23 May 2019

The Shipping Forecast: July 2019

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 May issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in July 2019.

HOUSE OF X #1
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Pepe Larraz
Marvel $5.99

Matt C: The X-Men were once Marvel's premiere superhero team - they outsold the competition and they were the coolest band of outlaws in any fictional universe. Things have changed in the last couple of decades: Marvel Studios has pushed the Avengers to the forefront of popular culture while the X-Men's corner of the Marvel Universe has felt increasingly ghettoised and uninviting. They're still popular but there's been a real sense that things needed a shake-up to return them to the top. Enter Jonathan Hickman. Following his acclaimed run on Avengers/New Avengers that culminated in Marvel's best event book in years (Secret Wars), he's been enticed back to the House of Ideas and given the keys to the X-Mansion. Two miniseries - this and Power Of X (which will take a more historical approach to its story) - will lead to what appears to be an apparent relaunch of the entire line, with Hickman writing the main X-book (presumably Uncanny X-Men). House Of X will see a new version of Charles Xavier's dream being implemented, and if Hickman's previous work at Marvel is any indication, this could be a real game-changer.

LOIS LANE #1
Writer: Greg Rucka
Art: Mike Perkins
DC $3.99

Jo S: One of the items on my back issue hunt list currently are issues from the series Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane from the 60s. I freely admit that, in spite of the series' obsessions with weddings and catfighting over potential husbands, I judge sternly and will glare darkly at any dealers who store this under 'S' for Superman rather than 'L' for Lois. For this reason, it's fantastic to see Greg Rucka taking up her story: Rucka writes strong women; his Old Guard series was one of the first which made me realise that there exist comics where women lead, where they can be flawed and real and complicated and stubborn. The thought that his skills will be brought to Lois Lane, putting her square in the 'L' section, is intoxicating and I can't wait to see how this turns out.

SEA OF STARS #1
Writer: Jason Aaron & Dennis Hallum
Art: Stephen Green
Image $3.99

James R: Jason Aaron rightfully has a reputation as one of the best writers working in comics today - from his essential series such as Southern Bastards and Scalped to his current gig marshalling the Avengers for Marvel, his work is always great, and a new project from him and Denis Hallum immediately makes me sit up and pay attention. Sea Of Stars looks terrific: a science fiction tale featuring a space trucker stranded out in the galactic dark, in a desperate attempt to save his son who is beginning to manifest strange powers. As a sci-fi fan, I’m definitely on board with this one. The preview art from Stephen Green looks grand too: Sea Of Stars should be a space epic in every sense of the word.

GIANT-SIZED X-STATIX #1
Writer: Peter Milligan
Art: Michael Allred
Marvel $4.99

Kenny J: I never thought I'd see these characters in a comic again, mainly because the Marvel Universe is a very different place when compared to the early noughties. This is not your normal X-team so it is even better that the original creative team of Peter Milligan and Mike Allred are also back. It was so quintessentially theirs; dealing with strange television stars, who were also a team of mutants, at the height of reality TV's popularity. It will be interesting to see how they approach this now that fad is waning and so long after the original series. This is only a one-shot but, for me at least, it is a genuinely welcome surprise and I can’t wait.

BLADE RUNNER 2019 #1
Writer: Michael Green, Mike Johnson
Art: Andres Guinaldo
Titan $3.99

James R: I virtually shouted with joy on seeing this listed in Previews this month. I’m a huge fan of Blade Runner, and I believe that Blade Runner 2049 was one of the best sequels ever. Imagine my joy then, on learning that this long-gestating series is finally nigh from Titan. With a script from the 2049 co-screenwriter Michael Green and his longtime co-writer Mike Johnson, this book is set in the years between the first and second movies; anyone familiar with the films should agree that there’s a huge potential for stories set in that time frame. The art from Andres Guinaldo looks fantastic, and this is genuinely the comic that I’m looking forward to the most this summer. Suffice to say, I cannot wait!

VALKYRIE #1
Writer: Jason Aaron & Al Ewing
Art: Cafu
Marvel $3.99

Andy H: In this world of ever-changing creative teams, it's good to know there are some creators in for the long haul. Jason Aaron is one such creator - a talent you can rely on. His run on Thor has, arguably, been one of the highlights of Marvel's output over recent years and one of the most divisive. Aaron did the unthinkable: the Odinson was no longer worthy, a new champion had to be found. Step forward Jane Foster, possibly the last person you would imagine as the hammer-wielding Asgardian hero. This was a hero on two levels, the obvious, and the more human side. Foster was dying, losing a battle with cancer and Aaron crafted a sympathetic story and a character you cared for. Ultimately it was a battle she could not win but instead of entering Valhalla, she took the mantle of Valkyrie - this makes this new series a must have. Jane Foster was a breakthrough hero for me and I want to see where her journey will take her. As an added bonus, Aaron is joined by Immortal Hulk writer Al Ewing - two of my favourite writers on one of my favourite characters, I can't wait for this one.

