New comics are due to hit the shelves on Wednesday so here’s a look ahead at some of the books we’ll be picking up this week.
Matt C: Garth Ennis is unquestionably one of the great writers of the modern age, his work on the likes of The Punisher and (of course) Preacher being lasting, influential highlights of the medium across the last few decades. His last significant contribution to the horror genre was with Crossed; it's a concept that has arguably been milked to death in the years that followed but that original miniseries still holds up as a masterclass of blending both physical and psychological horror to devastating effect. He returns to the genre this week with A Walk Through Hell - the title indicates it won't be for the faint of heart but the opening line of the premise 'two FBI agents walk into a warehouse...' is all I need to sign up for what I hope will be an enlightening if unpleasant meditation on the human condition. Over at Marvel, before the Odinson reclaims his book again, we get an epilogue of sorts to Jane Foster's time with the hammer in Mighty Thor: Gates Of Valhalla #1. Whether the tale really needs an epilogue is questionable, but I trust writer Jason Aaron has something more to say on the matter that will make it worthwhile. Also from Marvel - and from Aaron - is Avengers #2. The relaunch convinced with a really solid opener that refocused the core trio (Cap, Stark and Thor) by emphasising their bond (absorbing some of the traits of their MCU counterparts, natch) and adding an exciting bunch of new team-mates to prepare for a cosmic threat one million years in the making. Meanwhile at Image, The Dead Hand returns for its second instalment after a startling twist in the debut issue; writer Kyle Higgins appears to have another winner on his hands. Then there's Gideon Falls #3, the continuation of Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino's beguiling supernatural mystery, oh, and of course there's the third issue of Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin's impressive Barrier, but you're all on that one already, right?
Jo S: Following an initial pass through this week’s treasure trove which netted a quite preposterous 19 possible comics, I've taken a scythe to the pile and mown it down to a mere seven. An X-Men comic which only appears monthly is something of a luxury, and my memory of issue #3 of X-Men: Red is a bit distant, although not without warmth; I might just need to take a peek at it again as a refresher before issue #4 appears this week. Much more frequent are Image’s new offering, Barrier: the first two episodes set up concepts of division and separation adeptly and the landscape format and superbly creative art make this a really unusual comic book experience. I nearly missed the first issue of The Dead Hand, and appreciate the guidance of my PCG chums - “it’s not what you think it’s going to be” - plus a reminder or two to get it read in this hyper-busy week which were much needed and my curiosity is pinging in anticipation of the second issue. Just one new starter makes the cut: I talked about Flavor in our Shipping Forecast piece and this looks like a bit of fun. All of this pales somewhat though in comparison to the crowning jewel of this week’s offer: the first two issues of Gideon Falls were standouts for the year and it's immensely frustrating that, due to work commitments, I won't even get my hands on the third until Thursday this week. Lemire and Sorrentino are the perfect magical double act, and they have quite stolen my breath with this unique piece.