With this being Thanksgiving Week in the US it is the perfect time to countdown the Top 10 Most Anticipated Comics. There are so many things to be thankful for in the world of comics, which is why I enjoy doing this list so much. So let’s get onto the countdown…
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Doug Mahnke, Jaime Mendoza
Publisher: DC Comics
Description: SUPERSTAR WRITER JASON AARON TEAMS UP WITH BLOCKBUSTER ARTIST DOUG MAHNKE FOR THE FIGHT OF THE DARK KNIGHT’S LIFE! A routine night in Gotham City for a young Batman proves to be anything but routine when the crime-fighter is confronted with a sort of foe he’s never faced before—one from beyond the stars! A universe of possible alien threats leads Batman to make a daring decision—to venture alone into the far reaches of the cosmos for the very first time, where the Dark Knight will face the fight of his life! Superstar writer Jason Aaron delivers his first Batman story ever, partnered with artist Doug Mahnke for a unique, brutal tale!
Why it Made the List: Jason Aaron is coming back to DC. I think it is coming at a great time because Aaron was at a point with Marvel that there simply was not much more that he could do. I am interested in seeing what he can do with a character like Batman, and the idea of placing Batman in space has promise. Aaron loves his space stories. I do not know if it is possible to put bets on comics, but if you can I would put one on there being a space shark in this book. Doug Mahnke is a good artist to partner Aaron with and as someone not currently digging what the Batman title is doing I hope this can change things.
Writer: Rainbow Rowell
Artist: Andrés Genolet
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Description: INCREDIBLE AND SENSATIONAL! The Incredible Hulk comes for his cousin, and it’s not a social call! Both Hulk books collide! What villain is brave enough to bait the two strongest heroes (one with way better hair) of the Marvel Universe?! PLUS: In honor of Native/Indigenous Heritage Month, the Best Friend of the Marvel Universe and She-Hulk’s ex-boyfriend WYATT WINGFOOT makes his triumphant return in a bonus story!
Why it Made the List: I feel bad for anyone who tried to start this series with the last issue thinking it was going to be the start of a new story. In fact, it was not even the start of a new arc. I get why they do it to boost sales, but I wonder if it just hurts you in the long run. Ultimately, the most important thing is if the comic is good. For me, the answer has and continues to be a very loud yes. Rainbow Rowell has a knack for writing superheroes like real people without losing any of the spectacular. Love the cast of characters that has been built with this series and enjoy just spending time with them. So if you are a person who read the last issue and was lost I would advise you to go back and go through what you missed.
Writer: Amit Tishler
Artist: Bruno Frenda
Publisher: MAD CAVE STUDIOS
Description: Amidst the snow-capped hills of war-torn Ukraine, teenage siblings Alex and Yuli have lost all but each other in the chaos of the Russian Civil War. Their journey becomes a fight for survival in the face of warfare, but when the siblings uncover the mystical powers of a Golem, will they finally find their place in the world?
Why it Made the List: I try not to just fill this list with new series. It’s tough because new books are those shiny toys with so many possibilities. Typically it’s the creative team behind the book that makes me place it on this list, but in the case of Edenfrost I am not familiar with these creators outside of letterer Taylor Esposito. (Who does great work BTW) There is just something about that cover that has garnered my attention. Mostly its aesthetic scratches the right itch for me. Plus the setting of the Russian Civil War is not something you see often in any medium, especially comics. Mad Cave has been impressing me with its consistent quality so that also gives me hope.
Writer: David Pepose
Artist: Alex Cormack
Publisher: MAD CAVE STUDIOS
Description: Now trapped in Santiago’s body, Father Vieri finds himself locked in the dungeon of the Castillo Lazarus — and at the sadistic mercies of the Inquisition. Yet as this exorcist now burns at the touch of the Cross, can Vieri escape before the demon Legion uses his body to paint the Vatican red? And when suspicion mounts over his new host’s changed demeanor, to what terrifying lengths will Legion go to avoid being discovered? As the Devil lurks in the Church’s most precious sanctum, no one will be prepared for what happens next — and in one bloody instant, the fate of Rome will be changed forever.
