BLACKEST NIGHT #1
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Ivan Reis
Andy H: Unless you've been hiding under a rock - or just buried under your pile of Marvel comics - this is (hopefully) 'the comic event' of the summer that's got us all excited. Geoff Johns has been crafting this book over the last few years, small hints at first, but building to major storylines in the Green Lantern franchise. Now, it's time to see where this has all been heading. While the War of Light has raged on, the prophecy of the Blackest Night has arrived and Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps are of course slap bang in the middle of it! The lead up has been executed brilliantly, and with Johns overseeing the entire event I hope to find a story that really connects and is not a repeat of Final Crisis that left me scratching my head. I have utter faith and will be checking out the various spin-offs as well. As an added incentive the excellent Ivan Reis, who has done such a cracking job illustrating the main title, will be on board Blackest Night as penciller.
Dark Horse $12.95
Matt C: The crime comics renaissance continues apace with this entry from Dark Horse as the likes of Ed Brubaker, Brian Azzarello, Sean Phillips and David Lapham assemble to produce an attractively priced anthology of crime shorts. Outside of comics it’s probably the genre I’m most excited about (from pulp fiction to Pulp Fiction) so seeing more and more publishers getting in on the act and delivering a selection of hardboiled tales in comic form makes me a very happy man. I may be wrong – and some wizened comics historian can choose to correct me if they wish – but this current wave of books featuring bad men doing bad things seems to me like the genre is achieving its highest level of popularity in the medium until the point when Dr Fredric Wertham stuck his oar in and ruined everything back in the ‘50s. Let’s hope the quality of the output can sustain it for a long time to come.
ZEKE DEADWOOD: ZOMBIE LAWMAN BOOK ONE
Writer: Thomas Boatright
Artist: Ryan Rubio
SLG Publishing $3.95
Matt T: I realise I might be getting a smidge predictable, but this is a book with some degree of differentiation from the traditional zombie horror fare. First of all, it looks just like the point and click game Grim Fandango, which I was a huge fan of. Second of all, it’s set in the Old West. There’s so much potential for comedy in there it’s almost criminal, and the blurb makes it sound like a right wheeze.
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Bryan Hitch
Matt C: Yeah, this is a slight cheat considering bugger all info has been released about this book bar the cover image and the creative team, but I know I’m not alone in thinking this miniseries is going to tackle the return of Steve Rogers to the Marvel Universe. It was only a matter of time after all (come on, we all knew he was coming back at some point!). Having said that, there is part of me that does think that’s too obvious, and Marvel might be trying to double bluff us at this stage – this could very well be a Steve Rogers tale but it may not be the one we’re expecting. But with Bru writing and Hitch on pencils it’s going to be a smash hit whatever the story turns out to be.
WEDNESDAY COMICS #1
Rob N: A tip of the hat to DC for trying something genuinely innovative as far as the major publishers are concerned. Over in the US there is a tradition of Sunday newspaper supplements devoted to comic strips, often referred to as the ‘funnies’. DC has decided to publish its own tabloid size version, consisting of an experimental mix of one-page strips, and some noteworthy talent (names such as Paul Pope and Ryan Sook). The selling point is obviously the novelty of the format – you’re not going to get Watchmen style epics when the story is restricted to a single page per week, but the format offers something different and should be supported just to reward some fresh thinking at a time when the major companies seem to be sticking their head in the mud with convoluted crossover epics. This is about as far removed from a Dark Final Crisis Reign as you can possibly get.
JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRY FOR JUSTICE #1
Writer: James Robinson
Artist: Mauro Cascioli
Matt T: I’m a big sucker for anything Starman-related, so having both James Robinson writing and what looks like Mikaal Tomas appearing in a JLA book is some kind of geek dream come true. As the big three are out of action for one reason or another it’ll be interesting to see how Hal Jordan and Oliver Queen get along as co-leaders, as they’ve not always exactly seen eye-to-eye in the past.
GREEK STREET #1
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Davide Gianfelice
Stewart R: Peter Milligan aims to show that mankind hasn't made great strides in progression and evolution in the past 1600 years by weaving a modern tale of homicide and incest that shares strong links to the Greek tragedies of long ago. Crime fiction in comics is having something of a rejuvenation at present with noir titles popping up all over, but the mythological slant to this book offers something different and setting the story in a seedy London Soho backdrop should ensure a consistent, grimy feel. I'll be interested to see how much the mythology crosses over into the present-day setting and just how visceral a read Vertigo will be providing. A $1.00 start point is a great way of luring readers to a title and providing 40 pages of comic will also increase the appeal. Everything so far is sounding good about this title...
Dark Horse $4.99
Rob N: Dark Horse has recently been reprinting the old runs of Creepy and Eerie comics in hardback archive editions and now they intend to go one step further by relaunching the title as an ongoing anthology. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand Creepy is a piece of comics history, and so a relaunch is noteworthy. Dark Horse have proven (with their treatment of the Robert E Howard licence) that they can handle a relaunch successfully, but (and there’s always a but) in essence Creepy was only ever a horror anthology title – so short of the name, there’s nothing much to relaunch here. It’s not as if they’re reviving Silver Age characters that haven’t been in print for a long time. In other words, the strength of this title will stand squarely on the quality of the new stories. If they’re good (and let’s be honest – a lot of horror anthologies these days are generally rubbish), I’ll welcome this with open arms. Otherwise all it will do is tarnish the title’s existing reputation. With that proviso, and bearing in mind that the talent on board includes the legendary Bernie Wrightson, I’ll be signing up to the initial launch and hoping it doesn’t turn out to be the comics equivalent of a Velvet Underground reunion.
THE HUNTER OGN
Writer: Darwyn Cooke
Artist: Darwyn Cooke
Matt C: Surely all I need to do is ask you to click here and take a look a 12-page preview of this hardback graphic novel, which just so happens to be my most anticipated release in the medium during 2009? I mean, what more convincing do you need?! It’s an adaptation of The Hunter by Richard Stark (a pseudonym for the late, great Donald E Westlake) and features the writer’s legendary take-no-shit-from-anyone antihero, Parker (played brilliantly by Lee Marvin in the 1967 movie adaptation of The Hunter, Point Blank). I could go on, but if you’ve not been floored and left drooling in anticipation after checking out those preview pages, well, I’m going to have to throw out an old cliché and say that you need your eyes tested! Seriously! Everyone else, order your copy now!
3 STORY: THE SECRET HISTORY OF GIANT MAN OGN
Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: Matt Kindt
Dark Horse $19.95
Stewart R: We live in a world where, despite an increasing population, it is easy for individuals to find themselves isolated, lost and alone. The concept for this book is truly interesting: Craig Pressgang suffers from a condition where he continues to keep growing throughout his life making it harder for him to relate to the world he once lived in and now cannot be a part of. Writer Kindt has chosen to follow the story from the viewpoint of three different women who share unique relationships with Pressgang at various points of his life as he grows - literally - apart from everyone and everything. The watercolour palette that Kindt is using looks wonderful and this could be the 'big' read of the summer in every sense...Ha Ha!