May 2021: Miracles and Mermaids and Marjorie (Oh My)

Mar 26, 2021
Cover of Mister Miracle #1

Encroaching old age is reaping benefits for some of the PCG regulars this month, as our vaccination appointments bring us tantalisingly close to 'getting back out there', but our Previews get-together remains a Zoom event for this month at least. We've scoured the (electronic) pages of Previews and DC Connect to pull out our choice items for May-ish of this year, and we present here a few words to let you know why each will be featuring on our lists. 

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 May. 

Cover of Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters

MARVEL:
Matt: Heroes Reborn #1 - Another year, another event series. As usual, it's the high concept that needs to grab hold in the first instance, although that doesn't necessarily mean quality will follow. Jason Aaron and Ed McGuiness are a good 'blockbuster' team, and the pitch is very appealing: a world without the Avengers, where the premier superhero team are Squadron Supreme, nobody found Cap in the ice, Thor is a hard-drinking atheist (!) and Wakanda's existence is dismissed as a myth. Only Blade knows that something isn't right, that this is not how the world should be. It's not the most unique idea in comics or other media (the classic Star Trek: The Next Generation episode 'Yesterday's Enterprise' springs to mind), but in the right pair of hands alt.histories can be thrilling and thought-provoking. I was never interested in the original Heroes Reborn - where Marvel outsourced some of their most prominent characters out to the likes of Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld - but this one feels more like the kind of thing I can get on board with.

James: Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters - As a fully committed, 'All Star Wars Is Good Star Wars' fan, (and someone who has been hugely impressed with the work of Charles Soule over the last few years) I'm definitely intrigued by this miniseries from Marvel. Spanning across all the Star Wars comics titles, but centring on this five-parter, the focus on Boba Fett (very much the man of the hour again following Season 2 of The Mandalorian) as he looks to hold on to his most precious prize: Han Solo, encased in Carbonite. I love the pitch, and I'm willing to give everything Charles Soule does in the Star Wars universe a go. I've been very crossover-adverse in the last decade, but I'm hopeful that this one lives up to the promise.

Cover of Batman Earth One: Volume Three HC

DC:
Kenny: Mister Miracle #1 - This may not be Scott Free (one of my favourite characters), but the concept and creative team are definitely more than enough for me to take a look at this spin off from 'Future State'. Fico Ossio’s take on Shilo Norman, the new master of escape, boasts striking, dynamic cover art - I can’t wait to see if the story is the same.

Jo: Y'all know that I can opine about the indefatigable marvellousness of Joëlle Jones from dusk 'til dawn, so it'll be no surprise that I'll be on Comic Book Shop Andy's doorstep with a fistful of cash the moment I hear that Wonder Girl #1 has been delivered. Yara Flor, the Wonder Woman of the 'Future State' event, gets her origin story here, beginning in Idaho but with her destiny becoming apparent when she travels to Brazil. Of course, I'm kidding: no one uses cash any more...

Matt: It's been a long time coming - six years in total - but Batman Earth One: Volume Three HC will be worth the wait based on the quality of the preceding two volumes. Geoff Johns' and Gary Frank's 'Earth One' Batman tweaks and modernizes the mythos without losing core characteristics of the Dark Knight. This is the early days of Bruce Wayne in the cape and cowl, so he's inexperienced and makes mistakes, but learns from them as he goes. This (apparently final) volume looks like it will be focusing on Harvey Dent's villainous alter-ego. Johns and Franks arguably do their best work together and this should be an essential end to the trilogy.

Sample art from Aquarius: The Book of Mer #1

IMAGE:

James:  There was so much about The Good Asian #1 that appealed to me: I'm a lover of classic noir, (and particularly the LA of Raymond Chandler) and Roman Polanski's Chinatown is one of my favourite movies. So, reading that Pornsak Pichetshote was writing a noir set in LA's Chinatown in the 1930s, I was immediately on board. The art from Alexandre Tefenkgi in Previews looks fantastic too, and I can't wait to see if Pichetshote can match the acclaim of his last work - Infidel (a definite favourite amongst members of the PCG).

James: Seeing that time travel is such a classic sci-fi staple, I always feel that comics as a medium has never quite had the string of classics about temporal hi-jinx that cinema and novels have produced. However, hope springs eternal, and I am really looking forward to seeing what the creative team of Declan Shalvey (brilliant as both cover artist and writer), Rory McConville and Joe Palmer produce with Time Before Time #1. Image's own blurb describes it as 'Criminal meets Back To The Future and Looper' - and that's certainly a rarified company to be keeping. Centring on the Syndicate, a criminal organisation who can send people back from the dark future of 2040, to live out happier lives in the past, Time Before Time certainly reminds me of Rian Johnson's Looper, but I'm still excited to see if this one goes beyond (or back. Or maybe forward. Whatever, I'm reading it!).

Jo: I wouldn't say that a book about the history of mermaids was necessarily an essential for me, but a glance at the sample artwork for Aquarius: The Book of Mer #1 has me entranced. Written and illustrated by Afua Richardson, the cover art reminds me a little of Jamal Campbell, and the interior looks rich in colour with and cinematic visuals. It's quarterly, which tends to make me worry that I'll lose track between issues but it promises an accompanying soundtrack, and who can say no to that!

Cover of The Witcher: Witch's Lament #1

DARK HORSE:
Kenny: While we are all waiting for the next season of Netflix’s take on Geralt of Rivia’s adventures, Bartosz Sztybor, writer at CD Projekt Red, brings us a new tale, The Witcher: Witch's Lament #1, a mystery surrounding the burning of said witch. The world of The Witcher is rich with monsters and intriguing characters and with a creator so close to the source material this is bound to be another great addition to the lore. I recommend those who are fans of Mike Mignola’s dark fantasy make room for another monster hunter on their lists.

Jo: Heart in a Box TP was originally released in 2015 but now appears in a larger format and with additional bonus material which looks like an absolute treat for those like me who have only recently realised the full glowing genius of Kelly Thompson's writing. A story of the search for the pieces of a broken heart and being careful what you wish for, I can't wait to see this. 

AFTERSHOCK: 
Jo: I'm always open to the  occasionally brief dalliance in the form of a one-shot, or in the case of Cullen Bunn and Dalibor Talajic's Eden, what the publishers are referring to as a 'one-shock'. Bunn has achieved full status as the supreme ruler of comic book horror (in my mind at least!) and the setup for this, with a mysterious tattoo store client whose tattoos vanish after a couple of days and the complex relationship she builds with her tattoo artist, sounds like Bunn doing his thing at the peak of his skills. 

Cover of Marjorie Finnegan - Temporal Criminal #1

AWA UPSHOT: 
Jo: One of those books where the title is pretty much enough in itself, Marjorie Finnegan - Temporal Criminal #1 boasts several other attributes making this a slam dunk for my list: time travel scepticism is what brought me to comics in the first place and a female time travel thief whose sidekick Tim is just a head seems too inventive to miss, plus Garth Ennis' script will be illustrated by Goran Sudžuka, whose work on Aftershock's A Walk Through Hell elevated the story to something really unusual. 

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