Monday, March 19, 2012

MARCH Previews - for MAY 2012

It's been a while since I did this, so I asked for some help from some customers, and amateur blogger Derek stepped up.
Here's his thoughts on some titles shipping in May.

"In 1992, the impossible happened - an upstart independent company created a new,
cohesive universe that managed to go toe-to-toe with the industry's biggest
publishers, forever changing the comics landscape in the process."

Which comic company wrote those words? Don't worry if you're stumped. Those words
easily describe two publishers - Valiant and Image - who are pulling retired
characters off the shelf and dusting them off with  fresh creative teams this May.

YOUNGBLOOD #71 - Publisher: Image Comics
(W) John McLaughlin
(A) Jon Malin & Rob Liefeld
(Cover) Rob Liefeld
"It’s the 20th anniversary of the comic book that launched the Image Revolution in
1992! Youngblood returns bigger and better than ever with an all-new look at the
next generation of superheroes, courtesy of screenwriter John McLaughlin (Black
Swan, Parker), up-and-coming artist Jon Malin and Youngblood creator and Image
founder Rob Liefeld.

In this first issue, a young reporter is embedded in the Youngblood team.  Her
assignment is to gather enough information for a humiliating puff piece, but she
quickly discovers Shaft, Vogue, Lady Photon, Die Hard and Cougar are a team to be
reckoned with. Badrock would be part of the group too... if he wasn't in a coma with
wounds that have nearly pulverized his otherwise rock-hard hide."

The latest in the line of Liefeld's Extreme Studios books to get a new lease on
life. It will be interesting to see what McLaughlin brings to the table. Among the
knocks laid against Liefeld are thin plots, poor dialogue and non-existent
characterization, so having a proven writer on the book is worth a look.

Also this month from Extreme Studios, PROPHET #25 sees FAREL DALRYMPLE take over art
chores for this new arc. Pairing him with writer BRANDON GRAHAM promises to continue
delivering the interesting indie flavour this book has taken on since launch.

X-O MANOWAR #1 - Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Writer: Robert Venditti
Penciler: Cary Nord
Inker: Stefano Gaudiano
"The all-new Valiant Universe kicks off with a landmark, oversized # 1 issue of X-O
Manowar by New York Times-bestselling author Robert Venditti (The Surrogates, The
Homeland Directive) and Eisner Award-winning artist Cary Nord (Conan)! Born into
battle, Aric of Dacia — heir to the throne of the Visigoth people — has never known
peace. After a brutal encounter with a mysterious enemy known as The Vine leaves him
a prisoner on an alien world, the only hope Aric has of returning to his family and
saving them from slavery is to seize a weapon of incalculable destruction and become
X-O Manowar!"

Valiant returns after a long hiatus brought about by video game maker Acclaim's
bankruptcy. It's been about a decade since the last new X-O Manowar story was
published. Writer Venditti cut his teeth at Top Shelf where he published The
Surrogates, which was later picked up by Disney and turned into the movie starring
Bruce Willis. Nord's sharp pencils include his well-known work on Conan, Daredevil
and an Ultimate mini for Marvel, among other books.

Three more Valiant titles have been announced so far for release later this year -
Harbinger, Bloodshot, and Archer & Armstrong - with interesting creative teams lined
up for each.

A few more fresh books worth a look:

MIND MGMT #1 - Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Story and art by: Matt Kindt

"Matt Kindt, the most original voice in genre comics, outdoes himself in this bold
new espionage series!

Reporting on a commercial flight where everyone aboard lost their memories, a young
journalist stumbles onto a much bigger story, the top-secret Mind Management
program. Her ensuing journey involves weaponized psychics, hypnotic advertising,
talking dolphins, and seemingly immortal pursuers, as she attempts to find the
flight’s missing passenger, the man who was Mind MGMT’s greatest success—and its
most devastating failure. But in a world where people can rewrite reality itself,
can she trust anything she sees?"

