Kurt Busiek - Having made a name for himself writing several major titles for Marvel Comics - including Alex Rossí fully-painted Marvels and the Avengers with industry legend George Perez - Kurt Busiek will soon become a household name by writing four of the most anticipated projects of this year. Debuting this month is the 7-issue Power Surge event, a collection of one-shots by a host of artists (including Dan Jurgens and Keith Giffen leading into the launch of the Power Company series in February, penciled by Tom Grummett. The monthly book will take place in the DC universe with the majority of the regular cast being new characters, each one introduced in one of the 7 one-shots. The story follows a bunch of aspiring superheroes that join a firm who turn heroism into a business, some hoping to fight for justice and others just interested in fame and fortune.
Following his departure on Avengers, Busiek still had some loose ends to tie up namely the implantation of Ego the living planet in the body of the superhero Quasar. On the proposal table is a mini-series with artist Steve Sadowski (JSA) to finish the tale. Last but definitely not least, Busiek will be working on getting his critically-acclaimed Astro City back on schedule. Penciled by the incredible Brent Anderson and accompanied by character designs and cover work by Alex Ross, this series has gained the respect of other high profile creators such as Frank Miller and Neil Gaiman. Trust me, do yourself a favor and check this series out in trade paperback at your local bookstore. The best description for this series I could muster is this the series examines and defines the superhero. Youíll understand when you read it.
Geoff Johns - Continuing his highly successful run on JSA with co-writer David Goyer (Blade films) and new regular artist Leonard Kirk and his current stint on The Flash with penciler Scott Kolins, Johns will soon be expanding in all directions. Starting with the 4-issue Morlocks mini-series in April, with former Detective Comics artist Shawn Martinbrough, this will be his first major Marvel work. Following closely will be The Thing mini-series with Flash partner Kolins, featuring the one and only clobberiní king himself, Benjamin J. Grimm of the Fantastic Four. Barely a month later, heíll follow in Kurt Busiekís footsteps by taking the reigns of Avengers as the new ongoing writer, with Dwyer remaining as artist. Could the man possibly do more? Sure! Why not?
In March, one of comicdomís most creatively screwed-up characters will finally get the relaunch fans have asked for. Hawkman, after about five years of sitting on the shelf, will once again brandish his own ongoing monthly series. Co-plotted by James Robinson (Starman), written by Johns and penciled by Rags Morales (JSA, Hourman), the book will take Carter Hall in a new, exciting and completely sane direction for the first time in a VERY LONG time. If you donít know the story behind this one, hereís the short version: Following DC Comics Crisis event, far too many creators tinkered with Hawkmanís modern age origin. Leaving the original Golden Age Hawkman existing, but introducing a new version from another planet (with the same name?!?!). Things took a turn for the worst when they came up with the bright idea of merging all the versions together in a rather incoherent manner. The current JSA writing team spent 3 issues putting the pieces back together and luckily did a very good job of it. Anyone interested in Hawkman should definitely check this book out, itís the strongest the character has been in over 20 years. Believe me, his background not only makes sense now itís very cool.
In addition to his work on the Batman titles, 2002 will also see the release of his Wonder Woman: The Hikketeia graphic novel, penciled by J.G. Jones (Marvel Boy). In theory, Rucka is supposed to follow current Wonder Woman writer/penciler Phil Jimenez after his run has concluded. Jimenezís work has been very well received, his work was recently extended by another year. As DC editorial will decide what happens after the second year concludes, it remains to be seen whether or not Rucka will takeover at that time, hence, the in theory business. Rucka has always been known for writing strong female characters, so it was of no shock that he became Brian Michael Bendisí replacement on the Elektra ongoing series. Beginning this month, he will continue as regular writer for the foreseeable future with current artist Chuck Austen. For those of you interested in seeing more of Ruckaís contributions to the Elektra character, you can check out his 3-issue prose graphic novel mini-series, Elektra & Wolverine: The Redeemer, with Yoshitaka Amano (Sandman: The Dreamhunters) that is currently running. Later he will have a short story in the notoriously late (four months so far) Marvel Knights: Double-Shot anthology series with CGI painter, Greg Horn.
Rucka will also be one of the many A-list creators doing a Spider-Man project to coincide with the theatrical release. Entitled "Spider-Man: Yith", itís still a bit early to get all the details on this 4-issue mini-series. However, preview art by the series painter has been incredible. The best explanation I can give is that it looks like standard Marvel art done in CGI, but also obviously paint. Itís very strange and very nice. Finally, at least for Marvel, he is penning a new 3-issue Black Widow mini-series with art by Igor Kordey (Cable) solicited for sometime in late spring or early summer. If thatís not enough, you can also check out his black & white ongoing series from Oni Press, Queen & Country. Following the exploits of a British Secret Service agent named Tara Chase, this book is set in the more realistic world of political espionage. Think the TV series "24" without the hindering of budgets and content restrictions. The art teams are rotational with each new storyline, but the with the bi-monthly schedule youíll hardly notice. The trade paperback of the first 4 issues will be available in bookstores by April.
Thatís it for this preview of 2002. Until next edition, see you then!