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Daredevil, Female Furies, Red Sonja & More in Required Reading: Comics for 2/6/2019

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February is here, dear readers, and with it a new batch of worthwhile sequential reads. Marvel’s saddest blind catholic gets a new solo series this Wednesday, written by a rising star who’s proving he can do much more than sly comedy. If hornheads aren’t your thing, perhaps you’ll want to nab Female Furies, a take-no-prisoners look at sexism as seen through the lens of evil warrior-goddesses. If you prefer your sword-swinging women a little closer to home, Red Sonja returns to the stacks this week, just in time to make sure her distant “cousin” Conan doesn’t hog all the barbarian spotlight. We’ve also got heartfelt middle grade, a provocative new Top Cow series, another installment in Marvel’s “Old Man-verse” and more in this week’s Required Reading.


Battlestar Galactica: Twilight Command #1
Writer: Michael Moreci
Artist: Breno Tamura
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
We don’t cover Dynamite’s media licenses too often here, but the publisher has done an excellent job of injecting new life into cult favorites unlikely to get much attention on film or television. From Dark Shadows to Re-Animator to The Six Million Dollar Man, Dynamite carries a torch for fan favorites, and Battlestar Galactica: Twilight Command is a particularly bright light leading sci-fi aficionados into 2019. Written by Black Star Renegades and Wasted Space author Michael Moreci and drawn by Batgirl and the Birds of Prey contributor Breno Tamura, Battlestar Galactica: Twilight Command explores a previously unseen moment in the BSG reboot universe, as a band of human survivors fight back against the Cylons in the wilds of New Caprica. If reading those words brought a nostalgic tear to your eye, zoom over to your local comic shop or preferred digital retailer this Wednesday. Steve Foxe


Daredevil #1
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Marco Checchetto
Publisher: Marvel Comics 
We fell in love with Chip Zdarsky’s writing over the last few years thanks to his knack for fleshing out the internal emotional lives of Marvel’s leading men, including Spider-Man and Star-Lord, but Daredevil is a whole other catholic-guilt ballgame. With the exception of Mark Waid, Chris Samnee and co.’s more exuberant relaunch a few years back, Matt Murdock is generally one of the publisher’s most dour characters, with a supporting cast marked by tragedy. Daredevil, which sees Zdarsky pairing with artist Marco Checchetto—not a name often associated with lightheartedness—stands to reveal new depths for Zdarsky’s reach at Marvel, and a new, still shrouded-in-secrets era for the horned protector of Hell’s Kitchen. Steve Foxe


Female Furies #1
Writer: Cecil Castellucci
Artist: Adriana Melo
Publisher: DC Comics 
DC Comics’ discourse-dominating Mister Miracle series just wrapped up in November, but the publisher made sure readers wouldn’t have to wait long for more of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World creations. Female Furies is a six-issue mini-series from writer Cecil Castellucci (Shade, The Changing Girl) and artist Adriana Melo (Plastic Man) that takes a big step back in the history of the Apokolips/New Genesis conflict, spotlighting Big Barda’s tenure as a Female Fury under the iron thumb of Granny Goodness. The Female Furies are raised since birth to stand among Apokolips’ most intimidating warriors, enduring trials by (often literal) fire to represent Darkseid on the battlefield. In Castellucci and Melo’s series, Granny Goodness and the Furies find themselves fed up with being left behind while the men (and Parademons) go to war—and even more fed up with the way the men treat them when they are around. Steve Foxe


G.I. Joe: Sierra Muerte #1
Writer/Artist: Michel Fiffe
Publisher: IDW Publishing
A select few cartoonists have been able to will their childhood dream careers into existence: Ed Piskor is retelling the whole X-Men saga in X-Men: Grand Design, Tom Scioli pursues his own gonzo projects alongside action-figure mashups like Go-Bots and Transformers vs. G.I. Joe, and now Michel Fiffe lends his unmistakable art to G.I. Joe: Sierra Muerte, a quintessential clash between America’s elite fighting force and the snake-themed terrorist organization Cobra. Fiffe is best known for Copra, which he writes, draws, colors and letters himself. The word “auteur” gets thrown around a bit too casually at times, but you’d be hard pressed to find a contemporary creator who has better earned the label than Fiffe, and anything he touches, from a Suicide Squad homage to a Bloodstrike revival to a toy tie-in is automatic reading in our eyes. Steve Foxe


Girl in the Bay #1
Writer: J. M. DeMatteis
Artist: Corin Howell
Publisher: Berger Books/ Dark Horse Comics
Dark Horse Comics’ Berger Books imprint, curated by legendary former Vertigo editor Karen Berger, continues to march along in 2019 with a new slate of original series. First off the block is The Girl in the Bay from writer J.M. DeMatteis and artist Corin Howell, in which a 17-year-old girl is brutally attacked and thrown into Brooklyn’s Sheepshead Bay. When she miraculously survives and emerges from the water, she discovers that 50 years have passed, and a doppelganger has lived out her life in her place. DeMatteis has had a long and varied career in comics, from mainstream hits like the humorous Justice League of the ‘80s and “Kraven’s Last Hunt” in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man to cult favorites like Moonshadow and Blood: A Tale, while Howell’s work will soon be seen in Calamity Kate, also from Dark Horse. Berger Books has a ways to go before it touches Karen Berger’s legacy at Vertigo, but snagging talent like this is the most important step in building a new powerhouse. Steve Foxe


