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 April issue of Previews which includes comics scheduled to ship in June 2012.
BEFORE WATCHMEN: MINUTEMEN #1
Writer: Darwyn Cooke
Art: Darwyn Cooke
James R: If you love the idea, or are appalled by it, there is no escaping that Before Watchmen will be one of the biggest events of the year in comics. I can empathise with both the pro and anti prequel camps, but if we take Watchmen out of the equation for a moment, I'd be equally excited by any new work from the creative force behind Minutemen, Darwyn Cooke. Ever since reading his epic love letter to DC in the shape of The New Frontier, I've intently followed his career, and I am fascinated to see what he's going to do with Moore and Gibbon's Golden Age superteam. Plot specifics are (understandably) being kept under wraps, but I think we'll know pretty quickly if this series is worthy of the hype being generated by DC, and it'lll be the yardstick that the other miniseries will be judged by.
Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: R.M. Guera
DC Vertigo $2.99
Matt C: All good things must come to an end, and this has been one of the very best things in the world of comics for the last few years. Often relentlessly bleak (with a smattering of bright spots here and there) Scalped has been a tour de force for Jason Aaron as he’s dug straight into the darker aspects of human nature. The operative word there is ‘human’, because there’s a reality, a naturalism exhibited by the characters in the tale that really resonates with authenticity. With the aid of some powerful visuals from Guerra (and a handful of others), Aaron has presented us with a selection of fucked up individuals that have felt like proper flesh and blood people, not approximations. An outstanding series, while I’ll me sad to see it go – and I’ll really notice that gap in my pull list – I’m glad we’re getting a conclusion the creators have worked towards, rather than one that was forced on them, or one that occurred because the story had outstayed its welcome. Once Scalped is gone, I’m going to have to find another favourite comic!
Writer: Ken Garing
Art: Ken Garing
Simon M: This five-issue limited series was originally released solely as a digital comic through Graphicly, but now Image has agreed to put it out in the print format. The story follows former soldier turned space pirate, Silas, stranded on a strange alien world. He will have to pit his wits against mechanical creatures, cyborgs and alien militia whilst trying to stay alive among the ruins on the planet surface. All five issues will contain 32 fully coloured pages, and looking at the first three pages I am thoroughly impressed. Garing has captured the desolate post apocalypse feel perfectly. He has described the story as being set within a large space opera, but will only focus on a few characters inhabiting the planetoid. Image is currently setting the standard for bringing new ideas and characters to the comic market. Generally these are at least worth a try and this book looks to be no different.
Writer: Mark Millar
Art: John Romita Jr
Marvel Icon $2.99
Simon M: We’ve all been waiting for this! Hit-Girl has been without doubt the best character from Kick-Ass, and unfortunately, in my opinion, she was not utilised as well as possible in Kick-Ass 2. She did however have one of the signature moments of that series when she rescued Kick-Ass from the van. This mini takes place between Kick-Ass 1 and 2, so hopefully it will be full of the action we would expect. Mindy (Hit-Girl) is thrust into the limelight after Dave (Kick-Ass) breaks his hand in a fight and is sidelined for 8 weeks. The rise of Red-Mist from angry nerd to super villain will also be explored. Millar can be a bit hit or miss, but to give him credit where due, both series of Kick-Ass were excellent and I fully expect this series to match them. We have even been promised a flashback or two of Big-Daddy!
THE MASSIVE #1
Writer: Brian Wood
Art: Kristian Donaldson
Dark Horse $3.50
Rob N: With Northlanders coming to a premature end, it's good to see that Brian Wood has a new series in the pipeline and as a concept it looks like the sort of subject matter that he's a natural with. The world has gone tits up, if you pardon my French, and the protagonists of the series have survived on board a large environmental research ship. While it's not clear what sort of catastrophe has occurred, the advance art shows an 'ice schooner' style setting with the ship traversing the frozen wastes. I've always had a soft spot for well-written apocalypse fiction, especially the more subtle British style of the ‘50s to the ‘70s. Brian Wood has already demonstrated in the pages of DMZ that he has a subtle touch and is unlikely to turn this into a guns 'n' ammo' survivalist story, so I'm reasonably optimistic about it.
