Each week we take a critical
look at some of the best books on the stands, courtesy of Big
Guy's Comics (the unofficial comic book store of FanboyPlanet.com).
If you publish a book that you want us to be covering, contact us. Or
contact Derek. He doesn't have
enough to do.
Hey Kids! Comics!
writer: Brian Michael Bendis, artists: Mark Bagley and Art Thibert
Just in time for
him to be on the minds of moviegoers everywhere, Bendis brings back
the Ultimate Green Goblin. Although like Willem Dafoe's screen costume,
this version may bug more than a few fans. In the Ultiverse, Norman
Osborn didn't just get super-strength and super-insanity; he literally
becomes a goblin. Actually more like an ogre, but it just doesn't have
the same ring.
Luckily, this over-sized
issue proves more of a jumping on point for new readers than a showcase
for Norman Osborn. It offers instead all of what makes this book so
good. Peter Parker, normal teen with abnormal abilities, dances awkwardly
around his responsibilities at home, school, and love. More than occasionally
he puts on a costume and fights crime, but it messes up those other
And in the background,
there is the lurking menace of a returned Norman Osborn, whose son Harry
denies was ever a monster. No matter how hard Peter tries, he cannot
escape a coming confrontation.
readers will be coming into this series, both as a result of the movie
and Free Comic Book Day. Bendis doesn't so much slow things down as
just open the door for people to catch up and hang on. Longtime readers
won't feel cheated.
writer: Mark Millar, artists: Adam Kubert and Danny Miki
Ah, how sharper
than a serpent's tooth a faithless child. Even sharper a bodiless one.
Proteus has escaped from Muir Island, and no one truly recognizes the
danger he poses. Which is kind of odd, as everybody drips cynicism in
As the X-Men confront
Proteus, the child of Dr. Kerry Weaver/Moira McTaggert and Professor
X, they learn even more what a right bastard the ultimate Charles can
be. He hasn't just hidden an ex-wife and child from his students (not
that he necessarily had to share their existence, either), but he has
outright lied about where his money comes from. Much to The X-Men's
dismay, they learn that somebody funds Charles. Who is he beholden to,
and what does that imply about their mission?
It's all fairly
gripping, but the longer this series goes on, the less fun it gets.
It's intriguing to see the Machiavellian goings-on, but what made the
original X-Men a success (behind the soap operatic elements) was a sense
of wonder that Millar consistently fails to inject here, so busy is
he re-imagining a realistic world full of mutants. It's not wonderful;
it's depressing. Maybe he feels hobbled trying to fit in the same villains.
As Kevin Smith
acknowledges in Entertainment Weekly this week, Marvel accepts
that kids don't really read comics anymore. But part of the point of
the Ultimate Line was to get kids reading them. Somehow, Ultimate
Spider-Man straddles the line between kid-friendly and edgy without
losing the energy of either; this book is just dank.
But the art is
writer: Mark Millar, artists: Bryan Hitch and Andrew Currie
Millar saves all
his sense of wonder for this book. Though Hitch and Currie have given
mundane if functional looks to Giant-Man and The Wasp, they've wisely
left Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor alone. And these big guns of
any Marvel Universe are wonders to behold, even if Thor seems like a
This book also
has a sense of glitz; unlike the outcast mutants, The Ultimates travel
in high circles with a natural ease. With their permission, Millar has
even inserted a couple of celebrities: Shannon Elizabeth trysts with
Tony Stark (her real boyfriend is a huge comics fan), and Freddie Prinze,
Jr. tries to get superpowers. It looks like he won't be any luckier
here than he was in trying to land the role of Spider-Man; how many
fans will be cheering as Bruce Banner cries, "Hulk SMASH Freddie Prinze,
The life of The
Ultimates isn't all fun and games. Millar has injected a poignancy into
Captain America's revival that won't find him constantly having World
War II flashbacks. He really is a man from another time, and his character
may just show us how cool the ultiverse can be.
Though long awaited,
Thor may be a bit of a letdown here, but give him time. Written off
by Fury and Banner as a mental patient, he proves himself the Son of
Odin. But the ways of gods are not the ways of men, and as yet he has
no interest in joining a super taskforce.
Every issue has
been a blast so far, and it shows no signs of stopping.
For the rest of
Fanboy Planet's (okay, Derek's) opinions on this week's comics, click