New Kid
Writer/Artist: Jerry Craft
Publisher: HarperCollins
Though Jerry Craft has contributed to and illustrated a slew of middle grade and early reader books, New Kid is an exciting new book that he’s both written and drawn. Much of Craft’s work in the past has focused on topics of identity and acceptance, steeped in kindness and the sort of messages from which kids in those age ranges really benefit. New Kid follows that template, but with a larger scope, telling the story of Jordan Banks as he enrolls in a prestigious and expensive new school that’s outside of his neighborhood, and becomes torn by the conflict between his two identities. Folks that appreciated Miles Morales’ struggle to join his school-self and his home-self in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and readers who have ever walked into a room and felt immediately that they were an other will appreciate a book like New Kid, especially from someone as thoughtful as Craft. The book is already being compared to Gene Luen Yang and the reigning queen of middle grade, Raina Telgemeier. Any comic that can help a kid feel less alone and face a difficult situation with a renewed pride and sense of self is a good thing, and Craft looks to have delivered exactly that. Caitlin Rosberg


Old Man Quill #1
Writer: Ethan Sacks
Artist: Robert Gill
Publisher: Marvel Comics 
If Old Man Hawkeye seemed like a bit of a stretch at 12 issues, Old Man Quill at least offers the promise of heretofore unseen corners of the Wastelands first introduced in Mark Millar and Steve McNiven’s original “Old Man Logan” arc of Wolverine. In this maxi-series from Old Man Hawkeye writer Ethan Sacks and Valiant mainstay Robert Gill, an aged Star-Lord is summoned by what’s left of the Guardians of the Galaxy for one last heist. “Mad Max in space” might seem reductive, but we’ll take it. If the Old Man-iverse has to be a thing, here’s hoping the elderly Punisher who debuted in last year’s Old Man Logan annual is the next in line for the series treatment. Steve Foxe


Red Sonja #1
Writer: Mark Russell
Artist: Mirko Colak
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Fueled by vengeance and an affinity for ale, Red Sonja is one of the strongest warriors alive in her eponymous fantasy comic. The new creative team—writer Mark Russell, artist Mirko Colak, colorist Dearbhla Kelly and letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou—hope to craft an epic by building up the world around the character. Russell has made a claim to fame with his satirical hits at DC Comics, including Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles and The Flintstones, even garnering Eisner attention for the latter, while Colak comes fresh out of Dark Horse’s former Conan series and Kingsway West. With Conan finding new life at Marvel Comics, it’s the perfect time for this red-haired warrior to get a rejuvenation of her own. Josh Hilgenberg


Uncanny X-Men #11
Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artists: Salvador Larroca, John McCrea, Juanan Ramirez
Publisher: Marvel Comics 
The much-hyped return of Uncanny X-Men late last year was undercut a bit when it became clear that the first 10 issues of the title, co-written by Matthew Rosenberg, Ed Brisson and Kelly Thompson, comprised an elaborate lead-in to the current Age of X-Man alternate-universe crossover, not a standalone series launch. If you’re willing to part with $7.99, this week’s Uncanny X-Men #11 is a fresh start for the series, written by a solo Rosenberg—also the writer behind Multiple Man, Astonishing X-Men, New Mutants and Phoenix Resurrection—and drawn by longtime X-contributor Salvador Larroca with assists from John McCrea and Juanan Ramirez. With the majority of the X-Men stuck in a utopia/dystopia of X-Man’s making, Rosenberg assembles the remaining mutant heroes, including most of his New Mutants cast as well as the long-awaited reunion of Cyclops and Wolverine, to carry Xavier’s banner against all odds. Also out this week: Marvelous X-Men #1, the flagship mini-series in the Age of X-Man event. Steve Foxe


Vindication #1
Writer: MD Marie
Artists: Carlos Miko & Dema Jr.
Publisher: Top Cow/ Image Comics 
The past few years have brought several comics that explore systemic racism and police brutality, with titles like Black from Black Mask Studios intentionally tackling subjects that are still considered taboo in many parts of the industry. Vindication follows the perspectives of men caught between these conflicting forces, a detective and a young black man circling each other in a story about assumptions, wrongful conviction and the struggle to prove innocence. The book represents a new milestone for Image Comics, a publisher that has infamously struggled with issues of race and bigotry in series like The Divided States of Hysteria. Though it’s only a four-issue miniseries, Vindication is also unique for the fact that the entire creative team is fairly new to comics. MD Marie is a successful sci-fi and steampunk author and artists Dema Jr. and Carlos Miko don’t have any major published work to their names in America. A complete, satisfying story in four issues requires tight pacing and intentional storytelling choices, and it’s exciting to see a large publisher taking a chance on something that pushes the envelope in multiple ways. Vindication will undoubtedly make a bold statement, and it’s worth reading to find out exactly what it is. Caitlin Rosberg

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