Titan Comics Pubwatch: July 2020

Titan Comics Pubwatch: July 2020

This is a very different summer, but one constant remains: comics to provide us distraction and escape.  Let's see what Titan has to distract us from the real world. Titan Comics News and Announcements July 2020 Release Schedule Please note release dates are always subject to change. July 1st: The Michael Moorcock Library: The Chronicles

This is a very different summer, but one constant remains: comics to provide us distraction and escape.  Let’s see what Titan has to distract us from the real world.

Titan Comics News and Announcements

July 2020 Release Schedule

Please note release dates are always subject to change.

  • July 1st: The Michael Moorcock Library: The Chronicles of Corum – The Bull and the Spear Vol. 4
  • July 8th: Shades of Magic: The Steel Prince – The Rebel Army Vol. 3
  • July 15th: None
  • July 22nd: Horizon Zero Dawn FCBD #0
  • July 29th: Blade Runner #8 

Go Behind the Scenes of Horizon: Zero Dawn (Plus: Art Preview!)

A preview page from the upcoming Horizon Zero Dawn #1

Preview art from Horizon: Zero Dawn #1, out on August 5th

Ever wondered how to take something from the screen to the page? Go behind the scenes to find out how creators Anne Toole and Ann Maulina brought the world of Horizon: Zero Dawn from a video game to a comic series.  The Horizon: Zero Dawn comic takes place after the events of the game. Hunter Talanah struggles to find herself after her friend Aloy goes missing. A new threat in the wilds looks set to give her that purpose she seeks, but it might be more than she can handle.

We’re also thrilled to bring you the art preview you see above. Looks like Talanah is face-to-face with something unexpected and a bit frightening!

Horizon: Zero Dawn debuts on August 5th, with the Free Comic Book Day issue that sets up the series on July 22nd.

Time Lord Victorious!

The Tenth Doctor, wearing armor, stands in space with the Eighth Doctor, Ninth Doctor, and companion Rose in the background

Doctor Who Time Lord Victorious #1 cover by Lee Binding

Are you ready for a multi-platform Doctor Who adventure? Mark September 2nd on your calendar for the debut of Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious #1. Written by Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor scribe Jody Houser, the Tenth Doctor faces down a foe making their Doctor Who comics debut: the Daleks!  But this isn’t your happy-go-lucky Ten.  There’s something sinister in the shadows, and it’s leaving its mark on the Doctor.

Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious #1 is part of the multi-platform Time Lord Victorious series, which will encompass audio, prose novels, vinyl, digital offerings, comics, and much more. You can find out more about the crossover event at Doctorwho.tv.

September 2020 Solicitations

It isn’t just all about David Tennant and Daleks for the back-to-school season. Several other series get back into the swing of things as well in September, including Adler (with issue #4), Horizon: Zero Dawn (issues #2 and #3), and Blade Runner (with issue #10).

And on the topic of swinging…Peter Parker slings his way into your mind in October with The Philosophy of Spider-Man.  With great power comes great moments from Spidey’s history.  Another House of Ideas crossover with Titan comes on September 9th, with a special magazine commemorating Marvel’s 80 years of publishing.  Fans of Star Wars Insider and Star Trek Magazine will also have new issues to peruse in September.

Head to comiclist.com for more details on all these titles.

What I’m Reading

While there isn’t much in the way of new issues, there’s still plenty in Titan’s archives to enjoy! We check in with another Rivers of London: The Fey and the Furious issue, as well as two series that return next month: Blade Runner and Adler.

Rivers of London: The Fey and the Furious #3

Ben Aaronovitch (writer), Andrew Cartmel (writer), Color-Ice (colorist), Mariano LaClaustra (artist), Rob Steen (letterer)
January 8, 2020

A man and a woman drive in an old fashioned car through a desert landscape.

Rivers of London: The Fey and the Furious #3, by by Ben Aaronovitch, Andrew Cartmel, and Lee Sullivan

Poor Peter.  He’s out of time and out of magic in a world far from home. Best to stay for the moment, and what better way to pass the time than at a party in a fancy castle? Perchance, he’s solved the mystery of the unicorn horns, discovering a black market farming operation inside the castle.  But he’s not out of trouble yet. Seems there will be a trial by combat for his freedom, and he’ll be on the front lines.

Over the years, I find this to be the modus operandi with Titan series: the first two issues build the world and central conflict, the third turns that conflict on its head to keep things moving, and the fourth has the responsibility to wrap it all up and fast. Good writers know how to pace in that structure. And our writing team here is showing so far they can do this, but I will need to read more Rivers of London comics to make a definitive judgment call.

