
and modern. Oh, yeah, Venom enters the picture, but Millar
doesn't beat us over the head with it. Instead, Peter Parker
meets the enemy and they is us.
Spectacular Spider-Man #18 with a plotline
that sullies Captain America, and doesn't just make Mary
Jane look stupid, but like a raving bee-yatch. She forces
Peter to attend a wedding while he's suffering a physical
transformation that is adding appendages and eyes to his
body. And for saying "I've never turned into a spider before,"
Peter should be beaten with a memory stick, since such previous
transformations have been at least memorable enough to warrant
individual action figures. How is it tied in to Avengers
Disassembled? I guess because Nick Fury and Captain
America both appear, and it sure makes Bendis look like
an even more brilliant writer in comparison.
#1 Liefeld ! Liefeld! Liefeld! That alone will
either make someone automatically buy this book or try to
keep someone from buying this book. Those in the former
category, please, please, please attempt to explain to me
why. It's already a week and a decade late, which doesn't
bode well even for fans. Oh, yeah, Fabian Nicieza does a
nice job writing away his dignity.
and write to us and let us know what you think, or talk
about it on the