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 October issue of Previews which includes comics scheduled to ship in December 2011.
Writer: Grant Morrison
Art: Chris Burhham & Cameron Stewart
James R: Alright, I know this is technically a cheat, as it's not a proper issue #1, but it's got #1 on the cover and that's good enough for me! I've been a huge fan of Morrison's 'Bat-Novel' of the last few years, and in a very sly way he's redrawn the Batman landscape - the introduction of Damian Wayne, the conscious 'lightening' of the character, and the whole Batman Inc. idea have all been Morrison's work. In the light of the DC reboot, I also think it's wise that DC now let some other creative forces take the reigns, but I'm really looking forward to this 'Final Chapter' as Bruce faces off against a foe thought dead. And let's just say I'm hoping for an All Star Superman finish rather than a New X-Men finale!
THE ACTIVITY #1
Writer: Nathan Edmondson
Art: Mitch Gerads
Matt C: I’ve got to be honest, the solicitation for this new Image series didn’t exactly blow me away. Another top secret government team called in for those tasks nobody else can handle? Yeah, so we’ve kind of seen that thing done, oh I don’t know, about a billion times before. I could have easily skipped over this pretty swiftly but the writer’s name caught my eye. Nathan Edmondson has been penning one of 2011’s best miniseries in Who Is Jake Ellis? (at the time of writing I’ve not read the final issue, but I’m assuming it’s good!) which also included shady government organisations and an exhilarating espionage thriller vibe, so there’s a decent chance he’ll repeat the trick here. After all, part of the reason there are so many stories involving covert teams is that when they’re good, they’re really, really good!
LORD OF THE JUNGLE #1
Writer: Avrid Nelson
Art: Roberto Castro
Dynamite Entertainment $1.00
Simon M: Being a fan of the original 1912 story by Edgar Rice Burroughs I was very excited to see that Dynamite Entertainment are reviving this alongside another of his properties (The Barsoom). Add in the fact that issue #1 is being released for $1.00 and how can you go wrong? From the looks of things this comic will faithfully adapt the original story starting with Lord and Lady Graystoke stranded on the African coast. To make matters worse for them, John Clayton's wife Lady Alice is pregnant. Having read Arvid Nelson's work in the Kull limited series for Dark Horse and his equally impressive work on Thulsa Doom for Dynamite, I have every confidence that Lord Of The Jungle is in capable hands. Roberto Castro is fairly new to me, but I have seen his work on Warlord of Mars: Fall Of Barsoom and found it more than capable. Looks like Dynamite Entertainment are going from strength to strength with the re-envisioning of these iconic classics.
Writer: Si Spurrier
Art: Paul Davidson
Stewart R: Despite the huge upheaval that the X-Men have been subject to over the past few years, not to mention the ever changing roster and shifting focus on individual mutants, one small group of characters has found itself involved in nearly every storyline and event that has unfolded within the pages of Uncanny X-Men for a long while now. Since Beast's departure from the shores of Utopia, Doctor Nemesis, Box and Kavita Rao have been the ever-present bunch of brainiacs entrusted with solving any scientific quandary or threat that may come the X-Men's way. The three are very different characters with differing voices, attitudes and skills, yet come together very well as the so-called X-Club. It seems that Marvel have recognised this and have once again turned to Si Spurrier to bring this five-issue miniseries to the stands. It looks like we're in store for a big helping of cutting edge science ideas, realised in comic form as the Club work together on such marvels as a space elevator and, as usual, we're promised that we'll “Never look at the X-Men, or the Elements of the Periodic Table the same way again!” Considering just who the focus is going to be on here I'm inclined to believe the hype for once.
THE LAST BATTLE (ONE-SHOT)
Writer: Tito Faraci
Art: Dan Brereton
Andy H: Fanboy alert! I have to admit this may have slipped under my radar if not for the stunning art of DAN BRERETON!!! As soon as I saw the preview pages bells and whistles were going off everywhere. I mean, this is the man that made Frankencastle look amazing! So, looking closer, what do we have storywise? It’s the time of Ancient Rome and over in Gaul the Romans are laying siege to a Gallic stronghold. Lining up to enter the fray and take on the Roman army is Cammius, who once fought for Rome but is now leading a barbarian horde. All very exciting so far. To stop Cammius, Julius Caesar instructs retired hero Rodius to bring him his head. There's history here as Rodius taught Cammius everything he knows! Italian writer Tito Faraci is well known in Europe and I am keen to see how his sword and sandal tale will read. Coming in at 80 pages this could well be a mini epic.
