12 May 2017

Ten Forward: July 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 May issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in July 2017.

AMERICAN WAY: THOSE ABOVE AND THOSE BELOW #1
Writer: John Ridley
Art: George Jeanty
DC/Vertigo $3.99

Matt C: It’s over a decade ago now, and my memory of it fades with each passing year, but I do recall the original American Way series being particularly excellent, with the US government staging fake superhero battles against the backdrop of the Civil Rights era. Writer John Ridley will be more familiar to most for his film and TV work (12 Years A Slave, American Crime, the recent Guerilla) but if he and original artist George Jeanty can match the quality of the first series, this will be an essential purchase. Of course, it’s not too late for you to read the original story, and it’s not too late for me to re-read it either!

MOONSTRUCK #1
Writer: Grace Ellis
Art: Shae Beagle & Kate Leth
Image $3.99

Jo S: The cutesy cover for this new series caught my eye - I wondered whether there’s a deliberate nod to the title sequence of Bewitched with the retro text and sparkly stars surrounding it? The story is of magical beings living side by side with humans and follows our lead character, Julie, who works in a coffee shop and tries to fit in with normal folk as best she can, in spite of her slightly awkward habit turning into a wolf when irritated. Her beastie bestie Chet is a centaur, and together they are embroiled in magical hijinks! Oh my! This looks like a lot of fun and although it might not weigh in with the big boys in terms of heft, a bit of fluffy romance makes a nice break. Plus I'm hoping for an answer to a couple of Big Questions: must centaurs wear trousers when working in a coffee shop? And if so, do they wear them on their back legs only or all four?

SPIDER-MEN II #1
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Sara Pichelli
Marvel $3.99

Andy H: Over the years Brian Bendis has had his ups and downs but one character has always remained at a constant high. Bendis and the Ultimate Spider-Man, be it Peter Parker or Miles Morales, have been a winning combination. Back in 2012, the Peter Parker of the Marvel Universe traveled to the Ultimate Universe and teamed up with Miles Morales. The adventure was fun but the emotional backstory with Peter meeting the Ultimate counterparts of Aunt May, Gwen Stacey and Mary Jane was a fantastic development. Now, Miles Morales is firmly planted in the Marvel Universe and part of the Spider-family, but... there was already a Miles Morales in the MU! Who is he? Well, now we're going to find out. Bendis is joined by his original Spider-Men collaborators, Sara Pichelli and Justin Ponsor. You can't go wrong with this team and I'd honestly pick up anything Sara Pichelli draws.

MOUSE GUARD ALPHABET BOOK HC
Writer: David Petersen
Art: Serena Malyon
BOOM! Studios $16.99

Matt C: Like many of you, I mastered the alphabet at a young age and can now recite it, in the correct order, without much trouble. Therefore it may seem strange that I’d pick out this from Previews as it is, essentially, an illustrated alphabet, the kind of thing you’d give your pre-school kids to get them started on reading. But wait! You wouldn’t be giving this to any toddler because it looks like a work of beauty! Arguably it’s an indulgence, but it’s a hugely attractive one, and if you’re a fan of the Mouse Guard property and the meticulous artistry it employs, then maybe relearning the alphabet won’t be such a bad thing here!

SISTERS OF SORROW #1
Writer: Kurt Sutter & Courtney Alameda
Art: Hyeonjin Kim
BOOM! Studios $3.99

Jo S: So many nun puns, so little time… BOOM! have grabbed my interest with a couple of titles recently, including the quirky Godshaper and, one of my favourites of the year so far, Grass Kings, and this tale of nuns with big guns has some promise. Writer Kurt Sutter’s pedigree on Sons Of Anarchy looks to be coming into play in this tale of four women who by day run a women’s shelter and by night exact bloody vigilante-style revenge on those who have abused their clientele. It looks as though a deal of the writing will also be in Alameda’s hands; it will be interesting to see how this team collaborate on content that seems to set male and female characters in direct opposition. 

TIME & VINE #1
Writer: Thom Zahler
Art: Thom Zahler
IDW $4.99

James R: This is my wildcard pick for the month - every now and then Previews throws up a title where I can't tell will be great or not but I can't deny that I want to pick it up! Time & Vine is the very definition of this. The pitch is this: a teacher discovers that drinking particular vintages of wine enables her to travel back in time to the year the wine was bottled. I'm a teacher. I love wine. I love time travel stories. SOLD! Written and illustrated by Thom Zahler, the pitch alone has made me interested - and that's part of the joy of comics; discovering something unexpectedly great.

GENERATION GONE #1
Writer: Ales Kot
Art: Andre Lima Araujo
Image $4.99

Jo S: This issue #1 promises a tale of three young hackers and a scientist with a secret, a plot for one last job and a weird black goo, multiple trips to the sun and unexpected superpowers! The cover, gorgeously distinctive in striking monochrome, isn't giving much away but certainly seems to hint at a sci-fi and space travel tilt to the story, which immediately gets this sci-fi fan’s spidey senses tingling! We're told that the story is set in 2020 but that it’s about what it's like to be young in the USA in 2017 (neither of which description could be said to fit me) so I'm hoping Kot and Ara├║jo have a story for us which matches the impact of that striking image and makes it worth the spicy cover price!

LAZARUS: X+66 #1
Writer: Greg Rucka & Eric Trautmann
Art: Steve Lieber
Image $3.99

James R: One of those titles that's just an immediate pick. With PCG favourite Lazarus on a brief hiatus, Lazarus: X +66 presents us with six one-shots set within the Lazarus universe. Do I need to say why I'm picking this up? Lazarus remains one of the greatest comics being published today, and with the always-magnificent Greg Rucka supported by a strong team of writers and artists, this should satisfy us fans of Forever Carlyle and Co. before the main series returns in 2018.

THE DEATH OF STALIN
Writer: Fabien Nury
Art: Thierry Robin & Lorien Aureyre
Titan Comics $24.99

James R: I was drawn to this one due to the upcoming movie adaptation. I am a huge fan of comedy genius Armando Iannucci, and I was excited to hear that his next movie would be The Death of Stalin, an account of the seemingly madcap events in Soviet high command following Stalin suffering a stroke in 1953. I had no idea that Iannucci's film was an adaptation of a French graphic novel, created by Fabien Nury and Thierry Robin. Titan Publishing have taken the smart step in releasing an English-language version ahead of the movie release, and if it's good enough for Armando Iannucci, it's good enough for me!

SACRED CREATURES #1
Writer: Pablo Raimondi & Klaus Janson
Art: Pablo Raimondi
Image $4.99

Jo S: Again, the cover art drew my eye to this story of a young hero caught up in the battle between myth and reality. What appears to be a group of mismatched offbeat characters overlays a nighttime Manhattan skyline, full of twinkling lights. Our hero is a young college graduate, who finds himself on the front line in a battle against an ancient enemy. This appears to be following classic monomythic lines so I'm hoping that there's a little more to set it apart from the age-old tale of the youth on a quest. Apparently the first issue is a bumper 66 pages of colour art (justifying the $4.99 cover price, one hopes) so with luck there will be space to take this in some interesting directions.

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