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The Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 07/11/06
Page 1 -- The Spectacular Spider-Man #28

Also on the Stands:

A Man Called Kev #1: Garth Ennis and Carlos Ezquierra return to their hapless man of mystery who gets the job done even while it all goes to bollocks. And so it does. He's been asked to leave the country or face an incriminating film past, but dark forces want to keep that from happening. It's still full of lad humor, but this first issue doesn't feel quite strong enough to warrant sitting through another mini-series. We don't quite know why we're reading about Kev, unless it's because we liked the earlier stories.

The Cryptics #1: Horror writer Steve Niles gets cute with artist Benjamin Roman in a series of short stories with monster children. Yes, we've seen variations on this before, but Roman draws a disturbingly cute baby fishman, so that's a plus. If this sort of thing floats your boat, this sort of thing will float your boat. And swim out underneath it and pull it under when you least expect it.

Firestorm #27: Stuart Moore has to have pulled off the best turn-around of the year, turning everybody's least favorite nuclear man into a character worth reading. Jason Rusch still doesn't quite know what he's doing, but at least he's not whining about it. Moore throws in a couple of plot twists I didn't expect, and Jamal Igle and Keith Champagne turn in another solid issue of art.

Ghost Rider #1: Supposedly, this spins out of Garth Ennis' recent Vertigo riff disguised as Ghost Rider. However, Daniel Way writes it to stand on its own. If you don't know anything about Johnny Blaze but think the character just looks cool, Mark Texeira's art makes it easy to get into this book. Then that story just might have you hooked. For the first time ever, I'm kind of intrigued.

Hawaiian Dick: The Last Resort #4: B. Clayton Moore's scruffy pre-statehood gumshoe is a cool character, so cool that supposedly a film version with Johnny Knoxville is in development. Great choice, there. But this last issue of a mini-series doesn't really do justice to the concept; it's hard to catch up. If you have all the other issues, then by all means, finish it up. Everybody else, wait for the trade - you will be glad you did, because all of a piece, it's pretty good stuff.

Hero Squared #2: A therapy session takes up the entire issue. That description doesn't really do it justice, because the session still ends up sprawling across the farthest corners of the Earth. Keith Giffen and JM DeMatteis continue deconstructing the mythology of superheroes, but don't let the depth scare you off. It's still pretty danged funny. Guys, thanks for the bwaa-ha-has.

The Next #1: A youthful team of superbeings (not necessarily superheroes) tumbles into our reality and our awareness. Pursued by a powerful paradimensional or parachronal dark force, they struggle to understand our ways. If only there were still a WB to turn this into a pilot. Or if only we hadn't really seen this with The Forever People, Young Heroes In Love or even to some extent last year's The Human Race. Writer Tad Williams hasn't yet proven this has something different to it, other than a characterization of Superman that seems rather out of character.

Rokkin #1: Why, oh why, do I get the feeling that everybody at Wildstorm giggles and calls this "Rock On!" behind Scott Dunbier's back? Kudos to Wildstorm for trying to jumpstart a new sword and sorcery craze, but this is the least original of their offerings. You're better off trying Skye Runner or the revivals of Warlord and Claw. Rokkin has cluttered art and a predictable storyline.

Squadron Supreme #5: By now, we can all get over figuring out the parallels to Justice Leaguers and just enjoy the tremendously intense story J. Michael Straczynski and Gary Frank are telling. Bringing the Squadron into the war on terror, JMS makes compelling arguments for both sides of the political debate, muddied, of course, by the fact that a few members of the team are probably psychotic, possessed by an alien force or both.

Strange Girl #9: No two Rick Remender books read the same. You go from cool cyberpunk riffs on classic horror literature to vampire pirates to…well…this. In Strange Girl, a girl accesses sorcerous powers to fight demons on an Earth abandoned by God - literally, as it takes place a decade or so after the rapture. This is my first exposure to the title, but I'm going back to look for earlier issues.

Task Force 1 #1: Tsk. Task Force 1 has decent art but a kind of jumpy storyline. Right now, Jim Valentino's "Shadowline" efforts feel like decent concepts buried in loads of false edginess. This book wants to be more shocking and outrageous than it actually is. We've already seen government-sponsored superheroes gone wrong. Heck, we're seeing it right now with Squadron Supreme.

Wolverine Origins #4: Captain America versus Wolverine with a surprising revelation. The ol' Canuckle head considers Steve Rogers to be a friend! Daniel Way puts an interesting spin on a couple of long-time tropes of the Marvel Universe, thus making this book a bit better than we had a right to expect.

X-Men #188: Mike Carey closed the book on the Prince of Lies and opens it on everybody's favorite merry mutants. Okay, so not everybody's favorites are in here, but with Chris Bachalo's art, Carey continues his interesting characterization and his willingness to let even the most beloved of characters look like jerks, and the most jerky look like complex beings.

Sight Unseen:

Dorothy #6: We get to see this dark Oz' version of the Tin Woodsman. I'm in just for that.

The Escapists #1: Brian K. Vaughan continues Michael Chabon's Pulitzer-prize winning work, set simultaneously in both the mundane world and the world of the greatest hero of them all…The Escapist! Watch out for the Iron Chain…

Scarlet Traces: The Great Game #1: This interesting look at War of the Worlds puts it back in its original time frame, hypothesizing an England that managed to reverse-engineer Martian technology. Of course, they forgot there might be more Martians…

Ultimate Fantastic Four #31: The Frightful Four are loose. Somebody please explain to me how they're not going to turn the Ultimate Universe into a world full of zombies.

Hey, write to us and let us know what you think, or talk about it on the forums!

Derek McCaw

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