16 Feb 2012

Ten Forward: April 2012

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 February issue of Previews which includes comics scheduled to ship in April 2012.

Writer: Darwyn Cooke
Art: Darwyn Cooke
IDW $24.99

Matt C: This is probably the most obvious choice I could make for April’s release schedule as it jumps to the top of the pile with absolute ease. Following the multi-award winning The Hunter and The Outfit, The Score is pretty much guaranteed to repeat the same level of superior storytelling, and Cooke will undoubtedly show us again that his visual expertise and Donald E. Westlake’s hardboiled plots are the perfect match. This adaptation of Westlake’s novel (under the pseudonym Richard Stark) sees Parker get embroiled in a plan to knock over an entire town. Fans of the Parker novels cite The Score as being on of the best (if not the best) of the series so if Cooke can bring his a-game to this (and let’s face it, he normally does!) we’re in for a treat.

Writer: Jonathan Ross
Art: Bryan Hitch
Image $2.99

Stewart R: Turf was a bit bloody good. It really was. Now I’m left to wonder if Jonathan Ross can repeat the feat and convince me that he is a comic writer of bona fide pedigree with his follow up, America’s Got Powers. I’m liking the premise, that’s for sure; a San Franciscan teenager called Tommy is the only person born 18 years ago who doesn’t have super-powers, but that’s not going to stop him from entering the biggest competition in the country that picks the newest member of the number one superhero team! That there sounds like a really interesting idea and it should hopefully cement my opinion that Ross can handle focused character development. With Bryan Hitch looking after the visual aspect of the book it should certainly be pleasing on the eye in any case!

Writer: Scott Beatty
Art: Ron Adrian
Dynamite Entertainment $3.99

Simon M: This is a direct prequel to the current ongoing title Flash Gordon: Zeitgeist which is being expertly handled by Eric Trautmann and Alex Ross. In Merciless we will be shown how Ming rises from being one of several princes on Mongo to become the archetypal space tyrant and Emperor of all he surveys. Scott Beatty is mainly known for his work on the DC Ultimate Guides, but I have previously enjoyed his writing on another pulp hero for Dynamite Entertainment. During his stint on Buck Rogers he displayed a solid understanding of the character and was able to transfer this to the modern audience so I have no doubt he will bring the same level of care and attention to Merciless. The preview art from the book by Ron Adrian looks good and I'm excited to see his interpretation of Ming and Mongo. Dynamite have of late been reviving a lot of the old pulp characters and have demonstrated that, on the whole, they do it extremely well. However, they do have the tendency to overload us with needless spin-offs. I think in this instance that Merciless will be a book worth reading and could wind up being an essential story in the Flash Gordon universe.

Writer: P. Craig Russell
Art: P. Craig Russell
NBM $16.99

Rob N: There are few artists with a style as distinctive and original as P Craig Russell. Best described as Aubrey Beardsley on acid, he has forged a reputation well outside the mainstream since his early days at Marvel. One of his long-term projects has been to adapt the fairy tales of Oscar Wilde in a number of slim volumes that would be called graphic novels if it wasn't for the fact they don't have enough pages to really count as such. As far as projects go, it's taking a while to complete. Volume one came out in 1992, and here we have the latest volume in, um, 2012. While his pace may be sedentary, his attention to detail is anything but, and I fully expect the art to be well worth the wait.

Writer: Pete Bagge
Art: Pete Bagge
Dark Horse $3.50

James R: Pete Bagge is one of comics’ true independent champions - his ‘90s series Hate continues to be a hugely influential tome, and he's exactly the kind of talent we need to see more of in the mainstream. It's very good news to hear that he's back in April with a new series from Dark Horse entitled Reset. The pitch is excellent - Bagge says: “If you could relive major events in your life, would you take a stab at making things better—and would your best attempts only make things worse? Or would you use your second chance to put your most twisted, perverted fantasies in motion?” I'm a huge fan of ideas like this, and given Bagge's trademark humour, I'm sure this will be a remarkable read.

