10 Feb 2010

Ten Forward: April 2010

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 February issue of Previews which includes comics scheduled to ship in April 2010.

S.H.I.E.L.D. #1
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Dustin Weaver
Marvel $3.99

Tom P: In S.H.I.E.L.D, from Jonathan Hickman and artist Dustin Weaver, we'll get to see how old the Strategic Hazard Intervention, Espionage Logistics Directorate really is. The premise is to take a few of the greatest figures in history and show how they saved our sweet planet Earth from Galactus and other evil threats long before any spandex or Fantastic Fours appeared. The timeline will span from Ancient Egypt up to the days of Nick Fury, telling the story of S.H.I.E.L.D. long before it was part of a U.N. affiliated taskforce. Hickman’s writing for Marvel has impressed me so far and I hope this will continue his good work.

Writer: Jim Steranko
Art: Jim Steranko
Dark Horse $19.99

Rob N: There was an expectation at our Ten Forward meet, on the part of Matt C at least, that I would be able to comment on this title, since I’m the one who constantly harps on about comics from the late Sixties and early Seventies. Sadly, despite having heard of Red Tide when I was a teenager, I never saw it. UK distribution of American titles was more or less restricted to the standard size colour Marvel and DC books, plus the Marvel B&W magazine range. Independent publications like this just didn’t make it over here except to a handful of specialist SF book shops. It’s a moody pulp noir tale, starring a Manhattan detective who has to find a murderer in seventy-two hours, that claims to be one of the first ‘graphic novels’ as we know them. Obviously inspired by various Bogart movies and the pulp literature of the time, the pages I’ve seen make heavy use of solid black shadow in a style that influenced the work of Paul Gulacy on Master of Kung-Fu and David Lloyd on V For Vendetta and Night Raven. Red Tide is a milestone in the development of comics as an art form, and therefore richly deserves to be made available in a reprint edition at long last.

Writer: Carey Malloy
Art: Scott Godlewski
Boom! Studios $3.99

Stewart R: Boom! are certainly the publisher to give opportunities to up and coming writers and artists and this four-part series offers the chance to impress to Malloy and Godlewski. The focus falls squarely on an FBI Cryptanalysis unit whose job it is to solve mysteries, review top-secret data and keep the United States safe from modern day threats. When one of their own team vanishes will they be able to unravel the unexpected mystery? Political and crime thrillers are having something of a good showing lately and I’m hoping that these rookies can deliver another great Boom! read. The cover from Unthinkable’s Julian Totino Tedesco is also a guilty little draw for me.

Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Francis Manapul
DC $3.99

James R: Now here’s a title that looks like a smash before I’ve even read a single page. Geoff Johns is back on Flash – huzzah and hurrah! Johns cemented his superstar status at DC after his runs on the last series of Flash and JSA, and after his blockbuster Green Lantern run, it’s great to see that he’s now come full circle. This new series sees Barry Allen back as the eponymous hero, and the first arc has him on the trail of a killer who is picking off the Rogues. Johns is brilliant at making the Rogues as interesting as the Flash, and with Francis Manapal on art duties, I can’t wait to pick this up, and I’m sure I won’t be alone.

Writer: Daniel Clowes
Art: Daniel Clowes
Drawn & Quarterly £21.95

James R: At long last – new Dan Clowes! My indie-reading side just did a little dance of joy. If you’ve ever enjoyed Clowes brilliantly idiosyncratic and misanthropic titles such as 20th Century Eightball, Ghostworld, Daniel Boring or Like A Velvet Glove, Cast In Iron you should know what to expect from this. Clowes’ first singular tale, Wilson (all the others have been collected from anthologies), ships in April, and it looks like he has lost none of his inventiveness or observational talents. This is the story of a man in search of his estranged wife and child, in a desperate attempt to reunite them and make a family once more. It might not sound like much, but God is in the details here, and no one takes you on a strange trip like Clowes.

