writer: Rick Veitch
artists: Yvel Guichet, Mark Propst and Rob Leigh
may be a world record for a superhero re-launch. We're five
issues in, and not once has any of Aquaman's established Rogues'
Gallery made an appearance, except maybe in a flashback. Black
Manta must have been too busy over in South Park.
Veitch has been busy setting up a new enemy for a new Aquaman.
It's called "The Thirst," an appropriately conceptual villain.
For what may surprise new readers is that Aquaman has ventured
into being a champion of the collective subconscious, an area
that has fascinated Veitch for a couple of decades.
both heroic and foreboding, Guichet's artwork actually proves
a hindrance to this issue. Even an alternate inker can't make
Arthur and Garth's journey through mankind's memory anything
other than bogus. It never achieves the ethereality that Veitch's
dialogue is describing, especially when Aquaman claims that
their younger selves look so happy.
they don't. At best, they look troubled, an expression that
is Guichet's specialty. At worst, they're constipated.
itself look appropriately frightening, but if it is intended
to be Arthur's evil doppelganger (a notion toyed with by Peter
David in his run), we're lacking in visual cues.
still an interesting book, but desperately in need of some
tighter editing to bring story and art together.
City: Local Heroes #2
writer: Kurt Busiek
artists: Brent Anderson and Alex Ross
a shaky start last issue, Busiek returns to doing what Astro
City may do best. Taking a hoary staple of Silver Age
comics stories, we get a glimpse of the relationship between
nuclear hero Atomicus and the woman who loves him. She, of
course, is determined to expose his secret identity as Adam
between this and the classic Lois/Superman/Clark triangle
are obvious, but Busiek at least has the decency to throw
a few curves. Instead of reporters, both work for a politician.
And Atomicus owes as much to Captain Atom and his Alan Moore
clone Dr. Manhattan as he does to Superman.
a political base seems shaky, though. Granted, we see aldermen
and mayors at the site of trouble, but usually after
it's happened. To use this as an excuse for Adam Peterson
to be (or to not be) at an incident is a stretch.
Busiek does expose the utter insanity of the Lois Lane type
in risking her own life to prove a point. And we get a poignant
view of how alien Atomicus or his Kryptonian brother might
all told in flashback, and the bookend sequences are meant
to startle us with a patented Astro City twist. The
story might have been better served if Busiek had just let
it be. Instead, the twist fails to really add anything; it's
too out of left field, and too hard, really, to empathize
with Irene Merriweather.
hallmark of the series is taunting glimpses of other stories,
and Busiek offers a couple. If this book hasn't impressed
you yet, please give it a chance, if only so that the writer
can explain whatever happened to The Silver Agent, and just
what is up with Beautie, the hero who makes action figures
Year One #5
writers: Scott Beatty and Chuck Dixon
artists: Marcos Martin and Alvaro Lopez
with the events of Underworld Unleashed having turned
Killer Moth into a real killer moth, this mini-series has
done more with the character than any before. Aside from being
the first villain Batgirl ever faced, he has become a recurring
thorn, and it's no wonder that Oracle still has trouble with
his memory in Birds of Prey.
and he's still pretty much a loser, too.
and Dixon make him more dangerous with the addition of Garfield
Lynns, aka Firefly. Himself pretty much a one-note villain,
Lynns becomes something more disturbing here. Both the writers'
characterization and Martin and Lopez' art contribute to an
uneasy sensation in a book that has so far been little more
than lightweight fun.
not so much a risk as just good storytelling. If only Beatty
could inject a little more of that skill into his other books,
where he seems to still be laboring as apprentice, afraid
to put too much of himself into his writing.
and Batgirl is here, too. But just barely. Barbara has, appropriately
enough, occasional narration from her computer, providing
an innocent counterpoint to the trouble that has begun brewing
trade paperback, this mini-series is shaping up to be a keeper.
Blood and Water #2
writer: Judd Winick
artist: Tomm Coker
Last week, Fanboy Planet staffer Jordan Rosa was either
complaining or joking that every modern vampire story has
one awful moment in which a characters says to another, "forget
what you've seen in movies…these are REAL vampires."
Shortly thereafter, I opened to the first page of this book
to find exactly that scene happening. But Winick isn't after
some sort of shock redefinition of vampires to make them more
frightening. In fact, it seems to be pretty much the opposite.
The vampires of Blood and Water are more mundane
than you might expect, their fashion sense being the most
outré thing about them, but that's just because they're
stuck in eternal youth.
Winick allows for something terrifying to be lurking in
the darkness, but it isn't newbie vamp Adam. Nor is this issue
much concerned with it. Instead, consider this a primer into
the vampire's world, with such important warnings as to not
freak out when you defecate food exactly the way you swallowed
it. Luckily, I don't like pickles anyway.
As a plot, so far Blood and Water is more of a vibe
and an exercise in the things that interest Winick. San Francisco
(his home base since The Real World), disease, and
acceptance all jostle for attention. But it's also clear that
future issues won't be so simple.
Coker (any relation to Mad artist Paul Coker?) has
a style vaguely reminiscent of Sean Phillips. It dances on
the edge of moody, but never goes too far beyond a realistic
So, should you pick this book up? Absolutely. Second issues
tend to be under-ordered, so if you see it this week on the
shelf, grab a copy. Blood and Water is a unique take
on the vampire story, and yet familiar enough to satisfy fans
of the genre.
But will they run into Vertigo's earlier Vamps?