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This Week's Essential Comics: 12/18/13

These are the comics you're looking for.

New comic book day is almost here and we're going to make sure you're prepared for the wave of new issues that'll hit shops on Wednesday. The list is always daunting and narrowing down the options isn't easy, especially if you're working with a tight budget. Don't worry, though, because we're here to help you out. After looking at the list of this week's new releases, we've each selected a few that we're really looking forward to and we're going to tell you why they're worth considering.

Are you buying any of the comics we've listed or does your list of essential comics look a bit different? Don't be shy, let us know below.

Tony 'G-Man' Guerrero's picks

HARLEY QUINN #1

The zero issue wasn't fully an indication of what this series will be like but it did show us that Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner have a great sense of humor in their storytelling abilities. Harley's character has been through some rough spots in the New 52 but it looks like she's in safe hands with these two writing her solo adventures. We can expect some great times along with Harley getting some development and the attention and care she deserves.

Chad Hardin will handle the art chores and his pages in the zero issue along with what we've seen in the preview shows that this is going to be a pretty cool looking comic as well.

Harley isn't your typical comic book character and it's going to be a blast seeing what these creative team does with her. It's not often we get comics that have such a lively feel but also have the feeling that they matter in the greater scheme of the character and comic universe.

BLACK SCIENCE #2

Is there anything better than a new series you find incredibly interesting while having absolutely no idea what's coming next? Rick Remender has given us a really cool start when the first issue debuted. We were introduced to a brilliant but incredibly flawed adventurer and it looks like we're going to have a vast world for the characters to roam. We've only had the tiniest taste of what this new comic book universe is like. Grant McKay barely survived last issue only to find his world turned upside down. There's also the mystery of who the heck the Anarchist League of Scientists are and what exactly did Grant do before being dismissed from that group.

Along with Remender's story we have the amazing art by Matteo Scalera and incredible colors by Dean White. You'll definitely want to see see this comic as well as read it.

FF #15

It's hard to believe this is the fifteenth issue and there's only one more left after this. This series has come a long way in a short time. In the beginning, it was seen as a light hearted romp in a little corner of the Marvel Universe. We started out with four odd choices for the replacement team of the Fantastic Four. These were the characters meant to protect the Future Foundation and the Baxter Building. It turns out it was a great choice.

Lee Allred has taken over the story Matt Fraction started and with Mike Allred's art and Laura Allred's colors, this has become a series with so much to offer on different levels. Each issue is still crammed with fun, humor and adventure but there's still that extremely dark aspect as the team prepares to go up against the cold hearted Doom who happens to be responsible for killing Scott Lang's daughter and is holding Alex Power's parents captive. And with the threat of "Doom, the Annihilating Conqueror" being formed, there's no telling what these last couple issues will give us.

Honorable Mentions: TEEN TITANS GO! #1, MIND THE GAP #16

Mat 'Inferiorego' Elfring's picks

CATACYLSM ULTIMATE X-MEN #2

Well, looky here! It's another Cataclysm book on my essentials list. This event has been a blast and it's quickly become my favorite story of the year. I love the way everything ties together, and although it's long rumored and speculated (by me) that this will be the end of the Ultimate Universe, the characters and world are really getting treated with the respect they deserve. This book is a great bridge between the last volume of the series and Cataclsym. In fact, it's a lot better than the ending of the last volume. Writer Josh Fialkov may be tackling this world and these characters for the first (well, technically second now) time, but he has a great understanding of the growth they've experienced over the past couple of years. I cannot wait to see these guys take on Galactus and find out how they all fit into this story.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #24

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN has been an up and down book for me. Some months I love it, and some months I tolerate it. However, the last issue of SSM had me right back on board! I really enjoyed the Flash Thompson run as Venom and it was really cool to see these characters finally meet, after Ock moving his way into Peter's mind sometime ago. I cannot wait to see what Superior Venom is like. The last page of issue #23 gave us a little bit of a sneak peak at what he looks like, but this issue will give us a closer look and show us all his cool abilities. Slott, Gage, and Ramos are doing a phenomenal job on this story. This is one I'm really looking forward to this week!

X-O MANOWAR #20

This week, Aric will come face-to-face with Harada and the forces of Unity, and I could not be more excited. This is a series that just keeps getting better and better as it goes on. Writer Robert Venditti has put together a solid run on this book where each story builds on the events of past issues, so it really feels like one giant, complete run. Aric has established himself as one of the toughest characters in the new Valiant universe, so it will be interesting to see other characters team up in order to try and take him down. This is an event and issue where I don't know who to root for because I really enjoy all the characters in this book. I can only compare it to when Hulk Hogan was feuding with Macho Man. I'm torn now like I was in the late 80s.

