Writer: Grant Morrison
Art: Tony Daniel, Andy Kubert & Frank Quitley
Tom P: Morrison strikes the pages of Batman again in huge, celebratory style. He's giving you all he can for your $4.99, packing in three Batman tales. One featuring Bruce, the second Dick Grayson, and last but not least, Damian Wayne, who Morrison’s done a great job with in the fantastic Batman And Robin. The line up of artistic talent is also another massive selling point: the main reason I have to pick this up is to see Quitely's gorgeous art again; the last time he drew the interiors for Morrison it blew me away, especially the way he incorporated sound effects into his artwork. A real treat for this Batman fanboy.
HERCULES: TWILIGHT OF A GOD #1
Writer: Bob Layton
Art: Ron Lim & Bob Layton
Matt C: I’m including this in my picks as I have very fond memories of Layton’s original two Hercules miniseries back in the ‘80s (not so much the graphic novel) and they were instrumental in forming my love for the character in my teen years, a love that’s continued as I approach middle age (bah!). I’m not actually convinced I will buying this yet, at least not in the single issue format as the $3.99 price tag is slightly off-putting. But, I’ll keep my eyes and ears open, and if I get the sense that this project captures some of the old magic, I may just have to snap it up.
SEA BEAR & GRIZZLY SHARK #1
Writer: Ryan Ottley & Jason Howard
Art: Ryan Ottley & Jason Howard
Stewart R: I like it when comics never try to hide just how 'bag of toads' crazy they are. With a title like Sea Bear & Grizzly Shark you pretty much know that you're in for an experience that will provide chuckles, guffaws and belly laughs aplenty. The brainchild of Image artists extraordinaire Ottley and Howard, SB & GS takes the two comics they wrote and began to draw and ink as part of 24 Hour Comic Book Day and smashes them together in an animalistic tour-de-force. According to both men neither had exposure to the other's efforts until both were finished - they had simply discussed who would get to draw each lethal creature. Apparently Robert Kirkman loves it. Heck, Image gave it the OK without seeing any of it. No way I'm going to miss this one.
ABE SAPIEN: THE ABYSSAL PLAIN #1
Writer: Mike Mignola & John Arcudi
Art: Peter Snejbjerg
Dark Horse $3.50
Tom P: Paranormal crime scene full of secrets? An ancient relic? A sunken Soviet U-Boat? Well, you need to call the B.P.R.D son, and I can think of only one Icthyo Sapain I would recommend for the job! Abe Sapien, B.P.R.D Agent. Hellboy's underwater buddy would be the perfect choice to lead a Naval crew to the murky depths, meaning it's another solo outing from one of my favourite Mignola creations. Add Peter Snejbjerg (B.P.R.D.: War Of Frogs) providing yet more creepy artwork and we’re on track for another great Abe book and, after the excellent The Haunted Boy, that can only be a good thing.
SERENITY: FLOAT OUT ONE-SHOT
Writer: Patton Oswalt
Art: Patric Reynolds
Dark Horse $3.50
Andy H: Still with the cries of “Joss! How could you?” running through my mind we get a chance to see Wash back in action. While Whedon himself is not penning them, we have three short tales from Wash's past to enjoy. As Wash was always a fun character it's probably no bad thing that comedian/writer Patton Oswalt is the choice to sit in the pilot’s chair and explore some past adventures. Plus we are promised a Serenity cameo 'that will leave fans reeling' and some tantalizing hints about its future. Colour me intrigued!
BULLET TO THE HEAD #1
Art: Colin Wilson
Dynamite Entertainment $3.99
Matt C: I don’t know much about this apart from it being another English translation of an original French comic book, and as my general cultural laziness prohibits me from learning the language I’m eternally grateful for any publisher who takes time and an effort to translate these books into words I can understand. What I do know is it’s written by Matz, and as he’s the guy responsible for scripting the excellent hitman thriller The Killer, well, that’s more than enough incentive for me to pick up the first issue at the very least.
DUST WARS #1
Writer: Christopher ‘Mink’ Morrison
Art: Davide Fabbri & Paolo Parente
Stewart R: Apart from the interstellar conflicts that can be found in several comics out there, I've not really been exposed to ground-based, 'conventional' war in comics. That should change to a degree this June when I pick up Dust Wars #1. Set in Paolo Parente's alternative science-fiction universe where the Nazis were able to fight the Allies to a standstill thanks to the discovery of a trove of alien technology, Dust Wars focuses on the conflict escalating further in the 1950s when the Axis' arsenal of robot warriors, zombie soldiers and armed gorillas is finally countered by the Allies' own battle inventions. The over-the-top ingredients could throw the idea into something of a farcical read but the preview art actually seems to have a grounded grittiness, which certainly has me intrigued at this stage.
BATMAN BEYOND #1
Writer: Adam Beechen
Art: Ryan Benjamin
Andy H: The Batman (of the future) is back! Hopefully this will be a worthy successor to the animated series that I loved about a decade ago. This certainly looks like it could have a darker edge than the previous incarnation of the comic, so that’s a good start. When the Dark Knight’s old foes are targeted, the young Batman and the now slightly wobbly Bruce Wayne must look for answers in Wayne's past. No word yet on if Ace the Bat-Hound will appear.
BOUNCER: ONE ARMED GUNSLINGER #1
Writer: Alexandro Jodorwsky
Art: Francois Boucq
Humanoids Inc $3.50
Matt C: European publisher Humanoids Inc have had a couple of abortive attempts to get their stuff out in the English-speaking market – once with DC, once with Devil’s Due – but they’ve made the (hopefully wise) decision to take the matter into their own hands and put the books out themselves. I know little about the titles they’ve got lined up, but if any are up to the same standard as I Am Legion then there are bound to be some undiscovered (by us monolinguists at least!) gems in their roster. This one caught my eye straight off, so I’ll plump with it to start with and then go from there.
AVENGERS ACADEMY #1
Writer: Christos Gage
Art: Mike McKone
Stewart R: Avengers: The Initiative in the hands of Mr Gage has been a compelling read and is one of the great losers to the coming 'Heroic Age' in my opinion. Thankfully Gage is not leaping too far by taking hold of the reigns of Avengers Academy, allowing us to follow the training exploits of a new generation of heroes as they hone their skills and powers while tackling foes old and new. Admittedly, on the face of things, it looks like we could end up with a New X-Men/Young Avengers clone, but the writer's ability to draw heartfelt emotion from his characters has me hoping that we might end up with a healthy handful of twists, turns and teen angst to make this as gripping a read as his previous title. Mike McKone impressed with his recent Amazing Spider-Man work so there's plenty here to look forward to.