November & December 2021 Previews: Carman’s Picks

Estimated release: March 9, 2022
Publisher: Quill Tree Books
(W) Nadia Shammas (A/CA) Sara Alfageeh

This YA fantasy graphic novel follows fourteen-year-old Aiza, who trains to become a knight for a war-torn empire while hiding her true background as a girl from conquered lands.

Born a second-class citizen, Aiza has always dreamt of becoming a Knight. It’s the highest military honor in the once-great Bayt-Sajji Empire, and as a member of the Ornu people, her only path to full citizenship. Now, ravaged by famine, Bayt-Sajji finds itself on the brink of war once again. This means Aiza can finally enlist to the competitive Squire training program.

The camp is nothing like she envisioned. Hiding her Ornu status in order to blend in, Aiza must navigate friendships, rivalries, and rigorous training under the merciless General Hende. As the pressure mounts, Aiza realizes that the “greater good” Bayt-Sajji’s military promises might not include her, and that the recruits might be in more danger than she ever imagined.

I’ve been anxiously awaiting the arrival of Squire ever since Sara Alfageeh and Nadia Shammas announced it some years ago. Sara’s art is always a treat to look at and I cannot wait to read a full length book from both her and Shammas. Pick this one up!

New Masters #1 (of 6)
Estimated release: February 2, 2022
Publisher: Image Comics
(W) Shobo (A/CA) Shof

Nigerian brothers SHOBO and SHOF present NEW MASTERS, a groundbreaking blend of science fiction, adventure, drama, and vibrant Afrofuturism. In a striking vision of West Africa under the thumb of alien colonizers, a motley crew of outcasts find themselves caught up in a power struggle for control of an ancient artifact with immense power.

This is the first I’ve heard of Shobo and Shof Coker and I’m looking forward to getting acquainted. The preview pages of New Masters look great and I love seeing more Afrofuturism represented in the comics medium.

Bolero #1 (of 5)
Estimated release: January 12, 2022
Publisher: Image Comics
(W) Wyatt Kennedy (A/CA) Luana Vecchio


A new series from two bright-eyed and bushy-tailed little scamps!

A woman running away from a broken heart discovers a mother-key into parallel universes. The rules are:
*    The key can work on any door.
*    The mother will only let you visit 53 universes.
*    Do not ask to speak to the mother.
*    Never hop more than 53 times.

Bolero has another new-to-me team. Sometimes you’re sold on a book by just a cover and a cryptic solicit.

Apache Delivery Service #1 (of 4)
Estimated release: January 5, 2022
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
(W) Matt Kindt (A/CA) Tyler Jenkins

A jungle horror story by Matt Kindt (Ether, Mind MGMT) and Tyler Jenkins (Fear Case)!

Two haunted men are on a hunt in the jungles of Vietnam, searching for clues to a missing treasure trove of gold that was stolen from all over Asia by a Japanese general during World War II. Eventually they find a series of hidden caves in the mountains near the coast. Bodies start showing up-murder victims and mutilated corpses. There is a rumor that the caves and gold are protected by terrifying witches that have been living in the cave system for thousands of years. As our warriors travel deeper into the mystery, they learn more disturbing facts about each other and become paranoid of one another as they get closer and closer to the gold, while, at the same time, a bizarre serial killer is hunting them down.

The Horrors of War!

Uh oh, Kindt and Jenkins are back at it again with a premise that seems right up their alley. If you’re not familiar with their previous team-ups, check out Grass Kings, Black Badge, and Fear Case.

Fox and Hare #1
Estimated release: February 23, 2022
Publisher: Vault Comics
(W) Jonathan Tsuei (A/CA) Stacey Lee

When black market coder Aurora Yi uncovers top secret data that has tapped into the past lives of the citizens of Mazu Bay, her world is turned upside down. The mega corporation Synastry Designs wants its data back and is hot on her trail. Aurora has no choice but to turn to the Fox and the Hare, the most feared mercenaries in the city, for protection.

Hey, another new-to-me team! On a brand new Vault book, to book. I’m always looking forward to their new series!

Batman – The Knight #1 (of 10)
Estimated release: January 18, 2022
Publisher: DC Comics
(W) Chip Zdarsky (A/CA) Carmine Di Giandomenico

The origin of Batman and his never-ending fight against crime in Gotham City is modern mythology, but what of the story in between? How did an angry, damaged young man grow into the most accomplished detective and crime-fighter the world has ever known? How did the Dark Knight…begin? Superstar writer Chip Zdarsky (Daredevil) and acclaimed artist Carmine Di Giandomenico (The Flash) will take Bruce Wayne on a fraught journey, making allies and enemies, on his training to become Batman in this definitive new series!

Ladies and gentlemen, Chip Zdarsky writing a real life Batman book. The madman did it. Years of joking
(threatening?) finally materialized into the real world.

Sword of Hyperborea #1 (of 4)
Estimated release: January 12, 2022
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
(W) Mike Mignola, Rob Williams (A/CA) Laurence Campbell

From the ancient warrior Gall Dennar, to Sir Edward Grey, to the B.P.R.D.’s Agent Howards, the iconic Hyperborean sword from the world of Hellboy has landed in many influential hands. And this has been no accident. Trace the sword’s path through the adventures and encounters that finally brought it to Ragna Rok, at the end of the world, and witness the sword’s journey through history.   Hellboy creator Mike Mignola gives us a new tale from the world of Hellboy, cowritten by Rob Williams and featuring the art of Mignolaverse veteran Laurence Campbell to deliver never-before-seen Hellboy lore!
o The story of the Hyperborean blade!

Oh yes. Yes yes yes. I still remember reading The Abyss of Time offshoot story for the first time in BPRD and being struck by how good it was. Howards quickly became a favorite character of mine and I’ve been hoping for more of his story ever since. I am so excited to get more that’s taking place after the finale of BPRD as well. AND we’ve got Laurence Campbell on art. How much better can you get for a BPRD fan?

Arrowsmith #1 (of 6)
Estimated release: January 19, 2022
Publisher: Image Comics
(W) Kurt Busiek (A/CA) Carlos Pacheco, Jose Rafael Fonteriz, Jose Villarrubia


The new KURT BUSIEK era at Image begins here, as he and superstar artist CARLOS PACHECO (Fantastic Four, Avengers Forever, Final Crisis, X-Men, Superman) bring you the much-anticipated return of ARROWSMITH! It’s World War I-but a war of wizards and dragons as much as bullets and barbed wire. Young airman Fletcher Arrowsmith plunges back into the heat of war-and finds himself behind enemy lines, facing a threat that could doom the Allied Powers. The first issue in a new ARROWSMITH-universe miniseries! And don’t miss the remastered hardcover of the original series in February!

And a (kind of) new Kurt Busiek book! Years ago, I bought the single issues of the original Arrowsmith run. They’ve been in my “I’ll read this at some point” pile since. But no more! Cool to see the team revisit this miniseries after such a long break. It looks like Image will be releasing a remastered collection of the original as well so other folks can catch up!