Titan Comics $6.99/£3.99
Matt C: Bar the unnecessarily juvenile title (if you squint hard enough it says something offensive, and men in their forties should really know better) there are many reasons to welcome this new title onto the market. The most obvious is the need for another ‘mature’ British comic on the shelves; 2000AD has been sailing the ship alone for quite some time, and there’s blatantly enough talent within these shores to justify providing another platform. Having Mark Millar in charge of the enterprise is an obvious asset – say what you like about his work, there’s no denying he’s got the the clout and the salesmanship to pull something like this off. That he’s using it to bring Kick Ass 2 to a wider audience is a smart move. That he's bringing in household (in the UK at least) name Jonathan Ross – who’s been proving his comic-writing chops with the rather excellent Turf recently – is perhaps an even smarter move. All good so far. Then you spot a couple of other names attached: Brit comedians Frankie Boyle and Jimmy Carr. Now, I’m not here to judge their qualifications as comics creators, but this does make the whole thing look a little less like a new, high-profile launchpad for the next wave of UK talent and more like a bunch of celebrity mates joining forces for a self indulgent vanity project. That aside, while I’m dubious about the potential for CLiNT to be a success (comics just aren’t anywhere near the potent force they once were in UK newsagents) as I said, if anyone can do it, Millar can. Just as long as the content is more about the actual stories rather than the creator’s egos of course.
BATMAN: THE RETURN #1
Writer: Grant Morrison
Art: David Finch & Scott Williams
James R: October sees DC go billionaire playboy crazy as Bruce Wayne makes a return to the Bat-Universe after his Mr. Benn-style romp through the ages. The publisher have annoyingly kept many of the titles 'Top Secret' (which I, as a cynical fanboy, read as 'not very good') but the book which everyone should be checking out is Grant Morrison's one-shot Batman: The Return. This promises to be Bruce Wayne meets the Batman And Robin title, and with art from David Finch, I'll be amazed if this doesn't top the Diamond sales charts. It is sad to a degree, as this inevitably means the end of Batman And Robin as we've come to know it, but I for one trust Grant Morrison on the Bat-books, and think this issue promises to be another fine block in his rebuilding of the Batman mythos.
EDGE OF DOOM #1
Writer: Steve Niles
Art: Kelly Jones
Stewart R: October is obviously home to Halloween and is the prime month for releasing all things ghost, spook and horror related. IDW once again step away from the licence-heavy heaven that they find themselves in these days to bring us a creator-owned project from Horror comic specialists Niles and Kelley. The book focuses on a poor, depressed guy who finds himself living on the ‘edge of doom’ when he discovers that he’s sharing his home with a world of tiny demons... and they’ve picked a certain giant quarry for their next sacrifice! I’m getting a twisted Gulliver’s Travels kinda vibe from the preview art and I think this could be a promising new title from a publisher that’s definitely on the grow.
LADY DEATH PREMIERE
Writer: Brian Pulido & Mike Wolfer
Art: Marcelo Mueller
Andy H: While not top of my pull-list Lady Death was still something I liked to check out back in the heady days of the 1990s. I was young, she was buxom and there was lots of action - you do the math! She's been through a lot since then and after CHAOS! comics disappeared and the characters all went into comic limbo we feared the worst. She made a spirited comeback thanks to Avatar a few years back but all has been quiet for some time. Now she's back - you just can't keep a (good) bad girl down! Creator Pulido joins Wolfer on the writing chores and Avatar have set up Boundless Comics for her latest incarnation. So, you want to see what the fuss is about? Now's your chance and all for free. FREE!? Yep, this 16-page special will cost you nothing. Thank you Boundless, and thank you Lady Death!
Writer: Bill Willingham & Mark Buckingham
Art: Mark Buckingham, Bill Willingham et al
Rob N: Vertigo doesn’t have many milestones like this. I passed on buying Fables when it first launched, since I expected a twee series designed to appeal to the fans of the later issues of Sandman. It seemed to be tailor made for what we now think of as the ‘Twilight audience’. But then I started hearing very good things about it and, after seeing a set of the first 50 issues on sale on eBay, took a chance and bought the lot. In truth the first story arc wasn’t brilliant, but the second was better. Gradually, as the cast of characters settled in and the story threads began to overlap, I found myself looking forward to each new issue. Mark Buckingham became the principle artist and, inspired by the possibilities, produced career defining work. In the current climate, where few titles make it to issue #100 without being relaunched in some way, it’s good to see a quality creator owned project do well.
