14 Nov 2014

Ten Forward: January 2015

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 2015.

STAR WARS #1
Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: John Cassaday
Marvel $4.99

James R: Egad – that art! I've been disappointed by Star Wars books before and, most recently, I've found them to be a mixed bag - Brian Wood's series tailed off badly after a strong start, while Matt Kindt's miniseries was an unexpected treat - but this new Star Wars series, the first back under the Marvel aegis, is absolutely an irresistible A-list draw. The maths here is pretty simple for me. Take the brilliant Jason Aaron, add the artwork of John Cassaday (who, by the look of the preview pages, is back on phenomenal form) and multiply it by one of my favourite things in the galaxy, and you have an electrifying new title to kick off 2015 with.

MURDER BOOK
Writer: Ed Brisson
Art: Various
Dark Horse $17.99

Simon M: Murder Book is a series of short crime stories written by Ed Brisson (Sheltered, The Field) and illustrated by various artists. Brisson started writing these stories back in 2010 and to get them in print started a successful Indiegogo campaign - there were three volumes which are now being collected in this new edition for the first time. The term "Murder Book" is used by detectives to refer to a case file on a homicide investigation. They chronicle the life of a case from the time the murder is reported until an arrest is made. If you enjoy a dark and gritty crime noir tale then this will be right up your alley.

CRIMINAL SPECIAL EDITION (ONE-SHOT)
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Art: Sean Phillips & Elizabeth Breitweiser
Image $4.99

Rob N: After its long tenure with the Icon imprint of Marvel, Brubaker and Phillips have coshed their Criminal comic over the head, stuffed it into the trunk of a car and driven it at breakneck speed over to Image which these days seems to be the beacon of light that is attracting most of the popular talent away from the Big Two. This inaugural one-shot, available in an alternative crowd-pleasing Savage Sword Of Conan magazine size as well as the tamer and less frisky standard format, is set in the 1970s with Teeg Lawless doing a minor stretch in the county jail, during which time he comes across a tatty old comic book. What follows, Brubaker claims, is a comic within a comic kind of tale, and hopefully a great start to a new run of this title with Image. I make no apologies for regularly trumpeting the work of Ed Brubaker for he seems to be one of the few reliable hands in the comic industry who enjoys the luxury of being able to write what he wants when he wants, and it's always good. Long may he continue.

WOLVERINES #1
Writer: Charles Soule
Art: Nick Bradshaw
Marvel $3.99

Kenny J: Wolverine is dead, apparently never to return, but that won’t stop Marvel from cashing in on his name. I'll be honest, I've tried but have never really got on with Wolverine, although I’m happy to get small doses of him in various team books. That said, it is the rogues gallery that surround Logan's melting adamantium skeleton on the front cover of issue one that has me excited. I've never really stopped to think what formidable enemies the lupine one has gathered over his forty year lifespan, the Jason Aaron penned ‘Get Mystique’ story being a particular highlight for me. With Wolverines, the great Charles Soule and Ray Fawkes will continue to guide Wolverine in death as they did in life, joined by the equally fantastic Nick Bradshaw on art. This book is bound to have claws.

LADY KILLER #1
Writer: Joëlle Jones & Jamie S. Rich
Art: Joëlle Jones
Dark Horse $3.50

Matt C: I first came across Joëlle Jones’ wonderfully slick and spirited artwork in the Oni Press series Helheim and it was abundantly clear she was a talent to watch. Which is why Lady Killer immediately sprung out of Previews for me this month. To be honest, I probably would have given any new series by her a look based on what I’ve seen of her work so far, but the ‘Betty Draper meets Hannibal’ pitch is simply too irresistible and will hopefully help elevate her status even further.

THE MULTIVERSITY GUIDEBOOK #1
Writer: Grant Morrison
Art: Various
DC $7.99

James R: Okay, so I'm a sucker for things like this - I loved The Official Handbook Of The Marvel Universe as a kid, and whereas this is slightly different, there's something about it that appeals to my love of trivia and facts. Grant Morrison's Multiversity has been a long time in the making, and with this guidebook we can see that the devil (or the mad Scot) is in the detail. Morrison outlines the composition of all 52 of the DC Multiverses, and also manages to fit in a Batman tale for good measure. If you're enjoying Multiversity like me, it's an essential purchase, and if you've ever loved a DC Elseworlds tale (and hey - who hasn't?!) then this could be a novel start to your New Year reading.

IXTH GENERATION #1
Writer: Matt Hawkins
Art: Stjepan Sejic
Image/Top Cow $3.99

Stewart R: Matt Hawkins and Stejpan Sejic return to their world of power games, genetic legacies, cybernetics and conflict so magnificently depicted in the Aphrodite IX series from Top Cow and now the cast is boosted to title changing levels. The final issues of the Aphrodite IX series acted as an introduction to a far bigger picture and game than we had initially been privy too and it seems that Hawkins was only just beginning to expand upon the machinations of the highly skilled and very powerful IXth generation and what it might mean for the descendants of mankind as they separate the world into fiefdoms, clash amongst themselves and then become the target for an even graver threat. Sounds foreboding and I'm expecting it to be epic!

CASANOVA: ACEDIA #1
Writer: Matt Fraction & Michael Chabon
Art: Fabio Moon & Gabriel Ba
Image $3.99

Rob N: Matt C and I both agreed the other night that much as we love Matt Fraction's Casanova, it can sometimes be difficult to follow, but gloriously so, and we wouldn't really have it any other way. Casanova takes the same approach as the TV series, The Wire, in refusing to dumb down in any way whatsoever that might make it easier for casual readers, and there's certainly more than just a subtle whiff of 'if you're too stupid to understand this, then go and buy something by Dynamite instead' about it. It's also one of the few comics that when a new series begins I honestly have no idea what to expect, other than the unexpected. It probably makes perfect sense on magic mushrooms though.

THE DYING AND THE DEAD #1
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Ryan Bodenheim
Image $4.50

Kenny J: There are very few people doing epic better than Jonathan Hickman at the moment. From his multiverse spanning Avengers story at Marvel to his sci-fi western amalgamation East Of West at Image, Hickman has an aptitude for large scale storytelling while never losing sight of the minutia. The Dying And The Dead seems to be no exception with its cryptic solicitation promising a murder at a wedding, a dying wife and the husband that will save her at great cost, lost tribes, time travel and a fifty year-old secret. All this will be rendered by one of my favourite artists and sometime Hickman collaborator, Ryan Bodenheim. Rare as it is, Bodenheim's name alone is enough to sell a comic to me, but combining it with Hickman's means that comic will definitely be making it all the way home.

SHE-HULK #12
Writer: Charles Soule
Art: Javier Pulido
Marvel $2.99

Stewart R: I think it's fair to say that while Marvel appears to be attacking it's cinematic success with gusto, bolstering its comic book roster with associated book after associated book and relaunching left, right and centre, its tolerance for titles that perhaps haven't set the cash registers alight - but may have raised impressed eyebrows from readers and critics alike (i.e. All New Marvel NOW books) - are quickly finding themselves in the accountants' sights. I was greatly saddened to see that Charles Soule's She-Hulk #12 was to be the last in the series as he has quickly established Jennifer Walters as a character I finally wanted to read about and delivered a book filled with superheroics and lawyer-related entertainment to rival Mark Waid's work on Daredevil. It seems that we're going to get to see the details of the mysterious - and mind-bending - Blue File come to the fore as things wrap up and while I'm disappointed to see another great series nipped in the bud too soon I've hopes that perhaps we could see a soft relaunch giving us further She-Hulk adventures from Soule and Pulido.

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