18 Aug 2011

Ten Forward: October 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 August issue of Previews which includes comics scheduled to ship in October 2011.

Writer: Tom Morello
Art: Scott Hepburn
Dark Horse $1.00

Stewart R: Yup, THAT Tom Morello! The lead guitarist of Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave is switching music paper for script pages in October as Dark Horse help him to deliver the first of a 12-part series looking at societal and political imbalance in a dystopian future. With the raw intensity and unblinking worldview of his bands' music it seems that Orchid - whose protagonist is a 16 year old prostitute trying to find a future in a bleak world of haves and have-nots, powerful and powerless - will carry a message familiar to fans of his other media work and that has to be worth a punt in my opinion. We shall have to see whether Morello has the ability to deliver a cohesive and entertaining story over the run but Dark Horse's decision to go with a series length of this size surely suggests that they believe that there's more going for it than the celebrity name at the helm.

Writer: Joe Casey
Art: Andy Suriano
Image $12.99

Matt C: Usually a tale of a doctor who specializes in treating supernatural beings wouldn’t really catch my eye, but the writer involved is someone well known for smart, madcap, irreverence in comics, so as it’s Joe Casey’s name in the credits this grabbed my attention with ease. Casey’s been putting out some great books for Image of late, whether it’s his current ongoing Butcher Baker or one-offs like Officer Downe. This is one of the latter projects and sees Casey back with his Charlatan Ball collaborator Andy Suriano. 72 pages for $12.99 isn’t a bad deal so those in the market for some more of Casey’s unique brand of inspired lunacy should probably set a little bit of cash aside for this come October.

Writer: Brian Azzarello
Art: Eduardo Risso
Vertigo $1.00

James R: After their stunning Flashpoint miniseries, Batman Knight Of Vengeance, I'm delighted to see that the creative team of Brian Azzarello, Eduardo Risso and Patricia Mulvihill haven't been resting on their laurels, as October sees the launch of their new series, Spaceman. The story centres on Orson, a man created and genetically altered by NASA to withstand the rigors of space travel, but at the start of the tale we find that he's making a living salvaging junk on an environmentally ruined Earth. The preview pages in June's Strange Adventures were fantastic and promise a blend of Azzarello and Risso's trademark noir style with a post-apocalyptic twist. This looks like being another must-read from Vertigo, and another classic from the people that brought you 100 Bullets.

AVENGERS 1959 #1
Writer: Howard Chaykin
Art: Howard Chaykin
Marvel $2.99

Rob N: Despite my ageing hippie/psychedelic sensibilities I also have a love of two other periods of the 20th century: the ‘between the wars’ era of the politically-charges 1920s and ‘30s and the mid ‘50s to early ‘60s, the latter period most recently popularised by the TV show Mad Men, and now the setting for a new miniseries written and drawn by Howard Chaykin. Looking back with the advantage of hindsight, the late Fifties seems to be the ‘last hurrah’ of the old world order before it fragmented and gave way to a more permissive and ‘modern’ age. It’s also a defining era of sharp Italian suits, the Christian Dior ‘New Look’ for women, classic James Bond novels and bespoke Hollywood glamour of the Talented Mr Ripley/French Riviera style. This series has its roots in recent issues of Bendis’ New Avengers where he showcased a pre-Sixties Avengers team assembled by Nick Fury to hunt down Nazi war criminals in hiding throughout the world. I’m not normally a fan of revisionist storytelling (where a writer adds retrospective continuity that begs the question, why hasn’t any character ever mentioned this before?) but I did enjoy the late Fifties setting, and its retro look. Howard Chaykin is of course the artist you turn to first to draw any period between the early Twenties to the late Fifties, and he simply can’t be beaten when it comes to period detail, be it clothes, architecture, cars or (bearing in mind this is Howard Chaykin we’re talking about!) women in old fashioned lingerie.

Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Marc Silvestri
Marvel $3.99

Matt C: Another big, iconic character is given the Number #1 reluanch treatment (again!) and this time it’s everybody’s favourite green-skinned goliath, the Incredible Hulk. Aaron seems to be on the up at Marvel now following his move into the world of mutants to help steer the X-Men over the coming months, and obviously the House of Ideas are pleased with what they’re seeing if they’re giving him a chance to take charge of the continuing adventures of Bruce Banner and his ill-tempered alter-ego. It says ‘classified’ in the solicitation but from what I can gather we’ll be looking at how Banner deals with the fact that the Hulk has become a physically separate being. I’m certainly interested to see how Aaron will approach the character but I I’m not so keen on the choice of artist. I loved Silvesrtri’s Uncanny X-Men stuff back in the day but he mostly seems to stick with covers nowadays, and going by past experience this title is already in danger of seeing delays and potentially a new artist sooner rather than later. Benefit of the doubt is in place though so I’ll wait on the first issue to wow me before thinking too far ahead.

