1. Lots of new stuff coming out this week, so I'm going to keep it brief. Among the crop are two minis, both featuring veteran writers, Veil from Greg Rucka and Starlight from Mark Millar, and artists I've never heard of. Working with Rucka is the Serbian born Toni Fezjula, whose art has a wonderful, sacralized stained glass quality. The girl-with-amnesia-doesn't-know what she's-capable-of premise isn't exactly big news (Rachel Rising, anyone? River Tam?), but Rucka is an excellent writer, and I'm sure he'll do something excellent with it. Millar, is, of course, Millar, so your milage may vary. He's working with Goran Parlov, who, coincidentally, is from Croatia. His art reminds me a little of Paul Pope, and a little of Fiona Staples, but the colors, vibrant and not quite flat, are the real attraction. I'm probably going to trade wait both of these, but I'm tempted to buy the issues, if only so these two artists keep getting work.
2. I'm a young dude, but I've been reading comics for almost a decade, long enough to remember when a new creative team meant a BOLD NEW DIRECTION rather than a new #1. These numbering gimmicks used to bother me, but now I guess I'm inured to it, because I've ceased to care, even though Wolverine and the X-Men ended literally last week. Latour and Asrar have some big shoes to fill, since Jason Aaron and the combination of Chris Bachalo, Nick Bradshaw and others were responsible for one of the most consistent and satisfying superhero comics of the last few years. Every so often, particularly in the early days, the comic even wandered into greatness. I sort of feel like Latour is getting the short end of the stick here, much like he did after taking over Winter Soldier from Ed Brubaker. Readers didn't really stick around for that regime change, even though Latour is a more than capable creator, but maybe Wolverine, Storm, and the students of the Jean Grey School will be a bigger draw. Check out a preview here.
3. Another two new #1 from Marvel this week. Anything from Warren Ellis is welcome, and the idea of Moon Knight as a Fringe agent/Question take off rather than a simple Batman take off is extraordinarily intriguing. Declan Shalvey's art is clean and daring, and the fact Jordie Bellaire does not color Moon Night at all has the effect of making the character appear of the gutter rather than of the panel. It will be interesting to see if and how Ellis takes advantage of that choice. Cullen Bunn's new Magneto series has similar potential; Bunn is a known quality, but not exactly a commodity. Still, Gabriel Walta's art is minimal and marked by interesting compositional choices and the colors (again, Jordie Bellaire, displaying her versatility) are similarly understated. The recent Magneto-as-hero status quo has been ripe for expansion into a solo series, and this one has a significant amount of potential.
4. Although I think of myself as well versed in comics, I'm hardly an expert. I'm simply ignorant of too many things, my complete lack of knowledge of European and Asian comics being the most glaring hole. This is partly because of an antipathy I developed towards manga while I was in high school; I know better now. And I've recently developed an interest in Japan as a creative place. The key to learning about anything is to do it as you go along, and Jiro Taniguchi's newly translated Furari seems like as good a place as any to start; based on the life of a real 19th century figure, Furari's main character is apparently something of a wanderer, and, looking at the preview, the landscapes he wanders in are one of this book's great joys, a result of Taniguchi's thin, easy line. Call it judicious, rather than minimal.
5. This comic looks deeply, deeply depraved. The preview reminds me of Transmetropolitan, you know, except that Spider Jerusalem was more than just a lost soul, or of Satellite Sam gone off the wall. Not for the faint of heart, I suspect, but perhaps a good way to vicariously live out certain subterranean fantasies.