The best comics to read in February: Reckoning with old wars

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Christian Holub
·5 min read
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2021 sure is going by fast. Last year felt like it took forever, and yet we're already on to the second month of the new year. If you want to take some time to yourself to catch up on comics and read some good stories, we've got you covered. Below, check out EW's list of the best comics to check out in February.

<em>Black Hammer: Visions</em> #1 (Dark Horse)

Patton Oswalt (writer), Dean Kotz (artist)

In just a few years, Black Hammer has become a robust superhero universe capable of rivaling even the Marvel and DC pantheons (there's already been a Justice League crossover!). One reason this has been possible is because, as co-creator Jeff Lemire first explained to us back in 2016, the cast of characters invokes every era of superhero comics. Abraham Slam represents the original Golden Age period of colorful costumes with less focus on powers, Golden Gail invokes the Silver Age of Captain Marvel and more recognizable costumed heroes, Madame Dragonfly stands in for the Swamp Thing/Sandman era of British Invasion and dark fantasy influence, and on and on.

This month sees the launch of a new miniseries, Black Hammer: Visions, which opens up the universe even more by bringing in other creators to put their own spins on these heroes. First up is Patton Oswalt (who between this and M.O.D.O.K.: Head Games is really brushing up his comic-writing skills lately), who takes Golden Gail and mashes her up with Ghost World, proving that Black Hammer can encompass not just the recent history of superheroes, but comics in general. It's a fun start to what should be a very interesting anthology series.

Black Hammer: Visions #1 is available Feb. 10.

<em>Brzrkr</em> #1 (Boom)

Keanu Reeves & Matt Kindt (writers), Ron Garney (artist)

In a strange way, doesn’t it feel like Keanu Reeves is almost a bigger star now than he ever was? After revitalizing the action movie genre with his John Wick franchise, Reeves recently lent his likeness to Cyberpunk 2077, which whatever you think of the infamous malfunctions was certainly the most talked-about game of last year. Now the actor is lending his visage to a new comic book that could very well end up being one of the most talked-about original comics in years.

Brzrkr is about an indestructible warrior who’s lived and fought for untold years, and now puts his skills to use working for the U.S. government in exchange for their help learning about his mysterious past. It's a short-and-sweet premise that so far doesn't need lots of exposition, allowing more space for thrilling action sequences.

Thankfully, Reeves has chosen a good creative team to surround himself with. Matt Kindt brings the smart genre storytelling he's demonstrated on comics like Mind MGMT and Ether to spice up the basic concept, and Ron Garney is capable of delivering on the brutal action.

Brzrkr #1 hits stores Feb. 24.

<em>Guardians of the Galaxy</em> #11 (Marvel)

Al Ewing (writer), Juann Cabal (artist)

Remember the Annihilation War? The Guardians of the Galaxy certainly do; it was the birthplace of the modern incarnation of the team. If you were reading Marvel comics in the 2000s, you probably remember it as well, because the Annihilation event series and its follow-ups are what made Marvel’s space characters cool again, laying the groundwork for the eventual Marvel Cinematic Universe adaptations of the material to become unexpected successes.

Obviously the Guardians have come a long way since then, both as characters and as pop culture icons. But in this month's issue, Star-Lord and Gamora go back to their team's birthplace to reckon with their past and their current place in a changing Marvel universe. Should make for a great trip down memory lane.

Guardians of the Galaxy #11 is available Feb. 17.

<em>Lost Soldiers</em> (Image)

Ales Kot (writer), Lucas Casalanguida & Heather Moore (artists)

Upset about Spike Lee's Da 5 Bloods getting shut out of this week's Golden Globe nominations? Well, if it's any consolation, there's another great story out this month about old soldiers reckoning with their past experience in Vietnam. Lost Soldiers isn't so concerned with patriotism and politics, though, as it is with the soul-destroying experience of patriarchal violence. Writer Ales Kot explored similar themes years ago in his great spy series Zero, and Lost Soldiers is even bloodier. Is there really that big of a difference between 1969 Vietnam and modern-day Juarez? Not to these men, walking zombies who only know how to kill, how to create nothing out of something.

Lucas Casalanguida and Heather Moore portray the violence with sickening gore as Kot weaves nihilistic poetry throughout. It's not a heartwarming read, but an entertaining and thought-provoking one.

The collected edition of Lost Soldiers is available Feb. 10.

<em>Snow Angels</em> #1 (Comixology)

Jeff Lemire (writer), Jock (artist)

Jeff Lemire remains one of the busiest writers in comics. His latest series, which will be exclusive to the digital comic service Comixology, finds him teaming up with similarly prolific creator Jock for the first time. Anyone who experienced the big East Coast blizzard this week should be in the right mindset for Snow Angels, which is set in a seemingly post-apocalyptic frozen world. In the midst of this icy wasteland is the Trench, home to a few scattered humans. Milliken and Mae are two young sisters who have never left the Trench and believe it’s all there is. But when their father takes them on an overnight trip to mark their coming of age, they find that there are even scarier monsters in this world than they had imagined.

Snow Angels #1 hits Comixology on Feb. 16.

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