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!
of Superman #605 Syndication
writer: Joe Casey, artist: Carlos Meglia
Just in time to
sell the action figure as a real bad girl, Joe Casey gives us the true
evil of Superwoman. Unlike Grant Morrison's rendition, this one doesn't
have much humor about her. In fact, none of the Crime Syndicate is presented
as anything other than evil, even though they have to team up with Superman
against their universe's Brainiac (who, contrary to the rules of their
Earth, is still evil).
is still as cool as Batman.
Casey wraps things
up in a satisfying and disturbing manner, with no plot holes to speak
of. Along the way, he takes another step for the super-team toward the
old status quo.
Meglia's art is
still pretty much Meglia's art. It's more consistent this issue than
in the last, but for a story with such tremendous violence, Meglia's
cartooning (and that's what it is) struggles against the narrative.
When wrapped in a cover by Carlos Pacheco, the art even feels like a
cheat, as if DC were pulling a bait and switch.
With so many artists
pulling the manga style, I'd be happier if DC would take the Marvel
route and just have fun with a Manga-verse. Let the rest of us have
Superman drawn as if he were a man, and not a Macy's Parade float.
writer: Kelley Puckett, artists: Damion Scott and Robert Campanella
While this chapter
in the exciting (?) adventures of Bruce Wayne: Fugitive may not
actually move things forward, it does do an interesting job of recreating
just what the heck actually happened. In a nice touch, the cover isn't
even a cheat; the scene does occur inside.
Puckett sums things
up for those who still care, adding little details about the murder
of Vesper Fairchild that only Batgirl would notice. This has really
made the character more interesting and integral to the Bat-family.
While the others all have their specialties, they still overlap in places.
No one else, however, can read body language and actual violence as
The inking in this
issue looks a little different; I don't know if Campanella actually
is mixing things up, or if it just looks a lot cleaner after the Superman
book. At least it's consistent, though the manga style makes Nightwing
look a lot younger than usually portrayed. Actually, all the cast looks
younger than usual. Let's remember that Nightwing, at least, no longer
fits the term "Teen Titan."
Fables #2 The Unusual Suspects
writer: Bill Willingham, artists: Lan Medina and Steve Leialoha
Some of you may
have already written this book off as just a Vertigo version of Shrek.
Well, you may be right, but you're also wrong. Though this is a sequel
to a happily ever after that isn't, Willingham is very much shying away
from the Disney version of things. Unlike Shrek, Fables
lifts directly from the dark and dangerous early versions of beloved
fairy tales - the kind that PC parents don't love at all.
For instance, when
was the last time you met a kid who knew the story of Bluebeard, the
black widower with a succession of dead wives? Not only does Willingham
throw him into the mix, but he's still sleeping around. The jury is
still out as to whether or not he has left his murderous ways.
fairy tale characters show up in unexpected ways, led by a hard-boiled
detective who used to be a big bad wolf, but now inexplicably has a
human form. The whole thing is saved from drowning in its own cleverness
by a fairly intriguing murder mystery, and the greater mystery of its
concept: who kicked these "fables" out of their homeland, and will he
still be coming after them?
Medina and Leialoha
depict the fables with a sleekness that never wavers into the grotesque,
though the temptation must be great. This is also the steadiest Leialoha's
inking has been in a long time. As usual with the Vertigo books, it's
a distinctive art team without being annoying.
#151 Back In The Saddle
writer: Judd Winick, artists: Dale Eaglesham and Rodney Ramos
Kyle Rayner has
rebirthed an alien civilization, restarted an ancient galactic tradition,
and turned his back on the powers of a god. So what's next, after a
quick redesign of his basic look? As Green Lantern, he tackles that
most basic of comic book crimes, the bank robbery.
uses this to put Green Lantern amidst the people, to underscore public
awareness of the ringslinger. Though we often see Kyle's private life,
it is a good change of pace to see him interact with normal humans in
his superhero guise. As a nice touch that unfortunately goes nowhere,
Winick also names all his bystanders.
But a bank robbery
alone rarely makes for a good comic; Kyle starts encountering people
going insane in the streets of New York. It's isolated enough not to
overly concern him, until it seeps into the offices of Feast Magazine.
After his editor bares her breasts to Kyle, he figures something must
be really wrong.
Granted, Kyle has
never been the brightest of lanterns, but it feels like Winick is overcompensating
for the omniscience he had as Ion. It takes way too long for him to
figure out just who he is fighting against in the last half of the issue,
when it's obvious from the first panel. This Green Lantern was learning
to be more of a thinker before he became all-powerful; don't take that
Just A Pilgrim
#4 Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?
writer: Garth Ennis, artist: Carlos Ezquerra
I don't hold it
against Ennis that this issue offended me; I'm pretty sure that was
part of his intent, and I knew that going in. If anything, I'm more
impressed that he bugged me so much. While the first Pilgrim mini-series
was bleak, it was still funny. This one, however, is just bleak.
In this last chapter
of The Garden of Eden, everything pretty much literally comes
to an end. The sliders prove themselves even more horrific than in earlier
issues, and Ezquerra illustrates this in a very haunting manner.
But it seems that
Ennis undercuts his own creation to make a point; Pilgrim loses his
faith over the death of a child (with the implication, too, that she's
dead because of him), when in the previous mini-series he willingly
let a child die to serve his greater cause. It's an abrupt about face
that just pisses away everything Ennis built. And I'm not saying that
just because I don't agree with Ennis' opinions.
the promise of Just A Pilgrim peters out as it becomes more about
an attitude than a story. Pose just cannot cover lack of substance.