BATMAN AND ROBIN #1
Writer: Grant Morrison
Art: Frank Quietley
James R: This is the comic that will undoubtedly cause the most debate this month. Over the last couple of years,Grant Morrison & Frank Quietly have produced some of the best work of their careers with All Star Superman which was rightly lauded as telling some of the best Superman stories ever. So, can lightning strike twice? Details on this series remain scarce, but it looks like Morrison will be telling the tales of the ‘New’ Batman & Robin – whoever it is behind the cowl & domino mask after Battle for the Cowl. On one hand, it’s easy to see this as a must-read; All-Star Superman was incredible, and Quietly does seem to accompany Morrison’s most polished work (We3, JLA:Earth 2 and the final issue of The Invisibles) but yet many will still be wary of how Morrison writes the Dark Knight after his unpredictable run on Batman and his Marmite work on Final Crisis. Add to this mix the total disaster of All-Star Batman & Robin, you have to say that this book comes with an air of the unpredictable – and I think that makes it essential reading.
DARK REIGN: MISTER NEGATIVE #1
Writer: Fred van Lente
Art: Gianmluca Gigliotta
Stewart R: My favourite new villain from the Spider-Man: Brand New Day era finally gets a little more limelight and much deserved it is too. Mr Negative has been weaving his crimelord manipulations in New York City for over a year now and Norman Osborn's Dark Reign seems likely to disturb the party, which of course means that our beloved webhead will be stuck right in the middle. The inclusion of old Spidey foe The White Rabbit should certainly make things a little more entertaining and The Hood is, for me, the most interesting member of Osborn's cabal. Fred Van Lente has been climbing the ranks of Marvel's writing staff for the past couple of years and deserves a shot at some bigger stories and characters and hopefully this will solidify this opinion.
DAWN NOT TO TOUCH THE EARTH ONE-SHOT
Writer: Joseph Michael Linsner
Art: Eva Hopkins & Joseph Michael Linsner
Andy H: Dawn is back! And for any self respecting JML fan that's all we need too know. Normally produced as miniseries this offering is an oversized one-shot. That's 48 pages of Linsner magic in one go! Now I am generally guilty of putting his art first but don't be mistaken, the man is a great story teller. Dawn is now in her 20th year and you can just see the love JML has for her. Dawn has many faces and for this story she is a Faerie Queen as we discover unearthly delights and heavenly secrets of the faerie realm. Also included are pin-ups from legends such as Adam Hughes and the late Michael Turner. 2009 is the year of the Goddess and this looks like a great way to celebrate it.
ANNA MECURY 2 #1
Writer: Warren Ellis
Art: Facundo Percio
James R: Just to repeat one of my usual mantras: I love Warren Ellis. Along with Alan Moore & Ed Brubaker, he makes up the triumvirate of writers whose name alone makes for an essential purchase. So, it should come as no surprise that I’m delighted to see that Anna Mercury Series 2 is due to hit our shelves. Given his speed of producing new ideas and concepts, there is always the small fear with Ellis’ work that he might lose heart, but with Anna Mercury it seems like there’s many more tales to tell. This time we’ll be learning more about some of Anna’s co-agents, and there is an invasion of Earth from one of the fictional dimensions… I’m sure if, like me, you love Warren, then this is a must-buy anyway, but for those of you a little more on the fence, I’d say that this looks like being top-draw Ellis.
FREDDY VS JASON VS ASH: NIGHTMARE WARRIORS #1
Writer: Jeff Katz & James Kuhoric
Art: Jason Craig
Matt T: The same writing duo as the last series - which I loved - return to create a follow-up in a typically contrived horror-movie fashion. We all know the combination of the Necronomicon, S-Mart and dumb teenagers will somehow combine to bring back our old faves, with one-liners galore and gore by the bucket load. As the predecessor was adapted from the movie script I'm slightly apprehensive of this all-new attempt, but I'm crossing everything important that this is a killer.
