5 comics to read this March: Myths from the past and the future
March is a time for myths — or maybe it’s just easy to get carried away with alliteration. Marvel superhero Kamala Khan certainly doubles down on the latter with her new series, The Magnificent Ms. Marvel, which marks a big change in this character’s life: For the first time, her solo adventures will now be written by people who didn’t create her.
But myths abound elsewhere this month too, from Gareth Hinds’ comic book adaptation of The Iliad to Invisible Kingdom’s consideration of what organized religion might look like in a sci-fi society totally alien from our own.
Below, check out EW’s list of which comics to check out this month.
The Magnificent Ms. Marvel #1 (Marvel)
Saladin Ahmed (writer), Minkyu Jung (artist)
It’s the start of a new era for Kamala Khan! After five years of writing the young Muslim superhero she co-created, writer G. Willow Wilson said goodbye to Jersey City with Ms. Marvel #34 last month. Now it’s time for a changing of the guard. Ahmed, fresh off justly celebrated comics like Black Bolt and Exiles and already writing Kamala’s friend in Miles Morales: Spider-Man, talked to EW in December about how he and Jung are going to put their own spin on Ms. Marvel — who now comes with her own Marvel-ready adjective.
“There’s going to be big-canvas Marvel scope happening in this book, while still maintaining that intimate tone that people have loved about it,” he says. “I think that Kamala’s earned her superlative. She’s been around for a few years and she’s been magnificent. We kind of wanted to announce that this was her leveling up — as she would probably put it. I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised by the change of tone in the art. All of the artists who have worked on Ms. Marvel have been stellar, so it’s not that anything needs changing, but there’s a different tone as we go into this new number one, and the art reflects that. It’s not ‘gritty Ms. Marvel,’ but it’s darker and more atmospheric.”
Pre-order The Magnificent Ms. Marvel #1 here.
Invisible Kingdom #1 (Dark Horse)
G. Willow Wilson (writer), Christian Ward (artist)
She may be done writing Kamala Khan (for now), but Wilson is far from done with comics. This month she launches a new creator-owned science-fiction series with Christian Ward, who previously worked on Black Bolt with Wilson’s Ms. Marvel successor Saladin Ahmed. Ward’s cosmic art is a perfect match for Wilson’s interest in faith under duress. Together, they’re kicking off an epic about space smugglers and star pilgrims.
“I’ve wanted to work with Christian for a long time,” Wilson recently told EW. “I think his work is incredibly unique… I’ve had this space opera bouncing around in my head in a very unfinished way for years. So when Karen Berger was starting a new imprint at Dark Horse, and said, ‘Hey, if you’ve got an idea that you think might fit here, let me know,’ this was what I immediately jumped to.”
Pre-order Invisible Kingdom #1 here.
Detective Comics #1000 (DC Comics)
(Various writers and artists)
One year ago, Superman celebrated a major milestone with Action Comics #1000. The massive anniversary issue brought together several renowned writers and artists to honor the Man of Steel in their own ways. When it comes to DC superhero icons, Batman obviously deserves similar treatment, and now it’s his turn. The 1000th issue of Detective Comics hits stores next month, 80 years after the Dark Knight was first introduced in Detective Comics #27. It boasts an all-star lineup of writers and artists, ranging from legends like Dennis O’Neil to more contemporary masters like Brian Michael Bendis. Action Comics #1000 contained Bendis’ first DC work after moving over from Marvel, and now Detective Comics #1000 pairs him with longtime collaborator Alex Maleev for a story about Batman and the Penguin in old age — read it in full here via EW.
“It’s genuinely an honor,” Bendis told EW. “Last time I felt like an intruder waltzing in to this big event, but now I feel like a part of the DC family. The best part is not just getting to show off, but we get to celebrate with our peers and heroes. These specials can be so awesome for fans, because it’s a situation where every creator, for personal reasons, is trying to do something beyond themselves or something special.”
Pre-order Detective Comics #1000 here.
High Level #2 (DC/Vertigo)
Rob Sheridan (writer), Barnaby Bagenda and Romulo Fajardo, Jr. (artists)
As climate change continues to accelerate and technology continues to advance, societal stratification is going to reach unprecedented levels. Already, we’ve seen sci-fi movies like Elysium and Alita: Battle Angel play with a future setting where the rich and powerful live in a shining city in the sky while the poorer masses have to make do on the wasteland that Earth has become. In its first issue, this new DC/Vertigo comic introduced its own version of the concept, where the titular High Level is a sky citadel and everyone living on the ground below disagrees about what it’s actually like.
Bagenda’s art and Fajardo’s colors brought the female protagonist, Thirteen, to life, but the first issue ended with a fascinating setup: Thirteen has now been tasked with escorting a young girl back to High Level. It’s hard to go wrong with such a Lone Wolf and Cub-style dynamic, but this second issue will be the one to check out to see how the series is going to develop.
The Iliad (Candlewick Press)
Gareth Hinds (writer/artist)
One of the oldest stories of European culture can still find ways to surprise you. Last year, John Dolan published a prose translation of Homer’s The Iliad, a book that stripped away the hard-to-translate Hellenic poetry and focused on the author’s brutal but realistic depiction of war. Gareth Hinds does something similar with his new graphic-novel adaptation.
Having already translated The Odyssey into graphic-novel form, Hinds now adapts Homer’s other epic. In other words, you can see the blood-soaked battles of the Trojan War in full color, without having to suffer through watching Troy.
Pre-order Hind’s The Iliad here.