Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 10/19/04
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: Mike Carey
artist: Marc Hempel
to rule in Hell than to serve in Heaven, or so the poet
once wrote. Way back in the pages of The Sandman,
Lucifer opted out of the whole game. Occasionally in the
passing years, I've checked in on his machinations while
Hell ran on in his absence, and found them entertaining
but never particularly compelling.
That's no fault
of Mike Carey's, really; he made the character likable enough
for a former Prince of Darkness. It just always seemed like
Lucifer the way Neil Gaiman left him would be trying his
damnedest to stay out of trouble. Granted, he left a lot
of chaos behind him, not to mention a lot of damaged theology.
So maybe it's
not surprising that the most accessible issue of this book
actually ignores the title character. It's all about Hell,
and a religious movement within it. Though it clearly sets
up a new storyline, issue #55 also stands on its own, a
simple (though not simplistic) look at just what the Damned
If you're looking
for twisted Gothic imagery and coolness over sense, you
may find this book a bit challenging. Demons and tortures
abound, but a change is in the infernal wind, led by Christopher
Rudd, a character who must have some history in this book.
But that doesn't actually matter. Carey gives us characterization
over continuity, and it's enough.
a quasi-Christianity to the bowels of Hell, and the ruling
class does not like it. Allegedly sponsored by Lucifer,
appearing only by allusion, Rudd refuses to acknowledge
the "eternity" of his eternal torment. For what's the point
of this punishment if it doesn't end? He preaches change,
and change is what he will get.
Aside from a
provocative bit of prose, the story also sees the return
of Marc Hempel to this corner of the Vertigo-verse. Hempel
drew The Sandman arc "The Kindly Ones," and his art
is a bit off the beaten path. But it's also curiously suited
to the portrayal of grotesque demons in infinite variation,
allowing them a range of expression that a more ornate and
"realistic" artist might not be able to pull off.
I still can't
say that I'm jumping on to Lucifer on a regular basis,
but this book certainly provoked the most thought this week,
and still has echoes days later. In fact, it almost balanced
out having to read Spectacular Spider-Man, which
was true hell.
Four #519: Waid and Wieringo continue the FF's battle
against the intergalactic tribunal of Pokemon. Okay, okay,
so they're actually all survivors of attacks from Galacticus,
but I'd bet you could capture them with red and white balls.
At any rate, once again this book is fun, with some great
emotional moments and an interesting solution to the aliens'
threats on Reed's part. Until the solution backfires.
#3: Tangentially an Identity Crisis cross-over,
this book has already raised its stakes and pulled no punches
in the price paid for donning a costume. A stupid accident
happened at the end of the previous issue, and yet it felt
terribly real. This issue deals with the consequences, and
brings in the newly dangerous and insane Shadow Thief. (That's
the cross-over, but really more of a brushing against.)
Hulk #2: By no means a challenging book, this child-friendly
Hulk also manages to not suck. It's simplistic and turns
on coincidence too much for an adult's taste, but with the
Hulk being a character kids identify with, the market needs
a book like this one. That Marvel actually cared enough
to make it decent just ices the cake. If you know a kid
that likes Hulk, give him this book and breathe easily.
Warren Ellis does science fiction that riffs off of 2001,
Solaris and Outland while still maintaining
freshness. He's ably helped by the vastly underrated Chris
Sprouse, who has envisioned a future not terribly different
from our present in fashion, but filled with little details
that merit a second read-through. This would be my spotlight
of the week if Andy at Brian's Books hadn't wanted it for
his best book of the week.
Crisis #5: Read this before you read Firestorm #6.
Or better yet, just read this.
#11: It's still more Looney Tunes than Jack Cole, but
Kyle Baker has finally made the character work as a solo
book. Don't try matching it up with JLA continuity;
Featuring George Romero #1: I was gratified in a recent
Wizard to find out that Romero is just as scared
of his subject matter as I am. Hopefully, that terror will
transfer to the comics page.
War Games Related: They sucker me in every time. Too
many books spread a story out thinner than you thought it
could possibly be. It's no accident that the two best-written
Gotham City books, Birds of Prey and Gotham Central,
aren't part of this crossover. They don't need the crap.
#6: I want to like this book. I really do. But Jason
Rusch hasn't actually done anything heroic. I also suspect
that you need to read Identity Crisis #5 first, but
DC didn't send that out as a preview book. Just trust me;
if you read Firestorm, read Meltzer's book first.
Then marvel at how Batman and Martian Manhunter put the
previous Firestorm up on a pedestal. Yep. Bats just loved
that alcoholic male model.
Rogue and Gambit are both pleasant enough,
but contradict each other in characterization. Uncanny
X-Men introduces X-23 in full force and starts setting
up more cryptic subplots. New X-Men might read better
as a Scholastic book series.
and write to us and let us know what you think, or talk
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