19 Oct 2013

Ten Foward: December 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 October issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in December 2013.

RICHARD STARK'S PARKER: SLAYGROUND
Writer: Darwyn Cooke
Art: Darwyn Cooke
IDW $17.99

Rob N: I confess I didn't really take to Darwyn Cooke first time around. Back when Mr Cooke made his name with the New Frontier miniseries for DC, Matt C praised the title to the skies, but despite that I passed on it, not really taking it seriously because of the cartoon-like art. Obviously I was wrong and New Frontier is rightly acknowledged as a classic of the 21st century. I also missed out on the current run of Daredevil for similar reasons. Now of course I do 'get' Cooke's art, and I appreciate its subtleties and the way it evokes the spirit of the Silver Age of DC comics. I was vaguely aware of Richard Stark and the Parker novels when Darwyn Cooke first announced he was going to adapt some of them, but like many people I'd never actually read any of them. I still haven't in fact, though that's something I should rectify as I do have a passion for post war 'pulp' crime fiction. Each volume in the graphic series to date has been impressive, and there’s little doubt that Slayground will continue that trend. At the risk of pigeonholing the man, I'd love to see Darwyn Cooke tackle a Steed and Emma Peel Avengers tale, or perhaps a Modesty Blaise book.

THE SAVIORS #1
Writer: James Robinson
Art: J.Bone
Image $2.99

James R: Image continues their imperious reign as the home of the most innovative and progressive comics with The Saviors. Starman writer James Robinson teams with artist J. Bone to bring us a tale of alien invasion with a difference. The Earth has been invaded in familiar fashion by an alien presence that has the ability to blend in with humanity. If you've seen Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, you'll know the drill, but the difference here is that the invaders don't see themselves as conquerors, but as saviours. James Robinson promises that this is a title where no-one is safe, and that always makes for good reading. The preview art from J. Bone looks terrific and this is a definite 'Yes!' for me.

ORIGIN II #1
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Art: Adam Kubert
Marvel $4.99

Andy H: Really? It's been over TEN years since the first Wolverine Origin series? Time flies and all that. The thing that surprises me is that a Volume 2 wasn't done sooner. I remember I was very happy with that original series, great writing and fabulous art. We saw for the first time the story of the boy who would grow up to become Wolverine. This time round, James Howlett has been running with wolves but is brought crashing back to 'civilization' where he must decide: is he man or beast? There's a change of creative team with current 'hot' scribe Kieron Gillen stepping into Paul Jenkins role and we swap one Kubert for another as Adam takes on pencilling chores from brother Andy. The only question remains is who will be the colourist? Richard Isanove absolutely nailed the original series and made it stand out. I hope he returns for this one but at time of writing this I couldn't find the answer. Time will tell.

AQUAMAN #26
Writer: Jeff Parker
Art: Paul Pelletier & Sean Parsons
DC $2.99

Kenny J: When DC announced the initial line-up of it's now not-so-New 52 I saw it as the perfect opportunity to check out the underwater world of Arthur Curry. Add Geoff Johns and the art of Ivan Reis this title was probably my second favourite title of the relaunch after the land-based Animal Man. Unfortunately, with constant crossovers and the volume of top quality titles coming from other quarters the aforementioned sheen soon wore off. Enter Jeff Parker and I'm willing to give this iteration of Aquaman a second go. Parker has penned some fantastically imaginative books across the way at Marvel, notably the ragtag bunch of villains turned heroes, Thunderbolts. Hopefully he'll be able to bring his style of action set pieces peppered with character moments to the DC Universe without their well-documented problems of editorial interference. Then they may have a book on their hands that people look forward to every month and not before time.

DEAD BODY ROAD #1
Writer: Justin Jordan
Art: Matteo Scalera & Moreno Dinisio
Image $2.99

Matt C: "The men involved in his wife’s death must die. All of them." SOLD! Yeah, that’s not a particularly original pitch but I always get drawn to tales of guys hellbent on revenge, taking matters into their own hands to avenge the deaths of loved ones. The tough, grizzled art suggests a story that will delve into the dark recesses of the human psyche, and as a fan of crime fiction that sounds right up my street. Image have delivered enough hits recently that I don’t need much persuading to add something like Dead Body Run to my pull-list!

