of Superman #593
Prelude To War: Suicide
writer: Joe Casey, pencils: Mike Wieringo, inks: Jose
like it or not, we're knee-deep in summer cross-over madness, and it's
only getting deeper. Last week someone (oh, heck, fine - Lex Luthor's
grown-up daughter Lena) warned President Luthor that a huge war was
coming to Earth, and he'd better prepare. Of course, this wasn't necessarily
altruistic, as Lex realized that a victorious president gets remembered
as an heroic one (as the last three presidents have all tried to be,
and just give the Shrub a little more time). The first step in his preparations
get revealed here.
a prison break at Stryker's Island, and discovers that someone has been
transferring dangerous criminals out of the facilities. It's never quite
explained to newcomers who actually broke out, and within pages, it
doesn't matter. Mongul is one of the transferees, as are a couple of
others that shock Lois. Worst of all, the man approving the transfers
is General Sam Lane, Lois' own father and Luthor's Secretary of Defense.
Why is he doing it?
out first. Lured to an abandoned military base (kids, never, never trespass
on these - they're ALWAYS dangerous), he finds himself under attack
from Shrapnel. Just as he gets a handle on that, Plasmus tries to dissolve
him from behind. And yet another villain (?) watches from the shadows
as the melee intensifies.
For those who read
DC's bulletins, you'll know that not only does Our Worlds At War
lightly fleece us out of extra cash this summer, it also re-launches
the cult favorite Suicide Squad. So put two-and-two together
Though the actual
title will be written by Keith Giffen (and dammit, yes, he consistently
gets at least $2.25 from FanboyPlanet), Casey does a good job laying
the groundwork here. The issue suffers, however, as Superman titles
often do, from being a time-filler until the real story-line gets going.
Wieringo and Marzan provide manga-esque artwork, but it compliments
nicely with Ed McGuinness' work over on Superman. And really,
Shrapnel and the fourth mystery villain are the type of characters
who look silly when drawn in a realistic style because, well, they just
look silly. Please don't write in saying they're actually deadly; they
just look silly.
The Bottom Line:
It's fun, but can we please get to the earth-shaking events?
Hellboy: The Conqueror
Worm #2 of 4
Story and Art:
on the floor of the mysterious Hunte Castle, facing one of his arch-enemies,
the disembodied head of Herman Von Klempte, now wearing a cyborg body.
Somewhere on the mountain below him lies the unconscious homunculus
Roger, who has been rescued by the fictional pulp hero Lobster Johnson.
And they're all there to welcome the return of a Nazi Zombie From Space.
Well, only Von Klempte and his hot granddaughter really welcome it.
To summarize a
chapter in a Hellboy story is to tell you that really, you should be
reading Hellboy. Each mini-series remains pretty complete unto
itself, so there's not a lot of baggage if you think you're too late
to the party. Mignola does a good job of remembering that every comic
book is somebody's first one, and provides just enough prior information
to keep it enjoyable for everyone without slowing things down. And from
the above paragraph, clearly, things move pretty fast. Every issue reads
like an old-time movie serial, except without the stupid parts. And,
of course, a hero that looks like hell.
Fans complain that
Mignola doesn't turn enough of these out, but really, quality should
always win over quantity. And for what is ostensibly a horror comic,
Hellboy is just plain fun. With Vin Diesel rumored to be circling
around a movie adaptation, now is the time to get in on it.
Arrivederci, Bon Voyage,
writer: James Robinson, artist: Peter Snejbjerg
This is the
hardest review of the week. With this issue, Starman is over.
And what an incredible ride it's been.
Never a huge seller,
Starman has been one of the most consistently brilliant comic
books DC has ever published. That may seem ridiculous praise for a -sniff-
superhero book,, but it's true. The saga of Jack Knight and the mantle
of Starman has always been only incidentally about superheroes. Instead,
it is about family and friendships, and remembering the good things
in the face of bad.
Though fans of
the book have seen this coming, Robinson still ends it with a logical
grace. The book will be missed, but the story is done, for that strangest
of reasons in comic-book land: it's actually done. Though others may
pick up threads from it (as was done with The Sandman), Jack
Knight deserves the rest. If you haven't read Starman, start
looking for the collections. And if you're Mike Goodson, keep bugging
me to find the back issues. Eventually, I'll find them and the time
to do justice to the overall series.
#32 or #473
The Long Dark
Pizza of the Soul
writer: J. Michael
Straczynski, pencils: John Romita, Jr., inks: Scott Hanna
What is it with
these hot comic writers? Why do they have to be both good and
prolific? With this latest chapter in the life of Peter Parker, Straczynski
hits the mark again.
