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10 Comic Book Series to Catch Up On Before They Return from Quarantine

Like nearly every other media industry, comic books took a huge hit once the coronavirus lockdown began. With comic book shops across the country forced to close, the vast majority of releases were pushed back until further notice. Fortunately, this gives readers plenty of time to catch up on some great series that they may have not had a chance to start yet. Here are some recommendations:

HAWKEYE: FREEFALL

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Writer: Matthew Rosenburg

Artwork: Otto Schmidt

Current # of Issues: 4

Return Date: 5/20/20

The purple-clad archer tends to get a lot of flak for being the “weakest” Avenger, but his latest miniseries has arguably been Marvel’s strongest new title of 2020. The series focuses on Hawkeye trying to take down the magic-wielding villain The Hood, but Clint’s other alter ego Ronin is on a similar, more destructive mission. Can Clint really be two places at once, or has someone else taken up the Ronin mantle? Hawkeye: Freefall is set to return tomorrow, May 20th, and with only four current issues it can be quickly read in time for the new chapter. 

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK

Publisher: DC Comics

Writer: James Tynion IV

Artwork: Alvaro Eduardo Martinez with others filling in

Current # of Issues: 21

Return Date: 6/3/20

Following his work on the miniseries Justice League: No Justice, writer James Tynion IV continued the storyline with a new iteration of Justice League Dark, debuting in July 2018. The series follows the superpowered team protecting Earth’s magic and stopping any magical or supernatural beings that threaten existence. This League is composed of a rather rag-tag group of heroes (and one former villain): Wonder Woman, Zatanna, Swamp Thing, Man-Bat, and Detective Chimp, with John Constantine thrown into the mix as well. What makes the team so odd is also what makes the series so compelling, and it arguably has the best ensemble of personalities in any team-based comic out today. 

JOHN CONSTANTINE: HELLBLAZER

Publisher: Vertigo

Writer: Simon Spurrier

Artwork: Aaron Campbell/Matias Bergara

Current # of Issues: 5

Return Date: 6/3/20

Over thirty years after the debut of the original Hellblazer series, John Constantine returned for his own new solo series at the end of 2019. The first arc sees the occult detective trying to stop angels from killing gang members in a park, and features incredible gothic-style artwork from Aaron Campbell. Set in London, writer Simon Spurrier does a great job of utilizing British slang and idioms in his dialogue, adding an authentic flair to Constantine’s unrattled wit. A guest artist filled in for issues 4 and 5 with a contrasting art style, but Campbell is set to return in the upcoming 6th issue, suggesting it will go back to its dark, eerie tone. 

ICE CREAM MAN

Publisher: Image Comics

Writer: W. Maxwell Prince

Artwork: Martin Morazzo

Current # of Issues: 18

Return Date: 6/10/20

Bright colors and childhood treats never looked as terrifying as they do in Ice Cream Man, the acclaimed anthology series from alt-comic powerhouse Image. Though each issue revolves around different characters, they seem to be set in a single town or city being terrorized by an evil, supernatural ice cream man. Though he is not always directly responsible for what happens to the residents, he seems to have a devilish influence on the community. The series balances the unexplainable horrors with ones that lurk in the shadows of our society every day, and the more realistic scenarios are often the most disturbing. 

Dempsey Blackmon wrote a full review of Ice Cream Man for AAOG, which you can read here: https://allagesofgeek.com/this-just-in/ice-cream-man-review/ !

GIDEON FALLS

Publisher: Image Comics

Writer: Jeff Lemire

Artwork: Andrea Sorrentino

Current # of Issues: 21

Return Date: 6/17/20

Jeff Lemire is one of the most creative minds in comics, and Gideon Falls might be his most ambitious work to date. The series surrounds the supernatural events that plague the people of Gideon Falls, which appears to be both a sprawling city and a small country town at once. Connecting all these mysteries is the Black Barn that manifests and vanishes with no explanation, and is the gateway to an unspeakable horror. While it might confuse and misdirect readers at times (in the same vein as Westworld, to keep them guessing), Gideon Falls is a comic that is very hard to put down after the end of each chapter. 

