This is the first of what will hopefully be a regular column, the purpose to it being to take a look at what potentially good comics are solicited for April in the current Previews and Marvel Previews magazines.
The internet is a great way for comic companies to put out information about their upcoming efforts but to me getting that information in a concentrated hit like Previews magazine focuses the mind and really inspires hope and confidence (and sometimes despair) in the future of comics. I get all my American comic books and trades via mail order so Previews is a big part of every month for me.
When the package of new comics arrives, almost the first thing I do is pore through the pages of Previews to see what’s new, which new series show promise and which new series are worth ordering. Getting a sense of what will turn out to be good and what won’t is pretty important to me and I’m sure that’s the same for a lot of people. I’m going to recommend some comics every month that I think you should consider putting on your pull lists with your local comic shop or service. I will mostly focus on new series or jumping on points in ongoings more so that recommend the usual stuff.
So with that preamble and context laid out I’m going to start off with Marvel comics. Since the last 2 columns I’ve done have put the boot in I thought it only fair that I start with them.
Black Widow #1
Page 15 of Marvel Previews
If ever a cover screamed “buy me” it would be this one, luckily though I think this book will be more than just a pretty cover. Marjorie Liu has done some decent writing on Dark Wolverine, a character who I thought would be a disaster in a solo book, in conjunction with Daniel Way. Now out on her own I think she’ll be able to let loose on Black Widow, a character who has been around for ages in the Marvel U but who could never make a regular ongoing book stick around.
Daniel Acuna is an artist who I’ve liked since his stint on The Eternals in 2008 and is an artist who I think has the potential for amazing growth. This is a $3.99 book but it is 40 pages although some of these are the now infamous “back matter”. Still, I think it will be worth it.
Spider-Man: Fever #1 (of 3)
Page 34 of Marvel Previews
This is a Spider-Man/Doctor Strange team up written, pencilled and inked by Brendan McCarthy. That had me sold right there. Now 99% of you have just gone “Who?” but take it from me, Brendan McCarthy is a excellent artist. He is one of the great Judge Dredd artists from 2000AD who later moved into TV and movie concept work. His last American work was a great issue of the late lamented Solo series from DC.
In this series Spider-Man is kidnapped by spider demons from another dimension and Doc Strange voyages on a quest to save him. This series will be NICE but even if you don’t buy it definitely put it on your trade wait list.
Avengers: The Origin #1 (of 5)
Page 40 of Marvel Previews
I liked the first Earths Mightiest Heroes series, the second was so-so but with (hopefully) the rebirth of the heroic Avengers it seems like a good time to find out some more about the origin of the classic Kirby Avengers. Joe Casey is a solid writer with good plotting and storytelling skills and I just love Phil Noto’s art. I know that he’s a bit like marmite, you either love him or hate him, but I think he’s good a good classic style and I think this series has promise.
Invincible Iron Man #25
Page 52-53 of Marvel Previews
This has been one of the standout Marvel comics during the whole dreary Dark Reign boreathon. Fraction has pulled out all the stops in rehabilitating Tony Stark from the shattered wreck of a character that those hacks Bendis and Millar turned him into (see I couldn’t write this without at least some anger!) and Larroca has matured as an artist over the course of this series.
Fraction is going to be an important writer for Marvel if this “Heroic Age” is actually going to work since he will be writing 2 of the big 3 solo books, Iron Man and Thor. So this is the ground floor of what will hopefully be the rebirth of Marvel after a terrible year and a half. *note- another Iron Man title called Iron Man: Legacy is also launching this month*
Page 61 of Marvel Previews
A new ongoing written by Jonathan Hickman and if you look at the artists blog at http://dustinweaver.livejournal.com/ you’ll see the art is pretty sweet too. The story looks like sort of 1602 meets Secret Warriors, famous people from the past like Leonardo da Vinci and Isaac Newton are agents of S.H.I.E.L.D fighting against Galactus, the Brood and the Celestials. This series sounds like it was made for Hickman so what more do you need to know?
Brightest Day #0
Page 63 of Previews
Let’s start the DC offerings with the blindingly obvious choice. Blackest Night ends in March and what comes after that? Well it’s a 26 issue bi-weekly series (that’s twice a month folks) written by the Green Lantern brain trust of Geoff Johns and Pete Tomasi with art in this issue by solid Outsiders artist Fernando Pasarin, the following page from that comic should give an idea of what his art is like (click to enlarge):
Blackest Night has been so good that there’s always a fear that what might follow could disappoint but Johns and Tomasi have been on such a roll in the last year that that seems unlikely. This is the start of the new age of positive storytelling in the DC Universe so hop on board!
