GRANDVILLE MON AMOUR HC
Writer: Bryan Talbot
Art: Bryan Talbot
Dark Horse $19.99
Rob N: A second volume of Bryan Talbot's Grandville is a very welcome prospect as I have a weakness for tales of anthropomorphic animals when done with some style and panache. For those of you who didn't catch the first volume, the setting is an alternative Victorian society where France won the Napoleonic war, invaded England, executed the Royal family, and then subsequently lost complete control some time later, when England became a socialist republic with nominal ties to the French empire, but with the added twist that all the main characters are animals. The lead character is a moody pulp noir badger who excels at ticking off all the expected clichés in steampunk/detective fiction. Talbot seems to be going down the European route of releasing stand-alone European 'album' format books rather than the more common American monthlies. As he seems to be one of the few professional British creators working outside the Marvel/DC mainstream, he deserves our support.
ALAN MOORE’S NEONOMICON #1
Writer: Alan Moore
Art: Jacen Burrows
James R: Apparently, Alan Moore 'retired' from comics a little while back. Fortunately for us wild-eyed Moore fanatics, he's playing fast & loose with 'retired' - not only is League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen continuing majestically, but Moore has also decided to go back to an earlier project. He wrote The Courtyard for Avatar - an intriguing Lovecraftian tale – and clearly the call of Cthulu is too strong to resist: this month Moore continues the tale with the help of Crossed artist Jacen Burrows. I'd buy a supermarket receipt with Alan Moore's name on it, but beyond fanboys such as myself, it'll be interesting to see how he deals with H. P. Lovercraft's Elder Gods. If the literary tale that graced the back pages of LOEG Vol. 1 is anything to go buy, this could be fantastic.
DAREDEVIL: BLACK & WHITE #1
Writers: Peter Milligan, Rick Spears & Ann Nocenti
Art: Jason Latour, Mick Bertilorenzi & David Aja
Matt C: I’m not sure whether this is going to be in a similar vein to the recent Savage Sword Of Ares and Mystic Hands Of Doctor Strange one-shots or more akin to DC’s Batman: Black & White tales, but the idea and format appeal and also there’s been a bit of a Daredevil shaped hole in my life since Brubaker left the main series (I’ve heard mixed messages about Diggle’s take on the character, but to be honest the direction the writer seemed to be headed when he took over the book didn’t really appeal to me). I still love the character, which is why this is probably going to make my pull-list. Ann Nocenti and David Aja are the main draws: Nocenti due to her run on Daredevil in the ‘80s (right up there with the best) and Aja due to some phenomenal work he’s been doing on the likes of Immortal Iron Fist in the last few years. It may just feel like an exercise in nostalgia but that doesn’t mean it won’t be fun. I’m prepared to give it a shot and, as it’s an idea Marvel look like they’re pursuing (Iron Man and Blade one-shots are due soon), it may give an indication of whether this is a ‘series’ worthy of a place in my collection.
LOCKE & KEY: KEYS TO THE KINGDOM #1
Writer: Joe Hill
Art: Gabriel Rodriguez
Andy H: Once again I find myself banging the drum for Locke & Key and I make no apologies for it. As I write this the third arc has not yet finished, but here I am looking forward to the fourth volume. Joe and Gabriel have continually hit the mark with this tale of good and evil. The Locke children have been fleshed out wonderfully and Dodge is just plain evil (best villain of recent times). So, more keys to be found and more truths to be discovered in this latest instalment. It must be, once again, the read of the year. Don't worry if you have missed out on the earlier arcs - also out this month is a 'Legacy Edition' of the first issue of Welcome To Lovecraft which reprints the entire 32 page comic plus an 8-page recap of what's has gone before. All this for $1.00! It would be criminal to miss out.
