THANOS IMPERATIVE: IGNITION #1
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Art: Brad Walker
Stewart R: See, for a while there I thought DnA had really gone all out and decided that Thanos had run his course and Drax needed to complete the mission he was born for. Of course stranger things happen in the Marvel Universe so the return of this malevolent Titan shouldn't really come as a surprise to anyone. With the Annihilation Wave and then the War of Kings these terrific writers have been playing with unstoppable ferocious forces and then political space-opera combat, but now they get to play with a true calculating villain who will throw innumerable problems at any hero, or groups of heroes, who set out to stop him. There are some big name characters set to make appearances; the likes of Silver Surfer, Nova, Quasar and Gladiator are some of the heavy hitters due to tackle this maniac and I really cannot wait to see what Brad Walker manages to bring to his pages with a roster like this. A cosmic bloody dream come true, this one.
Writer: Paul Dini
Art: Stephane Roux & Karl Story
Andy H: The ladies are certainly hitting centre stage this month notably with the relaunch of Birds of Prey and now the Mistress of Magic, Zatanna! Here the strength should come from Paul Dini's ability to write strong leading ladies and of course his proven track record as a writer in general. Stephane Roux's artwork has graced a few covers and looks very worthy so my fingers are crossed this will translate to his interiors. Storywise it looks like a magic showdown with a San Francisco crime boss controlling the criminal underworld with powerful dark magic. Out of their league, the police call on Zee for help. Hopefully this new title will flesh out a character with plenty of potential rather than resorting to an easy magic trick to foil the bad guys.
7 PSYCHOPATHS #1
Writer: Fabien Vehlman
Art: Sean Phillips
Boom! Studios $3.99
Matt C: I'm convinced that Sean Phillips turns in his best work when partnered with Ed Brubaker but he's got such a distinctive, gritty style it's always advisable to keep and eye on where his career takes him. He's the main reason this caught my attention, but on closer investigation I found the premise of an assassination plot against Hitler too scintillating to resist. I can't tell from the promotional blurb whether this going to have a tongue-in-cheek element to it, but with a title and pitch like that I can't imagine it'll work if it's played straight. It'll all be down to the delivery I guess, but I'm partial to a bit of Nazi-slaying and Hitler-taunting, so I'm setting my expectations relatively high.
CROSSED: FAMILY VALUES #1
Writer: David Lapham
Art: Javier Burreno
James R: No sooner has Garth Ennis hammered the last nail into his superb Crossed miniseries than the beasts have escaped again! Avatar have commissioned the leftfield talent of David Lapham (Stray Bullets, Young Liars) to write another tale set in the Crossed universe. This could go one of two ways; either it'll be a pale retread of the concepts and gross-out ideas Ennis used so skilfully, or it'll surprise us and give us a fresh take on humanity stripped of civilization. Certainly his preamble in Previews sounds good, and Avatar has performed their usual trick in digging up a remarkable artist from somewhere - Javier Borreno's pencils look great. Either way, this first issue will be essential reading.
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: John Romita Jr
Rob N: I should begin by mentioning that, unlike many of the contributors to this humble blog, I actually quite like what Bendis has done with the Avengers over the last few years. Yes, I like the dialogue heavy style of his writing, and I even like the juxtaposition of thought and speech in the early issues of Mighty Avengers. But that aside, I do miss the classic era of Perez' Avengers when you had the big hitters together in the Avengers Mansion. And by big hitters I am of course referring to Captain America, Iron Man and Thor, who are to the Avengers what Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are to the Justice League. One of the biggest errors of judgement in recent years was the Thor clone in Civil War which placed Stark and Richards totally out of character in creating a Frankenstein version of the Thunder God. That, and the Civil War itself, drove a wedge between the big three which irritated Bronze Age fans such as myself. Hopefully this relaunch will steer things back to the classic period when an Avengers title felt like an Avengers title. It's about time.
