Most of the solicitations for February's books came out last week, but there seems to be an unusual amount of movement on my pull list for month. Two books that January was the last issue, three that will be starting up in February. It's about a 30% turnover.
Secret Avengers ended in January, and I don't have any interest in the new title of the same name starting up, so that's one off the list. I figure I'll at least give Fearless Defenders a chance. I've heard different things about Bunn's writing, but I don't have any experience. Sixth Gun generally gets good reviews, but his Marvel work has gotten a more mixed response. It's probably trickier to write for Marvel. You're taking part in a larger universe, so maybe he has to be careful of who he uses, or what he does. Or it could be a matter of difference in tone between his book, which has always looked like a horror story of sorts, and what he does for Marvel.
The art might be my bigger concern, though. I don't have any experience with Will Sliney's work, so it isn't a gripe against him specifically. It's more a general concern with a book with a predominantly (if not entirely) female cast. Think the Civil War/World War Hulk era Heroes for Hire. I don't think the art did it any favors there. If Sliney can avoid Deodato-style perpetual hip sway, or a Frank Cho abundance of butt shots, that'll be a decent start. I know that all sounds pretty negative, but I'm curious to see a team book lead by Valkyrie, what problems she'll choose to tackle, how she leads. And the Marvel Universe is a pretty cool sandbox to explore that with.
Secret Avengers is the second Marvel title on my pull in three months to get cancelled, and Fearless Defenders will be the third added in four months. Which means Marvel NOW! is working for me, barely. Better than the nu52, certainly. Speaking of DC, February marks a parting of ways for me and Green Arrow, since it has a new writer. I know some people swear by Lemire's work, but I don't know. He's been on Animal Man since the relaunch, and they're still doing this story with the Rot. What's more, they'll still be at it in February, a year and a half since the relaunch. That sounds severely decompressed, and my tolerance for that has started to wear thin.
Anyway, I'm tentatively planning to follow Nocenti to Katana. I don't have any affection for the character, but the whole idea of having a sword that contains the soul of her husband, and might try to take control of her sounds pretty cool. What's the sword's plan, how devious is it, can it be bargained with, feels like there's a lot you could do with that. The bit about restoring the Outsiders I can take or leave, but I am curious as to how one goes about that. It seems like one of those things where a magic sword wouldn't necessarily be much use.
I am concerned about crossovers. It's one of the reasons I passed up Nocenti's Catwoman. I didn't want to get sucked into whatever Bat-nonsense came down the pike. As it turns out, I spared myself Eclipso nonsense rather than Batstuff, but same difference. With Katana, it's more likely to be Justice League of America nonsense. Not sure if that's better or worse. The actual answer is probably "irrelevant", because I imagine the quality of tie-ins or crossovers comes down to the skill of the creative team for that book. In that regard, her Daredevil run leaves me confident Nocenti can a) keep momentum on the stories she wants to do while doing the required tying in, and b) provide enough details about the tie-in so I know what's going on without having to buy those other books. Can't ask for much more with tie-ins.
The third and final new book on the list is that Rocketeer Hollywood Horror mini-series Langridge and J.Bone will be doing. J. Bone's a pretty good artist, and I picked up the digest versions of Thor: The Mighty Avenger last winter, so I know Langridge has writing chops. This is the one of the three I have no reservations about. Fully confident it's going to be good. I guess there's a chance Langridge could overload Cliff's jerk factor, or ramp up the problems between Cliff and Betty to an unbearable level, but I doubt it. His work with Thor demonstrated he knows how to write a guy who is genuinely good-hearted, but also short-tempered, impulsive, and occasionally overbearing. And his Jane Foster handled it all very well. Betty is a bit more hot-tempered than Jane, but Cliff's also a little easier to short-circuit, what with being much easier to deck.