Gregg 'k4tz' Katzman's picks

BLOODSHOT & H.A.R.D. CORPS #17

There's no turning back now for Bloodshot's team. They're right in the heart of Toyo Harada's operation and they've earned his undivided attention. Now that everything has gone pretty much the polar opposite of "as planned" and the nanites have turned into"Lysande," who'll walk away when the dust settles? Okay, obviously Toyo Harada and Bloodshot are safe since they have a big role in the greater valiant universe, but co-writers Christos Gage and Joshua Dysart have done a great job creating organic supporting characters. They may not have that much time to shine, but they definitely leave a lasting impression and you'll want them to thrive.

Two excellent writers, fleshed out characters, plenty of action and a whole lot of crazy powers. If that doesn't sell you on this one, I just don't know what will.

DEADPOOL #21

And now comes the seemingly impossible task of following 'The Good, The Bad & The Ugly.' Co-writers Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn blew us all away with their last story. It was gripping, a game changer for Deadpool, and still, they managed to throw it lots of absurdly fantastic action. Now Deadpool's out of North Korea and on an all-new mission that'll put him at odds with the likes of S.H.I.E.L.D. and somehow Crossbones. This arc also sees the return of series artist Mike Hawthorne, a dude who can nail basically everything the script has to offer. Another plus: this was promoted as a big story for Agent Preston and understandably so given the conflict. Could this story lead to her escaping Wade's head?

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES #29

'City Fall' has concluded and Leonardo is back with his family. However, just because their brother has returned to them hardly means the impact of the recent event is over. To help recover, the team is traveling to a familiar location for longtime fans of the franchise: Northampton.

While Mateus Santolouco's art is nothing short of explosive, he's not carrying over into this story. Instead, former TMNT artist Ross Campbell is stepping in to help deliver the calmer, relaxing and at times, sadder vibe this story is offering. 'City Fall' was huge on action and scope, but this is looking to drive home a far more personal and emotional story. And yes, it's a solid jumping on point, so your excuse for not checking it out is invalid.

SCARLET SPIDER #25

You know that time Darth Vader held out his arms and screamed an extended "NO" at the top of his lungs? Yes, it was unintentionally funny, but more to the point, that's pretty much how I feel about this FINAL issue of SCARLET SPIDER. This book has been without question the premiere source of popcorn entertainment at Marvel. Always thrilling, always action packed, and always doing a great job with its cast, it's a real shame to see this series pack its bags and head off into the sunset. Sure, we know Kaine and Aracely have a future at the publisher with the upcoming NEW WARRIORS series, but this so sad to see this one go. Here's hoping writer Christopher Yost has the room he needs to wrap up the clone's fantastic ongoing while also teasing the character's future. You'll be missed, SCARLET SPIDER.

Check out the Preview Theatre video for this issue.

Honorable Mention: SAMURAI JACK #3, GHOSTBUSTERS #11

Jen 'MissJ' Aprahamian's picks

EAST OF WEST #8

Death has been the star of the show thus far in EAST OF WEST, but it's the other three Horsemen's turn to step in. Hickman' and Dragotta's epic alt-history tale gets more fascinating with each turn of the screw, as the team builds out a vast and inventive world and populates it with striking characters and apocalyptic-scale drama. If you've been holding off on giving this series a try, treat yourself to the first collected volume and play catch-up, fast.

LOCKE & KEY ALPHA #2

Positively essential: the final installment of Joe Hill' and Gabriel Rodriguez's compelling fantasy-horror series. LOCKE & KEY has been chilling, poignant, and thoroughly intriguing since the start, beckoning to lifelong comic fans and new readers alike. The last issue, which promises to tie up loose ends and close the door (pun intended) on this fascinating title, will most certainly be a big one. Collector bonus: there are more than seven covers to choose from.

Paste has more preview pages.

Honorable Mention: GHOST #1

Corey 'Undeadpool' Schroeder's picks

X-MEN #8

MONET! IS! BACK!! My absolute favorite character from X-Factor (whose last names weren't Madrox) But she's not alone as last issue gave us a look at Lady Deathstrike's new look and new persona. Brian Wood's X-Men team isn't done growing its ranks, and I'm thrilled to see such a great character find a home here, and can't wait to see Wood's further take on her, particularly how her persona will mesh, or clash, with the pre-existing roster. We've also seen the return of Omega Sentinel, but what's left of her after last issue? Terry Dodson is one of the premiere names in absolutely beautiful character designs, and his first issue was a great example of how he hasn't lost a single step and still puts out some of the best action in the biz.

