It’s almost Wednesday, and you know what that means: a fresh load of comics and graphic novels! With so many publications hitting your local comics store or digital storefront, BF is here to lead you through the woods. These are the books that need to be on your pull list this week.
Comic of the Week
After landing acclaim for Umbral, his fantasy series with Christopher Mitten, hot writer Antony Johnston is plunging another iron into the creator-owned fire at Image this week with The Fuse. A mash-up of sci-fi, detective story and police procedural, the series follows an understaffed and overworked homicide division whose beat is an orbital power station with a population of 500,000 people. As the book’s log-line says: “22,000 miles up, there is no backup”.
Developed closely with artist Justin Greenwood (Johnston’s sometime collaborator on Wasteland), The Fuse promises an atmospheric and gritty slice of what the writer describes as “lived-in sci-fi”, in an environment like “a pressure-cooker, where everything is one bad day away from falling to pieces, and murder seems like a viable option”. My kinda place!
Antony Johnston (W), Justin Greenwood (A) • Image Comics, $3.50
– Tom Murphy
It is that time of the month when a young fan’s fancy turns lightly to thoughts of Batman. And what questioning thoughts they are, including: ‘Is Harper Row the new Nightwing?’ and: ‘Is Dick Grayson going to die?’
Ever since Scott Snyder announced that Batman #28 would be a preview issue on his future plans for Gotham, speculation has been mounting as to what he will reveal. The DC Universe, already straining under the gravitational pull of over a dozen Batman-related monthlies, will have a weekly comic added in summer 2014: Batman Eternal. And though a couple of titles will end in April – most notably Nightwing – you can’t help but wonder whether Batman’s 75th anniversary year is threatening to be a case of, ‘never mind the quality, feel the width.’
Nevertheless, “In Snyder We Trust”, and so Batman #28 is firmly on my reading list. It promises us a glimpse of post-Zero Year Gotham; the Batman we will be reading in the future. Therefore, this is an important issue and one which we will be reading from cover-to-cover for indications of quality and depth to come.
Scott Snyder (W), James Tynion IV (W), Dustin Nguyen (A) • DC Comics $3.99
– Joe Krawec
The New York Times best selling zombie comic FUBAR goes way back to ancient times in this one-shot filled with 44 pages of zombie-stabbing action. Don’t let the anthology approach scare you away from this one. Guiding light and editor Jeff McComsey has succeeded in maintaining a high level of quality through all the successive FUBAR comics and Guts And Glory is no exception.
From the road to Rome to the walled city of Troy, nothing is sacred as the undead come face to face with famous warriors from antiquity who fight for survival and the glory of the empire! If you’re new to FUBAR, this one-shot is a great place to jump on board!
Chuck Dixon & various (W), Glen Ostrander & various (A) • Alterna Press, $3.99
– Bart Croonenborghs
When no less an authority than Brit comics commentator and Comica Festival co-director Paul Gravett flags an upcoming graphic novel like Just So Happens this early as being a likely candidate for one of his comics of 2014 then discerning and canny comics punters would do well to listen.
Based in the UK, Japanese-born creator Fumio Obata’s debut OGN from Jonathan Cape has evolved from his short strip entry into the Observer/Jonathan Cape/Comica Festival Graphic Story competition some years back. It follows Yumiko, a Japanese woman living in London who is summoned back to her home country following the death of her father and engulfed in the customs of life there once again.
Beautifully illustrated by a talent to watch, and coming to us from a publisher who just keep on proffering one critically-acclaimed graphic novel after another, Just So Happens looks set to be one of the unmissable major UK OGN releases this year.
Fumio Obata (W/A) • Jonathan Cape, £16.99
– Andy Oliver
Ever since Moore, Milligan, Morrison et al landed with a bang in the 80s, it’s always been great to see the British sensibilities of 2000 AD old boys pitching up in the preppy world of the US mainstream. And the latest likely lads to make the jump are Rob Williams and Simon Coleby, who are hitting Vertigo with their alt-WWII tale of super-powered toffs taking to the front line.
