Each and every week “The American Dragon” MK2Fac3 and “Long Island Iced C” Henchman21 read a lot of comics. Seriously you guys, a lot of comics. Maybe too many comics. I mean, it is possible… theoretically. They look forward to some more than others, I mean, who doesn’t? So, let’s take a look into the depths of their pull lists, grab some comics, and we’ll let YOU know what the top books to look forward to are for the week of December 21, 2011. Single issues and trades, they’re all here.
It’s been a while since I’ve been this excited about comics, because we’ve got a lot of comics coming out this week that have the potential of being some of the finest of the year. We’ve got the return of Batman Incorporated with two of the best artists working in the business, we get the crazy brought to us by Neal Adams in his Batman Odyssey mini-series, as well as many other titles like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Scott Snyder’s Batman, Mark Waid’s Daredevil, Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s Wonder Woman, Jason Aaron’s Puninshermax, and many other excellent comics. In fact, some of the finest DC Relaunch titles are coming out this week. But there’s no way we could fit all of this awesome into one small list, so what we’ve done is condensed it, much like milk, and unloaded what we consider to be the comics that will blow us out of the water the hardest. Whether they be the most “important” comics, or if they’re just created by our favorites, one thing can be for certain, they’re what we’re looking forward to the most. For we are The HenchFac3, and this is The GoD List.
Batman Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes One Shot (DC Comics – $6.99): It’s been way too long since the last issue of Batman Incorporated came out, months in fact. And when this series was coming out somewhat regularly, the DC Universe was a completely different world. Things have changed, and I’m not sure how well those changes will be addressed in this comic. So, thinking in continuity terms, this comic may very well be the most confusing, irrelevant comic in months especially with Grant Morrison’s tendency to ignore what’s going on in the main timeline, think for a second about when his Action Comics run takes place, but honestly, who cares? This oversized comic contains what was going to be issues nine and ten of the series and it is the bridge between Morrison’s Batman Incorporated and the upcoming Batman: Leviathan series that promises to heavily focus on the relationship between Bruce Wayne and his son Damian. It features a team up with Stephanie Brown, who was originally supposed to appear in this series as Batgirl but will now be the character Spoiler, with what seems to be inspired by the Lord Fogg episodes of 1966’s Batman. This part of the issue will take place in England and features art from the outstanding Cameron Stewart, while Chris Burnham makes his triumphant return in the second half of the comic. Like I said, I’m not sure how this comic will work considering the fact that all of the major players in the series are doing completely different things now, but I can’t wait to see how it all plays out. If the series was in the hands of anyone else, I wouldn’t have faith in it, but these are some of my favorite creators working today, so I’m sure that it won’t let me down.
Key of Z #3 (of 4) (Evil Ink! Comics/Boom! Studios – $3.99): Whenever I get to this comic in my stack, I think, “okay, so it’s a zombie comic, I know what I’m getting myself into.” But without fail on both issues, the comic has caught me off guard in one way or another, whether it be through a plot twist that I didn’t see coming, or if it’s a nice character moment that makes it more than just a zombie comic. Because it is more that just another zombie comic. It’s got a bit of a western feel to it as the zombie apocalypse provides more of a way to provide isolation in New York City. The city is run by a gang mindset with rivals searching for more power in the face of the apocalypse. In fact, what I take away from this comic is not zombie attacks or gruesome art or any element of horror. What I get from this comic is simply a great story with beautiful art. While I didn’t really think that I’d love it as much as I do, considering the relatively young creative team, Key of Z has edged its way into my top tier of comics that I look forward to and enjoy the most. Well played, team Sanchez. Well played.