Peter has his first
day as a science teacher, and nothing in particular goes wrong. No clones,
no lab accidents, no attacks on the school, nothing except the fact
that heís facing high school students. And some of them would rather
be elsewhere. After class, however, Peter gets called to the principalís
office to face the mysterious Ezekiel, the man with powers like Peterís
And finally, Ezekiel
starts explaining a few things.
The answers he
provides will make you slap your head and say, ďof course!Ē Not only
that, Straczynski seems to have picked up on an obscure bit of continuity
from, of all things, the days of Malibu Comics and the horrifically
stupid Spider-Prime. Just as we get drawn into Ezekielís explanation,
we also get reminded that Morlun hovers nearby. A deadly confrontation
Thereís a bias
towards good writers at Fanboy Planet, and so it should come as no surprise
that we say you should pick up this book. Spectacular Spider-Man
is entertaining, but so far hasnít been all that exciting. Over here
in AmazingÖ, things are happening that will really change Peterís
character and his outlook, hopefully for the better. And John Romita,
Jr. seems to be working hard to be worthy of the words.
Not a clone in
sight. Marvel really is getting it right.
Our Worlds At War #1
writer: Ed Brubaker,
artist: Stefano Gaudiano
Two Gotham City
construction workers arrive at their construction site twenty minutes
earlier than everyone else, and pay for it with their lives. Someone
(a terrorist?) blows up the site, and the Feds quickly swoop down and
kick the police out of the investigation. Commissioner Akins (growing
cooler with every appearance) does the only thing a police commissioner
in Gotham City can do Ė call The Bat.
Using the identity
of Bruce Wayne, he manages to uncover the reasons why the blast occurred,
but it only leads to more trouble. Itís a trail that goes all the way
up to the proverbial highest office in the land. Of course, in the DCU,
all roads lead to Luthor these days. But it actually makes a lot of
is what a cross-over chapter should be. We get a mystery that both gets
neatly solved and leads to further mysteries. Batman encounters two
major (and at this point, unexpected) elements of the upcoming story
arc. Despite being a heavy-hitter, in a cosmic war, heís the least likely
to be involved. And yet, with complete logic, here he is.
Credit must go
to Brubaker. The two victims at the beginning are given three densely
written pages to underscore (and essentially summarize) the conflict
between Luthor and Bruce Wayne, getting newcomers up to speed. It also
reminds fanboys that we were all idiots for not demanding that the two
become arch-enemies before Grant Morrison thought of it. Brubaker and
artist Gaudiano play with Bruce extremely well. Here, his two identities
are less separate than usual, and itís interesting for him to behave
Batman-like while not wearing the mask. More and more, we see the Dark
Knight in a saner light than has been popular.
Our Worlds At
War will be inescapable this summer. But so far, these larger specials
(Green Lantern last week) have proven to be real values. If youíre
going to buy books you donít normally, pick the specials.
Greg Rucka, pencils: Shawn Martinbrough, Inks: Steve Mitchell
and Allen (who might as well be ďHardbackĒ Bock) have donned ski masks
and held up a strip joint. Trying to help after having stumbled onto
Bruce Wayneís secret, his bodyguard Sasha has only ended up a hostage.
Luckily, Batman subdues them quickly, and deduces that this can only
be the work of Ö The Mad Hatter. And the police department must try
to squelch the fact that well over a third of the force could be under
the villainís control. How does he do it? Well, a lot of people do
say coffee is bad for youÖ
For some reason,
no matter how you dress him, nor how cool the writer is, Jervis Tetch
still seems like a refugee from the Ď60ís TV show. Oh, sure, heís evil,
but he never quite comes across as all that dangerous once heís been
exposed. Rucka does the best he can, which is, of course, quite good.
And the growing tension between Sasha and Bruce finally comes to a head,
which makes up for the fact that The Mad Hatter is a lame villain.
While the Martinbrough/Mitchell
artwork is serviceable at best, the color scheme (that runs through
the various Bat-books) still works. Itís cool; itís pop art, and even
after months, it still seems daring.
In the back-up
slot (what, no Jacobian?) Ed Brubaker uses one of DCís first characters,
Slam Bradley, to follow the Trail of the Catwoman. Brubaker writes
hard-boiled fiction, and even though the storyline will obviously skirt
close to costumed heroics, you can forget that. Slam Bradley tends to
speak with his fists, and itís fun. Even the artwork evokes an early
noir feeling. This is the best of the new back-ups so far.
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