15 Oct 2009

Ten Forward: December 2009

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 October issue of Previews which includes comics scheduled to ship in December 2009.

Writer: Jamie Delano
Art: Jock
DC/Vertigo $24.99

Rob N: It’s a sobering thought (for me at least) that 25 years have gone by since John Constantine first appeared as a (named) supporting character in Swamp Thing #37, since I remember buying it the month it came out and reading it in a squalid, damp basement flat barely fit for cockroaches to live in. To commemorate this milestone in DC’s publishing history, Vertigo has commissioned a Hellblazer graphic novel with an impressive line up of talent attached to it. Jamie Delano is of course the writer who fleshed out Alan Moore’s original mystery man, and established most of the background that we now take for granted. Jock is an exceptionally talented artist, currently exhibiting his distinctive style on the covers of Greek Street and Scalped. Pairing the two of them on an original novel length body of work bodes very well indeed, particularly since the recent Ian Rankin Hellblazer book was undermined by amateurish art. The Hellblazer monthly title has been on a roll in recent years with great story arcs from Andy Diggle and (now) Peter Milligan. Hopefully this graphic novel will be another feather in the Constantine cap.

Writer: Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray
Art: Darwyn Cooke
DC $3.99

Matt C: This is not a book I pick up on a regular basis and although every time I have picked it up it’s generally featured some solid, self-contained Western tales, it’s never quite made the grade to find its way onto my pull-list. What changes this month? Oh, come on – look at those credits! At the risk of boring everyone to tears by professing my love for the man’s work again, if Mr Darwyn Cooke finds the time to illustrate and entire comic book, I’ll find the money to buy an issue (or two). Even a cliché-ridden cowboy shoot-out (which I’m not saying this will be!) would be elevated to something approaching genius by Cooke’s artistic brilliance. So yeah, you could say I’m just a little excited at the prospect of getting my hands on this.

Writer: Gabriel Ba & Fabio Moon
Art: Fabio Moon & Gabriel Ba
DC/Vertigo $2.99

James R: So far, 2009 has been a good year for Vertigo - The Unwritten and Sweet Tooth have been absolutely top-draw titles, and their savvy strategy of releasing issue #1’s for a dollar seems to be bringing in new readers. As a result, I’ve got high expectations for this title. Daytripper looks like the very definition of an indie title. The Ba Brothers (who supplied the art for Umbrella Academy) bring us a slice-of-life series about life in their native Brazil, but… there’s a killer twist hidden in this story. All concerned are keeping traps shut as to what it might be, but this will be worth it for the art alone, which looks stunning. Hopefully, this should keep Vertigo’s reputation nicely topped up.

Writer: Peter David
Art: Bing Cansino
Marvel $4.99

Matt T: A bumper sized X-Factor that brings the team back home to NY for a cracking mystery? Count me in. David's run up to this point has been superb, with more twists than a slinky, along some expert weaving of numerous plots, so I'm expecting the return to the Big Apple to be something spectacular. And if you're not picking up X-Factor now, do so. It's awesome. Trust me.

Writer: Rick Remender
Art: Greg Tocchini
Radical $4.99

Matt C: That’s such a great title that it’s probably got my hopes way to high for this three-issue mini, but the preview art looks a bit special and I really like the premise: the US government is set to secretly broadcast a signal that will make committing crimes impossible, but 10 days prior to it going live it becomes public knowledge. This means that the crime Graham Brick has been planning for some time is now likely to be the last one committed in American history. The only question for me here is whether Remender can deliver the goods as I’ve not really been that bowled over by the work of his I’ve read of his so far (The End League, for example, started strongly but lost it very quickly). Of course, it’s entirely possible that this could be the turning point of his career – there’s enough promise to make me want to find out, that’s for sure.

Writer: Joss Whedon
Art: Karl Moline & Andy Owens
Dark Horse $3.50

Andy H: Joss Whedon returns on script duties for this Buffy one-shot featuring Willow. The beauty of the Buffy universe (well, for me) is the supporting cast, all of which are fully fleshed out individuals and not throwaway characters. Of late we have seen Willow, as ever, playing an important part in the Buffy legend, including a glimpse into the future with another of Joss's creations, Fray. Now, with Whedon’s Fray collaborator Karl Moline, we get to see some of the gaps in Willow’s recent history and possibly some answers including 'Who is that serpent lady from a few issues back and what does she mean to Willow?' As ever I look forward to reading Buffy and even more so when Joss is at the helm.

