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Blake Northcott’s 3 Hottest #NCBD Picks For January 15, 2014
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Guest NCBD Picks by Blake Northcott

Wednesday is upon us, and your journey is about to begin. Like the fabled Holy Grail, a shiny new batch of comic books await your discovery…but unfortunately, you cannot purchase them all.

Will you choose wisely – as Indiana Jones did in the Last Crusade – escaping with the coveted treasure, or will you choose poorly, causing the flesh to explode from your bones, leaving nothing but your ash-covered, skeletal remains?

Fear not, noble adventurer – I’m here to help. Here are some of the best comics of the week, and why you should read, bag and board them.

Rat Queens #4 cover by Roc UpchurchRat Queens #4 (Image Comics – $3.50) is first on my list, and with good reason. One of the hottest new titles from last year, Queens scored a top 100 slot on Comic Book Resources’ coveted “˜Best of 2013′ list, and won IGN’s “˜Best New Series’ prize. Coupled with sell-outs and multiple printings, Queens is set to have a stellar 2014.

Issue #3 dialed back the laughs and violence (a little) and gave us a deeper look into the quartet of hellraising heroines that have been masterfully crafted by writer Kurtis J. Wiebe. It gave the tale even more texture, and more reasons to love this series.

Part Lord of the Rings, part Sex and the City, part blood-soaked D20 RPG adventure, Rat Queens is unique, fascinating, and just gorgeous to look at (thanks to breakout artist Roc Upchurch, who is responsible for the art from pencils to colors – he does it all).

Peter Panzerfaust #16 cover by Tyler JenkinsAnd if you’re a fan of Rat Queens, this is the perfect opportunity to start on another title by Kurtis J. Wiebe, Peter Panzerfaust #16 (Image Comics – $3.50). If you’re not familiar with the book, the titular character is an American freedom fighter embedded in World War II, who teams with a group of orphans (the Lost Boys) to battle the occupying Nazis, led by the evil S.S. Captain Haken (Captain Hook).

This is the beginning of the fourth arc, so I’ll be hopping on board and giving it a read.

Although it’s no secret that I love me some Image, it doesn’t mean I’m anti “˜Big Two’. I recently jumped into a new X-Men series, and am stoked to read the freshly released Amazing X-Men #3 (Marvel Comics – $3.99).

I’ve never been a huge fan of the X-titles, simply because they seem almost impenetrable to a relative outsider. As someone who sticks to one-shots and limited series (or books that stand on their own) getting into the X-Men mythos seemed more than a little daunting; with a zillion books that span decades, it feels like the world’s longest-running soap opera. Every time I try to read something that’s considered cannon I feel lost and confused.

Amazing X Men #3 cover by Ed McGuinnessAmazing X-Men #1 appealed to me because a) it looked beautiful, thanks to Ed McGuinness, b) it wasn’t Wolverine-centric, and c) it seemed just strange and obscure enough to keep my attention.

I wasn’t disappointed. Without getting spoiler-y, this series begins with Nightcrawler “˜trapped’ in Heaven, when suddenly his father, Azazel, crashes the party – along with a bunch of adorable but homicidal little creatures called “˜bamfs’. By issue #2 they’re in Hell, and…well, it get stranger from there. And I’m loving it.

If you’re like me, and were somewhat X-averse for the aforementioned reasons, don’t be afraid to start on this series.

Those are my top 3, but honorable mentions go to Coffin Hill #4 (DC Vertigo – $2.99), which is worth the price of admission alone just for Dave Johnson’s stunning covers, the must-read series Thor God Of Thunder, Vol. 1: The God Butcher (Marvel Comics – $19.99), and Miracleman #1 (Marvel Comics – $5.99), the much-publicized re-release of the “˜a long-forgotten legend’, which comes with a multitude of variant covers.

That’s all for now, adventurers. If you have some suggestions of your own, please leave a comment and let me know!

Blake NorthcottBlake Northcott is a Canadian writer, Twitter-er, and Vampire Slayer (only the ones that sparkle). She’s a regular contributor at CBS Man Cave Daily, and has written two Amazon Kindle bestsellers.

Blake’s new project, the sci-fi/superhero novel Assault or Attrition, is currently available on Kickstarter, and features character design and illustrations by Marvel, DC, Image Comics, and Adventure Time artists, including Dave Johnson, Mark McKenna, Steve McNiven, “˜Roc’ Upchurch, Derek Laufman, Dan Panosian, and Natasha Allegri.

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