Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 02/06/07
Rider: Trail of Tears #1
brought to you by FanboyPlanet.Comics
of Santa Clara
writer: Garth Ennis
artist: Clayton Crain
Just when I'd
about given up on Garth Ennis, he turns around and delivers
something like this. Trail of Tears doesn't seem
exploitative (yet). Though occasionally grotesque, it doesn't
wallow in ridiculous horror. Maybe the biggest surprise
is that it's taken Marvel this long to really market this
pretty obvious truth: Johnny Blaze isn't the first Ghost
Well, we knew
that, as Marvel did have a Western character by that name
before. But Ennis sets this story at the tail end of the
Civil War, and so far Travis Parham doesn't look like some
sort of avenging cowboy. Instead, he's a Confederate soldier
learning his humanity just in time, it would seem, to lose
it to a flameheaded vengeance demon.
how war is Hell is nothing new, especially the Civil War,
er, War Between the States. You'll find no revelations here
on that front, though Clayton Crain handles the battlefield
scenes particularly well. He's an artist, however, that
does scream "supernatural" horror, so even when it's just
man's inhumanity to man, you're waiting for something from
beyond to somehow make it all seem more rational.
Parham reaches conclusions that seem pretty low-key, and
Ennis resists the urge toward lectures or sudden dramatic
turns. This first issue telescopes time a bit, but lets
the characters progress in a realistic fashion, giving us
just snapshots of their thoughts.
quick appearance of something like the Ghost Rider in the
last third of the book, this story might even work without
Western superheroics. The cliffhanger leads us to an obvious
guess of where the second issue will go, but Ennis might
not play things out quite so obviously.
a flood of Ghost Rider product, and there is a flood in
anticipation of next week's movie opening, let's continue
with the surprising observation that it's also the best
product the franchise has ever gotten. Ennis finally broke
away from Vertigo themes and delivered a Marvel book, and
though the casual movie fan might not pick this one up after
seeing Nicolas Cage tear it up on screen, it should be the
one he goes for.
on the Stands:
#4: Once again, this issue offers a take on a Marvel
icon getting a radically different origin and identity.
This time around, Spider-Man gets the treatment. Of course,
since Peter Parker already became the Hulk, this one might
surprise you. Or not. By the end, we do understand where
this series is going for its final issue, but it still feels
poorly paced, assembling all these pieces and sounding portentous
to bring us a conflict that we've already seen a dozen variations
What an horrific crime. What a shocking twist. What a terrific
book. At $1.99, this isn't just the cheapest book you'll
buy this week; it's really the best value. That comes as
no surprise. Buy this, or get the imminent trade. Every
issue of Fell has been a great read, and the trend
Neighborhood Spider-Man #17: Yes, he's Back in Black!
Stuck in the middle of an event in which he had no idea
if the reasons for it would be revealed in time, Peter David
manages to vaguely allude to Spider-Man's new motivations
without ever being specific. Within the confines of the
story, it's okay, but this is just ridiculously frustrating.
We've been told Peter would don the black suit after a devastating
personal tragedy and well…not only would you not learn what
it is in this issue, Spider-Man just doesn't seem that devastated.
At least the Sandman doesn't really act out of character
just to fit the movie's conception.
Hulk #103: A lot of questions have been answered. A
lot more will be raised. And the biggest one is: why is
Greg Pak not the new master of Marvel? Sorry, Bendis. Sorry,
Brubaker. Pak is the guy. In all this time, we've never
really questioned the status quo of the Bruce/Hulk dynamic
because everything was so good. Then in just a couple of
panels Pak reveals it and …it's still just so good. Despite
this storyline putting an acceptable epilogue on the Hulk's
saga, Pak even naturally spins into World War Hulk.
Suddenly, I can't wait.
#12: Is a Greg Horn cover enough to get you to buy a
book? Clearly, Marvel thinks it is. Actually, the insides
aren't terrible. Brian Reed's story isn't too bad, though
it's dealing with a lot of really obscure history that he
hasn't managed to make any less obscure. It's just badly
paced art-wise, with characters disappearing and reappearing
in a confusing manner. Let's just say it's nowhere near
as pretty as Greg Horn makes you think it would be. But
remember he did the covers for Marville, too.
#3: Warren Ellis explained his take in the second issue,
and already he can't resist turning it on its head. With
this much going on in such a short amount of time, it feels
like you've gotten your money's worth and will continue
to do so. Another bonus: Salvador Larroca dials back on
his obvious casting of characters, letting his artwork breathe
a little bit more. This is a cosmic saga done right, and
right here on Earth.
#5: More Paktastic goodness, closing one book on Grant
Morrison's X-Men run while planting seeds for more
storytelling. Though the artwork is a little uneven, this
book never lets up, and never talks down to the readers.
It's not for the casual reader, but it is tremendously rewarding
for long-time fans.
of Coney Island #4: Basically, it's an excuse to further
define the two opposing gangs as they get into a rumble.
Rick Spears ignores the other menace he had set up in the
beginning, but it's forgivable as the characters finally
find some focus. It's still not exactly my cup of tea, but
it keeps drawing me in because I want to like the concept
better than I do.
Power Pack #4: Somehow, Marc Sumerak made Venom cute.
Actually, it's not exactly Venom, but turning the littlest
Power into a symbiote ends up with a plausible explanation
that shouldn't damage young minds too much. Unfortunately,
the Mini-Marvels strip in back continues referencing too
many dark things in the Marvel Universe to let this be a
perfect book for younger readers. If the trade paperback
skips those, this will be a great gift for kids about the
time of Spider-Man 3.
Supreme: Hyperion Vs. Nighthawk #2: Mr. Guggenheim,
you've officially made Nighthawk into a bigger badass than
Batman. This Kyle Richmond will do anything to make a point,
and yet in the context of Guggenheim's plot, you can hardly
blame him. The story also delves deeper into Hyperion's
psyche than most issues of Squadron Supreme have
allowed. All of it, of course, gets topped by Paul Gulacy's
art, which is just some of the best in the business.
X-Men #483: Ed Brubaker rewinds from the end of the
previous issue, showing us how we got there. While interesting,
it's unnecessary at this point, because he's set up so much
at the tip of action. Like reviving Bucky, though, it's
surprising that an idea this obvious has waited for Brubaker
to pluck it out of the ether. You could skip this issue
and wait for #484 and not have missed much.
Comics Annual #10:
Actually, I have no idea what it holds, but there's this
vague but persistent buzzing in my head that says I must
buy this book.
Tower: The Gunslinger Born #1: Maybe
you've heard of this one from some up and coming writer
by the name of Stephen King...
The Monster Society of Evil #1:
Maybe that buzzing comes from Mr. Mind. Regardless, you'd
be foolish -- FOOLISH -- not to pick up this first post-Bone
work from Jeff Smith. It will be fun. Oh, yes, it will be
write to us and let us know what you think, or talk about
it on the forums!