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23 Dec 2019

The Shipping Forecast: February 2020

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 2020.

BANG! #1
Writer: Matt Kindt
Art: Wilfredo Torres
Dark Horse $3.99

James R: Matt Kindt was responsible for some of the most inventive comics of the last decade - his epic work on MIND MGMT alone showcased what a unique talent he is. I’m thrilled to see him starting the new decade in clearly scintillating form. BANG! boasts a pitch that is simply irresistible: ‘A secret agent with memories he couldn’t possibly possess, a retired mystery writer who solves crimes in her spare time, and a man of action who takes mysterious drugs to keep him ahead of targeted disasters and a seemingly omnipotent terrorist organisation’. SOLD! I would have loved to see Kindt illustrate the series too, but in Wilfredo Torres he has an excellent co-creator, and this is definitely my number one pick for the month.

CRIMES OF PASSION #1
Writer: James Tynion IV, Steve Orlando, Sina Grace, Jay Baruchel, Stephanie Phillips and others
Art: Greg Smallwood, Riley Rossmo, Andie Tong, Mike Norton, Anthony Spay and others
DC $9.99

Jo S: I have a soft spot for DC's annual Valentine's Day compendium: for some reason the switch-up from their regular gritty darkness into something a little more soft'n'fuzzy warms my cockles. There's plenty to love in the talent line-up for this 10-story affair, with a set of big names boosted by some less familiar talent: one name in particular caught my eye - actor Jay Baruchel, familiar to me as the voice of Hiccup in How To Train Your Dragon (which may actually be more worthy of your attention than you'd initially think, at least if you have kids) is putting pen to paper for one of the stories - an interesting but not unprecedented change of career: he has written for Captain Canuck in the past! The pitch for the book comes from private investigator Slam Bradley, so won't be taking DC too far from its detective roots, but if past examples are anything to go by, this will be a wide-ranging sampler of bittersweet romance.

X-MEN/FANTASTIC FOUR #1
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Art: Terry Dodson
Marvel $4.99

Matt C: Chip Zdarsky confirmed he had a brilliant handle on Marvel's First Family during his short stint on Marvel 2-In-One, so I've been waiting for him to get another crack at the team for a while. It seems that Franklin Richards' mutant status is going to put the FF and the X-Men at loggerheads now that Krakoa is welcoming all mutants into its borders. Franklin and Valeria are fascinating characters who aren't always explored to the fullest potential (Jonathan Hickman did a lot to address that during his run on Fantastic Four) so this is really promising, particularly when its coming from the dream team of Zdarsky and Dodson. 'Dawn Of X' continues to be a healthy breeding ground for appealing storytelling.

HARLEY QUINN AND THE BIRDS OF PREY #1
Writer: Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti
Art: Amanda Conner
DC $5.99

James R: I’m not normally a big Birds of Prey fan, but the creative team here means I have to take a look. I love it when Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti work together - for my money, their run on Power Girl a few years back was criminally under-valued, and seeing them on the same Black Label title means they’re going to be able to let rip a little more than they would have during their run on Harley Quinn. It’s focusing on Harley’s return to Gotham, and that’s good enough for me: Conner and Palmiotti could make Harley working in the post office entertaining, and I’m looking forward to seeing what they do with the freedom of the ‘mature readers’ stamp.

PLUNGE #1
Writer: Joe Hill
Art: Stuart Immonen
DC $3.99

Simon M: I've really been enjoying the new Hill House Comics, a pop-up line of horror stories brought to us by the mind of contemporary horror writer Joe Hill. So far we have had Basketful Of Heads and The Dollhouse Family, penned by Joe Hill and Mike Carey respectively. Come February 2020, we can sample Hill's second offering, Plunge. This tale will take us north, well within the Arctic circle; following a tsunami the ship Derleth seems lost without trace, yet 40 years later the distress beacon is activated and a salvage team is sent to investigate. The wreck is discovered under the ice near some undiscovered islands but as always things are not how they appear. The name of the salvage team is Carpenter which is presumably a nod to John Carpenter who directed the iconic horror film The Thing set in the Antarctic. Joining Hill in this literally chilling tale is Stuart Immonen who is making his return to the comic world following a short retirement last year and it is good to see him back.

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