Welcome to the latest Comics Guide, which ranks up there with the Junior Woodchuck Guide in utility and necessity!*

(* Not meant to be a factual statement.)

Here are my top recommendations of the week:

DEADPOOL: THE GAUNTLET #1

WRITTEN by GERRY DUGGAN & BRIAN POSEHN

Art and Cover by REILLY BROWN

32 PGS./Rated T+…FREE

The Merc With a Mouth Fights Dracula & More in Marvel’s Latest Infinite Comic!

Prepare for a Deadpool epic unlike any other (and that’s saying something) when Deadpool: The Gauntlet #1 – the latest game-changing Infinite Comic hits digital devices weekly starting in January!

But that’s not all! We’re rolling out the red carpet for ol’ Wade Wilson by offering up his first Infinite Comic adventure for FREE. Available January 15th – Deadpool: The Gauntlet #1 will be available at participating retailers – completely FREE while supplies last!

From Deadpool writers Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn along with red hot artist Reilly Brown comes an all-new 13-part adventure that takes Deadpool into unknown! Dracula has a very important package he needs delivered – and only the Merc With the Mouth can be trusted. Don’t miss the most exciting new Deadpool story that will send shockwaves through the main Deadpool series in 2014!

Head to your local comic shops on January 15th for a free copy of Deadpool: The Gauntlet #1, while supplies last! At participating locations only.

As you can see from this press release, the first issue of Deadpool: The Gauntlet will be free at participating comic shops while supplies last, so I wanted to alert Legionnaires as soon as I could. I mean, you may not even like Deadpool comics, but it's FREE! FREE FREE FREE!

*Whew!* That word always gets me worked up.

Meanwhile, that first issue is already available as a digital copy, if that's the way you roll. And here's a preview, just in case you're on the fence:

 

DISNEY KINGDOMS: SEEKERS OF THE WEIRD #1 (of 5)

Written by BRANDON SEIFERT!

Art by KARL MOLINE

Shuster Award-winning cover artist MIKE DEL MUNDO

Variant Cover by WALT DISNEY IMAGINEER BRIAN CROSBY

Variant Cover by Rolly Crump

Teaser Variant Also Available

32 PGS./All Ages …$3.99

AN ALL-NEW ADVENTURE INSPIRED BY DISNEY’S LEGENDARY BUT NEVER BUILT MUSEUM OF THE WEIRD!

Marvel & Disney are proud to present your first look at Disney Kingdoms: Seekers of the Weird #1, the first comic series published under the all-new Disney Kingdoms banner! Created in close partnership with designers, producers and creative directors from Walt Disney Imagineering, the Disney Kingdoms line promises new and exciting adventures expanding upon already beloved lands, attractions, characters, and worlds of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

This January, experience the first all-new adventure inspired by Disney's legendary - but never constructed – Museum of the Weird! Dreamed up by famous Imagineer Rolly Crump in 1965, the Museum of the Weird was home to a collection of mystical curiosities said to have been unearthed from all corners of the globe. Originally conceived as a spooky walk-through attraction connected to the Haunted Mansion, Crump's innovative designs were left on the drawing board following the passing of Walt Disney....until now!

"We're thrilled to be part of this historic launch that taps into the immense creativity of Walt Disney Imagineering to create background stories for so many beloved attractions," said SVP of Marvel Publishing David Gabriel. "Grounded in rich Disney history, Disney Kingdoms is a great way to link Disney fans and Marvel fans!"

“Disney Kingdoms is the ultimate team-up for fans of Disney and Marvel,” said Editor Bill Rosemann. “Working hand-in-hand with the world-famous Walt Disney Imagineers, Marvel’s best and brightest creators will unleash entire worlds inspired by and built around the attractions and characters that you’ve always known—but will experience for the very first time!”

Written by Brandon Seifert (Witch Doctor) and drawn by Karl Moline (Avengers Arena) - when their parents are kidnapped, teens Maxwell and Melody are thrust into a thrilling race through the world's strangest - and most dangerous museum! Together, they must join forces with their mysterious and swashbuckling uncle as they attempt to rescue their family and save the world from an evil secret society! And they just might discover the truth behind their wild and weird destiny along the way!

I have to confess my first thought when I heard the title "Seekers of the Weird" was "I guess 'Challengers of the Unknown' was taken."

But I've put it up front because, whether good or bad, it signals a sea change of some kind. While Marvel has been at Disney for a few years, there really didn't seem to be any cross-pollination with the comic books. Now, here's a first issue of a Disney-Marvel hybrid. If it succeeds, can Donald Duck, Uncle Scrooge and the mice be far behind?

It only makes sense that Disney would want to move their world-famous characters to its own in-house publisher, now that it has one. But it would be a blow to BOOM, as the loss of the Star Wars franchise is to  Dark Horse.

