Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 11/16/05
week we look through the upcoming releases to offer our two
cents as to what's hot and what's not. You can agree with
us or not, but spend your money wisely.
brought to you by Brian's Books of Santa
writer: Dan Slott
artist: Andrea DiVito
At both major publishers, you can see a
schism. How important should continuity be? How tightly
knit are these characters? Should we be grim and gritty,
or should we be having fun?
Heck, it's probably a reflection of our
national psyche. We don't know what to be. But it's
somehow reassuring that Joe Quesada understands that while,
sure, House of M can give us a daily recommended
dose of angst, Marvel has a character that has every right
to be grim but refuses to be so.
No, it's not Spider-Man, though he obviously
leaps to marketer's minds. In the seventies and early eighties,
The Thing had a much more central role in comics, far more
than any of his fantastic teammates.
Despite his rocky exterior, Ben Grimm remains
somehow playful. People can talk about the webslinger and
his glory days in Marvel Team-Up running through
the Marvel Universe, but really, the better book was Marvel
Two-In-One, because despite his being set apart physically,
The Thing is anything but a loner.
And Dan Slott is exactly the guy to remind
us of this. Just as he has done with Spider-Man Human
Torch and She-Hulk, Slott gives us an interconnected
Marvel Universe that isn't so much about continuity as genuine
camaraderie. If the newly rich Thing goes to a party for
the upper crust, of course he'll run into Tony Stark and
Kyle Richmond and know perfectly well who they are.
The effects of his wealth also ripple around
nicely. Yes, Ben Grimm has become a different kind of celebrity,
but more importantly, being super-wealthy has ruined the
fun of his Saturday night poker game. He's also dating a
supermodel, the conflict of which Slott wisely points out
with Spider-Man - let me again rant, how bad can Peter's
life be with Mary Jane at his side?
It's not all just social interaction, of
course, as Slott sets up the return of one of Marvel's coolest
but best left underused villains.
All of ties together with clean and fun
art from Andrea DiVito. Once again, the loss of CrossGen
has benefited Marvel immeasurably, as DiVito is one of those
artists that has a style combining the best of the old school
with newer techniques.
If The Thing has any flaws, they
lie in a creeping moral subplot that Reed Richards is just
waiting for Ben to realize how expensive being The Thing
is, and the disturbing thought that there's a reason he
has to wear those shiny blue trunks.
A word of warning to The Thing's model-actress
girlfriend - once you've gone stony orange, you'll…um…nothing
really rhymes there.
Batman and the Monster Men #1: This
one comes with a caveat: if you have any, ANY, familiarity
with old Batman stories, you'll recognize this for what
it is - simply a redo of one of the Batman's earliest adventures
combined with the classic Steve Englehart/Marshall Rogers
run. However, it's completely understandable that many new
readers (all twelve of you) haven't read either. So enjoy
Matt Wagner's take on the Hugo Strange saga, updated and
unexpurgated for 21st Century sensibilities. It's well-done,
but for some of us, it looks eerily familiar. Maybe it will
break out like Batman: Journey Into Knight.
Books of Doom #1: Ed Brubaker fills
in Doom's past. You may think you know it; you may think
that there's too much exploring of villains' motivations.
Doom says no, you must know the man to truly understand
why you should serve the dictator. Of course, under that
armor lies an armor of lies, and Brubaker is a skillful
enough writer to make this one of those books worth re-reading
a few times.
Fables #43: Sinbad! Genies! Sex!
Not necessarily in that order. I will keep putting this
on my recommendation list long after you have been hooked
on one of the best books on the market.
Mutopia #5: A bittersweet ending
to not just a House of M crossover mini-series, but
the most unique mutant-related series Marvel had. For those
following continuity, it's obvious why it ends here. In
the wake of the loss of mutantkind, David Hine provides
a very human drama, elegaically celebrating the simple things
while also sneaking in some ramifications of House of
M that he'll hopefully pick up with Son of M.
Don't wait for the trade; sniff around for the back issues
on this one.
Runaways #10: It had to happen.
The Runaways hit New York and run into trouble with some
people that seem to know more about them than they do. Plus
you've got Cloak, Dagger and the New Avengers. Trust us,
kids, Runaways is like Life cereal. You'll like it.
Superman #1: Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely take a
break from designing Robbie
to take on the greatest hero of them all. Though Quitely's
art can sometimes be a turn-off, advance sketches have been
really promising. Morrison promises to blow our minds, which
is something he can do just as easily as blow his own nose.
Manhunter #16: I promised Marc Andreyko
that I would give a shout out to this really good but unfortunately
low-key book. Guys, she's got all kinds of weapons from
all kinds of stages from DC's past. That alone should have
X-Men: Deadly Genesis #1: More Ed
Brubaker, with the terrific Trevor Hairsine. This book threatens
to answer the musical question: where in the world is Professor
A Tribute To Humbert Humbert:
#3: Sorry. I like Jeph Loeb, but I'm finding this series
to be only vaguely comprehensible and chalk its popularity
up to the fact that comics readers, many of whom are men
in their thirties and forties, like pictures of cute young
girls beating up…well, not even bad guys. They just like
pictures of cute young girls. Heck, in Superman
#223, she even mentions that she's found photoshopped
nude pictures of herself on the web. And yet I'm giving
it one more chance…
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