It may be Great Pumpkin season, but we’re already looking towards the end of the year in this month’s PUBWATCH with December solicitations and holiday specials! What presents will Titan Comics leave by our tree or menorah this holiday season?
Titan Comics News and Announcements
December 11 will bring the start of a new arc for Blade Runner 2019, with the previously reported Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor Christmas special coming a week later. Earlier in the month, the manga adaptations of Sherlock return with Sherlock: A Scandal In Belgravia #1 on December 4. Sherlock and Watson have to help the Royal Family with “a delicate matter,” but Mr. Holmes is going to find this will not be easy… especially if Irene Adler is involved. And the month will also feature the latest from ongoing series such as Life is Strange, Robotech: Remix, and Minions: Paella!
Looking ahead to 2020, Titan Comics has announced an advance solicitation for a new Assassin’s Creed hardcover, Assassin’s Creed: Bloodstone, available in February. Writer Guillaume Dorison and artist Ennio Bufi will take our Assassins and Templars to the Vietnam War in this new graphic novel. Also available in January 2020 will be two new Star Wars magazines, including a special of Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker, as well as the conclusion to the Shades of Magic trilogy with Shades of Magic: The Rebel Army #4 (which began on October 23).
The Phantom of the Opera Graphic Novel Announced
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, the longest running in Broadway history, started life as a Gaston Leroux novel. Now it will return to its literary roots next June in a new graphic novel adaptation. Doctor Who and Star Wars Adventures writer Cavan Scott will adapt the show’s libretto for the graphic novel with artist José María Beroy, bringing the love story of The Phantom and Christine to a brand new world. Those who pre-order through Forbidden Planet before April 30, 2020 will also receive an exclusive art card signed by Scott!
Ten Meets Thirteen
Titan Comics will certainly keep Doctor Who fans occupied while we await the return of Jodie Whittaker to TV (rumored to be “early 2020”). In addition to the Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor Christmas special we reported on last month, Thirteen will cross the streams and meet with one of her past lives: the one that looks like David Tennant. The Tenth and the Thirteenth Doctor will team up with Tenth Doctor companion Martha Jones to fight off the Weeping Angels. You won’t want to blink when this arc kicks off the second year of Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor in January.
The Titan Comics Doctor Who panel at NYCC broke the news of this crossover event, and featured a look at artwork from the upcoming Christmas special. Titan Comics Senior Creative Editor David Leach hinted this special could be a continuing tradition, even as the TV show moves away from holiday specials.
Want to Work for Titan Comics?
If you’re interested in working for Titan Comics, they have an opening for a Publishing Manager, based out of their London office. But act fast, because this posting closes on October 31, 2019!
What I’m Reading
It’s a new arc for Life is Strange, Tank Girl: Forever starts to heat up, and Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor reaches the conclusion of its first year. With International Day of the Girl taking place earlier this month, it’s no coincidence that all three of our reviews feature female-led series!
Life is Strange #9
Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt (letterer), Andrea Izzo (colorist), Claudia Leonardi (artist), Richard Starkings (letterer), Emma Vieceli (writer)
October 16, 2019
The new arc of Life is Strange picks up right where the previous one ended, with a conversation about the evening’s events and Max’s abilities. There are reveals, tears, and soul-searching all around. Max realizes she wants to go back to her universe, and Rachel realizes she’ll have some friends in The High Seas as they will play one of the stops on her East Coast festival tour. Everyone has a path forward except for Tristan, who’s trying to step through to something without much success.
This issue almost feels like Vieceli could have fit this in with the last arc because initially, it’s more endings than beginnings. Eventually, though, it opens up new conflicts as it brings the events of the last storyline to a close. How will Max manage to return to her time? Will Chloe and Rachel’s relationship survive life on the road and the burden of Max’s secret? And there is the ongoing mystery of Tristan. I’m happy to see he’s still here, for I had a feeling his story was not fully finished.
This is an issue of intimate conversations. Claudia Leonardi’s art exhibits this beautifully with detail and deep emotion in small panels and close-ups. Changing layouts also play up this intimacy by framing characters front and center, but not awkwardly. One of the art highlights is right on the very first page, a six-panel grid that uses the exact same wordless scene over and over until the final panel. You don’t know exactly what was said. But you know, based on this depiction of silence, it was something very significant.
Everyone may have easily figured out their next steps, but the journey to get there doesn’t appear to be as clean-cut as that decision.
Tank Girl: Forever #7
Alan Martin (writer), Lou Martin (writer) Brett Parson (artist, letterer)
October 16, 2019
It’s time for more backstory of Barney and Joanie. We find out just what turned Barney to the dark side: Joanie’s death. And that death was at Tank Girl’s hand, thanks to a rogue sesame seed and Joanie’s food allergy. Now Barney’s out on an “eye for an eye” mission to make Tank Girl feel the same pain. And she’s doing it by preparing to take out Sub Girl. There’s also still that little problem of the meteor heading right for Melbourne…
On the topic of that meteor, I’m still trying to figure out its relevance. Is this a cosmic Chekhov’s gun, or just a distraction? With the further backstory of Barney and Joanie, Barney’s evil turn makes more sense, and you can’t help but feel a bit sorry for her loss. (Though you also want to encourage her to find constructive ways to deal with her grief!)
As with previous installments, there’s a lot of action. But here, there’s also a lot of conversation. In other words, lots of script, and lots of detailed art. Each gets lost in the other, and I wish Martin and Parson found a bit of a better balance with the two. Both elements are necessary to furthering the story, particularly some excellent full page panels of Barney’s chaos and destruction. But when each is in competition with the other, it’s distracting.
The highlight of this issue is the lettering work, particularly in action shots: it’s pure ’60s Batman homage and full of fun.
Can Tank Girl and friends save Barney and Melbourne? It’s a lot to handle, and we only have one more issue to find out.
Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor #12
Enrica Angiolini (colorist), Shari Chankhamma (letterer), Jody Houser (writer), Rachael Stott (artist),
September 11, 2019
No matter how well you plan a heist, something will go wrong. For the Doctor and the Corsair, that something is The Hoarder. Remember him from the first arc of the series? He’s back and has the Doctor, the Corsair, and the object of their heist (a space whale) in his trap. And the backup team of Yaz, Graham, and Ryan is nowhere in sight. The frenemies bicker out everyone’s escape, but how to take down the Hoarder? Time to call on the services of another old friend.
Bringing back characters from early in the run ties in this finale of the Thirteenth Doctor’s first year beautifully, and shows growth in Houser’s scripts. Just as I see in her Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy series at DC, Houser knows how to write fun female friendships: plenty of sharp wit, but always love at the core. The Corsair as foil was fun to read, and I hope we can see her back in these pages, or even on TV, very soon.
The opportunity to go back to the Hoarder’s lair is an opportunity for Enrica Angiolini to play with a universe of color. From the Hoarder himself to his insectoid minions, never has sinister looked so bright and beautiful. Like the Life is Strange issue I reviewed above, this is an issue of close, personal conversations. And like Leonardi’s work in that issue, Rachael Stott knows how to complement the wit in Houser’s script in her artwork, with paneling and framing details to match.
I’m thrilled to see the first year of Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor end on such a strong note in this issue. And with the forthcoming Christmas special and a major crossover on tap for 2020, the sky is the limit.