Every month we spend an evening scouring the pages of the latest issue of Previews and pick the ten titles we are looking forward to the most. This month it's the November issue of Previews which includes comics scheduled to ship in January 2011.
THE INFINITE VACATION #1
Writer: Nick Spencer
Art: Christian Ward
Rob N: People often think I like sci-fi, but that's not really the case. I like some sci-fi, but probably not anything that you can find on the shelves of Waterstones these days. What I do like though is the weird shit 'New Wave' SF of the late Sixties – JG Ballard, Philip K Dick, Roger Zelazny, Norman Spinrad and Michael Moorcock etc. Back in the days when the writers would be hammering out brilliant ideas for short stories like clockwork, instead of working on a ten volume trilogy with spaceships in it. The Infinite Vacation feels like one of those 'mid Sixties' ideas – the concept of a world (multiverse) in which you can upgrade yourself by moving to different realities where (in theory) you're living a better or more interesting life. Bored with the nine to five? Why not live in a reality where you're a Che Guevara freedom fighter or the owner of a lap-dancing club. The only limit is your imagination. Cool SF with a very retro feel.
Writer: Ben McCool
Art: Nikki Cook
James R: So here's the pitch - a whole town awake having all lost their memories of the previous week. No-one can remember a thing... except one man. It's a terrific one-line idea that would have got me interested anyway, but the fact that it's written by Ben McCool (one of the Paradox Group's writers to watch!) means that it's an essential purchase. Image have released some impressive books in 2010 and this looks like it'll be continuing their fine run of form.
ELEPHANTMEN: WAR TOYS VOL. 2: ENEMY SPECIES OGN
Writer: Richard Starkings
Art: Boo Cook
Matt C: The original War Toys miniseries was arguably the finest story to come out under the Elephantmen banner since the original Hip Flask books all those years ago. It was uncompromising, brutal, relevant, and fired up by a passion that was infectious. A sequel was always going to be welcome then, but this is an even better proposition than we could have hoped for: it's a self-contained graphic novel with regular cover artist and honourary Paradox Group member Boo Cook providing the sumptuous visuals. If you're not aware of his work then you're in for a treat: it's bright, bold and brawny, it relishes in the opportunity to render both the weird and wonderful, and it delivers thrilling examples of a vivid imagination cast onto the printed page. Running to 60 pages this is Boo's biggest project for an American publisher yet, and therefore shouldn't be missed!
THANOS IMPERATIVE: DEVASTATION ONE-SHOT
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Art: Miguel Sepulveda
Stewart R: Blimey, so we have to wait for two and a half months from the end of the Thanos Imperative for the one-shot that will set out just how the survivors of the Cancerverse invasion will go about leading and rebuilding the surviving cosmic civilisations? Tell you what, I reckon it’ll be worth the wait. Abnett and Lanning have been responsible for bringing some of the most tense and interesting tales to the page in recent years and their one-shots are consistently strong, always adding to a story rather than distracting or confusing the larger picture. I write this having not yet read the final chapter of Imperative and I like the fact that it’s almost impossible to tell at this point whether the line-up on the cover are a group of survivors or are possibly the departed victims of one of the most fraught galactic conflicts that Marvel have brought to its readership. I really do hope that this book signals the resurgence of the Cosmic Line of titles.
BATMAN EUROPA #1
Writer: Brian Azzarello & Matteo Casali
Art: Giuseppe Camuncoli & Jim Lee
James R: On one hand, I'm always slightly cynical about strange standalone superhero projects - part of me thinks 'Why isn't this good enough for regular continuity?'. On the other hand though, I'm a sucker for anything Batman, and if you stick Brian Azzarello into the mix then this has to be a must-buy for me. The art team has got a definite European flavour in keeping with the storyline - Batman on tour in Europe up against a deadly virus. This might sound a little generic, but Azzarello has a gift for writing heroes from interesting angles, and more Batman always equals more goodness for me!
