13 Jan 2011

Ten Forward: March 2011

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 January issue of Previews which includes comics scheduled to ship in March 2011.

Writer: Joe Casey

Art: Mike Huddleston

Image $2.99

James R: Joe Casey must be living the dream - after creating the industrial-sized money-making machine that is Ben 10 with his fellow Men Of Action Studios team, he can now sit back and turn his hand to whatever comics project takes his fancy. This March sees the release of Butch Baker, The Righteous Maker, which in Casey's own words is "a sleazy, mature readers superhero book about a semi-retired 'patriotic' superhero who gets the call for one last adventure. It's everything you want a superhero comic book to be. It's simultaneously iconic and subversive and a whole lot of fun." With art from Mike Huddleston (The Coffin), and preview pages which were censored for hilarity reasons in Previews, I'm taking Casey to be good to his word (he usually is!). This looks a riot!

Writer: Geoff Johns

Art: Doug Mahnke & Christian Alamy
DC $2.99

Stewart R
: I doubt anyone has ever said that the life of a Green Lantern is easy and following the couple of years that the wielders of the Emerald Light have had you’d think that the last thing they could do with is what essentially amounts to a civil war. But you know what? I don’t think Geoff Johns, Tony Bedard and Peter J.Tomasi care! They’re wheeling out the ideology machine and cranking the tension dial up a notch or two as the likes of Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, Kyle Rayner and John Stewart find themselves in different corners of an argument that threatens to tear the Corps apart at the seams. ‘War Of The Green Lanterns’ looks set to be one of the comic crossovers of the year - the creators involved have been producing stories of a high standard for quite some time now so I don’t expect the ball to be dropped here.

Writer: Dave West
Art: Andy Bloor

Accent UK $5.95

Andy H
: We all love a little crime noir in our lives and adding a little horror to the mix we should have us rubbing our hands in glee. Fall Of The Wolfmen is the sequel to Wolfmen, and our 'hero' Jack Grey has a score to settle with the titular gang of criminals. The gang may have worn wolf masks but they hid a bigger secret under them and you won't have to be a genius to guess (cos I'm not telling you!) where the horror aspect of the Wolfmen comes from. Now a gang war may be about to erupt as the Ghosts enter the arena. In a slightly smaller format than regular US comics it boasts 84 pages of black and white art which can only help to add atmosphere to the story. Plus it will also be available shrink-wrapped with the original Wolfmen GN for those of us who missed it first time round.

FF #1
Writer: Jonathan Hickman

Art: Steve Epting
Marvel $3.99

Matt C: We know one member of the Fantastic Four is going to die, we're just not 100% certain who it is yet (although I'm sure many of us have our theories). Jonathan Hickman has been building up to this for over a year now, starting off slowly but picking up the pace as he reaches what will be the final issue of Fantastic Four in its current guise before it's relaunched as FF #1. I've thoroughly enjoyed Hickman's epic approach to Marvel's First Family; the further along he's got, the more apparent it's become just how grand his plans for the team really are. If the FF do go down to three members you know it won't last forever (in Mark Waid's run the Thing's teammates went to Heaven to retrive him after he unexpectedly perished!) but Hickman, along with the ever-excellent Epting on pencils, should ensure it's a ride worth taking.


Writers: Clive Barker & Christopher Monfette

Art: Leonardo Manco

Boom! Studios $3.99

Rob N: Clive Barker was a fresh voice in Horror when he emerged in the 1980s. The Books Of Blood, The Damnation Game and The Hellbound Heart all left their mark on a decade in which the genre had stagnated into endless tongue in cheek slasher films. Towards the end of the ‘80s his style changed as books like Weaveworld, The Great And Secret Show and Imajica more or less invented the contemporary fantasy genre that has since gone on to spawn comics like The Unwritten. In the past, Clive Barker has also dabbled in comics (most notably his original sequel to Night Of The Living Dead, set in London, with the Royal Family under siege in a Buckingham Palace guarded by an isolated army unit against millions of zombies) and now he seems to have turned his attention to writing a ‘final’ Hellraiser story. This comes with the usual caveat that there’s no indication how central Clive Barker is to the writing process. It may be that he simply contributed a rough plot outline on a sheet of A4 paper and left matters from that point on to his co-writer, Christopher Monfette. Time will tell. But the chances of this being a decent read are increased by the fact that former Hellblazer artist, Leonardo Manco, is also on board. Having done an excellent job with John Constantine's adventures, Manco is a splendid choice for any horror book you'd care to mention.


