Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 08/17/05
Each 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
I have returned from my "working" vacation
in Los Angeles, and hope we'll see its fruits in the near
future. If not, for the record, I did not sleep with any
Sorry this one was late -- we've been having some internet
Beyond the Farthest Precinct #1
writer: Paul Di Filippo
artist: Jerry Ordway
It's been five
years since the heroes of Top 10 stopped their rogue
other-dimensional commander. In the meantime we've taken
a little side-trip with the giant blue police officer called
Smax, and Alan Moore has decided never to work for a company
even vaguely associated with DC Comics again.
the Farthest Precinct gets a slightly lighter critical
eye than it may deserve, for fear that it is the swansong
of a really great concept. The new creative team still presumably
works under the baleful genius eye of Moore, and once it
closes, we will bid farewell to these brave heroes.
Di Filippo starts
off well. The opening page of a crisis gives the reader
a quick snapshot of most of the main characters, all in
some state of emergency. Except it's actually a picnic,
with the force getting the day off thanks to an extra-dimensional
relief squad. (That squad, by the way, is hilarious.)
Then some robots
in the park start doing a transistorized drug that sparks
a massive horrifying hallucination - or maybe it's an holographic
projection. In either case, you'd think it would cause some
sort of ramifications in the story, but instead Di Filippo
jump cuts to a morning briefing that mentions it off-handedly.
The bigger concern is this new street drug, not the possibility
that some sort of demon looks to be taking over the city.
It's still a
clever series and concept. In Di Filippo's hands, it just
doesn't read as smoothly as the previous mini-series did.
Perhaps the big picture will make it all clearer, and when
Moore's protégés are involved, it's easier to give it the
benefit of the doubt.
And of course,
with Jerry Ordway on art, the small pictures, too, are some
of the best on the stands this week. As is tradition with
this series, every panel teems with detail, and many have
throwaway jokes and references that make this a book you
need to re-read at least once. Those with children may appreciate
the cameo by Swiper from Dora the Explorer.
maintains the high standard set by series co-creator Gene
Ha. Every character lives and breathes, even the samurai
robot Joe Pi.
Beyond the Farthest Precinct makes a good read, with
the promise of more, if not more Moore.
Prey #85: Don't let the cover fool you. Of course Barbara
Gordon won't lose her battle with the Brainiac virus. But
somebody in the story does lose a crucial battle,
and it's a testament to Gail Simone's skill with characterization
that you'll care. Several long-standing plot threads come
together, but it's the easy way that Simone allows you to
see the Birds' importance in the DCU that makes this book
worthwhile, month after month. If only the rest of the DCU
#2: I don't think anybody in the Marvel Universe has
let loose with a hearty "Bwa-ha-HAAAA" but it's only a matter
of time. Giffen and DeMatteis have an uncanny knack for
making the end of the universe be both terrifying and hilarious.
The Hulk finds a new role in life, Dr. Strange and Namor
continue hating each other, and at some point, the Silver
Surfer has got to come in and save everything. But only
after he catches the perfect wave.
Once again, Grant Morrison deftly works his way with the
creepy. Klarion gets a clear origin and a mission that makes
him heroic without necessarily removing the touch of the
psychotic that has marked every previous appearance. How
all these Seven Soldiers will remain unaware of each other
remains to be seen ...or unseen. Missing an issue, however,
is a tragic waste of comic book money.
Speaking of protagonists that have no right to be heroes
but still sort of are, take a look at Lucifer Morningstar.
Mike Carey continues weaving an epic that evidently has
only ten more issues to go. Check it out, then go back and
get some trades. This is Vertigo's current shining star.
Of all the House of M crossover books, this one feels
the freshest. District X didn't have a longstanding
status quo to turn upside down, so writer David Hine instead
gets to use his cast to explore the common man's consequences
in this brave new world. It's chilling, perfectly logical
and cleared of the bombast of, say, the still-interesting
Spider-Man, makes for a neat little story.
House of M #3: And here's another. It's bigger and playing
with what we know and what we think we know. I'm going to
bow to one of our readers and admit I completely misread
a key point of the first issue. With that surprise gone,
Waid has still more, and if indeed our heroes remember what
happened in this Age of M when things return to normal,
things will never be the same.
Journey Into Knight #1 In a move that seems more to
entice creators than readers, Andrew Helfer and Tan Eng
Huat do Year One and a half. It's no worse an idea than
Superman: Birthright, and yet that one really worked
for me from the get-go, while this seems callow. Huat's
art always has a nice rhythm to it, but the story just seems
kind of pointless and worse, over the top. For those who
remember and treasure Frank Miller's writing on Year
One -- and can forget All-Star Batman and Robin
-- there are better ways to spend your money this week.
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