THE NEW YORK FIVE #1
Writer: Brian Wood
Art: Ryan Kelly
Rob N: As pointed out to me by Matt C with the comment, “Look Rob, Brian Wood, Vertigo and girls – three of your favourite things.” And you can't argue with that, can you? Those of you who sampled either Local or Demo by Brian Wood know that he excels at short 'slice of life' stuff. Vertigo has moved a long way from its early '90s fascination with horror and contemporary fantasy and these days you're more likely to see the imprint tapping into the indie scene with titles like this. The art's black and white, like Local and Demo, and it promises to be more of the contemporary unbearable lightness of being storytelling that name drops bands I don't know and makes me wish I was 18 again and living in a loft apartment in Shoreditch with impossibly beautiful friends who say deep and meaningful things in between taking interesting drugs and visiting the sort of indie clubs you only read about six months after they go downhill.
INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #500
Writer: Matt Fraction
Art: Salvador Larroca
Stewart R: So once again we get a shift in numbering and another dull throbbing headache for collectors trying to put everything in order; it’s even been noted by other websites that you have to look here there and everywhere to put the catalogue pieces together and come up with the 500 issues. Completist problems aside, we should all be happy with the product itself: Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca take us off to the future to see where Tony Stark will possibly end up in his twilight years, looking back on what has gone right and wrong over the course of three generations of Stark men. Yes, oh true believers, Fraction is going to have a little peek at Howard Stark’s life as well as Tony and Tony’s heir apparent along with a mysterious object that links the three of them together. There’s the odd mention here and there that a certain ten-ringed foe is going to be making a fresh appearance in this milestone issue. If I know Fraction’s writing we could be in for an intelligent battle of wills and of course Larroca does make one damn pretty book! Big price but big promise too.
ULTIMATE COMICS CAPTAIN AMERICA #1
Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Ron Garney
Matt C: Okay, I said I was done with the Ultimate Universe but I came back for Ultimate Thor - and enjoyed it - so I guess I should reassess my standpoint. Let's just say I'm mostly done with the Ultimate Universe but reserve the right to jump back in if a particular concept or creative team tickles my fancy. Case in point, this mini from Jason Aaron and Ron Garney. Their Wolverine: Weapon X series may not have lived up to expectations but the 'Get Mystique' storyline they produced a couple of years back remains my favourite Logan-centric tale of the last few years, so I'm always looking to see if lightening can strike twice. I'm quite optimistic about this book as it features Ultimate Cap against his Vietnam counterpart, a situation ripe for exploring the clash of ideologies. I think at this point I'll say that as long as an Ultimate book can stand alone, isn't bogged down by continuity, and has an intriguing twist on an established icon, then I'll definitely consider giving it a shot. Fingers crossed for this one, then.
Writer: Peter Milligan
Art: Giuseppe Camuncoli & Stefano Landini
Andy H: Some comics are destined to slip under a lot of reader’s radar. I fear Hellblazer is one of those books. Shame really, because over the many years it's been going it's been consistently good. Most recently the life of John Constantine has been guided by the excellent Pete Milligan who’s made Hellblazer one of the first books I reach for every month. The art teams have all been of the highest calibre, each bringing the murky world of Hellblazer (often) screaming to life. Reaching #275 is no mean feat these days and this looks like they're doing it with style. In this 48-page issue it's wedding bells for John and the beautiful alchemist Epiphany and I can't believe Mr Milligan is going to make it easy for the bride and groom. With promises of uninvited guest from Heaven and Hell this could be the wedding to die for! The bumper issue comes with another cracking Simon Bisley cover. See you at the church.
STRONGMAN VOLUNE 2: OAXACA TAPOUT GN
Writer: Charles Soule
Art: Allen Gladfelter
James R: Arrriba! He's back! The Strongman graphic novel was a total winner for me last year, being written as a mix of exploitation flick verve and all-out wrestling heroics. The plot was left open for the hero, Tigre, to return, and let us throw our sombreros into the air, for he is back! I think we can guarantee that 'The Man' is going to receive a fair amount of sticking to, and I'll warrant they'll be a few sleeper holds too. Imagine Raymond Chandler writing a south of the border wrestling epic, and you'll have an idea why I'm psyched to see the return of Charles Soule and Allen Gladfelter's Strongman.