The best comics to read in March: Stories of monsters and swords
From 'Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters' to 'X of Swords,' here are our comic picks for March 2021.
With COVID-19 vaccines now rolling out across the country, this March carries the faint whiff of hope in the air. It's been a long year, one that took a toll on the comics industry as much as everyone else, but with progress being made it feels like life will be recognizable again soon. In the meantime, there are plenty of great comics to read this month — some of which even tackle head-on stories about making it through disaster and finding beauty in the world.
Below, check out EW's picks for comics to check out this month.
Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters #1 (Oni Press)
Chris Samnee & Laura Samnee (writers), Chris Samnee (artist)
It may seem like an odd comparison, but in both its post-apocalyptic setting and the way it unleashes the creativity of a talented writer-artist, the new ongoing series Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters is reminiscent of last year’s Wonder Woman: Dead Earth. Granted, Daniel Warren Johnson’s take on the Amazon superheroine was as violent and intense as a heavy metal album cover, while Chris Samnee’s new series is consciously all-ages, but the biggest similarity is the joy of seeing a talented and prolific artist step up to the challenge of telling their own story.
The basic premise of Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters is a near-future world where giant monsters now roam the Earth and humans live in scattered communities surviving off meager food supplies. The titular girl disappeared into the wilderness a year before, and now her older sister Rainbow is looking for her. That’s about all the plot you get in issue 1. The rest will come later, but for now what’s astounding is the colorful visions of this dangerous and fantastical world and the incredible visual juxtaposition of that small, energetic girl in a world of giant beasts.
Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters #1 is available now.
Mike Mignola: The Quarantine Sketchbook (Dark Horse)
Mike Mignola (artist)
Now that we’ve reached the one-year mark since the COVID-19 pandemic kicked off in earnest, this March is a good time to reflect on the past 12 months and the different approaches we've all taken to pandemic life. Comic legend Mike Mignola has spent much of it doing “quarantine sketches” — mostly of his signature creation, Hellboy, but also of characters from franchises you’d never expect him to touch, like The Flintstones and Adventure Time. This new sketchbook collects most of them, with profits going to the World Central Kitchen, along with an introduction from Christine Mignola. The sketchbook forms a perfect companion to Mike Mignola: Drawing Monsters, the new documentary about the artist’s life and work currently raising funds on Kickstarter.
Mike Mignola: The Quarantine Sketchbook is available March 16.
Nocterra #1 (Image)
Scott Snyder (writer), Tony S. Daniel (artist)
Two great Batman comic creators come together for a totally original new dystopian saga. Scott Snyder (who wrote an acclaimed multi-year run on Batman alongside artist Greg Capullo) and Tony S. Daniel (who illustrated Batman RIP, one of the character’s best comics ever, as well as the more recent "City of Bane" storyline) have united for a different kind of comic book. Nocterra is the story of a dystopian future where the lights have gone out; humans now huddle in the few remaining towns with electricity, dodging the monsters that lurk in the shadows. So it’s a road trip, and a sci-fi dystopia, and a monster movie. What are you waiting for?
Nocterra #1 is available now.
Wonder Woman: Earth One Vol. 3 (DC Comics)
Grant Morrison (writer), Yanick Paquette (artist)
Hopefully, you’re not tired of Wonder Woman yet, because Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette are here with the third and final installment of their Wonder Woman: Earth One trilogy. As with Wonder Woman 1984, the villain here is Maxwell Lord, but it’s also a more general climax for this version of Wonder Woman — who combines the radical feminist and sex-positive vibe of the original ‘40s comics with a modern sensibility — and her attempt to change the world of men for the better.
Wonder Woman: Earth One Vol. 3 is available now.
X of Swords (Marvel)
Various writers, various artists
We here at EW have already sung the praises of the recent crossover event X of Swords — it was one of our very favorite comics of 2020! But for all the highs of a Jonathan Hickman-led superhero event (the invocations of mythology, the climactic payoffs to long-bubbling plots) the price is a very complicated reading order that must be followed in order to keep track of everything. Each X of Swords issue (whether it was part of X-Men or Marauders or another ongoing mutant comic) helpfully had its chronological place in the story noted on the cover, but in pandemic conditions, it’s understandable that not everyone can regularly make it to their local comic shop for the latest issues.
So if you missed out on X of Swords’ blend of superhero crossover, martial arts tournament, and fairy fantasy the first time around, be sure to check out the comprehensive new collection this month. If you’re like us, it’ll make a great companion to the House of X/Powers of X collection on your shelf. The Krakoa era is still going strong!
X of Swords is available now.