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 July issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in September 2014.
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Jim Cheung
Matt C: It’s all going off at Marvel at the moment. At the time of writing, Thor’s about to become a woman, Sam 'The Falcon' Wilson is taking over the role of Captain America, and some sort of drastic change (of the ‘superior' variety) is due to befall Iron Man. Suggestions of a universe reboot being on the cards abound, and even though that wouldn’t be something I’d particularly like to see (the New 52, anyone?) I have major doubts that will happen. Whatever does happen, however, it seems like it’ll spin out the events in Avengers, and its sister title New Avengers, which both see a continuity jump eight months forwards in their September issues. What exactly is going to occur here remains unclear (although there are hints from the characters presented on the covers of both books) but whatever it is, it’s likely to be Jonathan Hickman’s final story arc with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and, based on what he’s done so far, I think it’s going to be very much something to look forward to.
THE NAMES #1
Writer: Peter Milligan
Art: Leandro Fernandez
Rob N: Pete Milligan wrote one of my all time favourite comic book runs many years ago – Shade The Changing Man for Vertigo – the first 50 issues of which form a near flawless run of unremitting excellence. Since then I've dipped into his output with varying degrees of interest. His take on Hellblazer was great. His short lived series, Greek Street, not so much. The Names has been described as The Wolf of Wall Street meets Kill Bill, but I'm thinking there's probably a similarity to the recent TV series, Revenge, and 100 Bullets in it too, as the story focusses on a single woman who goes up against the 'Secret Rulers of the Finance World' to get revenge for the death of her husband. Revenge stories against powerful cabals are nothing new, but Milligan has a knack for adding something interesting to an otherwise formulaic mix. There hasn't been much Vertigo's recent output to interest me, so perhaps this one may tempt me back to the fold.
Writer: Ryan Browne
Art: Geof Darrow
Kenny J: Starting life as a webcomic and then moving on to Kickstarter, Ryan Browne's weird tales of a super hero team called the Power Persons Five has now found a home at Image. Set up by NASA, with the main purview of stopping chicken farmers from launching themselves into space, the PP5 get caught up in their own soap opera. Its silly stuff but since undertaking the mammoth task of running a highly successful crowd funding campaign, Browne took up art duties on only slightly more serious books, Manhattan Projects and Bedlam. Now he’s returned to his creator-owned world of giant heads, ghostly horses, and wrestler bear armies for a brand new ongoing. Set over a year later, the writer-artist has promised a far more long form approach to storytelling but still with all the imaginative characters, surreal jokes and bone crunching action that the first volume offered.
MOON KNIGHT #7
Writer: Brian Wood
Art: Greg Smallwood
Stewart R: There's no doubting that Warren Ellis has put is very own particular touch and spin to Moon Knight since it launched as part of All-New Marvel NOW! Each chapter has highlighted how the masked hero with a very dark and violent edge has been solving crimes and stepping into situations with his own brand of vigilante justice, utilising his connection with Khonshu and vast resources to get the job done. The big problem for me has been that Ellis has, for all intents and purposes, removed Marc Spector and his battle with his own mind from the equation and left us with the man in the mask kicking butt. That's been a little too one-dimensional for me as I've found Spector's struggles to be the most interesting part of the character. The news that Brian Wood is now coming on board to take over ticks so many boxes for me as he's proven time and again that he's a writer who can definitely put character front and centre in his Marvel books and I expect this book to now rise to another level entirely after a reasonable beginning.
Writer: Joe Harris
Art: Eman Casallos
Dynamite Entertainment $3.99
Andy H: The man. The legend. The Lord of Nightmares! Yes, Alice returns to comics. Being a big fan of the man and his music I'm really excited to see Mr Cooper in a new ongoing title. I still remember picking up Marvel Premiere #50, his first comic appearance, and thoroughly enjoying the Neil Gaiman collaboration, The Last Temptation. We all know the Alice of the waking world but what of his role as the Lord of Nightmares? He sits on the edge of dreams, watching over us, delivering horror unto the deserving. Now that has been taken away from him and he must reclaim his dark throne. The ultimate showman is back and that can only mean one thing: School's Out!