DAREDEVIL #34

As we wind down Mark Waid's superlative Daredevil run, we follow one of the most intriguing storylines of the last few years as the white-supremacist Serpent Society has brought New York's legal system to its knees, infiltrating every level of it and using it for their own twisted ends. While that storyline sounds incredibly straightforward, and I'm not going to say there are things like "moral ambiguity" in a story that involves things like "murderous neo-nazis," the way Waid has presented them at least has some unique, highly interesting twists. Javier Rodriguez needs no introduction on this title, you need look no further than his previous work on it to know why I'm looking forward to him on this issue.

UNCANNY AVENGERS #15

WHAT THE HELL, LAST ISSUE?!?! DID THAT ACTUALLY HAPPEN!??! There might be some ways out for the characters, but there's no denying that issue 14 left an impression. Rick Remender's mixed X-Men/Avenger team has faced some of the most brutal, violent enemies that the Marvel U has to offer, many of which are directly out of the nightmares of Uncanny X-Force, a storyline I was thrilled to see continue. With the artistic duties given over to Steve McNiven, known for his ability to draw epic, widescreen action, I definitely sense a shift in tone that I can get behind.

SAGA #17

This title has, without a doubt, been the breakout hit of the last two years. Its storytelling and worldbuilding has been absolutely unparalleled, and its melding of sci-fi and fantasy is so completely seamless, that I don't know what genre to actually put it under. It tells a mature story without sacrificing lightness of tone or incredible action. Ultimately, Brian K. Vaughan may have topped himself after some incredible works, but relative newcomer Fiona Staples is the star of this team, as far as I'm concerned. I can never wait to see how she renders the mad ideas of this world with her chaotic, beautiful, resonant panels.

Honorable Mention: GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS #26

Follow us on Twitter: Tony, Mat, Gregg, Jen, Corey.

71 Comments
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Posted by dagmar_merrill

I really hope Preston leaves Wade's head. It's getting kinda annoying now.

Posted by derf_jenkins

Some great stuff this week! Saga, East of west, Deadpool, FF. I'm excited to see that Harley book...X-O Manowar is amazing!

Edited by Joe_blah

Seriously!? NO mention of scarlet spider!!??

Posted by micah

Everything looks great, especially Cataclysm: Ultimate X-Men

Posted by Xwraith

TMNT and X-O Manowar.

Edited by NukeA6

All that matters to me is Locke & Key and Harley Quinn.

Posted by CaptainHoopla

What a crazy week with so little releasing next week!

Black Science, Pretty Deadly, Deadpool, Thor GoT, Scarlet Spider, Harley Quinn, Bloodshot, Eternal Warrior, X-O Manowar and I'm probably forgetting something here.

Posted by Master_Thief

WHERE'S THE SCARLET SPIDER???

Posted by GraniteSoldier

Darkest Hours - last issue was good, so I'm pumped for this issue

Scarlet Spider - end of an era, pretty sad

TMNT - can't wait to see the fallout from City Fall

Posted by AllStarSuperman

Eternal Warrior 4

Bloodshot and HARD Corps 17

X-O Manowar 20

Ben 10 2

Posted by CheeseSticks

Where's The Bounce? Our favorite stoner superhero.

Posted by consafo80

"WHERE'S THE SCARLET SPIDER???"

With the Scarlet Pimpernell

Posted by lifeboy

Pandora

SuperBrat (girl)

Posted by RedX9

Wonder Woman

Animal Man

East Of West

Saga

Uncanny Avengers

Superior Spiderman

Posted by MadeinBangladesh

LOCKE AND KEY YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Edited by longbowhunter

Crazy to think Locke & Key is ending. It'll be a while before I finish it since I read in trade.

My pull list looks like this.

Animal Man #26

Batman Beyond Universe #5

Black Science #2

Daredevil #34

FF #15

Saga #17

Uncanny Avengers #15

Zero #4

Online
Posted by PapiNacho

Animal Man 26: It is always great, eager to see Animal Man in SPACE!! Wonder if he'll have an altercation with Lady Styx.

Batman and Two-Face 26: Really liking this storyline, specially the appearance of Matches Mallone. Interested to see how Bruce Wayne steps it up.

Forever Evil Rogues Rebellion 3: Read the preview, got me excited. What mission could the Rogues possibly undertake to return the sun.

