12 Mar 2015

Ten Forward: May 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 March issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in May 2015.

Writer: Chuck Palahniuk
Art: Cameron Stewart
Dark Horse $3.99

James R: To say I'm excited about this is an understatement. The original Fight Club had a profound effect on me. Chuck Palahniuk's brilliant novel, transformed into a truly searing film by David Fincher, is a phenomenal tale. Equal parts clever, surprising, and darkly funny, it's a story that hasn't lost any of its power as the years have gone by. I'm not usually a big fan of sequels for media that simply doesn't need it, but in this case, I think Palahniuk has made a shrewd move - this sequel can't be seen as a 'direct' continuation of the novel, as it's a comic, so it gives him a certain freedom from criticism, whilst at the same time satisfying the demands of an audience that secretly hoped we hadn't seen the end of Tyler Durden and Project Mayhem. The preview art from Cameron Stewart looks terrific, and it's no hyperbole to say that beyond the world of comics, this could be the cultural event of the year for me, let alone the pick of the month!

Writer: Warren Ellis
Art: Declan Shalvey & Jordie
Image $2.99

Kenny J: Having recently moved home I had to undertake that painful process that any comic fan loathes: sorting and packing away that oversized stacks of books! And it turns out that, from Transmetropolitan to Planetary and Crecy in between, Warren Ellis is the one creator that weathered the storm and made that move with me mostly intact. It has to be said, after several years in the wilderness with several unfinished works, the Southend based writer is now on somewhat of resurgence, churning out hit after hit. Just look at his other Image titles, Trees and Supreme: Blue Rose. Ellis success can not only be put down to his own inventiveness but also that of his army of fantastic collaborators, including Declan Shavley on the recently wrapped Moon Knight. Now the pair reteam to bring us Injection at Image. Hopefully this new creator-owned title will prove to be as good as all those previous books with their inventive plotting and stark futurism although, with its tale of five geniuses that now have to put right the wrongs of a previous century, it sounds very much like a spiritual successor to a certain Wildstorm story!

Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Esad Ribic
Marvel $4.99

Matt C: Some out there may view this as yet another in Marvel’s endless cycle of event books but there are those of us who’ve been consumed by Jonathan Hickman’s astonishingly crafted run on Avengers and New Avengers (and quite possibly other related titles before that) who will realise that this is where it all pays off. It’s conceivable that editorial desires may neuter the storyline as it’s transformed into a multi-title crossover, smashing together of the Ultimate and 616 universes, but having seen what he’s achieved so far, I have complete faith in Hickman. None of the peripheral books hold much appeal, so my full concentration will be on this, and I’m hopeful that the writer completes his magnum opus on a high note.

Writer: Alan Moore
Art: Jacen Burrows
Avatar $3.99

James R: I've said it many times before, I hope to keep saying it for a good few years yet: if it's got Alan Moore's name on it, I'll read it. I remain in awe of the man's work, and I'm thrilled to see him continue his reflection on H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulu mythos with Providence. This third series from Avatar (following The Courtyard and Neonomicon) will explore the origins of Lovercraft's dark fiction. Bearing in mind Moore wrote Neonomicon initially to satisfy a tax bill, it's great to see that his continued reflection on Lovecraft is providing him with creative inspiration. Don't expect a comfortable or nostalgic take on Lovecraft by any means, but do expect the usual inimitable quality from the Original Writer.

Writer: Kurt Busiek & Sam Timel
Art: Bazal & Mario Alberti
Humanoids $34.95

Simon M: Busiek (Marvels, Astro City) and Alberti (Nathan Never, Spider-Man & The X-Men) had originally written two volumes of this story way back in 2004 and 2006 respectively for the European market via Humaniods. Both were going to be released in English in 2008 when a deal was struck between Devils Due Publishing and Humanoids, but unfortunately that never came to fruition. It looked like a third volume with the original creative team was on the cards, but again for various reasons events took a different turn. So for the final chapter we had Sam Timel (Milan K) and Oscar Bazaldua also know as Bazal (Retroworld) on writing and art duties respectively when it was released last year in France. Now the deluxe hard cover edition collects all three volumes in English for the first time. Busiek is currently writing Autumnlands: Tooth & Claw which is one of my favourite books at the moment and Redhand has some similarities to it. The story centres around the perfect warrior unleashed in an age of sword, sorcery and savagery. He wants no part of this life, all he desires is a peace he is destined never to have.

