15 Nov 2013

Ten Forward: January 2014

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 November issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in January 2014.

Writer: Matt Fraction
Art: Joe Madureira
Marvel $3.99

Stewart R: It’s been mentioned here and there that the events of Infinity and the unleashing of Black Bolt’s terrigen bomb has essentially made the Inhumans the new mutants in Marvel’s 616 universe, particularly as the return to growth post-M-Day of the mutant populace following Messiah Complex and Avengers Vs. X-Men has been quite the understated affair really. The fear factor and expected ostracism that the newly ‘awakened’ Inhumans are likely to be subjected to is going to make for some very interesting reading and I think Matt Fraction is the perfect scribe for such a title. He did a fine job of detailing Cyclops’ exodus of his people to Utopia back in the pages of Uncanny X-Men and he’s clearly a writer who can deliver high concept ideas within emotionally engaging stories. The focus on the Inhuman Royal family and the tests and divisions that they will be subjected to following Black Bolt’s secret plotting should be a nail-biter. Add to that artist Joe Madureira’s forte for brand new character design and I’m thinking we may have one of Marvel’s most exciting prospects for a new year.

Writer: 'The Original Writer' & Mick Anglo
Art: Garry Leach, Alan Davis, Paul Neary, Steve Dillon & Mick Anglo
Marvel $5.99

James R: Wow, this Original Writer guy looks like he could have some career ahead of him! Taking my firmly-embedded tongue from out of my cheek, in case you didn't know 'Original Writer' is, it’s *whispers* Alan Moore! The bearded goliath of the comics industry has insisted that these long-delayed, legally-embattled reprints of his seminal run on Miracleman/Marvelman do not bear his name in any way shape or form, but hey! We humble bloggers and fanboys can. So after years of seemingly intractable court battles, Marvel are enabling a whole new generation of comics fans to see what all the fuss was about. As a man who has been lucky enough to read them, I can assure you that they're worth both the time and the money!

Writer: Bill Willingham
Art: Sergio Fernandez Davilla
Dynamite Entertainment $3.99

Simon M: How's this for an idea? Take some of Dynamite Entertainment’s hottest properties and stick them together in an 'alternative' steam-punk world. Now, that might sound insane but that is just what Dynamite are going to be doing come January 2014. Bill Willingham of Fables fame is introducing us to new versions of Vampirella, The Green Hornet, The Phantom, Flash Gordon, Red Sonja, Steve Austin the Six Million Dollar Man (although he’ll be re-branded the Six Thousand Dollar Man) plus a few others. The tale will take part in various generic centres of Willingham's new world, the Big City, The Jungle and the Island to name a few. Willingham has shown consistently his ability to take established literary characters and redefine them for a new audience. The art for this bold project is being done by Sergio Fernandez Davila (Red Sonja, Lord Of The Jungle); he has a style that fits very nicely with the pulp heroes to be used and the preview art that is available looks spot on. The addition of Joe Benitez on covers is inspired; his work on Lady Mechanika was exceptional. All in all this sounds so balmy - it could be brilliant.

Writer: Vito Delsante
Art: Giancarlo Caracuzzo
New Paradigm Studios $3.99

Matt C: The Five Families put out a hit on Mussolini in WW2, sending five mob-affiliated US soldiers to do the deed. It’s the kind of pulpy, off the wall pitch that I find hard to resist, mixing up the Mafia and Nazis to inherently ridiculous but hopefully wonderfully entertaining effect. I know nothing about these creators or this publisher, but the concept was tantalizing enough that my eye was drawn directly to it when I turned the page in Previews. Based on that, World War Mob already starting off on the right foot as far as I’m concerned!

Writer: Jonathan Hickman & Nick Spencer
Art: Stefano Caselli
Marvel $3.99

Kenny J: You would be hard pressed to find a writer working in comics today with a singularity of vision that matches Jonathan Hickman's. From his multitude of creator-owned projects at Image to his current epic run on Avengers, Hickman is the master of exploring philosophical concepts alongside action set pieces that combine to further not only plot but characters too. With the recent events taking place in the pages of Infinity, Earth and its Mightiest Heroes are truly at the epicentre of the star systems and galactic empires that make up the Marvel cosmic universe at large. With scripting duties being shared by Nick Spencer, himself no stranger to handling ensemble casts, this addition to the Avengers line promises to explore the way planet Earth deals with this new found attention. Not just the Americas but also Asia, Africa, Australasia and Europe. It's from that last continent that this comic finds its artist. Italian Stefano Caselli has already pencilled several pages of the flagship book and his attention to design is essential when dealing with such grand vistas, both literal and metaphysical. I know there will be complaints from some quarters asking do we need yet another one of these branded titles but with the sheer quality of talent attached, you can make mine an Avengers World.