As for the book itself, take a look at the previews and decide for yourself:

MIRACLEMAN #1

THE ORIGINAL WRITER & MICK ANGLO (W)

GARRY LEACH, ALAN DAVIS, PAUL NEARY, STEVE DILLON & MICK ANGLO (A)

COVER BY JOE QUESADA

VARIANT COVER BY JOHN CASSADAY

VARIANT COVER BY MARK BUCKINGHAM

VARIANT COVER BY JEROME OPENA

VARIANT COVER BY LEINIL FRANCIS YU

SKETCH VARIANT BY JOE QUESADA

YOUNG VARIANT BY SKOTTIE YOUNG

CLASSIC VARIANT BY GARRY LEACH

64 PGS./Parental Advisory…$5.99

• KIMOTA! With one magic word, a long-forgotten legend lives again!

• Freelance reporter Michael Moran always knew he was meant for something more -- now, a strange series of events leads him to reclaim his destiny!

• Relive the ground-breaking eighties adventures that captured lightning in a bottle -- or experience them for the first time -- in these digitally restored, fully relettered editions!

• Issue 1 includes material originally presented in WARRIOR #1 and MIRACLEMAN #1, plus the MARVELMAN PRIMER.

“[Miracleman’s] heights are highs Watchmen cannot touch. It’s that good. It’s that important.” -- Sequart.org

It was the series that changed comics forever. With the utterance of one word, Michael Moran transformed from the ordinary into the extraordinary – and Miracleman was born!

Long out-of-print, these timeless, groundbreaking stories injected a new sophistication into the super hero genre still felt today. Starting this January, Marvel will begin publishing the legendary run of Miracleman by the original creators that began in Warrior Magazine and continued under now defunct publisher Eclipse Comics!

Fans lucky enough to have read these trailblazing stories when they were originally produced have often referred to this legendary run on Miracleman as “the lost Watchmen,” and Marvel is proud to finally bring these incredible comics to an audience that has clamored for them.

"The wait is over," says Editor In Chief Axel Alonso. "Marvel will finally be bringing these timeless, ground-breaking stories to a whole new generation of reader."

“When these stories were originally colored, the artists were never consulted – and it shows” said Alonso. “The coloring methods used at the time really hurt the finished product. But through close collaboration with all the artists, we’re proud to now present these stories in a manner that matches their creative vision.”

“We've been working with the Miracleman artists to obtain original artwork or photostats in every instance possible, and then applying the same painstaking restoration methods and rigorous quality standards that are utilized on the Marvel Masterworks line. The Marvel Special Projects team have even been developing some new techniques specifically for this project. These Miracleman issues will receive the most advanced restoration possible to ensure the most authentic reading experience,” says SVP of Marvel Publishing David Gabriel. “The art is crisp, clear, and looks as good – if not better than the day it was published! Also, the stories are being completely relettered to meet today’s standards.”

“You’ve never really seen Miracleman, until you’ve seen this Miracleman,” said legendary Miracleman  artist Garry Leach.“I’m positive this will rapidly be recognized as the all-time, definitive, Miracleman series. It’s simply looking that ridiculously sharp!”

Making these stories available to an entirely new generation is one thing – but following the original groundbreaking run, the epic more than 30 years in the making will reach it’s cataclysmic conclusion! You heard correctly -- Marvel will also be publishing all-new Miracleman stories from legendary creators Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham! Long left unfinished, Gaiman and Buckingham’s famous storyline will ultimately see the light of day!

“The tragedy of Miracleman was that we published two issues, wrote three and a half – and then it all stopped,” Gaiman said, in an interview with Marvel.com. “And Miracleman #25 has been sitting in the darkness – nobody has seen it. It was drawn, it was written, it was lettered over 20 years ago.”

“I love the idea that I will get to finish this story,” added Gaiman.

"That Neil and Bucky can finally finish the story they started, is a great relief to still-gasping fans — myself among them," says Alonso.

In addition to material originally published in Warrior Magazine, Miracleman #1 also includes character designs, pencil sketches, original art, an article chronicling the history of Marvelman/Miracleman, an interview with Miracleman creator Mick Anglo, as well as a Mick Anglo’s first Marvelman stories. Re-presented in serialized form, each issue of Miracleman features additional content including new art, interviews with the creators as well as new covers from some of the industry’s most legendary artists!

Don’t miss your opportunity to experience the most popular comic few have ever read when Miracleman #1 makes it’s long overdue return to comic shops this January!

WOW, that's a whole lot of hyperbole! The thing is, it's probably deserved. It's been more than 25 years since I read the stories Marvel is about to reprint, and I still remember them fondly.

Who is Miracleman? If you don't know, it's a long and complicated story, which is filled with both tremendous creativity and an enormous number of lawyers. I'll write it up for a column soon, but the point is that Marvelman's been tied up in the courts for a quarter century, but now Marvel has the rights to publish it -- not only to reprint the existing material, but to finally finish the story (which ended eight issues short of its finale in the 1980s).

And that story is an updating of Captain Marvel, though the lens a UK publisher's 1950s reboot, multiple name changes and Alan Moore's 1980s brain. With, I should add, a follow-through by Neil Gaiman!

Is it worth all the agita? Emphatically, yes. I wholly and completely recommend MiraclemanMarvel is publishing the first two issues this month, and if you read those two and don't want more, I will be astounded. Now, here are a few pages:

 

MUST READ VALIANT: GREATEST HITS #1

Publisher: VALIANT COMICS

Written by ROBERT VENDITTI, JAMES ASMUS, JOSHUA DYSART, DUANE SWIERCZYNSKI, and JUSTIN JORDAN

Art by LEE GARBETT, TOM FOWLER, KHARI EVANS, CLAYTON HENRY, PERE PEREZ, ROBERTO DE LA TORRE, MICO SUAYAN, and LEWIS LAROSA

$5.99/T+/112 pgs.