Why it Made the List: As mentioned above this is a good week for Mad Cave Comics. The first issue of this series made this list a few weeks ago and as you can tell it lived up to my expectations. Alex Cormack is such a talented artist. His style fits the genre of horror perfectly as demonstrated yet again here. David Pepose is having quite the 2023 with this series and his work at Marvel. Super happy for him as I have been following his career since his work on Spencer & Locke. I know for spooky season is over for some but in the world of comics, it’s a year-round tradition. I would not have it any other way.
Writer: Ethan S. Parker, Griffin Sheridan
Artist: Bob Quinn
Publisher: Image Comics
Description: Reunited with imaginary friend Wallace, Rose and Elliott journey back to save the kingdom of Rosewood. Somewhere deep within, the great and terrible evil waits for their arrival…the same one that destroyed Rose’s life all those years ago.
Why it Made the List: I am amazed that this series is the first comic Ethan S. Parker and Griffin Sheridan have done. There have been major acclaimed prose and screenwriters who have tried their hand at the comic book medium and failed miserably. They are making it look easy. Now of course any comic is a group effort and they have a strong art team with them in Bob Quinn and John J. Hill so credit should go there as well. I love the imagination of this book both literally in the story and in the craftsmanship used to create it. There’s such a delicate balance of tone that could easily go wrong. So far they have made it work.
Writer: Becky Cloonan
Artist: Tula Lotay
Description: BECKY CLOONAN and TULA LOTAY—Both writing and drawing a creator-owned project together for the FIRST TIME! Set amidst the terrifying backdrop of the witch hunts in a quiet 1600s English village, SOMNA follows one woman’s descent into an erotic escape from the confines of her puritanical world. Ingrid is unhappily married to Roland, the town’s bailiff and chief witch hunter, who is on a single-minded quest to purge the ‘heretics’ in their midst. After a prominent town leader is found murdered, accusations fly and no one is above reproach from Roland’s deadly crusade. Ingrid has her suspicions about who the real murderer is, but even as she pursues the truth, she’s pursued herself by a shadowy figure. Ingrid finds that she’s drawn to the foreboding phantom in ways she can’t resist— does this dark and tempting stranger may hold the key to the mystery…or will he damn Ingrid’s soul to the blackest circle of Hell?
Why it Made the List: DSTLRY has done a lot to put itself out there as a publisher to take notice. The key to everything is to put out good comics and so far that has been the case. Becky Cloonan and Tula Lotay working together is an exciting proposition. Crazy that it has never happened before. The description gives you a lot of information so you have a complete understanding of what this book is before you open the page. Hopefully, they can make that story work and leave enough room for a few surprises.
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Dan Mora
Publisher: DC Comics
Description: MARK WAID CONTINUES HIS RETURN TO THE WORLD OF KINGDOM COME! Superman and Batman, having followed Boy Thunder to Kingdom Come, find themselves and that world on a path to an apocalyptic future. Can the World’s Finest team prevent the transformation of Boy Thunder into the villainous Magog, or is his fate sealed?
Why it Made the List: This book is such a joy. I am so happy we have gotten twenty-one issues of it, and it does not appear to be slowing down any time soon. I was not sure what a return to the world of Kingdom Come would exactly look like. The idea that the World’s Finest Universe would be unaware of a Multiverse is a nice little twist to this concept. It also makes sense considering I cannot think of any crossovers with that universe. This storyline is at least going into issue twenty-four so we are just getting started with this story and I am completely okay with that.
Writer: Che Grayson
Artist: Kelsey Ramsay
Description: After saving the day at the commencement ceremony, Cheyenne and Rebecca are now heralded as town heroes. Everyone is preparing to celebrate at the diner for a town-wide party. It even seems like Jean is going to finally break her big case…but the secret she discovers will change everything.There are still deeds that have gone unpunished, but punishment is coming in the shocking conclusion.
