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This Week's Essential Comics: 12/30/13

These are the comics you're looking for.

2014 is almost here and because of that, we're being treated to all-new comics a day earlier. Tomorrow, a flood of new issues will arrive and we're going to make sure you're prepared for 'em. The list is always intimidating and narrowing down the choices can be difficult, especially if you're working with a limited 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 excited about 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 picks

DEAD BOY DETECTIVES #1

Edwin Paine and Charles Rowland are back. The two boys were first introduced way back in SANDMAN #25. Both were students at a boarding school and died. Having left the school, the two boys decided to become detectives, despite the fact they're both dead. They are willing to take on any case while hoping Death doesn't come back to claim them and take them away.

This new series is just the sort of comic we would expect and want from a Vertigo series. Here's a spoiler, I've read the issue already. Toby Litt and Mark Buckingham do a great job with the story and script. It fits perfectly with what we've seen before of the characters and also makes it new reader friendly. What can be said about Buckingham's art besides the fact that it's always a delight to see.

Do yourself a favor and end the year/start the new year with this new series for a chance to try something different.

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #26

I've always liked JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK but usually hasn't been at the top of my reading list. What better way to capture the attention of readers than to insert a FOREVER EVIL tie-in?

FOREVER EVIL has been picking up and we've seen Constantine try to make due while the Crime Syndicate and villains of the world rule over everything. What makes this issue even more intriguing is the fact that the Aquaman from the Sydicate's world is back. He made a dramatic entrance at the end of Trinity War and his death came too quickly.

The series is in great hands with J.M. DeMatteis and Mikel Janin. This should be a FOREVER EVIL tie-in you won't want to miss.

Visit Nerdist for a look at another preview page.

SUPERMAN UNCHAINED #5

This series may have an odd schedule (issue 5 was released on November 6) but Scott Snyder and Jim Lee make each issue worth the wait. There's quite a bit going on here. We have Superman working with Wraith, even though this alliance may not last forever. Lex Luthor is up to his usual shenanigans so there's no telling what might happen there. Jimmy is at Lex's mercy and it's not looking too good for him. And what's going to happen to Lois?

This story feels more like a journey we're going through. You can feel the story building up with each issue and it looks like we'll be getting more answers about Wraith as well.

Newsarama has more preview pages.

Honorable Mentions: TWILIGHT ZONE #1, LEGENDERRY #1

Mat 'Inferiorego' Elfring's picks

CLONE #13

Last issue, this book took an extremely interesting twist! (What a twist!) While there is a giant anti-clone movement across the United States, we get to see how the pitchfork and torch bearing folks in the world handle the clones with a hint of vigilante justice. I love this new character that's holding Luke hostage. She's nuts and seems to think her ex-husband's, whom she killed, soul is now trapped in Luke's body. She wants to have a child with him, since the clones can't have kids.

This series keeps getting better and better and the stories are pretty nuts. This is one of my favorite Image series.

ALL-STAR WESTERN #26

I was digging this series when Jonah Hex was running around collecting bounties. When he shot into the present, I was a bit skeptical, but overall, Palmiotti and Gray made a Hex in the present storyline work extremely well.

In more recent issues, there's be the addition of the occult to this series as well as John Constantine. Again, this really works well, and it really has me excited for the series again. What really makes this an amazing series is the art of Moritat. I can't imagine Hex being drawn by anyone else now.

This is a series you have to give a shot because it's highly underrated and one of the coolest on-going series at DC.

Check out Newsarama for an extra page.

Gregg 'k4tz' Katzman's picks

LARFLEEZE #6

How can I resist the next chapter of DC's most lovably comedic book? Not only have co-writers J.M. DeMatteis and Keith Giffen been filling the pages with plenty of sci-fi spectacle and massive laughs, but they did something hugely important in the last issue: they added a whole new layer to the book. The series has done a great job making me smile and awe at the cinematic madness which is spreading across the universe, but now they've proven they can successfully hit us with some excellent emotion and a more serious tone, too.

It turns out Larfleeze's isn't quite as one-dimensional as you may have previously thought. Here's hoping we see more of that element sprinkled from time to time. Even in its absence, the sharp comedic writing and visually pleasing cosmic action is more than enough to keep me coming back for more. Come Tuesday, this book shall be MINE!

SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN #7

Well, it looks like Tuesday is going to be full of joy for me. Marvel keeps dubbing this book the "sleeper hit of the year," and I gotta admit, I agree with them. Nick Spencer's series is a pure delight to read each and every month and, with the return of a Spider-Man villain I happen to really like, you can bet I'm stoked to see what'll happen next.

