Welcome back to yet another edition of 'Essential Comics,' Viners! We've studied this week's list of new releases, and, as always, there's A LOT of books we're pretty stoked to check out this Wednesday. From Batman to an all-new big event from Marvel, here's the mountain of comics we can't wait to read. Once you're done judging us for what we love, be sure to post your own essential comics so we can judge you, too!
Tony 'G-Man' Guerrero's picks
Oh man. Zero Year. That's all you need to know. Last issue had an explosive ending. Literally. We've been seeing the early days of Bruce Wayne as he made his return to Gotham City. He's not quite Batman yet but we're watching him go further and further as he makes a stand against the Red Hood Gang.
We are definitely getting spoiled here.
Some may have 'event overload' but come on. We're talking Jonathan Hickman and Jim Cheung as the creative team. If you've been following Hickman's AVENGERS and NEW AVENGERS, you know there's some big things headed towards the Marvel Universe. There was also the Free Comic Book Day issue (which is reprinted here in case you missed it).
What is happening is there's a brand new threat headed towards the Marvel Universe. The big heroes of the Marvel Universe are headed to take it on but of course that pesky Thanos isn't going to simply sit back and resist taking advantage of most of the heroes being away from Earth.
Jim Cheung is going to be wowing us with his art as we get to see his take on numerous characters. You might want to try to avoid this but if you're a fan of Hickman and Cheung…and pretty much every Marvel Avengers-related character, you'll want to check this out. It is oversized so that explains the $4.99 price.
While on the trail of Tony Zucco, the man responsible for the death of his parents, Nightwing has discovered there is more to Chicago than we all knew. Aside from dealing with the fact that costumed heroes were outlawed, the new Prankster has unleashed a deadly game with Nightwing caught in the middle.
Mat 'Inferiorego' Elfring's picks
Finally, it happened to me. Right in front of my face and I just cannot hide it. It's been long, way too long, since the last issue of this amazing series. We last left the crew with Prince Robot right on their tale at Oswald Heist's, the romance novelist, house. So everyone is at the same place at the same time. It left us on the edge of our seats.
Now that SAGA is back, expect the unexpected. Writer Brian K Vaughan is a brilliant world builder and this is a must read book. On the art side of things, Fiona Staples is amazing. She has a fantastic art style and the writing and art really compliment each other. Words cannot express how excited fans are for the return of this book. If you've missed out, pick up volumes 1 and 2 of this series and you'll be up-to-date for this issue. This is highly recommend for readers who enjoy science fiction and fantasy, especially worlds that are a bit more out there.
Go to CBR to find out what happens next.
A master thief is sent on a mission to steal something that seems completely unattainable: a ghost. The concept alone is pretty awesome and pretty crazy all at the same time. On top of the main story, writer Joshua Williamson weaves in a tale of a murderous mansion that has a lot of death on its figurative hands. GHOSTED was a bit of a surprise, last month. As a first issue goes, it was fantastic. It's one of those books that got better each time I read it. I'm really intrigued to how this story is going to go down. Concept-wise, it's one of my favorites on the shelves because it's so out there and weird but executed well. I'm really digging on the art in this book as well. If you're looking for something outside of the box this week, try GHOSTED 2. Also, there's a 2nd print of the first issue coming out as well.
Visit Paste for the rest of the preview.
Gregg 'k4tz' Katzman's picks
"Sometimes the past comes back to haunt you ...
And it's dressed like a pimp."
With a quote like that and a magnificent illustration of Deadpool, Luke Cage and Iron Fist on the cover (by Kris Anka), who can resist picking this one up? Okay, I'm sure quite a few of you can, but for everyone else, this has massive promise and is sure to be totally mad -- in a fun way, of course. The "lost issue" provided numerous gut-busters, so getting even more of that but making it relevant to the current narrative? Yeah, count me in.
This issue also has Scott Koblish jumping onboard to provide the art, and as you can see in the preview, Scott is definitely a good fit for the book.
SCARLET SPIDER #20
For some reason beyond me, many of you out there still haven't checked out SCARLET SPIDER. This saddens me, but now it looks like Marvel has done the perfect thing to lure in more people: include SpOck. Are you loving the Superior Spider-Man storyline? Then you'll probably want to read more involving the character and how he'll interact with Pete's clone. And if you're hating SpOck, then odds are you'll want to see Kaine potentially punch him in the face numerous times, yes? Plus, check out the preview to see just how glorious the artwork in this issue is.
