The Future State of Comics? A Look At Previews for January 2021

Nov 22, 2020
Cover of Future State Wonder Woman #1

In the bizarre times we're currently living through, the capacity for accurately measuring the passing of time seems to have become a lost art, so it should probably come as no surprise that it's November already and our Previews chat is looking ahead to January of that longed-for 2021.

Here are some snapshots of things that caused us to pause on our passage through November's Previews and DC Connect, with comments added to mine by our PCG regulars Kenny, James and Matt.
Cover of Crimson Flower #1

DARK HORSE:
I'm a big fan of Matt Kindt - he consistently creates interesting and innovative comics, and having enjoyed his mini-series Bang! This year, I'm pleased to see that the creativity carries on in 2021. Crimson Flower #1 has one of those pitches that would be irresistible to me anyway; 'Russian folk tales, trained assassins and government conspiracies' is a description that certainly reminds me of Kindt's MIND MGMT, and that's a very good thing! Kindt always works with great artists too (when not illustrating himself) and I'm looking forward to seeing Matt Lesniewski's art on this one. (JR)

Cover of Serial #1

BOOM! STUDIOS:
Saladin Ahmed and Sami Kivelä's first series of Abbott a couple of years ago managed a bizarre matching of superfly seventies cool with occult goings-on and witchy destiny, and now Elena Abbott, newly magic-aware journalist and general disrespecter of unearned authority is back in Abbott 1973 #1. The path of 'nosey reporter gets involved in unexpectedly magical plot' zoomed into the super-weird, super-fast the first time around but Abbott is so stylish in Kivelä's rich artwork that I am definitely there for a twisty new path. 

Rachel Rising has been on my To Read list for a few months, and finding that Serial #1 is landing shortly, a solo book for Zoe, one of the characters from Terry Moore's Rachel book and its follow up Five Years, has added urgency to that, so I'll be popping these two on my Christmas list in order to get up to date for the January release. Serial killers hold fascination for me, and a serial killer who has been 10 years old for 50 years? Well, that's got to be worth catching up on. 

Cover of Scout's Honour #1

AFTERSHOCK:
I'm going to pick up Scout's Honour #1 just based on the basic premise - post-apocalyptic stories are ten a penny in the comics worlds, but a story where an old Ranger Scout manual has somehow become the Bible equivalent of the age has a little additional hook for me, plus the addition of art from Luca Casalanguida, who almost managed to get me on board with Lost Soldiers recently, is a bonus too good to miss. 

Cover of Mann's World #1

AWA:
J. Michael Straczynski has been at the forefront of AWA's wide-ranging assault on the miniseries market, with The Resistance being their flagship launch title. The idea of a global pandemic, the survivors of which may or may not be imbued with superpowers, was explored in the first volume and in this one-shot there's promise of more depth surrounding five of the key members of The Resistance: Reborns #1. Art duties fall to C.P. Smith whose heavenly work elevated Archangel 8 so eloquently, so this one will be an automatic yes from me. 

Mann's World #1 - Not much to go on beyond the pitch of four friends travelling to a resort planet for a weekend getaway only for things to go pear-shaped, but that's a pretty enticing sci-fi premise, and novelist Victor Gischler has produced some fine comics work in the past - I recall being impressed by his short arc on a Punisher book a decade or so ago. There has been a lot of attention on AWA's releases of late but I've yet to pop my AWA cherry, so to speak. Maybe this will be the one to do it for me. (MC)

Cover of King in Black: Black Knight #1

MARVEL: 
Marvel's incoming event King In Black has been brewing in Silver Surfer: Black, Thor and, now forming the main title in the event, Venom. The event will kick off in December with a five-issue Venom miniseries and, as these things do, will stretch its symbiote-y tentacles across a range of titles in the Marvel stable. There were two standouts for me in the crossover list: King in Black: Black Knight #1 - Simon Spurrier writes and Jesus Saiz draws, but it's the geography that has me interested - having followed a series of Aero comics recently, I'm looking forward to seeing how Spurrier gets on with writing a comic based in Shanghai. The other choice from this event for me will be King in Black: Return Of The Valkyries #1 - the Valkyrie: Jane Foster series remains a favourite of mine and Jason Aaron will also be writing here: it seems Jane Foster is not the only surviving Valkyrie after all! 

Originally listed way back but delayed due to world events, we finally see Non-Stop Spider-Man #1 hit local comic stands almost twelve months late. Neither Joe Kelly nor Chris Bachalo is a stranger to the Webslinger, having produced some great runs on Amazing Spider-Man. Bachalo in particular provided some of my favourite artwork ever on stories like 'Shed' and 'Sometimes It Snows In April' so this should be something special for me. (KJ)

Cover of Star Wars: The High Republic #1

As someone who happily remains in the 'all Star Wars is good Star Wars' camp, and feels that those since the Disney acquisition have been boom years for fans, I'm obviously excited for the first comic of the new wave - namely, the Star Wars: The High Republic #1 . Taking the saga back to the glory years of the Jedi (when they really were guardians of peace and justice, some 200 years before the events of The Phantom Menace), The High Republic is a fresh blank canvas on which to tell new tales. I'm intrigued to see how Star Wars comics maestro Charles Soule does with the first novel due out at the start of 2021, and I'm equally interested to see how Cavan Scott and Ario Anindito augment that story in comics. Scott in particular has a fine track record with this franchise, and is certainly a good fit here - I can't wait to read the first chapters of a saga that happened even longer ago in a galaxy far, far, away. (JR)

Cover of Future State: Dark Detective #1

DC COMICS: 
Not to be left out in the Big Events stakes, DC will launch Future State in January, and two-month holiday for all their main titles, during which we'll be treated to a view of the DC universe many years in the future. DC are taking a slightly different approach with this event, explained in this newbie-friendly article on the HowToLoveComics site. Rather than interrupt the continuity of regular ongoing books, DC have opted instead to wholesale timeshift January and February's books to a point in the future and to look at where our heroes might find themselves at that time. My favourite picks from the blurbs in DC Connect are these:

Future State: Catwoman #1 - obviously! Art from Otto Schmidt, a relatively new name who brought Hawkeye: Freefall to life this year, has been popping up on social media, showing the Cat in a futuristically styled magnetic suit - one to add to my list, perhaps! 

Future State: Dark Detective #1 - in another break from event tradition, some of the Future State books will be anthologies or double story issues: here, there's a Grifter story by one of my favourite writers, Matt Rosenberg, to go with Mariko Tamaki's more Bat-traditional Detective story. 

Future State: Wonder Woman #1 - this is the one I'm really hanging out for! Art and writing by Joëlle Jones make this an absolute necessity for me, and the sample materials Jones has been floating, showing former Wonder Girl, Brazilian Yara Flor, all grown up for Future State, are simply stunning, even generating whispers of a TV series. Personally, this will be the one to top my early year lists. 

...and finally: 
If anything here takes your fancy, do let you local comic book store know that you'd like a copy - these are complicated times for them and any support you can offer with letting them know what you want in future or don't want any more, along with collecting and paying in good time, will really help them weather the storm and stay afloat until better times ahead. 

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