If the headline didn’t give it away, this week Advance Scout is focused on all things new. Which, in a week of many, many titles means eleven new #1s and a 32-page one shot. Instead of trying to narrow down that field to just five or six picks, I’m instead going to list all of them and leave it to you to decide what you want to check out. Don’t get used to it. I’ll still flaunt my curatorial powers most of the time. But this week I had to yield to the bevy of titles.
This week I have also managed to cover just about every publisher Midtown Comics has listen on their site. And yes, I did just admit to using that site as my main source for weekly release information. Don’t we all?
So, without further ado, here is the list of Advance Scout picks for the week of 6/11/14.
As far as literary giants go, Edgar Allen Poe is a fantastic choice to translate into the comics medium. But you need someone who is deeply familiar with his work for it to really seep through on the page. To say Roger Corben is versed in the works of Edgar Allen Poe is a bit of an understatement. For the Dark Horse label, he has brought several of the author’s stories to life. “Spirits of the Dead,” “The Premature Burial,” “The Raven,” “The Red Death,” and “The Fall of the House of Usher” are all currently available in comic book form. Continuing in that tradition, he is now bringing “The Murderers in Rue Morgue” to life. Is he passionate about it? Well, he’s handling the art, the writing, and the cover art, so you tell me. I’d say so.
Fans of horror do not want to overlook this title. The cover price of just $3.99 for 32 pages of mastery is nothing to sneeze at.
Right now, if I had to pick one genre that is providing the best place for new, strong, interesting, female lead characters would be Fantasy. Whether it’s in films and TV (Game of Thrones, Frozen, Maleficent) or comic books (Rat Queens, Princess Ugg) we’re seeing some of the most bad-ass ladies to come a long in a quite some time. With The Blood Queen, writer Troy Brownfield and artist Fritz Casas is hoping to deliver that same thing for Dynamite Entertainment.
Set in a dark fantasy world of fairies, kings, knights, and magic, “a royal child’s life hangs in the balance.” This book stars a mysterious and powerful woman that must save the young princess, even if it leads to war.
I have to say, I’m not normally a reader of fantasy. But with all of the great new additions to the genre lately, I might have to start paying closer attention. Rat Queens already converted me. I might have to watch out for Blood Queen.
t was only a matter of time before the Angry Birds made their way into the world of comic books. Their continued popularity have spawned toys, a cartoon, endless spin-off games, and now, they’re hitting the page. While I normally might have felt a little leery about this book, Eisner-nominated writer Jeff Parker is writing the stories and IDW has had an excellent track record with all ages comics.
Since there isn’t much to tell about this book, here’s the description from IDW: “Angry Birds, the world’s most popular mobile game franchise, makes it’s comic book debut! Featuring a fun-filled, action packed story from Eisner-nominated creator Jeff Parker, these comics are ready to slingshot their way off the page and into your hearts!”
Mars. A place synonymous with science fiction and the action sci-fi romps of the ’80s. Rarely has it been a setting where a Utopian society is born. Red City is no exception. Set in a gigantic metropolis called Mars Central aka Red City, this story combines the familiar elements of crime stories – the missing daughter of a very powerful person, a lone detective and the crime lords he must deal with) with interplanetary science fiction. Here’s the official description: “In the wake of a system-wide civil war, hard-nosed interplanetary investigator Cal Talmage is given a simple mission to find a missing ambassador’s daughter in Mars Central, aka Red City. The routine case quickly complicates as Cal finds himself in the midst of rival alien mobs, street vendettas and political conspiracies. He struggles with personal demons as he discovers that another war is brewing, and the lives of an entire race hang in the balance.”
Writer Daniel Corey is a new-comer to comic books, with just one credit to his name prior to Red City. But he has a very experienced artist in Mark Dos Santos. Hopefully these two are able to get this books to hit the ground running because it is coming out just weeks before some of the biggest titles that Image has to offer.
If I have learned anything in the last three years, it is this: If Shaky Kane is the artist, BUY THE BOOK IMMEDIATELY. Having said that, I’m willing to bet you’d like to know a little more about That’s Because You’re a Robot. We know it’s a story set in the future about two cops who are paired to work together. They both know that one of them is a robot. But neither of them know who the robot is.
So, if that tripped-out premise isn’t enough to whet your appetite, then how about this: the writer is David Quantick, BAFTA winner and writer for HBO’s Veep. Personally, this is the book that I have my money on as the best of the entire bunch. The creative team is an absolute stunner, even if Quantick hasn’t been tested in the comic book medium. If you’re a fan of crime stories you’ll like this. If you’re a fan of heady sci-fi you’ll like this. If you’re a fan of vibrant, off-the-wall art, you’ll like this.
This book, on paper, has one hell of a pedigree. Hopefully it lives up to the lofty expectations.
