Love Is In The Air? A Look At Previews For February 2021

Dec 20, 2020
Cover of Deep Beyond #1

On a chilly December evening, surrounded by lights and tinsel, it's odd to think that when we're picking up the issues we've been talking about this week, it'll be February - I wonder if enough of us will have had the COVID jab by then for us to be meeting in person again? Let's hope so!

Here's a run down of what made us go "Ooh, stop a minute, okay, zoom in!" in our run through of December's Previews and DC Connect. I wonder if we'll miss that when we're back to paper copy on a pub table. Comments added to mine by PCG regulars James, Kenny and Andy.

Cover of Radiant Black #1

IMAGE:
Image Comics are in full flow in February, by the looks of things, netting more items of interest this time around than any other publisher. Four standouts for me, starting with Radiant Black #1 - I'm enjoying Kyle Higgins writing in Ultraman currently, a bit of an outside runner, but it's really the cover that caught my attention; cosmic beings, stolen powers, yes that's all very well but sometimes the cover just does something to the brain, and Radiant Black has triggered that synapse. 

I love an homage, always, and the pitch for Stray Dogs #1 features not only a 'Lady And The Tramp meets Silence Of The Lambs' tagline but also some distinctly Stranger Things-esque font action - with that and the cute dog heroes drawn by a duo of My Little Pony artists and, well, I'm obediently rolling over for that one. 

Mirka Andolfo has made a name for herself producing some interesting and quirky offerings in the last couple of years but in Deep Beyond #1 she's co-writing rather than on art duties. Another cover to make me go 'ooh', it's a post-apocalyptic story, with much of humanity wiped out by, of all things, the millennium bug?! I liked the tone of "Talented scientists who, despite the adverse situation and the stupid feuds that continue to divide the small number of people still alive, try..." - science is going to need our love and support in the End Times, folks. 

The first issue of the Department Of Truth made waves at the PCG meet up earlier this year and each successive offering has cemented this as one of the best of the year. Tynion IV's darkest of dark takes on conspiracy theories leaves you rapidly unsure as to what is real, what is fake and what might even be the real twisted into a fake, or vice versa. The confusion the story engenders is phenomenally effected by Martin Simmonds' graphic art, murky and frightening, with the don't-look-behind-you feel of the best horror movies. The trade appears in February, and it's even at a bargain low price - I urge you to drop your comic book store a message to add this to your list.

DARK HORSE: 
The elevator pitch for this one alone would sell it to me: 'True Detective meets The Ring' - WIN - but it's even more of an essential purchase for me, as Fear Case #1 is the new book from the brilliant talents of Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins. The two worked together before on the superb Grass Kings, and so the news that they've reteamed, and on a book that sees Kindt's first foray into horror, is nothing but good for me. This will keep me occupied while I'm waiting for Cosmic Detective, Kindt's Kickstarter project with Jeff Lemire, to be released in 2021! (JR)

Cover of Onion Skin GN

IDW: 
Onion Skin GN, from 'bright new star of Mexican comics' Edgar Camacho, seems to be a kind of road-trip-buddy-movie-romance with added salsa (the sauce, not the dance, I assume?). It has picked up multiple awards in Mexico and appeals to the wanderer in me, if not the alliumphobe. 

Cover of We Only Find Them When They're Dead TP

BOOM! STUDIOS:
It’s a rarity that you find a creator’s work you completely fall in love with but Maria Llovet is such a creator for me. Having picked both volumes of Faithless and her solo book Heartbeat, I have become enthralled by her dark, often occult tales of womanhood, sexuality and horror, all drawn with a beautiful line and delicate palette. I’m hoping Luna #1 will also entrance. (KJ)

For fans of ghosties and ghoulies and extra-value oversized comics issues, BOOM! present us with Specter Inspectors #1, shamelessly claiming Scooby Gang territory but posting it all on social media. It looks like a bit of fun, and the small amount of sample art available looks cute - detailed, with little cutaway images to give background narrative word-free. 

If you didn't pick up We Only Find Them When They're Dead before, I can strongly recommend the trade which pops up in March. Al Ewing writes the story, which works its way out without any rush, but it would be a crime not to credit artist Simone Di Meo with much of the heavy lifting. Managing to depict something of a galactic order of magnitude on a comic book page always presents challenges and here Di Meo achieves this and generates something visually stunning too. I don't think you'll have any regrets.  

Cover of Maniac of New York #1

AFTERSHOCK: 
As regular readers may know, I have a bit of an obsession with serial killers (what sane person doesn't, to be fair) so Maniac Of New York #1 would appear to be right up my Broadway, as it were. The premise is that a masked slasher has been terrorising the Big Apple for four years and has been deemed 'inhuman, unkillable and unstoppable' and thus... er... left to get on with it? It'll be interesting to see the justification for this decision, and to see a duo of ballsy women taking on the challenge the rest of the city has shirked. Andrea Mutti's artwork is a draw to this too - I admit I didn't stick with Port Of Earth, but his artwork made it harder to give it up than it might have been, so it's good to have an opportunity to dig into his creations once more. 

