22 Nov 2012

Ten Forward: January 2013

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 November issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in January 2013.

Writer: Brian Wood
Art: Carlos D'Anda
Dark Horse $2.99

Matt C: So, for certain Star Wars fans, the announcement that Brian Wood was going to be penning the adventures of Luke, Han and Leia post-A New Hope was the best news to attach itself to that most beloved of franchises for some time. And then, seemingly out of nowhere, Lucasfilm went and got themselves bought up by Disney and revealed that Episode VII was due to reach cinemas in 2015, and yeah, you could say that it stole Mr. Wood's thunder somewhat! But while the rumour mill goes into overdrive about who's directing, who's appearing, what'll it be about, and so on, I remain excited to see what Wood has planned for this series. He's a damn fine writer, and it's his name alone that has me down for regularly picking up a Star Wars comic book for the first time in more years than I care to admit (decades would probably be the more appropriate word)!. 2015 is still a way off, so in the meantime I'm really hoping the Force is strong with this one!

Writer: Ken Kristensen
Art: M.K. Perker
Image $2.99

Andy H: Oops. Possibly not the most politically correct title in the world but that's one of the first things that makes you take notice this nook. Then you get to the art. It can't help but bring a grin to my face as I catch my first glimpse of Todd, complete with paper bag over his head and two eyeholes cut out. Does this make me a bad person? The art style has a fantastic quirkiness to it, and the supporting cast have a great look about them. It looks like the story will share the same quirkiness with an Oprah-loving axe murderer and a neo-Nazi prison gang thrown in for starters. Will Todd be able to make friends? Will his mother get even with her husband? Will Image continue to be able to produce so much diverse material? I certainly hope so.

Writer: Dan Slott
Art: Ryan Stegman
Marvel $3.99

Stewart R: At the time of writing this I am still yet to read Amazing Spider-Man #698 which apparently has something of a ‘no you didn’t?!’ moment in it and sows the seeds for an interesting couple of months as the bumper #700 looms upon the horizon.  I’d initially thought (pronounced ‘hoped’ of course) that Dan Slott and Amazing Spider-Man would remain untouched by Marvel NOW!, but it seems that only a privileged handful are getting that pass and the life of Peter Parker will indeed be affected by the creative wave of change at the House of Ideas.  Interestingly Slott and much of the artistic team are still involved in Superior Spider-Man which indicates a definite shift in terms of character and plot to me if the publisher is going to go to the lengths of ending one of the premier titles in its collection at this point. We’ve been stung before with these odd reboot/jumping on points, the whole One More Day debacle being the most recent example, but there’s no doubting the calibre of Slott’s writing and this definitely has to be given a chance to see what the Spider-Man maestro is planning.

Writer: Franceso Francavilla
Art: Francesco Francavilla
Dark Horse $3.99

Matt C: Black Beetle is a pulp-styled hero of Francavilla's own creation and nothing to do with the DC super villain of the same name. Beyond that I know very little about this miniseries but I’m prepared to give it a shot as I think Francavilla's an important, emerging talent and he's playing within a genre I totally love. His stark, moody art seems perfectly suited to this kind of thing but we are obviously going to be presented with the usual question of whether he can come up with compelling characters and plotlines. Guess we'll find out in January.

Writer: Paul Pope
Art: Paul Pope
Image $29.99

Rob N: Paul Pope is a writer/artist who is poorly represented in my comic book collection. I came across his work originally when he did the Heavy Liquid miniseries for Vertigo and since then I've seen a few samples of his art and storytelling, but frankly I've somehow always missed his main output. That in part is due to the fact he tends to self-publish or create for small imprints that I don't even know exist. So the upcoming Image compendium of his critically acclaimed work, One Trick Rip-Off, plus a wide selection of shorter pieces, seems like a good place to start (or continue rather, since I do own the Heavy Liquid miniseries already). His art style is what I'd call scratchy, but I kind of like scratchy. One Trick itself is a tale of street gangs and displaced, alienated youths – a central theme throughout much of his work, apparently. Kudos to Image for putting this hefty, yet not exactly commercial, package together.   

