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Welcome to what is traditionally the slowest week in new comics. Last year was an anomaly because of the holidays and New Years so there were two weeks, but this year is back to basics with the last week of the calendar year being almost void of any new comics. If you’re wandering over to the new comics section of your local store you may end up running into this.

That’s not to say that there are zero new comics this week. DC still provides new entries for their three weekly series (they are weekly after all) with Batman Eternal #39, Earth 2: Worlds End #13, and New 52: Futures End #35.

Marvel has a new volume of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 starting by Mark Waid and featuring Agent Coulson. Also coming out is the publication of Grant Morrison’s lost Miracleman story in All-New Miracleman Annual #1.

Image has an exciting new chapter for East of West #16 (which I’ll circle the wagons for a little later) and IDW Publishing has the wackiest book this week with Star Trek/Planet of the Apes #1. If you enjoyed IDW’s other cross-property tales then bon appétit!

Because it’s a short week I figured I would take the chance to go back in time to highlight some monthly series that you should be reading by providing a great jumping on point. These trade paperback collections are an excellent and cost efficient way to read all the stories to date so you can eventually expand that ever growing subscription list at your local store.

Batman: The Court of Owls (DC)

Writer: Scott Snyder, Artist: Greg Capullo
Writer: Scott Snyder, Artist: Greg Capullo

There are a lot of monthly books that have a great arc or a great run. I can rattle off a ton of books that, as of now, are very entertaining. The biggest accomplishment from the New 52 Batman book is that it has been consistently good since the start. Snyder is a master at story telling and Capullo’s art is sharp and expressive. While the book has really only gone into four actual arcs, all of them are great and most of them have elevated to being some of the most memorable Batman stories ever. If there is any monthly book you should be reading, it’s definitely this one.

Superior Spider-Man: My Own Worst Enemy (Marvel)

Writer: Dan Slott, Artists: Ryan Stegman + Giuseppe Camuncoli
Writer: Dan Slott, Artists: Ryan Stegman + Giuseppe Camuncoli

The story sounds like a great What If or even an interesting limited series, but 30-plus issues of a flagship Spider-Man book where Doc Ock kills and then switches bodies with Peter Parker? It’s insane! People backlashed! Granted Marvel ultimately acquiesced to the tried and true version of Spider-Man, the Superior Spider-Man book was an action-packed and highly entertaining breath of new life. Even after reverting back to normal, the ensuing volume of Amazing Spider-Man has hijinks from the fallout of the events in Superior Spider-Man. The new Spidey stories are great, but if you find yourself wanting to get into “Spider-Verse” it might best serve to at least begin here to get an idea of where things began as of late.

Captain America: Castaway in Dimension Z (Marvel)

Writer: Rick Remender, Artist: John Romita, Jr.
Writer: Rick Remender, Artist: John Romita, Jr.

It’s definitely not a typical Cap story, but his entire experience in Dimension Z makes for some fun reading as well as introducing the boy who is the new Nomad. Remender and Romita, Jr. create such a fun story with a classic Cap villain that really acts as a great jumping on point. The character of Steve Rogers is well-defined in this tale and it really showcases what he represents as the man out of time. The whole Remender run is pretty good, especially the bookends, but this first story kicks it off in high gear. Especially for those who are jumping on for All-New Captain America, this serves as a great starting point to find out how Steve Rogers steps down as Cap and where Sam Wilson’s sidekick, Nomad, comes from.

Superman Unchained Deluxe Edition (DC)

Writer: Scott Snyder, Artist: Jim Lee
Writer: Scott Snyder, Artist: Jim Lee

This was not a series that read well in singles, primarily because it lacked a consistent monthly release. However, when read as a collection, the Superman: Unchained story is a great example of telling what is definitely a pre-New 52 Superman story but with a new coat of paint. Again, Scott Snyder is worth the price of admission himself, and though I’m not a traditional Jim Lee guy as some older comic readers, his art is absolutely gorgeous. The nine-issue story serves as a good template for what Superman represents in terms of his character and in terms of where he fits in the DC Universe as well as superheroes in general.

Afterlife with Archie: Escape from Riverdale (Archie)

Writer: Roberto Aguirre Sacasa, Artist: Francesco Francavilla
Writer: Roberto Aguirre Sacasa, Artist: Francesco Francavilla

This is not your dad’s Archie story. This is actually not anyone’s typical Archie story. Jughead becomes a zombie after burying his recently deceased dog, Hot Dog, in a pet cemetery and is then bitten by the re-animated Hot Dog. This story is completely bonkers compared to the usual fare found in the Archie universe but it is sooo good. Francavilla’s limited color palette compliments the tone wonderfully with matching Halloween-themed colors that are simple yet so effective. Sacasa paints a good story that may tread too much familiar ground for readers that have been reading Archie books for years but lays a great understanding and foundation for those who haven’t. Even still, the gut punches and twists in this story that is only seven issues along are so devastating and emotionally wrought that it serves as one of, if not the best, zombie stories written.

East of West: The Promise (Image)

Writer: Jonathan Hickman, Artist: Nick Dragotta
Writer: Jonathan Hickman, Artist: Nick Dragotta

Master architect Hickman gets a completely new and fresh sandbox to play in. East of West is described as a science fiction Western set in a dystopian future. I can’t help but think of The Dark Tower series and, knowing Hickman, he will probably go just as far down the rabbit hole as Stephen King did in his respective opus. That said, Hickman is working on this with Dragotta who worked with him on his long run for Fantastic Four which is critically and commercially acclaimed. The book just hit issue 16 as of this week so there’s only a few issues/volumes to get caught up on what is sure to be another excellent long form story.

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Tags : ArchieArchie ComicsBatmanCaptain AmericacomicsDC ComicsImage ComicsMarvel ComicsSpider-ManSupermanWhat2Read
Justin Ludwig

The author Justin Ludwig

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