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The Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 08/24/05
brought to you by Brian's Books of Santa Clara

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.

Daredevil #76
writer: Brian Michael Bendis
artist: Alex Maleev

This time we mean it. A classic run is coming to a close. True to form, Bendis and Maleev build it to a slow boil.

After a brief but powerful detour into the supernatural with "Decalogue," Bendis returns to the realistic crime drama that brought him to fame in the first place. Violence happens around the main players, but that's not his focus. Instead, this is about the lives of Bendis' cast, and the consequences of the violence that has surrounded them from the beginning.

Tense and uneasy, Ben Urich is believably a writer ready to get out of the game. For two pages, he unloads his life to the reader as he prepares to enter Leavenworth Prison. Not for his crimes, but to visit.

Few creative teams have as strong a grip on silence as Bendis and Maleev. The third page radiates shock from Urich without saying a thing; even if you aren't shocked by what he sees, the tone is just perfect. Then the book shifts over to Daredevil stopping a heist.

Even though that heist is the only action this issue, and it serves Bendis' overall purpose quite well, the book just tears along.

This feels like the grim and gritty Daredevil movie we will never get to see. Maleev keeps the physical impossibilities of the superhero to a minimum, and Bendis writes accordingly. For 21 pages or so, this feels real.

No supervillains run wild in the streets. No demons try to tempt Matt Murdock, except as always his inner ones. Instead, it's just consequences to things set in motion years ago.

As Bendis promised, he's also honoring a time-honored tradition in comics. If this arc plays out as I think it will, the new creative team of Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark will have one heck of a challenge getting Daredevil out of trouble.

For them it's a challenge. For us, it's just good comics.


Fantastic Four #530: Oh, I still miss Mark Waid, grateful for having made me care about the Fantastic Four for the first time since I was a kid. But J. Michael Straczynski has kept me hooked, at least until such time as he reveals that Franklin is actually Namor's child from when he slipped Sue an Atlantean roofie. While this issue doesn't exactly turn the FF's origin on its ear, it does add a richness to it that doesn't actually sully the work done before. See? He can do it.

Jack Cross #1: When I say this is an ugly book, I mean that as a compliment. Jack Cross does ugly things. Some might say he does necessary things. Warren Ellis might say just buy this book because it's doing something different, and even if you don't agree with what's going on, it's at least trying to say something.

John Constantine, Hellblazer #211: There's one panel in this issue that so perfectly encapsulates John Constantine that I want to have it turned into a beautiful sculpture that I can raise up in glory. Then smash down on the head of whoever cast Keanu Reeves.

JSA Classified #2: Truly the most fun story I read this week, catering to old-time fanboys while keeping new readers interested. It's the second part of a story that will have a heck of a lot to do with the upcoming Crisis, and if I were you, I'd walk into Brian's Books or, if you're in L.A., Earth-2 Comics and ask for Grant Morrison's Animal Man trades and the JSA arc where they faced Per Degaton. Geoff Johns has been planting seeds for a while, and as he did in Green Lantern: Rebirth, he's masterfully tightening up continuity loopholes.

Megamorphs #2 This is unabashedly stupid. BUT...it doesn't pretend to be anything more than a toy tie-in to get the kids interested, and it brings back a magnificent Marvel guest-star that actually made his (its?) debut in the pages of Marvel's Godzilla: King of the Monsters. For pulling such a geek move, I'd say give it a look.

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

Derek McCaw

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