Current Reviews


Planetary Brigade #1

Posted: Thursday, February 16, 2006
By: Shaun Manning

Writers: Keith Giffen and JM DeMatteis
Artists: Joe Abraham, Eduardo Barretto, Mark Badger, and Chase Conley

Publisher: Boom! Studios

Giffen and DeMatteis return to form in the Hero Squared spin-off, Planetary Brigade. Here's a little secret: it's their best collaboration since the original JLI.

Taking place in Captain Valor's universe before the Earth was destroyed, the dysfunctional team of heroes known as the Planetary Brigade stamp out injustice wherever they see it, so long as it doesn't threaten to ruin their 40-weave Egyptian cotton suits. Now, with monsters cropping up from an unknown portal, the Brigade (Purring Pussycat, the Grim Knight, Third-Eye, Mauve Visitor, Earth Goddess, and Captain Valor) must track down the source and shut it down... before things get inconvenient. Favorite moments include Drama Queen's Cosmic Caterwaul and Earth Goddess's alter ego lamenting her fate.

One has to wonder what purpose is served by having multiple artists to this book, as the transitions don't appear to serve any thematic purpose. The main character (or characters) of focus switch with each new illustrator, but it seems like this would be a bit much to sustain over the course of the series. The coat-of-many-colors doesn't detract from the story; it's just... curious. Mark Badger's style in particular stands out, sort of a mix between Frank Miller and Sam Keith.

In recent years, the return of the Giffen/DeMatteis team has brought us two Justice League where-are-they-nows, a Defenders mini, and a couple of portions of Hero Squared. All have been fun, each a nice little sample of the wit and lunacy of the Justice League series that made the pair famous (to use the term loosely). But this, this is the thing itself. Planetary Brigade is a glorious resurrection of all that made JLI so much fun, with the rapid-fire series of jokes bolstered by nonstop superhero action. It's ridiculous. Finally.

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