Writer: James Asmus & Jim Festante
Art: Rem Broo
Image $2.99

Stewart R: Another new miniseries out of the Image stables and with the End Times of Bram & Ben it looks like we’re going to be getting some comedy biblical action as James Asmus leads us through the rapture and something of a clerical error with the recruits. With the Apocalypse looming, non-believer and layabout Bram gets chosen for the rapture and starts learning about the weird Old Testament rules that saw him picked while his friend Ben is left worrying about what it was that saw him left behind and just what the heck he can do to prevent being swallowed up by the hellish hordes of the Antichrist. Writers Asmus and Festante are going to look at what the rapture is supposedly all about and have admitted that when some of the parts leave questions unanswered they’re going to just make them up which evidently is going to lead to plenty of hilarity, sex and violence, like all the best end times! I’m already picking up a similar tongue-in-cheek vibe which John Layman’s Chew has delivered so well and with the preview art from newbie Rem Broo looking tasty this is going to get a look in with me.

Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Steve Epting
Marvel $3.99

Matt C: The idea behind the Illuminati, the secret group of the Marvel Universe's brightest minds, was a great one, but in Brian Michael Bendis' hands the execution was never really satisfying (and occasionally a lot worse!). This Marvel NOW! relaunch seems to be bringing them back into focus and I think that Hickman is the best candidate for the job. You only have to look at his SHIELD series from the "Where the hell did it go?" file, alongside some of his creator-owned work, to know that he's very adept at handling shadowy organisations and secret histories. Steve Epting is a fine artist and his previous collaboration with Hickman on Fantastic Four was rather memorable. At the moment, my money's on this title being the better of the two Avengers books Hickman will be penning.

Writer: Sam Humphries
Art: Ron Garney
Marvel $3.99

Stewart R: I’m loving that Olivier Coipel cover and the poster may well make an appearance on my wall so that’s already a tick in the positives column for the new iteration of Uncanny X-Force. I had looked at the Marvel NOW! news and had instantly dismissed (probably out of hand) both new X-Force titles as I was feeling at the time that two new books might be too much and who could possibly follow Rick Remender’s terrific reign? Well, upon seeing the interesting lineup here - hahaHA, I couldn’t help but see some strange ‘Mutant Ron Jeremy’s X-Harem’ sign pop up in my head when I saw Puck would be involved with a team of awesome female characters - my mind certainly started to open to the possibility of picking this up. The Fantomex-a-like Cluster definitely has my interest piqued and the inclusion of Spiral also took me by surprise. With Storm certainly seeming to get more page time in the Marvel uUniverse these days I’m looking forward to seeing her get a team to lead again and hey, what do you know - that epic '80s mohawk is back!!  Count me in!

Writer: Frank Cho
Art: Frank Cho
Marvel $3.99

Andy H: Okay, I may be a glutton for punishment on this one. Stick Frank Cho on a book and I'm at the front of the queue. Sadly I've been stood waiting for his last book for something like a year. Any word on Guns & Dinos Mr. Cho? Ah well, all is forgiven as we now get the dinos (no guns?) with our favourite adamantium clawed mutant. Cho has proven himself again and again at dishing out the best in dinosaur action this side of Jurassic Park but I do have a few niggles. Can this title really replace the regular Wolverine title, it really looks more like a limited series to me. The concept of Wolverine waking up somewhere with no memory how he got there is getting a little overused to say the least, even seen as recently as Wolverine Max. Don't get me wrong, I am looking forward to the book but I can't help thinking its has miniseries written all over it. Prove me wrong Marvel!

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Art: Jamie McKelvie
Marvel $2.99

Matt C: This is my replacement title for Journey Into Mystery as it also features teen Loki in a central role. Of course, readers of JIM will know it’s not exactly the same character in play but with Gillen continuing to direct the God of Mischief with his pen I'd imagine much of what made JIM brilliant will carry over into this new volume of Young Avengers. Apparently this new teen team of Avengers are brought together by Loki which is a lovely nod to the original Avengers #1. McKelvie joins his former Phonogram cohort Gillen as regular artist, although it’s highly unlikely we'll see any of the team discussing the finer points of The Afghan Whigs or Kenickie (you never know though!). I'm not generally a biggest fan of teen books but this one’s got a lot more promise than most.

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