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 May issue of Previews which includes comics scheduled to ship in July 2011.
LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN III: CENTURY #2: 1969
Writer: Alan Moore
Art: Kevin O'Neill
Top Shelf Productions $9.95
Rob N: I love the late Sixties. I love the music, the fashion, the comics, the films, the books and the social turmoil as the established post-war old order fell apart under a wave of revolution and experimental popular culture. Ever since Alan Moore announced the psychedelic 1969 volume of LEOG I’ve been pestering Andy H for news of a release date. Not only is it steeped in the London counter culture that I wish I’d been old enough to experience first hand, but it’s got Jerry Cornelius in it. Cornelius is probably my all time favourite fictional character. Created by Michael Moorcock, he inspired countless imitations such as Matt Fraction’s Casanova, Grant Morrison’s Gideon Stargrave/King Mob, Bryan Talbot’s Luther Arkwright and possibly even Alan Moore’s John Constantine. If ever there was a single comic book tailor made to appeal to my tastes, it has to be this one. Purple haze, man, purple haze!
Writer: Joe Casey
Art: Nick Dragotta
James R: As always, I have to stress that I'm not a huge X-men fan, but I'm always happy to dip my toe into the murky continuity waters if I think a suitably talented writer is giving us an interesting take on the world of the mutants. That's certainly the case this month with Joe Casey (currently doing a great job on Image's Butcher Baker) turning his attention to how the less than stellar villains operate, and what their motivations are. He's highlighting characters that are finding that crime doesn't pay... at all! He's also developing a slew of new characters with artist Nick Dragotta, as well as bringing in X-hooker (yikes!) Stacy X! Should be a blast all round!
RED SKULL #1
Writer: Greg Pak
Art: Mirko Colak
Matt C: A heads up on this one, people. Last time Greg Pak made a foray into Nazi Germany it was for the astonishing Magneto Testament, one of the most powerful series to come out of the House Of Ideas in recent memory. The level of research and depth of feeling in Testament elevated far above most X-Men, and indeed, most superhero fare, resulting in something that showed (again!) that a medium which is often sniffed at can easily match other methods of story delivery for intelligence and emotional resonance. Now Pak has a look at another major Marvel villain in a historical context: the Red Skull. If Pak takes the same kind of approach to this mini that he did with Testament (and interviews I've seen suggest he will) then this is one book you really need to add to your list. The art from Colak (someone I'm unfamiliar with) looks impressive and, while there are no guarantees, this has the potential to be one of the highlights of 2011.
Writer: David Baxter
Art: Javier Aranda, Garry Leach & Jessica Kholine
Stewart R: Yet another #1 from Image and this time they’re offering it up for the highly desirable price of $1.00 - how generous! Considering that most of the recent debuts coming out of Image have all been full-price affairs there’s a part of me that’s a little sceptical about the drop in price but the concept sounds interesting and the preview art looks tasty too. Set in the not too distant future where oil supplies have run dry and the US has been broken apart through civil war, the story follows one of a handful of soldiers trying to defend New San Diego, the last bastion of peace in the desolate landscape, from a siege army from the Lone Star State intent on stealing the energy technology that keeps it safe. That for me sounds like a great read and set over six issues I’m keen to see just what transpires and what sort of ending writer David Baxter has in store for such a battle.
JOE HILL'S THE CAPE #1
Writers: Joe Hill & Jason Ciaramella
Art: Zach Howard
Andy H: Last year's The Cape one-shot was a pleasant surprise for most and good enough to warrant me picking up the new miniseries debuting in July. It was a great set up and seemed at first it seemed to be a fairly traditional take on a super hero story. Eric's a failure and not really the nicest person you could meet, but one day he discovers a childhood blanket that now gives him the ability to fly and he intends to make the most of it. All pretty standard fare but it ends with a great, dramatic, twist. Where it goes from here is not clear yet but with the return of the same creative team it should make good reading as to which way Eric goes and what ramifications there are to what he has done.