Writer: Ales Kot
Art: Will Tempest
Image $3.50

James R: Ever since picking up the first issue of Zero, I've been impressed with Ales Kot's writing. For a young author, he packs his scripts with interesting and memorable ideas, and in many (good) ways he reminds me of Warren Ellis. As Zero begins to wind down, I'm intrigued by his new series: Material. Once again, it looks like a winning blend of high concepts (and having a philosopher as one of the protagonists will always pique my interest) utilising politics, science fiction and beyond. Along with artist Will Tempest, Kot is clearly planning for the long haul with this title - I'll certainly be along for the ride.

Writer: Paul Jenkins & Matthew Daley
Art: Carlos Magno
BOOM Studios/Archaia $3.99

Stewart R: The common occurrence these days it seems is for comic book series to be optioned and turned into films and TV series, but occasionally it can happen in reverse. Lantern City is a TV show already in early development and casting, produced by none other than Bruce Boxleitner... yes, Tron himself! Badged as a dystopian steampunk adventure, Lantern City the comic book will take an expanded look into the world in which the TV show is set and the creative team of Paul Jenkins and Carlos Magno will get the opportunity to help build this world as they go. They worked tremendously well together on BOOM! Studios series, Deathmatch, and while I do tend to steer clear of cross media tie-ins like this, I can't ignore the quality that they bring to the table.

Writer: Christopher Sebela
Art: Ibrahim Moustafa
Dark Horse $19.99

Matt C: High Crimes, a tale of grave-robbing on Mount Everest that rolls into a high stakes espionage thriller, has been one of the best books to come out of digital publisher Monkeybrain Comics so far. Still, there are plenty of folks out there that still prefer something tangible so it’s good to see a lot of Monkeybrain’s output making its way into physical retailers. This 184 page hardback (which looks like it’s actually due out in July, not May) retails at $19.99 and I can’t offer anything but my full recommendation. I enjoyed it on the iPad but I’m still happy to fork out to have it on my bookshelf.

Writer: G. Willow Wilson & Marguerite Bennett
Art: Jorge Molina
Marvel $3.99

Kenny J: The cover to this Secret Wars tie-in is a thing of beauty. Not only in the fact that it depicts an entirely female cast of characters rendered spectacularly by Jim Cheung, in all manner of guises from across the multiverse, but also what a simple but powerful idea it contains within. Exactly what a cover should depict. Sure, we’ve had all female titles like Marvel Divas and even Brian Wood’s X-Men run but with its multi-character dynamic set firmly in the mind of cinemagoers, it's the Avengers brand that holds the most wallop. So to see an all-woman team headed up by fan favourite characters and then to give it to such a qualified writing duo as G. Willow Wilson and Marguerite Bennett is a deft but overdue move on Marvel’s part. With Hickman’s Avengers finishing up soon I really hope this book lasts beyond the summer as there is definitely room on a my pull for a title like this.

Writer: Charles Soule
Art: Ryan Stegman
Marvel $4.99

Stewart R: Attilan and the Inhuman Royal family have really been through the wringer through some 24 months of serious plotting and on occasion things have begun to look somewhat 'up' through periods of adversity for New Attilan, Queen Medusa and the influx of NuHumans. But with Secret Wars and Battleworld looming, things may well be brought crashing down once again and in this annual from Charles Soule it looks like this could both tie up some stories started early in Inhuman and give a small indication as to what might survive into Secret Wars and possibly beyond. I have to admit that it seems the wider events of the Marvel Universe are a touch ill-timed where this book is concerned; the slow start eventually beginning to pay dividends only for a huge editorial bump to arrive in front of it. That said, Soule hasn't put a step wrong so far and I suspect we may get closure of some of the arcs we've been following and an annual is a perfect excuse to go big with the ideas, reveals and heartbreaks.

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