Frontlist | The best new comics one should read in January

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From DC’s Future State to Marvel’s Eternals, here are the comics we’re looking forward to this month.

At long last, it’s a new year. Among other things, that means new comics! Publishers have lots of new series set to launch in the beginning of 2021. Here are EW’s picks for which comics to make sure you check out this month.

Eternals #1 (Marvel)

 

Kieron Gillen (writer), Esad Ribic (artist)

2020 had the dubious distinction of being the first year since 2009 without a new Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. Now that COVID-19 vaccines are starting to roll out, hopes are high that 2021 will finally bring out the MCU movies that were delayed by the pandemic, and Chloe Zhao’s Eternals is in a prime spot on that list (currently set for a November release).

Who are the Eternals, you ask? Great question! Despite being created by Jack Kirby, the co-creator of nearly every other Marvel superhero, the Eternals are a lot less user-friendly than the Avengers. They’ve only had a few different comics over the years, so not everyone is as familiar with this race of celestial super-beings and their forever war against the Deviants as, say, the struggle between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin. But Marvel Comics is ahead of the curve with a newly relaunched series overseen by top talent.

As the writer of comics like Die and The Wicked & the Divine, Kieron Gillen knows quite a bit about eternal battles and making godlike beings relatable to readers. As the artist of Marvel’s game-changing 2016 event comic Secret Wars, Esad Ribic knows how to depict epic scale. So with new Marvel movies on the horizon, this Eternals series should be the perfect way to kick off 2021.

John Ridley, Brandon Thomas, Paul Jenkins, Vita Ayala, Paula Sevenbergen (writers), Nick Derington, Sumit Kunar, Jack Herbert, Aneke, Emanuela Lupacchino (artists)

What does the future hold for DC Comics? The business version of that question is very much up in the air following the slew of tragic layoffs the publisher underwent last year, but the storytelling version of that question is about to be answered. For the next two months, all DC’s flagship titles are going to pause their current story lines in favor of an initiative dubbed Future State, which will show readers what their beloved superheroes are up to in the near and far future. In many cases, this will mean the mantle gets taken up by a younger, fresher (and in several cases, non-white) face.

12 Years a Slave screenwriter John Ridley, who is currently writing The Other History of the DC Universe, now gets to explore its future with a brand-new Batman. We still don’t know this character’s identity, but we do know some of what he’s up against: a new private group called the Magistrate that has taken over law enforcement in Gotham City, with all masked vigilantes banned as a result. In addition to the new Batman, this book will also bring readers up to date on the future of the Batgirls, the Outsiders, Gotham City Sirens, and Arkham Knights.

Joelle Jones (writer and artist)

What’s next for Wonder Woman? Unlike the new Eternals series mentioned above, which is debuting ahead of a live-action movie, this new Wonder Woman comic is debuting in the wake of the latest Gal Gadot film. But Future State should provide a change of pace, since a brand-new character is being introduced as the next wielder of the golden lasso: Yara Flor. Why does this new Wonder Woman hail from the Amazon rainforest instead of the island of Themyscira, and how can she protect Man’s World from the wrath of gods? That’s all for the future.

W. Maxwell Prince (writer), Vanesa R. Del Rey (artist)

The writer of Ice Cream Man is starting a new horror anthology comic miniseries. Outside of a double fudge sundae, what could be more enticing than that? W. Maxwell Prince mined terrifying stories from a simple ice cream delivery man, so we’re on the edge of our seats wondering what horrific depths he’ll be able to plumb with a concept as scary as clowns. Whoever said the Joker had a monopoly on comic book jesters, anyway?

Unlike Ice Cream Man, which is almost always illustrated by Martin Morazzo and Chris O’Halloran, Haha will feature a rotating cast of acclaimed artists. First up is Vanese R. Del Rey (Redlands).

Al Ewing (writer), Joe Bennett (artist)

It’s all been leading to this — well, some of it, anyway. Forty issues in, it’s clear that Immortal Hulk is one of those superhero sagas comic fans will be talking about for a long time. Writer Al Ewing, artist Joe Bennett, and their other collaborators have forged a grand synthesis of the Hulk’s entire history and mythology. Almost every character Bruce Banner has ever encountered (and every character he’s ever been) has showed up so far, with the rest surely yet to come.

But Immortal Hulk has been extremely patient in rolling out the Hulk’s signature supervillain. Little by little, we’ve seen hints of what the Leader has been up to: capturing the alien butterfly from the future warning of the Breaker of the Worlds, pulling off a coup in Hell to take control of the Green Door between life and death, and telepathically manipulating Hulk’s close ally Rick Jones. Now we get to see what it was all for in an issue boasting a truly incredible cover from Alex Ross… after which we’ll find out what else Ewing and Bennett have in store.

 

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