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 which includes comics scheduled to ship in June 2013.
Writer: Scott Snyder
Art: Jim Lee & Scott Williams
James R: Apparently there’s some sort of ‘film’ about this minor DC character being released in the summer… ah, who am I kidding?! Without a doubt, this is DC’s Great Hope for 2013. With Man Of Steel set to make a big impact at the box office, this new series looks to push Superman back to the pinnacle of DC’s heroes. After a frankly underwhelming 18 months for both Superman and Action Comics, all eyes are on Scott Snyder to produce a great Superman book. As a character, Superman seems volatile for a writer – good Superman stories tend to be brilliant (All-Star Superman and Red Son spring immediately to mind) but bad stories tend to be awful (J. Michael Straczynski’s ‘Grounded’, I’m looking at you!). Snyder has A-grade assistance in the form of Jim Lee, and I can’t wait to see how this one turns out.
Writer: Paul Jenkins
Art: Stellar Labs
Titan Comics $3.99
Stewart R: It’s true that these days many of us are following writers and artists in their endeavours perhaps a little more than we are following specific titles and characters. That’s certainly been the increasing case for me over the past few years and TomorrowLand is an example of me picking up something new, something I may not have looked at before had it not been for the writing involvement of Paul Jenkins. I’ve enjoyed his work on Spectacular Spider-Man and am really enjoying what he’s doing on Deathmatch, so this story of the TomorrowLand music festival, where two DJS begin an adventure to save the very spark of creativity itself, will find itself on my June pull-list. The preview art shows quite a colourful fantasy feel to this Titan published comic and where I wouldn’t have necessarily picked this up some time ago, I’m intrigued to see what Jenkins can deliver with his tale of two worlds - the one we see, and the one we feel - and some very interesting themes about creation and destruction.
Writer: Gerard Way & Shaun Simon
Art: Becky Cloonan
Dark Horse $3.99
Rob N: A bumper crop for me this month, compared to some months when I agonise through the pages of Previews, despairing at how many there are full of juvenile tosh. I could easily have picked up to six new titles this time around, which is something of a first since Ten Forward began. First up then is the immaculate and inspiring art work of Becky Cloonan, a woman for whom my cup runneth over with praise. She is one of a small number of artists who could illustrate a telephone directory and I'd probably buy it, so news of a new mainstream title with the added cherry on top of scripts by Gerard Way (he's apparently in a pop band, but I only know of him through his comics work) is good news indeed. Available, by the way, as a sampler on Free Comic Book Day.
AMERICAN VAMPIRE: THE LONG ROAD TO HELL #1
Writer: Scott Snyder & Rafael Albuquerque
Art: Rafael Albuquerque
James R: While American Vampire is on hiatus, it’s great to see Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque satisfying our bloodlust with this one-shot focusing on one of the series’ best characters – the teenage rebel and vampire hunter, Travis Kidd, as he attempts to track down a vampiric couple. I love the fact that rather than string this out as a miniseries, DC have gone for a one-shot – a pricier book at $6.99, but at 64 pages, that’s a whole lot of undead hi-jinx in one book! A tasty morsel to keep us going until American Vampire returns properly later in the year.
Writer: Mike Raicht & Austin Harrison
Art: Zachary Howard
Matt C: This was the project that finally made me realise I needed to get on board with the whole Kickstarter thing. Nope, I did actually pledge any money towards getting Wild Blue Yonder off the ground; I kind of became aware of it just after it had been fully funded, wished I’d been involved, and vowed not to make the same mistake again! It’s a pulp-inspired take on a post-apocalyptic future (there’s a lot of them about these days!), it's co-written by Mike Raicht of Stuff Of Legend fame, and the art looks suitably epic, so there are already lots of plusses in its favour, and while I may not have been able to support it with my hard earned cash at the Kickstarter stage, I’m not going to miss out now it’s on general release!
