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WLG #391: Christmas Picks

A column article by: Matt Spatola

Well as we all know we are deep into the holiday season with Christmas coming this weekend and of course New Year’s the week after. Brandon did a great job last week offering several cool choices for your Christmas shopping list. I’ve actually placed an order for a few of them myself through Amazon.

Normally this time of year is a strange one at your local comic shop. Either the shelves of new releases start looking bare or the publishers push a heavy amount of product trying to end the year on an upswing. This year seems to be a little of both. There are a couple of releases this week and next that are catching my eye.

So with that let’s head into this week’s new releases and see What Looks Good.


DC

Batman #4 $2.99 (Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo)

“Shocking discoveries lead Batman deeper into the mystery of the Court of Owls and its secret and bloody ties to both Gotham City and the Wayne family. But an even deadlier threat awaits Batman: a trap set hundreds of years ago, far beneath his city. The war for Gotham's soul begins here!”

I’ve picked this book before and I guess will be doing it again for the foreseeable future. Snyder and Capullo are just plain nailing it with each and every issue. Since the launch of DC’s New 52 this has been the standout title to me. And with quite a few great books coming out of that launch, such as Animal Man, Swamp Thing or even Captain Atom, to stand out from those and the others is quite a feat.

The art is just as what you should expect from a Batman book; dark, moody and full of widescreen action at the right times. And the writing is superb -- layered and smart.

I know Grant Morrison has had a stranglehold on the character of Batman for what seems like years. And he has done some great stories examining the character and building it in different directions. But Snyder -- to me -- is doing the best Batman I’ve read in years.

MARVEL

Wolverine and the X-Men $3.99 (Jason Aaron & Chris Bachalo)

“X-MEN REGENSIS With the Hellfire Club on the verge of overwhelming the X-Men, the team's only hope is Quenton Quire?! The big question is, does he care enough to do anything? Wrap up the first adventure of Wolverine's branch of the X-tree with Marvel Architect and writer of X-MEN: SCHISM Jason Aaron, and superstar artist Chris  Bachalo!”

I wasn’t happy when Marvel decided to split off Uncanny into two books. I know that they tried to make it make sense story-wise with the different directions the books were taking. But seriously, did we really need more X books? More $3.99 X books? Uh, I think not.

And then I actually got the chance to read the new books and I’ve really taken to the new directions. Both books are truly taking separate directions and have very specific identities. That is something lacking in most of the X-Books being produced now if you ask me.

I’m loving Aaron’s work here. And Bachalo too, I think it’s the best I’ve seen from him in years.

But even with all that, the cover is the seller this week. It’s a great in-joke for all the frustrated comic book readers out there.

TH3RD WORLD

Stuff of Legend: Jester’s Tale #3 of 3 $3.99 (Mike Raicht, Brian Smith & Charles Paul Wilson III)

“Together with his new allies, Jester heads into the heart of enemy territory to rescue his true love, the kidnapped Princess. His journey has been filled with peril thus far, but nothing can prepare Jester for what awaits him next. All roads lead to the Indian Lands in the next exciting chapter of The Stuff of Legend!”

Support Indie Books alert!

These are the types of books that folks like us should be using to bring in new readers. This bleak and monochrome ‘Toy Story during the war’ is a beautiful book. Clearly as good as the writing is, the seller for this title has always been the masterfully intricate work of artist Charles Paul Wilson III.

I have been a long time reader of the series and faithful proponent. I buy this book in singles and then in the beautiful hardcover collection which is where it really shines.

This book is one of those gems that takes the whole medium up with it. If you haven’t tried this book out yet please do.


Ok, so those are my picks for the week. And hopefully you’ll pick those up and enjoy them as much as I do. Here are a couple more that were oh-so-close-but-still-should-get-a-looksie:

  • Activity #1 $3.50, Image: new series from Nathan ‘Who is Jake Ellis?’ Edmondson
  • Batman Inc.: Leviathan Strikes! #1, $6.99: I was really digging Morrison’s BM: Inc before the relaunch but after all this time and seven bucks I’m thinking a lot of folks will be passing on this
  • Captain Atom #4 $2.99:  What’s Dr. Manhattan doing on the cover?
  • Punishermax #20 $3.99: Elektra to the Max. And I’m not talking that strange pizza shop the kids from Saved by the Bell hanged out at.
  • Wolverine #20 $3.99: Kingpin choking Logan. Can you blame him?

Well I think that’s a wrap for this week. Thanks for coming by and checking out my thoughts on What Looks Good. I hope all of you have a Merry Christmas and safe and Happy New Year. The next time I’m up for the column will be a whole new year. Looking back at the events of this year in comics I can’t wait to see where 2012 will take us. Unless of course it is to the apocalypse.

See you in 3.

 

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