12 Dec 2007

Ten Forward: February 2008

Every month we spend an evening scouring the pages of the latest issue of Previews and pick the ten titles we are looking forward to the most. This month it's the December 07 issue of Previews which includes comics scheduled to ship in February 2008.

Writer: P. Craig Russell
Art: Timothy Bradstreet
Desperado $14.99

Rob N: Tim Bradstreet pencilling an entire comic? Surely not! Famous for his urban-gothic-chic horror covers, Bradstreet specialises in gritty b&w realism. This makes him an unlikely companion to work with P Craig Russell, a man who built his reputation on a psychedelic Aubrey Beardsley style with various classic Michael Moorcock and Oscar Wilde adaptations. Both these creators are synonymous with taking their time in producing finished work, but in this case they’ve exceeded previous expectations by taking 15 years to complete this! Working from a Clive Barker concept (a writer who more or less single-handedly originated the genre of ‘contemporary fantasy’ in the 80s), this could either be exceptional or a pretentious waste of talent and ink. Only time will tell.

Writer & Art: Alan Davis
Marvel $2.99

Andy H: Alan Davis! That name alone screams “Buy This Book”! The Destine family return to comics in this five part series; could their secret be exposed by the overly eager Crimson Crusader?! Davis is a master storyteller: don’t miss out!

CRIMINAL Vol. 2 #1
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Art: Sean Phillips
Marvel/Icon $3.50

James R: Warren Ellis likes it, Frank Miller likes it, Brian K. Vaughan likes it…. dammit, you should love this! We certainly do! Ed Brubaker continues to make the grimy underbelly of the criminal world a compelling place to visit.

Matt C: Okay, if you missed out on Brubaker & Phillips first run on Criminal then, although I’m not particularly happy with you, I’m pleased that you now have a chance to rectify your mistake with Volume 2. And, seriously, if you’ve ever derived pleasure from hardboiled crime fiction then you NEED to buy this book.

Writer: Mark Millar
Art: Bryan Hitch
Marvel $2.99

Matt C: Millar + Hitch = Huge Sales!! I’m cautiously optimistic about this based on their work together on The Ultimates, but also a bit wary due to Millar’s last foray into the Marvel Universe with the misfire that was Civil War. And how long until this runs into delays? And what the hell is up with that ugly cover?! We’ll all buy this, no doubts there, but the real question is: will we like it?

Matt T: Hitch is reliable as always, so for me it comes down to whether Millar can do the business. Let’s hope so, otherwise it’s a waste of a perfectly good artist, and I’ll be left playing the ‘which actor/actress does that look like?’ game with Hitch’s art.

Writer: Stan Lee
Art: Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
Marvel $4.99

Matt C: Lee + Kirby = probably so-so sales, but who cares! This is gold dust for hardcore FF fans: a never-seen-before tale from one of the classic runs in comics’ history. Millar & Hitch’s relaunch will gobble the press inches but silver age geeks know where the real deal is at.

Writer: Matt Fraction
Art: Chris Brunner, Lewis Larosa & Russ Heath
Marvel $3.99

James R: Mmm… tasty! Brubaker & Fraction’s reinvention of Iron Fist was one of the stand-out successes of 2007 and a large part of that was due to the introduction of the pulp-esque predecessor of Danny Rand, Orson Randall. It’s time for a second helping of Randall magic – a two-fisted, high-kickin’ extravaganza!

Matt C: It’s got a title that practically screams of pulpy, 30s adventure serials - suggesting a rip-roaring Indiana Jones type vibe - and the quality of Immortal Iron Fist is unquestionable, so all in all this is pretty much guaranteed to exude greatness.

Writer: Mark Millar
Art: John Romita Jr
Marvel/Icon $2.99

James R: An idea that you might’ve heard before – ‘What if people in the real world had superpowers?’ - is Mark Millar’s latest offering from Marvel. After his substandard showing on Civil War and an anticlimactic end to The Ultimates 2, it’s about time he came up with something outstanding again. Maybe Kick-Ass will do the trick - with the always great John Romita Jr on artistic duties this will be worth a look in the new year.

Matt T: Sounds like a winner to me, but we all know what happens to Mr Millar if he’s overstretched. If #2 hits within four months of #1 I’ll keep buying!

Writer: Jamie Delano
Art: Jeremy Rock
Avatar $3.99

Rob N: Jamie Delano’s career in comics has been both short and sporadic. As part of the ‘Brave New World’ of the 1980’s ‘Brit Pack’ that counted Gaiman, Ennis and Morrison among their number, Delano was a major player in the formation of the Vertigo imprint, with his seminal runs on Hellblazer and Animal Man. He's very much a writer’s writer with a back catalogue of fresh and original writing that puts many of his peers to shame. Any new title by Delano is guaranteed to be worth a look. Unlike his contemporaries, virtually every book he’s been associated with explores a different genre to his previous work, and judging by the promotional blurb for Narcopolis he now seems to be competing with the counter-culture excesses commonly associated with Warren Ellis. Just a shame it’s coming out on the ‘tits n ass’ Avatar imprint.

Matt C: Think Rob’s being a little too harsh on Avatar there as they've been putting out some excellent books recently with the likes of Black Summer, Chronicles Of Wormwood and Crécy. I can’t say I’m too familiar with Delano’s work myself but I am kind of curious to see what this book has to offer.

Writer & Art: Jamie Smart
Amaze Inks/Slave Labor Graphics $3.50

Matt C: “From the creator of Bear”. That’s all I need to see! If it’s even close to achieving the same level of fiendishly demented comedic surrealism that Bear managed then it should be something very special indeed.

Writer: Craig Kyle & Christopher Yost
Art: Clayton Crain
Marvel $2.99

Matt T: One of the most street-level focused teams since the new New Avengers lineup, this book could either work or be utterly pointless. I’m hoping for the former, but expecting the latter. It’s all just too….feral, with Warpath, X-23, Wolfsbane and ol’ Canucklehead himself. The art might be nice though, and Wolverine cutting down his appearances to only 12 books every month can only be a good thing! The New X-Men team of Kyle and Yost have done good work in the past, so colour me cautiously optimistic.

Writer: Matt Wagner
Art: Francesco Francavilla
Dynamite $2.50

Andy H: Dynamite adds another classic name to their monthly output. After the success of Lone Ranger, Zorro (written by Matt “Grendel” Wagner) looks like it could be a quality book to check out, hopefully capturing the swashbuckling spirit of yesteryear.

Matt C: I’m not really much of a Zorro fan: I missed out on the recent movies and only really remember the character from watching the old b&w serials when I was a kid. Still, I'm strangely drawn to this, probably due to the fact that Wagner’s name’s attached but also through a desire to seek out something a little different.

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