Writer: Jimmie Robinson
Art: Jimmie Robinson
Image $3.50

Stewart R: Yes, it’s the sixth issue of Five Weapons, but it actually marks the start of the second arc and second semester at the school for assassins created by Jimmie Robinson. The first arc was a supremely fun and turbulent affair as the school was turned upside down by a rather famous student who proved to be not quite what he seemed, and I was one of the many readers who were happy to hear that this series wouldn’t be ending as initially planned at five issues. It looks like there have been several changes to the faculty staff at the school and from the five-page preview in some Image books this month (Drumhellar was one). Robinson has come up with a clever premise to reintroduce the protagonist which should allow for plenty more of his good-natured attitude and quick-witted ingenuity to seep its way into a school training the young to kill! Plus there’s sure to be a handy dose of revenge on the cards if the finale of the last arc is anything to go by and I’ll certainly be looking for the budding romance to be expanded upon if there’s room!

Writer: Rick Remender
Art: Wesley Craig & Lee Loughridge
Image $3.50

James R: I may have mentioned a few times before here that, as a man who is allegedly a teacher, I am a sucker for any comic that features schools or teaching. I've also got a lot of time for the deranged talent of Rick Remender, whose achievements over at Marvel hardly need recounting again. This new series from Image is therefore right up my proverbial alley - add to that the fact it's about a High School for assassins set in one of my most beloved of decades, the 1980s - and this is hands down, the book that I'm most looking forward in January. I’m adding it to my pull-list with immediate effect! The preview art from Wes Craig also looks grand, with Remender describing his work as a 'mix between Mazzucchelli and Klaus Janson" and that seems to be the icing on a potentially tasty cake from one of comics' most intriguing talents.

Writer: Peter David
Art: Carmine Di Giandomenico
Marvel $3.99

Kenny J: When the news broke that X-Factor was coming to an end many tears were shed, albeit from fairly few eyes. Peter David had quietly steered the title through major events and tie-ins to reach over one hundred issues, even remaining untouched by the upheaval of the first Marvel NOW! initiative. However, when one mutant agency closes its doors, another opens. Jamie Madrox's motley crew have been replaced by a government sponsored team featuring Gambit, Polaris, Danger and Quicksilver but one important ingredient remains unchanged: David himself. This time he is joined by Carmine Di Giandomenico who will lend his bold heavily inked style to the militarised mutants. Having worked on titles as varied as Mighty Thor and Magneto Testament I'm sure Giandomenico will deliver the nuances that filled the preceding volume of X-Factor as the team return to their government roots under David's more than capable stewardship.

Writer: Nathan Edmondson
Art: Phil Noto
Marvel $3.99

Matt C: Nathasha Romanov has been given her own series on a number of occasions over the years but to be honest, most of the time it’s felt like the writers involved weren’t entirely sure what to do with her. Her most impressive outing in recent times was as Bucky’s patner in the Winter Soldier series but obviously with her being an integral member of the movie Avengers, leading to a role in the next Captain America flick, Marvel are keen to spotlight the Black Widow again, and who better to pen her adventures than Nathan Edmondson? The guy’s shown he’s got the chops when it comes to the modern espionage thang with the like of Who Is Jakes Ellis?, Dancer and The Activity, so I really think the Widow is in safe hands here. Add to that, we’ve got the svelte illustrations of Phil Noto to look forward to so I’d say this is not one to miss.

Writer: Zack Whedon
Art: George's Jeanty & Karl Story
Dark Horse $3.50

Andy H: If there ever was a series that was cut short in its prime a lot of people would argue that it was Firefly. Luckily there was a film and some comics to help keep us hooked but we needed more! The wait is almost over: January 2014 sees us reunited with the (remaining) crew of the good ship Serenity. Taking place after the events of the film we catch up with Mal Reynolds and friends. Stuff's happened, but of course some things never change as the crew are in danger again. We've seen the continuation of TV series in comics before, the results can vary (see Buffy and Angel), but I hope this series can capture the feel of what has gone before while expanding on what we already know. Georges Jeanty handles the art. He's always delivered the goods during his run on Buffy so hopefully he can reproduce that success here. After all this time the phrase 'Leaf on the wind' still brings a tear to my eye. Damn you, Whedon! *sniff*

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