Read This Book: Six Comic Books To Look Forward To In 2021

Happy New Year to all my wonderful readers! 2020 was, let’s be honest, a terrible year (I know right, hot take). The good news is it’s all over, there is a vaccine that we will hopefully all have access to in the not too distant future, and there is a slew of new comics coming out starting in January that I am very excited about.

So this week, instead of the typical end-of-the-year round up, I’m saying so long to 2020, and will instead be looking ahead to 2021! Here are six books I’m looking forward to in the new year!

First up, from AfterShock Comics, we have Maniac of New York

MANIAC OF NEW YORK #1 CVR A MUTTI VAR

Here’s the blurb:

4 years ago, a masked slasher began stalking the streets of New York City.

Maniac Harry is inhuman, unkillable and unstoppable. Which is why the authorities’ solution has been to ignore him, and let New Yorkers adapt to a world where death can strike at any mo-ment. When Maniac Harry starts killing his way through the subway system, trauma-haunted political aide Gina Greene and disgraced NYPD detective Zelda Pettibone become determined to go rogue and destroy him. But how can they fight a monster when they can’t fight City Hall?

From Emmy Award-winning writer Elliott Kalan (The Daily Show, MST3K, Spider-Man & The X-Men) and artist Andrea Mutti (Port of Earth, Hellblazer) comes the horrifying story of what happens when terror becomes the new normal. A frightening, thought-provoking, sometimes funny, always timely tale of murder, obsession and urban living. In Shops: Feb 03, 2021

For my horror movie fans this one is gonna hit you right in the nostalgia. Maniac Harry is clearly based on Jason Voorhees, but instead of isolated attacks on sexy teens, in this series we get to see the reality of living in a world with an unstoppable killing machine roaming the streets.

Harry, obviously, is going to be a stand in for a lot of societal problems that we’d rather sweep under the rug and ignore rather than actually deal with, and I for one am very interested in seeing where this series will go with that. Plus, I’m a big fan of Andrea Mutti’s art so that’s an extra bit of icing on the cake. Issue one drops in February, so there is still time to get this on your pull list!

Up next, from Image Comics we have Nocterra, another horror tinged thriller from one of my favourite writers, the great Scott Snyder.

NOCTERRA #1 CVR A DANIEL & MOREY (MR)

Here’s the blurb:

“FULL THROTTLE DARK,” Part One-

Ten years after the world is plunged into an everlasting night that turns all living creatures into monstrous shades, the only way to survive is to stay close to artificial light. Enter Valentina “Val” Riggs, a skilled ferryman who transports people and goods along deadly unlit roads with her heavily illuminated eighteen wheeler.

This March, legendary creators SCOTT SNYDER (Dark Knights: Death Metal, WYTCHES) and TONY S. DANIEL (Batman, Deathstroke) unveil horrors beyond any shade in this extra-sized first issue. In Shops: Mar 03, 2021

This book is a ways off, dropping in March, but already I’m hyped to read it. I love Scott Snyder’s work, especially when he is given free rein to create whatever he wants. Add to that the art of Tony S. Daniels, who is, IMHO, the most worthy successor to Jim Lee’s throne, and you have what I feel will be a sure fire thrill ride. Nocterra sounds like Pitch Black with a twist, and I can’t wait to see where this one goes.

From eternal night to radiant light, the next series I can’t wait for Radiant Black, a new superhero series from Kyle Higgins and Marcello Costa, published by Image Comics.

RADIANT BLACK #1 CVR A CHO

Here’s the blurb:

For fans of INVINCIBLE and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers comes a brand-new ONGOING SERIES from acclaimed writer KYLE HIGGINS (Ultraman, C.O.W.L.) and artist MARCELO COSTA that reinvents superheroes for a new generation!

Nathan Burnett has just turned thirty, and things aren’t great: He’s working (and failing) at two jobs, his credit card debt is piling up, and his only move… is moving back home with his parents.

But when Nathan discovers and unlocks the ethereal, cosmic RADIANT, he’s given the power to radically change his fortunes!

There’s just one problem: The powers don’t belong to him. And the COSMIC BEINGS who created them want them back… by any means necessary. In Shops: Feb 10, 2021

There are two things that I really like about Radiant Black. The first is that it’s nice to have a superhero that’s starting out older. How many series have we seen over the last few years that star a teenager suddenly gaining power and having to navigate going to school/ being a kid with being a hero? Invincible, Naomi, Star Girl, Young Justice, Super Sons, Teen Titans, Young Avengers, Hawkeye, Myles Morales, the list goes on and on. But an adult hero, especially one that is older and dealing with the realities of that life, feels like something we have not seen in a long time.