FLEX MENTALLO: MAN OF MUSCLE MYSTERY DELUX EDITION HC
Writer: Grant Morrison
Art: Frank Quitely
James R: If you've never read Grant Morrison's excellent Doom Patrol run I strongly advise tracking it down as I still think it showcases Morrison at his best, fusing mindbending ideas with a dynamic plot. If you have read that classic run, I'm sure Flex Mentallo needs little introduction - this miniseries spun out from Doom Patrol, featuring a character who bore a striking resemblance to the muscle-bound friend of beach-tormented wimps the world over, Charles Atlas. The Atlas estate saw to it that the series was never collected after it's initial publication, but thanks to legal machinations too boring to burden you with DC are now reprinting it in a swanky deluxe format. This is where the creative team of Morrison and Quitely really hit their stride, and it's an essential purchase for any fan of the Caledonian genius' far-out ideas!
THE IMMORTAL: DEMON IN THE BLOOD #1
Writer: Ian Edginton
Art: Vicenç Villagrasa & José Luis Río
Dark Horse $3.50
Simon M: I'm a sucker for anything samurai based and the look of this new limited series from Dark Horse will have me knocking on the door of Paradox Comics once again. Based on an acclaimed novel from Japan, the story follows a samurai who is wrongly branded a traitor. Having been attacked and left for dead by his fellow samurai, he is found and rescued by a mysterious tattoo artist. The preview suggests that this will be more of a supernatural/horror story, but that's just fine by me. Well-regarded British writer Ian Edginton is charged with bringing this tale to life and looking at his previous work this should be a good fit. Vicenc Villagrasa is on art duties and his work on New Exiles and Models Inc gives me faith that he will be able to bring the correct atmosphere to the project.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA 100 PROJECT SC
Hero Initiative $12.99
Andy H: We all know comics offer the best of two worlds: engaging storylines and exciting visuals. The combination of the two keep us coming back for more. Now and again I like to immerse myself and just wallow in the visual side of the medium and for the past few years the 100 Project books have been a great way to do this. Rather than focusing on one artist these books take a blank issue cover (this time JLA #50) and 100 + artists give their time and create their own mini masterpieces. It's a great way to see the work of so many different artists. This volume includes the talents of Alan Davies, George Perez, Frank Quitely, Alex Ross and a truckload more. Money raised from the sale of these books goes to the Hero Initiative, a "not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping comic book veterans by providing financial aid for emergency situations, medical care, necessities of life, and an avenue back into paying work".
Writer: Matt Fraction
Art: Terry Dodson
Rob N: As far as Marvel supergroups go, the Defenders has always been the runt of the litter, never really attaining the heights (either critically or commercially) of the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, and the X-Men, despite some interesting story arcs in the 1970s (I'm thinking here of the Steve Gerber issues and the Scorpio saga when Keith Giffen was the artist). I've not been tempted by the title when Marvel have briefly toyed with it in the past, but the promise of Matt Fraction as writer this time around suggests I should really buy it. I've been very impressed by Fraction's consistently good run on Invincible Iron Man, and the Mighty Thor title has proved to be much better than his first story arc before it relaunched as an issue #1 again. And Casanova of course is superb from start to finish. So yes, at the moment I'll pretty much try any Matt Fraction number one. Even Defenders...
Writer: Brandon Thomas
Art: Ariel Padilla
Dynamite Entertainment $3.99
Simon M: You mention Voltron to me and I'm immediately taken back to the mid ‘80s and the fantastic animated series that was shown in the States. The series followed a group of five young pilots who commanded individual robot lions that could join together and form a giant robot called Voltron. There have been a couple of attempts at bringing this series to the comic world: Modern Comics put out a three-issue series in 1985 and Devil's Due attempted limited series and ongoings but kept dropping them due to low sales. Dynamite Entertainment are hoping to revive this series with Brandon Thomas (X-force: Shatterstar, Tales Of The Thing) on writing duties and Ariel Padilla (The Green Hornet Strikes!) on art. We are told that this isn't the Voltron we know, but one that is redefined and reimagined. Here's hoping they find the right mix of nostalgia and a new direction to give this series a chance to catch on for old and new fans alike.