14 Feb 2014

Ten Forward: April 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 February issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in April 2014.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1
Writer: Dan SLott
Art: Humberto Ramos
Marvel $5.99

Stewart R: *SPOILER ALERT* Kinda has to be put in there as you never can tell who still wants to hold onto the secrets and who may not be looking too far into the future. It's a fair bet though that anyone reading Superior Spider-Man these past few issues, and anyone paying attention to the major comic news sites or solicitations, will be aware that Peter Parker - our Peter Parker - is set to come back this April and once again inhabit his own body. Aside from that reveal there hasn't been much in the way of spoilers or plot details, but my betting is on Dan Slott having the best of times rebuilding Peter's life following the damage done by Otto Octavius' tenure and forging new, refreshing paths which weren't necessarily an option with the heavy baggage of years and years of comprehensive history. The 'reset' path that Slott seems to be taking - read Superior Spider-Man #27 to get an idea of why it might be considered a reset of sorts - is exciting while at the same time reconfirming the dedication this master writer has to the character and the legacy. The art team appears to be unchanged and that consistency with a group of incredibly talented hands makes this a transition to be savoured and applauded!

JUSTICE LEAGUE UNITED #0
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Art: Mike Mckone
DC $3.99

James R: With my faith in DC comics at an all-time low (with just Scott Snyder's books representing them on my pull-list at the moment) I'm desperately hoping that this book starts the fightback. I unashamedly love Jeff Lemire, and feel that he's a modern great when working on his creator-owned books, but that his mainstream stuff has been a little hit-and-miss. Animal Man and Superboy were great, Justice League Dark and Constantine... less so. With the end of Animal Man, my fear is that I'll soon just be buying books from him that are accompanied by the Vertigo banner, but I'm going to give this latest Justice League book a shot. The cast is intriguing - Supergirl, Adam Strange, Animal Man, Green Arrow Martian Manhunter and Stargirl. Lemire described it to Newsarama as "a swashbuckling, world-jumping space adventure" and the space stuff is (personally) something that DC trumps Marvel at. I do wish they'd stuck with Justice League Canada as the title, but whatever it's called, I'm definitely giving it a shot this month.

THE FIELD #1
Writer: Ed Brisson
Art: Simon Roy
Image $3.50

Simon M: This was an absolute no-brainer for me. The creative team has a strong track record and when the opening line from the solicitation is "A man wakes in a field wearing nothing but his underwear", there really doesn't need anything else to be said. But just in case that isn't enough, I shall elaborate. Ed Brisson is writing one of my favourite titles at the moment, Sheltered, which has been a thrilling and complex character driven story. That book is of such a high standard that I would read any new creator-owned project he puts out there. Simon Roy's art is phenomenal, probably best known for his work on Prophet, he has demonstrated a knack for storytelling through facial expression. The story focuses on an amnesiac who's only connection to the world is a mobile phone on which he receives text messages warning of impending danger. The Field promises to include amongst other things, an ex-Bible salesman, dirty sex, meth, and at least a murder or two. Man in underpants, murder and meth? This reminds me of something that has been missing from my life the last five months.

VERTIGO QUARTERLY: CYAN #1
Writers: Various
Art: Various
DC/Vertigo $7.99

Rob N: Vertigo's latest grab bag of loosely themed material takes the old fashioned four-colour printing process of years gone by for its new colour-themed anthologies of one-off creator driven shorts. I say 'colour themed' but I haven't actually seen any indication that the Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black colours have any relationship to the stories contained within, other than (maybe) how they're coloured. Not that that really matters. Would you be any more compelled to buy the first issue if you knew that each story took its inspiration from the colour cyan? To be honest I'm not even sure what cyan looks like. Or what sort of inspiration cyan could give a writer. But anyway, it's a Vertigo anthology, and there will be numerous big names who will take it in turns to experiment with the medium, and that's good enough for me. For every couple of lumps of poo deposited across the four issues, there's bound to be a diamond in the rough.

SOUTHERN BASTARDS #1
Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Jason Latour
Image $3.50

Matt C: What do you get when you put together the outgoing writer of Wolverine & The X-Men with the incoming writer of Wolverine &; The X-Men? Apparently something akin to “the Dukes Of Hazzard meets the Coen Brothers… on meth!”, Southern Bastards brings Jason Aaron firmly back into the crime genre where he really made his mark with the incomparable Scalped. He’s joined by Jason Latour on art duties, who’s had some dealings with Southern fried crime in his still-to-be-finished series Loose Ends (and seriously, where is issue #4??). A shit-kicking drama of lawlessness from two of the medium’s brightest? Where do I sign up?

