Monday's a glorious day here at Comic Vine. Why, you ask? Because it's the day we check out the absurdly long list of new releases hitting shops this Wednesday. After gazing at the mountain of new issues, we've each selected a few that we're really excited to pick up. We'll do our best to sell you on 'em and we've even included some previews for your eyes to enjoy, too.
Are you buying any of the following issues or is your list totally different? Let us know below. If it's not on our list, go ahead and say why you're stoked for it. Your praise just may inspire a fellow Viner or two to give the book a shot.
*Previews are in reverse order*
Tony 'G-Man' Guerrero
AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE #2
We've seen zombie story after zombie story but it is still possible to do them right. The first issue gave us the story we never thought we'd see, Archie characters and zombies.
Whether you're a long time reader of Archie comics or never picked one up, this is a comic anyone can get into…as long as you don't mind the disturbing theme. There are things about this comic that just feel so wrong. That's why it works. We've become desensitized to zombie and horror stories. Seeing the sweet and innocent Archie characters here will put an uneasy feeling in the pit of your stomach.
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa does a great job crafting the story and adds in little bits to give it a modern feel. Francesco Francavilla's art gives it all the perfect feel for this dark and disturbing story. Who will be the next victim(s)?
HARLEY QUINN #0
Ever since the New 52 started, there's been a lot of talk about who Harley Quinn is and has become. She's not the same character she used to be and that can be good in some ways. It was during the Death of the Family tie-in issues we saw here move away a little from the Joker.
With a new series coming written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner, we'll all be watching to see what they bring to the next chapter in Harley's life. This may just be a zero issue but it should set the stage for what we can expect. Although, having an enormous number of writers and Harley breaking the fourth wall really has us wondering what to expect.
THE WAKE #5
The next issue is finally here. We've had to wait since September but with the way things ended last time, there's no telling what to expect here.
Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy are telling a strange and interesting story. We're seeing different periods of time with elements that don't make immediate sense. We have a big mystery with a lot of suspense as the main characters fight for their survival and the next issue's solicit mentions it will "change everything." How can you resist that?
Honorable Mentions: UNCANNY X-MEN #14, RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #25 (Zero Year)
Mat 'Inferiorego' Elfring
I've been really enjoying this book since the beginning of the series. It's one of Image comics stand-out books. Weirdly enough, this book is heavy on politics and normally, I'm not too into that, but I really like what this writing team is doing here.
The series keeps getting better and with this last issue, the entire world knows about the clones and we've stepped into a witch hunt. If that doesn't have you excited, then the amazing art work of Jose Juan Ryp will. The guy kills it on every issue.
X-O MANOWAR #19
Now that UNITY is upon us, you know that these upcoming issues of X-O are going to be important ones. What we'll probably be getting is this side of the story from Aric's perspective. How he will deal with a whole team of superhero elite coming after him.
X-O MANOWAR has been one phenomenal series. It's a roller coaster of a ride every month and writer Robert Venditti has done a great job at rebooting this classic character. Unity is something Valiant has been building up to for quite some time so this is a book, aside from the main book you need to read.
CATACLYSM ULTIMATES #1
Thus far, Cataclysm has been a pretty awesome story line. The main story (ULTIMATES LAST STAND) and the Spider-Man tie in were some of my favorite reads from this past month. We've gotten different looks into what has been happening to the Ultimate characters as the 616 Galactus comes down to Earth to have a snack.
Josh Fialkov has a fantastic run on ULTIMATES and now takes characters from that book into this new storyline. There's a lot to love with what he and Bendis are doing with this event, and better yet, Fialkov will be working once again with ULTIMATES artist Carmine Di Giandomenico. If you're an Ultimate universe fan, then this is a must buy.
Gregg 'k4tz' Katzman
BLOODSHOT AND H.A.R.D. CORPS #16
Harada finally has his hands on the amazingly advanced nanites. With those to study and an army of psiots at his disposal, would could honestly stand in his way? Naturally, Project Rising Spirit wants to get those nanites back in their custody so they're sending in the big guns: Bloodshot and the H.A.R.D. Corps.
So, how can you hope to counter the world's most powerful and dangerous psiot? By loading a super-soldier with even more powers. Bloodshot with a new breed of abilities and leading the H.A.R.D. Cops into Harada's facility? Oh yeah, it's about to get awesome. If you love action books -- and honestly, who doesn't? -- this title simply has to be on your pull list.
SAMURAI JACK #2
I've yet to watch a full episode of the show, but still, I remain beyond excited for IDW's next issue of Samurai Jack. Jim Zub was able to make the fist issue a more than friendly jumping on point, so don't let unfamiliarity push you away from this one. Sure, explaining the back-story was probably redundant for big fans of the franchise, but it was pretty brief and we were quickly thrown into an excellent amount of fun and madness.
