14 Mar 2013

Ten Forward: May 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 March issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in May 2013.

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA #1
Writer: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Art: Cezar Razek
Dynamite Entertainment $3.99

Andy H: There's no denying the reworking of Battlestar Galactica a few years back was a massive success. Political intrigue, who was a Cylon and a fantastic cast (ya gotta love Edward James Olmos). For all that though, I still love the original BSG. Give me Starbuck and Apollo blasting away at the big old Cylon centurions any day. Simple, escapist, sci-fi fun. So, seeing the Alex Ross cover got me nostalgic for the 'good old days'. Check it out: Adama, Athena, Apollo, Starbuck, Cylons and Vipers. Sends shivers down my spine. With arguably the finest writers of cosmic tales in comics today, Abnett and Lanning are, hopefully, the natural choice to continue the BSG legacy. Will Starbuck smoke endless cigars? Will Boxey and his daggit appear? What about Boomer? We may have to wait and see as the first storyline finds our two favourite colonial warriors trapped in an alternate reality after unleashing an experimental temporal weapon during the latest Cylon onslaught! Are we really celebrating the 35th anniversary of this classic show? Frak! Where did the time go?!

EDGAR ALLAN POE'S THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER #1
Writer: Richard Corben
Art: Richard Corben
Dark Horse $3.99

Rob N: Picking up a miniseries can be something of a gamble and I've bought my fair share of turkeys from relying on solicitations in Previews that sounded good at the time. One of the comics that delivered far more than I reasonably expected though was Ragemoor, Richard Corben's mash-up of Gormenghast and Lovecraft, two sub genres I've loved since discovering them as a teenager. Corben it seems is born to draw twisted Victorian Gothic mansions and their decadent inbred inhabitants, so the promise of this adaptation of the Fall Of The House Of Usher is pretty much a guaranteed sell as far as I'm concerned. I have no doubt at all that it will be nothing short of spectacular.

NUMBERCRUNCHER #1
Writer: Simon Spurrier
Art: P.J. Holden
Titan Comics $3.99

Stewart R: Simon Spurrier has been lighting up my pull-list over the space of the past couple of years and he just seems to get busier and busier as the months go on. Now he’s teaming up with artist P.J. Holden to bring us a strange tale of love, rule-breaking and the manipulation of reincarnation via the medium of mathematics! The story revolves around a love-sick man who uses the arithmetic of the universe to cheat the system and reincarnate himself within the lifetime of the woman he loves. Out to prevent this injustice is Bastard Zane who must ensure that this law-breaking doesn’t go unpunished. It all sounds delightfully madcap and I personally think that Spurrier is at his finest when dealing with the comedic elements of his writings. The preview art also has me reminiscing a tiny amount about Ba and Moon’s work on Casanova and that is certainly no bad comparison at all!

TEN GRAND #1
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Art: Ben Templesmith
Image $2.99

Matt C: J.Michael Straczynski resuscitates his Joe’s Comics imprint for 2013, and Ten Grand is the first book out of the gates. It’s one of those ‘one last job’ tales: here the mob enforcer protagonist who wants to settle down with his girl heads out to whack a guy who, it transpires, has a penchant for demonology. Things naturally don’t go to plan, and true love is potentially thwarted… or is it? It doesn’t sound like the most original idea in the world, but there are two things in its favour. First, Ben Templesmith is on art duties, and if you want to maximise your creepy, horror vibe there are not many other guys around who can match him. Second, Straczynski arguably produces his best work with creator-owned projects (see the likes of Midnight Nation and Rising Stars), so that definitely bodes well for this. On the down side, both Staczynski and Templesmith have been known to get side-tracked in the past, which has caused delays to what they’ve been working on (I’ve not been able to ascertain whether this is intended as a mini or ongoing, so potentially it’s all in the can already). Hopefully that doesn’t happen here, and hopefully the second coming of Joe’s Comics will deliver.

12 REASONS TO DIE #1
Writer: Ghostface Killah & Various
Art: Breno Tamura & Various
Black Mask Comics $3.50

James R: The other day, in my alter-ego as a teacher, I was asked by some of my charges what music I liked. The talk came on to hip-hop, and they asked me if I liked Kanye West. "Ahh, he's ok," I mused, "but he's no Wu-Tang Clan!" My students looked at me. "Who are the Wu-Tang Clan, sir?" they asked. Reader, I wept inside a little, as I can't believe the youth of today are so naive to the work of my favourite hip-hop act ever! You can imagine my excitement then, on learning that the Wu-Tang's talismanic Ghostface Killah has put his name (and allegedly contributed story) to a predictably chop-socky packed comic called 12 Reasons To Die. GFK certainly has some love for the comics world - his hip-hop alias is Tony Starks in a clear nod to Iron Man (and he was cruelly cut from the first Iron Man movie!) I very much doubt this will be the next Watchmen, but a comic from my hip-hop heroes? Word is born, son!