Blend together one of my new favourite writers, historical storyteller Stephanie Phillips, with a Philip K Dick short story and you have a combination that I'll find impossible to miss. Nuclear Family #1 promises an alternative version of 1957, as the first nuclear bomb lands on a Midwestern city destroying a world of Elvis and apple pie. 

TITAN: 
Blade Runner: Origins #1: Having found a winning formula with the Blade Runner 2019/29, it's not surprising to see Titan Publishing looking to expand the line. 2019/29 writer Mike Johnson is 'script supervisor' here, with Hollywood screenwriter Mellow Brown writing alongside the established comics author K. Perkins. This series looks to tell the previously-unseen back story of Tyrell Corporation's development and introduction of the Replicants, so there's potentially a huge story to be told here. Art is provided by Fernando Dagnino, and the preview images look as if he's really captured the Blade Runner mood. It's great to see that the franchise has found such a good home at Titan - I'm excited to see how far they're willing to develop these books. (JR)

Cover of DC Love Is A Battlefield

DC COMICS:
Possibly because I'm hard as nails and entirely resistant to all things stupidly Cupidy, I'm an annual sucker for DC's February anthology of mush and, to be fair, I reckon in 2021 the fire for the heart's desire is going to be burning ever higher. DC's Love Is A Battlefield has Harley and Ivy on the cover (and Audrey II?) - so here's crossing my fingers that I won't find myself spending Valentine's Day ranting about how they stick Harley's image on the cover of everything because she sells but there is no story featuring her on the inside...

The King/Gerads superteam have always existed for me, but intellectually I do understand there was a 'first time', so I'm being encouraged to pick up the Sheriff Of Babylon TP (a new deluxe edition) and find out where it all started. Less classic superhero reimagined and more war-ravaged Baghdad peacekeeping recruits - but let's not split hairs about what constitutes a hero here. I'm really looking forward to seeing Tom King tapping into his CIA background to tell this tale. 

MARVEL: 
While the greatest X-Men era, for me at least, were the Claremont/Byrne years, the nineties ran a close second and so, with Fabian Nicieza back at the helm, X-Men: Legends #1 kicks off a real nineties nostalgia trip. All new stories set within existing continuity make this a  must-have and it's great to see the yellow and blue costumes are back, worn by some of the greatest X-Men ever. (AH)

Catwoman Deckard Bo Katan

MERCHANDISE:
We don't usually include a merch section in our Previews write-up but there were an unusually high number of hits in the non-print-based sections this month so we thought we'd add a brief round-up of those little extras from the back of the book. 

An obsession with tiki mugs in the shape of, well, pretty much any character you might wish to see takes up considerable acreage, and there's a frankly worrying expansion in the 'cosplay rubber duckie' market which someone might have to explain gently to me at some point. 

I can't help but be drawn to the Batman Returns Catwoman 1/4 scale action figure - figures generally aren't my thing, especially when the subject is a 'real' person, but the NCEA team have really managed to capture Pfeiffer's likeness here - plus she comes with interchangeable head and hands and a teeny-tiny cat-faced taser for dispatching unpleasant ex-bosses via a deadly kiss, purrfecto!

The Child, Star Wars Pins, Wanda

Funko appeared to have tapped into our James' mainframe, with a long-awaited series of original Blade Runner Pops - Pop Movies Blade Runner Rick Deckard plus Pris, Rachael and Roy - and there are further extensions to the Star Wars Pops stable, such Pop Star Wars Clone Wars Bo Katan. Personally, I can't get enough of the little green dude (no name spoilers here) but I would be sorely tempted by pretty much any of the multiple Mandalorian Child Pops now, or at least soon to be, available. The Pop Star Wars Large Enamel Pins look fantastic though there seems to be confusion over whether they're extremely pricey for one or surprisingly good value for 12 - I'll have to check in on those with our Andy. Even if they're the full on $15, I can see myself falling for Threepio, you know how I get with droids...

A bundle of exciting announcements have been flowing forth on the social media recently regarding new Disney delights incoming, and so there's a timely appearance of a few Wandavision characters including Pop Wandavision 50s Wanda B&W,70s Wanda, Halloween Vision and Halloween Wanda - I gave in to peer pressure and got Disney+ for the aforementioned Mando, and I think it's going to show itself to be well worth the outlay in the coming year, at least until enough of us are able to gather at the establishment of a purveyor of alcohol once more. 

Finally, a shot of nostalgia, for those of a similar vintage to me - remember when there used to be a five minute cartoon slot just ahead of Jackanory? Check out Vinyl Soda HB Secret Squirrel - but nerds of a nervous disposition should be prepared for the horrifying lack of Morocco Mole.

As ever, your local comic purveyor will be tickled pink to receive your orders: letting them know early helps them to ensure that you get what you want, and it'll mean you're guaranteed to get your copy, even if something suddenly goes mad on social media.

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