Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 06/21/06
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: Matt Fraction
artist: Gabriel Ba
hedonistic but still fun about the sixties, throw in a dash
of Marvel sensibility, set to frappe and pour it into a
glass of Image, and you might have an idea of what Casanova
It's not that
it's indescribable; instead, it's incredibly comfortable.
Recreating the days of true "pop art," Matt Fraction and
Gabriel Ba have created a book both challenging and good-naturedly
silly. If Steranko and Michael Moorcock had tried to have
a love child but Mick Jagger got there first, we might be
close to approximating Casanova.
Not the famous
Venetian lover, Casanova Quinn at least lives up to the
roguish implication. Rebelling against his father, a character
just as much Nick Fury as Warren Ellis' Dirk Anger is, Casanova
has turned to being a world-class freelance thief. It's
okay, because at least at the outset, he has a sister that
makes papa proud until a mission kills her. But all is not
what it seems in this wild rollercoaster ride.
Set in another
time and place, perhaps today if Jack Kirby's technology
had really existed, the book throws in everything but the
kitchen sink. Actually, the sink might be there, but in
some sort of extra-dimensional transubstantiated incarnation.
Just when you think you have a handle on things, Fraction
introduces another wild yet familiar idea, with every page
keeping the reader guessing.
toys mingle with Buddhist monks that have merged into a
grotesque version of Le Chiffre called Fabula Berserko.
In order to truly defeat an opponent, you have to be really
good at staring contests. And then, on the outside of reality
stands supercriminal Newman Xeno, head of an organization
with an ever changing acronym.
Ba's art has
a clean cartoonishness that evokes British comics tradition.
The coloring carries on the conceit, in black, white and
olive. It works completely, sucking us into a world (or
world) that believes itself and definitely has a cool soundtrack,
if only the creators would tell us what it is.
a few riffs on Michael Moorcock's Jerry Cornelius, I recognize
the influence. Between this and Wildstorm's Desolation
Jones, that open source fiction has been handily updated
for the twenty-first century, a neat trick for something
that was ahead of its time in the first place. In truth,
though, Fraction keeps this story far more linear, and if
it veers too wildly, it's still just too enjoyable to care.
In a post-script,
Fraction claims to be picking up a challenge to match Ellis'
accomplishment with Fell, providing a great read
for a low price. He has succeeded, and more. Casanova
warrants a few read-throughs, and at only $1.99, that makes
it an incredible bargain.
It's so nice
when literature manages to sneak onto the stands disguised
as junk. Somehow, Casanova Quinn would approve.
Also on the
Unconquered #1: Just like thirty years ago, the popularity
of Conan the Barbarian has spawned its imitators.
Again, just like thirty years ago, DC (through Wildstorm)
responds with Claw. The story of a barbarian warrior
with a demon claw for a hand, this follow-up to a team-up
with Red Sonja makes a decent debut. How could it not, as
it's written by one of the best "man's man" in the business,
Chuck Dixon. It's good sword and sorcery, ably supported
by solid work from artist Andy Smith.
#21: I love this book for challenging what I think about
social issues on a monthly basis. It's not sharp enough
to be unsettling, but Brian K. Vaughan continues to prove
that the superhero genre can be used for far more than just
beating up bad guys and giving us a cathartic exhilaration.
We can have our minds stimulated, too, and it would be nice
if some of the more mainstream superhero books could figure
out how to do that more often.
It's not just the Super Friends Alex Ross wants to rehabilitate;
it's the whole DC Universe. The Metal Men make an appearance
this issue that should have done Dan DiDio's heart proud.
Like every other character that has appeared in this series,
damn, they look cool. But it's not just a sally through
the late Silver Age; Justice has some of the most
solid plotting of Ross' career, with a simple but well-built
mystery. All the while, even the lamest of characters become
chilling. Even a certain spineless archfoe of Captain Marvel
becomes no laughing matter, unless that laugh is rueful
that cripes, yes, even that one seems cool.
X Isle #1:
In press releases, Boom! Studios likened this book a lot
to Lost. That does it a disservice, especially to
those readers that don't want to read something that seems
derivative of a popular trend. X Isle is something
different. If it riffs off of anything, it's more like a
Sid & Marty Krofft show actually done with intelligence.
A team of scientists get caught up in a freak storm that
washes them up on what seems to be a prehistoric island,
with all the danger that entails. The characters are pretty
well-defined, though at this point they don't stretch much
beyond high concepts. Occasionally, the art looks static,
but the story keeps on moving and I'm very interested to
see what happens next.
X-Men #15: Making our hearts go pitter-pat since 2004.
#1: Somehow, John Romita, Jr. became a really good artist
for the kind of high tech tomfoolery that Jack Kirby threw
in all of his books. So he makes a good choice for this
revival of Kirby's The Eternals. But really, it's
Gaiman spinning the King - face it, it just might not get
better than this all year.
Fastest Man Alive #1: Maybe it isn't the biggest mystery
in comics this year, because we really haven't been allowed
to feel Flash's absence yet. Who is under the mask? I'm
betting we still won't know for an issue or two.
#1: Slave Labor Graphics presents the third season of
Gargoyles you never saw. Grab this chance while you
#23: This book has pulled a Spider-Girl, coming
back from beyond the brink of cancellation. Pick it up if
you haven't already, and find out why. Marc Andreyko has
created a pretty intriguing superhero, though she might
not like being called that. He's also tying her tightly
into pre-existing DC continuity, without forcing it. That's
no mean feat.
Hey, write to us and
let us know what you think, or talk about it on the