Never tried a Valiant comic?! Start reading here – with more than 100 pages of Valiant Comics greatness for just $5.99!

Valiant is proud to announce the upcoming release of MUST READ VALIANT: GREATEST HITS #1 – a specially priced, 112-page collection of critically adored, can't-miss moments from across the Valiant Universe! Collecting X-O Manowar #5, Quantum and Woody #1, Harbinger #1, Harbinger Wars #2, and Shadowman #0, MUST READ VALIANT: GREATEST HITS #1 is the perfect place to find out why Valiant has IGN declaring: "Nobody is making superhero books like this, which is exactly why you should be paying attention to Valiant Comics."

"One of our major obstacles is that everything we've put out has been so well received. Potential new readers are hearing good things about all of our books, which makes it difficult to know where to start reading. At New York Comic-Con this past weekend, we heard the same question again and again: 'I've heard great things, my friends love Valiant, but no one can agree where I should start. Can you help?'" said Valiant CEO & Chief Creative Officer Dinesh Shamdasani. "MUST READ VALIANT: GREATEST HITS #1 is the perfect answer. This is a collection of the five single issues we've found to be most effective at giving new readers a clean entry point and a taste for more."

Valiant's ongoing monthly titles will also fall under the MUST READ VALIANT banner this winter with a new wave of self-contained stories and easy jumping-on points from some of the brightest talents in the industry today. Look for new MUST READ VALIANT milestones each month, beginning in November with Quantum and Woody #5 by James Asmus and Ming Doyle; then continuing on in December with Shadowman #13 by Peter Milligan and Roberto De La Torre; and in January with Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Corps #18 by Christos Gage, Joshua Dysart and Bart Sears; Harbinger #20 by Joshua Dysart and Clayton Henry; and Eternal Warrior #5 by Greg Pak and Diego Bernard.

For more information, visit Valiant on Facebook, on Twitter, and at ValiantUniverse.com.

For Valiant merchandise and more, visit Valiant.CinderBlock.com.

I haven't read all the issues in this book, but they are complete issues and they are cheap, both of which are good things. Valiant is obviously taking a bath to get people to try their books, which is just good business. And since I think Valiant's line is top-notch, I'll give them the Captain Comics bump.*

(* Really more of a nudge.)

NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEADPOOL #1

Written by CULLEN BUNN

Art by RAMON ROSNAS

Cover by JAY SHAW

32 PGS./Parental Advisory …$3.99

Deadpool goes where no Deadpool has gone before – to the … dead? Marvel is proud to present your first look at Night of the Living Deadpool #1 – from Cullen Bunn, the writer behind the trilogy of Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe, Deadpool Killustrated, and Deadpool Kills Deadpool and artist Ramon Rosanas!

After waking up from a pretty epic food coma, our hero finds himself in the middle of the zombie apocalypse! And Deadpool’s not the only one with a full belly – there’s plenty of brainless eating machines just looking for their next good meal! Nothing says “tasty meal” like a mutant who can re-grow his flesh!

Don’t miss one of Deadpool’s darkest tales yet…and not just because it’s in black and white! Can the Merc with the Mouth avoid becoming the Merc in their Mouths? Find out this January when Deadpool takes on the undead in Night of the Living Deadpool #1!

I don't care who you are, that's funny right thar.

 

 

 

DARK HORSE

B.P.R.D. HELL ON EARTH #115

CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF HELLBOY!

Mike Mignola (W/Variant cover), John Arcudi (W), James Harren (A), Dave Stewart (C), and Rafael Albuquerque (Cover)

FC, 32 pages, $3.50

Ongoing

Two B.P.R.D. teams make their way through the monster-filled streets of a Manhattan wasteland in order to reach the Black Flame’s fortress and take down his army.

• First of five special covers celebrating 20 years of Hellboy!

• Art by James Harren (Conan the Barbarian), whom Multiversity calls one of their favorite artists ever.

• The fall of New York City!

• The reign of the Black Flame!

CLOWN FATALE #3 (of 4)

KILLER CLOWNS FOR HIRE!

Victor Gischler (W), Maurizio Rosenzweig (A), Moreno Dinisio (C), and Tim Seeley (Cover)

FC, 32 pages, $3.99

Miniseries

The painted beauties go in guns a-blazin’ to earn the bounty they need to crawl out of their squalid clown life. But the girls find out they’re not quite as tough as they thought—and when they fail to carry out the job to the letter, the boss decides he wants a refund.

• Featuring covers by Tim Seeley (Hack/Slash, Revival)

• By Victor Gischler (Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Spike—A Dark Place, Punisher MAX, X-Men)!

“[Gischler has] proven . . . to be a writer that can balance humor, drama, and action in an entertaining, fast paced package.”—Bleeding Cool

Wait, that's not a clown on the cover -- that's a cowgirl! If this whole series had been about cowgirls, I might have picked it up. Because, while even cowgirls can get the blues, clowns are just scary. Cowgirls yes! Clowns no!

