HOME ABOUT SUPPORT US SITES WE LIKE FORUM Search Fanboyplanet.com | Powered by Freefind FANBOY PLANET
Comics Today's Date:

The Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 8/23/04
brought to you by Brian's Books of Santa Clara

Once again this week, we had trouble getting a look at DC's books ahead of time. So you'll find at the end of this column recommendations "sight unseen," that is, some releases we're willing to gamble on and the reasons for that wager. For now, that's where the DC books go. Better luck next week.

Top Recommendation of the Week:

The Amazing Spider-Man #511
writer: J. Michael Straczynski
artists: Mike Deodato and Joe Pimentel

Even though this issue falls in the middle of a story arc, it's still one of the best reads you're likely to have this week. Not only does it justify its "shocking" cover, within the first couple of pages, it gets you up to speed without laboriously summarizing what had gone before. At least, much less laboriously than the praise in this paragraph.

Despite what the cover might have you thinking, Gwen Stacy has not returned to this universe, or the Ultimate one. But her ghost does still haunt Peter (and by extension Mary Jane), enough to wring a good moment or two of soul-searching out of a Spider-Man story every couple of years. Straczynski, however, has taken it a step further.

Evidently Gwen and Peter had a missing period just before her death, when Gwen traveled to Paris. (Hey - it's just like Smallville!) In that time, a secret arose, one that Peter himself didn't really know about until just a couple of issues ago.

Page one makes that secret clear, and it torments Peter emotionally and physically. You see, that secret is twins - twins that have grown up way too fast and seek revenge on the man they think is their father.

You might think that such a plot twist sullies that innocent Silver Age relationship, but JMS also makes it clear that that innocence remains. There's still a secret or two to be revealed, but now is an excellent time to jump on while there's a bit of mystery left.

Let my speculation point toward The Jackal. Preferably, a plan that he put into motion before the first or second of his deaths. Right now, this arc looks like a loose take on the infamous Clone Saga, but this time around, they know where they're going, and it's not just being played for shock value. If the revelation of Gwen having been pregnant turns out to be true - and the last panel of this issue would seem to prove it - then this gives a subtext to the whole relationship. Or at least the Romita years of Amazing Spider-Man.

A shame, then, that Romita's son has left the book for the nonce. However, having Deodato on the title should give you another reason to buy it. One of the most solid artists out there, he lends a muscular style to the book. It's not better than Romita, Jr, but it is different, and it's a little shot in the arm for what has been a consistently great read for years, but could use the attention.

This marks the second week in a row that we recommend a book which had its day a while ago. Don't forget titles like Amazing Spider-Man, that have managed to be good, and often great, for a long time.


The Incredible Hulk #76: Bruce Jones finishes up his long paranoid take on Hulk with a bang-up confrontation that offers a couple of things you may never have seen before. The Leader has jumped up a notch on the disgusting scale, but as it all comes together, it's a scheme that makes perfect sense. This writer's farewell isn't as elegiac as when Peter David left the book, but it still offers a good launching pad for whoever will follow. I'm not sure I buy into all of the characterizations, but then, that just means that people will be debating it for a while.

Marvel Knights 4 #9: Some of this issue is exactly what critics feared it would be ahead of time: a sitcom, too clever for its own good. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa betrays his reputation as a snarky off-Broadway playwright, especially with his portrayal of The Watcher as a bored smart-ass. But once he gets past that, this settles into a tiny human drama that is really very moving. Even Namor almost redeems his arrogance.

X-Statix #26: This issue marks the last for the most experimental, and hence often unlikeable, of the X titles. But it was always at least interesting. Milligan and Allred explored the hazards of fame among mutants and created a team of characters that often fell far short of the heroes we were used to seeing. Naturally, this book couldn't last. Say goodbye to it by checking out this standalone issue that wraps everything up, but I hope not for ever.

Sight Unseen:

Conan #7: A new story arc begins with this issue. If you're not already buying this excellent revival, start now. Even if you think you don't like Conan - Kurt Busiek will convince you otherwise.

Legion #38: Gail Simone continues her short run to wrap-up this version of the venerable series. Once again, she proves herself one of the best writers around, making odd and, yes, lame characters suddenly seem cool. Look behind the latest issue to get the previous two that Simone wrote.

Ultimate Elektra #1: This time scheduled early enough so the trade paperback will leisurely make its way into stores in time for the movie. Never mind that - just remember that so far, the Ultimate universe has not disappointed.

We 3 #1: More madness from Grant Morrison, involving animals with weapons. One thing you've got to admit about Morrison: he always strives to make your head hurt in a good way.

Hey, and write to us and let us know what you think, or talk about it on the forums!

Derek McCaw

Our Friends:

Official PayPal Seal

Copyrights and trademarks for existing entertainment (film, TV, comics, wrestling) properties are held by their respective owners and are used with permission or for promotional purposes of said properties. All other content ™ and © 2001, 2014 by Fanboy Planet™.
"The Fanboy Planet red planet logo is a trademark of Fanboy Planetâ„¢
If you want to quote us, let us know. We're media whores.
Movies | Comics | Wrestling | OnTV | Guest | Forums | About Us | Sites