2018 is the year of Milkman Man.
We’re barely a few days into 2018, and already it’s shaping up to be a huge year for the comic book industry. Readers can look forward to a new Infinity crossover from Marvel, Brian Bendis’ big DC debut, the end of Dan Slott’s massive Spider-Man saga, the launch of “The New Age of DC Heroes” and some very promising new creator-owned series and original graphic novels.
To help prep you for the busy year ahead, here are 19 big projects to keep an eye on in 2018.
The New Age of DC Heroes
Release Date: Jan. 17
DC is ringing in 2018 with what looks to be its most ambitious publishing initiative since the DC Rebirth relaunch. Originally announced as “Dark Matter,” the imprint now known as “The New Age of DC Heroes” has a clear, straightforward goal – to bring together some of the biggest creators working at DC in order to revamp existing characters and add entirely new ones to the DCU. If Rebirth was about restoring a more classical DCU, “The New Age of DC Heroes” is about the new and different.
We’re excited for this new line for all sorts of reasons, including the fact that it’s spinning out of the events of Dark Nights: Metal and spotlights creators like Scott Snyder, Jim Lee, Jeff Lemire, Ivan Reis and John Romita, Jr. “The New Age of DC Heroes” puts creators first, to the point where DC is instituting a new system for royalties. Given how notorious this industry is about properly rewarding content creators, that seems like a big step in the right direction. And hopefully it’ll lead to better, more adventurous stories in the process.
Young Animal: Milk Wars
Release Date: Jan. 31
DC’s Young Animal imprint has been unfolding in its own little corner of the DC Universe so far, but that’s about to change thanks to “Milk Wars.” This crossover will see the Doom Patrol, Cave Carson, Mother Panic and the rest of the Young Animal crew cross paths with the Justice League. Their common enemy is Milkman Man, the face of an evil corporation bent on stealing, homogenizing and repackaging all stories.
Basically, “Milk Wars” is shaping up to be every bit as weird and self-aware as fans of the imprint could hope for. It’s also a joint effort between all the regular creative teams and spearheaded by Gerard Way. Look for the main Young Animal books to be briefly replaced by a series of crossover specials, beginning with JLA/Doom Patrol #1 in late January. And once that’s done, expect a wave of relaunched titles and even a brand new addition in the form of Eternity Girl.
Release Date: Jan. 31
Barry Allen and Wally West (both of them) have been at the heart of DC Rebirth from the very beginning. “Flash War” is the next big story for both characters, one that promises to decide once and for all who the true fasted man alive is. This story will also deal with the elder Wally’s struggle as he comes to terms with a world where his aunt Iris doesn’t know he exists.
“Flash War” kicks off in the pages of The Flash Annual #1 before unfolding in issues #46-50 of the main series later in 2018. Look for this story to have major ramifications for all of DC’s speedster heroes. We’re hoping that includes Jay Garrick, who briefly returned in last year’s “The Button” crossover.
Release Date: Feb. 7
There’s been a distinct lack of Esad Ribic in our comic book diet since the end of Secret Wars. Sure, we’ve seen the artist pop up here and there (including last fall’s Marvel Legacy #1), but we’re waiting for Ribic to settle down on a monthly series again. Thankfully, we don’t have much longer to wait.
VS pairs Ribic with writer Ivan Brandon and colorist/painter Nic Klein for a brutal sci-fi series where war has become a lucrative spectator sport waged by corporate-sponsored grunts. Expect a book that features plenty of stylish, violent action and a healthy degree of social satire. And definitely expect something visually stunning.
Release Date: Feb. 7
Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey is currently chronicling the long-awaited return of this fan-favorite character, one who’s been dead for an eternity by superhero standards. Naturally, that return is only the beginning of Jean’s story. We’re really looking forward to what happens next, as Jean rejoins the X-Men and even leads her own squad in the new ongoing series X-Men Red.
The roster in this new series is enticing enough, as it features everyone from Wolverine to Namor to Nightcrawler, along with new character Trinary. But what really has us sold is the creative team – writer Tom Taylor and artist Mahmud Asrar. Taylor’s work on All-New Wolverine has made it consistently one of the best X-Men books in recent years, and we’re excited to see what he can accomplish with an entire team of mutants.
Release Date: Feb. 14
Romance comics aren’t nearly as popular as they once were, but the genre has started to bounce back in recent years thanks to Kickstarter and other crowdfunding services. Case in point – the original graphic novel Bingo Love had a successful campaign last year, and now it’s reaching a wider audience thanks to Image Comics.
Bingo Love is written and created by Tee Franklin and features the work of artist Jenn St-Onge and colorist Joy San. The book traces the romance between two black women over the course of nearly 70 years. With so many romance tales revolving around star-crossed youngsters, it’s pretty refreshing to see a book that takes such an all-encompassing view of a relationship and acknowledges the difficulties people face in coming out at an older age. Based on the early buzz, we expect Bingo Love will be a major contender for best graphic novel of the year.
Doctor Strange: Damnation
Release Date: Feb. 21
Marvel promised fewer events and crossovers with Marvel Legacy, but so far they don’t really seem to be following through on that pledge. That said, we can’t complain about the prospect of writers Nick Spencer and Donny Cates and artist Rod Reis teaming up on a supernatural-themed crossover.
Doctor Strange: Damnation follows up on one of the bigger developments in last year’s Secret Empire, as Doctor Strange attempts to revive the decimated city of Las Vegas and winds up accidentally handing it over to Mephisto. From there, Strange has no choice but to join forces with the likes of Moon Knight, Ghost Rider, Blade and Iron Fist to set things right. The core Damnation miniseries will, of course, be accompanied by various tie-in books spotlighting individual heroes.
Doctor Strange has quickly developed into one of Marvel’s best ongoing books now that Cates has taken the reins, and we’re excited to see what magic he and Spencer can work together.
My Favorite Thing Is Monsters Vol. 2
Release Date: Mar. 1
Emil Ferris’ My Favorite Thing Is Monsters was our choice for the best graphic novel of 2017. You’d better believe we’re thrilled that a sequel is one the way. The fact that it’s right around the corner is even better. Vol. 2 will continue the unusual story of monster-obsessed protagonist Karen as she deals with the crazy, tumultuous year that was 1968. If Ferris managed to blow us away with her debut graphic novel, how much better will she be the second time around?
Dan Slott’s Amazing Spider-Man Finale
Release Date: Mar. 7
It’s hard to remember a time when Dan Slott wasn’t writing Amazing Spider-Man. He’ll soon have the unique distinction of writing the 600th, 700th and 800th issues of the series. But all good things have to end sooner or later, and even this run is no exception.
Slott recently confirmed that Amazing Spider-Man #797 will begin his last and most pivotal storyline, “Go Down Swinging.” Fittingly, it all comes down to one last battle between Peter Parker and his greatest nemesis, Norman Osborn. The Green Goblin is back, and no one in Spider-Man’s world is safe.
Naturally, we’re also excited to learn who will be replacing Slott as the book’s new writer. These are very tall shoes to fill, and we don’t envy the challenge awaiting the next creative team.