Trinity of Sin Pandora 6: Forever Evil Blight continues, wasn't impressed with Constantine's issue but I've liked the first three so lets see where this one takes it.

Wonder Woman 26: Will catch up with this series now. Looks like Firstborn might escape.

Superior Spider-Man 24: This arc hasn't been my favorite so far, but lets see how Venom pushes Ock and what the consequences will be.

Daredevil 34: Daredevil gets closer to the serpent society; wonder where this will go.

Thor God of Thunder 16: Thor vs Malekith; should be interesting. Really like the League of Realms.

All-New X-men 20: Decided to give the main X-men title another shot, impress me Bendis.

Uncanny Avengers 15: What a time to pick this series, seems important; hopefully I'll like it and I wont need to drown in hobo piss.

Harley Quinn 1: Didn't really like the zero issue, but I generally really like Palmiotti's All-Star Western so I still have high hopes.

Supergirl 26: Let's what the new writer brings to the table. Supergirl vs Lobo? Fine I'm game, just execute it well.

Posted by Fallschirmjager

big week for me

  • Animal Man 26
  • Wonder Woman 26
  • Saga 17
  • ASM 700.4
  • ASM 700.5
  • Scarlet Spider 25
  • Thor: God of THunder 16
  • X-O Manowar 20
Posted by monsterduc

YEESH! Huge week if they all come in!!!

BOOM! Studios

Midas Flesh #1

Dark Horse

Buzzkill #4

Sledgehammer 44 Lightning War #2

DC Comics

Batman and Robin #26

Dynamite

Codename: Action #4

Image

Black Science #2

The Bounce #8

East of West #8

Pretty Deadly #3

Saga #17

Secret #4

Ten Grand #6

Marvel

All-New X-Men #20

Amazing Spider-Man #700.4

Amazing Spider-Man #700.5

Daredevil #34

FF #15

Indestructible Hulk #17

Superior Spider-Man #24

X-Men #8

Edited by Maddpanda531

Am I the only one who doesn't like the idea behind the new Harley Quinn series? I mean, tell me if I'm wrong, but I feel like I've already read about the crazy antics of an insane fourth-wall-breaking anti-hero garbed in red and black somewhere else. I mean, don't get me wrong, DC definately needs a few new series that don't include The Justice League, Superman, or Batman (This doesn't count as a Bat-book, right?). But hey, maybe I'll end up loving the series anyway. Lord knows it's happened before. I guess I'll just have to wait and see.

Posted by Zandalf

umm...that deadpool cover is really awesome! I might check that issue just thanks to it, really.

Posted by UltimaStarkiller

@dagmar_merrill: Yeah, I have to disagree with you. Granted, I do prefer that no one be in Deadpool's head, but in terms of being the "straight man" to Deadpool's comedy, she's definitely filled the role well in my opinion. If you're annoyed with the actual premise, I get that, trust me. But honestly, I don't really see what's so annoying about her, especially if we compare it to what we got with Daniel Way's "Pool-O-Vision". I can see where you're coming from with having Deadpool have his head to himself, but for what it is, it could have been done a lot worse (because it has). I really have enjoyed her though, especially for the little part she played in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

Posted by Maddpanda531

@papinacho: I could not stop laughing after reading your "Go drown yourself in hobo piss" reference. I totally forgot that he said that.

Posted by PapiNacho

@maddpanda531: Yeah, and people crucify Rob Liefield for saying stupid stuff. Clearly there is a bias against bad writers. Meh, I couldn't care less however, as long as I enjoy his work.

Posted by dagmar_merrill

@dagmar_merrill: Yeah, I have to disagree with you. Granted, I do prefer that no one be in Deadpool's head, but in terms of being the "straight man" to Deadpool's comedy, she's definitely filled the role well in my opinion. If you're annoyed with the actual premise, I get that, trust me. But honestly, I don't really see what's so annoying about her, especially if we compare it to what we got with Daniel Way's "Pool-O-Vision". I can see where you're coming from with having Deadpool have his head to himself, but for what it is, it could have been done a lot worse (because it has). I really have enjoyed her though, especially for the little part she played in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

I actually don't like Preston. I can live with a voice in his head but I also prefer no voice. Preston just bugs me, what I was saying is I want her out of his head because she annoys me. It seems we agree on no voice though, so on her personality we'll just have to agree to disagree.

Posted by spinningbirdcake

Any week with Saga is a good week. But I'm really struggling with whether I want to get SSM 24 or go to trades. I've been reading Spidey monthly for a while but the $3.99 and double shipping is really starting to take its toll.

