24 Jun 2016

Ten Forward: August 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 June issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in August 2016.

SUICIDE SQUAD: REBIRTH #1
Writer: Rob Williams
Art: Philip Tan & Jonathan Glapion
DC $2.99

Kenny J: It's a double bill of Suicide Squad this month but it's best to start at the beginning with Suicide Squad: Rebirth setting out where DC’s group of reluctant antiheroes will be going in the near future. If one thing is certain it's that this latest version of the squad will be very similar to that being teased for their upcoming cinematic outing as Jack Flagg heads up the other crew but not necessarily leads them. With that gorgeous Jonathan Glapion and Philip Tan cover depicting the now essential Harley Quinn, holding Polaroids of Killer Croc, Deadshot and Katana, Flagg will have his work cut out trying to control this slew of villains making up the team under the writing stewardship of Rob Williams. Very much a solid DC writer and with the cast soon to be everywhere it remains to be see what surprises Williams has up his sleeve. Let's just say we haven't seen a ‘rebirthed’ Joker yet.

THE BLACK MONDAY MURDERS #1
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Tomm Coker
Image $4.99

James R: Another title that's an instant pick-up on the strength of the creator alone - I don't think I've ever read a bad book by Jonathan Hickman, and I've read a whole lot of outstanding titles from him. Hickman's new series is based around black magic, but rather than being in the hands of warlocks, it's in the hands of financial institutions. I love it when Hickman uses the present day (or the near present) as a base for his stories - see his terrific series The Nightly News to see why - and this has the feel of the best of Hickman distilled into a single series: wild ideas, boundless invention… Black Monday Murders looks to have it all. With art from Tomm Coker, this is part of a great month of books from Image following (by their standards) a quiet start to 2016.

ANIMOSITY #1
Writer: Marguerite Bennett
Art: Rafael De Latore & Rob Schwager
Aftershock $3.99

Billy P: Unlike my fellow PCG comrade, James R, I continue to enjoy Marguerite Bennett’s other series for Aftershock, the brilliantly bonkers Insexts. Ever since I first read the DC one-shots, Lois Lane and the ghastly Joker’s Daughter, Bennett has been on my radar. PCG’s solo female member, Ann L, has often praised DC Bombshells, Bennett’s zany all-female Justice League of World War II superheroes. Based on her impressive record to date, her next series for Aftershock, Animosity, is definitely one to try. Not only does it feature the world’s animals attaining consciousness - which reminds me of Adam Roberts' BĂȘte - but those very animals begin to communicate with one another! And start taking revenge on their human slave masters! It sounds like Orwell’s Animal Farm! On steroids! This looks to be an anthropomorphic tale of apocalypse, animal rights and, well, animosity. I hope I’m right. It sure sounds bloody marvellous.

EDEN'S FALL #1
Writer: Matt Hawkins & Bryan Hill
Art: Atilio Rojo
Image/Top Cow $3.99

Stewart R: Matt Hawkins has recently brought the critically acclaimed Think Tank back for a second volume, capped off a second arc for his FBI crime series The Tithe back in February, and Postal, the series he created and Bryan Hill now leads the writing duties on, continues to be a brooding, bloody must-have for my pull-list each month. Each one of these series has a 'real-world' sense of setting and Hawkins has dropped one or two overlapping points between them all to show that they indeed share a fictional universe together. Now he, Hill and artist Atilio Rojo will deliver a three-part series that actively brings this trio of titles together, briefly, for one self-contained story. Hawkins has stated that he's wary of big crossover events so this will likely be a story that comes from, but doesn't greatly influence, the surrounding titles, and with Hill scripting the dialogue it can be expected to be cutting, clever and oozing with tension.

SUPERWOMAN #1
Writer: Phil Jimenez
Art: Phil Jimenez & Matt Santorelli
DC $2.99

Anne L: In Action Comics #60 back in 1943, Lois Lane debuted as Superwoman in a dream sequence when she received a blood transfusion from Superman. Nearly three quarters of a century later, Lois is back, taking the helm from her sister, Lucy Lane, who prior to the New 52 embodied the role, albeit a more villainous version. But Lois is back, reclaiming her title. Imbued with the powers of Superman, she vows to protect Metropolis as the new Superwoman. There’s one catch though: her new powers are killing her and she nor her friend, Lana Lang, know what to do about it. I’m really looking forward to this particular comic, because a) I love Lois… she’s a hotshot reporter just like me (or is it the other way around?) and b) I fell in love with the brief but spectacularly brilliant Superman: Lois And Clark run that led up to Rebirth. What I’m left wondering is who IS this Lois that will become Superwoman? Is she the Lois that I’ve grown attached to, post-Crisis, or is she the New 52 Lois? I know who I’m hoping for… what about you?

