AVENGERS: THE CHILDREN’S CRUSADE #1
Writer: Allan Heinberg
Art: Jimmy Cheung & Mark Morales
Stewart R: It’s been a few years coming but this July finally marks the welcome reunion of Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung as they sink their creative teeth back into the team that they created. Since the Young Avenger’s introduction to the Marvel Universe they’ve been involved in nearly every major mainstream event – see Civil War, Secret Invasion, Siege – and the colourful cast of characters seem to be fairly popular with both publisher and audience. While the Scarlet Witch could prove to be a mediocre point of focus for the plot – I’d have preferred to see the return of Iron Lad/Young Kang but I’m guessing that clashes with the new Avengers relaunch – the mouth-watering prospect of the truly awesome Jim Cheung working on interiors on a regular basis is just too good a thing to pass up! Marvel, are indeed, making it mine!
I AM LEGION HC
Writer: Fabien Nury
Art: John Cassaday
Humanoids Inc $17.95
Tom P: I’m a huge Cassaday fan but for some reason I’ve not got round to reading I Am Legion yet, so when it was pointed out to me in Previews that it was being released in hardcover by original publishers Humanoids for the truly incredible price of $17.95 (for a hardcover!) I did not hesitate in placing my order. Its a French comic book set in WWII featuring vampires and Nazis - sounds great and gives me the chance to see some of Cassaday's stunning artwork once more.
Writer: Kody Chamberlain
Art: Kody Chamberlain
Matt C: Kody Chamberlain really registered on my radar with the first episode of the gangster comic Pretty Baby Machine – his black and white art was stark, moody and generally very impressive. I was therefore hugely disappointed when that first issue of the three-part mini turned out to be the only issue published, apparently the rest being canned when the project was optioned as a movie (although I’ve never seen this officially stated anywhere). I’ve seen his name attached to a couple of things since, but this one really sprung out from Previews. A crime tale set in New Orleans just before Katrina struck, this is written by Chamberlain as well as drawn. The art I’ve see so far looks hot, sweaty and dangerous; right up my street, in other words.
X-FORCE: SEX & VIOLENCE #1
Writers: Craig Kyle & Christopher Yost
Art: Gabriel Dellotto
Andy H: Kyle and Yost have become a mainstay of my X-book reading habits recently. I've tried to pick up anything either of these writers have been involved with and have generally been rewarded for making the effort. So it's a shame this is their last X-Force book but, on past evidence, I'm sure they will go out with a bang. They have a great knack of keeping you worried about your favourite character as they seem to have killed plenty of X-folk over the past few years, and you never really know who is safe. Now they put Domino in the crosshairs as the Assassins Guild hunt her down. With Wolverine on her side you know there's going to be a high body count, but hopefully none of my favourites are included! Thanks for the ride boys, don't let me down.
BATMAN: ODYSSEY #1
Writer: Neal Adams
Art: Neal Adams
Rob N: Anyone familiar with the history of DC comics will know only too well the importance of Neal Adams at the dawn of the Bronze Age in the early Seventies. His run on various Batman titles during that period still rates as one of the finest in the Caped Crusader’s long history. After decades of lingering on the sidelines of the comic industry, Adams has returned to the character that made his name with this new miniseries. My only reservation concerns his decision to write as well as draw the comic. While there’s no denying that Neal Adams is a premier league artist, his past attempts at writing haven’t exactly set the comics world ablaze. But with that aside, the man’s a legend, and any return to mainstream comics is a big event in my opinion.
G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO #156
Writer: Larry Hama
Art: Agustin Padilla
Stewart R: Well, it seems that my Free Comic Book Day wishes have been heard and are set to come true! IDW have given the big ‘thumbs up’ to the continuation of the Marvel storyline which ground to a halt some 16 years ago. Even better is the news that Larry Hama, the original writer and creator of hundreds of JOE and Cobra characters, locations and battles, is due to take up his quill once more to pen the story. Subsequent JOE titles have been a mixed bag, particularly when writers have tried to modernize the story for a 21st Century readership, and have often found themselves boxed in by the realities of the day. Hama has previously stated that he sees the JOE/Cobra conflict taking place in a very similar, but alternate reality, and it’s that degree of separation, along with the return of some terrific characters to their former glory, that has this locked in to my radar for July.
THE MAN WITH THE GETAWAY FACE ONE-SHOT
Writers: Richard Stark & Darwyn Cooke
Art: Darwyn Cooke
Tom P: If you don't own Darwyn Cooke's adaptation of Richard Stark's The Hunter, just trust me on this and order it as soon as you can. It was without a doubt one of the highlights of my comic book reading year in 2009 and I point you to Matt C's review on this very blog if you have need of further persuading. Its a masterclass of art and storytelling, with Cooke taking the reader back to the ‘60s in such spectacular style that he had me hooked from the first page. The chance to read this 8"x12' sneak peak of just one chapter from the upcoming graphic novel in October for only $2 is a treat I can't resist. As I type this, The Hunter is next to me on my desk, and flicking through it just makes me want to read it again tonight, and you just know that I will!
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Alex Maleev
Rob N: The Bendis and Maleev partnership is a dream team that sits proudly up there with the very best, and yes, I include Lee/Kirby in that comparison. Following the premature collapse of their recent Spider Woman title the creators have bounced back, launching this new ongoing comic as a creator-owned book under Marvel's Icon imprint. Promising a tale of civil and personal rebellion and the struggle of the individual against corrupt authority, the comic seems to sit somewhere between a thoughtful biopic and an action flick. If their work on Daredevil is anything to go by we’re promised strong characterisation, realistic dialogue, intricate plotting and absolutely brilliant art. Pretty much the level of quality you’d get from a first rate HBO show really.
COMIC BOOK GUY: THE COMIC BOOK – THE COLLECTOR’S EDITION #1
Writer: Ian Boothby
Art: John Delaney & Dan Davis
Bongo Comics $3.99
Andy H: At last! One of the greats from The Simpsons gets his own miniseries. What do we know about Comic Book Guy? Irritable, overweight, condescending legend-in-his-own-lunchtime, or a misunderstood hero of comics retail? Who cares? He is deserving of a spot in the limelight and if Boothby can translate his onscreen presence to the four-colour medium this will be a success. Not much has been given away as to plot but judging by the four page preview (in Previews) it looks like CBG may have a new nemesis: GNK, Graphic Novel Kid!
OFFICER DOWNE ONE-SHOT
Writer: Joe Casey
Art: Chris Burnham
Matt C: I really enjoyed Casey and Burnham’s last collaboration, Nixon’s Pals, so I practically placed my order for this one-shot with only a cursory glance at the premise. A bad ass cop taking the law right to the criminal’s doorsteps isn’t really pushing the boundaries of originality, but Casey has a knack of subverting familiar genre conventions and creating something fresh, and Burnham has shown he’s got the artistic chops to pack a punch. 48-pages for $4.99 isn’t a bad deal when you consider what certain other publishers inflict on us at the same price, and the ‘done-in-one' promise is appealing. If you’re a fan of Casey you’ll know to expect the unexpected; if not, perhaps it’s time to become acquainted with his irreverent brand of genius.