BEFORE WATCHMEN: SILK SPECTRE#1
Writer: Darwyn Cooke & Amanda Conner
Art: Amanda Conner
James R: With the Before Watchmen books, DC have tried to bring some A-Grade talent to play, and as with Minutemen, the Silk Spectre title features another artist who I greatly admire - the charismatic Amanda Conner. Longtime readers of the blog will know that I was totally won over by her run on Power Girl, and was gutted when she finished her run. So once again, regardless of Watchmen, it's brilliant to have her back, and combined with the talent of Darwyn Cooke this book looks suitably classy. Apart from Minutemen, this is the strongest writer/artist team that DC have put together for the Before Watchmen event.
Writer: Simon Spurrier
BOOM! Studios $1.00
Stewart R: Uh-oh! Is that a 'to be determined' Sword of Damocles type affair I see hanging from the artists field above? Just as well this is a Simon Spurrier scribed comic then to put all of our fears at rest as he really did impress me with the X-Club miniseries and is doing a superb job with the Crossed webcomic Wish You Were Here for Avatar presently. Now he's getting to look at a different post-apocalyptic scenario where the alien masses arrived and all but wiped mankind from the surface of the Earth, humans and the superpowered alike. It's left to two nemeses: Nox, a hero within nothing left to save, and Red Reaper, a supervillain with no world worth conquering, to team up and try to find some way to drive the invaders from their planet and then start rebuilding... if they can. This sounds like the gritty, twisted type of read that we have been experiencing within the pages of Mark Waid's Irredeemable and with that series drawing to a close this summer, I dare say that in Extermination it sounds like we may have a potential top title at Boom! heading our way.
CARBON GREY VOL2 #1
Writers: Paul Gardner, Hoang Nguyen & Khari Evans
Art: Khari Evans, Hoang Nguyen & Kinsun Loh
Stewart R: One of the surprising highlights of 2011 for me was the rich and lavish world of Carbon Grey and now, following something of an interlude – though the recent two part Origins certainly expanded the landscape and whet the appetite – the scene is set for the first instalment of the second volume of this superb diesel-punk comic to reach our hands this June. The proof of this being a labour of love for creator Hoang Nguyen came when he launched the Carbon Grey Kickstarter Project earlier this year in order to get the second volume produced (I can't believe I managed to miss this news until now!). It turns out that the $40,000 costs for the first volume were covered by his own funds and with the comic book industry balanced upon shoestrings these days, suffice to say the money dried up and there wasn't any to get the ball rolling on the remainder of the series. As it stands though the fans think that this is a worthwhile project with the target reached as of early April. I really can't wait to see what this group of creators can produce now that the security and stability are there to aid them with their masterpiece.
AMERICAN VAMPIRE: LORD OF NIGHTMARES #1
Writer: Scott Snyder
Art: Dustin Nguyen
James R: I don't think this one requires a huge amount of fanfare - American Vampire has established itself as one of the smartest and most enjoyable books on the racks, and last year the Paradox Comics Group all loved the first spin-off miniseries, Survival Of The Fittest. June sees comics genius Scott Snyder returning to that strand of his bloodsucking epic with the magnificently titled Lord Of Nightmares! Dustin Nguyen has a tall order following on from the incredible work by Sean Murphy, but before I've even seen a single page, I'm confident that Snyder will knock it out the park again to bring us another great mix of action, intrigue and horror.
LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN III: CENTURY #3 2009
Writer: Alan Moore
Art: Kevin O'Neill
Top Shelf Productions $9.95
Rob N: I am probably the only member of the Paradox Massive that will not be buying any of the Watchmen prequels (or 'fanfics' as The Beat website amusingly refers to the project) in deference to Alan Moore's wishes. While I'm sure the likes of Darwyn Cooke will do a good job, it just doesn't seem right to me. What I am on board for though is the final chapter of Alan Moore's ambitious Century project. It's taken a bit of a bashing from various quarters since it didn't really follow the same formula as the first two series; Moore has adopted a more experimental approach and has shied away from the earlier formula of Victorian superheroes against a pulp literary menace. But as a creative work I think it's one of his strongest pieces of fiction to date. Let's hope it's not his last.