21 Mar 2014

Ten Forward: May 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 March issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in May 2014.

TREES #1
Writer: Warren Ellis
Art: Jason Howard
Image $2.99

James R: Wow. From seemingly out of nowhere, the comics titan that is Warren Ellis returns. After a couple of years where he seemed more focused on prose (as his excellent novel Gun Machine demonstrated) it's a brilliant thing to see him return to comics proper with a new Image series, following on from Marvel’s Moon Knight relaunch. Trees is listed as an initial eight-part series, but Ellis is open to continuing on. As he wrote on his website, the first arc will "open up the world to the extent that we could continue to tell Trees stories for a good few years." As for the story itself, Ellis and artist Jason Howard will be bringing us an unusual alien invasion story, one where mysterious tree-like alien life descended on the Earth, and did nothing for ten years, save "exerting their silent pressure on the world." If you've ever read Ellis at his best, you'll know that he's inspired by space and extra-terrestrial life, and the preview pages look fantastic. I can't see this as being anything other than first-rate, and it’s my definite highlight of the month.

WONTON SOUP: COLLECTED EDITION
Writer: James Stokoe
Art: James Stokoe
Oni Press $19.99

Stewart R: James Stokoe is an artist and a writer who will get me looking at his work every single time. I picked up Orc Stain a few years ago and even now check his Twitter and Blog regularly to see if there are any updates on further releases in the series. I loved his Godzilla: Half Century War series from IDW (a recommended read if you’re looking forward to the upcoming live action film) and now with Oni Press collecting both volumes of his 2007 and 2009 space-trucking, sci-fi and culinary arts extravaganza it’s time for me to indulge in the series that gave this talented guy his big break. It’s always interesting to go back and see where an artist properly hit the industry and I’m excited to see how this compares to his more recent work.

THE WOODS #1
Writer: James Tynion IV
Art: Michael Dialynas
BOOM! Studios $3.99

Stewart R: At the London Super Comic Convention this past weekend it was great to see The Woods artist, Michael Dialynas speak with passion about the book and his opportunity to indulge in his love for drawing from his imagination rather than specific, ‘real world’ reference. In this book it certainly looks like his and writer James Tynion IV’s imaginations are going to get to run riot. The premise sees a Milwaukee high school mysteriously transported to an alien planet, all 437 students, 52 teachers and 24 additional staff in tow, and the fun, drama and terror is likely to unfurl quickly as the cast tries to explore there strange surroundings and attempt to break the mystery of how they ended up so far from home. It’s a big premise, full of scope and possibility and it’s the sort of science-fiction that I believe BOOM! tends to handle particularly well as a publisher.

INTERESTING DRUG HC
Writer: Shaun Manning
Art: Anna Wieszczyk
BOOM! Studios/Archaia $24.99

Matt C: One of those original hardcovers from Archaia (now part of BOOM! Studios) that you see in Previews, are enormously tempted by, but perhaps not to the point where you’re willing to plonk down twenty five bucks (or your local equivalent). Interesting Drug falls into that category, asking the question, ‘What would you do if you could take a pill and travel back in time? Would the quest to revel in nostalgia be too difficult to resist?’ An attractive idea, and even though I probably need to see a little more of the art that’ll be on show between the covers, it’s an idea that could prompt me to fork out and add this tome to my collection.

MPH #1
Writer: Mark Millar
Art: Duncan Fegredo
Image $2.99

Rob N: The latest Millarworld title brings on board a long time favourite artist of mine: Duncan Fegrado. Remember the comic book series The Enigma, for early Vertigo? No? Well, it was great, and not least because of the art. As the title suggests, it's all about speed, both drug-based and the giving of super powers to be able to move at he speed of light for a week. To my mind that seems a bit too fast to be useful. Just imagine how far you'd overshoot your chosen destination by the time you decide to stop? But anyway, the main characters are all hard-up teenagers, which may make them supremely irritating (old people like me are contractually obliged to frown at teenagers and their funny pop music) or may indeed give us a deep and meaningful insight into what it's like to be young and poor these days, according to a wealthy forty-something writer. And who knows teenagers better than that?

