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The Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 10/12/04
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...

She-Hulk #8
writer: Dan Slott
artists: Juan Bobillo and Marcelo Sosa

Despite this being the second part of a storyline, Dan Slott has made this issue an easy point to jump aboard, and a great illustration of why this book has been so much fun. However, don't be fooled by the cover; despite my great hopes, neither Howard the Duck nor Captain Amazing appear inside.

The better news is that cover also belies the quality of characterization within. Though She-Hulk has been a consistently amusing book, it is not at the expense of the story. No matter what happens, the stakes are high for Jennifer Walters and her green-skinned alter ego. Or should it be vice versa?

In what should be a coup for her legal career, Jennifer has been chosen to become one of the "magistrati," agents of the Living Tribunal, traveling the galaxy to settle disputes with a dose of cosmic justice. Though her Earthly law firm wants her as Jennifer, the Magistrati want her as She-Hulk, for reasons that become annoyingly apparent to her.

Though she tries a few cases that don't require physical action, she really needed to be recruited to face down the "cosmic deity with no gaiety," Champion. One of the Elders of the Marvel Universe, Champion lives to fight - specifically box - and has accidentally conquered a world where everything is settled by "might makes right."

The original Adam Warlock and his companions have tried to defeat the Elder, to no avail. In fact, Warlock's efforts lead to his own death - again. Slott quietly makes fun of all these characters' conventions without stooping to exaggeration. Even though it ends up being funny, it doesn't violate any continuity.

Part of what makes this book so fun, however, has consistently been Bobillo's pencils. He took a couple of issues off, and it just wasn't as light for some reason. Like Eduardo Risso over on 100 Bullets, Bobillo indulges in true cartooning, wasting no line work. Everything is exactly as complex or simple as it needs to be, and his emotional through lines shine. Matched with inker Sosa, the art stands out with a unique look. It's neither regular American in its look nor desperately manga-esque. Schachat has said it here; heck, Bendis has said it here. This book should be doing a lot better than it is. Check it out now before it fades away.


Action Comics #820: Chuck Austen delivers a new Silver Banshee, and again, as the title promises, lots of action. On this book alone, either Austen really feels compelled to do his absolute best or accepts his limitations and finally is just writing to his strengths. Either way, it's turned out to be not so much compelling as just flat out fun. It's not the deepest interpretation of Superman you've ever read, but it's not nearly as boring as others out there.

Bullseye: Greatest Hits #2: Almost as chilling as the first issue, this continues picking apart the origins and motivations of the world's greatest assassin. The only thing I don't quite buy is how, with one of his flashbacks here, he could be largely anonymous. There's a baseball game incident that sports fans would never forget.

Ex Machina #5: More politics mixed with superheroism, Brian K. Vaughn wraps up his first arc in a satisfying manner. The story has managed to offer intriguing commentary on all kinds of aspects of metropolitan life, all serving as the backdrop for a serial killer story - one in which the title character actually can not use his powers to solve. If you're waiting for the trade, well, then you'd darned well better be sure to buy it.

Fables # 30: A brand-new storyline begins this issue, with Fabletown holding its elections. And if you thought the real world elections were ugly…

Marvel Knights Spider-Man #7: The series has been a little hit and miss, despite consistently great artwork. But with this issue, Mark Millar has potentially redefined Venom in a way that should finally clear up his sales-driven moral ambivalency, and made him even more of a threat to Spider-Man, if you can believe it. Don't believe me; check out the comic.

Nightwing #98: Smack dab in the middle of a huge cross-over, Devin Grayson manages to keep her eyes on her main plotline. This book will end with #100, and the writer is taking pains to make sure you understand why. Quite by accident, I'm suddenly very interested and concerned for Dick Grayson's fate, even if the rest of "War Games" largely leaves me cold.

Sight Unseen:

Superman: True Brit It's a hardcover priced at $24.95. That might be daunting to you, but know ye this: John Cleese wrote it. For Monty Python fans alone, this is a must-have. The guy wouldn't write a comic book if he didn't have a story worth telling.

Salt the Earth and Let Nothing Grow There Again:

X-Force #3 or 4: I don't even care what number it is; it's gone on TOO LONG.

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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