New comics are due to hit the shelves on Wednesday so here’s a look ahead at some of the books we’ll be picking up this week.
Matt C: And so we hit the end of 2015; another year of comics comes to a close. And while lots of things swirl around us (such as, you know, real life), comics remain a constant; a source of thrills, entertainment and emotion, as well as a reliable bonding tool for like-minded souls. We expect more of the same in 2016 but before Big Ben rings in the New Year, let's take a look at what the final pull-list of 2015 offers. Whereas the last few years have seen the week between Christmas and New Year being pretty sparse with regards to releases, this time around Image are offering some of their pretty big guns (from my perspective, at least) to tide us over: Black Magick #3, Lazarus #21 and East Of West #23. No self-respecting pull-list should be without them! Marvel have Obi-Wan & Anakin #1, which could go either way (more Clone Wars than Attack Of The Clones, hopefully) but I think my real highlight of the week has to be Captain America: White #5, the finale of that miniseries. It was a comic we thought was never going to see the light of day, and when its release was eventually confirmed, we figured the delay meant it had no chance of matching up with the previous 'colour'-themed tales from Messers Loeb and Sale. But we were wrong. This is every bit the equal to Spider-Man: Blue, Hulk: Gray and Daredevil: Yellow, focusing again on an important, pivotal relationship in the central characters' life, lovingly rendered by Sale. While perhaps note quite definitive, you could shove it under the nose of anyone interested in the subtle emotional resonance inherent in the early relationship between Cap and Bucky and they'd likely be satisfied. Which is another way of saying it's kind of an essential purchase.
Stewart R: Well, after two bustling weeks of hefty deliveries, the last one of the year holds something of a relief with only four titles for me to pick up! Hands down, top of the list has to be East Of West #23 from the minds of Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta. Not only is the consistency of the quality of their work exceptional, but the storytelling that they are conveying with this wild-sci-west (I'm in the mood for coining terms) plot is brilliantly unpredictable. The 22nd issue took place in near silence; Dragotta being left to depict a bold assassination attempt that appeared to come out of nowhere (well, relatively) and it'll be interesting to see whether this new chapter tackles the fallout from that or shifts our focus elsewhere in this wondrous and deadly world. Likewise it's hard to predict the various twists and turns of Greg Rucka's Lazarus as the conflict between houses escalates and the espionage avenues and powerplay politics increase in importance. Rucka's other book of the week, Black Magick is still yet to fully grab me, but there was enough in that opening chapter to suggest sticking with it through 4-5 issues would be the better move to gain a true idea of the scope he's playing with. This all just leaves me with the one Marvel book on the list and that is of course The Amazing Spider-Man #6. I'm really still not sold by this version of Peter Parker, tackling global threats alongside S.H.I.E.L.D, facing corporate problems as the owner and face of a tech company, but I can't deny that Slott has me hooked in with his odd reveals and glances sideways at the happenings surrounding Spidey's Rogue's Gallery that hark back to that 'classic' Spider-Man vibe that we know and love.