Make a Solicit Check - Best of January 2017 Comics Solicitations

There are many comics coming out every month, so it’s easy to lose track of promising new releases. That’s why we here at Critical Writ have started "Make a Solicit Check" — a monthly column devoted to the most inspiring announcements.

This month: Look, there are new titles revealed in January solicitations, but for the most part, they’re a little... okay, at best? I managed to find only 7 that I’d mark as "most interesting”. So this time, I’m using this spot to promote awesome books that have been coming out for a while and deserve a shout-out. The new titles are at the top 7 spots, if that’s all you’re interested in.

12. Ready... Set... Riot!

Generation Zero. Volume 1: We Are the Future – Fred Van Lente, Francis Portela (Valiant)

Valiant doesn’t get the spotlight DC and Marvel have, but it’s a good superhero comics company, with a whole library of interesting titles. We already talked about the light-hearted Faith, and now I’d like to recommend its darker counterpart Generation Zero. It’s about a group of psiot (sorta X-Men) kids that have molded since birth into living weapons by a secret government project. Freed by Harbinger Renegades (the good guys), they’re now in hiding, helping other kids in need . In the case of the comic’s first arc, that’s Keisha Sherman. It’s a fantastically written comic, sort of like a cross between Runaways, Life Is Strange and Stranger Things – and even better than that sounds.

Generation Zero. Volume 1: We Are the Future, collecting the first 5 issues, will be out on January 25.

11. F*** the Planet

Horizon. Volume 1 – Brandon Thomas, Juan Gedeon, Frank Martin (Image)

With the year we’ve been having,  how humanity seems to be screwing everything up for itself, it can be hard to imagine that things will ever improve. Horizon is borne of that anger, though not unaware of our good side.  It’s set in an unspecified future when everything is so bad, we ourselves no longer likely to survive any longer. Humanity’s solution? Invade another planet, and likely screw it up as well. Its inhabitants won’t allow it, and send a preemptive strike team led by Zhia Malen, a badass female captain (in fact, most of the team is female). It’s a clever twist on the alien invasion story, where humanity is the bad guy, rendered dynamically by Juan Gedeon.

Horizon. Volume 1 will be out on January 18.

10. There Ain’t No Heaven

Black Hammer Giant-Sized Annual – Jeff Lemire, Dustin Nguyen, Emi Lenox, Nate Powell, Matt Kindt, Ray Fawkes (Dark Horse)

I’ve read people call Black Hammer the best superhero comic currently published, and while I wouldn’t agree, there is a case to be made for it. The comic tells the story of a group of Golden Age superheroes after saving their world from a disaster, now stuck in limbo-like reality resembling small-town America, unable to leave it. It’s an fantastically written story with a Twin Peaks feel, with amazing art by Dean Ormston that seems like a cross between Lemire’s and Mike Mignola’s. And it’s a treat an annual featuring stories about every one of the stranded heroes, each drawn by a different talented artist.

Black Hammer Giant-Sized Annual will be out on January 18. The comic’s first trade, Secret Origins, will be out on March 29.

9. Like That Zoo TV Show, But Smarter

Animosity: The Rise – Marguerite Bennett, Juan Doe (Aftershock)

Aftershock’s catalog is a very mixed bag. For every InSeXts and Shipwreck there’s a disappointment like Captain Kid or Alters (I know I mentioned it in the very first "Make a Solicit Check" post – I only report about comics, not make them). Luckily, Animosity is one of the good titles. It's a tale of a post-apocalyptic world, where animals gained consciousness (an event called The Wake) and revolted against humans for their horrible abuse. It’s a smartly written comic, with a lot of heart and anger (and a number of funny and insanely fun scenes), depicted by the talented Rafael de Latorre. In January, the series will release its one-shot special with guest art by Juan Doe, showing how The Wake affected other parts of the world.

Animosity: The Rise is set to be released on January 18.

8. Hell’s Kitchen... IN! SPAAAACE!

Space Battle Lunchtime #8 – Natalie Riess (Oni Press)

Here’s a fun one: a lesbian Earth baker named Peony is plucked from her workplace to take part in an intergalactic cooking show. She deals with all the typical behind-the-scenes backstabbing and developing a crush on a fellow contestant, a badass loner fishlady Neptunia. It’s fun, it’s cute, it’s a little Lumberjanes in spirit; how much more enticing do I have to make it? The first volume, Lights, Camera, Snacktion! is already out, and this final issue will be out on January 4, with the second trade likely out in February.

