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 April issue of Previews which includes comics scheduled to ship in June 2011.
ALL-WINNERS SQUAD: BAND OF HEROES #1
Writer: Paul Jenkins
Art: Carmine Di Giandomenico
Matt C: I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s been eager to see someone would come along with a kick-ass WWII Cap book sooner rather than later. After seeing some of the Invaders-centric flashbacks in early issues of his run on Captain America, I was hoping it would be Brubaker bringing something like this to us but it looks like Paul Jenkins has got the gig instead. Jenkins has been relatively quiet of late after having a much higher profile at the beginning of the millennium, but he’s put out some great work in his time so I’m curious to see what he does here. Di Giandomenico knocked my socks off with his amazing artistry in Magneto: Testament and everything else I’ve seen him do has been equally impressive, so that’s another reason to check this out. There’s a hint in the Previews spiel that there’s a modern day aspect to this too, which I’m not too keen on, but otherwise I’m quite excited at the prospect of seeing Cap in his wartime prime.
FLASHPOINT: BATMAN – KNIGHT OF VENGEANCE #1
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Art: Eduardo Risso
James R: I've been loudly declaring my interest in Flashpoint recently and in June DC rolls out some top quality titles to link into the main event. I'm particularly jazzed to see the 100 Bullets team of Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso take on Batman again as I loved their Batman arc 'Broken City'. That would sell it for me alone, but seeing that in the Flashpoint universe Bruce Wayne is a casino boss means the potential to add in a healthy dose of gritty crime is huge! I'm also excited to see Jeff Lemire and Scott Snyder's Flashpoint books, but this one has the edge as I think it'll be a great fit for the creative team.
ALL NIGHTER #1
Writer: David Hahn
Art: David Hahn
Rob N: I'm sure I've said it before, but I have a fondness for B&W indie comics revolving around what used to be called the 'slacker generation', just wasting their lives but having a good time doing so. Image seem to be throwing out masses of new #1s these past few months, either in a "let's see what works” capacity or a “let's saturate the market” capacity. Either way it's establishing a precedent for innovation and offers the reader the chance to try a whole range of fresh looking titles with mainstream production values. A quick Google search led me to discover that apparently this book, like Brian Wood's New York Five, was originally part of the DC Minx line aimed at teenage girls. I therefore feel obliged to point out that I also read testosterone-fuelled Conan books and I certainly draw the line at reading any comics with ponies in them.
FEAR ITSELF: THE DEEP #1
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Art: Lee Garbet
Stewart R: Summer's just around the corner, we'll all need cooling off, so let's all dive into… Fear Itself: The Deep! The big Marvel event of the year seems set to span across several titles, as these things tend to have a habit of doing, and also spit out the odd miniseries here and there. I've been wary of getting too invested with the 'additional' titles accompanying recent big events from the Big Two publishers but the ingredients list here is simply far too good to pass up. Cullen Bunn has really impressed with his work on Oni Press's Sixth Gun, Lee Garbett made me sit up and pay attention with his work on Batgirl, and then there’s Namor, Doc Strange, The Defenders... Okay, fair enough, that last one is a bit foreign to me but this seems like the perfect opportunity to get a glimpse into what the team was all about. Plus, you just know that if the King of Atlantis has to put out the call for assistance then he's up against very serious and powerful foes indeed!
THE BOMBYCE NETWORK GN
Writers: Corbeyran, Cecil
Humanoids INC $19.95
Matt C: I’ve been looking at picking up something from Humanoids ever since they started their publishing venture in the American market. I already have I Am Legion in single issues (although the hardcover is tempting) but nothing else that they’ve actually released (after they decided against putting out monthly books) has tickled my fancy, so to speak. I know next to nothing about this beyond its early 20th Century setting (a website search has proven fruitless) but by suggesting it will appeal to fans of Criminal and From Hell it's definitely got my attention. I’m always on the look out for a good Euro-comic where I don’t have to learn another language to read it (yes, I’m lazy!) so I’m prepared to throw caution to the wind and hope for the best.
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Dustin Weaver
James R: Okay, this is something of a cheat as it's really the start of 'Season 2', but there's a number #1 on the cover, so that's good enough for me! Whilst I remain to be convinced of his work on Fantastic Four, I have enjoyed S.H.I.E.L.D as the bonkers, insanely ambitious epic that it is. The new arc promises to focus on Michelangelo (!) as the secret string-puller behind the warring forces of Newton and DaVinci, and the lunacy of that sentence alone will either sell it to you or leaving you scratching your head in puzzlement as to how this all ties in with M.O.D.O.K. and Baron Zemo! I'll be suspending my reality really high for this one, but I'll certainly be onboard.
GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES #1
Writer: Mark Sable
Art: Paul Azaceta
Stewart R: WAR! Whoa, whoa, whoa, what is it good for? Well, apparently it's pretty good for stimulating the creative glands of comic writers and artists out there and we're sure to receive a title of some pedigree this June when Mark Sable (Unthinkable) and Paul Azaceta (Amazing Spider-Man) link up once more to bring us Graveyard Of Empires. The conflict in question is the current Afghanistan campaign and Sable is going to be mixing gritty, realism - following a period of heavy research apparently - with a horror element where the recently fallen enemies of the Allied troops rise from the dead to attack and then add the Western soldiers to their ranks. I still to this day hold Unthinkable up there as one of my favourite series of the 21st Century and it's Sable's attention to detail which has me thinking that this could well be a hit in similar vein. Azaceta's art has also grown on me over the past few years and I think that he'll be well suited to the war-horror setting.
SUPREME POWER #1
Writer: Kyle Higgins
Art: Manuel Garcia
Matt C: J. Michael Straczynski’s Supreme Power series on Marvel’s MAX imprint was one heck of a book in its prime, but it got downgraded from MAX and became the ‘safer’ Squadron Supreme before petering out completely. There was a forgettable crossover with the Ultimate Universe, Howard Chaykin tried to inject some life back into the property to little effect and then zilch. Until now. I know next to nothing about the creators involved so the real draw for me is the potential for a return to the edgier, dangerous take on superheroes that we saw when Straczynski originally set the ball rolling. There are no guarantees that’ll be the case put I’m curious to find out.
AMERICAN VAMPIRE: SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST #1
Writer: Scott Snyder
Art: Sean Murphy
James R: I've become a total convert to Scott Snyder's vampire epic due to the high quality his writing. This month sees the start of this brilliant-looking spin-off entitled Survival Of the Fittest featuring a tale set in World War 2. Snyder, Vampires, Nazis? Sold! But that's not all - on art duty is Sean Murphy, whose work on Joe The Barbarian was nothing short of phenomenal. I'm hugely excited to see these two work together, and if you haven’t got onboard the American Vampire bandwagon yet, this looks like it will provide the perfect opportunity.
CRIMINAL: THE LAST OF THE INNOCENT #1
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Art: Sean Phillips & Val Staples
Rob N: Matt C and I share a mutual love of old fashioned pulp writing – both the original stuff and well crafted modern day imitations such as Criminal. Ed Brubaker is a talented writer of many genres, but it's obvious that this kind of material is where his heart and soul lies. Personally I'd prefer to see Criminal published as an ongoing series a la Northlanders, but I understand the economic necessity to relaunch each story arc as a miniseries. One of the things I love most about the comic book medium is the sheer diversity of subjects available to the casual reader once you look past the (admittedly fun) superhero material. Comics are good for the soul, and never more so than when Brubaker writes hardboiled crime.