I’ve fallen out of the comics world a little in the last few years, for a variety of reasons. There was a lack of physical space for graphic novels, an over-reliance on Comixology, and an absence of a friendly local comics shop. Add to this the scattershot approach of comics news websites, that seem devoid of curation in favour of lowest common denominator clickbait, comics just seemed easier to distance myself from. Especially in a world of endless superhero movies and the continuation of the ‘comics is a genre’ fallacy.

But the nature of life is to change. I have physical space, I have a local comics shop, and there’s a whole slew of new material to peruse.

In the last two years I’ve especially enjoyed Monstress and Black Magic, but it’s time for some new material.

This month I’ve picked up the first issues of:

Batman: Damned #1 – In old DC, this would have been an Elseworlds story, it’s a storyline out of continuity, out of canon. The Joker is dead, Batman is accused of the murder, and only John Constantine can help him make sense of events. It’s a shame this is a short-run, bi-monthly comic, as it’s utterly in my wheelhouse. Written by Brian Azzarello, with art by Lee Bermejo, this is a great read, almost a meta-narrative in the style of Arkham Asylum.

Books of Magic #1 – I thought this would be a reboot of Neil Gaiman’s seminal work, but is instead a direct follow-on, seemingly ignoring the subsequent ongoing series. I would have been okay with a full reboot, or reimagining, as sacrilegious as that sounds. But clearly Gaiman, currently curating Vertigo’s Sandman Universe, was unwilling to muddy his own significant contributions. Tom Fowler’s art is good, but Kat Howard’s story doesn’t seem to be forge new ground, resorting so far to a highschool-based coming of age story.

Lucifer #1 – Another new book set in the new Vertigo’s Sandman Universe, this again takes a well-established character created by Neil Gaiman into new stories. However, as opposed to Books of Magic, Lucifer had a successful and much-loved ongoing series, written by Mike Carey and eventually resulting in a TV show. Written by Dan Watters, with art by Sebastian Fiumara and Max Fiumara, this seems very much it’s own thing. It feels stronger than Books of Magic, aimed at a different audience. If there was one criticism of it, it’s that it’s a complex story, perhaps better read as a collected edition. But for now, it’s a good read, intriguing in its possibilities.