Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 06/07/06
week we look through the upcoming releases to offer our two
cents as to what's hot and what's not. You can agree with
us or not, but spend your money wisely.
brought to you by FanboyPlanet.Comics
of Santa Clara
writer: Keith Giffen
artist: Kody Chamberlain
Two weeks in
a row, I have to give this slot to the hardest working man
in comics business. Keith Giffen, go ahead. Jump back. Kiss
We're in the
midst of a zombie renaissance. It seems like every publisher
has a zombie book in its catalogue (except maybe DC - but
then, they've got The Spectre). Boom! Studios has even carved
out a niche with a zombie anthology book and scattered one-shots.
But all these
have to bend over backwards in order to find something new
and interesting to say with the genre. More often than not,
they poke fun, and Giffen has written his fair share of
stories that do that.
In the case
of Tag, however, Giffen has found a genuinely new
Mitch is having
a very bad day. After a date in which he and his girlfriend
Izumi break up, a rotting corpse shambles (albeit pretty
fast) up to him and reaches out. "Tag!" it rasps, "you're
for Mitch, this is one macabre children's game. The corpse
immediately revivifies into a handsome young man who babbles
about pictures in his head before running off. When Mitch
wakes up in the hospital, he's technically dead. Except
he's still conscious, though his autonomic nervous system
has apparently shut down.
The zombie story
gets a shot in the arm here by offering it a creepy combination
of playfulness and hope. Though Mitch has no apparent craving
for human flesh, he does have visions that will drive him
to pass this curse on to someone else. Giffen has also taken
the risk of making his protagonist kind of an ass when alive,
challenging the reader to find empathy for this bizarre
On one level,
Tag does borrow elements from Ringu and Stephen
King's Thinner. But it becomes its own creature,
setting up a good sense of mystery and growing revulsion
even though the curse does not seem to be a danger to the
This is a tale
of personal horror, made all the more vivid by Chamberlain's
fairly realistic sketching. The very mundanity of the character
design makes it all more immediate. To match Mitch's pragmatic
acceptance of his dilemma, the coloring remains muted.
isn't high-octane horror, splattering vivid blood and guts
around. It captures that elusive feeling of dread, creating
a mid-level of compelling storytelling that still allows
for the imagination to run wild. Along with books like 7
Days To Fame, this makes a case for quality graphic
work that the movies just aren't doing. It's not big enough
(or really, mindless enough) action for the silver screen,
but it's just right for reading.
Also on the
#4 From the awesome cover to the beautiful art inside,
Sam Kieth keeps delivering some of the coolest Batman art
to come down the pike in a long time. The story takes a
bit of a dip here, saving the biggest revelations and confrontations
for its final issue next month. Though quirky, this is definitely
worth a look.
#6: After a cockroach apocalypse in the last issue,
The Exterminators starts on a new arc, making a perfect
place to jump aboard. The story builds on what has come
before but won't leave new readers cold. Those with a fear
of black widow spiders need not apply, though. Hardier fans
will get another dose of a great new series from Vertigo.
Neighborhood Spider-Man #9: Maybe Peter David is rehashing
information from an earlier story, but if he is, he makes
it feel brand-new. This is a strange and disturbing origin
for a new Hobgoblin from the future. It's likely that the
character can stick around bedeviling our Spider-Man; really,
Hobby's own future Spidey seems a lot less interesting,
even with more arms and eyes.
De Mortuis: Creepy, weird stories from Benito Cereno
and Nate Bellegarde, building a nice continuity in one solid
comic. It does appeal to those readers with more "goth"
tastes (not necessarily gothic), but the stories pull a
lot of fun reversals and take risks with the character.
The only downside is the price of $5.99, but it does pack
a lot of story of "the Benandante."
#32: Robert Kirkman has taken all the things that made
Marvel work in the sixties and adapted them to modern day
techniques. So how come his Marvel work doesn't have the
same snap it does here? Invincible is in the middle
of a storyline, but even if you haven't been following it,
you should sample with this issue and then go back and get
more. It's more fun all the time.
#8: The book gets a new artist with Dylan Teague, who
has a simple but effective style. Unfortunately, he also
splits his duties with Val Semeiks, who's not a bad artist,
just very different. It makes for a jarring switch, lessened
by another solid story by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray.
They've captured the vibe of the original Jonah Hex
series but deal with issues in it far more honestly than
could have been done in the seventies. Every issue is worth
Eternity #1: Scott Lobdell and Dustin Nguyen deliver
a story combining space opera with fantasy. It's too soon
to tell if it works, but the idea seems fun enough. Unfortunately,
the characters haven't yet really grabbed my interest. Pay
no attention to the ad for the videogame Rise of Legends
on the back cover, though you could probably play that game
sooner and reach a resolution faster than this book will.
Spider-Man #16: The perfect, perfect book to give your
kid who's into Spider-Man. Zeb Wells never quite broke into
fandom's heart with his earlier "adult" work, but here he
writes a Spider-Man that all ages can enjoy. Catch this
now, because it could mark his getting another shot at higher
Dead #28: Once again, praise for Kirkman's independent
work. His passion pours into every issue, as he throws in
plots that make chilling sense. It's not just the flesh-eating
zombies that are scary in this book; it's us. And yet it
never defies belief. Charlie Adlard's art is just stylized
enough that even the weak-stomached can still get swept
up in the story and bleep over the gore.
The Front Line #1: A crossover so big they managed to
get two extra mini-series out of it. I'm not sure
what will happen here that couldn't have happened in the
regular series, but we're going to eat it up, aren't we,
Tales #6: This is more of a buyer beware thing. The
covers to this comic have been ridiculously salacious. The
interiors, however, seem more reasonable and truer to the
source stories of our Disney-fied fairy tales than you might
expect. Come for the story; don't be disappointed when you
don't get nearly as much titillation as you thought you
#1: Allen Heinberg and Terry Dodson relaunch the Amazon.
Right now I'm just not seeing the minuses to this.
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