CHRONICLES OF LEGION BOOK 1: RISE OF THE VAMPIRES
Writer: Fabien Nury
Art: Mathieu Lauffray, Mario Alberti, Zhang Xiaoyu & Tirso
Titan Comics $10.99
Matt C: Titan continues to offer translations of Euro-comics, and that’s music to my ears, especially this particular title. I Am Legion is one of my favourite books from across the Channel - featuring arguably some of the best work of John Cassaday’s career, it’s a thrilling vampire-themed adventure in the midst of WWII, and as this is apparently a prequel to that, I’m very keen to get my mitts on it. Cassady’s not involved this time around, but Fabien Nury, writer of I Am Legion, is, so that will doubtless allow some solid narrative continuity. I’m very pleased to see Titan put out titles likes this, and have my fingers crossed that it’ll be a enough of a success that we’ll see much more on the horizon.
Writer: Michael Moreci
Art: Vic Malhotra
James R: Another month, another new Image title! Despite still having the best slate of books on the market at the moment, the last few months haven't quite been so stellar for Image, with a few of their new releases falling a little short. I'm hoping that Roche Limit bucks that trend. On paper it looks a) exactly like my kind of book - a crime series set in a colony in deep space that attracts the worse kind of scum and villainy in the universe. Space Noir? Tidy! - and b) the creative team of Michael Moreci and Vic Malhotra seem to be channelling a couple of today's most celebrated creators (there looks to be elements of Jonathan Hickman and Ed Brubaker in the preview pages, and that's no bad thing!) Add to that, the promotional material promising a 'cross between Blade Runner and 2001', which is certainly fine company to mix with, and hopefully we'll get a great new title from Image.
ODDLY NORMAL #1
Writer: Otis Frampton
Art: Otis Frampton
Andy H: Superhero comics have always been a mainstay in my reading but my tastes are many and varied. Hey, there's a lot of great stuff out there, just look at the weekly shipping list if you don't believe me. I'm always on the lookout for something a little different… quirky, if you will. Along comes Oddly Normal, which looks like it fits right into that category. Written and drawn by Otis Frampton, it tells the tale of a 10-year-old half witch who's always been the odd one out at school (but then having green hair and pointy ears will do that). Unhappy with her lot, Oddly makes a wish that has disastrous consequences as she must now travel to the realm of Fignation in search of her parents. Oddly Normal first saw life as a webcomic way back in 2004 and had a short run in print in 2006, but rather than just continue the story, Otis has decided to start again and retell it the way it was meant to be told. If like me you missed out on the original this looks like a fantastic place to catch this time round.
Writer: Jay Faerber
Art: Scott Godlewski & Ron Riley
Stewart R: While it remains a genre that Hollywood producers and cinematic audiences can't seem to grab hold of for any great length of time these days, it's clear to see that the Western, and particularly the Sci-Fi Western, has become popular with creators and readers alike and not a month goes by without a new title appearing - or current one diving into - a frontier wilderness with small pockets of civilisation striving to make a life from the isolated locale. Sixth Gun, Pretty Deadly, East Of West, Six Gun Gorilla, Storm Dogs have all garnered critical acclaim and I suspect Copperhead could find itself alongside their number soon. The protagonist is a mysterious single mother who turns up to take over the Sheriff position of the titular town in some far flung part of space, bringing her son and a whole bagful of secrets with her. There's only three pages of preview art to see so far but it looks darn good and this is a lock for September for me.
SUPERMAN UNCHAINED #9
Writer: Scott Snyder
Art: Jim Lee & Scott Williams
James R: Not a first issue, but definitely a remarkable one. Superman Unchained has had a strange existence: undoubtedly an 'A-list' title, ostensibly released to cash in on the release of Man Of Steel, the end of Scott Snyder's arc now means the end of the book as a whole. Jim Lee is never going to be able to stay on a book - and on time - for any extended period, and rather than introducing a new creative team, DC is doing the honourable thing and bringing down the curtain. Snyder has said that the two men are just too busy to continue the book but promises us that the Superman group at DC has great things planned. I hope so, as I've enjoyed the widescreen, blockbuster feel to Superman Unchained, and DC needs more titles like this.