Titan Comics PUBWATCH: November 2020

Titan Pubwatch Banner from Shades Of Magic: The Steel Prince #2

In the year that seems like it will never end, we somehow have made it to November. (And through a contentious election week in the United States, which itself felt like a year!) This month, we take a look at a few finales (Adler and Horizon Zero Dawn), as well as the debut of Cutting Edge: The Siren’s Song #1.

Titan Comics News and Announcements

November 2020 Release Schedule

Please note release dates are always subject to change.

  • Horizon Zero Dawn #4: November 4th
  • Cutting Edge: The Siren’s Song #1: November 11th
  • Snowpiercer The Prequel Part 2: Apocalypse, Life is Strange: Partners In Time #2, Blade Runner #12, Doctor Who #1: November 18th

Titan Comics January 2021 Solicitations

The Mandalorian and Child stand on a desert planet.
Star Wars Magazine #200 exclusive cover by Peach Momoko

Several of your favorite series that kicked off this year will continue into 2021, including Doctor Who (issue #3 out on January 13th), Blade Runner 2029 (issue #2 also out on January 13th) and Life is Strange: Partners in Time (issue #4 out on January 20th).  The Cutting Edge series kicks off a new arc with Cutting Edge: The Devil’s Mirror  on January 20th as well.

The January solicitations also looked ahead to the spring with advance solicitations for the Assasssin’s Creed: Bloodstone collection and Cavan Scott’s graphic novel adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera, both out on April 14th.  That day will also see the release of Knights of Heliopolis, a supernatural spin on one of France’s greatest myths.

Turning to magazines, Star Wars Insider readers celebrate 200 issues of the periodical on January 27th.  The magazine will feature a special “200 Reasons we all love Star Wars” installment as well as details on the upcoming Star Wars: The High Republic.  It will also have several variant covers, including the one you see above exclusive to comic shops drawn by Heavy Metal cover artist Peach Momoko. And get ready to peek behind the Star Trek production curtain on that same day with Star Trek Magazine #79, which will reveal behind the scenes details from shows such as Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Lower Decks. 

Visit GoCollect for more information on these and all other offerings from Titan to start 2021.

Blade Runner 2029 Art Preview

A preview page from the upcoming Blade Runner 2029 #1
Preview art from Blade Runner 2029 #1, out on December 16th.

Announced in September, Blade Runner 2029 brings Ash back to the LAPD, ten years after the events of the current Blade Runner 2019 series, now a very changed woman.  But the Replicants aren’t far away from her, with two different paths.  Writer Mike Johnson describes the series as “[n]ew villains, new victims, new noir. But Ash is still on the case.”

The series debuts on December 16th, but we have an early look at some art for you.  You can certainly see that the care and attention to detail from the first series will carry over into this new one.

Behind the Scenes with the Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor Art Team

While we await the relaunch of Titan’s Doctor Who series (set for November 18th), enjoy this interview with artist Roberta Ingranata and Enrica Eren Angiolini about their work on Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor. They share details on their work process, their favorite scenes from the series, how they came to be Doctor Who fans, and much more!

Blade Runner: Origins Series Announced

Our current and upcoming Blade Runner series take us to the present (well, the near future).   But how did the Blade Runner division come to be?  Readers can find out this February in Blade Runner: Origins.  Set ten years before Blade Runner 2019, the series will focus on LAPD Detective Cal Moreaux, who senses something is not quite right as she investigates the suicide of a Tyrell Corp bioengineer. His sense that this bioengineer’s research into Replicants may have led to a death covered up as suicide will put him on the road to a Replicant empire conspiracy.

Blade Runner 2019 writer Mike Johnson returns for this series, and will be joined by co-writers K. Perkins (a veteran of DC Comics stories such as Batwoman and Supergirl), and American Gods screenwriter Mellow Brown.  Suicide Squad artist Fernando Dagnino will provide the artwork.  The series debuts on February 24, 2021.

What I’m Reading

We say goodbye to Adler and Horizon Zero Dawn…and then we say hello to Cutting Edge: The Siren’s Song!

Adler #5
Simon Bowland (letterer), Paul McCaffrey (artist, colorist), Lavie Tidhar (writer)
October 28, 2020

A red-headed woman fires a gun as she falls from the sky to a cityscape below
Adler #5, by Lavie Tidhar and Paul McCaffrey

One of the fun things about reviews is when the creative teams find you. Artist Paul McCaffrey reached out to me several times the past few months to provide thanks for our coverage and share some insights. (For example: the “Your Majesty” figure we met at the end of issue #4? Queen Victoria!)  It’s bittersweet, then, to see this story end, for I enjoyed his emails.

So how does this story end? (Please note there will be spoilers!)

With a mid-air fight to save Irene’s love Rudolph aboard Ayesha’s airship, now a very large and airborne dirty bomb. Heading right for the heart of Westminster. They’re able to divert the ship to the ground, but it is not without some consequences and casualties. Everyone finds their place in the new world order, except for Jane, who just can’t seem to leave that life of adventure behind.

The narrative leading to the ending itself is predictable. I do like that we see consequences of dropping a very large explosive atomic device (“death on a scale previously unimagined”) even though there’s questionable science. (I find it hard to believe that our heroes could have been that close to radioactivity without having injuries of their own. But this is alternative history, so anything is possible.)  And the script doesn’t get over having too many characters and not enough space, like with Rudolph. You’re led to believe he’s Irene’s great love, but I cannot remember meeting or learning about him.  And that makes this high stakes fight for his life feel less so.

