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 April issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in June 2018.
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Ivan Reis & Joe Prado
James R: If you've picked up a DC book at all over the last few months, you can't help but have noticed the huge double-page ads proclaiming 'BENDIS IS COMING!' I'm still not quite sure Marvel's long-time lynchpin deserves such fanfare (largely due to his output of the last few years) but the Man Of Steel six-part series is undoubtedly one of the events of the year. DC have opted to make this a weekly event, with a roster of different artists, portraying Superman facing "The biggest threat of all time" - that's quite a boast! We'll see if the series delivers on the hype in June.
Writer: Al Ewing
Art: Joe Bennett
Andy H: The Hulk and Bruce Banner are back! Yes, Banner was dead but like many comic characters, he got better. If you've been reading 'Avengers: No Surrender' you'll know this, but fear not, writer Al Ewing promises everything will be explained in Immortal Hulk #1. This latest incarnation has a change in the Banner/Hulk status quo. During the day, Bruce Banner walks the earth but at night the Hulk takes over. In an interesting take on the character Banner has been made very mortal. He can die but once the sun goes down the Hulk will rise regardless. This series definitely has a strong horror vibe running through it and that definitely gives me a reason to pick up issue #1.
Writer: Brian Wood
Art: Mack Chater & Jose Villarrubia
Dark Horse $4.99
Simon M: This June we are in for a treat. The dark stories from the mind of Brian Wood that are set in the unforgiving world of the Vikings are back in a brand new series. Anyone who has read Wood's Northlanders series will know already how immersive his historical tales can be. Not only do we get a new Viking tale, this yarn has been heavily influenced by the classic Samurai stories involving a revenge quest. The story centres around a father and daughter who have survived the destruction of their village by a band of raiders. To complicate matters the duo have a strained relationship following the father's abandonment of his infant daughter following the raid 10 years ago and now he has to repair the damage done as the two reunite. Wood is a master of this sort of tale, as he has shown in both his Norse history books and his recent series Rebels set during the American War of Independence. To add to the excitement, each of the issues from the first arc are eight pages longer than the standard monthly comic. The preview art is a testament to Chater, who has been heavily influenced by European comics. He describes their art as "the colour palate reflect both the landscape and the tonal feel of the book, to elicit an emotional response from the reader". This should well be worth a look.
Writer: Mark Millar
Art: Olivier Coipel
Matt C: Netflix generated a stir last summer by acquiring Millarworld, Mark Millar's comic book imprint, presumably to enable them to have first dibs on any potentially lucrative ideas he whips up going forward. He remains the master of the high concept, and while that doesn't always translate into compelling stories, his hit rate is higher than most, so Netflix may be onto a winner with the purchase. The premise for this one doesn't necessarily indicate anything particularly special - by day they're regular folks, by night they're magicians battling evil - but Olivier Coipel on artistic duties increases the appeal significantly.
Writer: Gail Simone
Art: Adriana Melo
Jo S: Gail Simone and Adriana Melo have been working together on Birds Of Prey for a while and, taking a look back at some of their output, this looks like a winning combination to shape the story for super-bendy super-guy Plastic Man. Eel O’Brian, morphable hero but everyday zero has been left for dead by gang thugs but has unexpectedly ‘bounced back’ and is now out for revenge amongst a shopping list of other aims. Looking at Simone’s back catalogue, rich with female characters especially, this feels initially like a leftfield choice for her so it will be interesting to see what her unique take on this particular superhero will be.
Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Mike Del Mundo & Christian Ward
Matt C: We've still not reached the resolution of the 'Death Of The Mighty Thor' storyline, but it won't surprise anyone that Jane Foster will no longer be wielding Mjolnir when the dust has settled. It was only a matter of time before the Odinson reclaimed the hammer, and now he's back, with Jason Aaron still firmly ensconced in the writer's chair (you imagine they couldn't pry him away if they tried!). Aaron's credentials with the Asgardian mythos are well established at this stage; what's especially interesting about this relaunch is the artists they've hired to take the illustrative duties. Both are less conventional than the norm, but both are equally striking talents, and up to the task of rendering the Thunder God's new adventures. Del Mundo focuses on the current timeline,Ward peers ahead to what King Thor's getting up to in the distant future. It'll look fantastic, and be brilliantly rewritten. If you've been waiting for a 'jumping on point', this is it.
Writer: Alan Moore
Art: Kevin O'Neill
James R: Alan Moore's retirement from comics/victory lap heads into the final straight with the release of the last League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen adventure, The Tempest. As a huge Alan Moore fan, I've loved every iteration of this series, and I'm really excited to read the culmination of this now twenty-year *gulp* project. Previews also says that this is the swansong for the inimitable artist of the series, Kevin O'Neill, providing yet more reasons why this is an unmissable purchase in June.
Writer: Christos Gage & Joss Whedon
Art: Georges Peaty, Karl Story & Dan Jackson
Dark Horse $3.99
Andy H: With an unsurprising level of predictability, Buffy makes it to my looking-forward-to list with even more reason for being there than I would usually need. Firstly, Christos Gage returns as writer but is joined by a certain Joss Whedon for this four-part story. Not only that but Georges Peaty is back, bringing an artistically familiar look to the Scoobies. As if that wasn't enough, there are even more 'returns' to get excited about. Angel and Faith are back in the fold and that means Illyria can't be far behind, plus throw in a visit from Fray and this miniseries has everything except the kitchen sink! All this and I haven't got to the plot yet but looks like it involves time travel, alternate futures and will be the culmination of all the Buffy seasons.
Writer: Farel Dalrymple
Art: Farel Dalrymple
Jo S: Dalrymple, almost sole creator of this new series, describes himself as a cartoonist rather than a comic book writer or artist, which is interesting to me as this cements for me the reason I was drawn to it: the sample art shows an old school, quite British cartoony style. To me, it has the little details, cutaways and descriptive boxes of my favourite Whizzer And Chips strips, with chaotic page structure echoing a chaotic scene, and little miniatures of characters heckling the hero, the brilliantly named Sherwood Breadcoat, from the corners of the cells. Back this up with time travellers, spacewizards and mad scientists and you’ve got a combination which exudes quirky eccentricity - just my thing!