WONDER WOMAN: DEAD EARTH

Publisher: DC Comics

Writer & Artwork: Daniel Warren Johnson

Current # of Issues: 2

Return Date: 6/17/20

Daniel Warren Johnson (creator of Extremity and Murder Falcon) lends his incredibly unique style of art to comics’ original superheroine, Wonder Woman. This miniseries finds Diana in a post-apocalyptic wasteland without superheroes being terrorized by giant mutated monsters. She takes it upon herself to be the protector of the last human civilization, but there are dark secrets being held in the Dead Earth. At just two current issues, this is the easiest comic to catch up on from this list and is one of the premier superhero titles in circulation.

MONSTRESS

Publisher: Image Comics

Writer: Marjorie Liu

Artwork: Sana Takeda

Current # of Issues: 27

Return Date: 6/24/20

Winner of five Eisner Awards (achievement in comics) and four Hugo Awards (achievement in science fiction), the long-running Monstress is the most critically acclaimed comic book series out today, and with very good reason. The story is an epic fantasy tale that incorporates politics, religion, and war on a scale similar to that of Game of Thrones, and is filled with strong female characters that hold most of the power in a magical steampunk world (even their version of “God” is called “Goddess”). Though Marjorie Liu’s story is deep and thought-provoking, it’s Sana Takeda’s unbelievable artwork that truly makes this one of the best comic book series ever. 

IMMORTAL HULK

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Writer: Al Ewing

Artwork: Joe Bennett with others filling in

Current # of Issues: 33

Return Date: 6/24/20

Horror comics, like horror movies, are in something of a renaissance these days, so it is saying something that one of the best horror titles might also be the best superhero title on shelves today. Immortal Hulk takes a drastic turn from previous Hulk comics and presents the Bruce Banner/Hulk pairing as a body horror take on the Jekyll and Hyde scenario, where the Hulk emerges at night and can bring Banner back from the dead. Don’t just take this as a superhero comic with horror elements, though, as this series is genuinely scary with Cronenberg levels of visual discomfort. The story is also extraordinary and features many cameos from the Marvel universe, but the dynamic between Banner, The Hulk, and the other personalities that call their husk home make this one of the best comics of the past few years. 

DIE

Publisher: Image Comics

Writer: Kieron Gillen

Artwork: Stephanie Hans

Current # of Issues: 10

Return Date: 6/24/20

The same year his long-running series The Wicked + The Divine ended, Kieron Gillen continued the trend of millennials enduring the hardships of the fantasy genre with his new series Die. Best described as “Goth Jumanji”, the series centers around five middle-aged friends returning to a virtual gaming world that they escaped as children. However, one of them was left behind in the game and has become immensely powerful after years of being trapped, and now must be defeated in order for the others to survive. Die features incredible artwork from Stephanie Hans in her first full series, and Gillen’s straightforward, no-nonsense writing style makes for a smooth read. 

BLADE RUNNER 2019

Publisher: Titan Books

Writer: Michael Green

Artwork: Andres Guinaldo

Current # of Issues: 7

Return Date: 7/8/20

After the success of the film Blade Runner 2049, it became evident that fans wanted to see more of the mythos surrounding its futuristic landscape. While a highly anticipated anime series is scheduled to premiere in 2020, many fans may have overlooked the comic book series Blade Runner 2019, published by indie company Titan Books. This is the first Blade Runner comic to be considered canon, and writer Michael Green is an established screenwriter who co-wrote the screenplay for Blade Runner 2049. The series focuses on a female Blade Runner named Ash who is tasked with finding a billionaire’s wife and daughter after they are allegedly kidnapped by replicants. The series features all the qualities that made fans fall in love with Blade Runner and expands upon their understanding of the world by taking them places they had never seen before, including the off-world colonies that had only been mentioned in the films. 

If you are looking for some other series to read, here are some brand new comic series returning soon for their second issues! 

Decorum by Jonathan Hickman, art by Mike Huddleston (Image); 6/10

Strange Adventures by Tom King, art by Evan Shaner (DC); 6/17 

The Resistance by J. Michael Straczynski, art by Mike Deodato (AWA); (6/17)

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