The best thing about comics? Each week is another new chance to read something great. With that in mind, I am counting down my Top 10 Most Anticipated comics coming out next week.
Let’s take a look at what we can get excited about.
10. Taarna #2
Writer: Stephanie Phillips
Artist: Patrick Zircher
Publisher: Heavy Metal
Description: A new mission for Heavy Metal’s flagship character Taarna begins! Who is the zealot called Urcuss, and why does he want to burn entire planets to the ground in order to destroy Taarna, the cosmic guardian of life in the universe? Can Taarna save a planet from being destroyed during Urcuss’s merciless invasion? This is the story of a millennia-old battle between godlike beings, with all sentient life caught in their path.
Why it Made the List: Taarna is a character I know very little about. I know she has been around for a long time and has a dedicated cult following. I picked up the last issue mostly due to Stephanie Phillips being attached. As a newbie, the first issue gave me some insight into why so many adore Taarna as a character. She flies through space riding a dragon nearly naked while holding a big sword. Seems legit to me. For those new like me imagine Red Sonja or Conan the Barbian in space. Also, she is the type of reluctant hero that lives by a very different type of moral code. Acting out of necessity rather than morality. My hope is with issue two the general narrative begins to take shape as the character exploration continues.
9. The Kaiju Score #3
Writer: James Patrick
Artist: Rem Broo
Description: MORE STORY! MORE ART! MORE KAIJU! Things just got complicated for the crew of the Kaiju Score. Not complicated like putting to-gether a piece of Ikea furniture, but as in another giant monster just showed up. And compli-cated as in one of the crew just went completely off script. Now Marco has to improvise. But will everyone do what he says, or will things just get worse? It’s all just par for the course for the Kaiju Score.
Why it Made the List: This is such a fun book. A random collection of different genres that come together rather well. Rem Broo’s art style fits this story to make it all work. It’s distinctly cartoony to keep the mood right on pitch. Aftershock is coming out in 2021 strong. Both with new series and books like The Kaiju Score that continue to get better. As a person who loves a good heist story and a good monster tale seeing both in one comic has been a treat.
8. Future State: Batman / Superman #1
Writer: Gene Luen Yang
Artist: Ben Oliver
Publisher: DC Comics
Description: Back in the early days of the Magistrate’s occupation of Gotham City, Bruce Wayne found himself pushed to the edge like never before. So calling the Man of Steel in for backup makes sense, right? Wrong. Gotham’s sinister overlords have already sprung the ultimate trap on the Last Son of Krypton…and with Kryptonian power at your command, no one can stand in your way! And…where on Earth did Professor Pyg get a Kryptonite scalpel? Brace yourselves, because things are going to get gross in the caverns below Gotham…
Why it Made the List: Gene Luen Yang had as good of a year in 2020 as one could imagine. The Beat named him the Comics Person of the year and I could not disagree. Loved his work on both Dragon Hoops and Superman vs The Klan. Now he comes back to Superman with a Future State tale. My hope is with his past work writing Superman and the adjusted format with Future State he will find more success with this title. Ben Oliver is an industry mainstay. He’s done tons of work for nearly everyone. All this experience could lend itself well.
7. X-O Manowar #4
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Artist: Emilio Laiso
Description: Does Manowar make the armor? X-O steps into a brand-new suit… and just in time to face his biggest villain so far on his path to becoming the hero we need. Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum and Emilio Laiso’s epic journey brings X-O to a stunning crossroads!!
Why it Made the List: I am so happy X-O Manowar has returned. A victim of awful timing. Right as Dennis Hopeless took over the title Covid cause it to be delayed until November. Now finally back in full swing, his take on the character is beginning to take shape. Pushing Aric to understand why he can and more importantly cannot do. Does he have to go with the lesser of two evils in order to end chaos? The headline going into this is indicates Aric will be getting a new suit. What exactly does that mean? I am not fully sure. He’s not Iron Man. His suit is a sentient being so a change like this is more than a cosmetic one.
6. Strange Academy #7
Writer: Skottie Young
Artist: Humberto Ramos
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Description: The first arc ended in loss, but teeters on the edge of tragedy. There are some that Strange cannot save, but can he minimize the graves they’ll have to dig on campus? All this and a huge secret of the Strange Academy is revealed!
Why it Made the List: Strange Academy was easily Marvel’s best new series last year. If you shunned it as being nothing more than a Harry Potter meets X-Men know that you are not wrong in that comparison. It’s still good. A cavalcade of interesting new characters that have become something special in these first few issues. After the tragic ending of the last issue, one would assume the tone of the second arc will be different. Humberto Ramos style was designed for a book like this. One that can appease long term comic fans or those wishing for a more modern style.