JIMMY OLSEN #1
Writer: Matt Fraction
Art: Steve Lieber
DC $3.99

Kenny J: It's been a while since I’ve had the pleasure of picking up a Matt Fraction book. I was always a fan of his work at Marvel and creator-owned books like Sex Criminals and Casanova at Image. Now, working for DC, I’m excited to see what Fraction can do for Superman’s 'Best Friend'. Previously he has brought interesting and unique dynamics to characters that may have been given short shrift over the years so I’m particularly pleased that Fraction has returned to comics and chosen this character. Fraction has always been a fresh and unique voice that can breath life into any franchise. Add in to the mix Steve Lieber presenting a playful and colourful style and you truly have a team befitting the adventures of Jimmy Olsen. 

BLACK HAMMER/JUSTICE LEAGUE: HAMMER OF JUSTICE #1
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Art: Michael Walsh
Dark Horse $3.99

James R: As if I wouldn’t pick this! As the PCG’s number one Jeff Lemire fan, and long-time cheerleader for the greatness of Black Hammer, I’m obviously excited by this, a five-issue crossover series with the DC icons of the Justice League. Given that Black Hammer has so smartly incorporated comics history into its narrative, I’m fascinated to see just how the heroes of Hammer Farm work with the original archetypal comics super-team. Michael Walsh has a tough task in prospect combining these two worlds, but I’m convinced Lemire’s script will make for an essential read this month.

WONDER WOMAN: COME BACK TO ME #1
Writer: Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti
Art: Chad Hardin
DC $4.99

Jo S: Steve Trevor is lost in the Bermuda Triangle after the test flight of an experimental new aircraft goes awry, and Wonder Woman and Etta Candy are on the search to find him. Conner and Palmiotti take on writing duties with Chad Hardin artwork: I'm interested to see what the team usually responsible for Harley Quinn have made of the Amazon - this is a reprinting of stories formerly part of Justice League Giant #3-4, with Conner creating the magnificent cover cover art depicting Wondie surrounded by flames and rising above a team of firefighters. I'm looking forward to Etta Candy taking more of a starring role too.

HISTORY OF THE MARVEL UNIVERSE #1
Writer: Mark Waid
Art: Javier Rodriguez
Marvel $4.99

Matt C: I love this kind of stuff. A journey through the history of the Marvel Universe (erm, hence the title I guess!), from the Big Bang through to the end of time, this will no doubt feature a huge cast of characters, and from the art teasers we'll see everyone from the Two Gun Kid to the Living Tribunal make an appearance (which is embracing the mind-boggling brilliance and ridiculous of the mythology at a level I can really get behind). The art teasers look incredible, effortlessly capturing the thrill and awe these creations generate, and with Waid steering the ship this is a guaranteed highlight of the publisher's 80th birthday celebrations.

DOOM PATROL: WEIGHT OF THE WORLDS #1
Writer: Gerard Way & Jeremy Lambert
Art: James Harvey
DC $3.99

Kenny J: Gerard Way is one of my favourite creators working in comics today. I always felt his debut creator owned series, Umbrella Academy, was heavily influenced by DC’s strangest group of heroes, especially Grant Morrison’s run. Fast forward a decade and Way is writing his own inventive and suitably bizarre run on Doom Patrol under DC’s Young Animal imprint. Now it has returned for its third volume complete with a new subtitle and a new artist, James Harvey. A quick Google of his art tells me that I may be adding to that list of favourite creators: he has a style that fits the Doom Patrol and is particularly suited to my tastes. Doom Patrol has been one of my best-loved books over recent years but with its impending return and with its new artist I think it is going to hit a whole new level.

MARVELS EPILOGUE #1
Writer: Kurt Busiek & Alex Ross
Art: Alex Ross
Marvel $4.99

Matt C: Marvels was perfect in concept and execution, somewhat revolutionary in its ground-level view of the gestation of the Marvel Universe, harnessing the awe and wonder the House of Ideas' most iconic creations can engender. A sequel, Marvels: Eye Of The Camera, was okay, but it missed the unique magic of Alex Ross' painted artwork - it worked well enough but lacked the power and impact of the original. So do we actually need anything else added to those initial issues released in 1994, or was everything really all said back then? Quite possibly - the collected edition is still one of those books that should be on every comic fan's shelf - but if we get to see Busiek and Ross reunited to tell another tale in this world then it's unquestionably worth journeying back there one more time.

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