Posted by k4tzm4n

D'oh! Will add Scarlet Spider ASAP

Posted by G-Man

@maddpanda531: no breaking the wall in the series. I think I mentioned this in the review for #0 and Amanda and Jimmy mentioned it when they were on the podcast. That's also what I meant that the zero issue isn't a full representation of what you can expect.

Staff
Edited by judasnixon

God Damn it....... This is the week all my favorite comics come out. I get three weeks of $#!%, and one week of being broke..........

Posted by Wolverine08

TMNT will be good.

Posted by Maddpanda531

@g_man: Oh, sweet. That's great news. Not a huge fan of fourth-wall-breaking.

Edited by Fenderxx

Man .. a TON of great books this week !! also super excited for Spider-man, been loving Dan Slotts run, and this Venom ark has been one of the best !

Posted by PeppeyHare

Can't wait for black science

Edited by timelord

DC

  • Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion #3 - So we have the Rouges in Gotham now sure why not? A cross over within an event.
  • Green Lantern: New Guardians #26 - I really liked last months issue I hope they use this chance to develop Kyle more as a character.
  • Supergirl #26 - So we have Kara finally back on Earth shut up and take my money. I was hoping she was going to play a part in Forever: Evil but that's looking less and less likely.
  • Trinity of Sin: Pandora #6 - Blight part 5. Really enjoying Blight so far its looking like I will keep all thees books on my pull list after the event.
  • Wonder Woman #26 - More of Strife up to her shenanigans again. I want to learn more about Diana about being the new God of War how will that change her etc.

A light week for me this week after last a massive week last week. Which is good it will give me a chance to catch up on my trades.

Posted by akbogert

FINALLY.

The last issue of Locke & Key has been postponed way too many times.

Of course I'm sure come Wednesday night I'm going to wish I had more to look forward to all over again.

Posted by cameron83

Harley packing all of that stuff on a tiny motorcycle (which appears to be a Harley) with a cute little dog?

Yes.

Posted by Kelevra216

The only ones I'm getting from the list this Wednesday is Harley Quinn and Superior Spider-Man.

Then I'm getting All-New X-Men #20 and it sucks a little that my LCS doesn't get current TMNT issues until two weeks later, so gotta wait for #29 until then to jump on for the new arc. I really want to read TMNT!

Posted by KnightofSteel

A light week for me, which I actually welcome considering the last couple of weeks were just huge for me. Let's see...

● Black Science #2 - cause the first issue was just gorgeous.

● Batman & Two-Face #26 - Gleason's art is always nice to look at, plus we got Matches Malone!

● Red Hood & The Outlaws #26 - I rarely get this book but I pulled this issue for the Ras involvement. Don't know how good this'll be as the preview didn't look too hot.

Edited by mak13131313

1. Batman and Two-Face #26

2. Green Lantern New Guardians #26

3. Harley Quinn #1

4. Forever Evil Rouges Rebellion #3

5. Star Wars Dark Times #5

6. Star Wars Legacy #10

7. Star Wars Dawn of The Jedi Force War #2

8. Star Wars Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows #1

9. New Avengers #13

Posted by HumanRocket

Scarlet Spider 25 and that's all

Posted by manwithoutshame

Conan the Barbarian #23

Pandora #6 (I've been reading Blight)

TMNT #29

TMNT Kevin Eastman Covers Gallery #1

Sex #9

Zero #4

Daredevil #34

Thor #16

Edited by Zeeguy91

Animal Man #26

Daredevil #34

Green Lantern: New Guardians #26

Saga #17

Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #8

Wonder Woman #26

Posted by flazam
Posted by Arkhamc1tizen

Great Pics.

Edited by DrellAssassin

One does not simply "tolerate" Superior Spider-Man Matt. Slot has delivered issue after issue.

Posted by RaggedScarecrow

Of the listed, I'm only getting:

  • X-Men #8
  • Uncanny Avengers #15

But I'm also grabbing:

  • All New X-Men #20
  • Batman and Two-Face #26
  • Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion #3
  • Longshot Saves the Marvel Universe #4
  • Uncanny X-Force #15
  • Trinity of Sin: Pandora #6
Edited by PunyParker

@dagmar_merrill said:

I really hope Preston leaves Wade's head. It's getting kinda annoying now.

Amen.

Posted by The_Titan_Lord

Sweet

Posted by kennybaese

Just Animal Man and Deadpool for me this week, but then I only read four series in single issues, so there are a number of other books here that I'll end up reading eventually.

Now that Animal Man is ending, I need to find another book to add to my pull list.

Posted by Cavemold

East of west
Black science for me

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