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The Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 09/21/05
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.

Mister Miracle #1
writer: Grant Morrison
artist: Pascual Ferry

Already the internet has buzzed with the loss of Pascual Ferry from this series. Whatever the reason, it is a shame, because Ferry has a dynamic and unique style that Grant Morrison really knows how to write for.

Do not mourn yet, for Ferry has delivered an incredible first issue. For me to talk about the artist before the writer means that it's something really special. Part of that comes from superb coloring by Dave McCaig as well, but really, Ferry has a great sense of design.

He shifts subtly between the fantastic and the mundane. If you read through it a second time, you'll see where reality slowly waxes and wanes for Shiloh Norman, a mortal man caught between Earth and Apokolips.

Of course, every mini-series in this Seven Soldiers of Victory cycle has been excellent and wildly different. What makes this one memorable is that Morrison may be the first writer to substantially tweak Kirby's Fourth World mythos in a way that really brings it to a more modern sensibility. The basic concepts still show respect for the King's work, but the changes wrought here are more than just cosmetic. Our idea of cosmic has grown, and Morrison reflects that.

I don't mean that he's moved the story along; other writers have done that. But Motherbox is suddenly a more active character in her own right, and Morrison posits New Gods that are far more alien than we might have previously thought. Our tiny minds perceive them as anthropomorphic, but each of our tiny minds also perceive them differently.

Even though Shiloh Norman wears the mantle of Mister Miracle, and got it from Scott Free, he still doesn't quite accept its theological implications. In this series, he isn't just saving the world; Shiloh will have to redefine his reality.

And that's after he escapes from a black hole in the first four pages.

Morrison noted that stunt at the beginning of The Manhattan Guardian #1, which means that these series are a little more tightly bound than the ad copy promised. It's not so much that it gets in the way of enjoying everything, but then again, I'm also still reading everything so I may not be noticing the questions that a casual reader might raise.

Who should read this? If you're one of those old guard that cling to the genius of Jack Kirby, please join this crowd and have your hackles raised. Then calm down and realize that Kirby would likely have approved these additions to his mythos - because Morrison feels duty bound to stretch our imaginations.

While I have really enjoyed all the Infinite Crisis countdown stuff, I'm going to come clean: Seven Soldiers of Victory is really the project that superhero comics are all about.


Birds of Prey #86: After a special, a mini-series, a TV series and 86 issues of an ongoing, the Birds of Prey actually become the Birds of Prey. Yes, it occurred to Gail Simone that they didn't actually have that as a team name. Thanks to Lady Blackhawk, now they do. And that's just one small detail of the latest issue of one of the best books on the market. Must I praise more?

Captain America #10: This may be the first time that Jesse Delperdang's inks have agreed with me. But that's not why this is worth reading. It's also one book in th House of M event that actually bothers explaining just how history differed for one character. Not, I suspect, that any two writers would agree on this concept. It's a fun crossover for fans anyway, but for some reason, this issue has seemed the most believable.

Robin #142: Bill Willingham pulls a major shift on Robin's status quo. It's unsettling, it's different and it's somehow kind of cool. Considering that Tim is determined not to really become Batman while still being dedicated to grow up and do good, it makes sense that he might start seeking out other mentors. This might not be the best choice for him, but it sure makes an interesting one.

Runaways #8: Like Goodson with JLU, I almost feel it's becoming unfair to harp on how good Runaways is. No matter what the teen angst, every issue finds a fresh take. Take this issue's approach to the Skrull prince problem. Vaughan has also wisely found a way to make the membership be in flux.

Top 10: Beyond the Farthest Precinct #2: One of the things most fun about Top 10, beyond its clever concept, are the cameos. Sometimes the creative team does a nice job of camouflaging them, sometimes they're just blunt and hilarious. This issue the Scooby Gang serves a vital role, and that alone makes this worth a look.

Wolverine #32: With some help and inspiration from the late Will Eisner, Mark Millar has delivered the best Wolverine story ever. And that's all I can say.

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

Derek McCaw

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