24 Dec 2016

Ten Forward: February 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 December issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in February 2017.

FOREVER WAR #1
Writer: Joe Haldeman
Art: Marvano
Titan $3.99

Stewart R: Forever War sits easily in my Top 5 favourite books list. It is simply terrific science fiction. The story follows scientist turned interplanetary infantry man William Mandella as he battles a faraway enemy and the effects of relativity on his life and loved ones as he continuously returns home from distant battle to find a world he no longer recognises and a conflict that has morphed a hundred times during the course of one transit. Haldeman wrote the book during the 1970s as a reflective piece commenting at the time on the Vietnam War, but its insight into feelings of isolation in the face of change and progress still resonates in this 21st century landscape. The book was adapted into a graphic novel in the 1990s, but Titan will be the first to translate and publish in English so it really is time to get on board with one of the truly great sci-fi stories.

PLANET OF THE APES/GREEN LANTERN #1
Writer: Robbie Thompson
Art: Barnaby Bagenda
BOOM! Studios $3.99

Andy H: It's been a busy time in the world of inter-company crossovers. Planet Of The Apes has been popular, with a team up with both Tarzan and Star Trek (couldn't be more diverse). Green Lanterns have also gone where no one has gone before and spent time in the Trek universe, twice. Now it's the turn of the Apes and the Lanterns to play in the same sandbox. Interesting idea, and one where I can't even begin to guess how it will work. The other crossovers seemed obvious choices, this is a different kettle of fish altogether. Not a bad thing, which is what makes crossovers fun. Featuring characters from the original movie including Taylor and Cornelius and a cover by long time Green Lantern artist Ethan Van Sciver, it ticks the boxes for me.

SUN BAKERY #1
Writer: Corey Lewis
Art: Corey Lewis
Image $4.99

Kenny J: I love an anthology. Amazing Forest, one of my favourite books from the last year, has been put on hiatus so I'm in the market for another book of short tales. Enter Sun Bakery. Where the former book contained a variety of styles, the stories in Sun Bakery seem united by day-glo samurai playing video games and arranging their Spotify playlists. This common theme is down to Corey Lewis' bold artwork. All thick inks that remind me of Paul Pope mixed with a little Michael DeForge. Both punky and inventive. If you enjoyed the pop culture infused world of Scott Pilgrim then you're sure to love Sun Bakery with it's Wi-Fi swords, Instagram mechs and bird-boned mystic warriors all set to the sound of Sleigh Bells.

BULLSEYE #1
Writer: Ed Brisson
Art: Guillermo Sanna
Marvel $3.99

Matt C: Bullseye has proven to be an enduring nemesis for Daredevil over the years but arguably he's never had a function beyond his role of antagonist, existing as perennial thorn in Matt Murdock's side rather than a character that required a deeper exploration. That doesn't mean we have to rule out there being nothing more to him and Ed Brisson may be the man to flesh out the deadly criminal and provide insight into his murderous motivations. Brisson's taken a look at the dark side of human nature in series such as The Violent and Sheltered which helps single this on out from Marvel's batch of new books for February.

THE WILD STORM #1
Writer: Warren Ellis
Art: Jon Davis-Hunt
DC $3.99

James R: Certainly the most notable new release in February, but arguably the biggest gamble too. The Wildstorm Universe has been beset with problems since Jim Lee's creations were folded into the New 52 DC Universe (it seems so long ago now!). That always felt like an awkward move, especially following a misfire relaunch under Grant Morrison. 2017 sees another new start for Wildstorm, but now 'curated' by the great Warren Ellis. This could be an inspired move, however it's worth remembering that the last time this happened (with Marvel's relaunched 'New Universe') it became one of Ellis' great unfinished projects. We will see how this one pans out, but the preview art from Jon-Davis Hunt looks fantastic, and hopefully The Wild Storm marks a brave new dawn for the line.

PLANETOIDS PRAXIS #1
Writer: Ken Garing
Art: Ken Garing
Image $3.99

Stewart R: Ken Garing's Planetoid remains one of the great Image miniseries that didn't quite gain the following it deserved. It's not a far step, looking back now, to say that it could be dubbed 'Mad Max in Space' as its grizzled protagonist found himself stranded upon a desolate wasteland world, helping a band of survivors fight back against oppressive robot overlords. Planetoid Praxis will see Garing pick up the story many years later as the legacy of that warrior lives on, but what he helped to build now comes under threat from a new visitor. Not a great deal has been written about this new series aside from that so the mystery remains high. Image really have become something of a champion for titles from creators who both write and illustrate their own work and I can't wait to see how Garing's skills might have progressed in the four years since the last book.

JOHN CARTER: THE END #1
Writer: Brian Wood & Alex Cox
Art: Hayden Sherman
Dynamite Entertainment $3.99

Simon M: We are spoiled now with the depth of writing talent that exists outside of the mainstream superhero genre. In February 2017, one of my favourite writers is launching a new series tackling a pulp fiction icon from the early 20th century. Brian Wood is bringing his take on the classic John Carter of Mars to old and new readers alike. Joining Wood on writing duties is Alex Cox, who most people will associate with being the Deputy Director of the Comic Book League Defense Fund. Together they are bringing a John Carter story different to what we have seen before. Centuries have past and time has ravaged everything from the planet Barsoom to the very relationship between Carter and the love of his life, Dejah Thoris. Most of the central characters from Edgar Rice Burroughs original work will return in one form or another, so worry not. Hayden Sherman’s art will beautifully complement this sword and sorcery meets sci-fi mash-up. His style reminds me of Sean Murphy, which is high company indeed following Murphy's work on Tokyo Ghost. If you have any interest in this character at all, this should be well worth a look.

THE OLD GUARD #1
Writer: Greg Rucka
Art: Leandro Fernandez
Image $3.99

James R: This one was an automatic pick. Greg Rucka is a firm favourite of the PCG (and with many of you enlightened readers too, making Lazarus a worthy pick for Best Ongoing Series at the Paradoscars) so a new book from the great man is a cause for celebration. Illustrated by Leandro Fernandez, it deals with a group of immortal warriors operating in the modern day. The last time Rucka and Fernandez worked together was on Rucka's Queen & Country series and that sets an impressive pedigree for this book. It looks phenomenal, and it's the comic in this month's Previews that we all gave an automatic 'Yes!' to. The Old Guard looks like the new essential read.

SMOKETOWN #1
Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Art: Scott Van Domelen
Scout $3.99

Matt C: It’s sometimes overwhelming going through Previews – there’s so much stuff! - and it’s difficult to sift through it all without some of it escaping the attention. Fortunately I clocked this one because it sounds right up my street. A look at the credits (and the publisher for that matter) provides no glimmer of recognition but the Rashamon-style tale of the final days of a murdered soldier sounds like prime material for gritty crime drama so, while it’s a gamble on unknowns, in my book it’s a gamble worth taking.

HIGHLANDER: THE AMERICA DREAM #1
Writer: Brian Ruckley
Art: Andrea Mutti
IDW $3.99

James R: Alright, I'll be honest - this book only made the list to round up our picks to the required ten. But as a child of the '80s, I can't deny this has a definite pull. Highlander is the very definition of a VHS classic. A movie that may not have broken box office records on release but had a long life and built up a cult following amongst kids like me who spent their weekends in the care of Blockbuster Video. This new series from IDW wisely focuses on Connor MacLeod's long journey to win the 'prize', and who knows? It could be great. Written by Brian Ruckley and illustrated by Andrea Mutti, this will be worth a look if just to dispel the nasty aftertaste of all those Highlander cinematic sequels.

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