Top Cow Productions has been pushing the limits lately. Think Tank is a book that openly rebels against the military-industrial complex, A Voice in the Dark is a book that focuses on the mind of a killer, and now Wildfire looks to take on the white-hot issue of genetically modified food. I don’t want to try and sum up the plot, so here’s the official description: “Is genetically modified food an end to world hunger or a first class ticket to the apocalypse? Dan Miller is a plant biologist working with a small team perfecting an accelerated plant growth process. When things go wrong, Los Angeles pays the price in a disaster story unlike any before.”
This is a book that was tailor made for a site like Capeless Crusader. Be on the lookout for Josh Epstein’s review. You can count on one dropping soon.
“Empty Man #1”
Writer Cullen Bunn (The Sixth Gun, Venom) and artist Vanesa R. Del Rey (Hit) haved teamed together to deliver a horror infused crime procedural set in a not-too-distant future. The Empty Man virus is a disease that causes extreme fits of rage, murderous tendencies, and a catatonic “empty” state of being. As murder cults rise up all across the country, the FBI and the CDC must rush to find a cure.
If that didn’t sound like everything you need for an awesome comic, I’m not sure you were paying attention. I know a lot of people might not be familiar with either of the creators but just trust me on this one. I have a gut feeling that BOOM! might have a genuine winner on their hands. It feels a lot like a mix of 28 Days Later, The Walking Dead, and a detective story. Which to me is everything I could ever ask for.
Just throw in a few mutant powers and I’m throwing money at you.
’ll say it: Joshua Hale Fialkov is on a roll. He delivered the goods with The Ultimates. He’s pushed the limits with the very cerebral The Bunker. And now he’s looking to tell a surrealist coming-of-age story about an infinite city built on infinite sadness. A story about a boy who must literally go through Heaven and Hell to save us all.
The artist on this project is the breakout talent, Gabo. He’s already won an Eisner award for his coloring work on Comic Book Tattoo and looks to cement himself as a stand-out artistic talent with this ambitious new title from Oni Press.
Right now I think Oni Press, BOOM!, and Image are putting out some of the most challenging books on the market and this premise is just another great example. Hopefully this book will resonate with younger audiences. We need all the help we can get bringing them back into the shops.
Valiant Comics has been doing a bang-up job of re-launching some of their flagship titles. Rai, Harbinger, Shadowman, UNITY, and X-O Manowar have all delivered in terms of writing and action on all fronts. With the strengths of the Valiant Universe on display in UNITY, it was only a matter of time before the first big crossover event hit this world.
Now, a feared intergalactic strike team has sworn to hunt down and destroy all of the X-O Manowar armor in the known universe and they have finally reached their last target: Earth. They will find and destroy them all, even if it means laying waste to the entire planet.
If you haven’t been on board for the build up, don’t fear. I have a strong feeling that Valiant and the creative team of Robert Venditti, Dough Braithwaite, and Laura Martin will make sure that new readers will feel welcome. They’d be remiss to do otherwise.
Taking the list back to the more all ages side of things, we come to the 2014 Impossibear solo book from Bravest Warriors. There are loads of people writing and providing art for this book. And once again, since not much is known as far as plot, I’ll simply provide you with the official description: “If there is one sassy fur ball in Bravest Warriors that deserves it’s own comic dedicated to how awesome he is, it’s Impossibear. Impossibear and Catbug are up to no good with the Bravest Warriors off on a mission! But have no fear, there are plenty of shenanigans to be had!”
Parents will want to consider grabbing this for their kids while they’re at the shop this week. Or if you’re a fan of things that are both cute and awesome, you’ll probably like this, too.
Rounding out our list is the return of The Dicks. Dougie and Ivor are back with Garth Ennis and John McCrea at the helm. This time, they’re dressed up as heroes, or, “Super-Dicks.”
If you can’t tell, this book is for fans of Ennis’ signature style of vulgar, crass, and hilarious comedy. It’s a send-up of all things “super” and these are just the guys to do it. Now, granted, if you’re looking for high-brow commentary on the state of our society or some kind of metaphor about the plight of the common man, this isn’t for you. If you’re looking for deeply emotional stories about the human struggle, this isn’t for you. If you’re looking for endless amounts of dick puns and raunchy gut laughs, then consider spending the money.
Either way consider yourself warned: The Dicks are back.
Whew. That was quite the list. You have your choices from Avatar, Oni Press, BOOM! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, Image Comics, Dark Horse, Valiant, and IDW Publishing. Every single book is a new starting title or a one shot aimed at new readers. There isn’t a single thing that keeps you from reading these titles except for your discerning taste.
Hopefully I’ve laid out the options for you in a way that helps you decide what you’re buying. But if I had to list my top picks, they are as follows: That’s Because You’re a Robot, Empty Man, Life After, and Wildfire. But whatever your predilections are, you have your choices. Choose wisely.