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 July issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in September 2017.
Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Esad Ribic
Matt C: I’m still not entirely sure what the purpose of this ‘Legacy’ initiative is, aside from placing emphasis back on the original iterations of the most iconic characters in Marvel’s pantheon. There’s the short term gain, maybe, but where does this take us in the long term? Then I remember that I’ve been reading Marvel comics for over three decades now, I’m familiar with the constant change-vs-illusion-of-change paradigm, and I’m really too old to get worked up about these things anymore. I don’t like a certain direction they're taking with a specific character? Fine, I’ll let it run its course and be back when they do something that connects with me again. But anyway, regardless of whether this new push by the House of Ideas connects this time around, this issue has the creative team of Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic, one of the very best partnerships you can get from Marvel’s current roster of creatives, so at the very least it’ll be smartly written, beautiful to look at and worth picking up, whether the whole concept ultimately sticks or not. In this case, I’m erring on the side of optimism.
MADE MEN #1
Writer: Paul Tobin
Art: Arjuna Susini
Oni Press $ 3.99
Andy H: Oni Press may not have the largest output of comic publishers but what they do produce is varied and of a high quality. So when I saw the tag-line 'The A-Team meets Frankenstein' I knew I should read more. Glad I did. Made Men is written by Paul Tobin, author of the excellent Colder from Dark Horse. That was a mix of horror and madness with the added bonus of the excellent art of Juan Ferreyra. Here Tobin returns to horror as Jutte Shelley and her Detroit Special Ops are gunned down. The twist? Jutte Shelley is a Frankenstein and she has access to her famous ancestor's secrets, so I'm guessing the dead will be getting a second chance. This will probably not end well for those involved as the Frankensteins have been known to be a bit 'unlucky' in the past.
Writer: Gail Simone
Art: Aaron Lopresti & Matt Ryan
Jo S: Obviously, I'm a mug for all things Themiscyran at the moment, and I'm sampling a range of Wonder Woman books just to see what works for me. Gail Simone at the helm of this Wonder Woman/Conan crossover bodes well; I'll be interested in how the Barbarian/Amazon dynamic of interplay unfolds and whether these two immensely strong and strong-willed characters fight for dominance or whether they find it in themselves to collaborate. This six-issue run begins as Diana and Conan find themselves trapped in slavery from which they must battle to escape - plenty of super-butt-kicking will ensue, I very much hope!
Writer: Matt Nixon
Art: Toby Cypress
James R: I am always pleased when a new month means a new (potentially great) book from Image, and September sees Retcon stepping up to the plate. Artist Toby Cypress describes the book as "Like David Lynch doing a few episodes of The X-Files" and I was sold on that pitch alone! The book itself looks to be high-concept SF about a team of paranormal investigators who have to shut down parallel dimensions to guarantee the safety of Earth... only to find themselves being retconned as a result. The script by Matt Nixon certainly whets my appetite for a high-concept series, and it will be interesting to see how this compares to the other dimension-hopping Image title, Black Science.
Writer: Ben Templesmith
Art: Ben Templesmith
Andy H: It's been a while since we've been treated to the adventures of Wormwood, about 10 years by my reckoning. Ben Templesmith is a busy guy but this is my favourite of his titles so it's great news that it's back. Wormwood is a worm, a transdimensional demigod worm. He takes control of a dead body by burrowing into the corpse's head. Of course it's usually a well-dressed corpse, hence the 'gentleman' part of the title. Templesmith has an art style that stands out a mile and WGC also highlights his wicked sense of humour as Wormwood is equal parts horror and comedy. Wormwood also has a strong supporting cast to help save the day. All in all this should hopefully be a return to form for this much missed character.
Writer: Simon Spurrier
Art: Caspar Wijngaard
Jo S: The huge draw for this comic for me is writer Simon Spurrier. His Godshaper series has gone from strength to strength and is easily one of my favourites of the year so far, much as a result of Spurrier’s ingeniously created fantasy world of little gods and their unique worshippers. This book is a tale of a winged monkey (“Fly my pretties! Fly!”) rebelling against the cultural compulsion which forces her to settle down, have children and give up her wings, set in a post-human Earth populated by genetically engineered animals. I'm not yet familiar with Wijngaard’s artwork but the cover shows glimpses of ‘dystopia with techno-dolphins’. What more could you need?
Writer: Mathieu Bablet
Art: Mathieu Bablet
Titan Comics $5.99
James R: This is one of those titles that really make a monthly trawl of Previews worthwhile. Even as someone online a lot, I was totally unaware of Titan Comics' recent push to bring the best of international comics to an English-speaking audience. Beautiful Death was originally published in France, and the preview art by Mathieu Bablet (who also writes the series) looks superb. I am always a sucker for a post-apocalyptic tale, and this looks like it will bring some much-needed European culture to my pull-list.
SAMURAI JACK: QUANTUM JACK #1
Writer: Fabian Rangel Jr.
Art: Warwick Johnson-Cadwell
Jo S: I'll admit right away that Samurai Jack has not to date crossed my radar although I understand it's well known as a TV series as well as having seen comic book instances before. What snagged my interest here was artist Warwick Johnson-Cadwell: I recently followed his work in Helena Crash and his unusual style is certainly very distinctive. How much this is to the taste of Jack’s existing readership remains to be seen: Johnson-Cadwell’s work is wonky, with broken perspective, sometimes stylishly Picasso-escape, sometimes almost crudely childish, and I wonder how many will bother to acquire what would seem to be something of an acquired taste.
Writers: Chris Ware & Ira Glass
Art: Chris Ware
James R: Chris Ware is an utter genius of the medium. We don't mention him too often here as his work is released sporadically and in collected editions, but for me he stands alone as the greatest living comics creator. From Jimmy Corrigan, through the volumes of the ACME Novelty Library and up to his last effort, the incomparable Building Stories, Ware constantly innovates in the medium, while showing an insight into the human condition few authors of any medium can match. News of any new work from him is cause for celebration for me - and September sees the release of Monograph, an almost autobiographical look back over Ware's career to date. This will be comics at their very best, and it's easily my stand-out highlight for September.
SECRET EMPIRE OMEGA #1
Writer: Nick Spencer
Art: Andrea Sorrentino
Matt C: Secret Empire has been riotously entertaining and surprisingly relevant in places, and it’s perhaps the last hurrah for more contentious material of this nature before Marvel goes back to basics with their 'Legacy' initiative. We all know how this is eventually going to play out (spoiler alert: Hyrda Cap will be defeated!) but it’s the journey to that destination that's made Secret Empire worth the ride so far, and I’m hoping the finale will be a satisfying one. This appears to be an epilogue, but as it’s written by main event scribe Nick Spencer and illustrated by one of the big guns involved in the project, Andrea Sorrentino, there’s no way I can view this as a pointless tie-in. I’m thinking this will be essential.