The colors remain the most beautiful part of this series.  The heat from that bomb’s explosion jumps right off the page.  And even in the night sky, golds and reds look as vibrant as they would in the middle of the day. But after the action of the previous issue, that fight on the airship didn’t feel that dynamic.  It felt like we were watching film stills of an action scene, rather than the scene itself.  The kinetic energy on the page was severely lacking.

In our correspondence, Paul indicated to me that writer Lavie Tidhar agreed that this story needed the collected format to allow room to grow the world.   Since there’s an opening for things to continue in the final scene, I do hope I see an Adler graphic novel very soon.

Horizon Zero Dawn #4

Jim Campbell (letterer), Ann Maulina (artist), Anne Toole (writer), Bryan Valenza (colorist)
November 4, 2020

Two women - one redhead, one with dark hair - point bows and arrows at an unseen enemy in the forest.
Horizon Zero Dawn #4, by Anne Toole and Ann Maulina

Comics that tie into existing licenses have a hard balance to strike.  They have to keep existing fans engaged, but build out their world to bring in new ones. As I reach the end of this series, I find the scales tip to balance towards the video game fan, and not the new reader.

To its credit, the pre-story matter is rich in explaining the lore. It gives good background into each character, but does so without adding much connection to the rest of the larger world.  This puts the burden on the reader to do further research.

But let’s dive into this specific final issue.  There’s some well done battle moments, but they don’t connect to the larger story.  As I progress in this series, I see one of the problems I had with Adler: introduction of story elements, but no follow-through.  Whether this is bad editing or (as was the case with Adler) a story not working in its publication format, I can’t tell.   A lack of clarity on the focus of the story didn’t help matters either.  Is Talanah searching for her friend? Herself? Both? The final pages hint at something larger for her (to be continued in another series), but it may not be enough of a hint to provide the hook to return.

The Horizon Zero Dawn video game is a visual spectacle. And in this the comic does not disappoint.  Every color in the paintbox gets a chance to show off. It’s all overlaid with a sense of calm and peace, befitting the pastoral backgrounds.  But that calm and peace does not dilute action scenes or the ferocity of the machines.  Linework shows off plenty of kinetic energy and follow-through on action.

I applaud everyone for the effort in bringing this complex world from the screen to the page.  I only wish the script had done more to bridge the divide between those invested in the game and those that were not.

Cutting Edge: The Siren’s Song #1

Mario Alberti (artist), Francesco Dimitri (writer)
November 11, 2020

Men and women run down a crumbling stone staircase while a mysterious winged figure in black chases them.
Cutting Edge: The Siren’s Song #1 by Francesco Dimitri and Mario Alberti

One of the things I love about Titan is their Statix Press imprint, which provides English-language translations of European comics.  It gives readers exposure to stories and art styles that they may not normally see on their shelves.  Cutting Edge: The Siren’s Song is one of those stories.  Writer Francesco Dimitri is called “the Italian Neil Gaiman” so you can expect high and layered fantasy in this story, with elements of mythology and history.  (An added note: this is a series for mature readers.  This isn’t one for the young eyes.)

We gather a group of extremely brilliant minds, from physicists to social engineers to the wealthy, brought together by a mysterious entity called Leviathan. Leviathan wants to organize the dodecathlon for the modern age, recreating the classical twelve labors of Hercules.  Why?  That is only for the winner to know.  Naturally, the game is only half of the story, with the other half being the characters within that game.

All these complex, intellectual elements need the right size script to flourish.  And fortunately, this is a longer than standard opening issue at 58 pages.  We don’t waste time setting up the game, with just enough information about what it is, but not the why. That’s for the players (and us) to figure out.  Readers start to get to know a little bit about the players as well, but not too much. It seems information about them will be doled out in the context of the game itself, which makes sense.  Alliances can and will shift, and you don’t want to show your hand too soon.

European comics always have rich detail as a hallmark of their artwork, which I love.  And that’s on full view here.  Every background element, every setting receives as much care as a foreground element or a major character.  It helps to establish the fancy world this story will move through, and even provide a bit of armchair travel across Europe for everyone stuck at home. Even scenes set in darkness have backgrounds that show off a character all their own.

This is also a very text heavy issue, which is no surprise when you consider the type of story it’s telling.  That combination can prove difficult for a reader as the eye has to compete with large amounts of text and large amounts of detailed art.  To his credit, Mario Alberti knows where to find balance. He pulls back on detail when there are text dumps, and lets loose when pictures need to tell the story more than words. (Though my aging eyes do wish the lettering was just a bit bigger!)

If the creator of “American Gods” and “Norse Mythology” was to create his own reality show, it would no doubt look like this.

Kate Kosturski

Kate Kosturski

Librarian by day, comics nerd by day and by night. Also published at Geeks OUT and Multiversity Comics (where she is also the social media manager for the site). Originally from New Jersey, now of Connecticut and New York City. Raging feminist your mother probably warned you about. Body positivity and LGBTQ+ advocate. Lover of good whiskey, Jensen Ackles, Doctor Who, Funko Pops, knitting, Hamilton, and the New York Mets. Will defend the Oxford Comma to her deathbed. Find her on twitter at @librarian_kate