Every month Diamond releases the 400+ page Previews catalog, a guide to everything available in the world of comics and geekdom two months from now. Such a massive volume can be a terror to make it through. This guide is designed to highlight some of the great things coming to the world of comics in July of 2011. This installment covers upcoming titles from Image and Marvel Comics.
Image opens its offering with the first new independent title from writer Jonathan Hickman in quite some time. The Red Wing, with art by up and comer Nick Pitarra, apparently focuses on futuristic pilots that somehow also travel in time. The solicits and preview seem rather vague, but Hickman now has a proven track record of producing quality comics, both from Image and his work-for-hire work at Marvel (SHIELD, Future Foundation, Secret Warriors).
A Rob Liefeld creation from the mid-90s returns in Avengelyne 1. Strangely this is actually the first issue of Avengelyne to make its way from Image, as her original run was actually published by Rob’s independent publishing venture Maximum Press from 1995 to 1997. This series takes a dramatic departure from that book as it features a very interesting cartoon-inspired style by newcomer Owen Gieni. The book looks to carry on the fallen angel’s tale in a new and different way (and perhaps help revive the 90s era “bad girls” movement).
Spawn artist Szymon Kudranski has knocked his pages out of the park on that title. In July, he will present Repulse, a 72 page one shot that features his first writing as well. Kudranski brings the same detail he uses in Spawn to the preview pages for Repulse, though this time in black and white. The story revolves around a robot in the future, which apparently somehow has memories of a human life. It remains to be seen if Kudranski can match his amazing artistic talents with a great story, but this first creator owned project , priced at a reasonable $6.99, should be the place to try.
Much like DC’s focus on Flashpoint, much of Marvel’s focus in July will be on their event Fear Itself. Over a dozen titles tie in to the event, which reaches its mid-point with issue 4 of 7.
The biggest book coming out of Fear Itself this month is almost certainly Ghost Rider number one. The Spirit of Vengeance rides again in to his own Fear Itself storyline. The new book is by British writer Rob Williams and artist Matthew Clark, both making their return to American comics after some time away. Williams should bring some of the dark vibes he’s been known for in his British work, while Clark’s gorgeous art will hopefully bring Ghost Rider to life in ways that haven’t been seen for some time.
Black Panther: Man Without Fear 521 brings the new status quo of the Black Panther in to “Fear Itself”. It also introduces the already controversial “American Panther” character, though whether the person in the new costume is T’Challa or not has still not been revealed. Novelist David Liss and artist Francesco Francavilla have really knocked it out of the park so far with this series. Hopefully they will continue to do the same here.
July brings The First Avenger: Captain America to cinemas around the country. In a surely completely unrelated move, Marvel debuts a new Captain America #1. Long time Captain America writer Ed Brubaker puts Steve Rogers back in the suit with this issue. Artist Steve McNiven previously drew Cap in the Civil War event several years back. Together they should be quite a creative team for the character going in to the post-movie status quo.
Ultimate Spider-Man disappears this month in favor of three issues of a follow up series called Ultimate Fallout. Meanwhile, Amazing Spider-Man quite impressively is starting the second “Spider-Man story of the decade” with “Spider Island: Prelude”. The story sounds like it revolves around other people in Manhattan suddenly getting spider-powers with bad consequences. It remains to be seen how Dan Slott and artist Stefano Caselliwill use this to alter the world of Spider-Man.
One of the strangest debuts of the month is the new six-issue series Vengeance by Joe Casey and Nick Dragotta. The story was highlighted by some very strange feature art on Marvel.com, but outside of its focus on Marvel villains, nothing is clear about this book at all. Some hints seem to point that it has some tie to the classic Marvel event “Acts of Vengeance”, but in what way and how they will be carried out in story form remains to be seen.
Daredevil returns to comics with a new number one issue. After the convoluted events of Shadowland, The Man Without Fear looks to be establishing a new status quo, perhaps with a little bit of fun in his life again, as writer Mark Waid and artist Paolo Rivera take over the character. All signs point to a drastic diversion from the direction taken by Bendis, Brubaker, and Diggle over the last decade, but how it all plays out will have to wait until July.
Marvel Icon debuts Brian Michael Bendis’s newest creator-owned project Brilliant in July. With art by long time collaborator Mark Bagley, the comic focuses on a group of young super-geniuses all in a contest to produce the first set of super powers. It sounds like an interesting premise and the two creators definitely have enough combined experience to pull it off.
Be sure to check out our previous installment with its look at Dark Horse, DC Comics, and IDW Publishing. Our next installment will cover upcoming titles from the massive Comics section of the Previews catalog, along with the 100 plus pages of various other goodies available through Diamond.
As always, all the titles listed here are available for order at comic shops worldwide, including Cedar Rapids/Marion’s Alter Ego and Iowa City’s Daydreams.