BRAIN BOY: THE MEN FROM G.E.S.T.A.L.T. #1
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Art: Freddie Williams II
Dark Horse $2.99

Stewart R: The last mini eries run of Brain Boy was a glorious hoot with Van Lente sewing together a decent espionage tale with elements of psychic and telekinetic superheroics and villainy, while RB Silva’s distinctive and clean style added a level of polish that certainly suited the on-page exploits. Well coming this May, Brain Boy is back once again and Van Lente will once again be steering the mind-reading agent as he battles new terrorist and political foes in his usual, stuck-up fashion. The fact that Brain boy is not an easily likely hero is one of the hooks that made the first miniseries so enjoyable so I’ll be looking closely at how Van Lente ensures his protagonist continues to rub characters and readers up the wrong way. It’s a shame that RB Silva isn’t back for more illustration fun, but I’ve fingers crossed that Freddie Williams II’s work is up to the job!

NAILBITER #1
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Art: Mike Henderson
Image $2.99

Matt C: The writer and artist behind the damn fine ‘digital first’ comic series Masks & Mobsters (which seems to have gone on some sort of hiatus of late) are back with serial killer miniseries from Image entitled Nailbiter (and it’s appearance may explain Masks & Mobsters disappearance!). Serial killer fiction is almost as played out as zombies, but as with undead storytelling (think Crossed) there’s always a fresh angle with which to come even the most ubiquitous of genres with (as evidenced in Bryan Fuller’s creepy, intoxicating Hannibal TV series). Nailbiter is described – as these things are – as a mix between Twin Peaks and Se7en, which is something I’ve heard applied to a lot of things (True Detective most recently) and doesn’t really serve as an indicator of quality, so it’s best to look back to Masks & Mobsters and hazard a guess that the same alchemy these guys worked up there might be achievable here.

JUSTICE LEAGUE UNITED #1
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Art: Mike McKone
DC $3.99

James R: I'm a little sad that this book isn't called Justice League Canada anymore but I am delighted to see Jeff Lemire carry on writing Animal Man in a book that's rich with promise. Like many of the PCG, I'm a tad dispirited with DC at the moment, but I'm hoping the Canadian genius can work his magic here. A line-up consisting of Green Arrow, Adam Strange, Supergirl, Martian Manhunter, and the aforementioned Animal Man, are slated to face ‘world-jumping space adventures’ and that's a definite plus for me. His brilliant series Trillium and his 'Ultra The Multi-Alien' short story in Strange Adventures show that he's got a terrific grasp of SF, and along with artist Mike McKone here's hoping that he brings us a Justice League book to get excited about.

BRASS SUN #1
Writer: Ian Edginton
Art: I.N.J. Culbard
Rebellion $3.99

Stewart R: I’ll admit that I very rarely pick up 2000 AD; the odd occasion that I have in recent years had included contributions from the PCG’s own AJ Butcher and good friend of the blog Boo Cook. Yet, considering the wealth of UK talent that have started out at 2000 AD over the years, it’s perhaps time that I look at more of their wares. Brass Sun looks like a fine place to start, written as it is by Ian Edginton whose Hinterkind series for Vertigo has really won my heart these past few months. This is a steampunk science fiction tale revolving (no pun intended) around the story of a clockwork solar system, the titular star at its very heart and it’s a celestial body that’s on the verge of being extinguished, dooming all surrounding life in the process. In steps protagonist Wren, a young girl from a freezing outer planet who must travel on a journey to unravel ancient mysteries and find the key to reigniting the sun. Sounds like a grand old adventure and one that I’ll be interested in getting a look at when it kicks off this May!

CYCLOPS #1
Writer: Greg Rucka
Art: Russell Dauterman
Marvel $3.99

Rob N: There is such a thing as an unstoppable force/immovable object dilemma and it is made very apparent here, for me at least, because two of my (current) comic buying rules are a) buy anything Greg Rucka writes and b) don't buy any X-Men comics. The former is because Rucka is one of a very small group of writers who have yet to disappoint me, and b) is because X-Men comics were long ago ruined by a ridiculous level of retconned continuity, too many characters, and multiple titles each month. To be honest, Greg Rucka probably isn't suited to characters like Cyclops, especially not on a cosmic space jaunt, but on the other hand, he is Greg Rucka and may yet surprise me. I do feel however that Rucka is at his best when dealing with street level 'realistic' characters and settings. But who knows It could be the best book of his career so far. The only thing I know for sure is that one of my two rules will have to be broken fairly soon...

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