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!
Batgirl #30 Legion of the Lost
writer: Chuck Dixon
artists: Damion Scott and Klaus Janson
Gotham City has
a new killer loose on the streets, one who chooses specific, wealthy
targets and assassinates them using an ancient weapon: the bow and arrow.
Why, if we didn't know better, we'd think it was Green Arrow, and be
sure that at least Batgirl will think so, too. And if we hadn't double-checked
the front cover, we also might have thought this was last week's issue
Somehow, the DC
powers that be have allowed for nearly identical plots in the two books,
though each uses a different Green Arrow. With Dixon nearing the end
of his DC tenure, he seems bound and determined to make Connor Hawke
as ubiquitous in his corner of the DCU as possible.
And Dixon has fit
his story to Gotham City nicely. After a brief prologue involving a
lost Roman Legion that ties into a Gotham secret society, Dixon sets
the stage for a delusional villain. Batgirl is long overdue to have
a whacko to call her own, and it looks the ivory-skinned Agrippina will
fit the bill.
the story-telling falters in comparison to Robinson and Johns' work
in Hawkman. Granted, Batgirl has long favored action over
characterization, but couldn't we take away something other than a reminder
that Cassandra cannot read?
Scott gets a guesting pen from Janson this month, and the results are
mixed. Spare with his thick-lined inking, Janson always lays bare the
strengths and weaknesses of the pencils beneath, and Scott comes up
wanting. Several poses look extremely awkward; while Scott's sense of
perspective isn't as bad as Rob Liefeld's, it comes close in some panels.
Perhaps that's a manga-style hallmark; if so, Janson is still not the
inker for it.
of the Dark Knight #157 Blink, part two of three
writer: Dwayne McDuffie
artists: Val Semeiks and Dan Green
Breathe a sigh
of relief. This is not the legend of a man who discovered Batman's identity
and thus had to disappear. Last issue Lee Hyland, the blind con man,
did manage to get inside Batman's head, but assures the Darknight Detective
that all he knows is the name "Alfred." Luckily for him, he doesn't
care to know more, either.
McDuffie has a
social issue to tackle, as the killings that started last month turn
out to be for the purpose of making snuff films. Thought to be an urban
legend himself, Batman points out the possible legitimacy of the idea
to Commissioner Gordon. It's a disgusting notion, but sadly perfect
for a Batman story. Where it suffers a little is in the lack of a compelling
mastermind; Hyland is clearly meant to be the focus of the story while
snuff filmmaker Mr. Davies seems just pulled out of the crazed weasel
stock that keep showing up in Gotham City. Only his taste in film defines
him, but technically, The Joker would probably get off on the same thing.
Hyland, too, comes
off a little bland, as if McDuffie couldn't really make anything of
him beyond his gimmick. Gone is the slightly sharp narration that ran
through the previous issue, replaced mostly by Batman's own voice-over.
Granted, Hyland spends most of the issue just waiting around, but that
makes for a dull protagonist.
The team of Semeiks
and Green forces Semeiks into a smoother, more consistent look than
he had on the recent JLA: Incarnations book. He still needs to
learn some variation in his faces, though, because one crucial corrupt
millionaire looks uncomfortably like Commissioner Gordon. And those
of us who saw the first movie know that Gordon hobnobs with the cream
of Gotham society on occasion, causing an unpleasant momentary confusion.
BATTLE OF THE
PLANETS #1 Trial By Fire
writer: Munier Sharief
artists: Alex Ross and Wilson Tortosa
reviewed by Mish'al
makes me remember why I got in trouble for using my traditional garments
for capes, and thinking that spinning fast enough would get me out of
any situation. Alas, Princess never showed, and I always played Tiny
anyway, and there's no sense in talking about setting our bikes on fire...
On with Alex Ross' revival…
A city under siege
by an unidentifiable technologically advanced mastermind has Brigadier
General Tomak using old fashioned methods of military force to try and
rid this world of this threat. Of course, all fails. Mr. Anderson heads
a specialized team of "Teenaged Lab-Rats," as the General would call
them, to prove their effectiveness against such a monstrous threat.
The General is
not impressed with this special team, and pulls enough power to do things
his way. Once the origins of this force are revealed, however, GATCHAMAN
is approved by the president of the United Global Alliance, and they
are called into duty after waiting impatiently for a chance to put their
skills to the test in the real world. Armed with gadgets, technology,
and slick tight wear, you wonder why the TV series didn't go longer.
Although the target audience is a little more mature than it once was,
it's clear that we have a lot to learn about G-Force.
Just like the good
old days, this series bring the G-Force team back to life in today's
age of comics, and with spectacular art to boot. Read it, and enjoy
the blast from the past.
story and art by Jeff Smith
Not even an impending
war with supernatural forces can stop Phoney Bone from trying to find
a way to turn a profit. Though the very allies that have saved him time
and time again may be attacked by religious zealots, all the greediest
Bone of them all can think of is gold.
Good lord, he's
like Bill Jemas in a Bone suit.
I kid because I
At any rate, the
Venu Warriors controlling the city are closing in on Gran'ma Ben and
Thorn. Phoney plans to run, and Smiley realizes that even though he
misses his home, he has found a new life with the people of the Valley.
And, of course, he's pretty much playing daddy to Bartleby.
Smith has an uncanny
knack for blending the light-hearted fantasy that marked the series'
beginnings with an ever darker storyline. The Venu are truly intimidating,
though their leader, Lord Tarsil, is so purposely cloaked in shadow
as to seem just a repetition of the Lord of Locusts. Are there any characters
left to surprise us with as his secret identity?
We're closing in
on the ending of Bone. According to Smith, there are just seven
issues left. Either jump on now, or go back and get collections of the
earlier issues, because when it's over, Bone will stand as a
classic of comic book literature. Really.
The Call Of
Duty: The Precinct #1 Another Day In Paradise
writer: Bruce Jones, artist: Tom Mandrake
By keeping this
a PG book, Marvel proves that shows like NYPD Blue lost a little
something when the network censors relaxed. Writer Jones manages to
both keep the dialogue real and resort to creativity where he can't
use actual street talk. The result could easily stand as one of the
better episodes of TV's most beloved cop shows.
In Paradise introduces Frankie and Joey Gunzer, two brothers who
followed their father into the blue uniform, until Joey felt compelled
to become a priest. While it sounds like a bit of a clichéd situation,
Jones provides Joey with just enough backstory to make it believable,
and his hiding behind the cloth rather frustrating (in a good dramatic
way). And yet, of the two, Joey is the one who manages to stay close
to their father.
Frankie, also known
as Gunz, is battling a heroin ring, and knows that somehow his brother's
church is involved. Without rushing things, Jones answers enough questions
in one issue to make this a satisfying stand-alone read, but drops enough
hints to bring readers back. Yes, that strange little ghostly girl makes
elements don't take away from the grittiness of the drama. And though
a character is shown wearing a Spider-Man t-shirt, this is pretty obviously
meant to be a realistic book away from the Marvel Universe. If you think
that doing cop and firefighter comics is a bit opportunistic, well,
it may be. But it's also about time a major publisher dipped its toe
in the water of a genre that dominates television and movies.