That alone would be enough to get me on board, but the fact that Radiant Black is also going to be an ongoing series (hopefully) and is getting a big push from Image means that this book might have some real legs under it. Only time will tell if it has the lasting power of similar titles, but I for one am looking forward to finding out.

Our last new debuting series comes to us from the good people of AfterShock Comics. Scout’s Honor is a post apocalyptic tale from David Pepose, Luca Casalanguida, and Andy Clarke.

Cover

Here’s the blurb:

Years after a nuclear apocalypse, a new society has risen from the ashes…and their bible is an old Ranger Scout manual. A young Ranger Scout named Kit has endured the harsh survivalist upbringing needed to con-quer the irradiated Colorado Badlands. But after discovering a terrible secret once lost to history, Kit must risk everything on a dangerous quest to uncover the truth behind the Ranger Scouts’ doctrine. From multiple Ringo Award-nominated writer David Pepose (Spencer & Locke, Going to the Chapel, The O.Z.) and artist Luca Casalanguida (James Bond, Lost Soldiers) comes a post-apocalyptic coming-of-age tale that proves when all you know is a lie, a Scout’s Honor is the only way to move forward.

It’s a little worrying how many post apocalyptic books are coming out or continuing next year. We need to start feeling hope again people, and maybe this book will be the one to do it.

Honestly though, I love me a good end of the world book, and so I do hope this title is going to be good. AfterShock does love their 5-6 issue mini series, so it’s not a huge commitment. I’m going to grab issue one and give it a chance, and I recommend you do too! Issue one comes out January 6th, so let your LCS know you want a copy ASAP.

Now, in addition to a number of exciting new stories coming out next year, there are also a couple indie darlings that are returning that have definitely caught my attention. The first of these is another foray into one of the most interesting indie superhero universes created, the world of Dark Horse Comics’ Black Hammer, with the new title Black Hammer Visions.

BLACK HAMMER VISIONS #1 (OF 8)

Here’s the blurb:

An exciting reimagination of the Eisner Award-winning Black Hammer series told by guest writers and artists such as Patton Oswalt, Geoff Johns, Mariko Tamaki, Chip Zdarsky, Kelly Thompson, and more of comic’s top talents!

Patton Oswalt joins artists Dean Kotz and Jason Wordie to explore the life of youthful super heroine Golden Gail on the Black Hammer Farm before the beginning of Black Hammer #1, and her struggle to maintain sanity as a middle-aged woman trapped in the unchanging body of a superpowered grade-schooler.In Shops: Feb 10, 2021

I mean, do I even need to explain why I’m psyched about this title? Look at that pedigree! You’re telling me that some of the hottest names in comics have been given free rein to play around with one of my favorite comic universes ever? Of course I’m on board for that.

Seriously, if you’ve never read Black Hammer you 100% need to go out and grab those trades. They’re dark, funny, sad, epic, and small-in-a-good-way all at the same time. Each character is a loving pastiche of classic DC and Marvel characters, but done in such a way that they feel both intensely familiar and refreshingly new. This is an amazing world created by legendary comic scribe Jeff Lemire, and we should all be throwing money at it.

I’ve saved the best for last. Ahoy Comics blasted onto the scene in 2018, and since their debut they have consistently put out high quality, entertaining comics that I have thoroughly enjoyed including Second Coming, Penultimateman, Happy Hour, and my number one favorite, The Wrong Earth.

Which brings us to our final book, the much anticipated sequel to The Wrong Earth, Wrong Earth Night and Day.

Cover

Here’s the blurb:

The vengeance-dealing Dragonfly sticks it to the man! The acrobatic sleuth Dragonflyman assists the police! These alternate-earth versions of the same masked crimefighter meet face-to-face for the first time in this new series by the original creators of the smash-hit The Wrong Earth! Will their impossible encounter result in a team-up… or an all-out war? Every AHOY title also features extra bonus prose stories, beautifully illustrated. Jan 6, 2020

As I’ve previously stated in other reviews, Tom Peyer’s satirical take on the Dark Knight is a brilliant and nuisance deconstruction that both mocks and celebrates everything good and ridiculous about Batman. This new volume offers us what many fans have longed to see, a face to face meeting between the title characters, and I for one cannot wait to see how this plays out. It drops Jan 6th, so make sure your LCS pulls you a copy, and go read the collected editions if you have missed out on what has come before. Trust me, you wont regret it.

All of these titles are just the tip of the indie iceberg for what’s coming out this year. I’m sure there will be a ton of great new indie titles out to thrill and entertain us, and I can’t wait to tell you all about them in 2021!

Until then, be safe!

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