If you're looking for these characters acting like badasses and living up to their true potential as villains, then you're bound to be disappointed. But, if you just want to enjoy some impressively solid writing and a wonderfully hilarious and creative course of events, then you should absolutely be reading this series. If you really need more convincing, pick up the last issue and the Doctor Doom segment should sell you on how fun this book can be.

Enjoy the Preview Theatre video for this issue here.

Jen 'MissJ' Aprahamian's picks

THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS #17

Always an essential pick from me, MANHATTAN PROJECTS will close out the year in a big way -- we've been watching four secret projects unfold and the team split into various factions, and now it's time for everything to collide. And by collide, I'm guessing "explode," although with this series, one never knows. MANHATTAN PROJECTS is wildly unpredictable -- in the best way possible -- and I adore the petri dish of chaos that Hickman and Pitarra have been cooking up month after month. (There's also a new MANHATTAN PROJECTS tshirt. Don't think I haven't pre-ordered that.)

JUICE SQUEEZERS #1

Making the latest of late-year debuts (seriously!), JUICE SQUEEZERS is an adventurous, creepy story involving giant bugs and tweens with moxie. On the surface, it's younger-reader fare, but let's not forget that it's coming to us from STRAY BULLETS' David Lapham (p.s. if you haven't grabbed those first four issues for free and gotten totally hooked, do that NOW). Expect on-point storytelling and plenty of action, and with a solicit that makes comparisons to E.T., Goonies, and Stand by Me, some serious nostalgia factor.

Corey 'Undeadpool' Schroeder's picks

DAMIAN: SON OF BATMAN #3

Artists also handling writing has often been a dicey proposition in comics. For every Eric Powell or Mike Mignola, there seem to be five...well, let's not name names, but most of us know it when we read it. Andy Kubert is certainly one helluvan artist and he's the one who drew the original BATMAN #666 on which this issue is based.

While I do think it is over-written at times, the overall plot has been fascinating to read with some great twists and turns along the way and an economy to the storytelling. I'm also someone who really enjoyed the glimpse into the 666 storyline, and while this is obviously departing from the tone and content of what Morrison established, it's still great to read a Batman that is similar, but brutally different, from the one we're used to seeing.

Go to CBR for the final preview page.

NEW AVENGERS #13.INH

Jonathan Hickman is still on New Avengers? Well, that's all I need to hear...Tony, put away the cattle prod!! New Avengers has become my favorite Avengers title by virtue of it taking the Illuminati in some completely unique, strange directions, but also for the sheer audacity of being a massive, mainstream superhero book that contained very, very little action per issue. Which, of course, just made the action all the more impactful when it did occur. I'm along for the ride on anything Hickman decides to do with the title at this point. We also get new series artist Simone Bianchi and while I absolutely ADORED Mike Deodato on the book, I'm intrigued to see what Bianchi's surreal, muddy visuals do for the tone and storytelling of the book.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #10

The solicitation for this reads like Bendis is doing another girls' night, only this time with Angela and Gamora. Except instead of hitting the town for downtime, they'll be on the hunt, which is just as good if not better. Whether or not that winds up being true, I can't wait to see the further adventures of these characters, a group of cosmic heroes that are also somehow relatable, interesting and, since it's Bendis writing them, witty and entertaining. While I'm not terribly familiar with Kevin Maguire's work, he's definitely got an impressive resume so I eagerly await seeing his take on these characters.

Honorable Mention: RED LANTERNS #26

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

56 Comments
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Posted by RulerOfThisUniverse

Nice picks!

Edited by Jonny_Anonymous

I will read anything Jen suggest 'coz her taste is comics = my taste in comics

Posted by JEdThing

Unchained #5 is freaking awesome.

Posted by timelord

  • FLASH #26 - A new creative team on board I will miss the art but it will be interesting to see where The Flash goes from here they certainly have a tough act to follow.

  • FOREVER EVIL ARGUS #3 - A Forever: Evil tie in I really enjoyed the first two issues of this with the zero explications I had going in I hope they can keep it up.

  • RED LANTERNS #26 - "Better Red than Dead" Should have been the Reds new motto. The more I learn about Charles Soule the more I respect the hell out of the man. Last months issue was fantastic as always I look forward to seeing how the Reds get out of this month.

  • JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #26 - Blight part 5. This side of Forever: Evil has been fantastic so far every issue has left me wanting more. It is a great change of pace compared to the rest of the event which is more of a slow burn.

Online
Posted by Saint_Wildcard

So much love for Larfleeze, makes me kind of regret dropping it at issue 3.

Posted by Jake Fury

Might be the most excited about what Jeff Parker has in store for Aquaman!

