12 Sep 2013

Ten Forward: November 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 September issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in November 2013.

BLACK SCIENCE #1
Writer: Rick Remender
Art: Matteo Scalera & Dean White
Image $3.50

Stewart R: The phrase ‘superstar lineup’ is bandied around quite bit these days thanks to the generally positive health of the creative talent pool currently working in the comics industry. It is, however, often left for the Big Two to either employ this phrase themselves, or for the media to apply it to projects by those publishers when they put a team together of hand-rubbingly good potential. Well, I believe Image have a title here where the phrase definitely fits as you won’t find a finer dark comic book science fiction writer than Rick Remender, an artist more capable of translating the writer’s script into realms and worlds of the terrifying and unbelievable than Matteo Scalera, and a colourist who’s palettes caress the eye and warp the mind quite like Dean White. This looks set to be an ongoing science fiction tale - Remender apparently has two years already planned out - of scientists breaking through the boundaries between dimensions and finding chaos and horror rather than truth and enlightenment, and I have a slight suspicion that we could be talking about this in a year’s time with knowing nods towards the Paradoscars…

AMAZING X-MEN #1
Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Ed McGuinness
Marvel $3.99

James R: Having dumped Bendis' Uncanny X-Men I'm pleased that there's a new title to fill the void, and it's one from - for my money - the current best X-book scribe, Jason Aaron. He's describing this one as 'a monthly X-Men event book' as opposed to the more character-driven Wolverine & The X-Men. He's also bringing back fan-favourite Nightcrawler for good measure, and promising grand adventures all over the Marvel Universe. With Ed McGuinness on pencils, this could be a great sister title to Aaron's school-based adventures in W&TXM. It could potentially be a stretch too far for my wallet, but as always with fandom the combination of a great writer and a debut issue will certainly be too much to ignore!

UMBRAL #1
Writer: Antony Johnston
Art: Christopher Mitten
Image $2.99

Matt C: So I never got around to Wasteland, the post-apocalyptic series from Oni Press by Antony Johnston and Christopher Mitten, even though the reviews I saw in places were generally glowing. I felt like I’d missed the boat and it became harder to get on board the further it went along on its journey, so it’s now one of those books that I intend to read ‘one day’ (whenever that may be). I won’t be caught out twice which is why I’m determined to get in on the ground level from Umbral. It’s pitched as a dark fantasy, so I’m expecting a Lord Of The Rings/Game Of Thrones kind of vibe, although I could be way of base so don’t quote me on that! However it turns out, after feeling like I’ve missed out on what these guys can do together I’m fairly stoked to see what they have to offer come November.

LOST AT SEA HARDCOVER
Writer: Bryan Lee O'Malley
Art: Bryan Lee O'Malley
Oni Press $24.99

Kenny J: If like me you have read Scott Pilgrim, watched the film, played the video game and reread the coloured version of the comic, you will be looking for something new from the pen and pencil of Bryan Lee O'Malley. With his next project Seconds still some way off, why not turn to something a little older, ten years older to be exact, with Oni-Press' 10th anniversary edition of the Canadian creator's first full-length graphic novel. Picking up with three classmates, 18-year old Raleigh leaves her father and Internet boyfriend in California, embarking on a mission home to Vancouver to reclaim her soul from an unsuspecting cat. Among the explosion of monthly superhero comics it is often nice to have something a little introspective to read but with O'Malley's trademark Western manga-stylings and eye for pop culture, Lost At Sea is bound to be less than quiet.

HARLEY QUINN #0
Writer: Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti
Art: Various
DC $2.99

James R: Even though it pains me to say it, it does look as if the DCU is in something of a creative flat spin at the moment, and this is getting a nod due to it being a very thin month for new releases. That said, there’s the sheer level of creative talent involved - the brilliant Amanda Conner and Darwyn Cooke could be illustrating a DIY equipment catalogue and I'd take a look! Being a big fan of the seminal Batman: The Animated Series, I'll always give the character of Harley Quinn the benefit of the doubt too, and here's hoping this marks a turn away from the steady and gratuitous disrobing of Harleen Quinzel in the DCU!