IRON FIST: LIVING WEAPON #1
Writer: Kaare Andrews
Art: Kaare Andrews
Marvel $3.99

James R: Iron Fist? Tall order. The last time Marvel's chop-socky (I love that term!) green-and-yellow-clad hero had his own book it was phenomenally good. Initially from Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction and David Aja, this A-team's work was absolutely first-rate. Fraction continued on the book for 17 issues before Duane Swierczynski took over writing duties... and couldn't continue the same high standard. It's coming up to five years since the last iteration of Iron Fist was cancelled, and now it's Kaare Andrew's turn to guide the immortal warrior. I'm obviously doubtful that this new series can reach the heights of the last run, but it's great to see Kaare Andrews returning to mainstream comics, and once again, the preview pages have enticed me. With Danny Rand due to be getting a lot more exposure thanks to the upcoming Marvel Netflix shows, here's hoping this marks the start of a longer run for the hero of K'un-Lun.

ORDINARY #1
Writer: Rob Williams
Art: D’Israeli
Titan Comics $3.99

Andy H: With the fantastic array of 'indie' comics available these days from the likes of Image, BOOM!, IDW, Dark Horse etc, you'd be forgiven for missing the odd future gem from some of the other publishers out there. Titan Comics have had some decent hits in the past year (Numbercruncher, Death Sentence) and Ordinary looks like it should rank right up there. Imagine everyone in the world waking up one day with superpowers! Way cool, don't you think? Well, maybe not. Instead of being hailed as the next step in our evolution this could, more likely, put us on the road to oblivion. This is the route Williams and D'Israeli take in this 3-part mini. When something as simple as a domestic argument could level a city imagine what could happen in a war zone. But there is hope: one man did not get powers and he could be the key to finding a cure. So an 'ordinary' New York plumber could save the world before it's too late. D'Israeli has an art style that should capture this crazy new world that Williams has created perfectly. So if you like keeping your reading varied, interesting and far from ordinary this has got to be added to your pull list.

HULK #1
Writer: Mark Waid
Art: Mark Bagley
Marvel $3.99

Kenny J: He’s been incredible and indestructible but now the Hulk is going adjectiveless for his second Marvel NOW! outing. I’ve always been a fan of the Green Goliath, every so often checking in on the direction the current creative team is taking him and his ‘puny’ alter ego. Unfortunately, not since Bruce Jones’ run in the early noughties, Planet Hulk and its follow up miniseries World War Hulk have I really enjoyed a gamma-irradiated title. However, I have to admit I may have missed the jump on Mark Waid’s most recent volume that is due to segue seamlessly into a new title. Over eighteen plus issues the misunderstood hero has been remodelled as a finely honed weapon with the help of superstar artists like Leinil Francis Yu and Walt Simonson. With the help of another Mark and big name penciler, Messrs Waid and Bagley are promising a much darker tone to proceedings. Here’s hoping it’s the shade of green I’ve been waiting for.

STAR WARS: REBEL HEIST #1
Writer: Matt Kindt
Art: Marco Castiello & Dan Parsons
Dark Horse $3.50

James R: I once spent a good 15 minutes boring a table full of colleagues outlining my theory that in 1982 Harrison Ford represented the absolute apex of cool - he was Indiana Jones, Blade Runner's Rick Deckard AND Han bloody Solo in one year. No matter how popular Benedict Cumberbatch may get, he can only dream of being as cool as Harrison Ford was. So, when I see the name 'Han Solo', there's a part of this fanboy that thinks "Now we're talking!" And when I read "a Han Solo comic written by comics genius (and the brain behind my current favourite book, Mind MGMT) Matt Kindt" you can bet the Millennium Falcon that I'll be there! Now let's blow this thing and go home! (Wait, that line sounds a little wrong out of context...)

ELEKTRA #1
Writer: Haden Blackman
ArtL Michael Del Mundo
Marvel $3.99

Stewart R: Announced at New York Comic Con, this was one of the titles I really was excited for due to the initially announced collaboration between writer Zeb Wells and artist Mike Del Mundo. Unfortunately for the book, Wells found himself involved with a big TV project soon after the announcement and bailed early to ensure Marvel could line up a replacement and continue on schedule. In steps Haden Blackman who has been helping to shape one of DC's most promising female characters through the New 52 with his efforts on Batwoman and that pedigree comes as some relief to a book that I would have invested in regardless thanks to the intriguing work of Mike Del Mundo, but may not have necessarily expected to stick with following Wells departure. Del Mundo has simply excelled with his cover work for X-Men Legacy through Marvel NOW!'s first chapter and it's great to see that he has been rewarded for his work with the opportunity to display his skills with interiors on an Elektra book that, with Blackman's guidance, will hopefully be another successful launch for one of Marvel's most recognisable anti-heroines.

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