13 Feb 2015

Ten Forward: April 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 February issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in April 2015.

Writer: Charles Soule
Art: Steve McNiven
Marvel $4.99

Stewart R: Charles Soule has completely and utterly won me around with his work on Inhuman since jumping into the gap left last minute by Zeb Wells’ media commitments some 13-14 months ago. He’s introduced new characters at will and made them instantly engaging, even to the point where an unexpected fatality rams home like a knife to the heart in the space of an issue or two. With the old guard of Inhumans he’s captured their voices quickly and effortlessly. His depiction of Medusa in particular has been an eye-opener, showing the many aspects of the Queen and ensuring that the reader doesn’t necessarily warm to her too much. She’s been the focus of the book on and off and Soule has made sure that her stern, slightly icy demeanour has been maintained, the mystery as to whether it stems from the weight of her duty or is her actual personality showing through really making things interesting. Well, now Soule gets an even tougher job with Uncanny Inhumans - writing a Black Bolt centred story! How do you imbue a character who cannot talk with character and emotion? Having Steve McNiven as your artist is sure to help and this writer/artist combo could seriously produce one of the Marvel titles of the year, the potential is that great!!

Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Art: Kagan McLeod
Image $3.50

Kenny J: Chip Zdarsky is making quite a name for himself. First with Matt Fraction as the artist on the sublime Sex Criminals as well as on titles like the upcoming relaunch of Howard The Duck. Like that latter book, Zdarsky takes up writing duties on his new Image title, Kapatra. And it’s one of those concepts that’s so obvious it’s simply brilliant. What if all those action figures you played with as a child existed on the same planet? That is Kapatra. Passing the role of artist to Kagan McLeod, whose light but anatomical line work means these characters are recognisable without being trademark infringing, this could turn out to be the ultimate crossover comic.

Writer: Brian Wood
Art: Andrea Mutti & Jordie Bellaire
Dark Horse $3.99

Simon M: Set in and around the American War of Independence, Rebels looks to be very much in the same vein as Wood's previous historical fiction book, Northlanders. It will follow the same format as Northlanders, where we have different stories telling the tales of all the people involved in the conflict, not just following one set of characters throughout the series. The first arc deals with a young newly married couple that find their marriage tested when the demands of the frontlines collide with the home front. Wood has just finished The Massive which was epic in scale and a fantastic read. His Northlanders was prematurely ended without a chance to complete the story, so this will be an opportunity for him to carry on with what he does best which is his creator-owned work. Mutti has collaborated with Wood previously on DMZ and Conan The Barbarian, both of which have been very good. Rebels is due for release in April and this is one book that I am really excited about.

Writer: Mark Waid
Art: Barry Kitson
IDW $3.99

Kenny J: This revival of Mark Waid’s miniseries takes place one year after the original story but in real time it has been more than a decade between issues. Now published by IDW as part of their new deal with Waid’s Thrillbent label, Empire: Uprising continues the story of Golgoth, a Doctor Doom-like tyrant who has conquered the world but not the internal machinations of his own government. Barry Kitson reprises his role as artist on the book keeping a stylistic throughline over the years, a thread I enjoyed greatly the first time around. With Marvel bringing Fantastic Four to an end this year, Empire: Uprising may be a great substitute for all your monthly dictatorial hijinks.

Writer: Greg Weisman
Art: Pepe Larraz
Marvel $3.99

Matt C: Since its debut I’ve quickly become convinced that Star Wars Rebels is the best thing to happen to George Lucas’ galaxy far, far away for a long time. To my mind, it captures the spirit of the Original Trilogy better than anything since, well, Return Of The Jedi, and in Kanan Jarrus they’ve conjured up a kind of Force-wielding mix of Han Solo and young Obi-Wan. In Rebels, the Jedi are supposedly all wiped out, but there he is, lightsaber in hand, leading a band of insurgents to take on the Empire. But where did he come from and how did he escape the Jedi Purge? This miniseries looks set to answer that, and seeing as how all things Star Wars appear to be on the ascendant again, and that this comic is written by Greg Weisman (who was responsible for the best episode of Rebels so far, the Frank Oz-starring ‘Path Of The Jedi’), I don’t see how I can do anything but lay down the money for this!