Simply put: it's a book that makes me smile and is full of energy. It's lighthearted, big on laughs and offers a more than adequate serving of ridiculously enjoyable action. It's a good time and I can't wait for this second issue to land. Okay, technically I can wait, but I'd really prefer not to. Strongly recommended to anyone and everyone who's looking to add a wonderful dose of joy to their life.
Check out 13th Dimension to get even more preview pages.
ETERNAL WARRIOR #3
One word immediately comes to mind while thinking about Valiant's new series: epic.
On the surface, Gilad's your standard immoral warrior. He's a badass who loves fighting and there's plenty of that to be found in the book. Seems simple enough, right? But he's so much more than that. This isn't just a book about a man who loves sticking people with pointy objects. He's a man who has experienced countless wars and has gained so much knowledge from these bloody experiences and his family has been torn apart. Now that drama from his past has literally come crashing back into his life.
Greg Pak's doing a fantastic job fleshing out the character and is immersing him in an increasingly creative and mystical universe. Odds are the promise of solid action will lure you in, but it'll be the strong character-driven story which keeps you around. I don't know if Valiant made a deal with the devil or something, but they've yet to print a bad or even mediocre series.
This, Bloodshot AND X-O on the same day? Talk about a good week for the publisher, right? Sure, it's a bad week for our wallets, but based on the publisher's track record, these issues will hopefully be worth every penny.
Honorable Mentions: INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK #15, TMNT NEW ANIMATED ADVENTURES #5
Jen 'MissJ' Aprahamian
RED SONJA #5
Annisia might have taken the name 'Red,' but it's Sonja who's going to own it. This month, our heroine rebounds from almost-death and takes on her foul sister. RED SONJA has rocked its first four issues, laying groundwork for an epic standoff between Sonja and Annisia without shorting readers on action and intrigue. As always, this one's an essential for its story and interiors, but it also comes with some fabulous variant covers that make for a tough decision -- check out the Jenny Frison and Becky Cloonan contributions.
SEX CRIMINALS #3
Pick it up for the scandalous title (or the "Hey, do you have any SEX CRIMINALS around here?" joke, which totally won't get old, ever, promise), keep it for the poignant, comedic stories of awkward first times and finding someone who really "gets" you. This month, SEX CRIMINALS takes us through the rest of Jon's story -- all the way to the bank-robbing shenanigans that kicked off the series. And -- of course -- since stories are much more entertaining with a healthy dose of conflict, we get to meet an adversary that none of us ever knew existed -- the SEX POLICE! Fraction and Zdarsky have made SEX CRIMINALS a must-pull with their wit, creativity, and the positively genuine tone that comes out of telling awkward sex stories.
Honorable mention: BATMAN BEYOND UNIVERSE #4
Corey 'Undeadpool' Schroeder
We're winding down what may go down in history as, if not the most impactful, then the most consistently excellent Marvel event in years. Jonathan Hickman finally gets the Avengers back to Earth to confront Thanos and his Black Order. While it's been interesting to see the struggles of Marvel's less powerful heroes hold the line, I personally can't wait to see what happens when these two mega-forces collide. Leinil Yu returns on art and there's no reason to believe it'll be anything but a feast for the eyes as his style continues to, borg-like, adapt to whatever project he's given.
Mark Waid's Daredevil run continues its monstrous direction, and I'm on the edge of my seat with how Waid will interpret a group of Marvel C-listers so strange, dynamic and different not just from one another, but the rest of the Marvel U. Waid's so far shown an amazing talent for writing his central cast with an incredible amount of heart and verve, but his supporting cast is just about as good at all times. I mean making the likes of Klaw and Spot interesting is no small feat, so Satana and the Living Mummy should be a delight. There's no artist listed on the solicitation, which is a little irritating, but not nearly as much as having the wrong artist, so I'll take it.
GREEN LANTERN NEW GUARDIANS #25
Kyle Rayner's fate after the events of Lights Out was extremely up in the air, so I'm glad they're addressing it immediately instead of teasing it out interminably. I've loved Justin Jordan's take on the character, and the greater universe, thus far and him taking Rayner to entirely new heights and locations is more good news, as far as I'm concerned. I've thoroughly enjoyed his role as the more "exploratory" Lantern, a sort of USS Enterprise of the Spectrum Warriors, so this seems like a completely natural evolution. Brad Walker and Andrew Hennessey have always done a great job with the far-out, bizarre denizens of the GL universe and I can't wait to see their takes on WHATEVER pops out of Jordan's clearly expansive imaginings.
Visit Uproxx for more preview goodness.
Honorable Mention: X-MEN #7