Every month we spend an evening scouring the pages of the latest issue of Previews and pick the titles we are looking forward to the most. This month it's the December issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in February 2018.
Jo S: Yes, it’s a shameless pitch for the Valentine Geek dime, with a mid-February anthology featuring all the green, undead, tentacled, assembled-from-spares, twisted, tortured, cursed, gruesome, gothic, psychopathic or just downright unappealing DC unfortunates, all lovingly displayed in a plush box embossed with your sweetheart’s… Actually, there’s no box, but there will definitely be monster-lovin’ goodness, with some adorable talent on the roster: Paul Dini, Jeff Lemire, James Robinson and more will be grabbing their strawberry scented pens and putting little hearts on their ‘i’s, and art from Kelley Jones, Guillem March and Frazer Irving, among others will surely have our geek hearts beating a little faster. The cover is a great start: Swamp Thing has sprouted roses to impress his paranormal paramour, their embrace uninterrupted by the entrance of Frankenstein’s Monster; on seeing his bride in those mangrove root arms, you can almost hear his heart breaking. Or, if not his heart, the heart he happens to be using at the moment.
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Adam Kubert
Andy H: So far, this Zdarsky/Kubert Spidey title has hit all the right notes from issue 1. It's recaptured the fun and adventure that I feel Spidey has been missing over the last few years. Zdarsky weaves great dialogue into every page and tells a great story. Issue 300 is oversized, with guest stars from previous instalments, tying up some plot threads and leading into the next arc. Plus it has a glorious cover by Marcos Martin. I haven't enjoyed Spider-Man this much for years and look forward to what surprises Chip and Adam have in store for us in the future.
Writer: Mark Millar
Art: John Romita Jr
Simon M: I find it hard to believe, but the first Kick-Ass comic came out almost ten years ago and on Valentine’s Day 2018 the first issue in a new ongoing series will be available for our enjoyment. Moving from Marvel’s Icon imprint to Image Comics isn’t the only change we will be seeing when the first issue hits the stands: the main protagonist will no longer be Dave Lizewski. The geeky teenager is being replaced by thirtysomething Patience Lee. Patience is a military veteran and mum of two. Millar was very excited about having Kick-Ass as a legacy hero, Lizewski’s actions have inspired Lee to take up the mantle of Kick-Ass and forge a new path!. With this creative duo at the helm, we know exactly the level of quality work that will be produced. I’m hoping with this new character taking on the masked vigilante role, it will reinvigorate the title and make it feel as fresh as when it first came out a decade ago. If this series has taught us anything, when the first issue is released on the February the 14th, it is likely to be a bloody valentine!
Writer: Simon Spurrier
Art: Daniel Bayliss
BOOM! Studios $3.99
Jo S: More than 30 years on, Henson’s creations for Labyrinth are still fascinating and I’d likely have picked up this comic anyway, but the deal was sealed with Simon Spurrier’s name on the brass plate. Spurrier is a genius at building a twisted version of the world, different from our own and yet fully consistent and believable. Here, he’s taking an existing universe and extrapolating back into its history - who is the Goblin King and where did he come from? With art from Daniel Bayliss, who has excellent form already for the fairytale style of Jim Henson movies, this promises to be an enchanting maze in which to find oneself lost.
Writer: Ivan Brandon
Art: Esad Ribić
Matt C: Future gladiatorial battling sounds a little bit derivative, even when approached from a satirical standpoint, but some ideas are strong enough to warrant multiple visits from different angles, and this may well be one of them. I guess the real selling point for me though is Esad Ribić on artistic duties. That guy can draw! He’s up there with the best of them; his work on the likes of Thor, Uncanny X-Force and Secret Wars really evidenced that he’s a visual force to be reckoned with. However the story turns out (and I’m optimistic) at least we know it’s going to look really good.
Writer: Joss Whedon & Erika Alexander
Art: Jon Lam & Dan Jackson
Dark Horse $3.99
Andy H: It's on record how much I enjoy the Whedonverse and the Buffy comics have done it proud over the years. It's been a while since we've seen a supporting character in their own series and it's great to see Giles get a chance to shine. Since Rupert Giles returned from, well, you know where, he's had to deal with life as a teenage boy. So when he has to investigate the strange goings on at a high school, this time it's as a student and not a member of staff. Giles has always been a bit of a square peg in a round hole so seeing how he'll fit in should be entertaining. Written by Erika Alexander AND Joss Whedon this miniseries will definitely keep the world of Buffy and her friends, well and truly alive... or undead, depending which friend it is.
Writer: Daniel Kibblesmith
Art: Carlos Villa
Jo S: Lockjaw! In his own series! I know I’m not the only one who’s been waiting for this - right? I’m mean, look at his face! Look at his lovely face, he’s a good boy, isn’t he? What a good boy! Who’s my good… Sorry. Heh. So, yes, Lockjaw’s finally getting his own book and he’ll be stepping away from his crucial role of keeping the Inhumans safe and zipping family members around the place at the drop of a (giant) Bonio. Apparently, Ol’ Royal Slobberchops has siblings and they’re in danger; can’t a pup get even one day off? Daniel Kibblesmith’s writing has been in the main outside the comics genre but it looks a safe bet that he’ll be appealing to those looking for a more lighthearted Inhumans story, with his background in comedy on screen and on the net; Carlos Villa’s clean bright cartoon-coloured art style should set that off a treat. Did someone say treat?
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Art: Riley Rossmo
James R: I'm always pleased when there's a new Vertigo book that piques my interest, and Joshua Williamson & Riley Rossmo's new series Deathbed has done just that. The pitch is great: adventurer Antonia Luna is dying, and having been hidden from public life for twenty years, calls on journalist Valentine Richards to write his life story and separate fact from fiction. I love the idea that our lives are always part-fiction - we frame our lives within a narrative, shaping it to suit ourselves, and I think Deathbed using this as a jumping off point shows huge promise and potential. The Previews listing promises 'psychedelic violence and explosive supernatural adventure' and that's the sugar and sprinkles on top of what looks like a fascinating title.