14 Feb 2013

Ten Forward: April 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 February issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in April 2013.

X-MEN #1
Writer: Brian Wood
Art: Olivier Coipel
Marvel $3.99

Stewart R: My PCG compatriots had been singing the praises of Brian Wood for quite a while - the majority of which was for Northlanders and DMZ - before I finally picked up some of his work last year in the form of The Massive. Even after I dropped the last iteration of the X-Men title with Victor Gischler’s departure, those same fans jumped on board as soon as Wood’s name was mentioned and seemed to love every minute of his mutant musings. Well, now I’ve grown to appreciate his writing style and come April will be very interested to see what he does with this relaunched title (Okay, ENOUGH now Marvel!!) which is set to focus on an all-female team of, well, I guess  X-Women! From what information has been released so far it looks like Wood is going to be aiming big with this title; alien invasion and the threat of planet wide extinction turning up on the agenda, and I can think of no better artist to capture such sights as Olivier Coipel. Quite easily one of my favourite pencillers in the industry today, Coipel brings to each book a terrific sense of scale and detail that is hard to match and I’m expecting his best from this series!

Writer: Steve Niles
Art: Tony Harris
Image $2.99

James R: Sometimes the ingredients alone are enough to sell me on a project - and that's certainly the case with this title. Steve Niles has taken a whole slew of ideas he had for other company's supernatural characters and weaved them into his own creation, featuring 1920s Chicago gangsters and demons combined in a tale of mysticism and violence. The cherry on the cake? This is illustrated by the great Tony Harris. As a fan of Fatale, and Turf to a lesser extent, I think when a genre mash-up is handled well it makes for a great comic, and I've got high hopes that the talent involved here will deliver.

Writer: Jason M. Burns
Art: Amy Mebberson

Ape Entertainment $3.99

Andy H: Sunny day, sweepin' the clouds away. On my way to where the air is sweet. Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street? That's bound to get a few smiles from the generations who were lucky enough to grow up watching Sesame Street when it was still being shown in the UK. There was definitely a magic to that show. Bright colours, fun songs and Muppets! And possibly, without even realising it at the time, we were learning. Ah, glorious days. Now Ape Entertainment brings the gang to comics. Issue #1 features the little red fella himself, Elmo, as he decides to become a superhero! But Elmo has no super powers so Super Grover must teach Elmo that the greatest power of all is imagination. Brilliant! This just reminds me of how the show would put across some simple ideas with such flair you couldn't help feeling good. The first issues ships with five interlocking covers featuring Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Bert & Ernie and the Count amongst others. This should appeal to kids young and old and keep you humming the theme tune all day (you can thank me for that later).

Writer: Rob Williams
Art: Jack Herbert
Dynamite Entertainment $3.99

Simon M: In April, Dynamite are bringing back yet another pulp character, this time round it‘s Miss Fury. Originally called Black Fury and created in the 1940s she used to appear in the Sunday papers until the strip was picked up by Timely Comics. Over time her name changed to Miss Fury and her strip ran until 1952. Miss Fury had no super powers and donned a skintight catsuit while foiling dastardly, fiendish plots. Dynamite are bringing this heroine to the modern day: while stopping another evil wartime caper by Nazi secret agents, Miss Fury is catapulted into the future. Part of the premise is whether the time travel is actually happening or is she going mad and it's all in her mind. Rob Williams is quoted as saying "It's the kick-ass action of La Femme Nikita meets the political intrigue of Homeland". Dynamite have a decent record with these characters from the past (notably Lone Ranger, Zorro and Tarzan), so it's always worth giving a try if that's inside your bailiwick.

Writer: John Martz
Art: John Martz
Nobrow $15.95

Matt C: Really slim pickings for new stuff in April as far as I'm concerned so I'm left literally judging a book by its cover and selecting this as one of my choices based purely on the cover alone. I've not been able to locate a great deal of additional information about it but maybe if I keep my ear to the ground I'll discover more as the release date closes in. Here's the blurb anyway: "Sam is the grandson of a world-renowned space adventurer. Marvelled by his ailing grandfather's stories of interstellar travel and alien romance, he models his life after these tales - even though they may be untrue. So focussed is Sam on fulfilling what he thinks is his natural destiny in life that he becomes blind to his own reality." When coupled with a cover that suggests retro sc-if hi-jinx then what the hell, let's give it a shot!

