11 Nov 2016

Ten Forward: January 2017

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 November issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in January 2017.

THE FEW #1
Writer: Sean Lewis
Art: Hayden Sherman
Image $4.99

James R: I do loves me a good post-apocalyptic tale. Some of my favourite fiction has dealt with the concept of the remnants of humanity after a cataclysm (J.G. Ballard's catastrophe novels, Cormac McCarthy's The Road, Jeff Lemire's Sweet Tooth) and so I will usually take a look at a comic that deals with the same subject matter. The Few, a new maxi-series from playwright Sean Lewis and artist Hayden Sherman, tells of two survivalist brothers finding a woman carrying a baby wearing a gas mask, and their attempts to protect them both in a broken world. The pitch alone would have got me on board, but the preview art from Sherman looks fantastic. I'm hoping The Few turns out to be Image's first win of 2017.

STUFF OF LEGEND VOLUME V: A CALL TO ARMS PART 1
Writers: Mike Raicht & Brian Smith
Art: Charles Paul Wilson
Th3rd World Studios $3.99

Matt C: I almost missed this as it was hidden away in the corner of a page in Previews but I guess my brain is programmed to be on the lookout for its return, such is its brilliance (and it clearly deserves far more fanfare!). The penultimate volume of Stuff Of Legend has been a long time coming (has it been three years??) but it’s one of those series that feels fresh in the memory even after an extended absence. There was talk of a movie adaptation a while back, although that doesn’t seem to have had much traction since, but regardless of that this has been a magical ‘all ages’ ride into dazzling but often brutal fantasy world and, as they say, it’s never too late to catch up. If it continues towards its conclusion the way it’s been going so far, it’ll be an all-timer.

ANGEL SEASON 11 #1
Writer: Corinna Bechko
Art: Geraldo Borges & Michell Madsen
Dark Horse $3.99

Andy H: My love affair with the Whedonverse continues. Serenity and Buffy are back on the comic shelves and now it's time for the return of Angel as Season 11 debuts in January. Season 10 was a real success, once again capturing the characters perfectly. Season 11 introduces a new creative team to the title in the shape of Corinna Bechko and Geraldo Borges. Bechko has a proven track record from Star Wars and Planet Of The Apes up to her most recent success, Invisible Republic. What trials and tribulations will she put our favourite vampire-with-a-soul through? Apparently she'll be messing with his head as he intends to change his past so the future can be altered. Hopefully this means we'll get some fun Angelus moments as we travel back in time.

BLACK HAMMER GIANT-SIZED ANNUAL
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Art: Dustin Nguyen, Emi Lenox, Nate Powell, Matt Kindt, Ray Hawkes & Dave Stewart
Dark Horse $5.99

James R: Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston's Black Hammer has been one of the highlights of 2016, effortlessly combining a salute to classic superheroes with beautifully observed meditations on ageing, love and loss. Each issue has been great, and I was thrilled to see that 2017 sees a welcome expansion of the title with this annual. Adding to the world of Black Hammer and featuring art from a great roster of talent (including the brilliant Matt Kindt), this one-off certainly qualifies as a must-buy.

GOD COUNTRY #1
Writer: Donny Cates
Art: Geoff Shaw, Jason Wordie & John J. Hill
Image $3.99

Stewart R: I've just this very afternoon finished reading the last issue of Cates, Shaw and Rahal's Paybacks. I followed that great series from Dark Horse to Heavy Metal when the latter publisher picked it up after the former let it slide. I came to Paybacks from the terrific Buzzkill miniseries which wowed me with it's otherworldly tale of superheroics, vice and depression. I love the work of these guys and now Cates and Shaw are continuing on into a new title, God Country for Image. The story will focus on Emmett Quinlan, an elderly widower struggling with life and the effects of dementia in the Texas town he calls home. When a tornado takes a devastating swipe at that town, Emmett emerges restored, wielding a mysterious sword which appears to have brought with it further dangers. Cates is a writer that likes to play with genre tropes with a generous tongue stuffed in the lining of a cheek, but at the same time takes earnest looks at personal, everyday struggles and conflicts that can resonate with readers. Shaw meanwhile is truly a skilled and talented artist to keep an eye on as his stock is sure to rise as we enter 2017 and head beyond. The two talents combined and an intriguing premise make God Country #1 a must-have in my book.

LOOSE ENDS #1
Writer: Jason Latour
Art: Chris Brunner & Rico Renzi
Image $3.99

James R: Somewhat of a cheat as this isn't strictly a 'new' title - it's the reissue (and then completion) of Jason Latour's Southern crime romance book. I missed out on this first time around, and I am one of many readers who have really become aware of Latour's talent since the debut of the magnificent Southern Bastards. My learned colleagues tell me that Loose Ends is definitely worth my while, and so another slice of Southern charm is an easy addition to my pull-list.

THE KAMANDI CHALLENGE #1
Writers: Dan Abnett & Dan Didio
Art: Dale Eaglesham, Keith Giffen & Scott Koblish
DC $4.99

Matt C: This brings to mind Wednesday Comics from a few years ago with DC trying something a little daring and unconventional. It’s not really a new idea though as the publisher did something very similar back in the ‘80s with DC Challenge, a ‘round-robin’ style narrative with a whole bunch of different artists and creators involved. Even though he’s a Kirby creation, I’ve never read much in the way of Kamandi stories, but as this is something a bit different and has the potential to be great, terrible or all of the above, I’m going to have to take a gander at the first issue at the very least.

CURSE WORDS #1
Writer: Charles Soule
Art:Ryan Browne & Jordan Boyd
Image $3.99

Kenny J: It’s all there right in the few pages that Previews have graced us with: the talking animals, the overblown, cartoon violence and the unmistakable art of Ryan Browne, the writer/artist that recently bought us God Hates Astronauts. Now he’s resting at least one hemisphere of his talent as he lends his pencils to the words of one Charles Soule, who, much like their protagonist, has been tearing up Marvel on such titles as Daredevil and She-Hulk. Image Comics have a slew of what look like quality new titles hitting the stands in the first month of 2017 but its Soule and Browne’s motorbike-straddling, ass-kicking wizards that will be the first of these comics I’ll be reading.

RIVERDALE #1
Writer: Robert Aguirre-Sacasa
Art: Alitha Martinez
Archie Comic Publications $4.99

Kenny J: Mark Waid and Sara Pichelli took me on my first visit to Riverdale in the recently rebooted Archie comic. Before this the stories of the famous residents of the town seemed, dare I say it, too old-fashioned for my post-modern, technophilic millennial tastes. All joking aside, the Archie comic has instilled a fondness in me for all things Archie new and old, including the upcoming CW television series. Riverdale is the one-shot prequel to this show, not written by Waid but by the more than capable screenwriter, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. Art is provided by Alitha Martinez, an Archieverse veteran and someone who looks like she can imbue the young cast of Riverdale with her fittingly fresh, crisp style.

THE DREGGS #1
Writer: Lonnie Nadler & Zac Thompson
Art: Eric Zawadski
Black Mask Studios $3.99

James R: Black Mask comics are definitely assembling a roster of books worth looking at, and this month The Dregs certainly piqued my interest. A comic that takes it's cues from classic detective fiction and Sweeny Todd, taking aim at gentrification, could definitely be a unique read. With art from Eric Zawadzki, The Dregs is intriguingly the first comic written by two Vice contributors, Zac Thompson and Lonnie Nadler. With that in mind, I feel this book could be brilliant or a trainwreck, but one of the joys of being a comics fan is taking the gamble to find out - I will let you know if The Dregs rises to the top in 2017.

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