Living in the moment is generally good advice for life, but it can be tricky when you're a comic book fan. The comic book industry is heavily dominated by the solicitation cycle, where publishers release details on their offerings roughly three months in advance. The true purpose is to inform retailers about what they're ordering, but the end result is getting readers excited about what's to come in the near future.
With the September 2014 solicitations recently released to the world, CBR combed through the offerings of Diamond's five "Premier Publishers" -- Marvel, DC Comics, Image Comics, Dark Horse Comics and IDW Publishing -- to identify, in no particular order, the high-profile comics most likely to attract reader buzz this late summer/early fall. With upcoming releases including the promised death -- however such a thing may ultimately last -- of a legitimate superhero icon, more material from the long-gestating "Multiversity" project, "Aliens" returning to comics, a fresh volume of "G.I. Joe" and a new creator-owned series launch from Michael Moreci, September is a busy month already, and it's still June.
"Death of Wolverine" #1-4
Writer: Charles Soule
Art/Cover: Steve McNiven
"Death" is one of the most overused words in mainstream comics. Sometimes, it seems every character has died at least once and been resurrected, to the point where funeral homes in the Marvel Universe are probably offering refunds. That being said, there is something intriguing about the word when used in conjunction with Wolverine, and Marvel certainly put an A-list team on this project. McNiven's art is always detailed and gorgeous -- as exhibited in the recently-released covers for this series -- and something fans are not treated to often enough, while Soule has proven himself one of the most gifted voices to arrive on the comics scene in the last several years. "Death of Wolverine" is Soule's highest profile assignment to date, and it will be interesting to see how the writer steps up to the challenge handling event that's editorially driven and has been developed by current "Wolverine" writer Paul Cornell for the past two years.
"Aliens: Fire and Stone" #1 (of 4)
Writer: Chris Roberson
Artist: Patric Reynolds
Colors: Dave Stewart
Cover: David Palumbo"Prometheus: Fire and Stone" #1 (of 4)
Writer: Paul Tobin
Artist: Juan Ferreyra
Cover: David Palumbo, Paul Pope
Dark Horse Comics
Don't let the loss of "Star Wars" fool you -- Dark Horse plans to continue to make its case for the title of king of Licensed Comics, and with the return of "Aliens," the publisher is looking to replace the Galaxy Far, Far Away with a galaxy of screams. With "Prometheus" joining the fray in september, and "Predators" on the horizon, this is the sort of "Aliens" story fans of the franchise have never experienced before, fleshing out the mysteries of Ridley Scott's universe. Dark Horse proved that "Aliens" works in comics during the infancy of the company, and it will be a pleasure to see what happens when the murderous xenomorphs return to the medium.
"The Multiversity: The Society of Super-Heroes: Conquerors of the Counter-World" #1
Writer: Grant Morrison
Art/Cover: Chris Sprouse and Karl Story
The solicitation copy alone contains more ideas than most six-part story arcs! Fans have been waiting for Grant Morrison's "Multiversity" for years, and this particular story, illustrated by Chris Sprouse, sounds especially awesome. Sprouse proved his mastery of pulp-style comics with his "Tom Strong" work, and it will be fun to see him flex those muscles again for the pulp-inspired heroes of Earth 20. Throw in Morrison's version of Vandal Savage and "the hand-to-hand and air-to-air combat queens known as the Blackhawks," and this sounds like a comic bursting at the seams with action, characters and huge ideas, and will most assuredly call for multiple reads. Hey -- if you stick a $4.99 price tag on a book, it had better have a lot going on!
"Grendel vs. The Shadow" #1 (of 3)
Writer/Artist/Cover: Matt Wagner
Colors: Brennan Wagner
Dark Horse Comics/Dynamite Entertainment
A team-up of two of the darkest characters in the history of genre fiction by Matt Wagner, the master of the noir drama, is one of the most interesting projects to come along in a long time. Fans who have read Wagner's "Grendel" work know just how masterful the creator is when writing his famous creation, and Wagner's work on "The Shadow" for Dynamite has been consistently enjoyable. "Grendel vs. The Shadow" is an example of the perfect creator on a perfect, and highly unexpected, project. More Wagner, particularly when he writes and illustrates, is always a good thing; Wagner taking on this historical pairing could be the stuff of comic book legend.