Posted by AllStarSuperman

unchained is the only one i get this week

Online
Posted by EvilPenguin543

Aquaman #26 and The Flash #26 for me.

Edited by longbowhunter

Looking at a light week.

Clone #13

Superior Foes #7

Superman Unchained #5

Also Saviors #1 from last week

Edited by MadeinBangladesh

CLONE

ALLSTAR WESTERN

BATWOMAN

AQUAMAN

DEAD BOY DETECTIVES

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY

Edited by Z3RO180

Why does lois lane now know Clark is superman and why dies she have powers ?

Edited by spinningbirdcake

Good God can Jim Lee not draw a smiling Clark? I mean the guy is a fantastic artist but his style works wonders for somebody like Bats and yet does nothing for me when it comes to Superman. I don't know I really want to like Superman Unchained but Kuder is making Action my go to Superman title.

Kevin Mcguire makes me think JL 3000 would have been better off if they kept him. That cover may not be great but the interiors look nice.

Oh and Bianchi is a beast I don't care what anyone says.

Edited by CaptainHoopla

Superior Foes!!! Superman Unchained as well, but the shipping schedule/constant delays, or whatever you want to call it, makes me wish I'd never started reading it.

Edited by Hawkguy

Light week but quality stuff! At least I'll have more time for all those christmas trades

Posted by longbowhunter

@captainhoopla: Yeah, I should have went with my first instinct and waited for Superman Unchained to get collected.

Posted by JairamGanpat

Is issue 10 of Guardians of the Galaxy a one and done story or is it the beginning of an arc?

Posted by bloggerboy

Good God can Jim Lee not draw a smiling Clark? I mean the guy is a fantastic artist but his style works wonders for somebody like Bats and yet does nothing for me when it comes to Superman.

Have you read Superman For Tomorrow with Lee drawing? I thought he did great with Supes there. At least Clark was smiling from time to time.

Posted by spinningbirdcake

@bloggerboy said:

@spinningbirdcake said:

Good God can Jim Lee not draw a smiling Clark? I mean the guy is a fantastic artist but his style works wonders for somebody like Bats and yet does nothing for me when it comes to Superman.

Have you read Superman For Tomorrow with Lee drawing? I thought he did great with Supes there. At least Clark was smiling from time to time.

Yeah I've read it and you're right, he is smiling sometimes. I just mean whenever Jim Lee draws Superman he draws SUPERMAN, even when it's just Clark. He always looks like the noble warrior to me and never the honest farm boy. That sometimes works great in a more action oriented setting (Justice League), but in a solo Superman story I like a little more farm boy than noble warrior.

Posted by Wolverine08

New Avengers should be awesome.

Online
Posted by monsterduc

Private Eye #5!!! http://panelsyndicate.com/

Batman: The Dark Knight #26

Superman Unchained #5

Guardians of the Galaxy #10

Dead Boy Detectives #1

Edited by jwalser3
  • All Star Western

And that's really it.....

Posted by mak13131313

1. Aquaman #26

2. Batman The Dark Knight #26

3. Damian Son of Batman #3

4. Forever Evil A.R.G.U.S. #3

5. Injustice Gods Among Us #12

6.Justice League Dark #26

7. Larfleeze #6

8. Red Lanterns #26

9. Superman Unchained #5

10. The Flash #26

11. The Star Wars #0

And I thought Afterlife With Archie #3 was coming out this week. Anybody know?

Edited by patrat18

@timelord said:

  • FLASH #26 - A new creative team on board I will miss the art but it will be interesting to see where The Flash goes from here they certainly have a tough act to follow.

  • FOREVER EVIL ARGUS #3 - A Forever: Evil tie in I really enjoyed the first two issues of this with the zero explications I had going in I hope they can keep it up.

  • RED LANTERNS #26 - "Better Red than Dead" Should have been the Reds new motto. The more I learn about Charles Soule the more I respect the hell out of the man. Last months issue was fantastic as always I look forward to seeing how the Reds get out of this month.

  • JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #26 - Blight part 5. This side of Forever: Evil has been fantastic so far every issue has left me wanting more. It is a great change of pace compared to the rest of the event which is more of a slow burn.

Nice!

Posted by timelord
Online
Posted by Cavemold

MP! Cant wait. Thats about it.

Edited by Ando123

RED LANTERNS¡¡¡

Posted by KnightofSteel

TERMINATOR SALVATION FINAL BATTLE #2

BATMAN THE DARK KNIGHT #26

DAMIAN SON OF BATMAN #3

FOREVER EVIL ARGUS #3

SUPERMAN UNCHAINED #5

GUARDIANS OF GALAXY #10 (I wish Maguire was on this permanently)

NEW AVENGERS #13.INH (Bianchi on art? Awesome!)

