11 Mar 2016

Ten Forward: May 2016

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 2016.

SCOOBY APOCALYPSE #1
Writers: Keith Giffen & J.M. DeMatteis
Art: Howard Porter
DC $3.99

Andy H: I don't think any comic has left me feeling so conflicted as this one. Scooby Doo has been a part of my life growing up. It's my 'go to' cartoon. So, will this be a brave move on the part of DC and propel this classic to new heights or be the biggest travesty to hit the world of comics? The new look finds Scooby, Shaggy, Daphne, Velma and Fred fighting to survive in a post-apocalyptic future. Along with this new status quo is a redesign for the gang courtesy of Jim Lee. Written by Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis, who are no strangers to comic weirdness, and art by Howard Porter, this is bursting with creative talent. Will it be enough? Or will it be a case of those meddling kids being too much for DC to change? At best this could be a blast, at worst I guess we could consider it a weird 'Elseworlds' story. Until then, I'm really on the fence with this one.

CIVIL WAR II #0
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Olivier Coipel
Marvel $4.99

Kenny J: In recent years - well, a decade should I say - there have been few events that have really shaken up the Marvel Universe as much as the first Civil War miniseries back in 2006. Of course, there is another Marvel property with the title Civil War out in May but that's where the similarities end. Brain Michael Bendis and Olivier Coipel will be pitting Iron Man against another Captain for Civil War II - this time Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel, as they war over the use of Inhuman powers to predict crimes.

THE BLACK DAHLIA HC
Writer: James Ellroy, David Fincher & Matz
Art: Miles Hyman
BOOM! Studios $29.99

Matt C: I can’t ignore this. James Ellory is one of my favourite authors, his ‘L.A. Quartet’ (The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, White Jazz) is perhaps the most intense, riveting set of books I’ve ever read, and David Fincher, director of Se7en, Zodiac, The Social Network (amongst others) is one cinematic talent that I follow the career of religiously. Matz has serious chops too, having penned various graphic fiction in his native France, most notably the sublime The Killer series, which was released in English several years ago. Fincher was trying to get The Black Dahlia (a fictional look at one of L.A.’s most infamous murders) to the screen for a number of years, eventually giving way to Brian De Palma’s hugely underwhelming version, so a chance to see Fincher’s vision for the project, even if it is in a different medium, makes this utterly essential. Originally released in France in 2013, the English adaptation debuts in June this year.

4001 A.D. #1
Writer: Matt Kindt
Art: Clayton Crain
Valiant $3.99

Stewart R: Valiant have produced some fine, compact and focused events in the past couple of years, to the point where I will always give their previews of such endeavours the once over as I search for another gem. This year they're flinging their readers of into a desolate future as the Rai of 4001 A.D. discovers the secret behind his creator and the prosperous home of New Japan that he protects and what that means for the rest of Earth. We're set to have Rai rebel against Father, seeking out other surviving heroes of the time in order to save the wider world at the expense of the place he's sworn to protect. I have enjoyed what I've read of Kindt and Crain's Rai series and am definitely on board to see what they can bring to an event book of this nature.

CINEMA PURGATORIO #1
Writer: Alan Moore & Various
Art: Kevin O'Neill
Avatar Press $5.99

James R: An anthology book is inevitably a hit-and-miss affair - they tend to feature equal amounts of gold and less memorable short stories. I would normally treat a new anthology series with caution, but as always, the name 'Alan Moore' makes this a must-read. Featuring work from the League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen team of Moore and Kevin O'Neill along with some of the brightest talents in comics, I can't wait to what the Original Writer has pulled together. And Cinema Purgatoria is a terrific title for a book. Sold!

BEASTS OF BURDEN: WHAT THE CAT DRAGGED IN
Writer: Evan Dorkin
Art: Jill Thompson
Dark Horse $3.50

Andy H: If there is one title I want to shout from the rooftops about, it's Beasts Of Burden. From the creative mind of Evan Dorkin, it's the story of a group of cats and dogs protecting the town of Burden from supernatural threats. It is all brought to life by the stunning painted art of Jill Thompson. This is anything but a twee tale of talking animals. This has horror, loss, friendship, and at times it will have you close to tears (or in tears if you are a big soft lump like me!). It's been about two years since the last instalment so I'm really pumped to see this new, standalone story. It looks like the cats take centre stage for this adventure so I'm guessing that's Orphan and Dymphna leading the charge. They are joined by a raccoon, and who doesn't love a raccoon in comics? Honestly, treat yourself to Beasts Of Burden, a truly brilliant addition to any comic collection.

THE PUNISHER #1
Writer: Becky Cloonan
Art: Steve Dillon
Marvel $3.99

Kenny J: I've dabbled with reading The Punisher books on and off for the entirety of my comic reading career. Many hit the mark when it comes to depicting one man's unwinnable war on crime but once in a while there are Punisher stories that surpass. PunisherMAX was one of those series with Steve Dillon lending some emotive and often ultraviolent art to Jason Aaron's words. So, as soon as I saw Dillon was returning to draw the Punisher on this series, along with Becky Cloonan on writing duties, I was sold. This time Frank will be leaving his native New York City, taking to the road on the trail of a new designer drug.

THE DEADBEAT GN
Writer: Jeremy Massie
Art: Jeremy Massie
Alterna Comics $6.95

Matt C: When scouring Previews for picks of the month, we’ve come to rely on Image more than any publisher these days to provide a handful of titles of interest. So when they come up short, by necessity we’re forced to look elsewhere (you have no idea how difficult it is some months to come up with 10 titles of note!). And so to The Deadbeat, a graphic novel that caught my eye thanks to its rather wistful cover image. The titular hero was once one of the world’s greatest, but that was in the past and his challenge now is to fix his relationship with his daughter. This is a re-release, having originally appeared in 2009, and although that kind of disqualifies it from being new, it’s new to me, and 122 pages for that price is very reasonable indeed for something I may not have noticed otherwise.

RENATO JONES: THE ONE % #1
Writer: Kaare Kyle Andrews
Art: Kaare Kyle Andrews
Image $3.99

Stewart R: For me, Kaare Andrews is one of those comic book creators who, now I've discovered his work, I HAVE to have everything that he's put his hand to. Iron Fist: The Living Weapon was a sublime series and I've now put his back catalogue on my comic convention hunt list. Luckily, before I can tread the halls of a con again, we have his newest work heading to the shelves in May. This time he's going creator-owned and bringing us a very contemporary story as one lethal vigilante sets out to make the super-rich pay an incredibly high price for their wealth. I'm very interested to see how crazy and tongue-in-cheek this might be played as Andrews explores ideas surrounding 21st Century capitalism and the attitudes associated with it, whilst keeping the language blue and veins and arteries gushing red. Unmissable because of the topic, unmissable because of the creator.

ARCHANGEL #1
Writer: William Gibson
Art: Butch Guice
IDW $4.99

James R: This title certainly leapt out of the pages of Previews at me. I am a big fan of the author William Gibson - who will forever be known as the man who coined the term 'cyberspace' - but my regard for him comes from his 'Bridge' trilogy: Virtual Light, Idoru and All Tomorrow's Parties. He continues to be a novelist with a knack for prescience whilst remaining eminently readable. As with Chuck Palahniuk, Gibson has decided to branch out into comics and so will bring us Archangel via IDW. Teaming up with artist Butch Guice, this SF title is bound to be a fascinating read.

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