Writer: Mark Waid

Art: Mirco Pierfederici

Marvel/Crossgen $2.99

Andy H: Crossgen? Ah, I remember them. Fondly for the most part, and while I didn't read all their output, two titles were always up among my favourites: Route 666 and Ruse. No Route 666 yet (and I'd really like to see how that was going to end) but the return of the worlds greatest detective, Simon Archard, is good news indeed. Ruse was consistently good and as we've seen before Mark Waid really can write fantastic detective stories. Set in a Victorian-era world, complete with living Gargoyles (I'd almost forgotten these) it's easy to compare Archard to Sherlock Holmes. If that's the case then Emma Bishop is his Watson but I always remember there was a secret to Emma and I hope that this is explored some more. There's more to her than even Archard realises. Originally Ruse lasted for over 20 issues but was cut off in its prime. I hope this miniseries paves the way for more adventures for Simon Archard and Emma Bishop.

Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning

Art: Tan Eng Huat & Timothy Green II

Marvel $4.99

Stewart R: Whoa Mama! Here we go ladies and gents, step right up for your dose of cosmic, ass-kicking action as some of the biggest, gnarliest heavy-hitters in the galaxy come together to keep the universe safe from malevolent foes and forces. And they’ll be helped out by a Russian cosmonaut dog! Tan Eng Huat is an up-and-comer at Marvel and from what I’ve managed to sample of his work on the net I think he’ll be a fine fit for this title. But wait! Oh yes, not only do we get the Annihilators story but also a backup with Rocket Raccoon and everyone’s favourite Tree King, Groot!! It was way back in the Annihilation: Conquest event when I picked up the Star-Lord miniseries based upon Timothy Green II’s art that my love for Marvel’s Cosmic line really kicked in and it’s good to see him getting another shot at these great characters!

Writer: Kelly Sue Deconick

Art: Greg Tocchini

Marvel $3.99

Stewart R: It seems that 2011 may be the year of Captain America and to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the Super Soldier decked in red, white and blue, Marvel are bringing out a host of one-shots in March as a little comic monument to Steve Rogers. This particular one-shot caught my eye for several reasons, the first being Greg Tocchini’s art. He really impressed me with his work on Last Days Of American Crime and I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do with the likes of Black Widow and Agent 13, who appear to be the main characters here. The comic is also written by Kelly Sue Deconick who has done a handful of one-shots for Marvel before, which received reasonable reviews around the blogosphere, so I’d like to see what she can do with the Secret Avengers at her disposal.

Writer: Ed Brubaker

Art: Scot Eaton
Marvel $3.99

Matt C
: What's this? Another Marvel mega-event that will encompass a whole plethora of ongoing titles as well as necessitating the release of handfuls of superfluous one-shots? Surely I don't want to get embroiled in one of these wallet-draining enterprises again. Haven't I learnt my lesson multiple times already? Well, no, as it happens. I'm actually fairly excited about this. For a start, this prologue is being written by Ed Brubaker, springing out of the events in the back-on-form Captain America, and then the series proper is headed by none other than Matt Fraction, one of Marvel's greatest assets at this point in time. Or, to put it another way, it's not being written by Bendis or Millar. Whether it will include any profound commentary on the culture of fear that ripples through society these days, or whether it will simply be an excuse for various heroes and villians to start throwing punches at each other remains to be seen. Hopefully this one-shot will provide a good indication of where it'll be heading.


Writer: Dan Clowes
Art: Dan Clowes

Pantheon Books $19.95

James R
: I was particularly perplexed at Alan Moore's rant last year that there wasn't anyone currently doing outstanding work in comics. Tongue-in-cheek or not, the remark seemed particularly myopic. I consider both Chris Ware and Dan Clowes to be certified comics geniuses, and to prove my point, Dan Clowes returns in April with Mr. Wonderful. It's a collection and addition to his New York Times strip of the same name, where Clowes focuses on an awkward midlife romance. As always, the joy of Clowes' work is his sharp and telling observations on human nature - and this story set on a single date looks like Clowes in trademark outstanding form.

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