March 20, 2012

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Preview for 3-21: Boom's Peanuts #3 and Steed and Mrs. Peel #3

Peanuts #3.  Written by Charles Schultz, Shane Houghton, and Vicki Scott.  Illustrated by Charles Schultz, Paige Braddock, Vicki Scott, Bob Scott, and Matt Whitlock.


Spring is in the air, as Charlie Brown once again tries to get his ill-fated baseball team ready for the year.  Meanwhile, Linus fights with Snoopy for rights to the blanket and dodges his sister's ire as he tries to help us learn how to draw Lucy.  Plus, a few bonus strips by Schultz himself, all wrapped up in a single comic and presented for a whole new generation of Peanuts fan, both new and old.

After a really strong second issue, I thought this one was a bit weaker in capturing the magic of the original.  Charlie Brown's desperation about baseball is drowned out by the sight gags for instance, lessening the impact of the final lines, when the team admits they don't care at all.  It's a softening of the hurt that might make this easier for kids to handle but I think it also makes the characters less relateable to the reader, both children and parents.  I really liked the Linus drawing story, though, as his little asides were perfectly in character.  I really hope Boom! doesn't shy away from the complexity of the characters they've gotten the privilege to use from the Schultz family.  That would be a big shame.

Steed and Mrs. Peel #3.  Written by Grant Morrison.  Illustrated by Ian Gibson.


The plot thickens as Steed comes face to face with the evil dungeon master behind the recent death of game creators and finds out how it links back to the Ministry.  But is it too late to save the day?  And can Mrs. Peel arrive before she's taken out of the game entirely?  The story levels up in the third issue of Steed and Mrs. Peel!

I actually had a bit of a jolt because I was sure this was the final issue, but I'm not complaining at all.  After a rather lengthy build-up, Morrison gets, well, Morrison-y here in a big way, as Steed finds himself stuck in a pinball table and a trio of villains who borrowed clothing from the Mad Hatter bedevil Mrs. Peel.  It's an extremely complex setup that really feels like a genuine episode from the original show, with Morrison actually taking pains to stick to something that would be plausible if this were being filmed.  His dialog is full of the puns and wry observations I loved in multiple watchings of the source material, and my only complaint is eventually, this is going to end.

Unfortunately, despite the great Morrison script, Gibson's artwork keeps getting worse.  His Mrs. Peel bears almost no likeness to the great Diana Rigg, which really hurts this story a lot.  Gibson also struggles to keep up with the imaginative ideas Morrison throws at him--but then again, that's not unusual for Morrison.

Steel and Mrs. Peel is a great story for fans of the old show, and I can't wait to see how the pair of agents get out of this one.  Given Morrison is the writer, anything's possible.

These comics come out tomorrow, March 21st.  Thanks to Boom! Studios for the review copies!