The Flash #1
Page 66 of Previews
Flash: Rebirth was a patchy affair but since then Barry Allen has re-established himself in the DC Universe. Geoff Johns again writing (does this guy ever sleep???) with Francis Manapul on art duties. I’ve seen Manapul’s art from early days in Witchblade and later on in the pages of Jim Shooter’s Legion of Superheroes and Adventure Comics for DC and his art has progressed and matured over the years.
The Flash is one of the core titles to the Brightest Day project (the others being the Green Lantern titles and JLA) so if you’re interested in keeping up with the DCU it should be a good place to be.
Doc Savage #1
Page 78 of Previews
Before Superman, before Batman, before Deadpool….there was Doc Savage, the original pulp hero that a lot of the golden age comics creators took inspiration from….or just plain swiped depending on your point of view. DC bought the license for the Man of Bronze to help launch their First Wave line of characters an attempt to use one of the 52 earths in the multiverse along with The Spirit, The Blackhawks, Justice Inc. and Pulp versions of Black Canary and Batman.
The Doc Savage/Batman crossover was a solid book which really was just there to set the scene for the First Wave proper. I like the look of this line, DC are treating it seriously and putting good talent on it, in this case crime writer Paul Malmont and ex-JLA artist Howard Porter. I think this could be a very interesting series.
My favourite Teen Titan joins one of the best books in the market today. If you aren’t buying this book….what the hell is wrong with you??? Bedard is weaving a great story using many of the great cosmic characters that the DC universe has led by the single most unsympathetic lead character you could find….and it works so well.
Hands up, who thought that this book would ever reach 15 issues? Well it has and it goes from strength to strength…if you haven’t got on board already, well, do so now and catch up with the trades!
Fraggle Rock #1 (of 3)
Publisher: Archaia Entertainment
Page 197 of Previews
Launched in 1983, Fraggle Rock was a series from the Jim Henson Company that lasted 4 years. The Muppet Show was a little before my time but Fraggle Rock caught the imagination of lots of kids of that era, I bet there’s lots of adults now who could sing the theme tune without much prompting.
Now Archaia are launching the first limited series of 3 issues of a new series of Fraggle Rock comics in the same 8×8 format of Mouse Guard. Archaia don’t put out many books but those that they do release are very good quality in terms of story and art. If you don’t buy it for yourself then buy it for your kids, nephews and nieces etc to enjoy.
Publisher: Boom Studios
Page 214 of Previews
Boom has done a pretty good job with their adventure comics like Dingo and this looks like it could be another winner. It has a CSI/Fringe type vibe to it in the previews with maybe a touch of The Losers. Carey Malloy is a new name to me but Boom have shown good judgment for the most part in their writer/artist teams. This is a 4 part mini-series which should rattle along at a good pace.
The Green Hornet: Year One #1
The Green Hornet is Dynamite’s newest licensed product and in their inimitable style they’ve launched it with 3 series. Kevin Smith is writing the main title but I think this will actually be the pick of the bunch. With Matt Wagner on writing duties you know you are going to get a well researched atmospheric period piece full of detail, characterization and most important of all in a Green Hornet series….action! Aaron Campbell is on art duties, you can see some of his work at his site and its solid yet dynamic, just the right fit for this title. The only qualm I have about it is its $3.99 price point (DE have up to now shied away from $3.99). C’mon Dynamite, don’t go over to the dark side!
Voyages of the Shebuccaneer: Origins #1(of 3)
Publisher: Great Big Comics
Page 258 of Previews
One of the problems with Previews is that the big publishers are clustered at the front and the smaller publishers are all clumped together in the back of the magazine and can sometimes be overlooked. Nestled away on page 258 of Previews is the new saga of the Shebuccaneer, her origin in fact. She’s an ass-kickin’, sword-swingin’ Queen of the Spanish main putting merchantmen and monsters to the sword.
I really enjoyed the last series of Buccaneer and this looks to be in a similar vein, brought to you by the husband and wife writing/art team of Will and Heidi Hughes. This may be a $3.99 title but this is from a small company that’s worthy of your support. Definitely a must buy for fantasy and adventure fans.