FCBD 2008: Old Threats, New Enemies and Big Decisions

In the midst of political upheaval the galaxy faces an ancient threat. The Sith seizes control of the Empire with only a small band of rebels standing between them and total dominance. The old Alliance’s only hope is a young Jedi named Skywalker. Sound familiar?

Despite over-sexualized covers, the art (John Duursema, Dan Parsons) in Star Wars: Legacy #s 1 and 2 depicts light-saber duels, exotic aliens and futuristic technology with expected flare. After all, if it’s got “George Lucas” on it, it’s bound to be good. Sadly, it looks like no one told that to writers John Ostrander and Jan Duursema. Their regurgitated and slow-paced plot kills any anticipation fans may bring to this Dark Horse comic.

Batman #659 (writer: John Ostrander; artist: Tom Mandrake) introduces new Bat-villain Grotesk, who slices off part of his victims’ face before burning them alive. The name fits – both the villain and the story.

The issue opens with a man engulfed in flames walking around asking people to kill him. The silliness worsens as it descends through gore, bad dialog and a scene where Batman and Grotesk fight the Russian mob during a blizzard. The comic ends with a confusing flashback sequence as Batman speculates on Grotesk’s possible origin.

Del Rey’s 2008 Preview samples four titles. Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files and George R.R. Martin’s Wild Cards are unremarkable at best, but Dean Koontz‘s Frankenstein and In Odd We Trust draw some interest.

While investigating a string of bizarre murders in New Orleans, police discover something far more sinister than imagined. Frankenstein (writer: Chuck Dixon; artist: Brett Booth) lives, and plans to replace humanity with a race of his own design. And only his most famous monster can stop him.

In Odd We Trust (writers: Dean Koontz, Quennie Chan; artist: Chan), a 180-page prequel to the best-selling novels, tells the story of a young fry cook who talks with the dead. Del Rey’s black and white manga sample shows just enough sharp storytelling and clean lines to whet the appetite.

Dark spiritual content — including witchcraft, profanity and communication with spirits — recurs among all four titles. Disturbing images of violence and murder abound.

What would you do if you had only a short time left to live? All Star Superman #1 brings an alternative look at the Man of Steel. An incredible opening sequence plunges us into the action as Superman rescues a manned expedition to the sun from the machinations of Lex Luthor. Unfortunately, the solar radiation that gives Kal-El his unique abilities becomes the thing that will destroy him. Overexposure causes his cells to burst from within.

With limited time, he sets out to take care of unfinished business — beginning by revealing his secret identity to Lois Lane. Penciler Frank Quitely and legendary Superscribe Grant Morrison enchant readers with beautiful art and excellent writing. All Star Superman Vol. 1 is now available.

Love and Capes‘ (Thomas F Zahler) 8-panel layout presents an endearing super hero parody without degenerating into talking heads. Its cartoony style showcases some of the best art of this year’s FCBD. Opaque speech balloons avoid blocking up the panels. (Looking through the balloons on page 16, one can see a book by Elmore Leonard.)

Fans of more intimate looks at the lives of super heroes will delight in this comic as the Crusader, aka Mark, plans a Christmas proposal to long-time love Abby. He even crushes coal to make a diamond for the ring. But sometimes it’s the little things that present a hero’s greatest challenges.

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About James A Woods
Freelance Writer, Constant Learner, Family Man

One Response to FCBD 2008: Old Threats, New Enemies and Big Decisions

  1. Pingback: Post Roundup: Free Comic Book Day ‘08 « The Sky’s the Limit

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