5. Strange Adventures #8
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Mitch Gerads, Evan Shaner
Publisher: DC Comics
Description: The battle against the Pykkts continues! The Justice League—including Green Lantern, Doctor Fate, Batman, the Flash, Superman, and Wonder Woman—has scattered across the Earth, pushing back the marauders wherever they appear. Even Mr. Terrific takes a break from investigating Adam Strange’s alleged war crimes to land a punch or two in their stupid alien faces. But Adam Strange has made his decision: to save Rann at any price—even if that price is the Earth itself!
Why it Made the List: Recently it was announced this series will be going on a bi-monthly schedule. A sad development but considering the complexities of two artists working on the same comic during a global pandemic it is surprising it did not happen sooner. Considering this issue has guest appearances from the Justice League this issue may be a bit different. Seeing Mitch Gerads and Evan Shaner take on an alien invasion should be a site for thine eyes. As one would expect each issue gives you so much to chew on as a reader. One of my favorite current DC books going right now.
4. Colonel Weird: Cosmagog #4
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Tyler Crook
Publisher: Dark Horse
Description: Trapped in a cosmic pattern and losing his mind, Colonel Weird has a final revelation taking him back to where everything started—and reveals the way toward freedom.
Why it Made the List: Any time we get more Tyler Crook art it is a time to celebrate. Due to his work on series like Harrow County there is an inherent horror vibe from his style. Even if it is not there my brain has trained itself to see it. Now this series is not something I would qualify as a horror story, although similar themes can be found. A man slowly unraveling in this comic hellscape has some horror vibes. Considering the randomness of Colonel Weird I was unsure what a mini-series centered on him would look like. What we have seen is some filling out of who Colonel Weird while maintaining a frenetic style.
3. The Department of Truth #5
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Martin Simmonds
Publisher: Image Comics
Description: WHAT is Black Hat? WHO is the mysterious man pulling its strings? WHY is he in Cole Turner’s apartment? The first arc of the smash-hit new series from JAMES TYNION IV (Batman) & MARTIN SIMMONDS (Dying is Easy) comes to a dramatic conclusion, as Cole questions whether or not he’s on the right side of the War for the Truth!
Why it Made the List: Every time I read an issue of The Department of Truth I know my head is going to be messed with. Only a few issues ago people were apparently eating babies. Knowing this is ending the first arc has me believing we will be getting some major revolutions, which is extra special in a book that has had an array of exciting revelations. Martin Simmonds has majorly adjusted his style to fit this book. For some, it may not work because it does require some interpretation. Clearly inspired by artists like Dave McKean and Bill Sienkiewicz. It took some time to get a full handle of this style. Now it appears he has found his groove.
2. Future State: Superman vs. Imperious Lex #1
Writer: Mark Russell
Artist: Steve Pugh
Publisher: DC Comics
Description: Welcome to Lexor, home of the greatest businessman in the Multiverse: Lex Luthor! After years of prosperity, Lex’s utopia is at last ready to join the ranks of the United Planets and promote peace among worlds. However, Lex has never done anything unless he had something to gain from it. What could he be up to this time? Sounds like a job for Superman and his wife Lois Lane, the Earth representative to the U.P.! It’s time the Man of Steel shut down this former Metropolis magnate once and for all!
Why it Made the List: Going into Future State this was my most anticipated series. Why? It brought together the creators of The Flintstones and most recently Billionaire Island. When people were discussing who should take over the Superman title next my choice was Mark Russell. In series like Wonder Twins and a few short stories, he has displayed his knack for understanding the character. I love the way he writes Lex Luthor as well. Even in a book like Lex Luthor / Porky Pig Special. I forget sometimes Steve Pugh was actually more known for superhero titles prior to The Flinstones. In the YA graphic novel Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass he showed an entirely new way to approach the DC universe. All that proven track record and verified talent has me believing this will be another standout series. No pressure.
1. Daredevil #26
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Mike Hawthorne, Marco Checchetto
Description: A DEVIL CONSUMED! Matt faces a darkness unlike any before. Meanwhile, ELEKTRA may be in over her head for the first time in her life. DAREDEVIL must find the strength to continue the fight as all hell breaks loose.
Why it Made the List: Finally my number one book is not a number one! Let’s celebrate. Daredevil has been my favorite Marvel title for nearly two years now. My one piece of apprehension is the fact this is a King in Black Tie-In. So far this comic has been a self-contained story and I am not sure how well it will click with someone else’s idea thrown into the mix. Plus Daredevil is best at the street level. FIghting cosmic threats is a bit above his power level. Although it did work in The War of the Realms. So, maybe. Still, I have faith, and mostly I expect the King in Black stuff to be in the background. Seeing how Elektra will do in her new role is intriguing. Is this a bump in the road or something more permanent? We shall see.