Among Kindt's body of work is the critically acclaimed Super Spy (named indie book
of the year by Wizard) and 3 Story (both Dark Horse), a run as artist on a
three-part Sweet Tooth story and writer/artist for the original graphic novel,
Revolver (both Vertigo). He's been nominated for both Harvey and Eisner awards. Dark
Horse Comics appear to have a renewed push on original creator series, which is

TRIO - Publisher: IDW
Story and art by: John Byrne

"ZAP! POW! BAM! -- are sound effects you may actually see in this series, as John
Byrne returns to his roots with a brand-new superhero series. Their code names are
simple ONE, TWO and THREE, but the world calls them ROCK, PAPER and SCISSORS.
Together, they are Trio."

Looks to be classic, rollicking John Byrne fun based on the few preview pages
floating around the Internet. His fans probably already know this one is coming out.
For those of you who didn't, consider this our PSA so you aren't caught unawares.

MIND THE GAP #1 - Publisher: Image Comics

(W) Jim McCann
(A/Cover) Rodin Esquejo & Sonia Oback

"After Elle Petersen is mysteriously attacked on a Manhattan subway platform, she is
left in a coma, the only clues to her attacker trapped inside her mind. No one knows
the identity of the person behind this brutal beating or where they will strike
next.  In this all-new ongoing series, everyone is suspect, and no one is innocent.
USAToday calls it an 'anxiously anticipated modern thriller…Whodunit? McCann's done
it again.'

Eisner-winning writer Jim McCann joins Rodin Esquejo (Morning Glories) and Sonia
Oback (S.H.I.E.L.D., The Defenders) unite for a psychological thriller that will
leave you guessing at every turn!"

One of the more promising new non-superhero titles starting in May.

THE SPIDER # 1 - Dynamite
David Liss (w); Colton Worley (a)

Garth Ennis (w); Aaron Campbell (a)

Dynamite keeps pumping out the pulp, most recently in their revival of two classic
characters and the right creative muscle behind the new ongoing books.

"The Spider, one of the greatest pulp characters of all time is now re-launched into
the 21st century! the world knows Richard Wentworth as a decorated war hero and the
son of a wealthy industrialist - but only a few confidants know the truth.  As New
York City slides into violence and despair, Wentworth has transformed himself into a
force of justice as The Spider!  With only his wits, his technology, and his pistols
to aid him, he fights a one-man man war against crime, but when a mysterious new
villain threatens the city with an unspeakable horror, it may be more than even The
Spider can handle.  How far will a sane man go to restore order to an insane world?"

"It's 1938 and The Shadow returns in a tale of blazing action and deadly intrigue,
as a night of carnage on the New York waterfront plunges the mysterious vigilante
into a conspiracy involving the fate of the world itself. As storm clouds gather
across the globe, American Military Intelligence meets with a certain Lamont
Cranston, determined to beat a host of spies and assassins to the greatest prize of
all... but what that might be, only the Shadow knows."

 HIGHER EARTH #1 - Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Written by : Sam Humphries

"You are illegal on this earth.

Space is dead. Why conquer other planets when there's a perfectly good Earth in the
universe next door?

Heidi, a girl born in garbage. Rex, a soldier gone rogue. The only thing between
them and their destiny is an empire of a hundred different Earths, across a hundred
alternate timelines. One majestic planet dominates them all: HIGHER EARTH.

HIGHER EARTH is his sci-fi follow up to last year's surprise hit OUR LOVE IS REAL -- a fast-paced epic of infinite possibilities."

Originally titled Empire Earth, based on information on the company website, this
one is intriguing. BOOM has lined up a stellar group of cover artists for all the
variants, and they've taken out a full-page ad in the Previews catalogue to promote.
The solicitation hypes writer Sam Humphries based on his hit Our Love is Real, a
self-published book that went on to numerous printings before getting an Image
edition. But there is no mention of interior artist working on HIGHER EARTH. By now,
the book should be closing in on the finish if it's going to be stores by May. A
train wreck waiting to happen? Maybe. But for $1, it's a small risk worth taking for
a potentially entertaining sci-fi book.

Thanks Derek, It looks like May will be a BIG month and it would be easy to overlook titles from the "Indy" publishers when DC and Marvel are pumping out new stuff at a fever pitch.

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