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!
New X-Men #128 New Worlds
writer: Grant Morrison
artist: Igor Kordey
Does anyone miss
the sense of an outside Marvel Universe in this book? It's amazing that
it took Marvel so long to allow this sort of approach, because it's
working so well.
Forced into public
life by Cassandra Nova, Charles Xavier takes the opportunity to try
to "brand" the X-Men through his X-Corporation. Mutants all over the
world have the opportunity to use their powers for good, although in
Morrison's brave new world, that could be a relative term. Rising from
the ashes of the X-Corps (from Uncanny X-Men), they're making
mutants a name the people can trust.
For the first time
ever, a writer is really evaluating what Xavier's long-idealized dream
is supposed to be all about. And it's not about putting teens in masks
and hiding them away from the public. It's almost a shame that this
has to be a continuing comic; as a finite story, it begs to be told.
Also in the mix
is Xavier's exploration of the return of The Phoenix; Morrison's explanations
of the subtle ramifications of that power will cause you to say "cool"
Any artist on this
book now has to be able to deal with a cast of thousands, and Kordey
is more than up to the task. While occasionally his faces slip into
the grotesque (a supposedly alluring shot of Emma Frost fails in its
intent), every character has his or her own identity.
Peter Parker: Spider-Man #45 A Death In The Family
writer: Paul Jenkins
artists: Humberto Ramos and Wayne Faucher
Jenkins lifts a
plot complication right out of Batman the movie, as The Green
Goblin goes on television to "clear his name" in the death of Gwen Stacy.
Long-debated by comics fans (and no doubt, still will be), finally the
Goblin lobs the accusation that Peter Parker can never accept: that
his attempt to save Gwen was actually what killed her.
it's horrible, and it injects what little life this story has. Rather
than deal with the public accusation, Peter goes for an angry confrontation
with Norman Osborn. Perhaps he thinks to embarrass him. But of course,
it's only going to backfire in a major way.
The problem with
this return of The Green Goblin is that it has almost no motivation
beyond a tie-in with the film. Osborn was causing enough trouble pulling
strings; granted, he is insane, but his successes in messing
with Peter's head in his civilian identity prove that he has no need
to dress up.
Ramos puts a lot
of effort into the artwork, which, if you're a fan of his, you'll enjoy.
On the plus side, he makes an effort to make the Goblin appear more
armored (thus more in line with the movie version), but in his stylization,
he also draws Norman's two identities with two different physiques.
The Goblin is much smaller. Maybe that's supposed to mean somebody else
is wearing the mask, but I doubt it.
And yet, at least
that would be somewhat unexpected.
Supergirl #71 Pyramid Schemes
writer: Peter David
artists: Jamal Igle and Jose Marzan, Jr.
Igle makes this book look better than it has in months. He maintains
regular penciller Leonard Kirk's sense of layout, but everybody is a
little more real-looking, and, well, attractive without it seeming pandering.
In a book loaded with female characters (right now, Buzz is pretty much
the only male), they don't have to be slutty; it's just nice to think
that Supergirl and Mary Marvel are somewhat attractive.
The three have
followed the Chaos Stream down to Mexico. Whether that brings them any
closer to the Earth Angel Supergirl remains to be seen. Bizarro Supergirl
has found her, and Lilith, but where they all are has not been identified.
Instead, the lure
to Mexico is part of Lilith's plan. By spending so much time near chaos
energy, Linda has begun absorbing some of its attributes, changing into
a source of chaos herself. This could explain the dreams of ancient
Aztec sacrifice, dreams that are starting to spill over into her waking
As he gets closer
to the big finale of this arc, David has eschewed his broader sense
of humor, allowing natural interaction among the characters to have
funny moments. (By her very nature, Bizarro Supergirl has to say some
pretty outrageous things.) Mostly, we get action. And David does not
get enough credit for being able to do that well.
Superman: The Man Of Steel #127 Scenes From A Marriage Between Heaven And Earth
writer: Mark Schultz
artists: Yvel Guichet and Walden Wong
Whether or not
we find it believable, a lot of characters in the DCU hold Superman
with a reverence bordering on worship, even among the superhero community.
So for Schultz to introduce a pantheon trying to induct Superman into
their numbers makes a lot of sense.
As a story, it
works surprisingly well. Lois has been manipulated into becoming the
Goddess of Integrity, a move on the evil pantheon's part that can only
backfire. But just in case it doesn't, the former Goddess of Truth Wonder
Woman steps in to help talk Lois down from the high of near omnipotence.
battles the gods, and proves himself more clever than they gave him
credit for being. The only annoyance is the sudden usage of the name
Kal-El. The thing that keeps him tied to Earth is his sense of humanity,
but Schultz (and he's not the only writer doing it) keeps emphasizing
his alienness. Even though he's from another planet, Superman is supposedly
the greatest among us. If we keep him separate, that aspect of
his character has no power.
Guichet does a
nice job with the layouts, but Wong's inking is still just too dark
and heavy. Under his pen, all the airborne characters fly exactly as
bricks don't. Lighten it up. Please.
#19 World Tour, part four
writer: Mark Millar
artist: Chris Bachalo
a slightly wilder style than he had on Generation X, but it's
only appropriate when dealing with the mutant Proteus. Reminiscent of
Sienkewicz's days on The New Mutants, it adds an undercurrent
to the chaos that is Proteus' reality-warping powers, even when he isn't
X-Men are finally seeing Xavier's dream as something coming close to
reality, Millar has put them in a time where it's just about broken.
(That, too, makes sense; in both continuities, Xavier's son is exactly
what normal humans fear.) And while the action is big, playing out with
some surprises, it all turns on a quiet, crucial moment in the past
that we all could have seen coming.
It's nothing new
that this Xavier is pretty much a jerk, but Millar seems to finally
have the old boy realize it. He wasn't just a terrible father; he gave
new meaning to the term. And what long-term repercussions that will
have remain to be seen. Or will he just mind-wipe himself to forget
that uncomfortable discovery?
occur, a little bit as if Millar is trying too hard to show long-time
fans that we don't know what's coming. The way to do that, sir, is to
stop using characters we think we know. Create some new storylines instead
of giving us new spins on old familiar battles. (Granted, all the Ultimate
books suffer some from this, but some let us forget it.)