MOVING PICTURES GN
Writer: Kathryn Immonen
Art: Stuart Immonen
Top Shelf $14.95
Matt C: What's this? Another Nazi-themed book as my choice for this month's Ten Forward? Am I obsessed, or something?! Yes, well maybe I am, but this looks like it will be a tad more serious in its subject matter than 7 Psychopaths. Since spotting it in Previews I've discovered it was originally published as a webcomic, but while it may be available for to view on the internet, I'm still too old-fashioned for that and prefer my reading material on paper (Screw the environment! Give me more books!) The plot deals with Nazi's plundering European art collections and is apparently set across two timelines - whether that means a sort of flashback structure or whether it means time travel, I'm not entirely sure at this juncture. Whatever it turns out to be, even though I’m not overly familiar with Kathryn Immonen’s work, I’m intrigued enough by the story, and her husband’s adaptable style of artwork (just look at the difference between Nextwave and Superman: Secret Identity, for example) is the thing that seals the deal for me.
Writer: Jeff Parker
Art: Gabriel Hardman & Chris Samnee
Tom P: The Agents of Atlas are back! Not as a mini or a back-up story but in a new ongoing written by the one and only Mr Jeff Parker! Despite widespread fanboy and blog love, the previous Agents of Atlas series only ran for 11 issues before cancellation. Top marks have to go to Marvel for keeping this great team going with a new storyline based around 3-D Man (who must be trying to cash in on Avatar!), a character who was an original team member but was left out by Parker as he did not fit in with the 1950s world they were established in. I, for one, can't wait to read more from Jimmy Woo and co - I strongly urge you to give this a try and would highly recommend picking up the current Atlas vs Avengers mini if your interested. It has a very cool robot if that helps.
MOUSE GUARD: LEGENDS OF THE GUARD #1
Rob N: Mouse Guard is (for the indie comics scene) unusually flash in terms of art and presentation. As much as I love the left-of-centre field of publishing, I have to admit that most of the titles feature lo-fi scratchy art that's unlikely to get in between Adam Hughes and a paying gig. I have no doubt that David Petersen could easily pick up mainstream work any time he felt like it, but he seems content instead to do what he likes, and what he likes is the quirky world of Mouse Guard. Arguably more popular than everything else Archaia publishes combined, Mouse Guard has already spawned a neat little roleplaying game and now steps out beyond the limits of Petersen's workload to offer a miniseries of supplementary issues written and drawn by guest artists. Provided the quality remains high, I look forward to seeing alternative takes on Petersen's fighting rodents.
BATMAN: THE RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE #1-2
Writer: Grant Morrison
Art: Chris Sprouse & Frazer Irving
James R: Let's face it, Grant Morrison has done a great job of running the Bat-universe without Bruce Wayne - like Brubaker on Captain America, skilful writing and characterisation have meant that many readers would be happy to see Dick Grayson to go on as Batman for a while yet. But when we're served up teaser images of Caveman Batman, Pirate Batman and Pilgrim Batman, I can't help but get a jolt of fanboy excitement! I know some are raising an eyebrow over this series, but given his recent form, I'm confident Morrison will serve us up a treat. Throw in stellar artists Chris Sprouse & Frazer Irving for issues #1 & #2 and you have a recipe for a must-read. And c'mon - Pirate Batman!
Writer: Matt Kindt
Art: Matt Kindt
Stewart R: Vertigo are climbing ever higher with brilliant creators and artists lapping up the freedom that this great imprint affords them. This Summer sees the highly talented writer and artist Matt Kindt bring his offerings to the Vertigo table and I'll be lined up waiting for the first serving. Kindt really impressed me with his last graphic novel, 3-Story: The Secret History of the Giant Man, so much so that with only three pages of preview art and the premise thrown out there so far my money is already set aside. Sam is closing in on his 30th Birthday, working for a newspaper in St Louis, and his day starts out just as any other. Then a number of disastrous events occur, placing the world in jeopardy. Waking the next day Sam is confronted with a world where those events didn't happen; is Sam going mad or is something else at play? Interesting premise, great creator, can't go wrong.