5 Oct 2011

Incoming... 05/10/2011

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: Now who doesn’t like a good number two? (*snigger* ohh the immaturity!)

This week sees the comic shelves bombarded with a host of second efforts as DC kicks it’s second month of the New 52 into high gear while Image and Marvel chip in with the odd title too. It seems that Justice League #2 is still some weeks away, possibly indicating a six-week turnaround for each issue, but we’ll see how that pans out over the run, and Batgirl #2 is conspicuous by its absence this week, being replaced in the lineup of 13 titles by Red Lanterns #2, which appears only three weeks after we got the first instalment. I’d attribute this to a pretty fast working standard by artist Ed Benes and the fact that some creative teams will have been given a reasonable lead-in time to this event.

In any event, Red Lanterns is one comic book that gets one more chance to impress me or I’m afraid I’ll have to drop it and use the money to explore other corners of the DC Universe. The first issue was a fair effort but I’m not thrilled by Peter Milligan suggesting in the debut that there’ll be a decent amount of action taking place on Earth, as I would much rather see these rage-filled Lanterns being used to greater effect in the further reaches of outer space. It has some 20 pages in which to wow me, else I’m off to reading pastures new.

The other three DC titles that I’ll be picking up this week don’t have so much to worry about as I really enjoyed their debut outings. Animal Man #2 will follow up Jeff Lemire and Travel Foreman’s incredibly creepy first chapter as Buddy Baker tries to get to the bottom of his freakish vision and even stranger abilities of his daughter. There’s been a huge amount of positive buzz surrounding this title, which may have surprised some considering the C-list nature of the protagonist, but Jeff Lemire is a writer who delivers engaging characters and Travel Foreman’s wafer-thin line work is a terrific fit for a super-hero horror story.

Slightly less subtle will be O.M.A.C. #2 from Dan DiDio and Keith Giffen where I’m expecting another 20 pages of classic comic action; less pondering, more punch! What I really took from the first issue was a sense that there was no particular side of the fight to root for as the powerful O.M.A.C. took apart the forces of Cadmus at the behest of the satellite, Brother Eye, and I liked the feeling of moral ambivalence that just allowed the scrap to be an enjoyable spectacle. I expect DiDio will give the readership a good old dose of exposition in this second chapter and set Kevin Kho up as the protagonist proper following his passenger status during the previous chaotic events. Of all of the DC titles that I’m picking up I suspect this is the most likely to not last beyond a 12-issue run (maybe even 6?) but I’m hoping that doesn’t prove to be the case.

Similarly enthralling yet potentially limited in its lifespan could be Judd Winick and Ben Oliver’s tales of the African Batman. Following the exciting and gruesome cliffhanger to issue #1 I’ve been waiting with baited breath to see what Batwing #2 has in store for David Zavimbe after his first, deadly encounter with the villain known as Massacre. There’s plenty of promise in this title, with the change in continent and culture making for a very different kind of Bat-heroics, but having looked at the future solicitations it seems that Oliver only lasts up until issue #3 with Chris Cross coming in for #4 and the artwork of the former is a huge advantage for this comic presently. It’s yet to be seen if the change in penciller is just for the one issue in order to give Oliver a chance to catchup, but even if that is the case it doesn’t bode well for consistency in the long run.

Over at Image they have two comics of interest for me this week, Chew #21 and Vescell #2. I’ve mentioned previously that John Layman and Rob Guillory do a damn fine job with Chew but for some reason I rarely seem to mention it on Incoming... or even offer up a review these days, possibly having spammed it with praise a bit too much in the early days. The last issue reintroduced Savoy to the story and brought Tony’s daughter further into the mysterious fold so it’ll be interesting to see how things pan out for the younger Chu! Vescell #1 was a very impressive debut with a decent mix of science-fiction and fantasy thrown into the pot with a wry comedic edge and I’ve fingers crossed - it really has affected my typing speed I’ll admit - that this turns into another successful ongoing for Image as it looks to have all of the right ingredients to do so.

It seems funny to say it but it’s a big week for Marvel imprint, Icon with not one, but two comics slinking into comic book stores across the land. Superior #5 is long overdue, but since it’s a Mark Millar project it was something of a shock that the preceding four chapters arrived in our hands on a fairly regular basis in the first place. I believe that the delay this time may have been down to overriding commitments that Lenil Yu had with other books and when an artist is delivering such accomplished pages as he was issue to issue it’s hard not to cut him a little slack and patiently wait for the next offering of eye-candy. Casanova: Avaritia #2 is the other Icon title of note and I really do appreciate having the psychedelic tapestry that is the work of Matt Fraction and Gabriel Ba nestled amongst the many superhero comics on a day such as this.

And speaking of superheroes, this is the very day where we learn what the future may have in store for the good mutants of the Marvel Universe as Jason Aaron’s X-Men: Schism #5 details the final days of Cyclops and Wolverine’s friendship and partnership in steering their people in the hardest of times. For this last instalment Adam Kubert gets a bite of the art pie and I’ll admit that the preview pages haven’t really set my senses a-tingling. In fact I think Marvel’s decision to give each chapter to a different artist has actually taken something away from what has been a reasonable X-Men read. Okay, I've not been 100% happy with the speed that Scott and Logan have turned from friends to combatants having followed the X-books for a good few years now, but I would say this has proven to be the perfect point for new or returning readers to dive in as it's clearly going to set out the playing field for the next 2-3 years.

The other bonus of course is that we can all look forward to a regular dose of Chris Bachalo X-artwork each and every month post-Schism starting in just a few weeks' time!

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