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Mark Bagley
Rob N: You are of course asking for trouble when you name a new comic book Brilliant. The Bendis haters are no doubt already flexing their typing fingers in anticipation of delivering a stream of criticism when the comic hits the shops, because these days Bendis is very much the Marmite of comics, with many readers split between either hating or loving his work. But even his sternest critics often agree that when Bendis is good, he can be very, very good indeed. Brilliant takes as its theme a group of scientists in the real world who try and crack the secret to developing super powers. I’ve always felt Bendis produces his best work when his book is grounded at ‘street level’. Where he often falls down is with epic themes and conflicts, meaning his recent ‘big screen’ Avengers stories suffer in comparison with grittier and more down to earth books like Daredevil or Scarlet. Brilliant sounds like it’s more likely to share its scope and style with the likes of Scarlet, especially since it’s a creator owned project exempt from the cacophony that is contemporary Marvel continuity.
Writer: Mark Waid
Art: Paolo Manuel Rivera & Marcos Martin
James R: Just what I've been waiting for: a chance to get back onboard with Daredevil! I loved Bendis' and then Brubaker's run with ol' hornhead, and felt that the wheels came off in spectacular fashion under Andy Diggle's tenure on the book. I'm not usually a fan of a book being nixed and then relaunched, but after the whole 'Matt Murdock runs The Hand'! nonsense, I think a clean slate was definitely in order. At what a clean slate it is - Marvel have wisely employed Mark Waid on writing duties, and the last time he was asked to reenergize a Marvel title, he smashed it out the park on Fantastic Four. Waid has an excellent grasp on what makes characters tick, and I'm excited to see what he can bring to Daredevil along with the art team of Rivera and Martin. You don't need radar senses to know that this book could be something special.
DC RETROACTIVE: WONDER WOMAN - THE '70S #1
Writer: Dennis O'Neil
Art: J. Bone
Rob N: If you’ve been reading this blog for a few years now, like the loyal reader we hope you are, you may recall I wrote a short article appreciation on the subject of a reasonably obscure period of Wonder Woman continuity in the early ‘70s, a period I called ‘The Emma Peel Years’. This was when DC controversially gave their line of superhero books a radical makeover in order to compete with the more progressive style of the Marvel titles. Wonder Woman was the recipient of one of the more extreme changes when she lost her superpowers for a time and became a Modesty Blaise/Emma Peel action hero. The early ‘70s was a creative high point for DC and now, forty years on, they’ve decided to celebrate that brief period with a series of one-shots recreating the flavour and style of their best titles back then.
RED WING #1
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Nick Pitarra & Rachelle Rosenberg
Stewart R: Mr Hickman has quickly established himself as one of the best ‘big thinking’ comic creators working today with broad and intelligent work seen in Secret Warriors, Fantastic Four and S.H.I.E.L.D. Now he’s returning to creator-owned territory with a sci-fi war story that crosses both frontlines and timelines as the fighter pilots of the future have to master their machines and the ability to travel through time to fight the war of the future. There’s not been a great deal of information released about this so far but the pedigree of Hickman’s recent works coupled with a very successful Spring for new properties coming out of Image has to make this a definite entry for my pull-list come July. Plus, you can never have enough sci-fi dogfighting in comics as far as I’m concerned!
SUPERGODS: WHAT SUN GODS CAN TEACH US ABOUT BEING HUMAN HC
Writer: Grant Morrison
Spiegel & Grau $26.00
James R: As I've said so many times on this blog, Grant Morrison is the quintessential 'Marmite' comics writer, seemingly loved and loathed in equal measure. I make no secret of my admiration of the guy, and I'm certainly looking forward to this prose book. To quote the official synopsis: *Ahem* "Through (superheroes) we tell the story of ourselves, our troubled history, and our starry aspirations. In this exhilarating work of a lifetime, Morrison draws on art, science, mythology, and his own astonishing journeys through this shadow universe to provide the first true history of the superhero." At the group meeting, my co-contributors scoffed at this book, but for a proper quasi-pretentious philosophy teacher such as myself, this looks brilliant. Hopefully Morrison's insights will be as rewarding as his inventiveness can be in his comics.