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 August issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in October 2018.
Writer: Nnedi Okorafor
Art: Leonardo Romero
Jo S: With her brother King T’Challa travelling the multiverse, the Wakandan princess is being drawn away from the safe space of her scientific work to satisfy her duty as regent in his absence, a role which does not sit lightly on young shoulders. For me, Shuri is one of the best parts of the Black Panther stories; she’s fantastically intelligent but also calm, witty, capable, loyal, honest and independent and I'm genuinely excited to read a comic with her in the lead role. Artist Romero is producing some really interesting work on Immortal Hulk currently and feels like a good fit for this project, and writer Okorafor has written for Wakanda-based stories previously: her background in science fiction and Afrofuturism makes her the ideal person to give Shuri the right stuff to take on this new challenge.
Writer: Gerard Way
Art: Gabriel Bá
Dark Horse $3.99
Kenny J: Fresh from his curation of DC’s 'Young Animal' imprint and Doom Patrol, Gerard Way returns to the series that started his comic career, Umbrella Academy. Now on its third volume, UA was one of the first comics that led me to reading titles outside the Big Two. In fact, it has informed much of my comic tastes ever since, with strange angst-ridden protagonists fighting even weirder creatures and concepts. The fact that it is returning with its original artist, Gabriel Bá, is even more of a bonus. He is one of my favourites but mainstream work by Bá has been sparse recently. For me, Way and Bá were a perfect pair that come out of nowhere to bring me an almost perfect comic, or at least one made just for me. I’m ecstatic that this long-rumoured return to the Umbrella Academy is now a reality and hope it is a return to regular comics for both creators.
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Art: John McCrea
James R: The co-creator of Hitman and a Deadpool scribe are a combination that immediately suggests a book with huge potential, and Dead Rabbit certainly looks promising. A former robber and hoodlum, the mysterious Dead Rabbit terrorised Boston of the 1990s... and now he's back out of retirement to save the love of his life, and the reason for his retirement. Illustrated by John McCrea and written by Gerry Duggan, Dead Rabbit has great pedigree for a crime comic, and in a quiet month for new releases, this looks like the standout title for me.
Writer: Max Bemis
Art: Paul Davidson & Various
Matt C: Sometimes unfairly dismissed as a knock-off Batman, the last few years have seen the Fist of Khonshu operate in the fringe areas of the Marvel Universe, where madness and violence go hand in hand. Writers such as Warren Ellis, Brian Wood and Jeff Lemire have explored the fractured mind of Marc Spector, his multiple personality disorder allowing the character to spin out into some surreal tangents, but also providing those commissioned to send him on some insane adventures the opportunity to explore the nature of identity. Max Bemis has added more of horror flavour to Spector's shenanigans, blending insanity and danger with black humour, and I'm pleased to see Moon Knight reach his 200th issue (even if it has taken nearly four decades to get there!).
Writer: Alan Grant
Art: Arthur Ranson
Rob N: Arthur Ranson was one of the earliest examples of the ‘photo-realist’ artists working in comic books, and a prime example of the ‘fine art’ aesthetic that permeated a stratum of the English comics industry during the heyday of our very own ‘Silver Age’ (he worked his early apprenticeship for Look In where he was tasked with drawing two page strips based on popular TV shows at the time, and a number of rock/pop biographies). Alongside the old school of painterly artists such as Frank Bellamy and Don Lawrence, Ranson worked an immense amount of detail into his small number of pages, so much so that like his predecessors I often wondered how on Earth he made a living on what was a very meagre page rate at the time. I liked to imagine they were perhaps an old fashioned breed of Gentlemen artists, men of independent wealth and means who dabbled in comic book illustration to bring in a little extra pin money to spend on vintage whisky and paying the monthly Harrods food hall bill. Mazeworld ran for three seasons in the pages of 2000 AD during a time (the mid 1990s) when my comic buying was sporadic and mostly centred around Vertigo titles. Suffice to say, I missed out on it entirely, except for seeing a few out of sequence pages every now and then as I browsed the magazine racks in WH Smiths. It tells the story of a hanged man; the first hanging in Britain since hanging was abolished, who at the point of death is whisked away to an alternate reality, a fantasy world dominated by a series of elaborate maze constructions where he is hailed as the reincarnation of an ancient folk hero, come to save mankind from their local tyrant (there's always a local tyrant in these alternate worlds). Alan Grant’s initial premise was not much more than that, and he was probably going to make it up as he went along until Ranson came on board and began working out an intricate background, storyline and geography that resulted in the co-creators crafting a mythos for future episodes. Just the sort of thing the creators of Lost should have done in Season One really.
Writesr: Tom King, Jordie Bellaire, Ram V., Cheryl Lynn Eaton & Tom Taylor
Art: Mikel Janin, Jorge Fornes, Elena Casagrande, Brad Walker & Various
James R: If you're not picking up Tom King's masterful run on Batman by now, let me just stress: you really should be! It's turned into one of the best examinations of the Dark Knight in living memory. For those of us who are already on board, October sees a total bonus in the shape of this Secret Files one-shot - a story by King serves a s a framing narrative to explore 'Bat-mysteries past and present.' With a bevy of artists pitching in, this is an autumnal must-read for all us Batman fans.
Writer: Delilah S. Dawson
Art: Matias Basla
BOOM! Studios $3.99
Jo S: I know I can be a shade sceptical when it comes to magic and especially fairies, so this might be a long shot for me, but I was seduced by Matias Basla’s delightful sample artwork, which is stylish and pretty, with distinctive bold page structures, and by a story containing a jackalope who can't lie, a girl rejected by both the families who produced her, an interfering færie queen and by the promise of some classy Victoriana. A story of rebellion, saving the world, earning one's wings… well, we all need a little magic in our lives sometimes.