Each and every week, I, â€œDasherâ€œ Henchman 21, and â€œDancerâ€œ Empress Eve read a lot of comics. Seriously you guys, a lot of comics. Maybe too many comics. I mean, it is possibleâ€¦ theoretically. Naturally, we look forward to some more than others. I mean, who doesnâ€™t? So, letâ€™s take a look into the depths of our pull lists, grab some comics, and weâ€™ll let YOU know what the top books to look forward to are for the weeks of December 4, 2013 and December 11, 2013. Single issues and trades, theyâ€™re all here.
Well, it looks like the comic companies out there donâ€™t want you buying gifts for anyone else because they have dropped a metric crap-ton of must-buy issues and collections this week. Now, you could choose to hold off on buying these or maybe give them to others during this holiday season, but we all know youâ€™re going to buy these now and buy them for yourself. And you know what, I will make no judgments because Iâ€™m going to do the same thing myself, so who am I to cast stones? Iâ€™m Henchman 21, thatâ€™s who, and I can cast stones if I want, but I wonâ€™t. Because I love you, my dear readers. And because I love you so much, weâ€™re going to add in some picks from last week as well now that we’re over our Thanksgiving coma. So, join us as we spread some holiday cheer with a gingerbread-spiced The GoD List!
Released December 11, 2013:
Richard Starks Parker: Slayground (IDW Publishing – $17.99) New Darwyn Cooke Parker!!!!!!!! This will be the fourth in the line of Cookeâ€™s adaptations of the gritty noir novels of Richard Stark (ne Donald Westlake). This is actually the 14th in the Parker series of novels, which I hope doesnâ€™t mean that Cooke is almost done adapting Starkâ€™s series, because these have been some amazing comics. Each volume letâ€™s Cooke work in his preferred milieu of 50â€™s and 60â€™s cool, with plenty of vintage cars and sexy dames thrown around for good measure. The first three books were fantastic, and I have no doubt that this one will be equally fantastic.
Mini Marvels Complete Collection (Marvel Comics – $24.99) I had no idea this was coming out, and I donâ€™t really need it, but if youâ€™ve never read Chris Giarrussoâ€™s Mini Marvel stories, you HAVE to buy this. Thereâ€™s always talk about â€œall ages comicsâ€, and this is the perfect example. Long time Marvel fans will laugh at all the in-jokes, and young readers will enjoy the bright colors and hilarious stories. Thereâ€™s just a lot to enjoy here with over 200 pages of great stories and art. You can give this as a gift to absolutely anyone.
Godland Finale (Image Comics – $6.99) Joe Casey and Tom Scioliâ€™s homage to the cosmic stories of Jack Kirby comes to an end in a 72 page epic. Godland has always been a bit of an odd duck, with more crazy characters than a dozen other books combined, but it has always been a lot of fun and is a joyous throwback to a type of comic that we donâ€™t get enough of anymore. Scioliâ€™s style perfectly mimics classic Kirby, and Casey is in his full on madcap mode. Casey has a love for comics that comes across on every page, and this book may show that love more than any of his other works. Iâ€™m happy to see this back at least for one last issue. There arenâ€™t enough comics like Godland.
Immortal Iron Fist Complete Collection (Marvel Comics – $39.99) Here you get a new edition of one of the most acclaimed series of the 2000â€™s. This edition collects the Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction issues, and if youâ€™re enjoying Matt Fractionâ€™s Hawkeye series and you never read this one before, you owe it to yourself to buy this.
Dead Body Road #1 (of 6) (Image Comics – $2.99) I told you a couple of weeks ago about the work of Matteo Scalera and his new series Black Science. Well, apparently he has been saving up a bit of work because heâ€™s got another new series coming out, again from Image comics but this time in the form of the mini-series Dead Body Road. Where Black Science was all high concept science fiction, Dead Body Road is a more realistic story of a man looking for revenge for his wifeâ€™s murder. The series also looks to have a bit more of the sketchy, thin line style that Scalera has used before, as opposed to the more painted style that he used on Black Science. I want to see what Scalera does to showcase the different styles, and Iâ€™m also looking forward to the story from Justin Jordan (Luther Strode), who is no slouch himself.
Krampus! #1 (Image Comics – $2.99) What should be another fun comic, this one with a Christmas theme as Brian Jones and Dean Kotz bring us Krampus! Image Comics describes the series as â€œSnake Plissken by way of the Grinchâ€ which sounds all right to me. The story follows the Secret Society of Santa Clauses, as they are forced to recruit the child punishing holiday spirit of the Krampus to recover their stolen power. This sounds like a very enjoyable little Christmas story, with a new-ish take on the classic mythological characters, and it could be pretty funny. Take a look at this and see if this is for you.
Astro City #7 (DC/Vertigo Comics – $3.99) Youâ€™re reading Astro City, right? You damn well better be, because itâ€™s one of the best series out there. Seriously. Each issue is a perfect place to start, so donâ€™t be afraid if youâ€™ve never bought an issue before.
Superior Foes of Spider-Man #6 (Marvel Comics – $2.99) Itâ€™s not too late to get caught up on this incredibly fun series following a crew of Spider-Manâ€™s B and C-list villains as they try to make it in the tough world of organized villainy. Nick Spencer has brought the crew together, given them a good old fashioned caper, and set them in motion. He getâ€™s these characters, and has been able to give them a new twist that still lines up with their pasts. Itâ€™s just a very good book, and if youâ€™re one of those people who complains when Marvel or DC cancelâ€™s one of those â€œweirdâ€ books, donâ€™t let this one join the list of cancelled books. Buy it now, and ask your store to start ordering the book for you.