Why it Made the List: If I was going to make a list of the most underrated series of 2023 this would be near the top. Honestly, all the Dark Spaces books have been quite good so I hope we get more of them despite some of the issues that have faced IDW this past year. This is a story about how the past haunts us and how we cannot move past it until address it directly. A theme I can get behind plus its central character is a journalist and I love stories about journalism in any form. A big reason it is so high is how the last issue ended. I let out a preverbal gasp because I did not see that twist coming. Now excited to see how this story comes to a close.
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Daniel Sampere
Publisher: DC Comics
Description: TRINITY, WONDER WOMAN’S DAUGHTER, MAKES HER BACKUP STORY DEBUT! The Lasso of Lies’ true power is revealed as the Sovereign continues his campaign against Wonder Woman! Could one unsuspecting soldier be the key to defeating our hero? Find out as Diana uses her own lasso in search of the truth about the Amazon massacre. Plus, the return of Trinity! Wonder Woman’s daughter makes her backup story debut in the first of many awe-inspiring adventures from the future.
Why it Made the List: I was so impressed with the last issue of this series. The structure was pristine with complimentary storylines happening at the same time on the page while occurring in different eras of Wonder Woman’s life. It cannot be understated how difficult that is to do right and this team made it look effortless. Tom King uses that structure a lot in his work and it works for me nearly every time. I doubt we would get the same with this issue, but it makes me wonder which technique will be utilized instead. A lot of press was made regarding the debut of Wonder Woman’s daughter Trinity, but so far she has not played into the story at all. Now with this issue’s backup, we should have more clues about where she comes from. I have yet to be sold on the idea yet that can change. Still I have a strong suspicion that maybe things are not as they seem.
Writer: Rick Remender, Joe Trohman, Andy Samberg
Artist: Roland Boschi
Publisher: Image Comics
Description: Everyone was sitting around wondering when comedy legend ANDY SAMBERG (SNL, Palm Springs) would join super-star writer RICK REMENDER (DEADLY CLASS, LOW) and Fall Out Boy’s multi-talented JOE TROHMAN to write a comic about a vigilante hero who smashes people’s faces with a bowling ball—and everyone’s dreams have come true! With art by the fan-favorite ROLAND BOSCHI (THE SCUMBAG, Wolverine)! To care for his ailing father, pro bowler Levi Coen is forced to quit his dream job and return to his hometown, which he soon discovers has been overrun by Neo-Nazis! With only his bowling ball collection to defend himself, Levi becomes THE HOLY ROLLER, a trick bowling ball-wielding Jewish superhero battling to liberate his home and bowl a perfect game against crime! Kingpin meets Inglourious Basterds meets Batman (that old chestnut) with equal parts action and humor in this special introductory issue with 42 full pages of story!
Why it Made the List: Two things I never thought would happen with this week’s number one choice. First, a comic written by Andy Samberg being on the top of this list. Second Rick Remender returning to the world of superheroes. Of course, the second is the biggest reason number one is happening. No disrespect to Samberg as I am a fan. Simply that since Remender left Marvel has done so many great books it seemed like he moved on from the world of superheroes. His return makes me think he has something special cooked up. Plus it is a story about a dude beaten up Neo-Nazis with a bowling ball. Just give me a couple of panels of that and I walk away a happy comic book reader. Roland Boschi does great work and I am sure he will construct so beautiful chaos.
Other comics I am looking forward to that did not make the list: Nightwing #108, Lunar Lodge #1, Superman #8, Quick Stops: Volume 2 #1, Void Rivals #6, Jay Garrick: The Flash #2, Conan the Barbarian #5, Hack / Slash: Back to School #2, The Sensational She-Hulk #2, Mortal Terror #1, Con & On #5, Uncanny Spider-Man #4, Universal Monsters: Dracula #2