New comics are due to hit the shelves on Wednesday so here’s a look ahead at some of the books we’ll be picking up this week.
Andy H: Back to 'normal' this week after a few quieter weeks. Top of the pile is the return of Mark Millar with Empress, a miniseries under the Marvel's Icon banner. This looks like a straight up sci-fi adventure on a grand scale. We've got space battles, space armadas and a hacked off bad guy, as his wife goes on the run with their children. Stuart Immonen provides his usual artistic genius to bring this tale to life. It's seven issues long, a must for Millar fans and probably worth a look for sci-fi fans too. Angel & Faith Season 10 #25 brings the latest run to an end. Much like it's sister comic, Buffy, Angel & Faith has continued to capture the feel of the TV series while adding new elements. Victor Gischler and Will Conrad have done an excellent job and I'm hoping for a satisfying conclusion as well as, of course, looking forward to Season 11. Slightly late for April Fool's Day - but who's counting - is the Harley Quinn And The Suicide Squad April Fools Special. As Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel M.D, Harley runs a suppport group for super villains. Of course you'd be as insane as Harley if you think she isn't going to take advantage of the situation. As an added bonus, Jim Lee takes on the art duties so we should have a fine looking book on our hands. Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber had a blast on Superior Foes Of Spider-Man. Now they're back together on creator owned project, The Fix. It's about a lot of bad guys being bad and the hero of the piece is Pretzels, a drug-sniffing beagle. So, expect a fair bit of humour in this one. Black Panther is back this week (just in time for a certain movie perhaps?). BP has always been a cool character but never able to support an ongoing title for too long. I'm not sure if it will be any different this time but I'm sure novelist Ta-Nehisi Coates will make it a worthy read. Great to see Brian Stelfreeze on the title as artist; love his work. Blasting off this Wednesday is a new Star Wars title. Writer Charles Soule and artist Phil Noto bring Force Awakens star Poe Dameron to comics. I believe it's set before events of the film so we get to learn more about Poe as he sets off an a mission investigating sites of historical importance to the Force. So far the Star Wars comics have been a hit and I can only imagine Poe Dameron will continue the trend. Rough Riders #1 from AfterShock caught my attention a few months ago as a young Theodore Roosevelt and a team of American icons, including Harry Houdini and Annie Oakley, must save the world. A bit in the style of League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen I guess, but I hope it works as I loved that.
Kenny J: I recently caught up Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s The Wicked + The Divine. It's a decompressed affair full of Gillen’s trademark pontification but it has some story beats that both shock and push the plot forward in unexpected directions. One of these was the cliffhanger at the end of the last issue. This week, with issue #18, we find out whether those teases will be answered straight away or if we will have to wait to see the fate of certain members of the Parthenon. One title that has no time for decompressed storytelling is Amazing Forest with its short inventive tales from Ulises Farinas and Erick Freitas, and drawn by a variety of talented artists. I have read up to the third issue of this anthology series so what delectations are contained within Amazing Forest #4 I have no idea, but if previous issues are anything to go by then it will be burgeoning with ideas. Up until Jonathan Hickman’s recently wrapped Avengers run I have to - rather embarrassingly - admit I hadn’t really read much featuring Black Panther. Sure, there was his brief stint as a member of the Fantastic Four but his handling as one of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes as well as Wakanda’s setup as a nation of science at the end of Secret Wars has me interested in Black Panther #1. It's written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, a preeminent writer, journalist, and educator, who I'm hoping will bring some social commentary to the Marvel Universe. Rounding off the week, I will be picking up Batgirl #50. The triple treat of Cameron Stewart, Babs Tarr and Brenden Fletcher have breathed new life into Barbara Gordon’s Bat-themed vigilante. The recent announcement of DC’s 'Rebirth' creative teams has moved these three off this book but I look forward to this anniversary issue bringing us more adventures from Burnside before that happens.