11 Oct 2012

Ten Forward: December 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 October issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in December 2012.

Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Jerome Opena
Marvel $3.99

Stewart R: One of my biggest problems with the Marvel NOW! initiative was the fact that I perceived it as a big fat excuse for the House of Ideas to shovel $3.99 books down our welcoming throats at an alarming rate - the number of their titles that now grace the shelves twice in one month is quite astounding and it seems to only be on the increase. When it was announced that the Avengers book was going to be a twice monthly affair AND that in all likelihood New Avengers was also going to be an integral part of the story, I did throw the proverbial mental toys out of the pram a little bit (which accounted for a lot of my rolling-eyes-to-the-skies for that particular day)!  But hold on here ladies and gents, when I heard who was going to be writing Avengers I did take a step back and consider things for a moment. Jonathan Hickman came right out of the blocks stating that he has things planned out for a long way into the future with these titles - I believe I may have read somewhere in recent months that he had around 60 issues worth of story plotted - and considering how he was responsible for me getting into the Fantastic Four with his grand tales of epic scope, I'm very interested to see what he can do with an Avengers line-up. And, speaking of terrific teams, the artistic bunch who will be putting pencil and pen to paper to bring us this comic contain Jerome Opena, Adam Kubert, Mike Deodato and Dustin Weaver in their ranks and I dare say that all of those elements make this an unmissable prospect NOW!

Writer: B. Clay Moore
Art: Tony Harris
DC $2.99

Rob N: It seems this month I'm picking a couple of titles based on the artist alone. Tony Harris first came to my attention in the early days of James Robinson's ground breaking Starman series for DC. I followed him in later years on Ex Machina but since then he hasn't really done anything that I was wild about. This project however (a World War 2 superhero book) is one you'd almost expect James Robinson to be writing. Taking as its setting Nazi occupied Europe, something we can't seem to get enough of in comic books, especially Golden Age superhero ones, it promises to be a retro-nostalgia fest, but with top quality art.

Writer: Brian Wood
Art: Ming Doyle & Jordie Bellaire
Image $2.99

Simon M: Brian Wood is on a roll at the moment. He is producing some top quality work (The Massive and Conan The Barbarian to name two) and it doesn't take much convincing for me to try anything new he brings out. Mara is the story of an incredibly gifted young woman in a future obsessed by sport and war. Mara Prince is an athlete, model and idolised by the population, which only increases when she develops superpowers live on TV. Wood investigates the themes of celebrity worship, feminism, superpowers, corporate power and politics in this intriguing tale. Bringing this story to life is "brilliant newcomer" Ming Doyle (The Loneliest Astronaut, Girl Comics and Mystery In Space).

Writer: Jeff Lemire
Art: Jeff Lemire
DC/Vertigo $4.99

James R: And so it all comes to an end. I, along with many of my PCG colleagues, have loved Jeff Lemire's Sweet Tooth, and this month we have to bid farewell to Jeppard, Gus and co. At this moment in time I don't even want to consider what might go down in this last issue, but given Mr Lemire's track record I'm expecting something lyrical, haunting and heartbreaking all rolled into one. I'm expecting to cry over this issue, and if you're someone who has shared in our passion for this Vertigo series, well, I think I think I might not be alone in having something in my eye come December...

Writer: Duffy Boudreau
Art: Wendell Cavalcanti
Image $2.99

Matt C: So I’ve never heard of the guys involved with this before, and a futuristic tale featuring violent threats such as “roaming barbarians” and “vicious warlords” doesn’t sound like a recipe for originality, but when your Previews solicitation is accompanied by incredibly enthusiastic quotes from Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction and Ed Brubaker, well, it’s the kind of thing that makes me sit up and take note. Yeah, so it incorporates some highly familiar elements and may well bring to mind a number of other works of popular art (or otherwise), but Image have such an impressive strike rate currently that it’s another of those instances where you feel like you need to get onboard at the start instead of having to catch up when people are raving about it several months down the line.

Writers: Lance Henrickson & Joseph Maddery
Art: Tom Mandrake & Cris Peter
Dark Horse $3.99

Simon M: Lance Henrikson, the Aliens and Millennium actor, is releasing his first foray into the comic world this December, bringing us a Christmas horror treat co-written with his biographer Joseph Maddery. The story is set in Telluride, Colorado which has been beset by an ancient curse resulting from the disturbance of a sacred burial ground. The story is initially set during the gold rush, but the consequences of the curse can be seen going forward through time. Tom Mandrake is on art duties and looking at some of the preview pages it appears to convey the dark and gritty nature that you would expect with this type of story.

Writer: Chris Ryall
Art: Sam Keith
IDW $3.99

Rob N: Another artist that I'm particularly keen on is Sam Keith, who can always be relied upon to draw something that borders disturbing and grotesque. It's set in Japan, or to be more precise, an apocalyptic Japan that has been ruined (is there any other kind in fiction?) by past tragedies and where much of the population now live in cities raised up from the ground by genetically-engineered super trees. As concepts go, it's a bit of a maguffin, but hopefully the story will make sense, and if not, at least there's the guarantee that Sam Keith will make it all look suitably weird.

Writer: Kel Symons
Art: Mark A. Robinson
Image $2.99

Matt C: What’s this now? Another Image #1?! They keep pumping them out and we keep buying them, primarily because such a large number of them are very good. Image are a veritable creator-owned Mecca at the moment, and if you pick up a couple of debut issues that don’t cut the mustard, that’s okay because plenty of them do, worming their way into your pull-list. The spiel was very basic for this, enough so that I can quote it here verbatim without taking up much space: "Felicia Castillo, a New Orleans grifter, is on the run from mobsters in our premiere issue, when she discovers she possesses an unusual superpower in the middle of a plane crash." Yeah, so that doesn’t tell me a heck of a lot, but what really caught my eye was the lively, cartoony art. No guarantees it’ll be a winner, but I’m more than happy to spend $2.99 to find out.

Writer: Mike Mignola
Art: Mike Mignola
Dark Horse $2.99

Andy H: Oh yes, this is going to put a smile on many a fanboys face. Hellboy has long held a cult status for many and rightly so. Mike Mignola has kept control from the start, continuing to write Hellboy but using other artists for quite some time. Not a bad thing as the art has been consistently high but many fans have yearned for Mighty Mike to return. Finally their wait is over and, as a new chapter in Hellboys' life begins (okay, he's dead, but you know what I mean) - Mignola is back to draw his finest creation. After the events of the last book Hellboy has been cast into Hell and we’re promised that we’ll learn more secrets about the big red guy. The preview art looks great as Mignola's style is unmistakable and his take on Hell and the demons that reside there looks awesome. Welcome back Mike!

Writer: Paul Jenkins
Art: Carlos Magno
BOOM! Studios $1.00

Stewart R: Hooray for $1.00 comics and hooray for them coming out on Boxing Day like some brilliant bargain of a post-Christmas treat! BOOM! Studios attempt to lure those pennies from your pocket with another new title and this time Paul Jenkins - a writer whose work on Spectacular Spider-Man essentially got me back into comics after a few years adrift - is bringing us a bloodthirsty hero-on-hero royal rumble. With the world held hostage, a mysterious supervillain pits Supes, Fears and Neuts against each other in televised battles where there can only be one survivor. This is an idea that has been done in various forms before admittedly, but one that more often than not tinges the old thread of interest in the brain; what personal ethical line will each of these characters have to cross to survive and what will they become if they make it through?  It's a devilishly grey area and I'll certainly be picking this up after BOOM!'s recent successes with the likes of Irredeemable and Extermination.

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