Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 02/28/07
brought to you by FanboyPlanet.Comics
of Santa Clara
writer: Peter David
artists: Pablo Raimondi and Brian Reber
a shame that X-Men: The Last Stand reduced the Multiple
Man to a one-dimensional character for the sake of a visual
joke. That alone may have kept people away from this series,
confused that such a lame thug could become the leader of
the most interesting team of Marvel's mutants.
In the mind
of Peter David, Jamie Madrox has as many dimensions as he
can produce duplicates. So many, in fact, that he has decided
it's high time he start drawing those duplicates back in
to himself. The temptation to live multiple lives has gotten
too great and caused some friction within the team.
David used this to great effect, utilizing the Madrox that
had become an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Emotionally broken down
by Hydra, a brainwashed Multiple Man revealed the one thing
that all of his selves have in common: self-loathing.
So of course,
David has to show us the flip side. Madrox goes after the
self that he sent out to find religion, quite possibly to
find his soul. And once that plot gets rolling, it's almost
impossible to determine where it will go. One option will
satisfy the reader; one will satisfy Madrox. With each page,
it gets harder to tell which is which.
in the background are other members of X-Factor, specifically
Siryn and M, both unintended victims of Madrox's personality
conflict. They have fled to Paris for a girl talk weekend,
and end up embroiled in a mutant conflagration that will
no doubt have long-lasting effects.
with the fantastic, though, X-Factor feels like the
most realistic of Marvel's X books. Almost all the members
could pass as normal humans, and their costumes rarely get
noticed. Instead, it's all about their internal struggles,
both with their powers and their place in society. If you
know somebody that doesn't read comics but has gotten addicted
to watching Heroes, this is one of the best books
you could hand them.
It's also a
decent stand-alone issue, even though it's midpoint in a
storyline. Peter David is simply one of the best out there
at crafting complex stories within stories that allow new
readers to check a book out without feeling lost - and he
doesn't overexplain things to bog long-time readers down.
Up until today,
I hadn't realized it's also a bit experimental art-wise.
Colorist Brian Reber goes digitally over Pablo Raimondi's
pencils. It's not a new technique, but Raimondi's use of
heavy blacks made me assume that he inked himself. The result
isn't as glorious as Richard Isanove's work, but then, this
should be a grittier book, and Reber uses a well-muted palette.
has also improved. Occasionally, panels still look a little
static, but he carries the emotion well.
is an adult book in the right sense - a rich story with
challenging ideas, and nothing added gratuitously. It's
not violent. It's complex.
Also on the
Heralds of Galactus #1: At least in the wake of Annihilation
we only have this one spin-off. I…what? There are? Oh. So
anyway, at least Stuart Moore does a heck of a job explaining
the character of Stardust. Just as in Civil War,
it's frustrating when these good writers do good work in
the service of a crossover I just didn't want to get sucked
into. But again, this is just a one-shot, so if you like
the Heralds of Galactus, it's worth a look.
#94: Put aside the jokey (and maybe just a skosh tasteless)
cover copy. Inside, we get little more than a recap of Mrs.
Murdock's experiences as girlfriend and wife of Daredevil.
Lee Weeks delivers some terrific art, but overall, it's
the kind of issue that seems to be killing time until the
new status quo can be messed with - seems to be a lot of
that going around at Marvel.
#7: Illusive Arts Entertainment's science fiction retelling
of The Wizard of Oz rolls around to the Cowardly
Lion, here simply known as "The Beast." Told in
"fumetti" style then steeped in computer graphics,
the book aims pretty high, and almost gets there. The actors
still tend to look posed, but when artist Ray Boersig deals
strictly with his digital creations (the Beast designed
by creator Greg Mannino), this book veers into magic. Let
that not offend writer Mark Masterson, whose characterization
of Dorothy's companions keeps this book flowing past an
intricate and dark plot.
Staff #13: No less confusing than any other issue of
Jack Staff, this one at least has the advantage of
being a tale of an "alternate reality." Our hero, now perceived
as a villain, has to fight to restore the reality he vaguely
thinks he knows. This issue eschews the usual feeling of
random stories popping in to interrupt the main narrative,
and even if you feel a little bit lost, the ride is worth
it. This is a fun book, parodying but loving a style of
comics that, honestly, most of us here in America don't
quite get. But Paul Grist is just so doggoned good at it.
#24: In one month, Joss Whedon takes over, but Brian
K. Vaughan goes out in a blaze of glory. The team only barely
resembles what it started out as, and yet Vaughan does a
nice nod back to its beginning. He also sets things up for
Whedon, with enough closure that we're satisfied, but enough
crap that the new guy has a lot of work ahead. It's work
we look forward to seeing.
Swear To God #4: Nothing earth-shattering happens here,
except Tom Beland gets one awful, awful sunburn. No, this
book is just for those that like really good cartooning
combined with really good storytelling by a creator who's
a nice guy and deserves a little more attention.
Dead #35: Just when you think things couldn't get worse,
they get worse. In this case, my advance review copy had
a misprint that caused the second to last page to get printed
twice, instead of the ACTUAL LAST PAGE. AAAARRGGGHHH! Robert
Kirkman has figured out how to completely frustrate me in
a whole new way!
#51: Okay. The art here, by Simone Bianchi, is just
gorgeous. I do not take issue with that at all. The pacing
by Jeph Loeb is well-done, perfectly matched to make sure
that Bianchi gets to really show off. So far, no problems.
Well, okay, there's one problem: this storyline isn't just
cheating with the idea that Wolverine remembers everything
about his life except, conveniently, the truth about his
relationship to Sabertooth. No, where I'm particularly annoyed
is that a long-standing character clearly clearly
knows the truth that neither Wolverine or Sabertooth themselves
know. And this character was keeping it from them for twenty-five
Man #3: Stop me if you've heard this one. A young
girl gets raised to be the perfect killer, until a well-meaning
superhero steps in and tries to break her of her instincts.
If you thought this was X23, please play again. Batgirl?
Nope. Oh, forget it. The art by Andrew Currie is at odds
with the story, and the story is at odds with Peter David's
talent. If you haven't skipped this already, it's never
write to us and let us know what you think, or talk about
it on the forums!