It’s December, which means another year of pop culture is coming to a close. This usually means it’s time to take stock of the year that’s been with rankings of the year’s best output. EW’s round-up of the best comics of 2018 is coming soon, but in the meantime, it’s important to remember that new beginnings are still happening even at this late hour.
This month is positively full of new series kick-offs. Some of these new comics feature kings that have been displaced, others revolve around wizards that are new to their jobs, but all of them have interesting ideas and mind-blowing art. Their stories will unfold further over the course of 2019, but don’t miss the chance to get the first taste now.
Below, check out EW’s recommendations for what comics to look out for this December.
Killmonger #1 (Marvel)
Bryan Edward Hill (writer), Juan Ferreyra (artist)
It took a few months, but Marvel is finally putting out multiple comics that build off the characters and themes of the popular Black Panther movie. A new Shuri series launched in October, and this month begins a miniseries chronicling the lost history of Erik Killmonger.
In the film, viewers only saw Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) as a young child left orphaned by his father’s murder at the hands of the Wakandan king, and as a grown soldier returning to Wakanda for his revenge. This series will explore the time in-between, as Killmonger trained and prepared himself for his homecoming. Hill’s writing explores the poisonous effects of revenge (the first issue has a great Moby-Dick quote) but it’s Ferreyra’s art that makes this book a must-read. After proving his skills on Green Arrow (making that comic a highlight of the DC Rebirth initiative) Ferreyra somehow keeps getting better. His rendition of the iconic scene of Killmonger throwing T’Challa off the Wakandan waterfall will take your breath away.
Order Killmonger #1 here.
Aquaman #43 (DC Comics)
Kelly Sue DeConnick (writer), Robson Rocha (artist)
This month, Kelly Sue DeConnick becomes the latest big-name comic writer to take on a major DC superhero. Last month saw G. Willow Wilson take over Wonder Woman and Grant Morrison begin a new Green Lantern series, and now DeConnick — whose iconic Captain Marvel comics laid a lot of major groundwork for the upcoming movie — will tackle the King of the Seven Seas, just in time for his big-screen movie adaptation.
In the wake of the recent “Drowned Earth” crossover event between Aquaman and Justice League, DeConnick’s first issue with the character will find him amnesiac and lost on an island with other forgotten sea gods. Get ready for lots of epic mythology.
“I think in terms of sound, so I think of the tone of my books in terms of music,” DeConnick told EW in September. “So Pretty Deadly is Ennio Morricone, and Captain Marvel was Tom Petty. Aquaman is Zeppelin. It’s big, it’s mythic, it’s air-brushed on the side of a van, it’s heavy bass and high screeching vocals and lots of mythic touchstones.”
Pre-order Aquaman #43 here.
Die #1 (Image)
Kieron Gillen (writer), Stephanie Hans (artist)
It’s a good age for role-playing games, not least because the Satanic panic so closely associated with Dungeons & Dragons in the ’80s seems to have finally died down. So leave it to Gillen (The Wicked & the Divine) and Hans to come up with new reasons to be scared of such games. Their new comic follows a group of friends who got trapped in a custom D&D-like game for years, Jumanji style. They barely made it out of that experience with their minds intact, but they also left one of their friends behind in the game. So years later, they have to reunite and play it again — as adults who now have to confront the fantasies they had as children. It’s a thought-inspiring debut, and makes this feel like a series to watch.
Order Die #1 here.
Prodigy #1 (Image/Millarworld/Netflix)
Mark Millar (writer), Rafael Albuquerque (artist)
Mark Millar’s first comic since coming to work for Netflix was The Magic Order, a magical thriller series that the writer has described as “The Sopranos meets Harry Potter.” For his second new comic, Millar turned instead to classic adventure heroes like Indiana Jones. The result was the character Edison Crane, a multi-talented genius and Renaissance Man who can seemingly solve any problem…so Millar is giving him out-of-this-world problems to solve.
“I didn’t want to give him superpowers but I gave him super-intelligence,” Millar tells EW. “His intellect meant I could take the story in any direction, whether it’s aliens or cults or other dimensions. He’s a character who could feel comfortable in any situation.”
Order Prodigy #1 here.
Shazam #1 (DC Comics)
Geoff Johns (writer), Dale Eaglesham (artist)
A few months out from the much-anticipated Shazam! movie, DC is also bringing the character back to comics in a big way. It’s been a long time since Billy Batson had an ongoing monthly comic to star in, but Johns has big plans. Building off what he and artist Gary Frank started in their Shazam-themed backup stories to Justice League a few years ago, this new series revolves around Billy and his five foster siblings, each of whom has the power to turn into their own Shazam-style superhero. The first issue of the new series introduces several other magical mysteries that Johns can’t wait to explore.
“The Rock of Eternity was this magical subway station like Grand Central, for something, and it was shut down long ago,” Johns recently told EW. “We don’t know why it’s shut down or where it goes. These subway cars go somewhere. The reason they exist and come to the Rock, why Billy’s in charge of it all, and why there are seven thrones…it all will become part of the bigger story.”
Order Shazam #1 here.