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.
James R: My pull-list this week features four books that really represent the cream of mainstream comics at the moment. Firstly, DC bring us the most conventional title, but it's still one that makes my fanboy heart beat a little faster. All-Star Batman from Scott Snyder was one of the standout announcements from DC's Rebirth and given the sheer quality of artists involved, I have high hopes that this will be a more fitting use of the 'All Star' label than Frank Miller and Jim Lee's frankly bonkers 2005 iteration. From Image, it's Jonathan Hickman's Black Monday Murders. Hickman is still one of the most innovative and smart writers working in mainstream comics and his name on the cover guarantees that I'll be picking it up. This new series, illustrated by Tom Cocker has been described as a 'crypto-noir' and I'd buy it on the strength of that description alone. Marvel's (arguably) best book returns next week, as Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta's The Vision builds towards a climax. This book has been a revelation, and the only bad thing about it is that it's coming to an end, but I'll cherish it while I can! Finally, Wednesday sees the next instalment of what is probably my favourite comic at the moment: Alan Moore and Jacen Burrow's Providence has exceeded my wildest expectations, and has really shown Moore at his best. It's managed to be compelling, intelligent, rewarding, and most impressive of all, genuinely disconcerting. I fully intend on writing an in-depth review highlighting just why it's such a superlative series once it wraps up, but for now there's no doubt that Providence is not only the highlight of my reading week, but my month too.
Stewart R: I really wasn't going to give All-Star Batman the time of day when the DC Rebirth initiative was announced, but after Superman and Aquaman have proved to be unmissable reads over four issues apiece - and this Wednesday has proven to be a very quiet day for my pull-list - I've decided to take the plunge and see what Scott Snyder might still have up his sleeve for the Dark Knight of Gotham. I was all aboard the early run he and Greg Capullo had on the New 52 Batman series, but found my interest waned (not Wayne'd haha!) when we rolled into 'Zero Year' territory. That seemed to be the point that other PCG members jumped ship and not many of us ever looked back as far as I'm aware. Eyes firmly forward then for ASB which promises a year of taking a fresh look at Batman and moving him out of his Gotham setting. By all accounts Snyder wants to take the opportunity to explore just what the Caped Crusader means to people across the country and the globe, showing what he represents in a 21st Century setting and just what his rogue's gallery may themselves represent in ever-changing times. I'll give the debut a chance, and who knows I might well stick with it for the entire 12 months if it's any good! While saying 'hello' to one new book I'll be saying 'farewell' to one miniseries this week in the form of IDW's Brutal Nature which wraps up this supernatural tale of the Conquistador-era in a fourth issue that will likely be a bloody affair. Luciano Saracino has done a fine job of throwing the Spanish Inquisition at South American mysticism and conjuring up a story about the darkness that can come from within the hearts of men and the darkness that seeks to invade those of a lighter nature who must spill blood to save others. I've had problems appreciating Ariel Olivetti's artwork in the past, but his work on Brutal Nature has been something else and as the finale looms I'm in that delicious position of having no idea about how this story might end!