Writer: Steve Horton
Art: Michael Dialynas
Dark Horse $3.50

Stewart R: Dark Horse are a publisher who have been on the move, in a positive way, when it comes to my pull-list in the past year. The Massive is now a permanent fixture as I’m sure Star Wars will be shortly, and Orchid was a great fantasy series. With Orchid now finished there is a little room for another title on the list with a strong female character and a strange, otherworldly setting, and I’ve a feeling Amala’s Blade could fill the position nicely. The kingdom of Naamaron is divided into two warring factions: the low-tech Purifiers and the high-tech Modifiers. That’s a great start right there as I do enjoy seeing how writers draw up the battle lines in such comic books, and the story will focus on the titular Amala, the top assassin within the kingdom, who has kept the factions under control with fear, but now finds herself sent on a suicide mission! I’m expecting large amounts of carnage and probably more than a few double-crosses along the way!

Writer: Mark Millar
Art: Frank Quitely
Image $2.99

James R: Despite the fact that I think the last time Mark Millar turned in a good comic script was in the halcyon days of The Ultimates and Chosen, this was a title that screamed MUST READ at me. Millar has teamed up with Frank Quietly for the first time since The Authority to portray a new world, one inhabited by the children of legendary superheroes failing to live up to the standards that their parents have set. Millar describes this as "Lord Of The Rings/Star Wars in scope" and whereas I've learnt to take his announcements with a whole bag of salt, there's no denying the preview pages look beautiful and the premise is an intriguing one. A definite add to the pull-list for April, and another potential hit for Image.

Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Simone Bianchi
Marvel $3.99

Matt C: So there was supposed to be an origin miniseries entitled Thanos: Son Of Titan out last year written by Joe Keatinge with art from Richard Elson. Then it was mysteriously cancelled. The most obvious theory of why this occurred is that Marvel saw the reaction to the Mad God's cameo at the end of The Avengers, figured that they needed to milk the character fully and to do this they’d require A-listers rather than up-and-comers to do him justice. So now we have a new origin mini, written by Aaron, drawn by Bianchi, and likely to get a far greater marketing push than the other one. We'll never know how that other series may have turned out, but this one's got a solid creative team, and as Marvel like to get unknown origins on the page before the cinematic equivalents get there first, I guess they're a safer bet than most.

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Art: Caanan White
Avatar Press $3.99

Simon M: Kieron Gillen has been producing some very high quality work over the last couple of years, particularly his recent run on Journey Into Mystery for Marvel. As a consequence I'm more than willing to give any new offering he has out a try. This time around he has a new ongoing monthly title via Avatar Press called Über starting with a double-sized issue in April. Über is set in 1945 with the German war machine in ruins. The end appears to be near for the Nazi regime, but there have been nagging rumours of Wunderwaffe (Wonder-Weapon) being readied for unleashing. What has the Third Reich come up with to save themselves? Super-beings! This then prompts a superhero arms race between them and the allies. As this is an Avatar book I'm sure this will be violent and give no quarter. I will admit I'm not too familiar with Canaan White, but the preview art I've seen looks solid and very typical of the style usually seen in the offerings by Avatar.

Writer: Paul Ens
Art: J. Koran
Red 5 Comics $3.50

Stewart R: Okay, I’ll admit, this was really a case of going by the cover in the first instance as something about J. Korim’s artwork really grabbed me whilst leafing through Previews (and how nice it is to see an interior artist provide the cover as well in this day and age!). That said, the premise is starting to appeal to me more and more as the idea of humans living alongside dinosaurs is a sci-fi/fantasy area that’s occasionally been visited with success through various forms of media. The Cadillacs And Dinosaurs cartoon series of the 1990s was a highpoint that I remember fondly, and while Neozoic appears to go down the more feudal, fantasy route I’m eager to see how Paul Ens tackles a world where mankind is not necessarily on top of the food chain. I appreciate that there has been work in the Neozoic series before, but a four part miniseries has got to be a good jumping on point.

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