Connor's Comic Corner- February
2018 has begun and, God damn, I already love it- such an amazing year to come for nerds like me. A slew of comic book movies on their way to theaters, even more superhero TV shows, and a brand new Star Wars movie awaits rabid fanboys throughout 2018.
It’s looking like its going to be an even better year for comic readers too. Marvel has brought back Jean Grey in spectacular fashion, DC is celebrating the 1,000th (!!!!!) issue of Action Comics, and legendary creator of The Walking Dead, Robert Kirkman, has a brand new series kicking off in May called Oblivion Song that is being hailed as another instant classic by those who have read the advance issues. I don’t even have time to go over all the kick-ass creator owned titles that are on their way from independent publishers.
It is worth pointing out, however, that Marvel’s whole “we are going to do less events in 2018” claim is a complete crock of shit. Phoenix Resurrection (which was incredible, by the way) ended this week but is the literal definition of an event comic and Infinity Countdown, which Marvel has called their “big story-line” of 2018, kicks off in March. Will I buy the event? Of course, I am a sad little fanboy who is terrified of missing out on something important that’ll make me confused down the line.
I just want to bring that up to call out Marvel for being completely full of doo-doo. If you want to keep doing events, then keep doing events! I loved 2017’s Secret Empire and Inhuman’s vs. X-Men the year before that. Just don’t lie to me.
Alright, I digress. Here are the must-buy books coming out in February:
Brand New #1’s to Buy and Try to Sell on Ebay for Three Times the Cover Price:
She’s back! Jean Grey is back! Matthew Rosenberg’s Phoenix Resurrection was a heartfelt and joyous resurrection for one of the most iconic female superheroes of all time and X-Men Red #1 puts Jean Grey back into the midst of the Marvel Universe with a brand new team under her command. It’s a little sad that Matthew Rosenberg won’t be writing this title, but Tom Taylor did an amazing job with DC’s Injustice comics, so the series is in great hands.
Before Disney purchased Lucasfilm and the rights to Star Wars with it, there was a villain beloved by diehard Star Wars fans who had never been seen in film. Some even argued he was more heinous than Darth Vader. I am speaking, of course, about Grand Admiral Thrawn. Introduced in the 1991 novel Heir to the Empire, fans annoyingly cited the loss of Admiral Thrawn as a reason to despise Disney when Mickey Mouse and company decided to toss out all non-movie stories from canon in 2014. Luckily, Thrawn was reintroduced in Disney XD’s Rebels and is even getting a limited comic series from Marvel in February. I don’t say this lightly: Star Wars: Thrawn #1 is a must read for Star Wars fans.
Black Mask Studios had a monster year- especially for an extremely political publisher- in 2017 thanks to breakout hits like 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank and Calexit. It looks like the little publisher that could is going to keep making waves in 2018, especially with The Wilds. The preview panels of this book are mesmerizing and the plot sounds like a beautiful love child of The Walking Dead and The Happening (that terrible killer- plant movie, yeah). Here’s the gist: after a cataclysmic plague sweeps across America, survivors come together to form citystate-like communities for safety. The twist? The plague causes people to become zombified plant people, making for gorgeous art. Do not miss out on this book!
On-Going Issues to Pick Up and Not Sell on Ebay (because you probably won’t make any money):
The friendly-neighborhood Spider-Man wraps up the “Most Wanted” storyline while hitting a damn impressive milestone with this mega sized issue. 300 issues is a huge deal worth celebrating, so expect a great finish to a strong story arc while also seeing some nostalgic callbacks to classic Peter Parker moments.
The spin-off book that nobody asked for but everyone bitched about, Old Man Hawkeye, had a surprisingly awesome debut in January. Writer Ethan Sacks has set up a bloody revenge story that is made even more entertaining thanks to art from Marco Checchetto. If #2 is as good as #1 and the creative duo can keep the quality up, we may have a classic on our hands.
Marvel fans must say goodbye to Gwenpool in this final issue of the character’s short run. What started out as a joke character ended up being one of my favorite series of the past two years, with laughs, heartfelt character moments, and a never ending critique of the comic book medium. It’s a shame The Unbelievable Gwenpool is meeting its end, so I am holding out all hope that this is not the last we see of Gwendolyn Poole.
Hot take alert: The Wild Storm is the best series being published by DC on a monthly basis. Warren Ellis’s reboot of Jim Lee’s famous universe is set to hit the halfway mark of its 24 issue storyline at the end of the month. The last five issues have been putting the pieces in place for an all out war to break out and issue 12 should see the first shots of that war fired. With how incredible the art has been in the first 11 issues, expect John Davis-Hunt to draw these battles in glorious, blood soaked detail.
Full disclosure- the Red Hood, aka Jason Todd, is my favorite comic book character of all time. Nonetheless, this should be a great issue. Some of the best Red Hood and the Outlaws stories focus on Jason Todd more than his vigilante alter-ego, and a date night between him and Artemis should do just that. Besides, they’re both wanted criminals (see: Outlaws) who have royally pissed off heroes and villains alike. There is a zero percent chance this date goes well (god, Jason Todd and I have so much in common).
Port of Earth was recommended to me by the guy at my local comic shop and I think he may be the wisest man I know because he is four for four on his book recommendations. Whereas almost all alien contact stories focus on some sort of military conflict, Port of Earth focuses on an alien contact situation that is 110% a business operation rather than any sort of benevolent invasion. Long story short, Earth is now a pit stop on the intergalactic highway and the equivalent of the world police have to keep aliens in check while they stay on the planet. The first three issues have been fantastic and I see no reason that this series should fall off anytime soon.