SCARLET SPIDER continues to deliver pure excitement month after month and this looks like it'll serve as an able jumping on point, so give yourself a treat this Wednesday and buy this issue.
SUICIDE SQUAD #23
More of Ales Kot writing the lovably dark characters in the latest Suicide Squad roster? Sounds very good to me! The dude has been doing a killer job with the characters, bringing us a fun tone sprinkled with just the right amount of chaos and bleakness. Plus, he does a superb job making Deadshot and Harley Quinn massively entertaining. Sure, it stinks to know he's leaving the book, but you might as well enjoy it while it lasts, right? Futhermore, this issue allegedly reveals Waller's new arraignment with the team.
Check out UPROXX for the rest of the preview.
Honorable Mentions: THOR: GOD OF THUNDER #11, HARBINGER #15, HALO INITIATION #1
Jen 'MissJ' Aprahamian's picks
EAST OF WEST #5
As long as this series keeps up its slow burn of a Western, punctuated by explosive, deadly moments, I will keep considering it one of the most essential reads every month it's out. It's truly one of the most interesting books on shelves right now, and I will champion the boots off of it. Hickman and Dragotta have infused so much history, tension, emotion and conflict into this book that I honestly find it hard to believe we're only five issues in -- I'm that immersed into their world.
Head to Comics Alliance for the third page.
UNCANNY X-FORCE #10
My grandma has her "programs" that she watches religiously, and gets cranky if she has to miss. UNCANNY X-FORCE is my "program." Just put me in a housedress and slippers, and sit me down with the next installment of this dramatic, engrossing series. Next up, we've got the Revenant Queen to worry about, and it looks like Storm is going to feature in this next arc.
RED SONJA #2
Sword + sorcery + a fiery redhead (penned by another fiery redhead) = yes. Red Sonja is already set up for an epic beginning, with such daring challenges as "unwinnable war" and "implacable foe" -- not a bad way to launch into a second issue! As with Issue #1, there's a score of beautiful variant covers to pick up.
CBR's got a few more pages, too.
Corey 'Undeadpool' Schroeder's picks
GREEN LANTERN CORPS #23
Van Jensen's GL Corps has rocketed up the charts as one of my favorite books, and it's still one of the best managed on the shelf. That sounds like a strange bit of praise, but if you've read the book, I think you'll know what I'm talking about: the book has done an absolutely stellar job of being dialed into what's going on in the other GL titles (ring failure, post First Lantern fallout) but stands very, very strongly on its own, so if you don't really care about what's happening in the other books, you won't have to deal with them. It's a startlingly difficult balance to strike, but Jensen (with an assist from Venditti) has struck it amazingly. Bernard Chang on art is more good news as his style lends itself perfectly to the wondrous science fantasy that GL does best.
SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN TEAM-UP #2
The team-up I've been looking forward to most since the launch of Superior Spider-Man: Octavius and Kaine. Since Kaine got his own (great) title, he's shown himself to be a much more merciless, ruthless Spider-Man than Peter Parker ever was, even going so far as to lobotomize (through a poisonous sting) Cletus Kasady rather than letting him merely go to prison. Many of these rules seem to be the ones that Otto has adopted as the "main" Spidey so it's going to be absolutely fascinating seeing the two of them team-up (and, most likely, fall out). Chris Yost writing assures that the characterizations will be consistent and witty, while retaining the drama and gravitas that makes both titles a joy to read and Marco Checcetto draws some of THE BEST friendly-neighborhood panels in the biz. This issue has the makings of something magical.
Give Newsarama's viewer a look for the preview.
STAR WARS #8
What can I say? The surprise hit of the year just keeps on...hitting! Political intrigue and characterizations that go beyond the archetypes abound, along with characters that actually feel integrated into the universe, Brian Wood has outdone his already impressive resume with this one. It's rare for a book to leave off on a single effective cliffhanger and this book manages about three from issue-to-issue while never neglecting or making any one storyline feel underdeveloped and an issue focusing on Luke and Wedge (the aptly named Falstaff of the original Star Wars Trilogy) excites me to no end. Ryan Kelly and Dan Parsons had a couple of uneven panels last time around, but when it was good, it was great, so I'm absolutely looking forward to what these two bring to the table this month.