KISS ME, SATAN! #5 (of 5)

IT’S A MONSTER SHOWDOWN!

Victor Gischler (W), Juan Ferreyra (A/C), and Dave Johnson (Cover)

FC, 32 pages, $3.99

Miniseries

Barnabus Black infiltrates the werewolf mafia’s mansion, only to be overtaken by an army of angry monsters, a dangerous wizard, and their werewolf godfather!

• Featuring covers by Dave Johnson!

• By Victor Gischler (Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Spike—A Dark Place, Punisher MAX, X-Men) and Juan Ferreyra (Colder, Rex Mundi)!

“You’ll get a charge from Light Brigade, a must have book that should be on everybody’s must have list! — Entertainment Weekly

I bet Satan is a really bad kisser.

MONSTERS AND OTHER STORIES TP

FC, 152 pages, $12.99

(W/A/CA) Gustavo Duarte

Newcomer Gustavo Duarte spins wordless tales brimming with humor, charm, and delightfully twisted horror!

In Monsters!, oversized beasts wreak havoc on cities in the tradition of Godzilla and King Kong. In Có!, an alien abduction disarms a gentle farmer, and in Birds, two business partners run from fate only to find themselves hopelessly unable to change the future.

• In the tradition of Pixar!

Giant beasts bent on destroying the world!

You might well wonder what this is, as I did. So I looked it up, to spare you the effort. No, no, don't thank me -- all part of the service.

Anyway, this is a collection of giant monsters and alien invasions and such (although the cover makes it looks more cartoony than serious) by a Brazilian artist named Gustavo Duarte. Don't worry about the language barrier; it's all wordless. And before DH published this book, you could only see Duarte's work in Brazil.

So now you know!

S.H.O.O.T. FIRST #4 (of 4)

WHO LIVES?! WHO DIES?!

Justin Aclin (W), Nicolás Daniel Selma (A/Cover), and Marlac (C)

FC, 32 pages, $3.99

Miniseries

The angels have found what they need to invoke the end of the world—and the Secular Humanist Occult Obliteration Taskforce is the only thing standing in their way. S.H.O.O.T. is changed forever in the action-packed conclusion to the miniseries everyone is talking about!

• Be sure to check out Justin Aclin’s Akaneiro!

SKYMAN #1 (of 4)

HIGH-FLYING ACTION FROM JOSHUA HALE FIALKOV!

Joshua Hale Fialkov (W), Manuel Garcia (P), Bit (I), Marta Martinez Garcia (C), and Freddie Williams II and Dan Scott (Cover/Variant cover)

FC, 32 pages, $2.99

Miniseries

After an embarrassing defeat at the hands of Captain Midnight, a drunken Skyman accidentally kills an innocent man! Needing a new face for their initiative ASAP, the Skyman Program turns to US Air Force Sgt. Eric Reid: a wounded veteran on the ropes, looking for a new lease on life.

• Ultimates writer Joshua Hale Fialkov pens an all-new superhero series!

Captain Midnight must be doing well to merit a spin-off miniseries. Or maybe DH just wants to trademark "Skyman." Anyway, I might even get it; I have to admit I'm curious why Skyman seems to be attacking President Obama in the second cover.

STAR WARS: DARTH VADER AND THE CRY OF SHADOWS #2 (of 5)

Fighting for the Empire!

Tim Siedell (W), Gabriel Guzman (A), Michael Atiyeh (C), and Felipe Massafera (Cover)

FC, 32 pages, $3.50

Miniseries

Clone trooper Hock has been through much since being left for dead by his Jedi leaders in the Clone Wars. Now, Hock believes he has found a truly great warrior who deserves loyalty and commands respect—Darth Vader! If Hock can impress the Dark Lord as a stormtrooper, he will have earned respect of his own from the leader he admires most.

• Tim Siedell (@badbanana) has one of Time’s 140 Best Twitter Feeds!

“A wonderful installment for Star Wars fans.”—Comic Book Resources

STAR WARS: DAWN OF THE JEDI — FORCE WAR #3 (of 5)

PRISONERS OF THE INFINITE EMPIRE!

John Ostrander (W), Jan Duursema (P), Dan Parsons (I), Wes Dzioba (C), and David Michael Beck (Cover)

FC, 32 pages, $3.50

Miniseries

Je’daii generals Daegen Lok and Xesh are captured by Xesh’s former Rakatan masters, and Xesh learns the truth behind his arrival on Tython. Half-mad with regret, he is forced to give the invaders the knowledge they need to defeat Xesh’s Je’daii friends—and enslave the entire planet!

• Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi Volume 1 is one of the highest-selling collections in years!

“An awesome read.”—Geeks of Doom

THE STRAIN: THE FALL #7

GUILLERMO DEL TORO!

David Lapham (W), Mike Huddleston (A), Dan Jackson (C), and E. M. Gist (Cover)

FC, 32 pages, $3.99

Ongoing

Why does Setrakian, an elderly pawnbroker and a vampire expert, keep a still-beating vampiric heart in a jar? The grisly tale behind this gruesome artifact is a heart-wrenching story, but one that fuels revenge! Meanwhile, Dr. Goodweather’s capture has taken a turn for the worse as he faces execution . . . by vampire!

