Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 11/08/04
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
Spectacular Spider-Man #21
writer: Paul Jenkins
artists: Talent Caldwell and Robert Campanella
Don't get me
wrong. I've been terribly annoyed by almost every issue
of this title. If not annoyed, then bored, and when not
bored, outraged by the utter lack of sense in Jenkins' plotting
And then, just
after Jenkins sneaks organic webshooters right by us, he
comes up with this gem. Does it make up for the rest of
the "Disassembled" crossover? Fanboys, it almost does.
Picking up a
tradition established back in the days of Marvel Two-in-One
(or maybe I'm waaaay more obsessive than Jenkins and he
just thought it was a cool idea), Spider-Man drops in on
the semi-annual superhero poker game. Don't worry; they
play for charity. Sure, it's a trendy idea, too, as evinced
by Dr. Strange having learned everything he knows about
the game by watching ESPN.
watches ESPN? The Human Torch and Spider-Man can't believe
it, either. Whereas previous Jenkins arcs have had characters
act way out of their norm, this time around, it works. Why
wouldn't the Sorcerer Supreme, who does seem to like working
with other heroes, try to make himself be like a regular
guy? And of course, in doing so he fails utterly. He can
fly, transform objects, travel to other dimensions and face
down demons, but Stephen Strange cannot remember the rules
of Texas Hold'em. It's just one more thing we have in common.
As the game
progresses, Jenkins reveals more and more deft touches of
characterization, all from Spider-Man's perspective. The
heroes all betray their personalities through the way they
play, and it's a clever analysis on Jenkins' part. Spider-Man
and Johnny Storm rekindle their friendly rivalry, a relationship
that doesn't show up often enough. These two could and should
be good buddies, if only more writers remembered to use
Of course, every
story has to have its antagonist, even in a poker game.
Once Jenkins introduces the Kingpin to the table, things
get even more fun. No fight scenes, no trying to destroy
any lives, just a super-villain wanting the satisfaction
at having trounced some of the world's greatest superheroes
at poker. Oh, Wilson, cleaning out Dr. Strange is no triumph.
Campanella hold their own at this table. They make talking
heads look interesting, with facial expressions both broad
and subtle. It's a credit to them that Dr. Strange doesn't
look desperate or stupid, just awkward in trying to let
his hair down a bit.
Just as Marvel
announces this title will be cancelled, Jenkins finally
steps up to the plate and makes me regret its ending. Too
bad there wasn't more of this energy and skill through the
rest of the run.
Comics #821: I know, I know. Once again, Chuck Austen
has me completely in his hands with a Superman adventure
that also starts tying the threads of the different titles
#1: It still feels odd to have Vertigo be something other
than supernatural horror, but hey - whatever gets stuff like
this published. It's hardboiled noir in modern day
L.A., with a crime ripped right from the headlines. For this
one issue, it's 40 pages at no extra cost to boot.
Invincible Iron Man #1: Warren Ellis rethinks the character
without necessarily throwing everything else away. In one
issue, he gives moral ambivalence to both Tony Stark and
the world he lives in, and does a decent job of recasting
that Viet Nam origin sequence. Artist Adi Granov has a style
well-suited to the writing, depicting Stark as somewhere
between Tom Cruise and Corey Feldman.
Team-up #1: Spider-Man and Wolverine! Together again
for the thirty-sixth time this year! Okay, maybe not the
most inspired of pairings, but it will sell copies of this
re-launch of a much missed title. Better, Robert Kirkman
seems to actually have an interesting reason to bring them
together, and acknowledges the somewhat ridiculous reality
schedule-wise of Peter Parker being a high school teacher.
Sorry, that guy would have been so fired after the first
month no matter how good he is.
Thunderbolts #1: Kurt Busiek returns to oversee Fabian
Nicieza trying to revive this offbeat team book. Though
the surprises aren't as wild as during the book's first
run, the two writers still have something solid here, and
may have a lot to say about redemption. It's absolutely
worth a look.
#2: Kurt Wagner is my favorite X-Man, but the Kurt of
the last few years hasn't been the guy I liked. With Roberto
Aguirre-Sacasa, he is again. Darick Robertson captures every
side of Nightcrawler's personality, making this book look
cool, creepy, occasionally disturbing and sometimes sexy,
just like the fuzzy elf himself. Not that I'm a fuzzyelfosexual.
#2: Oh, that crafty Warren Ellis. Now he really has
his plot rolling, and if you missed the first issue, go
back and get it now.
Girl #1: Alan Moore's daughter Leah comes into her own
as a writer in an intriguing but not yet enthralling book.
She does deserve the shot because she's an interesting scribe,
not because her father can send a two-headed snake puppet
to turn Wildstorm editor Scott Dunbier into a newt.
#1: Dark Horse has the license to adapt the Pixar film
- I'm really hoping for an ongoing.
#12: People, this book is funny. Why aren't you buying
Death in Lingerie #1 Leatherbound Edition: This baby
costs $50. How lonely do you have to be for this?
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