25 Jan 2020

The Shipping Forecast: March 2020

Every month we spend an evening scouring the pages of the latest issue of Previews and pick the titles we are looking forward to the most. This month it's the January issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in March 2020.

Writer: Margaret Stohl
Art: Juan Ferreyra
Marvel $3.99

Jo S: Obviously, from my point of view, all the best one-liners in 2018's excellent Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse movie went to His Royal Porkness, Spider-Ham, but he did get a run for his money from the deadpannest of deadpan characters, Spidey Noir. It's great, then, to see a character who takes all the shiny goodness of the Spider-Verse and all the gritty darkness of Crime Noir and crams them together in the kind of crossover which, like peanut butter and marmite, shouldn't work but just… does, getting his own series after a while in the shadows. Margaret Stohl has listed a series of tasty elements we can hope to see in this compact five-parter, including all the classics we would expect from a crime noir series - but as that list includes 'punching Nazis' I probably need say no more...

Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Mike Huddleston
Image $4.99

James R: It’s Jonathan Hickman, so it has to be worth a look! Hickman remains one of the major creators in comics, whose name alone can sell a title regardless of the content, and his recent blockbuster shift on the X-Men has cemented his reputation. Decorum is described with a brilliant bit of brevity: “There are many assassins in the known universe. This is the story of the most well-mannered one.” The art from Mike Huddleston on the Previews pages is absolutely beautiful, and along with Hickman’s inevitable big ideas, this is a definite addition to my pull-list.

Writer: Justin Giampaoli
Art: Andrea Mutti
Dark Horse $3.99

Matt C: An ancient extraterrestrial ship is discovered buried in the Siberian ice and US Naval intelligence hires a cultural anthropologist to assist with their investigations while fending off meddling from the Russians, the Vatican and the global media. It's a strong pitch from writer Justin Giampaoli and artist Andrea Mutti that looks like it'll play with conspiracy theory tropes while tackling that age-old question: are we alone in the universe? I do like a good bit of sci-fi that's heavily grounded in a recognisable reality and this new thriller from Dark Horse looks as though it'll be ticking all the right boxes.

Writer: John Allison
Art: Max Sarin
BOOM! Studios $3.99

Andy H: Here we are, the new year is well under way and I was beginning to wonder just what 2020 was going to offer when, bang, a new John Allison book comes into view and it's 'Well, hello 2020'! Excitement levels are pretty high for Wicked Things, a six issue miniseries reuniting the team that brought us the awesome Giant Days (probably the best comic you've never read), Allison and artist Max Sarin. Set in the same universe as Giant Days (will we see some familiar faces? Fingers crossed), we follow Charlotte Grote, teen detective, as she is framed for murder and must find the real killer. Sounds a little darker than Giant Days but I'm sure Allison and Sarin will inject their usual humour into the unfolding story.

Writer: Tom King
Art: Mitch Gerads & Evan "Doc" Shaner
DC $4.99

James R: Arguably the most anticipated book of the year, Strange Adventures already looks phenomenal. Tom King is the hottest writer in mainstream comics at the moment, coming off a critically lauded run on Batman, and having delivered two of the greatest miniseries in recent years with Vision and Mister Miracle. He now turns his attention to the hero of Rann: Adam Strange. Teaming once again with his brilliant Mister Miracle and Sheriff Of Babylon artist Mitch Gerads, and joined by Evan “Doc” Shaner, DC don’t hold back on this one, describing it “In the tradition of Watchmen, Dark Knight Returns and New Frontier.” That is one hell of a bracket to be put in, and it’s clear that DC think they have a classic on their hands. Focusing on how people perceive reality (Adam Strange’s view of his actions on Rann turns out to be very different from others in the conflict) this looks like it’s got King’s trademark intelligence, whilst also ‘threatening the entire DC universe.’ Undoubtedly the pick of the month, Strange Adventures could well be the book of 2020.

Writer: Stephanie Phillips
Art: Meghan Herrick, Francesca Fantini, Lauren Affe
Aftershock $4.99

Jo S: An all-female creative team producing an all-female super-spy and super-assassin in WWII combination seems a very promising idea for me and, with Stephanie Phillips (currently helming the fascinating and lurid Butcher Of Paris) on writing duties, I'm excited to see where this goes. Phillips' research of the wartime period is fantastically detailed, enabling her to explore 'what if' scenarios on a very credible foundation and, if this new series is in a similar vein to the Butcher Of Paris, I'm confident I'll enjoy it, and will stay my reservations regarding time travel-based stories to give this a fair crack. Certainly the sample art looks gorgeous - I love comic books with rain and snow done well - and I'm looking forward to seeing more of this.

Writer: Alex Ross, Kurt Busiek, Steve Darnall & Sajan Saini
Art: Alex Ross, Steve Rude & Frank Espinosa
Marvel $4.99

Matt C: The 25th anniversary of the seminal Marvels has obviously stirred up the creative juices of Alex Ross as he's revisiting the format, in a fashion at least, by allowing various creators (some who've never worked for Marvel before) to bring different perspectives to the Marvel Universe. I loved Marvels and I'm a sucker for tales that reach back into the rich fictional tapestry of the MU so this is definitely one for me. And if that wasn't enough, March also sees Marvels writer Kurt Busiek shepherding a related project to highlight the House of Ideas greatest characters, starting with the Fantastic Four and the Sub-Mariner. An exercise in nostalgia to be sure, but Ross and Busiek have ably shown that they can bring something fresh to the table when looking back at the past.

Writer: W. Maxwell Prince
Art: Tyler Jenkins
BOOM! Studios $3.99

Jo S: Oh boy, I love BOOM! Studios' output at the moment and the creative team on this has my immediate attention, featuring W. Maxwell Prince's writing and art from Tyler Jenkins. Prince brings me back to Ice Cream Man over and over, with such a range of inventive stories and characters, and such skillfully applied creepiness, that just a glance at the cover and title has me invested. Jenkins was one of the first artists who taught me that comic book art can be as beautiful, touching and affecting as any framed painting, with his exquisite work on Grass Kings. The cover art, showing the story's protagonist lounging on a bench holding the string of a balloon which appears to be an actual giant goldfish, seems to set the tone well for a story of a trippy waking nightmare/fantasy, and I just know this one is going to be a favourite of mine right from the jump.

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