• Soon to be a TV show on FX!

“The subtle build of tension and terror still peppers every page.”—IGN

 

X #9

A SUPERVILLAIN IS BORN!

Duane Swierczynski (W), Eric Nguyen (A), Michelle Madsen (C), and Dave Wilkins (Cover)

FC, 32 pages, $2.99

Ongoing

Everyone in Arcadia knows: commit a crime, and sooner or later X will come for you. But how to get his attention if you want to die right now? And what if the notorious vigilante doesn’t want to execute a willing victim? It’s a clash of wills as X’s newest, most formidable nemesis takes the stage!

• A wild new arc begins!

• Swierczynski and Nguyen at the top of their game!

• Cover by Dave Wilkins!

“This is finely crafted mayhem from Dark Horse.” —Den of Geek
X VOL 1: BIG BAD TP

(W) Duane Swierczynski

(A) Eric Nguyen

(CA) Michelle Madsen & Various

FC, 128 pages, $14.99

A masked vigilante known only as "X" dispenses justice without mercy to the criminals who rule the decaying city of Arcadia. When muckraking blogger Leigh Ferguson snoops down the wrong alley, she gets swept into X's bloody war with a politically powerful crime lord. Duane Swierczynski (Godzilla, Cable and X-Force) and Eric Nguyen (Batman: Arkham Unchained) dish out nonstop, visceral action, with Dark Horse's most brutal and exciting character-X! Collects issues #0-#4 of the ongoing series.

Now that the first trade is here, does anyone want to recommend it? I'm on the fence, so let me hear it, Legionnaires!DC COMICS

ASTRO CITY #8

Written by KURT BUSIEK

Art by BRENT ANDERSON

Cover by ALEX ROSS

32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T

When the Confessor investigates the criminal charges against Winged Victory, it leads to open combat—with Samaritan! Can Astro City’s three greatest heroes find a way to work together? And even if they can, will it be too late to save her career? The 4-issue story arc continues as the threat against Winged Victory is revealed and her past is explored.

I don't suppose it's possible that anyone has failed to notice that Samaritan, Winged Victory and Confessor are Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman analogues. Honestly, I'm fine with that; it's not the characters that counts, but what is done with them. And Kurt Busiek absolutely delivers on that score in every issue of Astro City.

BATGIRL #27

Written by GAIL SIMONE

Art by FERNANDO PASARIN

Cover by ALEX GARNER

1:25 SCRIBBLENAUTS UNMASKED variant cover

32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for more information.

In this tale tying into “GOTHTOPIA,” what kind of sick world pairs up Batgirl and the woman who tried to kill Jim Gordon — Knightfall?!

Wait -- you can't change Batgirl's outfit! What about all those statues? Those action figures? Alicia Silverstone in Batman & Robin? (OK, you can skip that last one.)

I imagine that if this really is a costume change, Barbara Gordon will revert back to her black-and-golds eventually. But while this monstrosity is here, let me point out for the umpteenth time that DOMINO MASKS DO NOT DISGUISE YOUR IDENTITY. It's ludicrous, for example, that it took the Crime Syndicate to "out" Richard Grayson, since his face has been on full display as Robin and Nightwing since 1940! So when anyone who knows Barbara Gordon looks at the character above, they are not going to say "who is that mysterious, masked woman?" They are going to say "Barbara, why are you wearing that outlandish outfit?"

OK, OK, it's a convention. But conventions can die when creators realize they don't work any more -- like the thought balloon, secret identities in general, snoopy girlfriends, sidekicks, trunks over leotards, and many more. It's one thing to slap a domino mask on a character as a disguise in 1940, when audiences were generally children and it was sort-of a "mystery man" standard. But to do it in 2014 is lazy and thoughtless.

BATMAN—THE DARK KNIGHT VOL. 3: MAD HC

Written by GREGG HURWITZ

Art by ETHAN VAN SCIVER and SZYMON KUDRANSKI

Cover by ETHAN VAN SCIVER

176 pg, FC, $24.99 US

In this new collection of issues #16-21 and BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT ANNUAL #1, Batman discovers a trail of bodies but no leads. His detective skills are put to the test as the Mad Hatter begins kidnapping Gotham City citizens for an unknown purpose. But as The Dark Knight delves deeper into this mystery, he soon realizes that this is unlike any other Mad Hatter case. The Hatter’s gory past will be revealed, and Batman’s resolve will be put to the test!

Batman -- The Dark Knight seems dedicated to beefing up Batman's B-list villains. The first volume worked on Clayface, the second on Scarecrow and this one seems dedicated to turning The Mad Hatter into less of a joke. Good luck with that guys! I mean that sincerely.

BATMAN: LI’L GOTHAM #10

Written by DEREK FRIDOLFS and DUSTIN NGUYEN

Art and cover by DUSTIN NGUYEN

32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED E • DIGITAL FIRST

Ivy looks forward to every fruitful season—except fall, where there is nothing but barren earth to take care of! Join Harley and Selina as they scour the town for something to cheer Ivy up. Also, what secret is hidden deep in the east wing of Wayne Manor? Only Alfred knows for sure!

