Welcome to my picks for the Top 10 comics coming out next week. This list is based on nothing but my anticipation. No speculation here. Just good old fashioned comic book reading.
Let’s get to the countdown.
10. Crimson Flower #1
Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: Matt Lesniewski
Publisher: Dark Horse
Description: From New York Times-bestselling Mind MGMT creator Matt Kindt and Matt Lesniewski (The Freak) comes a brand-new, mind-altering journey through Russian folk tales, trained assassins, and government conspiracies.
After losing her family in a violent home invasion, a woman uses folk tales to cope. In a blood-soaked journey toward revenge, she tracks down the man responsible for her family’s deaths, only to discover a startling government plot-to weaponize folk tales and use them to raise children into super assassins.
Why it Made the List: The big reason I am anticipating this comic is due to my fandom of Matt Kindt. I have enjoyed a lot of his work like Mind MGMT, Black Badge, Grass Kings, among many others. I do not have a lot of experience with artist Matt Lesniewski, but I can say Kindt tends to always partner with interesting artists. Being an artist himself, rarely do you see a book by him where the art does not bring something special to the story. Also, I am a fan of a good revenge story. Knowing that tale is in the framework of a folktale makes me think it can avoid the overdone cliches of the genre.
9. American Ronin #4
Writer: Peter Milligan
Description: War is over, democracy an illusion, real power now lies not with nation-states but huge corporations engaged in a silent war for global domination. Their number one weapon: highly-skilled, technologically-enhanced operatives trained since childhood to pledge their allegiance to the corporate flag. But what happens when one such operative breaks free of his mental chains and decides to bring the whole system down? Can one “Ronin” make a difference?
Why it Made the List: American Ronin has been my favorite book that AWA has put thus far. ACO’s art may be the biggest reason why. I love the way ACO finds ways to isolate panels and utilize sound effects in clever ways. The one-man assassin story has been done to death. Despite the Ronin title this does not standout by homaging classic samurai films. It pushes things forward by making empathy a key piece to the concept. Being the penultimate issue the story is in full force. Although some other AWA books have gone behind their original mini-series number. My hope is this will as well if the story is there.
8. Barbalien: Red Planet #3
Writer: Tate Brombal, Jeff Lemire
Artist: Gabriel Hernandez Walta
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Description: Barbalien continues to flee the Martian bounty hunter Boa Boaz-and continues to develop a relationship with a young activist under an assumed identity. But past and present collide when Boa begins targeting people in Barbalien’s life.
Why it Made the List: I am amazed by how much the Black Hammer universe has grown over the years. How this small intimate story about characters stuck in a humble town has grown into this massive universe. This issue sets Barbalien against the life he thought he left. When you add that to the drama his Earth life already has this could be the best issue of the series yet. If you are someone who has been interested in Black Hammer and has not started these minis are a great way to dip your toe. You do not need to read anything else to understand what is going on with each one. Plus you get to see great artists like Gabriel Hernandez Walta provide their take on this world.
7. The Scumbag #4
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Roland Boschi
Publisher: Image Comics
Description: “JAZZ APPLE ARMAGEDDON,” Part Four-The hottest party around is in full swing, and Ernie’s on the guest list! With Sister Mary there to keep him on track and Scorpionus agents in sight, what’s the worst that could happen? Dress is optional – scumbaggery is guaranteed.
Why it Made the List: One would think writing this book was a cathartic experience for Rick Remender. Taking the most skeevy behavior one can imagine and place it inside a specific character. Then you make that character your hero. For the first three issues, it has worked. Now that the first main arc is over I hope this can move the concept even further. I was a little concerned that each issue would be a different artist. One of the benefits of indie titles is the continuity of the creative team issue to issue. Without that would something be lost? So far it has worked. Each artist has been able to bring something new without making the transition feel jarring. My guess is that will stand out much more in trade than it does issue to issue.
6. King in Black #3
Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Ryan Stegman
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Description: After last issue’s shocking finale, the heroes of the Marvel Universe are reeling. Outgunned and outmanned, but never outdone, they unite and face KNULL, God of the Abyss, as he ensnares the planet in the darkness of his reign! Superstars DONNY CATES and RYAN STEGMAN continue to raise the game—and the stakes for the Marvel Universe in this Earth-shattering epic!
Why it Made the List: Sure I love myself some small indie stories but I am not opposed to a big event done right. So far King in Black has been working. Unlike Empyre that came out of nowhere, this event has been building since Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman took over Venom. My assumption is people who have been following that book since the beginning will get more out of this than someone jumping in brand new. Considering how the last issue ended I am curious where exactly this will go. Also the ending of Venom has me hyped for a return of a great character. Should be fun.
5. DCeased: Dead Planet #7
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Trevor Hairsine
Publisher: DC COMICS
Description: The Justice League fights an army of Amazos for Earth, while John Constantine goes head-to-head with Trigon! The Justice League fight for Earth and the lives of the…infected?! The final chapter of the best-selling series will be talked about for years to come!
Why it Made the List: With this issue, we see the end of this DCeased story. One of the best DC comics last year has one more outing before we say goodbye. At least for now. As Tom Taylor has shown with his Injustice series he seems to plan these worlds to go on for years. Where the first installment was generally straight forward survival tale, this has taken things up a notch. Going cosmic and now adding the life equation into the mix. This series has yet to disappoint. I have a lot of faith in this team to find success once again. I also know they are going to find a way to tear my heart out, and I will hate and love them for it all at the same time.
