Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 10/26/04
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
artist: Tim Sale
an artist on a book alone make it worth buying. With the
concept behind Solo, however, it's kind of hard to
avoid. DC Comics has selected artists and given them 48
pages to do …whatever. Right out of the gate, boy, it's
some kind of whatever.
Tim Sale draws
in a style that's difficult to pinpoint. It's too hard-edged
to really be called cartoony, yet there's a lyricism to
it that most mainstream comics artist do not even approach.
However you call it, it works and adapts to a variety of
subjects with ease. Sale can delineate the oppressive architecture
of Gotham City and the rolling plains of Kansas with equal
If that got
you drooling, good. Because Sale isn't actually solo
on this one; though he writes two of the stories in this
book, he has brought along some friends that both stretch
his talents and brings them back home.
Of course the
cover lets you know that Sale has a Catwoman story inside.
For a change of pace, it's not the Catwoman he usually covers
in his collaborations with Jeph Loeb. Instead, the Selina
here is very much the modern version, with a story by Darwyn
Cooke that can only be described as a romp. Bored one evening,
she taunts Batman, leading him through the cityscape in
a chase fraught with sexual tension.
Yet "Date Knight"
all plays out innocently enough, and if anything becomes
a signature Sale image, it will be the panel of Catwoman
bounding out of Batman's grasp. Somewhere perfectly between
cat and woman, the picture captures Cooke's take on the
character. It may be an impossible pose, but Sale makes
it seem real.
through the whole book, though fittingly enough for Sale's
darker métier, most of it has a bittersweet taste at best.
Dark Horse editor Diana Schutz scripts a story of the Silver
Age Supergirl with a modern and wistful ending, and danged
if it doesn't make me want Loeb and Sale to team for a book
about Linda Lee.
For fans of
their collaboration, Loeb and Sale do team here for a coda
or outtake to Superman: For All Seasons. Entitled
"Prom Night," the story once again proves what a great creative
pair they make. If no other story tempts you into this book,
this one should. No other artist brings out Loeb's keen
sense of character as well as Sale does; why this should
be, I don't know. But it is true. Their Superman is pure,
non-judgmental and somehow free of the inner conflict that
creeps in when guys like Jim Lee and Michael Turner illustrate
Loeb. Yes, they have different agendas, but every now and
then it's great to just bask in comics about the importance
of innocence and goodness.
On the flip
side, you've got a story by Brian Azzarello, and you know
goodness has nothing to do with it. "Low Card in the Hole"
is classic Azzarello-noir, and proves that if Eduardo
Risso ever needed a break from 100 Bullets, the writer
had better already have Sale on tap.
himself, Sale dedicates a gentle love story to his parents,
closing out the book on a personal note. Through Solo
we gain a sense of the artist missing from regular monthly
books. If this title lasts long enough, we may discover
some interesting work from talents we might not have expected.
For now, however, we've got Tim Sale, and believe me, it's
#2: This book continues its quality after an impressive
debut issue. Adam leaves Earth, and though he has an understandably
bitter attitude, he remains heroic. I love the vague sense
that this hero may be past his prime but refuses to accept
it. If you didn't buy the first issue, find it.
Spider-Man #513: It's still irritating, but JMS writes
this thing so well. The cliffhanger isn't quite as dramatic
as it's meant to be, but this controversial book is still
Revolution #1: At some point, it feels like this super-team
just has nowhere to go. Fans must have agreed, because the
last stab at the title fizzled out ignominiously. However,
Ed Brubaker and Dustin Nguyen have injected new life into
the concept, as The Authority have taken over the United
States and must face a World War II era superteam that prove
very good at rousing the people. Wouldn't it just be easier
to not tell anyone you've taken over the world?
#2: Bill Sienkiewicz steps back to finish Goran Parlov's
pencils, making the art a little bit more accessible this
time around. But the strength of the book lies in Richard
K. Morgan's neat way of making a superhero spy story without
including the superhero part. It's acknowledged, and then
moved away from, leaving tight suspense.
#66: The Golden Age begins here, and as Bendis promised
in his interview, Alex Maleev demonstrates a flexibility
in style and storytelling from era to era. Gone are the
repeating talking heads; though the golden age section doesn't
quite look like a '40's comic - the original Angel was never
drawn that well - when he moves into the Silver Age, he
apes Don Heck quite well. Actually, he makes Heck look better
than he was.
The cover lies. The Crime Syndicate of Amerika doesn't take
center stage yet. Instead, Kurt Busiek firmly establishes
JLA/Avengers in continuity and focuses on just how
busy it must be to be a member of the League. At his best
here, the writer highlights personalities with a rare economy.
Dan Green inks over Ron Garney's pencils, with much better
results than the past few issues of Garney inking himself.
#21: Mark Millar's previous issue rocked, and he shows
no sign of letting up. He has more than breakneck plotting,
though; he also understands the characters enough to show
Elektra reading Ulysses. Somehow, that seems just
In the Middle:
#21 and Sleeper Season Two #5: Both of these
books deserve every bit of critical praise they get. But
neither of these issues is a great jumping on point. So
if you're thinking of picking them up, back up a couple
of issues so you'll have a handle on what's happening.
Not So Amazing
Fantasy #5: Finally, it gels into something proto-manga,
and I couldn't be happier that I get what they're trying
to do. But it still fills me with inertia.
and write to us and let us know what you think, or talk
about it on the