Williams has said of the series, “Imagine Downton Abbey crossed with the opening sequence of Saving Private Ryan and you’re getting somewhere close”. The notion of super-royals swooping down to save the rest of us might sound a bit dubious, but I’ve no doubt that Williams and Coleby will give it a subversive and witty twist that Tharg The Mighty One would be proud of. And keep ’em peeled for a typically splendid variant cover from Brian Bolland as well.
Rob Williams (W), Simon Coleby (A) • Vertigo Comics, $2.99
– Tom Murphy
Acclaimed painter Esad Ribic returns to the title he helped launch this week as one of the Marvel Universe’s biggest bads sets his sight on Earth yet again. In the present, Thor struggles to prevent the sinister Roxxon Corporation, and its new CEO known as the Minotaur, from wreaking environmental havoc on the planet. Meanwhile, a future storyline deals with a much more cosmic threat, as the God of Thunder comes to blows with none other than Galactus himself, and the fate of Midgard hangs in the balance.
It’s a reunion of mythical proportions for Thor and Ribic, and it doesn’t take the wisdom of Odin to know that anyone who considers themselves a fan of either won’t want to miss this issue.
Jason Aaron (W), Esad Ribic (A) • Marvel Comics, $3.99
– Evan Henry
It’s only been a little more than a year since the last issue of Winter Soldier came out. Even that short amount of time has made for a weird Marvel landscape without the character that defined the best superhero book of its time, Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting’s Captain America.
Now, with a great looking movie on the horizon, Winter Soldier is making a triumphant return to the comic book world. And Marvel feels whole again. Unfortunately, this series isn’t written by Brubaker, but with the creator unavailable, Rick Remender is probably the next best choice. Remender’s run on Captain America has been great in entirely new ways, and I’m curious to see what new choices the writer takes with Bucky Barnes.
Rick Remender (W), Roland Boschi (A) • Marvel Comics, $3.99
– Levi Hunt
“Fearless” Chuck Fairlane, a disgraced football player who managed to put his career on ice by inciting a massive mid-game fight, is about to stage an improbable return. Having moved on with his life, Chuck found work as a high school football coach, but has inexplicably become the target of a series of attacks at the hands of very unlikely culprits—professional sports mascots.
Chuck is back, and he’s now on a mission to punch every mascot he can find. Violence may not solve every problem, but if Chuck has his way, it just might put an end to his exile from the world of professional football.
Chris Sims, Chad Bowers (W), Scott Kowalchuk (A) • Oni Press, $19.99
– Evan Henry
I wrote a very positive review for Joshua Hale Fialkov and Joe Infurnari’s The Bunker when the series first debuted in digital form last year. I loved how fully realized all of the characters were and the balance between that character study with a crazy sci-fi hook. That crazy sci-fi hook? The characters discover a bunker filled with messages sent from the future to themselves. Armed with future knowledge, the opening chapter sets up a compelling drama of a group of friends scheming against each other and fighting their fates.
The once digital-only series now has a print home at Oni for those of you more keen on the physical interaction of hand and page. The ongoing series will collect the digital stories in print form, starting with this double-sized debut.
Joshua Hale Fialkov (W), Joe Infurnari (A) • Oni Press, $3.99
– Levi Hunt
A comic with a chequered and journeyed publishing history, Alan Moore and Steve Parkhouse’s The Bojeffries Saga first saw the light of day in Quality Comics’ critically-acclaimed and highly influential UK anthology Warrior – original home to the revamped Marvelman and V for Vendetta, among others.
A kind of kitchen sink drama The Addams Family, the strip features the titular Bojeffries family who live in a council house in Northampton and comprise of father Jobremus, children Ginda and Reth, vampire Uncle Festus, werewolf Uncle Raoul, the blob-like Grandpa and a nuclear power-emitting baby.
With convention-breaking narratives from Moore, and Parkhouse’s detailed, slightly unsettling cartooning on offer, this UK/US co-publishing venture from Knockabout and Top Shelf represents the long-awaited opportunity to finally own this much travelled saga in one collected edition with its new concluding chapter.
Alan Moore (W), Steve Parkhouse (A) • Knockabout Comics/Top Shelf Productions, £9.99/$14.95
– Andy Oliver