Lazarus #5 (Image Comics â€“ $2.99) This first trade collecting issues 1-4 is out now, and this is the first issue of the second arc, so there is no reason to not jump into one of the best new series of the year. Greg Rucka and Michael Lark are on fire with this dystopian tale of a series of families in charge of a new feudal society, and the nearly immortal enforcer for one of the families. The first four issues have established the world, now we get to find out more about Forever, the main character and titular Lazarus. This is another series that I just canâ€™t wait for a new issue to come out, so donâ€™t miss out on it.
Released December 4, 2013:
Velvet #2 (Image Comics – $2.99) There are a lot of great comics and there have been a lot of great first issues to comics, but I canâ€™t remember the last time I HAD to read the second issue of a series as much as when I finished the first issue of Velvet. Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting have not only found a way to match the heights of their Captain America run, they may have found a way to surpass it. With Cap, you kind of knew that the series could never stray too far from the status quo, even when they killed Steve Rogers, you knew he would be back eventually and that the series could never stray too far afield. With Velvet, they can do anything they want, since these are their characters. After one issue, I just wanted to know more about the main character and this world. If you didnâ€™t read the first issue, Velvet is the name of the main character, and she is essentially Ms. Moneypenny from James Bond. Except sheâ€™s also James Bond; a superspy able to handle her own in any situation. Now we get to find out more about her, and the situation she finds herself in, framed for the murder of a fellow spy and on the run. Velvet is everything I had hoped it would be, and if you havenâ€™t read it yet, start now!
Hellboy in Hell #5 (Dark Horse Comics – $2.99) Hooray! A new issue of Hellboy! Just letting you know that itâ€™s finally out.
Inhumanity #1 (Marvel Comics – $3.99) Okay, hereâ€™s where Marvelâ€™s publishing strategy gets a little screwy. This issue, Inhumanity #1, is a one shot, setting up the new status quo for the Inhuman population after the events of the Infinity story arc. Inhuman #1, comes out next month, and is the actual new ongoing series. Iâ€™m guessing this is one of those things were you donâ€™t â€œneedâ€ to read this issue to follow whatâ€™s going on in Inhuman, but you kind of do. This particular issue focuses on my second favorite Inhuman, Karnak. Apparently he has figured out what Black Bolt and Maximus the Mad were up to at the end of Infinity, and heâ€™s taking the info to the Avengers. I love the Inhumans as a concept, and I canâ€™t wait to see what writer Matt Fraction does with them.
Star Trek Annual 2013 (IDW Publishing – $7.99) Comics great John Byrne returns to the Star Trek universe to boldly go into the photonovel” territory with this 48-page issue color issue. Subtitled “Strange New Worlds,” this extra-length annual serves as a sequel to “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” the Star Trek: The Original Series television episode and contains photos from said episode, along with Bryne’s dialogue. Byrne even inserts himself into the introduction, where he explains how this photonovel was created. I don’t think I’ve read a photonovel since Grease, so this should be interesting. Any chance I get to revisit Star Trek: The Original Series and Delta Vega, I’m taking it!
Thumbprint (HC) (IDW Publishing – $21.99) The 3-issue comic book miniseries, based on the Joe Hill short story about a discharged Abu Ghraib prison worker whose haunted past refuses to be left behind, is collected here in hardcover.
Abe Sapien #8 (Dark Horse Comics – $3.50) Oh, Abe Sapien, you are just such a cutie, I can’t resist your charms. This issue is a one-and-done story, so it makes a great jumping-on point for the series. For this issue, Abe might just be diving into a portal to the Mayan version of Hell (and let’s face it, it likely is Hell). Abe Sapien #8 also ties into the 2010 Hellboy in Mexico one-shot (which was collected as part of Hellboy, Vol. 11: The Bride of Hell and Others).
Doc Savage #1 (Dynamite Entertainment – $3.99) Chris Roberson brings us back to the 1930s with plenty of action – and science! – with the return The Man of Bronze, pulp hero Doc Savage. In his review of the issue, our own PS Hayes optimistically predicts that this series will be Dynamite’s next Shadow. This debut issue has gorgeous cover art by the great Alex Ross and I have all kinds of faith in Roberson to craft a great story here.
Sherlock Holmes Moriarty Lives #1 (of 5) (Dynamite Entertainment – $3.99) This new miniseries centers around Professor James Moriarty after his showdown with nemesis Sherlock Holmes above Reichenbach Falls, where the two men were presumed dead. Sherlock Holmes universe, yes, please, and thank you. Cover by Francesco Francavilla, A+.
Danger Girl: The Chase #4 (IDW Publishing – $3.99) Abbey, Sydney, and Sonya are in a race against time in the fourth and final installment of this Danger Girl miniseries.
Star Trek: Khan #3 (IDW Publishing – $3.99) The origin story of Star Trek‘s greatest villain, continues with this issue which takes place during the Eugenics Wars, as well as during the Star Trek Into Darkness era.
Signal to Noise (Dark Horse Comics – $24.99) His is a reissue of the graphic novel by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean. This 96-pages full-cover collection, presented here for the first time in hardcover, contains bonus materials, including three unearthed short stories, an additional chapter that was created for the CD release of the radio drama adaptation, and a new introduction by artist Dave McKean, along with previously released intros from Jonathan Carrol and writer Neil Gaiman. This new hardcover was designed to complement the duo’s other recent hardcover re-release, Violent Cases.