HOME ABOUT SUPPORT US SITES WE LIKE FORUM Search Fanboyplanet.com | Powered by Freefind FANBOY PLANET
Comics Today's Date:

Hey Kids! Comics!

Hey, it's been a while. Sorry about that. Or maybe you haven't noticed. And I'm sorry about that. The past few weeks have been kind of crazy, and just as I almost had myself on track for comics reviews, more craziness happened. So accept this as the beginning of my comeback, and I promise to update more.

Batman #615
writer: Jeph Loeb
artists: Jim Lee and Scott Williams

After a pretty much over-hyped confrontation with The Joker last issue, Loeb and Lee step back and address the possible criticisms of "Hush" so far. In some ways, it's clever, but the trick also calls attention to some of the most comic booky things going on here.

Yes, it is strange, even for the emotionally constipated Bruce Wayne, that nobody had ever heard of life-long best friend Tommy Elliot. Several pages try to make sense of it. But really, it feels like Loeb overcompensating for an obvious plot device (or a labored attempt to put his own spin on the mythos).

Instead of calling attention to it, he should just move on, because some neat things are happening. Through his characterization of a man awkwardly trying to merge his two halves, Loeb has made his mark. We can wish that Bruce had a more finely developed sense of poetry, but he doesn't. Why would a guy obsessively devoted to fighting crime have developed a taste for the fine arts more finely than a high school student? And yet his reading of "O Captain, My Captain" is no doubt from the heart.

Conversely, it makes sense that Selina does have a real appreciation for the finer things in life. Could her fascination with Batman survive knowing his secret? Dick Grayson, Leslie Thompkins and Alfred all seem to think so, and that soap operatic element works.

Lee throws in his nods, too, including a nice view of every Batmobile ever designed. It's a cool moment for fans, and yet a little disconnecting. It's hard to get lost in a serious comic book that keeps reminding us it's just a comic book.

And yet the art remains beautiful, some of Lee's strongest. At the same time, some weaknesses come into play; The Riddler looks awkward not just because Edward Nigma isn't an overmuscled guy; it feels like Lee has a hard time drawing him.

There's also a significant game piece meant as a recurring symbol, but it doesn't look like a chesspiece; if anything, it's as if somebody in the DCU had combined Stratego with HeroClix. Can anybody straighten me out on this one?

The real revelation is in the mystery villain. Like what Rucka has been doing over in Detective, Loeb is mining the golden age for ideas. But that's okay. Everything old is new again, and the veteran writer has put a good spin on it.

If The Joker confrontation disappointed you, don't give up yet. This multi-part storyline really does look like the whole will be greater than the sum of its parts. And if we're lucky, the growth Loeb is trying to inject will stick.


Fantastic Four #69 (498)
writer: Mark Waid
artists: Mike Wieringo and Karl Kesel

As he tends to do extremely well, Waid has gotten to the heart of yet another comic book character's motivation. The classic conflict between Doom and The Fantastic Four has at its root vanity. And though the seeds for "Unthinkable," the current arc in this book, have been lying around almost since Dr. Doom's first appearance, it's amazing that nobody has thought to take it to this logical conclusion before.

So amazing, in fact, that even Ben Grimm comments on it.

But unlike this week's Batman, where such commentary points out weaknesses in story construction, The Thing is really only chiding Reed Richards. Whatever Doom does that will turn out to be unthinkable, it's clear that the title also refers to Reed's inability to counter it. When an enemy uses magic, Mr. Fantastic has no defense.

"Nobody likes feelin' stupid. Just ask Victor." And this whole situation makes Reed feel very, very stupid indeed.

Without much in the way of bells and whistles, Waid has also returned The Thing to being the most human member of the foursome, with the best insights into the heart. Though consistently portrayed as being self-deprecating, he has mastered humility in its best sense. The Thing knows when to ask for help.

And if anything will save The Fantastic Four, it's that Victor Von Doom does not. He will ally himself with demons (who bear a suspicious resemblance to some recurring JLA foes - but maybe that's just me), but he will not bow down to them. Anyone with cursory knowledge of Hell knows that's a dangerous position to take.

To paraphrase Brian Michael Bendis' oft-quoted advice for writing, Waid has brought his Imaginauts to the realm they least want to be. Making it all work, of course, are Wieringo and Kesel.

The two have a bright, clean style, even when depicting Hell, that won't let us forget that this comic is meant to be fun. And Wieringo's redesign of Doom hearkens back to the best of Kirby's original drawings in its simplicity. The character has turned his back on technology, and the new look reflects that.

Even venturing into dark territory, this book works as high adventure and again, it's just damned fun. Thank heavens, too, that Joe Quesada is about to return it to its original numbering. The Fantastic Four has a rich legacy, and the current run deserves to take its place as a huge high point. Finally, the heroes have really returned.


The Flash #198
writer: Geoff Johns
artists: Scott Kolins and Doug Hazlewood

Can't The Spectre ever just drop in to say "hi?"

Or maybe he did this issue; he just can't do it without generally being creepy. Not that anybody in Keystone City notices. They're so busy attending a Flash-family gathering that Hal Jordan can easily just swirl his cape, say something ominous and then disappear without so much as a nod from Bart.

Obviously a lot of comics play off that family element (and in a weird way, even The Spectre fits the bill here), but Johns gives it a special weight in this book. We even have the red-headed stepchild in the form of Jesse Quick. For those new to the book, Johns deftly explains just how these relations all work, possibly in time to explode them all.

As a result, though, half the issue is spent going back over information many of us already know. There's dramatic irony in Wally agonizing over the destruction of The Flash Museum and tying it to Hunter Zolomon, but, like Zolomon's transformation itself, it feels a little forced.

However, there is something cool about Zoom. I could be wrong, but it looks like he hasn't quite mastered (or cared to master) the subtler aspects of his power. He moves too fast because he simply can't move slowly anymore. Maybe it's part of his challenge to Wally, that the scarlet speedster has to literally catch up in order to catch up.

Of course, The Spectre's appearance hints that Wally won't figure it out in time. But we've been down that road before, a couple of times in Johns' hands, too. So the book remains a treasure of characterization, but even with a new Zoom, it's hard to feel like we're seeing something all that new.


Derek McCaw


Our Friends:

Official PayPal Seal

Copyrights and trademarks for existing entertainment (film, TV, comics, wrestling) properties are held by their respective owners and are used with permission or for promotional purposes of said properties. All other content ™ and © 2001, 2014 by Fanboy Planet™.
"The Fanboy Planet red planet logo is a trademark of Fanboy Planetâ„¢
If you want to quote us, let us know. We're media whores.
Movies | Comics | Wrestling | OnTV | Guest | Forums | About Us | Sites