Quantum Physics-Wielding Technowizards? It's February's Previews

Feb 21, 2021
Cover of The Marvels #1

We've lost all sense of time passing here at PCG Towers: didn't we just take the Christmas decorations down? And now we've passed Valentine's day, without even a DC special to mark it? Curse the wrong kind of snow in the US! However, our copies of Previews and DC Connect made it through the storm, and the PCG team have been scouring those pages, putting together our choice selection of delights to share with you here. 

If you like what you see, don't forget that a quick message to your local comic book retailer will help them make sure you get your copy on time. 

Here's a run down of what gave us pause in issues due for release in April. Comments added to mine by PCG regulars Matt and James...

Cover of Spider-Man: Spider's Shadow #1

Matt: Kurt Busiek begins an ambitious project with The Marvels #1, another series spinning out of the 25th Anniversary of Marvels. According to the spiel, it will encompass the entire history of the Marvel Universe and feature characters both instantly recognisable and obscure. The word 'sprawling' springs to mind, which I take as a good sign because, based on his track record, Busiek is a writer who revels in the often unwieldy continuity of the Big Two, and with artist Yıldıray Çınar along for the ride this should be one for those of us who get excited by the sheer scope of the mythology available in established superhero universes.

Jo: Two titles popped out from the Marvel pages of Previews for me this time around; first, a continuation of my interest in Jane Foster and her role as Valkyrie - or, as I should more correctly say now, a valkyrie. I've been picking up the King In Black: Return Of The Valkyries miniseries which reintroduces Hildegaard and sees Jane recruiting Dani Moonstar to the team: the same writing team now sets forth on The Mighty Valkyries #1 and bringing Loki into the mix is bound to result in some shenanigans. 

You don't see a lot of solo Nightcrawler stories around, and there's something about that guy I kind of like, so I've taken a shine to The Way Of X #1. Mutantkind are settling into Krakoa with various shades of success, and it will be interesting to see how Si Spurrier, a writer I've admired for his world-building skills previously, adds to Hickman's vision for the X-folks. 

James: As a child of the eighties, I freely admit to being a sucker for Marvel's What If? titles; the book where creators could take (inevitably) mad riffs on an alternate history from key events in the Marvel universe. The other great touchstone of eighties Marvel for me was Spider-Man's black suit and the whole Secret Wars saga - ahh, nostalgia! - so this month, Spider-Man: Spider's Shadow #1 leapt from the pages of Previews at me. The brilliant Chip Zdarsky teams with Pasqual Ferry to bring us a new tale which asks 'what if Peter Parker never took off the symbiote suit?' That sentence alone sold it to me, but Ferry's art is (as usual) fantastic: this looks a gem for all who love that era.

Cover of Harley Quinn: Black White Red

Jo: Regular readers will know I love the DC compendia and Harley Quinn: Black + White + Red TP is all of that with studs on: a stellar collection of writers and artists generating stories from right across Harley's multifarious incarnations, all presented in stark monochrome plus scarlet highlights. This one looks like a book to treasure: 17 of the short stories were initially presented in digital format only, so it will be fantastic to see these in hard copy alongside two brand new tales.

Cover of The Old Guard: Tales Through Time #1

 Geiger #1 - What's this? Geoff Johns writing something unrelated to the DC Universe? And Gary Frank is joining him?! Johns has been DC's go-to guy for big projects for years now but perhaps internal friction up high at Warner Bros (I won't get into the scuttlebutt here) has tempted him to seek other storytelling avenues... or maybe he just felt like a change? Either way, a post-apocalyptic tale where phrases such as 'radioactive chaos' and 'poisoned wasteland' are bandied about in the pitch sounds highly appealing, and there's a really strong argument that Johns does his best work with Frank (Superman: Secret Origin, Shazam!, Doomsday Clock, Batman: Earth One) so this has the potential to be one of the best of 2021.

Jo: The Old Guard abides as one of my first favourite comics and the impression it made on me remains vivid years later. The recent return of Andromache and her team in Force Multiplied did not disappoint and I'm on the edge of my seat now for The Old Guard: Tales Through Time #1, a compilation of stories about the immortal warriors, with an enviable creative team - not many independent anthologies can boast input from Bendis, DeConnick and Fraction as well as original creators Rucka and Fernández. I know I probably say 'I can't wait for this' too often but it's absolutely appropriate here. 

Cover of The Silver Coin #1

I would have been interested in Jules Verne's Lighthouse #1 just from the fact that it's a comic based on a Jules Verne story - a lighthouse in space! - but the creative team of David Hine and Brian Haberlin (aided here by Geirrod Van Dyke) really managed to capture my imagination, both in terms of characterisation and art, in the Sonata series. Haberlin has the chops to generate huge alien vistas and detailed alien faces alike, which is promising for Verne's story of a space-based supercomputer, controlling the ships moving through the space version of Spaghetti Junction. 

Matt:  - There's not much information to go on regarding The Silver Coin #1 beyond the creators involved, but sometimes that's enough. Artist Michael Walsh is teaming up with writers Chip Zdarsky, Kelly Thompson, Ed Brisson and Jeff Lemire for a horror anthology miniseries that centres around - you guessed it - a mysterious silver coin! Some stellar talent makes this well worth seeking out.

Jo: I can't quite put my finger on why I've loved each of the Canto stories more as they appeared - fairy tales about a diminutive hero, who looks like an animated suit of armour built for a Yorkshire terrier - each has brought a reliable dose of magic into my cynical old heart. Like the earlier short series Canto and the Clockwork Fairies', new three-parter Canto And The City Of Giants #1 sits in the gap between volumes of the main series and, whilst it seems to be possible to pick up the main series without these bridging stories, I can't for a second imagine why you would; they are sweet and hopeful and just what this old grouch needs. 

Cover of Godkiller: Walk Among Us TP Vol 1

Jo: Cullen Bunn has carved out a not-insubstantial niche for himself in the horror/occult field and my spidey-senses are tingling to notice that for Phantom On The Scan #1 he's once more teaming up with Mark Torres, the artist who so effectively provided the ghostly lights-through-mist atmosphere for Bunn's Cold Spots. In Phantom On The Scan, a psychic whose abilities were gifted to him by a falling comet needs to find those like him and solve the mystery of their powers, and why they are dying grisly deaths before their time. 

Previews calls Godkiller: Walk Among Us TP Vol 1 a sleeper hit - originally released in 2014 as a three issue mini, this story has apparently gained enough traction in the the interim to warrant the re-issue of the minseries as a trade, at the same time as the release of a new issue #4. The premise "Fallen gods, weaponized orgasms, and quantum physics-wielding technowizards collide" sounds stupendous - so let's see what all the fuss was about! 

Cover of Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Electrified Tesla #1

Jo: Cynthia Von Buhler's work is certainly in the more niche end of the PCG's range, but I was absolutely captivated by her first comic book outing, and her titular pearl-twirling heroine is returning, to my absolute joy, in Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Electrified Tesla #1. Von Buhler's blend of history, fiction, burlesque, hard-boiled crime and richly inked artwork is absolutely unique and if you like even just one item from those descriptors too, then I urge you to give it a try. 


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