SAVAGE WOLVERINE #13

Edited by lifeboy

MotU- Can I get a 'WHAT WHAT!!' from my MotU people! :)

JLD

SM unchained

Jennifer Blood

Catwoman

Aquaman

Twighlight zone

Posted by TheMantisShrimp

Superman Unchained

Aquaman

Superior Foes of Spider-Man

Posted by BeautifulTemptress
  1. SUPERMAN UNCHAINED #5
  2. Superman # 26
  3. Aquaman #26
  4. Teen Titans #26
  5. New Avengers #13.INH

Posted by Hanson724

Aquaman 26

Batman The Dark Knight 26

Flash 26

Red Lanterns 26

Savage Wolverine 13

Edited by TheAcidSkull

I have to agree with @k4tzm4n on larfleeze, it's one of the most fun and interesting series out there, and it has way more depth that one would think. Plus the only other series that makes me laugh like that is deadpool, that's saying a lot!

Online
Posted by superior_prime_maybe

These will be the first comics for 2014!!

Dead Boys and Unchained for sure....

Rest, ill wait for the reviews.


Posted by PapiNacho

Superman Unchained: Actually really enjoy the plot, Lex Luthor seems threatening and we see amazing Superman action.

Aquaman: Really liked Geoff Johns' Aquaman send off, I mean it was always a good series but I thought it was overrated until the last 2 issues. I really hope Parker keeps the ball going but I have never read anything by him so we'll see.

The Flash?: I really don't know if I'll get this seeing as how it is a one-shot. Pitty since Flash used to be one of my favorites, and one of the most underrated books of the new 52.

Justice League Dark: First two-issue of FE Blight were cool, last two were disappointing. This is DeMatteis however,and I have faith in him.

Teen Titans: I have been enjoying the last arc.

FE Argus: Steve Trevor, Agent of ARGUS. This is book is cheesy, so cheesy but it might just be my type of cheese.

New Avengers: Hickman has been intriguing me with his plot and I hope that continues.

Edited by k4tzm4n

I have to agree with @k4tzm4n on larfleeze, it's one of the most fun and interesting series out there, and it has way more depth that one would think. Plus the only other series that makes me laugh like that is deadpool, that's saying a lot!

PREACH!

Staff Online
Posted by TheAcidSkull

@k4tzm4n said:

@theacidskull said:

I have to agree with @k4tzm4n on larfleeze, it's one of the most fun and interesting series out there, and it has way more depth that one would think. Plus the only other series that makes me laugh like that is deadpool, that's saying a lot!

PREACH!

haha, true. Plus I kinda want people to pick it up too you know :P, I'm sure once people get a chance to see stargrave they'll never drop the series, he's the Best Butler since Alfred( who is always number #1)

Online
Edited by KaraZorL
Posted by comicbookfan93

JLD #26

New Avengers #13

Aquaman #26

Superman Unchained #5

The constant delays for Unchained though are really annoying, it kills the moment of the story for me

Posted by manwithoutshame

Grindhouse - Doors Open at Midnight - 4

Aquaman 26

Justice League Dark 26

Superman Unchained 5

Twilight Zone 1 (If there's any left!)

Judge Dredd Classics 7

Manhattan Projects 17

Posted by Omega Ray Jay

Kind of wish I hadn't dropped New Avengers when it became part of the event, I didn't know it was going to remain as consistent as before, been burned in the past with other books, I'm looking at you Secret Avengers: Fear Itself. This will be hitting my to get trades list.

Posted by MartianManhunterIsBetterThanCyborg
Posted by AJD

All Star Western #26

Aquaman #26

Batman The Dark Knight #26 (sad this is ending soon)

Batwoman #26

Beware the Batman #3

Catwoman #26

Flash #26

Forever Evil Argus #3

Justice League Dark #26

Larfleeze #6

Red Lanterns #26

Superman #26

Superman Unchained #5

Talon #14

Teen Titans #26

Guardians of the Galaxy #10

New Avengers #13

Savage Wolverine #13

Superior Foes of Spider-Man #7

Manhattan Projects #17

Posted by CommanderShiro

Superior Foes of Spider-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy

Edited by MixMastaMicah5

Superman Unchained looks terrible, I'm glad people can enjoy it but could DC PLEASE stop with the 90's extreme ish already?

Posted by Maddpanda531

For Manhattan Projects 17, in the bottom right hand section, isn't that the Apeture Science logo from the Portal games?

Posted by iaconpoint
Posted by 2cool4fun

I'm happy they are bringing earth 3 aquaman back, he looks badass :D

Posted by EnigmaLantern

Superman Unchained, oh how I have missed you!

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