16 May 2013

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

SATELLITE SAM #1
Writer: Matt Fraction
Art: Howard Chaykin
Image $3.50

James R: This is one of those titles where every element combines to promise something spectacular: Matt Fraction, (currently writing the best superhero book on the stands with Hawkeye), legendary artist Howard Chaykin, and a detective story set in the ‘50s? Ker-ching! The story sees the son of the titular TV star trying to solve his father's mysterious murder in New York. What's not to like here?! Once again, it looks like Image is the place to go for innovative new titles.

GAMMA
Writer: Ulises Farinas & Erick Freitas
Art: Ulises Farinas
Dark Horse $2.99

Stewart R: Sometimes, when perusing the monthly edition of Previews, we as a group do struggle to find ten titles that catch the eye or stir something within our imaginations. Letting you in on a little secret, this was very nearly one of those months! And then, by sheer happenstance, Matt C turned back to a page in the Dark Horse section and I spotted something I’d missed the first time through. A quirky, cartoony cover involving a plethora of strange creatures and a single word: ‘Gamma’. The description - the former best monster trainer in the world failed the planet with his cowardice and now lets people punch him in the face for money - sounds like a hoot and Dark Horse have been adding more weight to my pull-list in recent years with some quality new properties. This is also only a one shot at $2.99 so I will definitely be picking this up.

HAWKEYE ANNUAL #1
Writer: Matt Fraction
Art: Javier Pulido
Marvel $4.99

Matt C: An opportunity presents itself to once again highlight the brilliance of Hawkeye? That is an opportunity that must be taken! Hawkeye has proven itself in a relatively short space of time to be an absolute breath of fresh air in superhero comics, providing issue after issue of hip, smart, witty comic book adventuring that regularly overshadows much of the more high profile Marvel NOW! output (let’s not forget that Marvel didn’t include the book under that banner). But it’s not all about Clint Barton, there’s another Hawkeye who’s just as essential to the unfolding plotlines: Young Avenger, Kate Bishop. This annual is devoted to her, and if you’ve been reading Hawkeye thus far this is a must-buy no-brainer. If not? There’s a copy of the recently released trade paperback with your name on it! Make it so!

THE STRANGERS #2
Writer: Chris Roberson
Art: Scott Kowalchuk
Oni Press $3.99

Stewart R: As with years previous, Oni Press did a fine job with their Free Comic Book Day efforts for 2013 with Strangers #1. July sees the release of issue #2 and I will most certainly be picking it up and paying for it (if you’re unable to track down a free copy of #1 from your local store, Oni are releasing a $2.99 version of it at the same time). The slightly ‘60s psychedelic vibe to the spy/super team dynamic is really appealing and while I’m still not sure whether the premise is being played tongue-in-cheek or simply straightforward in a nod to comics of the period, I’m certainly keen to invest further and seek some truth on that matter.

RED SONJA #1
Writer: Gail Simone
Art: Walter Geovani
Dynamite Entertainment $3.99

Andy H: It's been said that Dynamite Entertainment are the kings of overkill. The minute they produce a title that even hints at being a hit they'll swamp the market with a ton of spin-offs. Then they will disappear. One of their longest running titles, Red Sonja, has suffered from this in the past but she still hangs on in there. It's been a bumpy ride, with a fair few highs and lows (don't get me started on the vampire thing!) but the latest take on the she-devil with a sword could be the best yet. If you want a writer to give you a strong female lead you can't do much better than Gail Simone. With a great track record she has instantly piqued my interest in a character that has fallen from my pull-list. I think she can really breathe some fresh life into Sonja, continuing her adventurous lifestyle but adding elements of humour and depth we may have been lacking recently. I still have issues with Dynamite's variant cover policy (there's that overkill again) but issue one does boast some fine covers. Damn you, Dynamite... damn you!!

THE UNWRITTEN: TOMMY TAYLOR AND THE SHIP THAT SANK TWICE HC
Writer: Mike Carey
Art: Peter Gross, Kurt Huggins & Zelda Devon
DC/Vertigo $22.99

Matt C: I don’t imagine I’m alone in thinking The Unwritten has lost its way during the last year. It’s still one of the smartest books on the stands, but it has felt like it’s wandered off course recently. The last couple of issues have suggested things are getting back on track again, and really when considering some of the high points since the series' debut, there’s no way in hell I’d ever give up on it, and if Carey has been inspired enough to craft an original graphic novel to serve as a prequel of sorts, who am I to pass it up? I thoroughly enjoyed the ‘point five’ issues we had a while back, exploring the wider world of The Unwritten, and as this looks like it might be in a similar vein then it’s one to add to the shopping list.

MONSTER ON THE HILL GN
Writer: Rob Harrell
Art: Rob Harrell
Top Shelf $19.95

Stewart R: Haha, what a terrific premise! In fantastical Victorian England every town is terrorised by their very own monster... which is a source of immense pride for all of the townsfolk! The town of Stoker-on-Avon however, has a monster that is ‘down in the dumps’, and is a constant source of disappointment. The melancholic Rayburn has to try and transform himself into the kind of monster that the locals can be proud and scared of before a greater threat turns up and reduces the local area to ashes. This sounds like a delightful underdog story and I love the idea of people supporting a local monster in the same way they might a football team. The preview art that I’ve seen so far looks like terrific fun and this will no doubt cause some smiles and laughter in July!

TOM STRONG AND THE PLANET OF PERIL #1
Writer: Peter Hogan
Art: Chris Sprouse & Karl Story
DC $2.99

James R: As a huge Alan Moore fan, I’ve always loved Tom Strong, a character that was an amalgamation of Doc Savage and Reed Richards, serving up the closest thing to a conventional ‘superhero’ book from Northampton’s legendary scribe. I even loved the spin-off Terra Obscura titles! As a result, it’s no surprise that I'll be picking up this latest series - illustrated by co-creator Chris Sprouse and penned by Moore collaborator Peter Hogan, it promises a return to Terra Obscura and finds our hero rendered powerless. It's not Moore, but as an America's Best Comics junkie, I'm delighted for this quick fix!

GENIUS GN
Writer: Steven T. Seagle
Art: Teddy H. Kristiansen
:01 First Second $17.99

James R: I do love a great OGN; off the top off my head, apart from the genius work of Chris Ware, over the last few years, I've marvelled at Lemire's The Underwater Welder and Mazzucchelli's Asterios Polyp as fine examples of what a stand-alone tome can accomplish. Looking at the listing for Genius, I'm hoping for some similar magic from Steven T. Seagle and Teddy Kristiansen. It’s the story of an ethical struggle, as a theoretical physicist has the opportunity to steal one of Einstein's ideas. The art alone looks beautiful, and I'm going to give this one a try. If it's as good as it looks, I'll deliver a review pronto!

SHELTERED #1
Writer: Ed Brisson
Art: Johnnie Christmas
Image $2.99

Matt C: Apparently this is being described as a ‘pre-apocalyptic’ tale, whatever that means. Surely we’re always in pre-apocalyptic state, aren’t we? Anway, this has something to do with a community always prepared for the worst eventuality, but expecting it to come externally, not from within, in this case the children of said community. Not a premise that immediately screams out as being essential, but that’s not the thing that grabbed by attention. Ed Brisson was the writer behind the recent Image mini Comeback, which handled criminalized time-travelling activities in an inventive and entertaining manner, giving me the impression he’s a guy with some interesting ideas to offer up. As Sheltered appears to be the next one on his list, I’m all for seeing what else he can do.

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