3 comics to read in April: Carrying the torch in a dark time
At the beginning of every month, we here at EW like to provide you with a short list of cool comics coming out, both individual issues and trade collections alike, that we think deserve a look. Unfortunately, the coronavirus crisis has scrambled the comic industry, as it has everything else. With Diamond Comic Distributors, the main distributor of comics to specialty comic stores in what is known as the direct market system, currently halting its operations in the midst of widespread quarantine, there are hardly any new comic issues on stands — and even if there were, almost no comic stores are still open for walk-ins to buy them (though several are offering mail delivery or curbside pick-up; you can check the Comic Shop Locator to find contact information for stores near you).
That said, not all comics go through the direct market. These days, some comics are exclusively available digitally, while others are distributed to booksellers as well as comic shops (usually when they're graphic novels or collections of previously published issues). As a result, this month we only have three recommendations for you instead of the usual five. Worry not, though, they are all worth checking out. Check out the list below.
Batman: The Adventures Continue #1 (DC Comics)
Paul Dini, Alan Burnett (writers), Ty Templeton (artist)
At a time like this, who could say no to a follow-up to Batman: The Animated Series? The original cartoon from producer Bruce Timm is one of the most beloved superhero adaptations of the last 30 years, and that's saying something. The new sequel comic, co-written by the same man who penned many of the animated series' best episodes (Paul Dini), was always planned as a digital-first release, so it hasn't been disrupted much by the coronavirus situation.
Ty Templeton's art is very reminiscent of the original show. Lex Luthor shows up at one point and directly references the events of The Batman Superman Movie: World's Finest, so that should be a treat for longtime fans. Dini's characterization of Alfred is still spot-on (you can practically hear voice actor Efrem Zimbalist Jr. delivering the lines), and the whole thing is a fun kickoff to a new story without getting too deep in homages.
Batman: The Adventures Continue #1 is available now on digital platforms like Comixology.
New Mutants by Jonathan Hickman, Volume 1 (Marvel)
Jonathan Hickman, Ed Brisson (writers), Rod Reis (artist)
Just when it seemed like the long-delayed New Mutants movie was finally going to see the light of day, coronavirus hit and it's been pushed back once again. It's a bummer not only for everyone involved in the project, but also for the many X-Men fans out there who were looking forward to seeing this beloved spin-off group of superheroes on the big screen.
The good news for the latter, though, is that the first volume of the latest New Mutants comic is available for purchase (since, as mentioned above, collections have other distribution outlets besides Diamond and the direct market). Written by Ed Brisson and Jonathan Hickman, it was one of the first series from Marvel's recent X-Men relaunch masterminded by Hickman. Classic New Mutants characters like Magik and Wolfsbane shine in this sci-fi tale of kids going into space and getting caught up in alien adventures. Rod Reis had already proven the mind-blowing capabilities of his art on comics like Hadrian's Wall, but now gets to stretch his Bill Sienkiewicz muscles and does not disappoint.
New Mutants Volume 1 is available from booksellers now.
A House Divided Book One: The Accursed Inheritance of Henrietta Achilles (Lerner Publishing Group)
Haiko Hörnig (writer), Marius Pawlitza (artist)
This German comic has now been translated into English, and it's an absolute delight. The comedic interplay between Marius Pawlitza's hilarious character expressions and Haiko Hörnig's well-timed writing has certainly survived the translation. Drawing on classic fantasy role-playing games, A House Divided focuses on orphan heroine Henrietta Achilles, who gets drawn out of obscurity when a mysterious dead uncle leaves her his unique house as a gift. The only problem is, there are lots of other people (like bandits and pirates) who would like the house and its treasures for themselves. Thankfully, this is only the first of four planned graphic novels in the series.
A House Divided Book One: The Accursed Inheritance of Henrietta Achilles will be available from booksellers on April 7.
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