Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 11/30/04
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: Christos N. Gage
artists: Steven Cummings and Jimmy Palmiotti
Once upon a
time, Batman had a minor enemy named Deadshot. Originally
presented as one of many mirror images of Bruce Wayne, Floyd
Lawton languished in relative obscurity until DC took a
chance on reviving the Suicide Squad in the eighties. Maybe
not all that surprisingly, that book, written by John Ostrander,
sparked a die-hard following that also catapulted Deadshot
into the spotlight - one that the character as written by
Ostrander would absolutely shun.
As his name
suggests, the character's power is unerring aim. Strangely
enough, the name "Bullseye" was already taken. What made
Deadshot interesting was a conflict between his cold professionalism
that overtook his private life and the deep-seated desire
to take care of his own. Of course, things did not go well,
as a throwaway reference in his new mini-series grimly attests.
If you don't know Floyd, then let it be a sick surprise.
The past may
be past, but for a character like Deadshot, who tends to
kill things rather than truly deal with them, it's ironically
never dead. And so writer Christos N. Gage can construct
a scenario that echoes Deadshot's situation in the pages
of Suicide Squad and a late eighties mini-series
without seeming outright derivative.
Despite a loner
attitude, he still finds himself working within a team.
This time, however, it's a strictly mercenary proposition,
not one where the leader could blow his arm off by remote.
As long as he's "alive, free and ...paid" he's fine. Though
Killer Frost (which one? I don't know -- Firestorm
has me very confused) offers Floyd intimacy, he cuts her
off simply. "I want a service performed, I go to a professional.
Everything else is a waste of time." There's no malice.
For that matter, there's no anything.
When a past
(and a future) he didn't even know he had rears its head,
he goes about securing it with the same mechanical detachment.
And therein lies Gage's tale.
like Deadshot taking center stage can be hard to root for.
Nothing about Gage's writing compromises that. Ultimately,
you may find Deadshot's goals for this story noble, but
he himself is not. Because of this, I'll also lay odds that
it won't end well for any of the characters concerned (the
previous mini-series was also infamously bleak).
the characterization is strong and interesting. For a taciturn
man, Deadshot does a lot of talking, overplaying the man
of few words by repeating them over and over. (A trick mimicked
in his animated Justice
League appearance.) The rest of his teammates, though
not given much space, have distinct personalities. Whichever
one she may be, for example, this Killer Frost is not a
man-hater without being man-hungry in its place.
and Palmiotti on art also provides an interesting twist.
The storyline would seem to call for something gritty, but
this combo has something clean and precise in style, just
as Deadshot himself would be. Even scenes in "the projects"
are well-lit. It's not exactly a brightly colored world,
but there has to be an acknowledgment that Deadshot and
his ilk are still costumed characters. The art team has,
however, redesigned Lawton's costume to seem much more believable
without losing his "super" appearance.
Deadshot. I hope you do better this time.
and the Falcon #10: I'm actually a little confused by
the events in this book, but I really like the concept of
M.O.D.O.K. The character gets a bit of a redesign with this
storyline, and if you like giant heads that slaughter everything
in sight, this book is for you.
Welcome to a world in which Kulan Gath was never beaten
back by the X-Men. Instead, somebody else got him. As a
result, even the dimension-hopping Exiles have no idea who
they once were, forced into an existence as wild refugees
from a game of Dungeons and Dragons.(tm) It's fun, with
a few good twists. Only the surprise ending won't come as
a surprise to those that have been paying attention.
Unlimited #4: DC has usually done a good job with these
child-friendly books, which are everything people claim
we need more of in the industry. The stories are accessible,
well-told and stand-alone. This issue takes place on Rann,
and though the Justice League's presence is almost superfluous
to that of Adam Strange, it's still a fun book with a nice
thought-provoking theme for kids.
#81: Amazing Fantasy blinked. The girl appearing
there is about to be relaunched as "Arana," which is fine
and dandy because I've now read Spider-Girl, and Arana is
no Spider-Girl. Once upon a time this book was set in the
future, but I'm guessing that the future caught up and now
we just call this alternate reality. No matter; like Justice
League Unlimited, this is quality stuff for kids. They
won't wonder why Mayday Parker tends to recap her situation
aloud; they'll be grateful that somebody let them into the
storyline. Marvel seems to be leaving this title out of
"Marvel Age" for no better reason than spite; it's definitely
one of the strongest all ages books they have.
#1: Quit your whining, you Hawkeye loving babies. Wolverine
and Spider-Man are here as the new Abbot and Costello, and
the world's a better place. Okay, so maybe I'm not that
sold on this book, but it looks to be interesting. Forget
the mawkish and vaguely ridiculous Finale and check
out this rebirth.
v.2 #1: Speaking of rebirths..."widescreen" action at
its best. Considering the tawdry relationship of Millar
and Bendis, we can expect that each month they will be putting
"their" Avengers through the paces to see who can outdo
the other. I'm looking forward to it. Provided this book
actually does ship this week.
On Life Support:
#8: aka "The Book I REALLY Want To Like But Can't."
I was willing to go along with the whole not understanding
what's going on thing for several issues, but eight has
pushed me past my limit. Could we get this Jason Rusch guy
to do one thing heroic? Just one? Even Spider-Man at his
lowest loser point still did the right thing.
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