The best new comics to read this August: Many fish out of water
Another month of coronavirus quarantine has passed, which means new comics! We at EW have gone back and forth during the quarantine months between highlighting three or five comics for each month. We're only highlighting three for August, since blockbuster summer events are in swing at some of the big publishers and you already know about those; plus COVID-19 chaos continues to slow down the industry generally. Even so, these three comics are each worth reading and keeping track of as their books continue. They also even share a thematic connection: Each story, in its own way, paints a portrait of a fish-out-of-water experience: A human woman in a dream world, an Earth cop policing a space city, and a suburban husband/father drawn into a world of martial arts and magic powers.
Check out the list below.
The Dreaming: Waking Hours #1 (DC)
G. Willow Wilson (writer), Nick Robles (artist)
Fresh off a prestigious Eisner win for her sci-fi comic Invisible Kingdom, writer G. Willow Wilson is diving into the world of The Sandman alongside artist Nick Robles. The recently-concluded run on The Dreaming by Si Spurrier and Bilquis Evely showed readers what many beloved supporting characters of The Sandman were up to, but Waking Hours takes a different direction. Aside from Dream and Lucien, the only recognizable Sandman presence in this first issue is, well, William Shakespeare. Readers are introduced to new characters — a woman named Lindy and a nightmare named Ruin — who end up crossing paths and getting entangled in each other’s realms. It’s a visually stunning start to what should be a fascinating new direction for the Sandman Universe.
The Dreaming: Waking Hours #1 is available now.
Far Sector #7 (DC)
N.K. Jemisin (writer), Jamal Campbell (artist)
The most exciting superhero comic of the year is back in action! N.K. Jemisin is the premier science-fiction novelist of our time, but in her first comic her incredible world-building skills are perfectly matched by Jamal Campbell’s expressive art. Jemisin’s concept of the City Enduring — a futuristic Dyson Sphere space city with no crime because emotions are outlawed — is brought to life by Campbell’s imaginative visuals, which also infuse personality (and, occasionally, some of those illegal emotions) into alien characters who are plant-based or synthetic digital beings. But even with its head in the clouds, Far Sector also has its feet planted firmly on the ground. As the issue goes by, we get more looks into Green Lantern Jo Mullein’s past as a police officer and the abuse she may have been party to that now influences her approach to law enforcement in the City Enduring, which currently facing its first crimes in years thanks to the availability of a drug that can turn citizens’ emotions back on.
Before we run out of room for gushing, it’s worth noting that Far Sector is currently set for 12 issues. The series is now embarking on the second half of its story (though hopefully it might be renewed in some form down the line…), making this the perfect time to jump on the bandwagon.
Far Sector #7 is available now.
Fire Power #1-2 (Image)
Robert Kirkman (writer), Chris Samnee (artist)
The new series from The Walking Dead and Invincible creator Robert Kirkman has already begun. In fact, the prologue graphic novel released last month is probably more of what you’d expect from a modern-day martial arts series: Owen Johnson journeys to a mysterious Chinese temple where he trains with an old master and eventually unlocks a forgotten power (the titular ability to emit fireballs). What’s so intriguing about the ongoing Fire Power series, kicking off this month, is that it takes place years after that adventure. Owen Johnson is now a father and husband living a quiet life in the suburbs.
“Owen is a family man, he’s got a wife and kids, he does not want to be a part of this martial arts world, he does not want to throw fireballs and fight ninjas and do all kinds of crazy stuff,” Kirkman told EW in an early tease of the series last year. “He just wants to live his life, he just wants to be a man of peace. But it turns out the fate of the world rests on him actually doing this, so there’s a bunch of different forces — good and evil — that keep trying to pry him back into this world.”
Kirkman teases that he and artist Chris Samnee intend Fire Power to be a “sprawling martial arts epic.” Even if it might not last as long as The Walking Dead’s recently-concluded 193-issue run, Kirkman says they are already working on issue #12.
Fire Power #1 and #2 are available now.