Writer: Samuel L. Jackson & Eric Calderon
Art: Jeremy Rock
Boom! Studios $3.99

Matt C: Of all the ‘Hollywood talent’ Boom! have attracted since their inception (Stephen Baldwin!), Samuel L. Jackson is blatantly the biggest name. He’s also a big comic book fan (Nick Fury, anyone?) which helps. This does look like a pitch for a movie to me (that central character seems vaguely familiar) but the story of an outlaw crashing on a planet on the brink of civil war is at least startlingly original…… er….. hold on a second….. Okay, so it could be a big pile of clich├ęd poo but it is Samuel L. Jackson (or Samuel L. Motherfuckin’ Jackson to his friends) so I’m more than happy to give the first issue a shot.

Writer: Marjorie Liu
Art: Danuiel Acuna
Marvel $3.99

Rob N: Generally speaking I pick and choose titles based on whether I like the current writer/artist rather than out of any misplaced loyalty to the character(s). But there are certain characters I have a certain degree of fondness for and subsequently keep coming back to. John Constantine is one of them, and the Black Widow is another. In the case of Natasha, she’s often had a raw deal over the years. Brubaker handled her well in the pages of Captain America, but often her miniseries exploits were run of the mill Jason Bourne style adventures. I’ve tended to pick them up out of casual interest, willing to give each creative team a chance, knowing that they’re generally only three issues at a time, so the investment outlay is minimal. The Black Widow of course features in the upcoming Iron Man 2 movie, so Marvel have finally green lit an ongoing series for the Russian femme fatale. I know nothing about the writer, but the sample art looks promising. What I’d like to see is a cross between the Brubaker/Matt Fraction style of writing, and say, the Modesty Blaise books. Whether I’ll get that remains to be seen.

Writer: Adam Hughes
Art: Adam Hughes
DC $39.99

James R: Despite being a comics fan for, well, far too many years to recount, I was never really a man who had a favourite cover artist. That all changed when Adam Hughes started to produce the covers for DC's Catwoman, showing himself to be the master of combining dynamic and striking painted covers with a Selina Kyle who was far too attractive for just line drawing! This hardcover contains all Hughes' cover art for DC, along with his sketches and commentary on numerous pieces. In a word, lush!

Writer: Jonathan Ross
Art: Tommy Lee Edwards
Image $2.99

Matt C: I’m not sure what Jonathan Ross’s visibility is like over in the States but I’m sure Brit comic readers will be out in force to pick this up, even if it’s only for the curiosity factor. For those not in know, Ross is a major TV and radio celebrity over here and was embroiled in controversy at the tail end of 2008 following a talk show prank with Russell Brand, a situation that eventually led the BBC to suspend him for several months. As well as bringing Twitter to the attention of many more people it appears he spent his ‘free time’ penning his first comic books series. I’ve only skimmed the preview because I figured I’ll be picking it up anyway, but the premise of 1920s gangsters with a dash of aliens and the supernatural looks fun (even if it isn’t entirely original) and Edwards art is always something special. Ross has got what’s possibly the best comics collection in the UK, but just because you’ve got a lot of comics, don’t mean you can write ‘em! I’ve got a lot of time for the guy though, so I’m hoping he’ll surprise everyone.

H.O.H. #1 & 2
Writer: Jeff Parker
Art: Humberto Ramos
Marvel $3.99

Stewart R: Now I’m no fan of Marvel’s continued $3.99 bombardment of the comic store’s shelves, but every now and then a miniseries will happily make me ignore the price point and go ‘yes please, don’t care, yes please!’ The mouth-watering combination of Jeff Parker, Humberto Ramos and a completely nutso premise like ‘Hulked Out Heroes’ is just the ticket for a good old popcorn read. The cover promises that some favourite Marvel heroes – and anti-heroes when Deadpool’s involved - will be getting the gamma irradiated treatment. What gets these characters into this hulked out state is not really going to be important compared to the fun ride it’ll be. Switch off your brains and engage your ocular facilities folks!


Andy H said...

AH! An Adams Hughes art book, it's like mana from heaven! Anyone that knows me will know what a massive fan of Adam Hughes I am. From his early work on Maze Agency this guys art stood out a mile. Best known for his cover art you should check out his comic work including Ghost from Dark Horse and a Gen 13 2 parter he did. For covers it's Wonder Woman all the way. This book should look gorgeous, my only quibble; shame it isn't in a larger format just so you could appreciate it even more. Now let us see a book of all his non DC work!!

Matt T said...

some good picks there guys. Sadly devoid of any zombies though. Y'all are clearly missing me.... :)