"Edge of Spider-Verse" #1,2,3 (of 5)
#1 Writer: David Hine with Fabrice Sapolsky
Art/Cover: Richard Isanove
#2 Writer: Jason Latour
Art/Cover: Robbi Rodriguez
#3 Writer/Artist/Cover: Dustin Weaver
Dan Slott's exploration of the legend of Spider-Man throughout the Marvel multiverse begins here, in a five-issue series written and illustrated by a variety of creative teams. And we have to admit, "Edge of the Spider-Verse" boasts an impressive array of talent. First off, we have the return of Spider-Man Noir by creators David Hine and Fabrice Sapolsky. Their previous miniseries are fondly remembered, and it will be cool to see the return of the character during the course of this event. Meanwhile, Jason Latour and artist Robbi Rodriguez present their version of Spider-Man in a dimension where Gwen Stacy takes up the mask as Spider-Woman. Meanwhile, super-star artist Dustin Weaver makes his Marvel Comics writing debut with the introduction of a sci-fi Spidey. This event seems like it has the potential to live up to the old phrase, 'something for everyone.'
"G.I. Joe" #1
Writer: Karen Traviss
Art: Steve Kurth
Cover: Jeffrey Veregge
For years, Karen Traviss has thrilled fans with her "Halo," "Gears of War" and "Star Wars: Republic Commando" prose novels, and now the New York Times bestselling author brings her talent to IDW and the world of "G.I. Joe." The solicits for the new title states that Cobra is now "an international peacekeeping force." Well, we can't wait to see how the heck that happened. Additionally, Scarlett is set be a major player in the series, and it features art by Steve Kurth, an artist born to draw the military might of "G.I. Joe." Traviss has worked her magic on action-oriented properties in prose form, and it will be fascinating to see how she handles serialized storytelling. Whatever the results, it's good to see a publisher reach out to a talented writer who has a history of fully realizing action-oriented IPs for such an important relaunch.
"Teen Titans, Earth One" Vol. 1 HC
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Art/Cover: Terry Dodson, Rachel Dodson and Cam Smith
With a relaunch on the horizon for the DCU's take on the classic teen team, and this all-new original graphic novel by Jeff Lemire and Terry & Rachel Dodson, things are looking up for a group that has certainly seen its share of in-continuity dark times and real-world controversy in recent years. Lemire has been one of the brightest creators of the New 52, with the critically acclaimed "Animal Man" and "Green Arrow" runs, the successful launch of "Justice League United," and the late and lamented "Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.", while the Dodsons have become one of the top art teams in all of comics. The "Titans" franchise has been a bit stagnant as of late, but hopefully, with creators on the level of Lemire and the Dodsons at the helm, unfettered by continuity concerns, DC's fan-favorite team can find itself returning to form.
"Stephen King's The Dark Tower: The Drawing of the Three - The Prisoner" #1 & #2 (of 5)
Writers: Peter David and Robin Furth
Artist: Piotr Kowalski
Marvel returns to the world of Stephen King with a new "Dark Tower" series, from some familiar names. David and Furth worked horror and fantasy magic in previous "Dark Tower" installments, and "The Drawing of the Three - The Prisoner" should provide more of the same. The 1987 novel is where King really found his footing in the world of Roland and his ka-tet, so this foray back into the writer's amorphous land of monsters and bullets should be a fascinating journey into the madness that defines his epic. King and Marvel have been a great match from the beginning, and it will be very exciting to see Furth, David and King reunite, with new artist Piotr Kowalski ("Sex") joining the team for further installments of "The Dark Tower."
"Roche Limit" #1
Writer: Michael Moreci
Art/Cover: Vic Malhotra
Image has hammered out a reputation of being the home of innovation in recent years, and this project looks to continue to support that mindset. From Michael Moreci ("Hoax Hunters") and Vic Malhotra ("X-Files/The Crow: Conspiracy") comes a series that promises to combine elements of "2001: A Space Odyssey" and "Blade Runner." Hard sci-fi is always welcome in our monthly comic diet, and this looks to be as hard boiled as it comes. This book, planned as the beginning of an ambitious trilogy of sci-fi/noir tales, combined with Image's recent track record of intriguing new series, has piqued our interest enough to put "Roche Limit" on this list.
Written and Illustrated by: A Universe of Creators
Throughout September, DC Comics' "Futures End" event sees most of the publisher's monthly stars jump five years into the future, with some clearly surprising results. Of course, if a fan wants to follow along with the entire event, they'll have to shell out a significant amount of dollars, but judging by some of the imaginative leaps promised in this month's solicitations, DC is doing its best to make it worth your while. Most of the monthly writers for each book are along for the ride, which should assure a level of internal continuity for the characters. Of course, the event does see a return of the special lenticular motion covers from last September's "Villain's Month" event which attracted high sales despite a decidedly mixed reaction from retailers and readers. But if there's one thing comic fans always seem to enjoy, it's seeing creators take familiar characters and situations and twist them in new and exciting ways. Whatever the outcome, fans will be debating for months, if not years, on whether DC sticks the landing and is able to see its titles flow seamlessly into the events of "Futures End."