How can there be both too many comics and still not nearly enough?
The idea of finding something new to read can seem daunting. If you’re looking to jump into a new book, the staff of ComicsXF can point you in the direction of some of our favorite recent releases and currently ongoing titles.
Crime, Political, Suspense
Imagine a world in which if enough people believe in a thing it becomes reality — no matter how bizarre or untethered that thing may be. The government would probably have an interest in shutting down some of the weirdest stuff, right?
Welcome to The Department of Truth, a series where anything is possible — unless Cole Turner and the department’s other agents (like Lee Harvey Oswald — yes, that Lee Harvey Oswald) get there first.
Issue 1 (September 2020)
It’s the X-Files plus Men in Black with a dash of the unbigoted bits of Info Wars. Turner, a meek and mousey FBI agent, has been recruited into an agency he knows nothing about — but it has its own agenda, and it’s been secretly using him for decades.
In addition to the ongoing story, the series also follows the X-Files approach of using a “monster of the week,” ‘cept here it’s conspiracy theories ranging from the familiar (Kennedy assassination), the obscure (the Catholic Church futzing with the calendar) and the looney (the Denver International Airport).
The Eternals have remained constant – unchanging – while centuries of human history have flashed before their eyes. Some change is too great to resist, however. The death of Zuras kicks off a murder mystery where just about everyone is a suspect, though the clues point toward the one Eternal they had hoped to bury forever. Ikaris and Sprite must root out the traitor in their midst, and for once time is not on their side. As the bodies keep piling up, and with no way to resurrect them – the Machine/Earth is broken – the Eternals may just need to change or die for good.
Issue 1 (January 2021) Currently ongoing, monthly.
Supernatural, Teen Drama
In the summer of 1994, a haunted house walks across California. Inside is Ami, lead singer of a high school punk band who’s been missing for weeks. How did she get there? What do these ghosts want? And does this mean the band has to break up?
Vol. 1: Teenage Haunts (May 2021)
Teenagers in 1990s punk bands create gestalt entities with ghosts that function not unlike the Zords from Power Rangers. It’s got “rule of cool” written all over it, but it’s also a meditation on the ways we process trauma and depression, and how they can feel inescapable at times. But also also there’s cool Ghostbusters stuff. And all of it’s awash in Caspar Wijngaard’s cool, vibrant colors.
Superhero, Detective Noir
Someone has poisoned PI/fixer-for-hire Christopher Chance (in a fouled-up bid to kill Lex Luthor), and Chance has 12 days to figure out whodunnit. The twist: It’s one of the members of the bwa-ha-ha-era Justice League International.
Issue #1 (October 2021)
Tom King finally gets his ish together after a few clunkers (Heroes in Crisis, Rorschach) to tell a tight, entertaining detective story that owes much to 1950s cinema. Artist Greg Smallwood goes full Vertigo (the movie, not the comic line) while keeping the whole enterprise awash in vibrant color.
Superhero Politics and Power Grabs
With the fires of Inferno revealing to Krakoa’s leaders that there was more to this nation of mutants than they realized, ruling a nation made up of mutants is difficult work, especially when those leaders all have secrets of their own. When deciding the fate of the world on a near daily basis, mistakes tend to prove sinister.
Issue 1 (March 2022)
The new Krakoan age has made death a thing of the past for mutants, but that doesn’t mean immortality is new for everyone. Power grabs and agendas that have been hidden for decades come to the forefront thanks to writer Kieron Gillen (Uncanny X-Men, Eternals, The Wicked + The Divine, Die) and artist Lucas Werneck (TRIAL OF MAGNETO).
The big appeal of this series, beyond seeing X-Men mixed with a bit of Game of Thrones intrigues, is seeing Gillen return to writing Sinister, a character he has truly defined better than anyone else. With Gillen also orchestrating this summer’s big Marvel crossover, Judgement Day, Immortal X-men seems to be required reading to understand where the X-Men are leading into the event.