Wonder Woman #4 (DC Comics – $2.99): Wonder Woman is easily one of the most enjoyable comics of the DC relaunch and it’s simply because of the creative team. Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang have outdone themselves by really updating and tying in Greek Mythology to the character. But in this issue, it seems that the series is going to kick into high gear. It seems that Wonder Woman is leaving Paradise Island behind and we’re going to get a look at the bigger story for the series, which I’m really excited to see. Brian Azzarello has nothing less than a unique outlook on superheroes, and as a fan of things that are unique it will be nice to see what he has planned for the character that seems to have such a hard time resonating with the majority of readers. And can we talk about Cliff Chiang for a minute? Good Lord that man is talented. And when he draws Wonder Woman, you can just tell how much fun he has with the character, and it’s impossible to not feel that same joy when you look at the art. It’s dynamic and bold, and it’s one of the reasons why this comic is one of my favorites. I mean, I’m wearing a Cliff Chiang designed t-shirt from Threadless while I’m typing this. I’m also listening to Rancid, but that’s kind of irrelevant, right? Nonetheless, I’m wearing a Wonder Woman pin on the lapel of my coat these days, and that’s thanks to Chiang, Azzarello, and this excellent series.
Officer Downe: Bigger Better Bastard Edition HC (Image Comics – $12.99): It’s apparently Chris Burnham week here on The GoD List as earlier we featured his Batman Incorporated collaboration with Grant Morrison and Cameron Stewart. This book, however, has nothing to do with Batman. Burnham teams up with Joe Casey to show a tale of a bad ass cop that never quits. This is one of the books that I’ve heard about for a long while, but never actually got to read, but the fact that Chris Burnham is the artist on this book makes me want to read it. And when I met Chris Burnham at New York Comic-Con, he told me that I had to read this, so when I got home, I preordered this book and will gladly be purchasing it today. However, if I had doubts about this book, those fears would be shattered because I know this book is going to be completely insane in an absolutely fantastic way. I mean, Joe Casey may be certifiably insane if his work on Butcher Baker: The Righteous Maker is any indication, and I know for a fact that Burnham has the ability to draw “eye-popping” like no other. Plus, the art is oversized in the deluxe edition format and it’s only $13! So, if you’ve got an extra $13 this week, make sure to give that money to Joe Casey and Chris Burnham. I may not have any idea what to expect out of this book, but I’m sure that I will love every page of it.
There are a bunch of great comics out this week, but most of the ones I’m looking forward to are books I have talked about before at sometimes great length and most are in the middle of storylines. Uncanny X-Force #19 (Marvel Comics – $3.99) is the start of a new storyline and is as good of a jumping on point for anyone who hasn’t started reading yet, although I would suggest going back and reading the series from the beginning. Punishermax #20 (Marvel/Max – $3.99) continues to feature a great story from Jason Aaron and spectacular art from Steve Dillon, but is near the end of its run. In fact, Aaron has a bunch of books out this week, between Punishermax, Wolverine & the X-Men #3, and The Incredible Hulk #3 (all from Marvel, all $3.99). Hulk should be very interesting this issue, due to fill-in art from Marko Djurdjevic.
Over at DC, you should all be ready Batman #4 (DC Comics – $2.99), and more than likely you already are, so do I really need to sell you on it? As the Fac3ial one says, you should pick up Batman Inc: Leviathan Strikes, especially if you were reading Batman Inc. before the DC relaunch. Or you can pick up Wonder Woman #4. Fables #112 is a stand-alone story that features a nice Holiday story that features a certain guy in a big red suit, and should get you in the mood for Christmas.
On the indy side, you’ve got the fifth issue of the so far enjoyable Bionic Man (Dynamite – $3.99), the very enjoyable Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #5 (IDW Publishing – $3.99), and Key of Z #3 (Boom! Studios – $3.99), which are all worth checking out. Dark Horse Presents #7 (Dark Horse Comics – $7.99) is worth checking out for an all new Hellboy story written and drawn by Mike Mignola.
All in all, there is plenty to check out this week, so in the hustle and bustle of last-minute gift buying, don’t forget to go down to your local comics shop and pick something up for yourself.
Ratfist Trade Paperback (Image Comics – $19.99): Ratfist is a collection of Doug TenNapel’s webcomic of the same name, which you can read for free at www.ratfist.com. Or you can pick up this trade if you’re not into the whole brevity thing. Ratfist is the story of an ordinary guy who gains rat powers, and proceeds to go on a journey of self-discovery that examines comics, politics, and philosophy. And then a talking fish monkey shows up. It gets a little bizarre, but there is an intriguing and funny story here, and more of TenNapel’s unique art style. Fans of his work will definitely want to pick this up. Readers less familiar with TenNapel’s work should go back and find a copy of Creature Tech and see if the style is to their liking.