Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 06/28/06
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
creator: Sergio Aragones
co-writer: Mark Evanier
may have been with you all of your life and you didn't even
know it. If you read Mad Magazine, you couldn't help
but get sucked into his "Drawn Out Dramas" in the margins.
Those got animated for more than one "Blooper" show on NBC.
According to the bio in the back of this book, Aragones
was even on Laugh-In.
fans, the Mexican-born artist may be most popular for his
wandering book with Mark Evanier, Groo the Wanderer.
The duo has lent their creative skills to a few other comic
staples, with books like The Mighty Magnor and Fanboy.
here is just how effective the outrageously cartoony Aragones
can be at personal reflection and historical epic. His art
always seemed perceptive; a book like Solo allows
its honesty to shine.
He opens with
typical self-deprecation, lampooning his life as a free-lance
artist until Evanier calls and reminds him of his deadline.
From there Aragones launches into a tale of his past as
a some-time actor, entitled "I Killed Marty Feldman."
The title isn't
true, but it's a story of a brush with greatness and sadness,
and oddly enough, the artist draws a pretty good caricature
of the British comedian. (And Dean Stockwell - who knew?)
Aside from exposing a corner of Aragones' career many readers
didn't know about, it's a well-constructed memory.
Though he also
tells another autobiographical story, again within the confines
of a good short story, Aragones turns to the Old West for
a story that might have fit in his days with DC's Plop!.
Taking the same
time period, he shifts over to Mexican history. If you're
not careful, Sergio Aragones might accidentally teach you
something, and not just about good storytelling. It's definitely
a case of history being written by the winners.
As seems to
be customary for the Solo series, one story focuses
on a regular DC character. As has also been the case for
the majority of issues, it's Batman. Longtime collaborator
Evanier pens a story that starts out being about the very
campy sixties Batman, all the better to match Aragones'
But as the story
unfolds, it seems just as fitting for the Dark Knight as
most people see him. If the villain had a different name
and motif, or if the layouts had been with a more "serious"
artist, the story would have fit just as well in a regular
This issue takes
amazing strides to prove Aragones' versatility. That may
not come as a surprise to his most ardent fans, but it's
needed. Along with long-timers (not old-timers) like Joe
Kubert and John Severin, Aragones deserves a chance to kick
the whippersnappers in the pants and remind them that not
only does he know what he's doing, he's doing it better
Also on the
Way #5 This book has gone from a diverting read to one
to put right at the top of the stack. The story gets more
and more complex, and never shies away from the ugliness
of the culture. It would be nice to believe that our people
would be more understanding and our government more trustworthy,
but John Ridley's script makes super powers the only thing
we have to suspend our disbelief over.
and Power Pack Assemble #3: Aside from being one of
the longest titles this week, Marc Sumerak and GuriHiru's
book makes the best kid's read. Yet as the Power family
crosses path with Spider-Man, it doesn't seem that farfetched
that these events could be happening in a slightly kinder
corner of the world. Every Avenger gets kid-friendly without
violating their characterization. Most of you won't believe
it, but years ago when Power Pack started out, it
really was this good and non-insulting to our intelligence
#86: Every major player in Daredevil's world is locked
up in Riker's Island. The FBI hopes that they'll all kill
each other, and a few of them seem okay with that. In all
that, what's the Punisher going to do? Ed Brubaker and Michael
Lark prove that just when you think you know a character,
he can still pull out surprises. This tale of shifting loyalties
packs tons of action into 22 pages, easily handling the
good-natured "screw you" left behind by Brian Michael Bendis.
The PvP magazine staff has to undergo sexual harassment
sensitivity training. That may be enough for most of you.
It's sure enough for me. Scott Kurtz makes me laugh almost
every day. With this issue, he also taught me a really bad
pun for me to use in the future.
#17: I just feel obligated every few issues to remind
you all that this book totally rocks. It's completely different
in tone and feeling from Brian K. Vaughan's other excellent
books, Ex Machina and Y: The Last Man, which
proves nothing except that dang, he's a good writer.
#127: After years of a good reputation, this marks the
first issue of Savage Dragon I have ever read. Fans
of this book must be pleased month after month, because
the energy in this thing is terrific. However, it's also
head-scratching in the complexity of its continuity. Erik
Larsen's style has roughened a bit since last I paid close
attention, but that may just be the demands of writing and
penciling a monthly book. If you like the Dragon, you'll
continue to be pleased. If you've never read the Dragon,
join me in looking for a suitable trade paperback to pick
up and see if it helps.
#1: Paul Jenkins, he who is now copyrighted by Marvel,
does a creator-owned book for Image. Sidekick has
a clever enough premise, but it also reads like Jenkins
is trying too hard to write something funny like The
Tick. Now that he has his set-up out of the way, the
next issues might morph into something more their own creature.
Peter Milligan and Salvador Larroca end their run with this
issue, and it ties things up fairly neatly for the new team
to come in and mess it all up. But that's not why this book
got a second glance. It's that in the back (and probably
in a few more Marvel books), there's a preview story of
the dumbly named Masked Marvel. Guess what? It's
actually pretty good, even handling the odd meta-conceit
of taking us through a tour of the Marvel Universe's Marvel
New World Diamond doesn't list this, but DC does. Who
to trust? I don't know, but if this book comes out tomorrow,
it's simply the best deal you can have this week with six
series launches for a measly dollar.
Every now and then, I like to look at the Diamond list and
wonder: who the hell is buying this book? Granted, it has
to be at least three times as entertaining as her last movie.
by Jack Kirby: This hardcover collects all of Kirby's
work on a series that Neil Gaiman thought worth re-examining.
Who are we to argue with Gaiman? And if Marvel put it in
hardcover, you know they treated the art right. Unless a
page or two shows up in reverse.
Is this the end of the Morningstar?
Action Figures: I love a series of action figures that
so perfectly captures the style of an artist, but please
don't quote me on that if somebody does a line of "Rob Liefeld
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