SULLIVAN’S SLUGGER OGN
Writer: Mark Andrew Smith
Art: James Stoke
Stew R: I’ve been loving James Stokoe’s madcap art on Orc Stain and flicking through Previews his name caught my eye and my nose headed straight to the provided spiel. The story follows a mixed group of ex-pros, young rookies and misbehaving baseball players as they turn up at farm-league towns around the US and play for cash. Unfortunately for the Dragons they’re heading straight for a town called Malice where the citizens, and their team the Gladiators, are suffering from a nasty case of monsterism of the flesh-eating persuasion. It sounds crazy and a touch like a story from the recent Dr Strange miniseries, but I haven’t bought a graphic novel in a while and so this finds itself on my wish list not least so I can see how Stokoe's style differs when he deals with (relatively) real-world settings.
SUPERMAN: THE LAST FAMILY OF KRYPTON #1
Writer: Cary Bates
Art: Renato Arlem
Tom P: One of my favourite Superman comics to date is Superman: Red Son, an 'Elseworlds' tale that asked what if Superman had landed in Russia not America? The Last Family of Krypton asks what if Superman had landed along with his folks Jor-El and Lara to make Earth their new home? What kind of man will Kal-El grow to be if he was never Clark Kent, would he still have the same respect for humanity? I’d certainly like to know what Lex Luthor would make of all this, he could barely stand the Last Son of Krypton on his own, let alone a whole family! I look forward to finding out.
GREEN LANTERN: EMERALD WARRIORS #1
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Art: Fernando Pasarin
Andy H: One of the highlights of Blackest Night was Peter Tomasi's writing on Green Lantern Corps. So much going on with so many characters but I never felt lost or overwhelmed. Now Tomasi is off GLC and taking Lanterns Guy Gardner, Kilowog and Arisia with him. The intrigue for me is just what is Guy doing for Atrocitus? What is his secret mission and how will his fellow Warriors feel when they find out the truth? This will of course put him on a collision course with Hal Jordan, which won't be the first time they’ve fallen out. When written well, Guy is fantastic character to follow, and not just an arrogant, self-centered creep he sometimes comes across as. Plus Kilowog in a regular comic? That has to be a good thing!
SECRET WARRIORS #19
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Alessandro Vitti
Stew R: This terrific series draws to an inevitable end as the Howling Commandos, HYDRA and Leviathan scrap like they’ve never scrapped before in the hope of wiping each other out. Hickman has woven a brilliant Nick Fury story through the ends of the Secret Invasion and to the very doorstep of the Heroic Age and, despite the ending being slightly ruined by events depicted in Secret Avengers #1, it’s not so much about the destination but more about the journey that’ll get us there. I’m still eager to see how Phobos’ prophecies will turn out and just how some characters are going to handle themselves in the coming maelstrom. I’d have liked to have seen the excellent Stefano Casselli see out the series that he began but Vitti is a decent enough artist himself. Bring on this bundle of twists and turns!!
SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE HC
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Art: Shane Davis
Tom P: Earth One sees a new series of standalone graphic novel reimaginings of DC's most iconic heroes. The first to get this new makeover is Superman in the highly skilled hands of Straczynski. He's taking Superman back to Smallville and basing his origin in the present day. If this is done right it could be the new Superman movie we would all want to see. I can't help thinking of this as DC's version of the Ultimate universe, which if its turns out like The Ultimates can only be a good thing. From Straczynski’s work on Squadron Supreme (which contained a character not a million miles away from the Man of Steel) I’m sure he can deliver an exciting new take on this well known character, and it would be a good place for new readers to join in the fun!
BALTIMORE: THE PLAGUE SHIPS #1
Writers: Mike Mignola & Christopher Golden
Art: Ben Stenbeck
Dark Horse $3.50
James R: Dark Horse continue to uphold their reputation for top-draw horror comics as August sees the release of Baltimore: The Plague Ships. All Hellboy fans should take note as it's scripted by Mike Mignola (it's actually the illustrated version of a novel written by Mignola & Christopher Golden). All the usual elements are in place - the dark side of European history, Vampires and a tough-nut hero. As far as I can see, this can't be anything less than an essential read for us fans of Mignola.