RICHARD STARK’S PARKER: THE OUTFIT
Writer: Darwyn Cooke
Art: Darwyn Cooke
Matt C: Long time readers of this site will know I froth at the mouth at the mere mention of new work from Darwyn Cooke, so saying I'm very eager to my get my mitts on this is something of an understatement. If The Outfit is anything like last year's adaptation of the first Parker novel from Richard Stark (the pseudonym for the late, great Donald E Westlake), The Hunter, then it'll be as good as it gets. If you're talking about a match made in heaven then look no further than Cooke's beautiful, potent, retro-tinged illustrations and Stark's crackling, no-nonsense prose. Even two months before release I can pretty much guarantee this will be a candidate for graphic novel of the year. The only negative I can think of is that this will put Cooke halfway through his four-book project, meaning they'll only be two more of these to go!
ULTIMATE COMICS THOR #1
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Carlos Pacheco
Tom P: I always liked Mark Millar's take on Thor in The Ultimates: was he a god or was he a nurse who suffered a nervous breakdown before his 30th birthday? His divinity has since been confirmed in the Ultimate universe but the question of how he found himself on Earth remains. Hickman will bring us an origin story of Thor and his people but what really caught my attention was that a big part of the book will be set in World War II. In a recent interview Hickman confirmed the Nazi's involvement in Ragnarok, the cycle that ends with the destruction of Asgard and the Norse Gods, with the writer admitting "I really wanted to use Nazi frost giants - I thought that was a cool idea." In my opinion that sounds crazy fun! It’s often said when us Paradoxers get together that Nazis make the best comic book villains, and with Pacheco's artwork this should be a fantastic mini. It's only four issues so if you have a soft spot for the God of Thunder or haven't read any Ultimate stuff in a few years why not give it a go? True, I'm a big Ultimate fan but the line has really been on great form recently with Ultimate X and Ultimate Spider-Man being the main highlights. Lets hope this will be just as good.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #647
Stewart R: So that will be that! 101 issues, a great but controversial idea and many an interesting story have spun out of 'Brand New Day', but the House of Ideas has decided it’s time to make another change. #647 brings together all of the talent responsible for the previous two years of Peter Parker entertainment for a triple-sized issue that wraps up many of the loose ends of BND and, if certain rumours and reports are to be believed, could signal the end of Peter’s career as New York’s finest webslinger. That prospect alone could make this one of the biggest sellers AND biggest gambles in recent years. If fans were pissed about rewriting the marriage of Peter and Mary Jane how the heck are they going to feel about the potential departure of their favourite protagonist? It’s got to be worth picking this up just to read and then see what the fallout might be.
KNIGHT & SQUIRE #1
Writer: Paul Cornell
Art: Jimmy Broxton
James R: Paul Cornell seems to be in a rich vein of form at the moment. Not only did his Captain Britain And MI: 13 series get nominated for a Hugo award, but the start of his Lex Luthor-centric run on Acton Comics is also showing his skills as a comics scribe. As a result, I have to check this out - a six part miniseries based on the 'English Batman & Robin' created by Grant Morrison: Knight & Squire. With art from Jimmy Broxton, this looks like a surefire hit to me - a British writer using British characters but showing a fine understanding of American comics. Should be fun, and also worth a look if you’ve been enjoying Morrison's rich Bat-tapestry!
THE LAST RUN: A QUEEN & COUNTRY NOVEL HC
Writer: Greg Rucka
Rob N: Yes, it’s a book. And yes, I’m afraid there aren’t any pictures. ‘Editor-in-Chief’, Matt C, looked mildly concerned when I picked this out from Previews, and I had to reassure him that it qualifies as essential to the comic book series. It’s been many years since Greg Rucka released an issue of his superb Queen & Country comic, ever since the understandable lure of working for mainstream companies such as DC put many of his indie projects on hold. To my mind Queen & Country was the best ongoing comic he ever wrote. Essentially it’s an unofficial sequel/update of an obscure British TV series called the Sandbaggers that was set in a Special Operations unit in MI6. Beset by bureaucratic and political wranglings, budget cutbacks and the beige tinted decay of Britain in the late Seventies, it stands out as one of the most realistic spy stories ever filmed. Greg Rucka successfully modernised the concept and wrote a series of 32 issues that were interspersed by two novels. In each case the books were integral parts of the comic book continuity. Now, at long last, Rucka has returned to the series - possibly due to severing his ties with DC - and this is the third ‘prose’ edition following directly on from where he last left off. If you’ve read Queen & Country before, rest assured this is an essential purchase, and not just some stand-alone story that Rucka has chosen to spin out of the comic. If you haven’t read Queen & Country previously, then you’ve missed out on one of the best spy stories in any medium. Treat yourself to some collected editions and enjoy.