7. Mistress of the Universe

Red Sonja #1 – Amy Chu, Carlos Gomez (Dynamite)

I’m a little ambivalent about this one. On the one hand, more of She-Devil of Hyrkania! And Amy Chu on writing duties! Awesome! But on the other hand, the story has Sonja transported from her Hyperborean Age to modern day New York, and the "sword & sorcery character is transported to the modern times" doesn’t have a good track record. Still, I’m willing to give it a shot.

Red Sonja #1 is set to be released on January 11.

6. Declassified

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #3 – Kieron Gillen, Kev Walker (Marvel)

Last month, I mentioned a new upcoming Star Wars title by Kieron Gillen, that I suspected might be a spin-off from his Darth Vader comic, featuring the amoral adventure archeologist/smuggler Doctor Aphra. Turns out I was right, and now we have our first comic starring a non-movie/cartoon Star Wars character introduced after Disney got hold of the franchise. And, best of all, we get Kieron Gillen write a fun female character. Nothing but clear skies ahead.

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #3 is set to be released on January 18.

5. Assembling Is Half the Battle

USAvengers #1-2 – Al Ewing, Paco Medina (Marvel)

As part of the Marvel Now initiative both Al Ewing team books, New Avengers and Ultimates, are getting relaunched. And while the latter practically remains the same, aside from getting a squared symbol in its title, the former is getting a complete makeover. Ditching its predecessor’s Thunderbirds concept for aesthetics closer to G.I.Joe, the comic will likely retain the all-out fun attitude that characterized the previous comic. It’s Al Ewing, when has he ever failed us?

The first issue of USAvengers is set to be released on January 4, and the second – on January 18.

4. Sing O Muse of the Adventurers of Themyscira

The Odyssey of the Amazons #1 – Kevin Grevioux, Ryan Benjamin (DC)

The Amazons have been a major part of the DC universe, but there rarely was any effort to tell the story of their society before Wonder Woman’s time, beyond their origin. There was an Amazon character in Demon Knights...and that’s it, I guess? In any case, this new miniseries will fill in some of the blanks in a story of globe-trotting Amazons having to fight Storm Giants from the Norse mythology.

The Odyssey of the Amazons #1 will be released on January 18.

3. Dudes, Amirite?

Ladycastle #1 – Delilah S. Bowen, Ashley A. Woods (Boom)

Novelist Delilah S. Bowen (Wake of Vultures, as Lila Bowen) brings her first comic with the artist of Niobe: She Is Life. It’ll tell the story of women from Mancastle, forced to defend their home after all the men got eaten by a dragon while adventuring and  left the castle with a curse that attracts monsters. With the blacksmith’s wife as the new king, and the princess as the captain, the ladies have their work cut out for them.

2. Abuzz

The Unstoppable Wasp #1 – Jeremy Whitley, Elsa Charretier (Marvel)

Spinning off from All-New, All-Different Avengers, Nadia Pym is ready to save the world as the Red Wasp, with the guidance of one of the founding Avengers, Janet Van Dyne, and while trying to get her US citizenship. Written by the creator of the fun, girl-power infused Princeless series and the artist of Harley Quinn #30, the comic sounds like oodles of fun. Plus, Ms. Marvel and Mockingbird guest-star. You can’t say "no" to this.

The Unstoppable Wasp #1 is set to be released on January 4.

1. Recruitment

Say what you will about DC (and you can say a lot), but they have a huge number of diverse characters to draw from. And now, with the upcoming Justice League of America by Steve Orlando, they draw from the catalog to make the team more diverse. In preparation for that, DC will release a series of one-shot all throughout January to reintroduce these characters in a post-Rebirth continuity. First up, on January 4, Steve Orlando and Andy MacDonald will bring back Ryan Choi as The Atom, DC’s size-changing hero. On January 11, Orlando, Jody Houser and Jamal Campbell will showcase Vixen, the animal empowered Black superheroine. On January 18, Orlando and Steven Byrne will gave the gay hero The Ray a chance to shine. And finally, on January 25, Orlando, Houser and Mirka Randolfo will parole Killer Frost, the ice-themed former villainess, for her first turn as a hero. And according to the recent news, the new team is rounded up with Batman (of course), Lobo (with his old design back) and Black Canary. It’s a pretty good time for DC fans, is all I’m saying.

Dominik Zine is a nerdy demisexual lad from northeastern Poland and is generally found in a comfy chair with a book in hand.