Writer: Jonathan Tsuei & Eric Canete
Art: Eric Canete
Image $2.99

Stewart R: What’s that? Eric Canete is returning to comic books!? Hot damn! Sign me up right here and now! I’ve followed Mr Canete’s work for a good few years now and discovered him through a random blog clicking back before his Iron Man: Enter The Mandarin days. Seriously, check out his blog (currently discontinued) and his Tumblr, which gets more attention these days. Following Rain Oshiri, Run Love Kill will come at the protagonist from two angles, each issue looking at one moment from her past alongside one moment from her present as she attempts to escape a barricaded city as her history begins to catch up to her. This has apparently been a few years in the making and the four collaborators - colour artist Leonardo Olea and CG cover artist Manu Fernandez make up the quartet - seem to be working in pure harmony from the preview pieces I’ve seen so far. This is the sort of project that Image thrive upon and I’m seriously itching to get reading Run Love Kill.

Writer: Todd McFarlane & Brian Holguin
Art: Clayton Crain
Image $2.99

James R: How times have changed. Not only is Image my go-to publisher now for the lion's share of titles on my pull-list, but the quality of their output even has me taking interest in a Todd McFarlane book! I have never read an issue of Spawn, nor do I intend to, but the Image co-founder's new book looks an intriguing proposition. Co-written by Brian Holguin and illustrated by former X-Force artist Clayton Crain, it focuses on a man who wakes up with Old Testament powers but no memory of who he is or how he has received those powers. McFarlane has promised an exploration into faith and the consequences of suddenly being granted superpowers, and the combination of these two factors and Crain's artwork means that it's another Image book to add to my monthly haul.

Writer: Chris Lewis
Art: Bruno Oliveira
IDW $3.99

Matt C: Why this? Well, this is the pitch: “Two former predator drone operators face insurgency and insanity on the Las Vegas Strip in the surreal surroundings of the world's first terrorism-themed hotel!” That, combined with the provocative Ramon Villalobos cover, some positive praise for the series (which initially went down the self-publishing route before a successful Kickstarter campaign brought all five issues together) has convinced me this may be an off-the-wall comic book worthy of my time and money. At the very least it doesn’t sound like anything else around at the moment, which immediately helps it stand out from the crowd.

Writer: Matt Hawkins
Art: Rahsan Ekedal
Image/Top Cow $3.99

Kenny J: When it comes to futuristic technology in comics, Matt Hawkins is a guy on the bleeding edge. Whether it’s the military experimentation of Think Tank or the dystopian futurism of Aphrodite IX, his books are often full of deeply researched applied science. Now he turns his attention to the cloak-and-dagger world of hackers. The Tithe tells the tale of a Robin Hood-style group of hactivists named Samaritan who are robbing mega-churches of billions and giving it to the poor. Compared to heist movies like Heat and The Town by the writer, who better than Hawkins’ Think Tank collaborator, Rahsan Ekedal, to render those hi-tech sequences now in the full spectrum of the dark arts.

Writer: Mark Millar
Art: Wilfredo Torres
Image $3.50

James R: I was pleasantly surprised by Jupiter's Legacy - given that I think Mark Millar's quality control is haphazard at best, it was fine read. While comics megastar Frank Quitely is placed in a healing chamber to recover from his recent efforts on that title, Millar has filled the vacuum with this, a prequel of sorts, that focuses on the senior cast of Jupiter's Legacy in their Golden Age heyday. With Wilfredo Torres on art duties, Millar promises that this will be a very different book to its parent title (forgive the pun!), claiming that “The heroic side of superheroes has been missing for a while." That gives me some cause for concern - I fear this could be a flat retread of his 2014 series Starlight but given my enjoyment of Jupiter's Legacy, the first issue is an automatic 'Yes' for me.

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