This actually looks kinda cute. There's a TPB on the way, if it isn't out already.

COFFIN HILL #4

Written by CAITLIN KITTREDGE

Art by INAKI MIRANDA

Cover by DAVE JOHNSON

32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • MATURE READERS

Eve’s best friend Mel finally emerges from her decade-long fugue state...but is Mel really Mel, or has something sinister found a home behind her eyes? Meanwhile, Eve and Nate search for yet another missing person into the Coffin Hill woods—and land in the lair of a serial killer.

I haven't had time to review the three issues I've read, but I'll sum it up here: The first issue was cliched and boring. The second issue was imaginative and riveting. The third issue had the characters acting foolishly to advance the plot, and I began to dislike them. That's only a .333 batting average, but that second issue was so good I'm hanging in there and hoping for more.

CONSTANTINE #10

Written by RAY FAWKES

Art by ACO

Cover by HOWARD PORTER

32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+

A FOREVER EVIL tie-in! Brought low by the evil of Blight, Constantine struggles to rally his mystical allies and turn the tide of battle. Only one thing stands in his path: the righteous wrath of The Spectre! Continued in this month’s TRINITY OF SIN: PANDORA #7!

CREATURE COMMANDOS TP

Written by J.M. DeMATTEIS, MIKE W. BARR and ROBERT KANIGHER

Art by PAT BRODERICK, JOHN CELARDO, FRED CARILLO and others

Cover by JOE KUBERT

288 pg, FC, $19.99 US

In one of DC’s strangest comics ever, a werewolf, a vampire, a gorgon, and Frankenstein’s monster fight against the German forces during World War II. Collecting stories from WEIRD WAR TALES #93, 97, 100, 102, 105, 108-112, 114-119, 121 and 124!

Since I have never read these issues and will never amass a complete run of Weird War Tales, you can bet I'm in for this one. Yeah, it's a dopey concept, but it's probably fun as well.

DC UNIVERSE VS. THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE #4

Written by KEITH GIFFEN and TONY BEDARD

Art by DEXTER SOY

Cover by ED BENES

32 pg, FC, 4 of 6, $2.99 US • RATED T

At long last, the identity of Skeletor’s dark master is revealed! Can the combined forces of the Masters of the Universe and the Justice League withstand the power of his dark magic?

I think this issue was originally due in November. I haven't heard any reason for the delays.

 

FOREVER EVIL: ROGUES REBELLION #4

Written by BRIAN BUCCELLATO

Art by SCOTT HEPBURN

Cover by DECLAN SHALVEY

1:25 B&W Variant cover by DECLAN SHALVEY

32 pg, FC, 4 of 6, $2.99 US • RATED T

Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for more information.

The Rogues just can’t catch a break! On the run from the Crime Syndicate and the Secret Society, the Rogues are forced into a showdown with an army of escapees from Arkham Asylum!

Sometimes I think DC is more enamored of the Rogues than I am, but in this case, I'm all in. OF COURSE the Rogues would fight the Crime Syndicate; they're criminals who by nature don't work and play well with others. The way criminals work together generally is when the guys low on the ladder are afraid of the guys at the top of the ladder, and Len Snart -- as written -- doesn't scare and doesn't take orders from anybody. OF COURSE they would fight. And, as you'd expect, it's fun.

GREEN LANTERN CORPS #27

Written by VAN JENSEN and ROBERT VENDITTI

Art and cover by BERNARD CHANG

1:25 SCRIBBLENAUTS UNMASKED variant cover

32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for more information.

John Stewart stars in this special issue! GL Sector Houses across the galaxy are being destroyed, and the Durlans unleash a deadly new weapon designed to counter the GL’s rings!

Finally we're getting away from internal GLC power struggles and out into the universe again. I was getting a little tired of super-powered office politics.

INJUSTICE YEAR TWO #1

Written by TOM TAYLOR

Art by BRUNO REDONDO

Cover by JHEREMY RAAPACK

32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T • DIGITAL FIRST

The best-selling prequel to the hit videogame picks up right where it left off! Year one is over—now, year two begins. The death of one of their own has divided Earth’s protectors as hero turns against hero. As Superman’s iron grip on the world tightens, at the edge of the galaxy, fear approaches...

How come so many of these covers depict Superman just on the verge of killing Batman? 1) It's redundant, and 2) we know it won't happen. I guess it's just the artist's way of getting both of the Big Guns on the cover. But it's getting monotonous.

JUSTICE LEAGUE 3000 #2

Written by KEITH GIFFEN and J.M. DeMATTEIS

Art and cover by HOWARD PORTER

32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

Before the team can figure out what happened to their memories, Cadmus sends some seemingly familiar faces into the darkness of Commonwealth space to face off against the first member of a new group of villains called LOCUS!

A review on this board said this book pointed out that the first issue wasted too much time on "The Wonder Twins" scientists who have cloned the Big Five Justice Leaguers in the future, at the expense of fleshing out those clones, who are either ciphers or outright unlikeable. I agree. Let's hope the second issue gets really interesting really fast, or this will be one heckuva wasted opportunity.