Writer: James Robinson
Art: Cully Hamner
DC $2.99

Rob N: James Robinson’s Starman title was a groundbreaking comic that emerged from the DC Zero Hour reboot in the 1990s. For the first 40 issues at least it was one of my favourite titles at the time, especially the issues drawn by photorealistic artist Tony Harris. One of the standout supporting characters was the Shade (not to be confused with Shade the Changing Man of Steve Ditko and Pete Milligan fame). A seemingly immortal character of complex morality, the Shade switched between playing the villain and the hero as the different roles suited him. The series floundered once Robinson sent Starman into space, but even so I have very fond memories of the comic. Returning to the scene of earlier triumphs can sometimes be a writer’s undoing (Frank Miller did his legacy no favours by writing a sequel to the Dark Knight Returns, for example) but I’m hoping in this case Robinson still has enough mileage in the Shade character to justify the miniseries.

Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Chris Bachalo
Marvel $4.99

Stewart R: Okay, so the main draw for me is the fact that Chris Bachalo is the regular artist for Wolverine & The X-Men and has been given a healthy head start to make sure that the first half dozen or so issues are pure Bachalo without the need for anyone else to fill in when time gets tight. Aaron is the 'Architect' behind this huge fracture between the mutant heroes of the Marvel Universe and he seems to be plucking at Wolverine's caring and emotional side now that we're three issues into Schism. I'll be interested to see how he develops Wolverine as a leader of a larger mutant population compared to, say, Remender's close and personal delivery with Uncanny X-Force. The danger is of course that we, as a reading public, will end up with far too much of one character on our plate being written in two very different ways, but that's one to wait an see on. It does seem that Marvel are developing an X-Men braintrust of sorts so there should be optimism that this move to two main titles - amongst seven specifically dealing with mutant teams - can work.

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Art: Billy Tan
Marvel $3.99

Stewart R: With the end of Schism a few weeks away yet it's hard to tell just what sort of X-Men story we will be walking in to when Uncanny X-Men reaches it's (temporary?) end and the two new titles pop up in its place in October. While a Wolverine-centric title tends to scream of one direction it's harder to gauge where Gillen will lead us with Regenesis, not least because any and all previews released so far have been completely void of Scott Summers. Certainly at this time Emma Frost looks to be one of the leading voices and a look at Marvel's teasing silhouette images suggest that Magneto will be there too. While both have been showing their heroic sides in recent years they're certainly 'well-rounded' when it comes to their motives and aren't opposed to the occasional dubious moral decision. Gillen has really impressed me with Uncanny X-Men in recent months and Tan's style is certainly maturing so I suspect this could be a winner.

Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Jonathan Hickman
Image $3.99

Rob N: Jonathan Hickman first came to my attention with his inspired miniseries Pax Romana (so good I nicked the central premise for a roleplaying game I ran!) but since then he has mostly been working as one of the ‘Architects’ of the Marvel Universe (a phrase I have problems with as I’d argue that Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko are the architects of the Marvel Universe, and that current writers are essentially a maintenance team, if you want to use that kind of analogy). I can hardly fault him for taking a well paying writing job with Marvel, but it is good to see he hasn’t forgotten his strength as a writer/artist of creator-owned material. Hickman has a unique art style that I really like, and early promo art for this book exceeds expectations. This then is the first of three self-contained projects that we’re going to see published by Image. Billed as a tale of rogue psychiatrists in a near future/now Silicone Valley who manipulate their patients, simply because they can, it sounds like it occupies the same satirical counter culture space as books like A Scanner Darkly.

Writer: Roger Langridge
Art: Roger Langridge
BOOM! Studios $3.99

Matt C: Issue #0 is currently in the shops and I would implore you to part with a single dollar (or local equivalent) for the taster of Roger Langridge’s latest endeavour. A classic dunderhead comedy duo (one a walrus, the other a carpenter!) spinning out of the works of Lewis Carroll, such as The Hunting Of The Snark and, er, The Walrus and The Carpenter, this should see Langridge at his most inventive and comedic best. Basically, if you like both comics and laughing then I would suggest this might just be up your street.

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