Suspended Animation Suspended Animation
by Michael Vance & Dr. Jon Suter

Michael Vance Comic books for sale


January 5, 2000

Spyboy #1 - The Horror of Collier County - DC Comics One Shots


Spyboy

    Spyboy's Peter David has a reputation for puns. As his newest boy slams a bully's head against a toilet, Alex yells "Here! Lemme crown you with the throne!"

    Did I mention they are bad puns?

    Peter David also has a reputation for tightly scripted romps that leave his readers wanting more.

    Spyboy is more.

    Alex is Spyboy, and a teenager brutalized by his schoolmates. Only his imagination saves his sanity during ugly situations. Much more you won't learn from the first issue.

    The first issue of a new comic book series is always tricky. There usually isn't enough room to offer detailed plot and character development, but most comics fans only give a creative team one of two issues to build an audience. So a taste of things to come must really whet the appetite.

    Spyboy is whet and wild. (See, Peter, I can also do it.)

    Some excellent art, heavily influenced by Japanese manga (big shoes, shocks of tousled hair and huge eyes), adds just the right visual spice as well.

    What more can I say?

    Buy it.

    Review by Michael Vance


The Horror of Collier County

    Thrill at an alligator ripping the shorts off a man.

    Chill as a totally detestable, sour and profane mother sets a terrible example for her young daughter.

    Gag as another older parent is painted as stupid, ugly and useless.

    Yes, yawn at The Horror of Collier County, a "reality"-based new limited comic book series that begs the question, "Why should I spend $2.95 for five minutes of this?"

    The answer is that the abstract, cartoonist art is distinctive and consistent, and the visual storytelling is solid.

    But the book's leisurely pace, profanity, unnecessary nudity and unsympathetic characters may leave you as it did me, horrified.

    Review by Michael Vance


DC Comics One Shots

    Some recent "one-shot" titles from DC Comics are worth consideration.

    One is emerging as a collectible: Batman: Harley Quinn. The $5.95 paperback brings the mad psychiatrist, who is obsessively in love with the Joker, into the Batman continuity (as opposed to the television cartoons where she first appeared).

    Paul Dami created the charming psychopath for the cartoons and repeats his efforts here quite successfully. I don't usually care for cartoonish versions of superheroes, but this one works. The humor and horror are nicely balanced.

    This Hariey Quinn should not be confused with either the Harlequin who plagued (and married) the Golden Age Green Lantern or the Younger version in Teen Titans.

    More expensive is the $14.95 title Green Lantern: Fear Itself. Ron Marz's script spans five decades and tells of one creature's battles with three different Lanterns. (The World War II sequence has strong overtones of the film Raiders of the Lost Ark).

    The price is probably related to the unusual art which often resembles photographs rather than drawings. Brad Parker's work reminds me somewhat of Rich Corben's work. My only quibble is the Golden Age Flash's helmet and that appears briefly.

    The main theme is the different methods used by the Lanterns in their encounters with the creature. Marz gets to throw in some retrospective foreshadowing when Hall Jordan muses on how he would react to an attack on his home city.

    The other two titles cost $5.95 each The first JLA: Foreign Bodies, reworks an old theme: moving the minds of the heroes from one body to another.

    Ken Kaminski's script is the best version of that theme I remember. His reflections on the effect on the psyches of the heroes ring true. He makes good use of Kobra, a once laughable villain.

    The second title is JLA: Superpower. John Arcudi's script probes the motivation of Antaeus, a hero who forgets the political and moral limits on heroes. As with Kaminski the characterization is on target.

    Review by Dr. Jon Suter


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