DRUMHELLAR #1
Writer: Alex Link
Art: Riley Rossmo
Image $3.50

Stewart R: I will admit that I didn’t get on with Link and Rossmo’s previous collaboration, Rebel Blood, back in 2012, finding it to be too confusing thanks to apparent attempts to have the reader experience some of the protagonist’s fear and see things from his warped perspective while actual crazy stuff also happened in the ‘real world’. That experience however won’t prevent me from giving these guys a second go with their next effort, Drumhellar. This new Image (where else?) series will follow a paranormal investigator as he suffers from visions that lead him to South Dakota where he faces off against bog-men, werewolves, his ex-girlfriend and potentially much worse. It sounds like an entertaining enough prospect on paper and if nothing else it’ll be good to see Rossmo’s style evolve once more as it seems to change with every project he works on.

WRAITH: WELCOME TO CHRISTMASLAND #1
Writer: Joe Hill
Art: Charles P. Wilson III
IDW $3.99

Simon M: I can honestly say it was pleasant surprise to see this being solicited in Previews. I have not long finished Hill's masterful horror novel NOS4A2 and to see that Wraith: Welcome To Christmasland is going to act as a prequel to that story is great news. NOS4A2 introduces us to a nasty character called Charlie Talent Manx III. Manx would drive around in a 1938 Rolls Royce Wraith that ran on human souls and lure children to drain their energy and turn them into vile caricatures of themselves. These children would then be taken to Christmasland, where every day is a dark and twisted version of Christmas and the children live forever. This new story focuses on some unwitting adults who find their way to Christmasland and the fun that Manx has with them. This is a standalone story so can be enjoyed by both new and old visitors to the world of Charlie Manx alike. Charles Paul Wilson III is providing the art and I have to say it's a sublime choice! His work on Stuff Of Legend (the best book you're not reading) is amazing and a perfect fit for this tale. Hill has consistently shown that his stories translate well in the sequential art format and this looks to be no different.

PAINKILLER JANE: THE PRICE OF FREEDOM #1
Writer: Jimmy Palmiotti
Art: Juan Santacruz & Sam Lofti
Marvel/Icon $3.99

Andy H: Painkiller Jane is back and this time she may have found the right publisher to tell her stories. Jane was created by series writer Jimmy Palmiotti and some chap called Joe Quesada (whatever happened to him?) for Event Comics, who also created 22 Brides and Ash, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed. That was back in the late ‘90s. She briefly returned to comics with Dynamite Entertainment but Marvel's Icon imprint feels like a perfect fit for her. Basically she's a vigilante with a healing factor, easy for comparisons to be drawn, but don't let that stop you checking this out. Jane is a great character with a good supporting cast. This miniseries finds our girl protecting an Arabian princess visiting New York. Also in this issue is a 10-page retelling of Jane's origin so you can jump straight into the action.

ALEX + ADA #1
Writers: Jonathan Luna & Sarah Vaughan
Art: Jonathan Luna
Image $2.99

Kenny J: When I first heard the premise of this new 12-issue miniseries from the Luna stable it immediately reminded me of Chobits, a manga written and drawn by Clamp in 2001. As the Japanese word Seinen suggests, this was aimed squarely at young males so I’m excited to see Jonathan Luna, sans his brother Joshua, tackle the same subjects of gender, robotics and our relationship with technology in a more mature manner. With previous Luna Brothers fare dealing with various genre tropes in a world slightly offset from ours, Alex + Ada could be considered their first foray into the realm of science fiction. Although Jonathan has lost a brother for this project he has picked up fellow artist Sarah Vaughn to help him write it, so it remains to be seen if this is a new direction for the siblings or more of the same. Either way this is bound to be another interesting and beautiful comic from Image.

MANIFEST DESTINY #1
Writer: Chris Dingess
Art: Matthew Roberts & Owen Gieni
Image $2.99

Matt C: I remember there was a sci-fi comic named Manifest Destiny around a decade ago, and I remember not being particularly impressed by it, so second time lucky. Okay, so that’s a rather tenuous link, and to be honest there wasn’t much that sprang out of Previews this month, so this particular Manifest Destiny was selected purely to make up ten titles for this feature. But hey, I’m kind of intrigued all the same. This is a fictionalized account of Lewis and Clark’s famous expedition of discovery across America with added fantastical elements in the form of monsters and other strange creatures. I have a lot of time for alternate histories, whether they’re outlandish or strive for realism, and at $2.99 this is probably worth a punt, especially considering Image’s recent track record with great new series.

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