Monday, January 15, 2007

Manhunting For New Readers While Justice Delayed Is Not Quality Denied

Hello faithful readers,
Forgive the delay again between postings--here at FanBoyWonder world headquarters we’ve been having computer problems but we hope we have resolved our technical difficulties. Without further delay, here’s our review of books from Jan. 3 with a review of Jan. 10 books forthcoming.

Manhunter #27

The Upshot from DC Comics: The conspiracy widens in Part 2 of "Unleashed!" Don't miss the biggest development yet in the case of the United States vs. Wonder Woman!

You know this is a smartly written book when the issue’s major plot twist--the mysterious re-appearance of the (supposed to be) deceased Ted Kord, the Blue Beetle--is given away right on the cover, yet it still manages to be a surprise the reveal occurs on the last page.

We’re newcomers to this book as we’ve previously noted but if writer Marc Andreyko was cranking out issues as good as #27, we’re forced to wonder why DC canceled this book to start with.

Manhunter never appears in costume during this issue, her alter ego attorney Kate Spencer carries the book with her verbal sparing in the court room. As she defends her client Wonder Woman during pre-trial for the murder of Maxwell Lord it’s fascinating to see one of the most powerful beings in the DC Universe reduced to a helpless bystander in a court of law.

The art by pencilers Javiar Pina and Fernando Blanco with inks by Robin Riggs is serviceable. Crystal clear and slick but not flashy. Not every single panel is perfect but it’s exactly what a monthly book should be--good and on time.

Nightwing #128

The Upshot from DC Comics: The story of Raptor comes to an end, but the story behind him is just beginning. One villain is dead, but his body has been removed from the grave. A second villain has seemingly vanished, and a new force has emerged. But is Nightwing already too late to stop their crimes?

With this issue Marv Wolfman ends what was originally intended to be a 4-issue fill in story arc as DC sought to cauterize the bleeding from the books’ self-inflicted wounds of previous writers Bruce Jones and Devin Grayson. But his turn on the book has been extended for a year or more and we are glad.

This issue and this story arc should really be judged on two levels. The mystery that Nightwing was supposed to solve was uninteresting, as well as the villain. This story arc was really about Who is Nightwing?

It’s Dick Grayson’s inner monologue that makes this issue. He’s a man trying to figure out--who has figured out who is he is and where he’s going. It’s a more confident Nightwing that emerged from the grave last issue.

By just by showing up for work, Marv Wolfman has taken this book back from the brink of suckiness but we’re starting to see real progress here. Next, Marv needs to combine our rejuvenated hero with a worthy adversary, which this book has been lacking.

This issue marks Dan Jurgens’ final issue. No offense Dan but we’re glad to see you go. Without a doubt, you brought clear, competent art to this book…something that’s been missing for a LONG time but the veteran Superman has become too accustomed to drawing the Man of Steel as opposed to an acrobatic daredevil like Nightwing.

Justice #9

The Upshot from DC Comics: The breathtaking miniseries by Alex Ross, Jim Krueger and Doug Braithwaite continues with plenty of surprises! Black Adam! The Marvel Family! And the Justice League's plan to storm their adversaries' stronghold!

Captain Marvel serves as the focal point of this issue as he helps the Justice League marshal their counter-offensive against Brainiac’s forces even as he battles Black Adam and members of his own family--Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel Jr.

While this issue is building our heroes toward the big confrontation with the bad guys, the real joy of the issue was reading Ross’ treatment, with the help of scripter Jim Krueger, of Captain Marvel.

To our mind, Ross affects the perfect balance of nostalgic Big Red Cheese and the competency of the World’s Mightiest Mortal--Captain Marvel is not only treated here with respect, but it’s a rare glimpse of this character’s never-quite realized full potential.

More is the pity that Justice occurs outside of current continuity as we finally get to see Captain Marvel done right even in the midst of radical paradigm-shifting change to Marvel Family going on currently in The Trials of Shazam.

The art is nothing short of breathtaking--the best so far in this series and in some panels we thought it measured up as good as or even superior to Kingdom Come.

THIS JUST IN--As the lovely and talented Mrs. FanBoyWonder was proof-reading our post, we flipped through Justice one last time when we noticed something we over-looked. When Green Lantern attempted to subdue a mind-controlled Captain Marvel in an emerald force-field bubble, as Marvel kicked at the bubble, why didn’t his YELLOW boots puncture the force-field?

It should have due under the old Silver Age rules in which GL’s ring was powerless against anything yellow. Is this a plot point to be followed up later or just a writer’s goof? Hmmmmmm???

52 Week 35

The Upshot from DC: The New Year begins with the deadliest day Metropolis has ever seen — and by the end of the month a villain will stand revealed, a hero will fall in the outer reaches of the galaxy…and the reveal of Supernova will deepen his mysteries even further.

So Lex Luthor depowers dozens of his “Everymen,” on New Year’s Eve--many of them while in mid-flight--just to give the finger to Supernova, whom Lex is half-convinced is the missing Superman in disguise.

Amid all the human carnage, Steel’s estranged niece Natasha, who is part of Luthor’s Infinity Inc., now finally starts to think that her uncle may have been right about Luthor all along.

The identity of Supernova has begun to intrigue us. In addition to flight and light powers, we see this issue that he teleported a whole city-blocks worth of people outside the city limits to safety. Hmmmm! A clue there somewhere. Just enough to keep our interest at least in this story line.


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