Writer: Greg Rucka
Art: Michael Lark
Rob N: Playing again to my favourites, any new series by Greg Rucka is worthy of a Ten Forward pick. This is a writer who actually prompted me to buy a Punisher book and enjoy it, which is nothing short of a miracle really. This time around he is paired up with Michael Lark (another artist I'd pretty much buy anything by) for a dystopian near-future tale that seems to reflect the current world financial crisis. With the decline in quality of traditional Marvel and DC output, I find myself turning more and more to these standalone Image and Dark Horse titles, which curiously is also what the ex-Marvel and DC creators seem to be doing in order to retain any form of artistic integrity.
Writers: Joe Hill & Jason Ciaramella
Art: Vic Malhotra
Simon M: I have enjoyed everything Joe Hill has brought out to date, so it was a no-brainer when I saw in Previews that a new book of his is out in June. He is collaborating with Ciaramella again (they worked on The Cape together) to bring his deeply disturbing novella to the sequential art medium. This three-part tale focuses on Private Mallory Grennan who was dishonourably discharged from the army having been deployed to Iraq and worked in the Abu Ghraib prison. Upon returning home to the States, Mal hopes for a new start and to put the horrors she witnessed and committed behind her. Unsurprisingly, she is not able to outrun her past. Ciarmaella described the problems he had in adapting this work from Hill, "Not because the prose was particularly difficult to adapt, but because the themes the story explores are haunting, and deeply disturbing. I had to step out of myself in order to capture the true horror of it without letting my personal agendas seep in." Malhotra is new on the scene and I've not had a chance to see much of his work, but Hill talks highly of him saying he "draws with a severe grace, and brings to mind the work Mazzucchelli was doing in Batman: Year One". So, if you like a bit of horror in your comics, this should be worth a shot.
Writer: Matt Hawkins
Art: Stjepan Sejic
Image/Top Cow $2.99
Matt C: Okay, this is an issue #2 not a #1, so it may seem strange that I'm flagging a series that has already commenced, but as the debut issue is being released on Free Comic Book Day I think we can still class this as a ‘new’, with this being the first issue you can actually buy with money. I actually have no knowledge of this character or any previous series featuring her; the main draw for me here is writer Matt Hawkins due to his fantastic work on Think Tank. Obviously this is leaning more heavily on fantasy than reality, but Hawkins has impressed me enough that I want to see what he can do in a different genre. As the first issue is free I'd say make it your mission to grab a copy on FCBD.
Writer: Simon Spurrier
Art: Jeff Stokely
BOOM! Studios $3.99
Stewart R: The comic book Western appears to be making real inroads into my pull-list these days with the likes of Sixth Gun, East Of West and Crawling Sky now regular features, and I’ll certainly say that I’ve not had my fill of the genre just yet! Enter stage left the intriguing Six-Gun Gorilla then from BOOM! Studios, the mind of Si Spurrier and the hand of Jeff Stokely. Instead of ‘the Old West’, this tale will be set in a bizarre otherworld universe where humankind has colonized a planet rich in resources and set in motion a new frontier rush. Involved in this rush just happens to be a gunslinging silverback gorilla and knowing Spurrier’s keen mind for sharp humour and exciting, intelligent action I’d say that the ingredients for this one are looking incredibly promising indeed.
100 BULLETS: BROTHER LONO #1
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Art: Eduardo Risso
James R: Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso’s 100 Bullets set a brilliant standard during its long run at Vertigo. Despite the fact that the finale didn’t quite deliver the goods, the series as a whole was always a must-read for me. After a hiatus which saw the creative team produce the undervalued Spaceman mini, it’s good to see them going back to the series that made them great, with a comic highlighting the adventures of the series’ most loveable rogues, Lono. Seemingly unkillable, Lono has somehow escaped the carnage of the final issue of 100 Bullets and it looks like it’s business as usual for mob enforcer with the questionable fashion taste. They always say ‘Never go back’, but hopefully Azzarello and Risso can prove the exception to the rule with this series.