5 Apr 2011

Incoming... 06/04/2011

New comics are released Wednesday in the States and guess what, in the UK too! Here's a brief look at our expectations for the books we're picking up this week.

Stewart R: Well pickle me in the power cosmic and ship me off to Exeter! (Half of which has actually happened this week!) What a wealth of comics we have ahead and I'll let you know now that I'm a little intimidated by the sheer size of this Wednesday's order due to having only two days to wade through its majesty and get the cream of the crop read and reviewed! But fear not for I shall do my very best, whizzing my eyes across the page like some strange Inspector Gadget impersonator once Saturday rolls around!

Part of my anticipation comes from the bundle of Image titles reaching the shores of the UK this week thanks to last Wednesday's strange goings on where no Image or Dark Horse titles made it onto the boat. Thanks to that I'll finally be getting my hands on the likes of Butcher Baker Righteous Maker #1 and Undying Love #1 which I have been looking forward to and which many of you may already have had the pleasure of reading. I've purposefully avoided reviews of any of the comics that we missed so as not to ruin the surprise and so I can give them an unbiased critical eye. Image have a fairly decent record in recent years when it comes to trying new ideas and properties - see Chew, Haunt, Orc Stain - and while my wallet will take something of a battering I'm eager to sample most of what they have on offer. Top of the list has to be Nonplayer #1 from Nate Simpson which will be taking a look at the dichotomy that can occur between lives lived in the real world and those lived within the virtual world of gaming environments.

I may have mentioned before that I've become a fan of creators who not only write their own stories but also take the decision to illustrate those tales themselves as they really do tend to come across as labours of love and that's what I hope Mr Simpson has in store for the comic reading community with Nonplayer. Of course there's also something to be said for the contributions of the many and there's something of an ensemble read debuting out of Image's doors as well this week in Blue Estate #1. A couple of writers and no less than 4 artists are contributing to this title about the bonkers and seedy underbelly of Los Angeles and I was sold on the ingredient list of mobsters, gangsters, ninjas and hippies before seeing the luscious preview art. I'm hoping that this will follow in the footsteps of Rick Remender and Greg Tocchini's Last Days of American Crime as a decent and gritty crime tale and failing that... oooh ninjas!!

I've a suspicion that a fair few of you will be peeking out from behind the sofa, sleeping with the lights on and huddling together in small groups this week as everyone picks up a copy of Fear Itself #1 by Matt Fraction and Stuart Immonen. Hmmm, what? Oh okay, it's not going to be 'ghost' spooky but still it's Fraction and when he decides to take a look at a huge part of the Marvel Universe and delve into what the greatest heroes on Earth are afraid of I'm definitely going to take interest on what the final product is going to be. He's been responsible for 30+ issues of Invincible Iron Man magic, written some of the best X-Men arcs of recent years in Uncanny and even taken charge on putting the lightening back into the God of Thunder's title and I for one am very glad that he's now been given his opportunity by Marvel to push forward with an expansive event. There is always the possibility that his work on those aforementioned titles is so good because the focus remains tight upon the subjects in hand, and that upping the scale of vision could test his abilities to the limit, but somehow I think this is in very capable hands indeed.

Speaking of capable hands I'm then brought right back round to Image and their slew of writer-artists as Orc Stain #6 finally makes an appearance after a small delay. James Stokoe has really drawn me in with his rich, vibrant and truly nutso-bizarre world of orcs, gronches and swamp maidens and it's actually surprised me that we've had only five issues before now as it seems that a lot has happened during that time. A potential reason for that is likely to be Image's wise decision to leave Stokoe's fantasy free from adverts but I'm leaning more towards some terrifically inventive and witty writing from the creator himself. It certainly isn't a book for everyone but I really do advise giving it a try just to see if you can witness a small amount of the magic that I've spotted between the pages in the run so far.

I've just enough time to whisk through a handful of the other titles I'll be flicking through this weekend and considering my love for the SBU it'd be remiss of me to not mention Annihilators #2 from Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning as Wendell Vaughan, Cosmo the telepathic canine cosmonaut and a gang of superpowered heavy-hitters realise that they may even be outgunned in the face of a freshly awakened and unleashed horde of nasties. That alone sounds great but I'll really be waiting to find out what has happened to my favourite bark-wrapped hero in the Rocket Raccoon and Groot backup. But wait, that's not the only DnA title out this week as Heroes For Hire #5 also hits the shelves and after my initial doubt I've been sucked into the mystery of how the Puppetmaster has managed to gain control of poor Misty Knight and am looking forward to seeing just how Paladin attempts to locate and free her!

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