Writer: Roger Langridge
Art: Bruce Ozella
IDW $3.99

Matt C: Popeye is one of those untouchable pop icons of the 20th century who moved beyond his comic strip origins into a wealth of other media, becoming a household name in the process. He’s been off the radar a bit in the 21st century but there’s still plenty of brand recognition inherent in the character that a reappearance can make it seem like he’s never really been away. To be honest I don’t have enough affection for the venerable sailor man to jump at anything with his name on it, rather it’s Roger Lanridge’s name that has piqued my interest. From his work on BOOM!’s Muppet Show series to the current delights of Snarked, he’s a writer that completely understands the concept of an ‘all ages comic’, ie one that can appeal to young and old on a variety of different levels, often in the same panel, never giving the feeling that it’s pandering to a specific audience. Artist Ozella appears to be (wisely) going for the classic renderings of the characters and although $3.99 is quite steep for something like this on a monthly basis, I’ll certainly take a look at the first issue and see if Langridge’s talent is enough to take me further.

Writer: Garth Ennis
Art: Aaron Campbell
Dynamite Entertainment $3.99

Rob N: Garth Ennis tends to work on creator owned projects these days, which makes this project a little unusual. The Shadow of course needs no introduction from me. He's one of the great pulp characters that comic companies like Dynamite seem to resurrect with increasing frequency these days. Usually however the talent involved is second rate at best, with an obligatory Alex Ross cover to disguise the fact that you're buying a package that isn't really going to be listed in a 'best comics of the year' countdown. Whether Garth just needs a quick paying gig, or whether he has a deep-seated love of the character remains to be seen. But he has enough 'hits' under his belt for me to check this out. Not something I normally do with Dynamite titles.

Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Ryan Bodenheim
Image $3.50

James R: Last month, I flagged up Hickman's new series Manhattan Projects as one to watch, and this month, it's a similar story - Hickman brings us another creator-owned project in the form of Secret through Image. It’s an ongoing series that promises to be an epic espionage thriller exploring the relationship between governments and private security firms. When Hickman is focused and on form, he produces thought-provoking, intelligent and involving comics. With art from his Red Mass For Mars collaborator Ryan Bodenheim, I'm hoping that this and Manhattan Projects mark a stellar year for the Marvel ‘Architect’.

Writer: Matt Kindt
Art: Matt Kindt
Dark Horse $3.50

Stewart R: I hold a special place in my heart for Matt Kindt’s 3 Story: The Secret History Of The Giant Man as it is a truly brilliant book that plucks at the heartstrings and does a fine job of recounting a tale that crosses literal generations through the course of the 20th Century. With the news that Dark Horse have been busy collecting some standalone stories from Myspace Dark Horse Presents that take a closer look into the missions undertaken the biggest spy that has ever lived, I get the chance to once again dive back into a fictional world that I enjoyed a great deal. The sections of 3 Story where Craig Pressgang was a master of espionage in plain sight were terrific fun and this will either be a brilliant companion piece to that book or a fantastic introduction to a superb graphic novel. Let’s just say I’m sure it’ll be a winner.

Writer: Jeff Lemire
Art: Jeff Lemire
Top Shelf Productions $9.95

James R: This was the title that was a no-brainer 'Yes' for me this month. Lost Dogs is Jeff Lemire's first professional work reprinted, and a chance for those of us that have fallen in love with his work since (in the shape of Sweet Tooth, Animal Man and Essex County) to see his nascent talent. The story focuses on "A larger than life family man - who may not be powerful enough to prevent the loss of everything he's ever known." But to be honest, I've been so impressed with Lemire's work, I'd get this if it was the tale of an uneventful supermarket trip. Kudos to Top Shelf for giving everyone a chance to read a modern master's early output!


Joe T said...

Next to no new number 1's this month from either of the big 2! Pretty shocking I must say.

As such, there's only 2 titles I'm really interested in at the moment. The first, and I'm ashamed to admit this, is Avengers Vs X-Men #1. As much as I hate everything about events, I just like the story of this one, and quite a few of the tie ins sound decent too. Plus, those Jim Cheung covers are gorgeous.

Second, is Ultimate Spider-Man adventures. Why? It's written by Dan Slott (and friends Man Of Action studios [guys like Joe Kelly!!]). Dan Slott Spider-Man is never a bad thing, and he wrote a great Batman Adventures comic years back, so here's hoping he can work his magic here. Plus,Nuno Platti on art is just icing on the cake. This is a good creative team, here's hoping this is the first title in decades that proves that "All Ages" doesn't have to mean "crap".

Part of me wants to try out The Secret Service, but Millar is more miss than hit, and his titles are always hideously delayed, so I don't know if it's worth trying out. It's got a good creative team on it, and it could show promise, much like any of the other Millarworld titles. However, my real problem with Millarworld is how it's all geared for film. The fact the secret service film is being worked on alongside this just makes the title feel pointless

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