Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 10/05/04
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...
brought to you by Brian's Books of Santa
writer: Mark Millar
artists: John Romita, Jr. and Klaus Janson
hypocritical writers complain about how Wolverine appears
in way too many books a month, and then they have to go
and pick this one as a spotlight. How? How can they live
with themselves? Believe me, I'm working on it.
The simple truth
is, though, that this new arc with a new creative team has
just about everything that makes Wolverine a compelling
character without any of it feeling tired. Up until last
issue, Greg Rucka did a fine job on this book. His Logan
(and occasionally Sabertooth) served as the lone fantastic
element in otherwise gritty tales, whether they be crime
stories or Westerns. It's good stuff, but nothing that grabbed
the reader and shook him upside down.
however, grabs your ankles so fast you barely have time
to giggle as your change clatters to the floor.
starts off at a leisurely pace, but with incredibly high
stakes. The tragic kidnapping of the young son of Logan's
former in-laws brings Wolverine to Japan. Millar lays it
out with high emotion, drawing you in to the situation before
the title character's connection becomes clear. On its own,
it would make a nifty but sad short story. Throw in a mutant,
however, and it becomes the best book of the week.
all is not what it seems. Or worse, it's exactly what it
seems, but that's just an opening gambit to lure Wolverine
into a bigger, deadlier game. To reveal its exact nature
would be to ruin the surprise. Just know that Millar has
a story that is inimitably Wolverine's, yet still involves
the larger Marvel Universe.
The X-Men play
a background role, but Kitty Pryde's appearance reminds
the reader that Logan isn't a solo act, and subtly hearkens
back to two key mini-series of the eighties: the first Wolverine
by Claremont and Miller and the Kitty Pryde and Wolverine
series by Claremont and Milgrom. Those stories established
the Ronin side of Logan's personality, giving him the elegance
that makes him interesting and that too many writers forget.
Clearly, Millar has not forgotten.
the art team. Romita and Janson combine in a way that hearkens
back to, well, Miller and Janson. They complement each other
well. Pulling back from his usual thick lines, Janson's
inking highlights the occasionally stark economy of Romita's
pencils. Better, the inking doesn't hide the subtle mastery
of emotion that Romita has at his best. And it's definitely
on display here, as he covers different types of concern
and grief with equal believability. The quiet moments work,
and of course, the action rocks.
This may not
be the intent, but Wolverine #20 feels like the beginning
of a good mini-series. The story has impact, with something
to actually say about the character and his place in the
grander scheme of things, instead of just filling space
on the shelves. Wolverine is rarely guilty of that
anyway, but it's still nice for an issue to feel special.
#53: Tony Bedard, you have made this book fun again.
#3: Though this issue has put the whole Bleed/Wildstorm
Universe problem on hold, it does a tremendous job of giving
a human side to a character previously famous for his very
inhumanness. And I'm not talking about the Eradicator, though
he's here, too.
Mighty Thor #85/587: It's the final issue and for once,
it feels like it might really be. Licensing issues prevent
this character from really disappearing, but Michael Avon
Oeming has come up with a way to really and truly give Thor
a clean slate without invalidating anything that came before
or handing the hammer to someone else.
Monolith #9: The Monolith will soon meet his opposite
number. It had to happen; these things always do. But Palmiotti,
Gray and Winslade slip back and forth in time, unfolding
their story with such grace, that it still seems interesting.
Try this book, because it's really trying something different
within the confines of the superhero genre, openly discussing
cultural differences while not skimping on the action. Plus,
there's a really disturbing image involving a bunny mask.
There. That ought to get the Donnie Darko fans hopping.
Thing #8: Undoing the work of Alan Moore certainly takes
chutzpah, and let's face it, in order to have a monthly
series, it did have to be done. Omnipotence just doesn't
make for great, or even good, drama. Guest team Will Pfeifer
and Richard Corben finish up their two-issue stint with
some appropriately disturbing stuff, and leave things in
a nice neat package for new writer Josh Dysart to come in
and mess with our heads.
X-Men #450: I'm clearly getting soft in the head. But
rather than go for a huge bombastic cosmic epic with this
anniversary issue, Claremont and Davis play low-key and
give me everything (except for Sage) that I loved about
the X-Men in the first place: a swashbuckling Nightcrawler,
a Wolverine capable of sophistication and an extremely elegant
Storm. It's still a continuity mess, but for once Claremont
allowed me to forget that.
#9: Scott Kurtz - still funny, even when he's a week
later than he said he'd be.
Titans Legion Special #1: This series sets up a relaunch
of the Legion of Superheroes by Mark Waid and Barry Kitson
- no slouches they. And you know you love Geoff Johns. At
least, some of you do, and are buying Teen Titans
in droves. So not only do you have to have it, it promises
to be worth having.
rest looks like mediocrity, though a few of you may pick
up Tomb of Dracula #1. This revival of
a classic is formulaic, and really an excuse for Marvel
to have a book featuring movie-star Blade on the stands
in time for Blade: Trinity. It's not terrible; it's
just not great.
and write to us and let us know what you think, or talk
about it on the