October is a big month. In addition to hosting Halloween, it signals the real beginning of fall in some parts of the country and features sports action across several different leagues. For comics fans, this weekend also marks the latest edition of New York Comic Con. But even aside from the convention, there’s plenty of interesting things happening in comics, just in terms of the books that are going to hit stands.
Here are EW’s recommendations for five comics to check out this month.
Excalibur #1 (Marvel)
Tini Howard (writer), Marcus To (artist)
A new dawn for Marvel’s mutants is about to begin. This month, Marvel’s 12-week X-Men comic event —House of X and Powers of X — comes to an end. But as exciting as those books have been, they’re only the beginning of what’s to come for one of the most storied superhero franchises. Writer Jonathan Hickman and artists Pepe Larraz and R.B. Silva have opened the doors to a new age, and now a whole new slew of ongoing comics are starting.
It’s a very fun time to be an X-Men fan, but the Dawn of X series you’re most looking forward to probably depends on your favorite element from the HOXPOX saga. For this EW writer, the No. 1 highlight was Apocalypse’s redemption journey. One of the X-Men’s greatest villains now sits on the ruling council of the newly formed mutant nation-state of Krakoa, and he’s going to be a regular cast member of the new Excalibur book alongside the recently married Rogue and Gambit, the finally de-vampirified Jubilee, and Betsy Braddock. No longer Psylocke, Betsy now holds her brother’s former mantle of Captain Britain and wields the titular legendary sword. It looks like it’ll be a fun ride, but of course the other Dawn of X books will likely be worth checking out as well.
Excalibur #1 hits stands on Oct. 30. Pre-order it here.
Monstress volume 4: The Chosen (Image)
Marjorie Liu (writer), Sana Takeda (artist)
After sweeping the Eisner Awards last year, Monstress was mostly left out of the running this time around to give other books a well-deserved shot at trophies. But that doesn’t mean the quality of this epic fantasy has decreased in the slightest. In fact, Monstress has taken on a whole new dimension with the addition of Maika Halfwolf’s father, whose secret machinations have apparently been bubbling under the surface of the plot for awhile now. That’s not the long-teased plot element that shows up here. Everyone’s favorite fox-girl, Kippa, even meets an ancient creature, hinted at before in Professor Tam-Tam’s between-issue lectures, who teaches her that humans and Arcanics are far from the only beings to have been displaced by war.
Monstress volume 4 is on sale now.
Wonder Woman: The Just War (DC)
G. Willow Wilson (writer), Cary Nord (artist)
Monstress isn’t the only comic collection this month with war on the brain. Writer G. Willow Wilson’s move to DC this year to take on Wonder Woman was a fun surprise considering all the famous work she’d done for Marvel (including co-creating Kamala Khan), and she delivered with a fascinating story about Diana trying to make sense of modern warfare. In the literal sense, it involves Wonder Woman meeting an old enemy, the war god Ares, and trying to understand his attempt at redemption.
“What Cary Nord and I have done is ask, ‘What if your oldest enemy showed up and wanted to be your best friend? Can the God of War really change?’” Wilson told EW last year. “We’re playing with what is, on the face of it, 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 really takes the side we expect. The outcome will have massive reverberations for all those characters.”
Wilson’s Wonder Woman run is going to wrap before the end of the year, but fans can check out the first part of her and Nord’s story in collected form this month.Wonder Woman: The Just War hits stores Oct. 29. Pre-order it here.
Basketful of Heads #1 (DC/Hill House)
Joe Hill (writer), Leomacs (artist)
Just in time for Halloween, Joe Hill’s new line of DC horror comics (aptly titled Hill House Comics) kicks off this month with Basketful of Heads. Written by Hill himself, the series revolves around a Viking ax that can cut heads off in one fell swoop — the only problem is, any heads thus decapitated retain their ability to talk.
“So you get a grindhouse Rashomon, as the heads stack up and each of them tells their own version of what they’ve done and why they had to do it,” Hill teased to EW this summer.
Basketful of Heads #1 hits stores Oct. 30.
Spider-Man #2 (Marvel)
J.J. Abrams and Henry Abrams (writers), Sara Pichelli (artist)
The first issue of J.J. Abrams’ Spider-Man comic, written with his son Henry, pulled no punches when it killed off Mary Jane in its opening pages. In classic Abrams style, the comic was filled with secret plot machinations, climaxing in young Ben Parker’s discovery of his father’s Spider-Man costume in Aunt May’s basement. It’s worth checking out the second issue to see how much will learn about the series’ mysteries — such as the identity of the mysterious villain who killed Mary Jane, Cadaverous.
“You’re not meant to know much in the beginning,” J.J. recently teased to EW. “Where we go ultimately takes Cadaverous to places you would never expect when you first meet him.”
Spider-Man #2 hits stands Oct. 16. Pre-order it here.