KILL OR BE KILLED #1
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Art: Sean Phillips & Elizabeth Breitweiser
Image $3.99

Matt C: In all honesty, this could be a book about bunnies and flower-pressing and I’d still be anticipating it more than any other title on the near horizon. I think Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips are the pre-eminent collaborative partnership in comics at the moment, and have been for several years now with comics like Sleeper, Criminal, Incognito, Fatale and, most recently, the excellent The Fade Out. Adding Elizabeth Brietweiser to the mix again is the icing on the cake. I’m not even going to try convince anyone by rattling out the pitch for the series as I’m kind of avoiding as much as I can so I can come to it fresh. That’s how high up I hold this crew – if you looking for something new in August’s release slate, this is the safest bet.

BRIGGS LAND #1
Writer: Brian Wood
Art: Mick Chater & Lee Loughridge
Dark Horse $3.99

Simon M: Brian Woods has been one of my favourite writers over the last 10 years or so. He has shown time and time again that he is very adept at dealing with diverse and complex story matter. Whether it is historical fiction in the likes of Northlanders and Black Road or sociopolitical dramas in DMZ or The Massive, he delivers deep, thought-provoking material. This August he is bringing a new story to Dark Horse Comics that could also be developed for television with AMC. Briggs Land looks at the inner power struggle of a secessionist movement community within rural America. The matriarch Grace Briggs attempts to take control of the operation from her incarcerated husband which leads to division. The book will focus on the inner turmoil this move brings as well as the conflicts between the community and the federal government. Mack Chater’s art on the book looks great and gives it a slightly dark and realistic vibe. The whole concept reminds me a bit of Jason Aaron’s Scalped and if it is half as good as that then we are all in for a treat!

BATGIRL AND THE BIRDS OF PREY #1
Writer: Julie Benson & Shawna Benson
Art: Claire Roe
DC $2.99

Billy P: Following the miraculous and controversial recovery of Barbara Gordon for the New 52, Oracle, DC’s only iconic character with a disability, was no more. As Babs returned to cape and cowl (and to PTSD this time around), the Birds of Prey proudly stretched their wings and soared the skies. That is, until their wings were unfairly clipped by cancellation. Like many readers, I enjoyed Gail Simone’s long run on the title and would like to see her back. But I’ve been quite intrigued by newbies, Julie and Shawna Benson (writers on CW’s The 100), especially in interviews where they share their vision for the book. Joined by artist, Claire Roe – only the third female artist on the title -- I’m looking forward to seeing the bat join the birds. Okay, so it’s not Oracle –I’m absolutely certain that DC wouldn’t dare try that one again! – but it’s the next best thing. Batgirl. Black Canary. Huntress. Preying on ‘that superstitious cowardly lot’. Bird power. (I do know that they’re not actually birds. The only bird here is a canary. And it’s a woman. A human woman. A bat? Not a bird. And what’s a Huntress? Not a bird). Bird Power.

JIM THOMPSON'S THE KILLER INSIDE ME #1
Writer: Devin Faraci
Art: Vic Malhotra
IDW $3.99

Matt C: Devin Faraci is the controversial but always insightful and entertaining lead film writer at Birth Movies Death and this is his first foray into penning comic books (he’s previously written back up articles for Brubaker and Phillips The Fade Out). Critics turning their attention to producing things they’ve critiqued in the past (Faraci is a big comic book fan) can be a bit hit and miss but I think Faraci has a strong voice, and his choice of material – an adaptation of crime novelist Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me - would get my attention whoever was writing it. I’m always on the lookout for a great new crime book, and this could be a hardboiled treat.

ALL-STAR BATMAN #1
Writer: Scott Snyder
Art: John Romita Jr, Danny Miki & Declan Shalvey
DC $4.99

James R: There are some books that are an automatic 'Yes!'. No matter how jaded I might say I am, or how old I'm getting (far too old, thanks for asking!), the announcement of a Bat-book with this much talent involved demands to be read. This first arc sees Scott Snyder teaming up with John Romita Jr to give us a Two-Face tale. Subsequent arcs see Sean Murphy and Jock take turns on art duties to bring us a book that Snyder described on Twitter as being his Long Halloween. Every single one of those factors is cause for celebration, and alongside Tom King's Batman, it looks like Gotham City continues to be in very good hands.

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