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

The Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 01/04/07
brought to you by FanboyPlanet.Comics of Santa Clara

Newuniversal #2
writer: Warren Ellis
artist: Salvador Larroca

Starbrand looks an awful lot like Josh Holloway.

Now that I've gotten that nagging observation out of the way, we can move forward with an appreciation. Warren Ellis had a double challenge before him with this project. Like a lot of comics projects in the eighties (not all from Marvel), the New Universe seemed good at first and has now become the butt of a lot of jokes. Yet check out fandom and even Kickers, Inc. seems to have fans.

Reviving the concept could have been - should have been - a lose-lose proposition. Instead, Ellis nods to the old New Universe, lets it still exist in fans' hearts, and moves on to this new concept that may ultimately free up a lot of continuity throughout all of Marvel's lines.

Yes, he also refines some concepts he created for other companies. The "Superflow of Universe 555" (so clever of Marvel not to start with Universe 1) looks an awful lot like The Bleed from the Wildstorm Universe. As a result, Nightmask might not be that far off from The Doctor from The Authority. But this is as much a rethink of Ellis as it is the New Universe, and so things just seem a little bit clearer, even as they seem confusing.

Confused? Trust Ellis and you won't be.

As alternate Earths pass into the Superflow, the multiverse responds by creating archetypal superbeings - among them a Nightmask, a Starbrand and a Justice. Two of the three share identities and attitudes with their previous counterparts, while Nightmask barely resembles the character from the eighties. For old fans, that's part of what makes this work so well. Just when you think you have it all figured out, Ellis throws in a curveball that hits like one of Justice's shields.

Somewhere in there, too, is a Spitfire, who appears here, but her mission this time around has changed drastically. If the events here can be trusted, not even the Superflow actually has all the answers.

Salvador Larroca also delivers art that will push him up to the next level in fans' minds. In some places, it rivals guys like Cassaday. Though he's obviously "casting" his characters, it comes through in resemblance, not in iconic poses like Greg Land. Yes, Starbrand is Holloway, and John Tensen looks an awful lot like Bruce Willis in places, but it's not static. It fits.

And so once again Marvel releases something that a few years ago would have been a joke, and turns out to be more than just a fun read. Newuniversal has bite and depth, and it's not to late to get into it.

Also on the Stands:

Bullet Points #3: Maybe J. Michael Straczynski has a larger plot at work, but by this third issue, it's still disappointingly repetitive. We get reminded again that the event that prevented Captain America (but ended up creating Iron Man) also took out Ben Parker. This time around, Steve Rogers figures it out, as improbably not every recognizable character seems to be just one or two degrees of separation from him. While you might buy into Hulk and Iron Man having different identities, it seems kind of strange that Nick Fury's secret identity is…well, that would be telling, but it's also kind of reaching. This could wrap up either very brilliantly or very ho-hum, and it's hard to recommend.

The Incredible Hulk #102: The problem with Greg Pak's skill as a storyteller is that he really isn't right for comics, because he keeps finding just the right ending for his arcs. After this issue, I almost hate to see another because Pak has so brilliantly and satisfyingly wrapped up the Hulk saga. And in his hands, the Hulk became an epic. Of course, one month from now, it's all going to come crashing down. It can't end here, because Pak has deservedly made this into an incredibly popular and pivotal book in the so-called House of Ideas. Still, read this and think to yourself for just a moment - if you really cared about the Hulk, you'd let this be how he ends. Then realize, dammit, you still want more. At least as long as Greg Pak writes it.

Ms. Marvel #11: For those who may recall that Ms. Marvel has a long history, this one's for you. Brian Reed has been doing a really good job with the character, and kudos to the art for daring to make Carol and her potential boyfriend here somewhat older than we're used to seeing in comics. (As in - they may be late thirties or even early forties, which makes perfect sense.) The inking by Jon Sibal is a little inconsistent, which actually is distracting from time to time. But it's still a pretty good issue, even with Arana's guest appearance. (Arana? ARANA? She's still around?)

Spider-Man Power Pack #3: Holy crap, Marc Sumerak made Venom almost kid-friendly. This mini-series continues to be well-written fun for kids, without compromising Peter Parker and Mary Jane. The only odd note gets struck by having the admittedly funny Mini-Marvels tale in the back, which parodies Civil War. That event is most assuredly not kid-friendly, and it seems vaguely wrong to be luring kids in with this parody. I may have to rethink this gateway drug theory about kids' comics…

Uncanny X-Men #482: Billy Tan does one of the best renditions of the Starjammers in that group's history. Overall, his art is pretty chewy, and it's not easy to breeze over, for fear you'll miss some crucial detail. Of course, Ed Brubaker provides him with plenty, stepping into the rhythm of Claremont and Byrne's days on the book. In revisiting the Shi'ar Empire, this title may be neck deep in X-Men continuity (it reaches back quite a ways - quite a ways), but the creative team keeps it moving so you may not notice that you may not have a clue what's going on, though you'll catch on to the soap opera right quick.

X-23: Target X #2: This can only end in tears. Well, you probably knew that once you figured out that this book serves as a prequel to NYX, where X-23 first appeared and wasn't in too good a shape. The wonder in the writing by Craig Kyle and Chris Yost is that X-23 comes off as a pretty normal teen, except for that pheromone driven homicidal frenzy thing. Actually, that's pretty normal, too. For the most part, the art by Mike Choi and Sonia Oback is effective, though they make Captain America look like a kid playing dress-up, one of the problems inherent in leaning on a more manga-esque style. Still, this book remains better than it has a right to be.

Sight Unseen:

Civil War #6: Oh, wait. No. I'm not going to see it this week.

Hey, write to us and let us know what you think, or talk about it on the forums!

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 Planet™
If you want to quote us, let us know. We're media whores.
Movies | Comics | Wrestling | OnTV | Guest | Forums | About Us | Sites