Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 08/23/06
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.
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of Santa Clara
(ask for Steve, and he'll give you the worst
oatmeal cookie you've ever tasted...)
writer: Warren Ellis
artist: Ben Templesmith
Already, I suspect
that whenever a new issue of Fell hits, it's going
to qualify as the spotlight book. Each issue serves as essentially
a stand-alone, though Warren Ellis does have a loose continuity.
First off, Ellis
serves up interesting drama without resorting to sensationalism.
Detective Fell may have seen too much messed-up crap in
his life, but he's believably trying to reconnect with society
at large, not just protect it. After reading a lot of Ellis'
other smaller projects and Marvel's Nextwave, it's
nice to see that Ellis can write of ordinary humans accomplishing
mundanely extraordinary things. In Fell, he has a human
Part of Fell's
connecting rests on his imminent girlfriend Mayko. In this
issue, she seems understandably excited to stick a toe in
Fell's world, though that might change. Whichever direction
she goes, it will be a reasonable character direction. With
just a few choice scenes, she already feels like the kind
of girlfriend everybody wishes they could get. But is Fell
the right kind of boyfriend?
has a moral center, though again, he may have seen a lot
of bad things that could simmer in his subconscious. At
this point, he has empathy for those that society might
otherwise overlook. It's this quality that gets this issue's
disturbing little story rolling.
I'm late to
Fell, so knowing exactly where the book's groundwork
lies is difficult. Certainly, having Ben Templesmith do
the artwork implies horror, but this issue seems far more
grounded. What we are capable of doing to each other is
horrible enough, but in any case Fell provides Templesmith
a great showcase for surprisingly effective quiet moments.
But back to
that horror - Detective Fell's chief believes he can save
the city by learning magic. He could be joking, but then
why is he reading a copy of the Necronomicon? It might simply
be Ellis' dark humor, but it could bode something worse
in store for Fell.
No matter the
case, I'll be reading. It's not just that insanely low cover
price of $1.99. Sure, that makes the book a bargain, but
it's just a lure. The quality will keep you coming back.
Also On The
the Mad Monk #1: Matt Wagner continues absorbing Golden
Age Batman tales into something like modern continuity.
With this mini-series, he chronicles Batman's first encounter
with the supernatural. Even if the powers that be don't
let this stand as canon, having it occur early in the Dark
Knight's career makes his inevitable distrust of the fantastic
more palatable. There's also something solid and pleasing
about Wagner's work; it almost feels like we're seeing some
classic comic strip play out. Though Bill Finger and Bob
Kane were able to tell the original story in far fewer pages,
Wagner keeps adding depth and carving out his own little
corner of Batman's history.
Unconquered #3: Werewolf warriors, a demon clone and
portents of continuity to come. I'll be damned - the book's
grown on me. The fact that it seems to know where it's going
helps. Andy Smith's art gets less and less like Bart Sears'
and more and more its own cool, bloody creation with each
issue. Okay, so it's not for everyone, but if you like scantily
clad maidens, ultra-violence, and a hero with an ambivalence
about his fate, Claw will satisfy. That's Claw,
not Claws, though that might satisfy you, too.
#2: On one side, we get an almost perfect Howard Stern
riff. Sure, the guest is a crocodileman, but other than
that, the parody is too close to reality. If that makes
you nervous, good. Richard Starkings has a really good ear
for voices. Flip the book over and you have a story, largely
narrated in excerpts from The Book of Job, that explains
the crocodileman's condition, and it's not nearly as easy
to grasp. From the looks of the next issue's cover, it's
the tale that has something to do with burgeoning continuity.
It's a cool issue, though not quite as strong as the book's
#7: It's goofy, but still not afraid to be challenging.
Every time you think you have a handle on what's going on,
Rick Remender throws another curve. Fear Agent is
smart, fearless and unpredictable. So, too, perhaps, is
its title character.
#55: Walt Simonson and Howard Chaykin teamed on a book
should be old school goodness. Instead, this book has taken
forever to move its plot along, and it doesn't even seem
that interesting. Hawkman has returned, like we knew he
would, but this issue almost completely ignores it. Chaykin
seems a bit tired, doing competent work but nothing particularly
special, though Simonson has given him ample opportunity
to draw lingerie.
Dead #30: Let me be brief: without breaking any rules,
without cheating us, Kirkman and Adlard (and it's definitely
a creative team doing this) fooled us with a major plot
point. Well played, guys, well played. I hate zombies and
I love this book.
#2: Allan Heinberg gives the Dodsons plenty of chances
to work to their strengths. To go along with that, the writer
has amped up Wonder Woman's arch villains into something
truly formidable for a new era. Heck, he's even managed
to reclaim early seventies continuity. And yet what Heinberg
has not had to do yet is actually explain any of it. Thus
the coolness has a bitter aftertaste, because though this
relaunched Wonder Woman is dazzling, it hasn't yet
proved to have anything in the way of substance. It does,
however, have a smiling Batman.
Dark Knight: Combining Frank Miller's redefinitions
of Batman into one huge volume, which we can all assume
to be gorgeous. Some people felt that The Dark Knight
Strikes Again was a pale echo of the first work, but
really, how could anything live up to the impact of The
Dark Knight Returns? Give it another read, because you
know you want this edition.
X-Men #16: Last issue, Joss Whedon turned Wolverine
into a prissy British schoolboy. Can he top that? How about
bringing things back full circle to an angry Kitty Pryde,
ready to take down the new Hellfire Club?
Jack of Fables
#2: This spin-off from (you guessed it) Fables
had a fun debut issue. Whether or not we get tired of Jack's
constantly blowing his own horn remains to be seen. Of course,
Jack blowing his own horn should really be another story
of America #1: If the prospect of Brad Meltzer writing
the League hasn't already caused you to do this, allow me
to describe it: bring your hands up to your mouth and squeal
like a cheerleader just awarded the title of Homecoming
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