Comics to read this November: Old heroes, new faces

This November is going to be a big month for classic heroes. For one thing, several DC superheroes will kick off new eras under popular writers — some of whom are most famous for their Marvel work. 

Not all heroes are fictional, of course. At a time of increasing political polarization, this month also brings a new biographical comic about Nelson Mandela, showing how his struggles to bring democracy to South Africa required an open mind and a willingness to listen, as well as dedication to his people.

Check out EW’s recommendations for November 2018 comics below.

http://ew.com/
Liam Sharp for DC Comics

The Green Lantern #1 (DC Comics)
Grant Morrison (writer), Liam Sharp (artist)

Possibly the most hotly anticipated superhero comic of the year, Grant Morrison’s new Green Lantern does not disappoint in its first issue. It’s been a few years since Morrison, one of the most innovative creators in all of comics, has written a regular superhero story, but already the ideas are flowing out of him at a rapid pace. The first issue of The Green Lantern features an intergalactic criminal caught by a space cop who’s a super-intelligent virus, while protagonist Hal Jordan gets into a fistfight with hive-mind aliens in the middle of a desert highway. Back in September, Morrison told EW about his plans for showcasing the day-to-day life of a space cop.

“What’s it like when he’s called into a domestic dispute, but the domestic dispute is between two intelligent clouds? What’s a police interrogation like when the person you’re interrogating is a giant intellectual spider?” Morrison said. “It was taking a lot of things that in normal cop shows would be seen as kind of mundane, and then elevating it to these cosmic proportions and gigantic scale. Things naturally become funny and surreal and weird when you take them up to that level.”

Morrison’s stories are accompanied by art from Liam Sharp, who is at the absolute top of his craft. After illustrating vivid fantasy monsters and mythic landscapes for a 2016 Wonder Woman run with Greg Rucka, Sharp here turns his attention to colorful alien races and unusual planets. Sharp has promised on Twitter that the art will only continue to level up over subsequent issues, and based on the first installment, there’s no reason to doubt him. Get on this train now.

Pre-order The Green Lantern #1 here.

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DC Comics

Wonder Woman #58 (DC Comics)
G. Willow Wilson (writer), Cary Nord (artist)

Although it’s not a companywide reboot on the scale of DC Rebirth, this November will see several DC superheroes begin new eras under popular writers. In addition to Morrison’s The Green Lantern and Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Aquaman, this month will see writer G. Willow Wilson tackle her first big DC superhero story with none other than Wonder Woman. As the co-creator of Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel, Wilson is the latest Marvel superstar to start writing for DC (though she’ll still keep writing Ms. Marvel for the foreseeable future).

Wilson and Nord’s first arc is titled “A Just War,” and features Diana enmeshed in a morally gray military conflict far from the U.S. Suddenly, her old foe Ares shows up, and says he wants to help.

“We wanted to put him out in front of readers again, with a twist. What if your oldest enemy showed up and wanted to be your best friend? Can the God of War really change?” Wilson told EW recently. “We’re working with a classic Wonder Woman story (Steve Trevor goes MIA, Diana’s gotta find him, Ares shows up), but nobody’s quite in the position we’re expecting, and nobody takes the side we expect.”

Pre-order Wonder Woman #58 here.  

http://ew.com/
Boom! Studios

Firefly #1 (Boom Studios)
Greg Pak (writer), Dan McDaid (artist)

There have been several Firefly comics in the years since Joss Whedon’s beloved space Western was canceled after less than a season, but the publishing rights recently transferred from Dark Horse to Boom Studios. The latter is now making the most of its new license. While Dark Horse’s Serenity comics tried to continue the story of Mal Reynolds and his crew into the future, this one takes place right in their prime, before anyone died. One issue in, Greg Pak (an accomplished sci-fi comic writer whose Planet Hulk storyline provided the basis for the Sakaar sequence in Thor: Ragnarok) and Dan McDaid have already demonstrated an understanding of the Serenity crew members’ unique personalities and interpersonal dynamics. They’re not stopping there, though: Their story is set to introduce new characters to this fictional world, as well as fill in the backstory of events like the Unification War.

“We’re interested in exploring what happens in war, the things veterans never talk about,” Pak recently told EW. “I’m hoping this story will look at this war in all shades of gray and all the ways people are affected by this. We want to look unflinchingly at what people have done in the past and how it affects them through this future.”

Pre-order Firefly #1 here.

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Plough Publishing House

Mandela and the General (Plough)
John Carlin (writer), Oriol Malet (artist)

Here in the United States, November 2018 means midterm congressional elections, so politics is on everyone’s minds. But democracy isn’t always easy, and this new historical graphic novel demonstrates how South Africa’s transition from apartheid to open democracy was fraught with conflict. Set in the tense and often bloody months leading up to the nation’s first post-apartheid elections in 1994, Mandela and the General chronicles how Mandela began meeting in secret with General Constand Viljoen, the former chief of apartheid South Africa’s military, to collaborate on a peaceful path to democracy. Together, they strived to understand where the other was coming from, and figured out how to guide their respective movements off the path of violence.

The mix of John Carlin’s historically vivid writing with Oriol Malet’s beautiful art (which at first appears to be drawn in black and white, until more and more colors start appearing between those two poles) highlights the immediate relevancy of this story. In our politically polarized time, it feels more and more important to remember the struggles that are necessary to ensure democracy, the many costs of conflict, and the importance of trying to understand each other.

Order Mandela and the General here.

http://ew.com/
Kevin Libranda/Marvel Comics

Ironheart #1 (Marvel)
Eve L. Ewing (writer), Kevin Libranda (artist)

In recent years, Marvel has excelled at recruiting writers from other platforms to put new spins on its superheroes. Years after National Magazine Award-winning writer Ta-Nehisi Coates started writing Black Panther comics, author and academic Eve L. Ewing (Electric Arches, Ghosts in the Schoolyard) will begin a new Ironheart series this month.

Riri Williams is surely the newest superhero on this list. Writer Brian Michael Bendis first created the character in 2016, introducing her as a young genius who took over for Tony Stark after he went into a coma. Ewing, however, will be the first black female writer to tell Riri’s story. As Ewing told Marvel.com back in August, “She and I have a lot in common… not just as a black woman, but specifically as a black woman from Chicago, and an awkward nerd, and someone who’s spent a lot of time in Cambridge.”

Pre-order Ironheart #1 here.

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