INDESTRUCTIBLE #1
Writer: Jeff Kline
Art: Javier Garron & Salvi Garcia
IDW $3.99

James R: This book gets my 'worth a punt' vote of the month. The first title from IDW imprint Darby Pop Publishing, it focuses on Greg Pincus, a man who has acquired super powers but is a way off super or heroic as a man. I've always felt that 'the reluctant hero' is a concept that has got a lot of legs - I still eulogise to all and sundry about Robert Kirkman's superb run on Irredeemable Ant-Man that covered similar ground, and I'm intrigued to see what writer Jeff Kline does with the material. It could be catastrophic, but it could also be amazing - and that remains part of the joy of comics. I'll let you know what I think come December...

DOC SAVAGE #1
Writer: Chris Roberson
Art: Bilquis Evely
Dynamite Entertainment $3.99

Simon M: This December sees Dynamite release a comic featuring perhaps the most iconic of pulp fiction characters, Doc Savage. Dynamite are no strangers to bringing back pulp heroes to the modern day audience and although some have been a bit hit or miss, most have been right on the money with interpretation and relevance. One of the most intriguing aspects of this book is that it will be written by someone who genuinely loves the character. Chris Roberson has openly discussed his love for Doc Savage and even actively encouraged the head honchos at Dynamite that, should they get the license, he was the man to write it. The first 8-issue arc will start with Doc in 1933 and then follow him through to the modern day and give us a hero who pushes himself towards physical and mental perfection, who never lies and never kills, travelling the world in an endless pursuit of knowledge and justice. Roberson has written for Vertigo, BOOM! and IDW and I really enjoyed his miniseries Memorial (IDW), so I am very interested to see what he does here. Bilquis Evely is a young up and coming artist from Brazil, there is not too much of her work out there but what is looks good. As is almost a prerequisite for Dynamite, there will be a cover by the immensely talented Alex Ross.

INHUMANITY #1
Writer: Matt Fraction
Art: Oliver Coipel
Marvel $3.99

Matt C: Over the last few years it’s seems like Marvel have been making a concerted effort to slowly bring the Inhumans to centre stage and in the aftermath of Infinity it looks like they’re now going at the task full throttle. With the Terrigen Bomb going off in the most recent issue of Infinity there are now a huge number of new Inhumans across the globe, and if that sounds very similar to the Phoenix Force kickstarting the mutant gene again at the end of Avengers Vs. X-Men, my theory is that’s entirely intentional, and is tied into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s a well-known fact that Joss Whedon and co. can’t use the word ‘mutant’ in their movies, which means explaining where the like of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver got their powers from is going to be problematic. Having something else that can trigger superpowers in individuals is therefore a smart move. There have been a lot of rumours that Marvel are looking to bring the Inhumans to the big (or small) screen, so you could say there’s a lot riding on this series’ success. Having Fraction and Coipel onboard is potentially the right move, but the proof, as they say, will be in the pudding.

SINISTER DEXTER #1
Writer: Dan Abnett
Art: Andy Clarke
IDW $3.99

Kenny J: The majority of my early perusing of 2000 AD, Britain's foremost science fiction comic, came from borrowing my cousin's copies on familial visits in my teens. I would immediately turn to read about the current exploits of Finnigan Sinister and Ramone Dexter in their sprawling European metropolis of Downlode. If that name sounds like something relegated to 1990s films like Hackers and Johnny Mnemonic remember that the last new story featuring Dan Abnett's wisecracking hitmen was published before the Millennium. This means it was full of the oft-forgotten futurism that already seems archaic coupled with the criminal underworld shenanigans that resemble another movie pairing of that decade. Now, like other 2000 AD alumni Judge Dredd, IDW are reprinting these hedonistic stories for an American audience and so that I can finally possess my own copies.

BLACK KISS CHRISTMAS SPECIAL (ONE-SHOT)
Writer: Howard Chaykin
Art: Howard Chaykin
Image $3.99

Rob N: If you're reading this in the UK, then chances are you won't be able to read the Black Kiss Christmas Special even if you wanted to (and I'm not suggesting you would want to, but the point is, you can't). Like the recent six issue miniseries, Diamond is refusing to import it into the UK for fear that it might cause problems with Customs. On the face of it this suggests we now have a more repressive censorship than in the 1980s, because frankly it's unlikely that the Christmas Special contains anything more shocking than we've already seen in the original Black Kiss comic from 1988, which did get national distribution. Over the last few weeks I've been playing and very much enjoying the superb Grand Theft Auto V game. Freely available in high streets everywhere it has content that probably makes Black Kiss seem like Mouse Guard in comparison. I shall probably be able to source this title through contacts I have Stateside (as I did with Black Kiss 2), but ultimately I'll be left irritated by the fact that I don't have the freedom to buy it in my own country.

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