Writer: Keith Giffin, J.M.DeMatteis
Missing your Justice League and Super-Buddies fix? Tired of the angst-ridden ICkie DC universe? Then plant your dollars on the counter of your friendly, neighborhood comic book store and buy Planet Brigade.
Planet Brigade benefits from all the amusing character interaction and banter that Giffin and DeMatteis played with in The Justice League. This can be a double-edge sword.
There's no denying a double-edged sword at work in Planetary Brigade. Purring Pussycat--what she's not named Perfect Pussy?--behaves a lot like Fire. Captain Valor--from Hero Squared--behaves like a mesh of Superman and Captain Marvel. The Grim Knight is clearly meant to be an analogue of Batman, and this feeling is aided by the scrumptious artwork of Eduardo Baretto--who should have received a chance to illustrate Batman long term.
On the other hand, Giffin and DeMatteis never really had the chance to work with the relationship of Batman and Superman. So their take on it within the framework of the Captain Valor/Grim Knight dynamic offers readers the next best thing. Furthermore, the rest of the team does offer interesting variations. The Visitor's source is obviously the Martian Manhunter, but Giffin and DeMatteis distinguish their mauve alien from the more familiar green one. Earth Goddess and Third Eye--the most interesting of all the team--are from their personalities to their abilities originals, and if given the chance resonant originals who can last. Another originality can be found in the terminology. The term describing the heroes as Brigadiers sounds good hasn't been used before and fits with the context of their team-name.
Giffin and DeMatteis with the art team explore in Planetary Brigade subjects that would have been taboo in Justice League. While Fire threw herself at Batman, Purring Pussycat goes one step beyond her mere innuendo. Earth Goddess we learn has "appetites," and even commentary about a boy's natural curiosity can be found in the pages. Giffin and DeMatteis though do still accomplish such elements tastefully.
Apart from the aforementioned Barretto, Joe Abraham, Cynthia Martin, Mark Badger and Chase Conley provide pages of art that while they do not blend together do not clash. Abram's work is starting to grow on me. Cynthia Martin though has a stronger line and better depicts action. Mark Badger is a take it or leave it artist. He's always been that way, and for Planetary Brigade, I'll take it. His style certainly suits the surreal scenes. Chase Conley best illustrates subtle gestures and facial expressions. Each artist works with his or her strengths and makes Planetary Brigade attractive and entertaining. I hope that this technique is used on future issues.
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