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #11

Written by MATT KINDT

Art and cover by EDDIE BARROWS and EBER FERREIRA

1:25 SCRIBBLENAUTS UNMASKED variant cover

“We Can Be Heroes” Blank variant cover available

32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T

Combo pack edition: $4.99 US

Retailers: This issue will ship with four covers. Please see the order form for more information.

A FOREVER EVIL tie-in! Survivors Martian Manhunter and Stargirl make a perilous trek across a Super-Villain occupied United States. Their first stop may be the last as they enter Gotham City and Clayface-occupied territory!

This issue is also offered as a combo pack edition with a redemption code for a digital download of this issue.

Clayface isn't much of a threat to the Martian Manhunter, but I guess the danger is word getting out that Manhunter and Stargirl have escaped. If the Syndicate got after them, they wouldn't last long.

NIGHTWING #27

Written by KYLE HIGGINS

Art and cover by WILL CONRAD

1:25 SCRIBBLENAUTS UNMASKED variant cover

32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for more information.

Nightwing’s being visited by an old friend from Gotham — the Mad Hatter! Desperate to protect Chicago, Nightwing’s been forced into an uneasy alliance with the mysterious Marionette. But who’s really pulling the strings?

Wait -- how'd he get away from the Crime Syndicate? Is this taking place before "Forever Evil"? (As you might guess, I don't follow Nightwing.)

SCOOBY-DOO, WHERE ARE YOU? #41

Written by SCOTT GROSS

Art and cover by SCOTT GROSS

32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED E

When the Mystery Inc. Gang takes an unexpected Midwestern detour, they make the best of it by visiting sites left by prehistoric North American culture known as the Mound Builders. But have the legendary Annunaki made a return appearance, or is someone looking for the secrets of the mound for themselves?

SUICIDE SQUAD #27

Written by MATT KINDT

Art by PATRICK ZIRCHER

Cover by STEVE SKROCE

32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+

A FOREVER EVIL tie-in! As Amanda Waller and James Gordon Jr. fight for their lives in the bowels of Belle Reve, Deadshot and the Squad struggle to survive a deadly trap that one of their own sprung on them!

James Gordon Jr. is believed dead -- and the crux of major plot point -- over in Batgirl so, uh, "spoiler."

SUPERBOY #27

Written by MARV WOLFMAN

Art by ANDRES GUINALDO

Cover by RAFA SANDOVAL and NORM RAPMUND

32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

The son of Superman finds himself trapped with the Teen Titans in a future that may kill all of them.

Wait -- is Superboy considered the "son of Superman" now, or is that a reference to some other character?

SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN #4

Written by CHARLES SOULE

Art by TONY S. DANIEL, BATT and SANDU FLOREA

Cover by TONY S. DANIEL

1:25 SCRIBBLENAUTS UNMASKED variant cover

On sale JANUARY 15 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T

Combo pack edition: $4.99 US

Retailers: This issue will ship with three covers. Please see the order form for more information.

The secret of Superman and Wonder Woman’s relationship is out and the world’s reaction is mixed, but that’s the least of the power couple’s worries as Zod seeks to release Faora from the Phantom Zone!

This issue is also offered as a combo pack edition with a redemption code for a digital download of this issue.

When these two break up, as they inevitably will, they're clearly going to have to trade down on their next date! Meanwhile, I'm really finding this book kinda sweet and romantic-ish. And I can't believe I just wrote that.

WORLDS’ FINEST #19

Written by PAUL LEVITZ

Art by R.B. SILVA and JOE WEEMS

Cover by EMANUELA LUPACCHINO

On sale JANUARY 15 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

Desperate times call for desperate measures as Power Girl and Huntress reveal their true origins to this world’s Superman and Batman!

It's about bloody time! I never bought the explanation for why the two were staying undercover anyway, especially since this planet's Justice League was their best hope for getting home. And to drag it out almost two years was getting tedious. Plus, how long can anyone steal from Wayne Industries without Batman getting on their case? It defied in-story logic that Huntress could keep getting away with it.

So, OK, that silliness is disposed of. Maybe now this book will realize its potential!

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What I've enjoyed about WF is the relationship between the two lead characters and the reveals about how Helena was brought up. I also like that these are two confident, mature women completely at ease with who and what they are. That is very rare in comics. This issue didn't disappoint because there was no knock down drag out between Huntress and Batman, I've gotten tired of the heroes fighting on first meeting.

Captain Comics said:

Jeff Schultz: I have the two Miss Fury HCs that I know of, one collecting comic-book stories and one collecting comic-strip stories, but I haven't read them yet. I'll try to get around to them while the new stuff is still new!

Rob: I've been meaning to sample A Voice in the Dark, but haven't gotten around to it. Can you let us know how you like it?

Jeff of Earth-J: Thanks for the poop on Phantom Lady. I suspected as much. Also, I was pretty familiar with Moebius when Ronin came out, and knew Miller was lifting his work right and left. I didn't read Lone Wolf and Cub until much later, so I don't know how much art he lifted from that. I'd bet money he lifted some story bits from it, though.

Mark: Glad to hear Worlds' Finest was good. I'd actually been a bit disappointed by the title so far.

Now who's going to review Detective Comics #27?

