Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 12/21/05
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
Soldiers: The Bulleteer #2
writer: Grant Morrison
artists: Yanick Paquette and Serge LaPointe
to resist the urge to put this book in the spotlight. As
usual, Grant Morrison's latest chapter in his Seven Soldiers
epic was fun, but The Bulleteer does not have the
complete left field kick to the head that something like
Klarion the Witch Boy had.
finishing the stack of preview books this week, though,
The Bulleteer kept standing out. Though the hows
and whys of Alix Harrigan's unwilling transformation to
superheroine took place last issue, this book serves as
a good midway jumping on point to the whole Seven Soldiers
Despite claiming a while ago that this
was an anti-crossover, Morrison has woven his allegedly
unrelated miniseries together quite tightly. This issue
explains some of that, recapping the prologue in a manner
told a little more simply for new readers. Morrison achieves
this by explaining it to Alix, a newbie to the costumed
crimefighter game. Thus you newbies can get a grip, too.
The connections may not be readily apparent.
Apparently, the Bulleteer has been in action since before
this event started, and had been interested in joining Greg
Saunders' Vigilante in starting an official Seven Soldiers
of Victory. That group, of course, got slaughtered on their
first outing, prompting this event.
With ambivalence, let us pause to note
that for the first time, Morrison actually explains those
late characters' backgrounds, finally providing a motivation
for the Vigilante to have one last hurrah.
This story also provides a capstone to
a character that first appeared in The Shining Knight
mini-series. Though her fate will obviously affect Bulleteer's
viewpoint on things, the story stands alone and separate
from the overall arc.
For those of you steeped in continuity,
which Morrison has managed to embrace and sidestep at the
same time, he also plants a seed that goes all the way back
to the early seventies. I don't think he's mentioned this,
but it seems like it has to come back and haunt this concept
- the original Seven Soldiers of Victory actually cheated
in their sacrifice. The soldier who died was actually the
"eighth" soldier, Wing. Unless Green Arrow and Speedy no
longer count, in which case - see, you think that Grant
Morrison is confusing, but he's actually doing his part
to streamline things left completely in chaos by Crisis
on Infinite Earths.
Don't get bogged down by that. Instead,
embrace the fun, honest respect and new energy that Morrison
keeps injecting to the superhero genre. Time after time
in this series of mini-series, he reminds us why these things
have such a hold on the public's imagination. We may like
grim and gritty, but that's not what got us involved in
the first place.
Let me not ignore the art team, either,
because this book looks beautiful. Despite a rather silly
helmet design (and my dislike goes back to the Fawcett days
of Bulletman and Bulletgirl), the Bulleteer is a striking
character. Paquette and LaPointe play emotions well, managing
to find a bit of subtlety in spite of LaPointe's heavy line
Will the Seven Soldiers save the universe?
That's a given. More importantly, they keep saving superhero
The Book of Lost Souls #3: Gorgeous
artwork from Colleen Doran counters the occasionally pretentious
storytelling of J. Michael Straczysnki. Yes, I've said it.
He's pretentious. But he's also got a good concept going
here, offering a nice high-profile alternative to the superhero
book. Because The Book of Lost Souls tends to be
more of a romance than an action book, it might appeal more
to women readers, but hey, it's amazing that Marvel has
a book this good that could do that.
Captain America #13: Argh! Is the
Winter Soldier Bucky or not? Does the very concept outrage
you or not? For purists, this could be the most controversial
storyline of the year, but don't forget that it's been done
with incredibly detailed writing (possibly the highest ratio
of panels to book that I've seen in a superhero comic for
quite some time) and still lush artwork by Steve Epting
and Michael Lark. Like the plot twist or not, you have to
admit that Ed Brubaker and company are still actually playing
fair with us, and doing it well.
Fantastic Four #533: The state of
the Hulk confuses me. Even after reading Peter David's recent
return to the title, it's unclear which version is running
around. JMS seems to like the one with an aggressive personality
retaining Bruce Banner's intellect, but what he really likes
more is an excuse to write a huge Thing-Hulk battle. Folks,
it's going to be a doozy, and you get great family drama,
too. This is the first issue of the new creative team that
finally feels out of the shadow of the fantastic Waid/Wieringo
run. It's nice to see monsters fighting in the sunlight.
Generation M #2: Last year, Jubilee
was a high school student. In the wake of House of M, apparently
she's aged four or five years. Though still an interesting
book, this second issue just doesn't do justice to the "common
mutant" theme it promised. Instead, the murder mystery takes
front and center, and while exciting, it suddenly makes
Generation M feel like just another mini-series calculated
to get our extra cash after a big event.
Justice #3: Like many of us, Alex
Ross believes that the comics of his youth are the way things
should be. Unlike many of us, he has the power to turn back
time and bring back the characterizations that he loved.
Justice takes the Justice League, mixes them a bit
with the Challenge of the Super-Friends and gives
them a plot worthy of modern storytelling techniques. Yet
the heroes are very clearly noble, unconflicted people,
just like when we were kids. What do I like most? Alex Ross
clearly digs Aquaman. Let his enthusiasm be spread!
Lucifer #69: Though the series isn't
over, this issue wraps up what it's all been building toward.
If you haven't been reading this book, which often rivals
its progenitor The Sandman in quality, you may want
to go back and work your way through the trades. But you're
missing out on something extraordinary and challenging.
Punisher vs. Bullseye #2: It's cheap.
It's violent. It's got Steve Dillon on art. So naturally,
I'm drawn to it like a moth to a flame. Join me in my shame.
Runaways #11: Holy cow, Brian K.
Vaughan writes a great Spider-Man. Oh, yeah, and the Runaways
are in here, too, helping to solve the mystery of who put
Dagger into a coma. It's no secret anymore, but always worth
repeating, but holy cow, Brian K. Vaughan is a great writer.
This is a great book.
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