THOR; THE TRIAL OF THOR ONE-SHOT
Writer: Peter Milligan
Art: Cary Nord
Matt C: If this issue of Previews is anything to go by then June is the month where some guy called Barack Obama is appearing in more comics than even the Ol’ Canucklehead himself. This rather ridiculous turn of events has me retreating back to something more familiar and comforting: a tale of the God of Thunder and Son of Odin, the Mighty Thor! I’m a huge Thor nut so I’m immediately attracted to the various spin-offs and miniseries, even though I should know better by now. Milligan’s work has always been a bit hit and miss with me which means I’m keen to give this a look primarily for Nord’s artwork. He stamped his presence all over the Conan relaunch several years ago so I imagine his take on another rippling-muscled hero should be something to behold.
Writer: John Layman
Art: Rob Guillory
Stewart R: Ahh, a book about a detective who literally has to get his teeth into things. This new series from John Layman centers on Tony Chu, a federal agent with a quirky way of investigating cases, for Tony is a Cibopath who can see into the history of the previously living - be it an apple or an assassinated attorney - by eating a small piece of the deceased. This sounds like a great premise to me and, setting the story in a not-so-distant future where avian flu has claimed tens of millions of lives and the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) is the most powerful governing body, it’s a politically provocative theme. Rob Guillory's early art previews are looking fantastic and this may be the twisted tale of the Summer that I won't be able to put down.
FILTHY RICH HC
Writer: Brian Azarello
Art: Victor Santos
DARK ENTRIES HC
Writer: Ian Rankin
Art: Werther Dell'Edera
James R: Apologies, but this one is a bit of a cheat for Ten Forward – firstly, it’s two instead of one, and secondly I’m not really certain that you should go out and buy these in their HC format. However, I am convinced that you should have this new series on your radar if you like your Vertigo comics. This Vertigo Crime imprint is a series of one-shot OGN’s written by some intriguing names – initially from 100 Bullets’ Brian Azzarello and crime writer Ian Rankin, (but with tales by Christos Gage and Peter Milligan to follow,) each one of these black & white tales sound and look like tales crafted for the more discerning reader, and look like being Vertigo’s reply to Marvel/Icon’s outstanding Criminal series. Seeing that each story will be initially released as a hardback, you have to question DC’s editorial wisdom in these financially difficult times, but logic dictates that the softcover editions won’t be too far behind these releases, and they’ll be the ones to track down!
DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP #1
Writer: Phillip K. Dick
Art: Steven Dupre
James R: An interesting gamble by Boom! Studios – now, as self-respecting geeks, you don’t need me to tell you that Electric Sheep was the source material for the seminal classic Blade Runner. Boom! are declaring that they are going to provide a “faithful adaptation” to the novella. Well, as an avowed 'Dickhead' it seems strange that their adaptation looks… exactly like Blade Runner! In the original short story, Earth is a sparsely populated wasteland, not the endless cityscape of Ridley Scott’s vision. But the preview doesn’t reflect this – which makes me wonder, why are Boom! opting for this approach? There’s a bunch of Dick stories that would lend themselves much better to the visual medium – Ubik and Martian Time Slip spring immediately to mind. If they want to appeal to Blade Runner fans, there’s a wealth of literary sequels available to adapt. However, the backmatter written by Warren Ellis talking about PKD should be worth the price of admission alone.
X-MEN FOREVER #1
Writer: Chris Claremont
Art: Tom Grummett
Andy H: Okay, so do we need (yet) another X-book? Probably not but the nostalgia monster has grabbed hold of me and I can't help myself! The early ‘90s was undoubtedly a great period for reading X-Men with Chris Claremont writing and Jim Lee blowing us away with his art. 15 years later and Claremont is back, continuing his take on the X-Men from where he left off. Forget the last decade and half of continuity (yes, I know it can be argued that Marvel already have!) and join one of the best X-teams - Jean Grey (still alive), Gambit, Rogue, Nightcrawler, Kitty Pryde and more as they continue to deal with the aftermath of Magneto’s death. For old time readers this could be a blast and it will be interesting to see what today’s readers will make of it.