Writer: Robert Kirkman
Art: Joe Benitez
Image/Top Cow $2.99

Matt T: On the surface this month's Pilot Season one-shot from Top Cow sounds like your usual, bog-standard 'vicious vigilante' story, but the last line of the description caught me: “What if the Demon isn't real?” Posing the question that the title character's bloody swathe through the ne'er do-wells is all in his head, and the barter made with said supernatural body-sharer is nothing more than a psychological disorder really does intrigue me. I'm all for the darker end of superheroics, but if there's nowt more than a tortured mask slashing and stabbing I quickly reach for the lighter end of the scale. With Kirkman doing the honours with the words I'm not too concerned that it'll step into formulaic fare, and the cover art looks decent enough.

Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Scott Kolins
DC $2.99

James R: For me, it was his work on Flash that put Geoff Johns on my comics radar. Everything that makes him the lauded writer he is today is present in that run; a winning mix of characterisation, affection for the world his characters live in and, of course, great action. I was equally won over by the pencils of Scott Kolins (who remains a personal favourite.) So you can definitely colour me as interested about this Blackest Night mini – the two are reunited to tell another Flash tale, and if it’s up to the standard of most of the Blackest Night titles thus far, this should be a very welcome bonus to the buy pile.

Writers: Jeff Parker & Jeph Loeb
Art: Paul Pelletier & John Romita Jr
Marvel $3.99

Stewart R: At the monthly previews night my fellow Paradoxers heard me roar (hmm, choke like a water vole might be more accurate!) in exasperation as we turned the page to find Fall of the Hulks Alpha and Gamma staring at us in the face. I believe my first utterance went along the lines of “Seriously? Marvel expects us to shell out a further $8 on two more One-Shots? They’re kidding right?” The premise has FOTH Alpha concentrating on a new villainous brain-trust called The Intelligentsia where the likes of MODOK, The Leader and Dr Doom come together to contemplate 'The Smartest There Is', while FOTH Gamma concentrates on the relationships between the various Hulks themselves, red and green, and an event that triggers the war between them all. I think my initial negative bias here has been my dislike of Loeb’s recent work on the Hulk title, but on reflection there is so much promise here that I may find myself reaching deep into my pockets. Jeff Parker is demonstrating on a weekly basis that he has a respect for character history and depth while bringing new ideas to the table, and the large character base may prove to be a good vehicle for Loeb to flex his action-based writing 'muscles'. And that’s just the writing talent! Marvel have called in John Romita Jr and the excellent Paul Pelletier to give us the best in mean, green, smashing machine action plus hand-rubbing-together, cackling villainy and ‘mischief’. The talent involved may be too hard a temptation to resist.

Writer: Alejandro Jodorowsky
Art: Mila Manara
Heavy Metal $14.95

Rob N: Milo Manara is one of the big names in European comics. Italian by birth, he’s highly respected in France, a country that has always viewed graphic storytelling as a serious art form, and where the superhero genre is notably conspicuous by its absence. Over the last couple of years he’s been working on a series of books set during the reign of the Borgia dynasty in Renaissance Italy (1492 to 1503), working in collaboration with the writer Alejandro Jodorowsky. Manara is probably most famous for his love of the scantily clad female form, which his art style excels at. But to dismiss his body of work as nothing more than soft porn (which in fairness, it sometimes is…) is to overlook the literary value of much of his collaborative work with visionaries such as Hugo Pratt (e.g. Tutto ricominciò con un'estate Indiana - a particular favourite of mine - and El Gaucho) and Federico Fellini (e.g. the dream-like Viaggio a Tulum), all of which are available as English language translations and worth reading. The series of Borgia books capture the feel of films such as Ken Russell’s The Devils and Paul Verhoeven’s Flesh and Blood.

1 comment:

Danny said...

Blackest Night: The Flash #1 is on my list as well :)