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The Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 9/27/04
brought to you by Brian's Books of Santa Clara

Once again, we take a look at some of the books coming out this week, paying careful attention to one that deserves your attention and your hard-earned shekels...

Adam Strange #1
writer: Andy Diggle
artist: Pascal Ferry

The cover image by Pascal Ferry says a lot about our faith in a character like Adam Strange. Oh, sure, he's a square-jawed all-American hero, though the chin strap helps the look. Notice, though, that the fin on his helmet, as well as the helmet itself, have thin cracks running through them. Perhaps our belief in this archaeologist turned space adventurer has cracked as well.

Don't you believe it.

Andy Diggle doesn't believe it, either, though his work admits that Strange needs a little updating to be brought into the twenty-first century. However, this isn't a reboot of the concept; every Mystery in Space solved by Strange still happened. But time had a funny way of moving on, and even though Adam has popped up in one or two Justice League adventures in the past decade, most denizens of the DC Universe seem to have forgotten him.

Not that many were aware, since most of what made him cool happened on the planet Rann, hundreds of light years away. The problem for Adam Strange now is that Rann has apparently been destroyed. His first inkling that something was wrong came when the Zeta beams stopped arriving on Earth to carry him away to his wife and child and the life in which he was a hero. Superman only confirmed the worst.

But of course all is not as it seems, and the story opens on Adam Strange being interrogated in a Gotham City police station. (Cleverly, Pascal Ferry has made sure we see how alien the architecture in that city appears.) The city block containing Strange's apartment has been destroyed, and he's the main suspect. Despite having found his costume and jet pack, the police refuse to believe his stories of, well, his stories.

"My name is Adam Strange. And I am not insane," he protests, clearly weary and with the muted coloring of Dave McCaig, somewhat older than we might expect.

The book does a great job of getting new readers up to speed on all the major events in Strange's life while planting the character firmly in a world that he no longer wants to be part of. Rann was once portrayed as a utopia, and there's no doubt that Ferry and McCaig show us an Earth that is purely dystopian.

Thankfully, there's also no doubt that Adam Strange deserves his role of hero, and Diggle brings the right combination of brains and brawn to the character. The second half of the book has plenty of action, setting up the mystery that will drive this mini-series. But heck, it's so good, we should be supporting it into full-fledged ongoing.


The Amazing Spider-Man #512: I'm still having trouble digesting the revelations in this one. You may or may not accept the answers as to Gwen Stacy's pregnancy, and yet it does have the ring of unpleasant truth. In all the years of Straczynski's run on this book, he has never made Peter Parker's pain more palpable, aided, of course, by some great emotional artwork from Mike Deodato, Jr.

Daredevil #65: See the interview with Brian Michael Bendis for more commentary on this one. It's good to see the Marvel Universe reacting to Daredevil, but the art is really what makes this issue worthwhile.

Daredevil 2099 #1: This week Marvel lets new wonder boy Robert Kirkman run wild with a concept most readers would like to forget. But it looks like he's starting it from scratch, and of the flurry of one-shots in this set, Daredevil 2099 has the most interesting concept, about a man slave to two opposing legacies. (Mutant 2099 also has potential, but it feels derivative.) Karl Moline and Rick Magyar round out the creative team for this book that needs another visit.

Doom Patrol #4: For kids looking for a bit more sophistication, this book should fit the bill. John Byrne uses a style that was once standard for the industry, making sure that a new reader gets all he needs to know in order to understand the story. It's full of action and somewhat simplistic characterization, but Byrne finally drops some hints that something dark might be going on underneath. Long-time fans of the characters may note that this incarnation may not invalidate earlier appearances, after all…

John Constantine, Hellblazer #200: A worthy anniversary issue, upending Constantine's life in a fitting manner. The narrative splits into three parts, each by a different artist, and every section should leave you with cold chills as the mage experiences three possibilities for a "normal" life, all that go horribly, horribly wrong. Better yet, they leave you with plenty of suspense for what will happen in issues to come.

Teen Titans Go! #11: We've already seen the culmination of the Terra storyline on the animated series, but this story fills in a chapter when things were either better or at least undiscovered. And it does serve as a reminder that Slade makes one heck of a great villain for the team.

Sight Unseen:

DC: The New Frontier #6: Darwyn Cooke has a strong sense of why the DC Universe was beloved in the first place, and if you wonder why so many fans want Hal Jordan back as Green Lantern, look here.

PVP #9: It's worth mentioning because Scott Kurtz is one of the funniest cartoonists alive. Sorry. It's true. Every day on his website he skewers the Fanboy lifestyle with laser precision, but it's okay because he's ONE OF US.

Please Stop The Madness!

Amazing Fantasy #4: Featuring the all-new Spider-Girl, who has yet to actually become Spider-Girl after four issues. Greg Rucka just called to complain about this book's glacial pacing. I was just going to ignore it until this issue tried to tie it into Spider-Man continuity by making a reference to Ezekiel. Um, guys, did anybody point out to you that he was revealed to be a villain?

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

Derek McCaw

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