THE DREAM MERCHANT #1
Writer: Nathan Edmondson
Art: Konstantin Novosadov
Image $3.50

Stewart R: Nathan Edmondson is quite possibly the most prolific writer at Image presently having recently completed his series Dancer as well as having The Activity and Where Is Jake Ellis? on the shelves. It looks like he’s not stopping there either as May will see the release of his newest miniseries, Dream Merchant, which will focus on a troubled young man with a recurring dream that is becoming stronger and stronger. The dream affects his waking life with him not being able to concentrate and relate to people and I’m interested to see how his journey unfolds and how the reader will be able to relate to him. There’s not a great deal of information to go on so far - and I quite like the mystery to be honest - but early snippets from Edmondson suggest that he’s been looking into the ‘science, philosophy and theology’ behind dreams and having seen the research he’s put into a series like The Activity I’m confident that he’ll bring us a fine story, and possibly one that could be one of Image’s finest series of 2013.

THE REASON FOR DRAGONS HC
Writer: Chris Northrop
Art: Jeff Stokely
Archaia $19.95

Matt C: The thing with Archaia these days is that they’re releasing far more original graphic novels than they are comic books. That’s certainly not a practice I frown upon, but it does increase the risk of investing in something that you may not end up liking. I’m taking a punt on this one though as it looks like it may well appeal to my sensibilities. A coming of age tale featuring an alienated teen hooking up with a possible nutjob who believes himself to be a medieval knight and informs the youngster that the recent burning down of the local fairground was caused by dragons. I like the look of the art, the preview panels reminding me a bit of Sean Murphy, which is ironic since Murphy actually provides the foreword to the book. I just need enough reasons to fork out $20 for an otherwise unknown quantity, and I think I’ve found plenty here.

THE WAKE #1
Writer: Scott Snyder
Art: Sean Murphy
DC/Vertigo $2.99

James R: If ever the omens looked good for a comic, it's this one. Take Batman's resident writing top dog Scott Snyder and reunite him with the blistering talent of Sean Murphy (most recently of Punk Rock Jesus renown) for a new Vertigo horror series, and you've got a solid gold win on your hands. The two men previously worked together on the superb American Vampire miniseries Survival Of The Fittest (a big favourite of the PCG) and I can't see that this series - set in a secret sub-artic research station, where a terrifying discovery has been made - will be anything less than superb. It immediately makes me think of John Carpenter's iconic remake The Thing, and in lesser hands I might worry that this would be a cheap retelling of that story, but with Snyder you know that's not going to be the case! It's great to see Vertigo kicking back into gear after a fallow year, and this is hands-down my most anticipated book of the month!

SUICIDE RISK#1
Writer: Mike Carey
Art: Elena Casagrande
BOOM! Studios $3.99

Rob N: Offhand, I can't think of a single Mike Carey series I've disliked, though I'm far from familiar with his mainstream superhero work at Marvel, so any announcement of a new creator-owned series from him attracts my attention. Suicide Risk sees him dabbling with the 'superheroes in the real world' concept, which was a mainstay of the post Alan Moore wave in the mid ‘80s. It also seems to read as a rather more serious version of Powers, seen as it is through the eyes of a police officer trying to cope with a world that is suddenly experiencing out of control super-powered people for the first time. It's been a long time since I bought a BOOM! comic book, but this sounds good enough to tempt me back.

SILENCE & CO. GN
Writer: Gur Benshemesh
Art: Ron Randal
Crystal Productions $9.99

Matt C: Okay, so I’ll admit that the first thing that brought this title to my attention was the combination of “crime”, “$9.99” and “176 pages”. Of course it shouldn’t be about placing quantity and value for money over creativity and ingenuity, but sometimes you can’t help but respond to the former factors in the first instance. And I’m sure you’ll agree that ten bucks for an 176 page original graphic novel is a pretty good deal. But I’d be fool not to investigate further, and a having seen some of the preview pages from the book, I know this is something that I need to check out. Have a look yourself and you may well feel the same.

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