20 May 2016

Ten Forward: July 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 May issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in July 2016.

Writer: Garth Ennis
Art: Craig Cermak
Dynamite Entertainment $3.99

Simon M: The original volume of Red Team followed a hardnosed, no-nonsense team from the NYPD that was willing to do whatever it takes to keep the streets of New York City free from the low life criminal element that plagues its underbelly. Following on from the explosive conclusion of the first series, Red Team: Double Tap, Center Mass brings back the two remaining members of the unit: Eddie Mellinger and Trudy Giroux. The story takes place one year later and these two are still struggling to come to terms with the consequences of their actions. Considered a liability, the team has been kept on small scale cases by their suspicious commanding officer. A chance encounter gives them the opportunity to get back in the game, but only if they are willing to take the risks that almost got them killed last time round. Cermak, who did the art on the first volume, is back again to team up with Ennis. His style is a perfect fit for this book and the pair seem to work well as a team. Ennis is a master storyteller and has had some of the most influential runs in modern comics history. If you like the dark and gritty, this will be worth picking up.

Writer: Caitlin Kittredge
Art: Steven Sanders
Image $2.99

James R: This was the standout July release from Image (and their swanky new previews magazine) for me. Author Caitlin Kittredge and artist Steven Sanders bring us a book that's been described as 'Scanners meets the Bourne Identity' - I'd probably be sold on that pitch alone, but Kittredge's own description was the clincher: “This book is a collection of everything I love—spies, superpowers, secret history, conspiracies and action, grounded in a big dose of flawed, realistic characters." SOLD! The preview pages from Sanders look great, and Throwaways looks a very likely contender to be Image's next 'Must Read' title.

Writer: Bryan Lee O'Malley
Art: Leslie Hung
Image $2.99

Kenny J: Sometimes, it's fair to say, even if you are familiar with a creator's previous work, they can always throw you something of a curveball every once in a while. If I'm honest I'm not entirely sure what Snotgirl is about other than that she is a social media star and has allergies but Bryan Scott O’Malley’s work has to date been both heartfelt and humourous. I'm hoping for more of the same from Lottie Person and her L.A. misadventures. Leslie Hung’s art is gorgeous evoking both Emma Rios and O’Malley's own style. The pencils are made even more gorgeous by colorists Mickey Quinn’s color choices giving Snotgirl’s existence a vibrant and feel that I look forward to reading.

Writer: Justin Jordan
Art: Raul Trevino
BOOM! Studios $3.99

Matt C: I know writer Justin Jordan can do crime comics as his Dead Body Road was a thrilling, kinetic walk on the wrong side of the tracks a couple of years back, so that’s one reason to take a gander at this book. Another is the milieu, the Mexican drug cartels, as it’s proven to be a fertile ground for intense, frightening tales of late, and the final reason is Raul Trevino’s position as artist on the book as he’s a guy who’s actually seen his family affected by the violence wrought by the cartels. That brings a kind of authenticity to the table that should benefit this four-issue miniseries no end.

Writer: Grant Morrison
Art: Jeevan Kang
Graphic India $1.99

James R: Seeing that the Free Comic Book Day preview for this book was a very pleasant surprise, I feel that this first issue from Grant Morrison and Jeevan King has to be worth a look. Morrison's Indian superhero is one who has incredible power but has been summoned too early to fight in the Last War of the Age and now must struggle to survive in a world that's too frail for his presence. Morrison's best work of the last decade was undoubtedly All-Star Superman, and writing protagonists who border on omnipotence seem to bring the best out of the divisive scribe. This could be another comic that suffers from being nigh obtuse, or it might be one of those books that reminds you why Morrison is still held in such high regard. We find out in July!

Writer: Raffaele Ienco
Art: Raffaele Ienco
Image/Top Cow $3.99

Matt C: A post-alien invasion tale where a prototype military robot is pushed into active duty before it’s been tested for combat readiness and has to learn on the fly what it means to be human, which may lead it to question whether mankind is really worth saving. It’s a strong premise but what really turned my head is the preview artwork from Raffaele Ienco, who’s been doing a fine job on Symmetry of late. Have a look for yourself here and see what I mean.

Writer: Adam Hughes
Art: Adam Hughes
Archie Comic Publications $3.99

Andy H: Well, this comes as a surprise. I'm all excited by a new title from Archie Comics. Now, don't take that the wrong way, there's never been anything wrong with the Archie titles, it's just something I was never in to. That all changed a couple of years ago with the introduction of the 'darker' books: Afterlife With Archie and Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina. And then Mark Waid successfully took on the new, modern look Archie. Now it's the turn of Betty and Veronica to get a revamp and in charge of writing and artistic duties is Adam Hughes. Probably best known these days for his stunning cover artwork, Adam has a good history in comics and I'm going to look forward to see how he can win over a new audience for these two iconic characters. Friendship, fights and shopping might not be my usual comic pick up but I'm always willing break new ground when this level of talent is involved. I do have one slight misgiving though: 25 covers for issue #1!! Really? As stunning as some may be, that's a ridiculous number. I'll be sticking with the Hughes cover then.

Writer: Jeff Lemire
Art: Dean Ormston & Dave Stewart
Dark Horse $2.99

James R: This is making its second appearance in Ten Forward as its original release date got pushed back due to the awful news that artist Dean Ormston suffered a stroke. So it was great to learn that he's recovered, and Black Hammer is back on track. My enthusiasm for this book is still as strong as when I first read about it - it's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Jeff Lemire, and I think he's at his best on creator-owned projects, and this one looks very special. A group of heroes find that their universe has been wiped out following a Crisis-style event and wake up at the rural location of 'Mystery Farm'. Lemire has described this book as the synthesis of his superhero work and his independent books such as the magical Essex County, and that idea alone makes it July's must-purchase book for me.

Writer: Cullen Bunn
Art: Sergio Davilla & Michael Atiyeh
Dark Horse $3.99

Matt C: It’s been a long while since I’ve regularly purchased a Conan book. I flat out loved the relaunch spearheaded by Kurt Busiek and Cary Nord over a decade ago but my interested waned once Busiek was done with his stint, and I’ve rarely looked back since. But I do feel like I need some more of Robert E. Howard’s barbarian in my life again and perhaps Cullen Bunn will be the man to bring me back. He did a good job on Helheim, which featured a very Conanesque central character, and he has a generally fine handle on ‘historical’ genre fiction. The art looks pretty impressive too so I’m hopeful that this will be the Conan book I’ve been looking for.

Writer: Hope Larson
Art: Rafael Albuquerque
DC $2.99

Kenny J: The incumbent creative team on the current volume of Batgirl have done a sterling job’ giving Barbara Gordon her own rogues gallery and supporting cast away from the long shadow that the Dark Knight casts. I'm sad to see them go. It’s okay because with the 'Rebirth' relaunch of Batgirl Hope Larson will be taking up writing Babs. Both parties have stated that Larson’s tenure on the title will bring more of the same, and if that wasn't enough, DC have added one of my favourite artists to the mix in Rafael Albuquerque. A very different prospect than Babs Tarr but an inspired one as Batgirl leaves the home she set up in Burnside and heads back to the gritty streets of Gotham.

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