The mystery of the unicorn horns wraps up over roughly a page or two, which confirms what I believed from day one: it’s not what really drives this story.  It’s the tension of a human with magic in a magical world, trying to reconcile both sides of that coin. While there’s still some action going on in the mortal realm with Beverly trying to find Peter, it’s not the focus here.  This has been such an ensemble story I really haven’t gotten to know Peter. Now that I can, hopefully it’s not too little too late for this new reader.

Color-Ice works well in using color to shift between worlds.  The real world of Beverly does use a variety of color, but Peter’s fantasy world bathes itself in shades and tones of pink and purple.  I got a chuckle out of Peter’s comment likening Emmanuel Cross to David Bowie, for Mariano LaClaustra draws him more like Elton John.  Those sensitive to imagery of animals hurt or abused may find the brief scene in the unicorn slaughterhouse a bit disturbing, particularly when you see the unicorns with extracted horns.

Missing unicorn horns are one thing. A trial by combat is another.  And there’s one more issue to sort it all out.

Blade Runner 2019 #5

Jim Campbell (letterer) Michael Green (writer), Andres Guinaldo (artist), Mike Johnson (writer), Marco Lesko (colorist)
December 11, 2019

A dark haired woman in a suit holding a gun walks away from a crashed spaceship.

Blade Runner #5, by Michael Green, Mike Johnson, and Marco Lesko

When we last left Ash, she had pulled off a narrow escape south of the border with young Cleo, and has been living off the grid.  Replicant production stopped in 2022, with the remaining units living out their time in service to their owners in off-world colonies. And that’s where we find Ash and Cleo: the former confined to a wheelchair, the latter a petulant pre-teen.  The jig might be up for the both of them, though. Someone’s invaded the compound.

Seven years is a big time jump, and I admit I have a lot of questions after finishing this issue.  What happened to Alexander Selwyn?And what about Eldon Tyrell?  Will the antagonists from the first arc carry over into this arc, or are we going to be meeting new enemies? That time jump does allow for new readers to come on board, and the opening text does provide a quick recap.  And Michael Green and Mike Johnson do spend a fair bit of time building up this new Blade Runner world. I remain concerned, though, that this is too much of a leap for everyone.

In earlier installments, a highlight has always been the colorwork.  Never has dystopian Los Angeles looked so bright or beautiful. The new setting of an off-world mining colony doesn’t compare to the glitz and glamour of the City of Angels, but Andres Guinaldo and Marco Lesko still make it interesting.  There’s an amazing level of detail in the opening act to set the stage for this new world, from the barren landscape to the colonists’ faces and bodies.  And while the color palette is more washed out, slight pops here and there do cut through the blues, greys, and greens. I do love Cleo’s androgynous Stranger Things inspired look.  If Millie Bobby Brown feels inspired to shave her head again, I could see her bringing this series to screen.

What have Ash and Cleo now gotten themselves into? So much for living off the grid.  

Adler #2

Simon Bowland (letterer), Paul McCaffrey (artist, colorist), Lavie Tidhar (writer)
March 11, 2020

A red-headed woman with steampunk goggles stands in profile against a mystical background

Adler #2, by Lavie Tidhar and Paul McCaffrey

As Jane sets out to learn more about her new friend Irene, Irene gets ready for a night at the opera—not watching, but performing.  (Is there anything this woman can’t do?) Moriarty is also there, but he won’t be back after intermission.  Permanently. This should be good news for Ms. Adler, but the person behind the assassination is not exactly one of Ms. Adler’s besties.  Short term relief, but at what long term cost?

What started as a fun steampunk story is now too crowded with supporting players. There are too many famous names just for the sake of including them.  Marie Curie makes an appearance, but for what purpose? And now we have a new enemy in Ayesha, a “barbarian queen from a far off land…one that the British empire felt should be civilized.” (A remark certainly of the place and time in which this comic is set, but reading it in 2020 should make you cringe a bit.) Have you ever heard the saying, “too many cooks spoil the broth?” With all these introductions of new people, this book is veering into that territory.

The book does excel visually, though.  Paul McCaffrey captures period detail beautifully as well as give some of our supporting players interesting designs.  Ayesha’s look is a mix of Conan the Barbarian and Wonder Woman, and while she is rather busty, the rest of her body is within realistic proportions. And after reading Blade Runner, I feel like the look of Carmilla (Ayesha’s right hand woman) is Ash, a hundred or so years before her time.  Overall, he finds a nice balance between blending modern artistic style and the high Victorian steampunk fantasy tone.  Neither dominates the other.

But good artwork can’t carry a series on its own. This story needs to find a focus, and fast. Otherwise, it will drown under its own weight.

Kate Kosturski
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