Jeff Schultz said:

I don't think Miss Fury has much of a Golden Age vibe, but then I've never seen any of the older stuff, so I don't have anything to compare it to.  The first story arc was enjoyable, though, so I'm keeping it on my buy list.

ON FRANK MILLER: Incidentally, what I said about Frank Miller yesterday wasn’t intended as a knock in any way. I’m sure he would be the first to admit that Giraud and Kojima are better artists than he was in 1985. Today, maybe, is another matter. (Okay, that was a knock… but a good-natured one.)

Now that I've read through the guide -- after I picked up my comics! -- I've got a few thoughts.

Cap, you asked about A Voice in the Dark. I liked the first two issues, although I didn't read the Top Cow versions. I supported Larime's Kickstarter for the book, and got the first three issues in a small trade paperback, before Top Cow picked it up. (Then TC decided to print issues 1 and 2 together as their own issue 1.) It's about a murderer who transfers colleges, and is trying to keep from killing, but is also running a call-in "confessions" show on her college radio station. I missed issue 3 -- totally slipped my mind to pick it up -- but I liked the first parts of it quite a bit, and it shows a lot of promise to get even better. 

Also, you mentioned that people are recommending you try Popeye Classics? I'm one of those people, definitely. Pick up any issue, and you'll be charmed like crazy. 

Torpedo is actually being issued in hardcover from the same published before those trade paperback versions come out. I just saw volume 3 in hardcover today when I stopped into JHU Comics across the street from where I was working. I've been buying the paperbacks, but I'd only gotten to volume 2, though -- looks like I have a lot of catching up to do!

And don't think of Hypernaturals as knock-off Avengers -- they're a future-based team that's actually more of a variation on the Legion, written by two ex-Legion writers. Which is great, because we don't have the Legion around for the time being. (There are some differences, too -- the Hypernaturals have been in existence for a hundred years, with each new member serving a 5-year "tour," brought into the team in waves. The story starts when the Centennial team goes MIA, and some raw recruits and a couple of troubled vets have to join forces to find/rescue them. I'm 4 issues in, and it looks like there are plot threads from throughout the team's existence; I just saw a flashback to the 20-year lineup, for example. 

Yes, as far beyond the pale as Miller is these days, he's still a better artist than two dead guys.

:-P

Jeff of Earth-J said:

ON FRANK MILLER: Incidentally, what I said about Frank Miller yesterday wasn’t intended as a knock in any way. I’m sure he would be the first to admit that Giraud and Kojima are better artists than he was in 1985. Today, maybe, is another matter. (Okay, that was a knock… but a good-natured one.)

Heh.

Thanks for all the info, Rob! There's so much product today, I need all the help I can get to keep up. And I am not complaining!

I searched Amazon for HC Torpedo, and found them. I ordered the first one, but the second one and some of the others appear to be out of print. I'll see if I like the format before I pursue further.

Image hasn't posted much of anything to their "reviewer" FTP site for the last six weeks or so, probably because the PR people were gearing up for the January Image Expo. But this week I got my hands on a couple of e-copies of A Voice in the Dark, so I'll get to see if I like it. I appreciate all the background info you provided!



Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

Now that I've read through the guide -- after I picked up my comics! -- I've got a few thoughts.

Cap, you asked about A Voice in the Dark. I liked the first two issues, although I didn't read the Top Cow versions. I supported Larime's Kickstarter for the book, and got the first three issues in a small trade paperback, before Top Cow picked it up. (Then TC decided to print issues 1 and 2 together as their own issue 1.) It's about a murderer who transfers colleges, and is trying to keep from killing, but is also running a call-in "confessions" show on her college radio station. I missed issue 3 -- totally slipped my mind to pick it up -- but I liked the first parts of it quite a bit, and it shows a lot of promise to get even better. 

Also, you mentioned that people are recommending you try Popeye Classics? I'm one of those people, definitely. Pick up any issue, and you'll be charmed like crazy. 

Torpedo is actually being issued in hardcover from the same published before those trade paperback versions come out. I just saw volume 3 in hardcover today when I stopped into JHU Comics across the street from where I was working. I've been buying the paperbacks, but I'd only gotten to volume 2, though -- looks like I have a lot of catching up to do!

And don't think of Hypernaturals as knock-off Avengers -- they're a future-based team that's actually more of a variation on the Legion, written by two ex-Legion writers. Which is great, because we don't have the Legion around for the time being. (There are some differences, too -- the Hypernaturals have been in existence for a hundred years, with each new member serving a 5-year "tour," brought into the team in waves. The story starts when the Centennial team goes MIA, and some raw recruits and a couple of troubled vets have to join forces to find/rescue them. I'm 4 issues in, and it looks like there are plot threads from throughout the team's existence; I just saw a flashback to the 20-year lineup, for example. 

Oh, something else I should mention about Popeye Classics. If you're sampling one, pick up the earliest issue you can find. Storywise, I don't really rate any issue against the others -- I enjoy them all -- but the run of Popeye comics the series reprints shrank in page count during its lifetime. The earliest issues are pretty long, and the most recent have gone down to 36 pages (40 with covers) for $3.99 (I think from here on out, the page count stays the same for the rest of the run). Still a bargain, but not the huge bargain that led me to pick it up in the first place. 

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