Dark Fantasy, JRPG
Teenage orphan Maika Halfwolf claws her way back up from nothing, one-handed and determined to uncover the hidden secrets of her past. Her questions only intensify when the horrific, extradimensional god-being residing within her reveals itself. The two find themselves in the middle of an encroaching war between humans and the magically-infused Arcanics (a race descended from animal deities to which Maika belongs). Every faction on all sides of the conflict wants the power that Maika possesses, but she’s had enough of being anyone’s pawn. First, however, she’ll need to come to terms with the monster(s) inside.
Volume 5: Warchild (October 2020)
Superhero, Teen Drama
The youths of Krakoa need more structure than the island can give them. The, now older, New Mutants can relate. With the threat of death off the table, they’re no longer focused on just surviving. They want the next generation of mutants to thrive as they provide mentorship on this journey of self-actualization. But they aren’t the only ones molding young minds, as The Shadow King has plans of his own.
Issue #14 (December 2020)
Writer Vita Ayala has one of the strongest voices in comics, with heartfelt and intricately plotted work that will stick with you long after you close the book. The focus on bodily autonomy allows them to ask questions that could have never been asked before the Krakoan era. The cast feels fully formed, even as it is wide reaching, and the book will always leave you with a smile.
The secret weapon though? Rod Reis’ lush, impressionistic artwork steals the show. Pulling from the legacy of Bill Sienkiewicz’s loose and chaotic work, while making it his own through the use of vibrant colors and energetic character acting, Rod makes a statement in every issue.
Sci-Fi, Fantasy… it’s Star Wars
The ongoing adventures of all your favorite Original Trilogy characters – Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Lando Calrissian (don’t look for Han Solo; he’s frozen in carbonite) – as they attempt to keep the Rebellion alive while staying ahead of an Imperial admiral desperate to wipe out the Rebels and avenge the destruction of the Death Star, all while grappling with the devastating fallout from The Empire Strikes Back.
Star Wars (2020) #1 kicks off this post-Empire volume of the series, but issue #19 is the first after a long crossover and serves as a decent and more-current jumping on point as well.
The flagship series of Marvel’s Star Wars line, the series provides a clear arc for each of its trio of movie characters: Leia’s attempts to deal with the loss of Han Solo as she leads a bruised and battered Rebellion, Luke’s efforts to finish his training and become a Jedi in the wake of his world-shattering confrontation with Darth Vader, and Lando’s struggle to reconcile his scoundrel tendencies with his guilt over Han’s fate and the altruism of his newfound allies. While the endpoint of each of these arcs is ultimately known, with Star Wars, it’s often more about the journey than the destination, and writer Charles Soule manages to find new and engaging ways to illustrate the path from the point A of The Empire Strikes Back to the point B of Return of the Jedi.
Additionally, Soule has built up a reliable supporting cast of comics-original characters, such as Poe Dameron’s parents and the Imperial Commander Zahra, a protege of Grand Moff Tarkin for whom the fight against the Rebellion is deeply personal. The mixed origins of the book’s cast allow for both pleasing familiarity and exciting surprises, while ensuring the narrative arcs never get stale. After being derailed a bit by the sweeping “War of the Bounty Hunters” crossover, the series is once again exploring its key plotlines and themes with verve and excitement, making it a must-read for Star Wars fans new and old.
Adventure, Funny Animals, Samurai
Miyamoto Usagi, once the loyal retainer of Lord Mifune, became a Ronin, a masterless samurai, after the battle of Adachigahara. He now wanders across feudal Japan on a pilgrimage to find peace and meaning, stopping frequently to lend his swords as a Yojimbo, a bodyguard, in the protection of the downtrodden. While he never stays in one place for too long, Usagi is often joined in his travels by a colorful cast of characters, including fellow Ronin Gen, the thief Kitsune, the intrepid Inspector Ishida, and many more. It’s a stunning tale that pulls from Japanese folk tradition and history, while being one of the most brilliant examples of American cartooning in existence.
Book 34: Bunraku and Other Stories (2020, IDW)
Star Wars and Immortal X-Men added. Joker removed.
Initial list. Star Wars: Darth Vader, Decorum, Far Sector, Grendel: Devil’s Odyssey, Marauders, and X-Factor added.