4. Future State: Superman: Worlds of War #1
Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Becky Cloonan, Brandon Easton, Michael Conrad, Jeremy Adams
Artist: Valentine De Landro, Siya Oum, Gleb Melnikov
Publisher: DC Comics
Description: This monumental Future State title features four big stories! First, Clark Kent is gone, leaving a Superman-shaped hole behind. People gather in Smallville to celebrate their hero, little realizing that he is across the galaxy helping others. Superman has gone to Warworld, where he fights as a gladiator in the deadly pits of Mongul. But this is Superman we’re talking about—and his idea of a victory does not line up with the expectations of Mongul’s hordes!
Why it Made the List: During Phillip Kennedy Johnson’s interview on the Word Balloon podcast he brought up this book was set to be something different from the 5G/Future State storyline. As everything changed it got folded into this major event. Also in that interview, he lays out his thoughts on taking over Superman and it has me excited to see what he can do. Also Superman as a gladiator? I will take that any day. Plus you have Becky Cloonan writing a story so I have faith the backups will be strong outside of the main arc. Knowing Johnson is taking over the Superman titles after Future State leads me to believe elements of this comic may carry over into the main title. We shall see. For now, excited to see Superman unlike we have seen him before.
3. I Breathed A Body #1
Writer: Zac Thompson
Artist: Andy MacDonald
Description: A science fiction horror series about social media, big tech, and influencer culture.
It’s The Social Network meets Hellraiser. When the world’s biggest influencer posts something irredeemably horrific online, the world changes in an instant. Now it’s up to his social media manager, Anne Stewart, to fan the flames of outrage and create a sensationalist campaign that rewrites the rules of “banned content.” Thus begins a carnival of lust, revulsion, desire, and disgust – all for viral videos.
Why it Made the List: Even if you do not enjoy Zac Thompson’s writing you have to respect how he constantly looks to push the comics medium in new directions. Personally I not only respect his work but typically find he makes some of the most emotionally engaging comics today. There is a purpose within all his stories that appears tied to something meaningful beyond just wanting to tell a cool story. Andy MacDonald is an artist who impressed me with his work mostly at Marvel, especially in the rather underrated Multiple Man miniseries. Looking at the few preview pages that are up he clearly is pushing himself into a new direction to fit the tone of this story. I have faith this comic will be unlike anything I read this week or perhaps even year.
2. Killadelphia #12
Writer: Rodney Barnes
Artist: Jason Shawn Alexander
Publisher: Image Comics
Description: “BURN BABY BURN,” Conclusion-The smash-hit series from RODNEY BARNES, the writer behind such hit shows as Marvel’s Runaways and STARZ’s American Gods, and JASON SHAWN ALEXANDER, the artist who redefined SPAWN, reaches its shocking second-arc conclusion!
Jupiter and Abigail have decimated the city of brotherly love, and as their reign of terror reaches its climax, things look bleak for our heroes. If Philadelphia stands any chance of survival, James Sangster Sr. and son will have to reach out to the one person they’d never ally themselves with, or else no one will survive the night. But will that be enough to save them, or will the casualties continue?
Why it Made the List: I have enjoyed Killadelphia since the start but this second arc brought it to another level. A lot of that is due to the exploration of the character of Jupiter. He may have been my favorite character in comics last year. His story is one of tragedy and horror. A life that makes him more than a sympathetic villain and more of a force of nature. His journey seems like one that is needed to find balance in the world. Now everything that has been building for these eleven issues is coming together. I hope this comic will continue but not knowing its complete future leaves open so many possibilities.
1. Abbott 1973 #1
Writer: Saladin Ahmed
Artist: Sami Kivela
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Description: (W) Saladin Ahmed (A) Sami Kivela (CA) Taj Tenfold * In a new series for fans of Something is Killing the Children and Bitter Root, Saladin Ahmed, the visionary writer behind Miles Morales: Spider-Man, and Sami Kivelä, the acclaimed artist behind Tommy Gun Wizards, reunite for this Must Read supernatural thriller. * Detroit’s hardest hitting journalist, Elena Abbott, is trying to make a fresh start at a new newspaper…but her deadly past isn’t ready to let go. * The city is days away from the historic election of a Black candidate as their new Mayor, but a vicious new group has emerged to destroy him, targeting anyone who supports his campaign or the change he represents. * That means Abbott, who discovers the group’s connection to a dangerous dark magic, has been targeted for certain death – unless she embraces her true power as the Lightbringer to save her city.
Why it Made the List: I do feel like it is a bit cheap to keep putting new #1’s at the number now spot. However, this is all based on anticipation plus this is not necessarily a brand new series. I loved the previous Abbott comic done by Saladin Ahmed and Sami Kivela. Abbot was a great character and I am happy to see her story continue. It mixed in vital social commentary and a supernatural tale in a remarkable organic way. I am a little bummed Kivela is not returning for art duties, but Sami Kivela is a hell of a replacement. Kivela’s recent work in Undone By Blood showed he could capture two vastly different time periods simultaneously. That skill will lend itself well with this story. If this installment is anything like the last time the ’70s will play a major role in establishing the atmosphere of the book. If this is anything like the last time this book will take on the personality of its main character. One of a bold attitude determined to get the story right in the best way possible.