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This Week's Essential Comics: 5/26/14

These are the comics you're looking for.

New comic book day approaches! On Wednesday, dozens upon dozens of new issues will go on sale. Deciding how to distribute your money and time is no easy feat when there's so many choices. Luckily for you, we have your back. We've reviewed the latest list of new releases and each of us have picked some issues that have us pretty excited. We'll explain why we're looking forward to reading them and hopefully that'll make your decisions a little easier on Wednesday. When you're done seeing what we're going to read, feel free to share your own list of essential comics.

*Some previews may be in reverse order*

Tony "G-Man" Guerrero's picks

BATMAN #31

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Savage City” continues in Zero Year and it’s time to see Batman use what limited resources he has to take on Riddler, who has complete control over Gotham. We’re seeing a young and raw Batman fight a madman who has caused the city to become overrun and cut off from the outside world. We’ve seen that Batman had serious issues with Gordon but now he may have no other choice but to work with him in order to crack Riddler’s defenses.

Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo are giving us a Batman story unlike any we’ve seen before. They are giving us the story we didn’t know we’ve been wanting. This is a different take on the Dark Knight and that’s part of the fascinating aspect of this long-running story. We have no idea what to expect next but we do know it’s going to be fun.

C.O.W.L. #1

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Get ready to read a comic that will easily soar to the top of your reading list. Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel are giving you the superhero comic you didn’t know you’ve been waiting for. You may have heard Kyle talk about this series on a previous podcast or in video interviews. The idea of a super-hero labor union is fascinating. It’s the kind of thing I eat up. With the time period the story takes place and the characters that are introduced, this is something readers will easily gravitate towards.

It has to be noted that besides the intriguing story, Rod Reis is killing it with the art and colors. This is an amazing-looking book.

With that being said, yes, I have read this issue. I loved it. I think you will as well.

Visit CBR for an extra preview page.

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THANOS ANNUAL #1

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Who doesn’t get excited when there’s a comic dealing with Thanos? Thanos is one of those characters people simply love to read. In my opinion, he is one of the more interesting Marvel villains and it’s always nice to see good stories involving him. Throw in the fact that this is written by Jim Starlin and drawn by Ron Lim…I’m still in awe. These are the guys that gave us INFINITY GAUNTLET and more. I never thought I’d see them back on a new Thanos story.

There are many layers to Thanos’ character. It may be hyperbole, but the description alone for this issue makes you not want to miss this. Thanos usually has a big impact on the Marvel Universe. We also know he’s hovering around in the Cinematic Universe, so there is the chance that he will continue to have a big role in the comics to continue to build up his presence. And if this is a prequel to an upcoming OGN, that’s another reason to pick this up. But mainly, with Starlin and Lim involved, there’s no way I’ll miss this.

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TREES #1

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A science fiction comic written by Warren Ellis? Sold. Jason Howard on art? Yes, please.

This is another comic I’ve already read. Let’s say, it’s an interesting story. As the first issue of a new series, Ellis does introduce a new world. We have some bizarre set up going on and I can’t say I honestly know where this series is going to go. That’s part of what has me hooked.

With all the comics on sale these days, it’s always hard to pick up something new. But this is one of those comics where you might want to check out to get in on the ground floor. With a $2.99 price tag, check this out if you’re an Ellis or Howard fan or if you the premise sounds intriguing. I can’t wait to see where this is going to go.

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Honorable Mention: DEADLY CLASS #5

Mat "Inferiorego" Elfring's picks

ALL STAR WESTERN #31

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I was truly bummed to see the recent solicits where it was stated that this first wave book was coming to an end. Writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti have done an amazing job on over 100 issues of Jonah Hex and one amazing OGN. Currently, in this series, Jonah Hex is back in the wild west, with his face healed up, but someone is impersonating him and tarnishing his "good" name. Even better, he's teamed up with Tallulah Black! Last issue marked the return of the back-up stories and the last one, featuring a character named Madame .44 was pretty awesome, so I'm looking forward to that as well.

Go to Nerdist for one more preview page.

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FANTASTIC FOUR #5

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The Fantastic Four team has never been one of my favorites. In fact, I usually find their stories dull and out-of-touch with modern comics, Hickman aside. However, James Robinson has really grabbed that out-of-date feeling with the team and put a bit of a modern story telling twist. There's a lot of great bronze age and silver age elements within this book that really make it a ton of fun, like making the Wrecking Crew a worthwhile villain team again. What really makes this a cool story, aside from the return of Puppet Master, is that the story revolves around Human Torch loosing his powers. I'm really enjoying what's going on here and can't wait to see the Fantastic Four in court next issue to answer for the destruction they've caused New York.

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Gregg "k4tz" Katzman's picks

GHOSTBUSTERS #16

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Mass Hysteria! has been massively fun. Feeling like a direct follow-up to the first two films (if that doesn't lure you in, I have no idea what will), writer Erik Burnham has produced a new threat that's not only packed with creepiness and plenty of supernatural entertainment, but the handling of the characters is absolutely topnotch, too. No matter how dire or crazy things may get, Burnham manages to keep the laughs consistent and there's so many smile-inducing lines in each chapter.

The art team -- Dan Schoening and Luis Antonio Delgado -- is such a nice compliment to the tone Burnham generates. Schoening's pencils create a more animated feeling, packing these panels with the perfect images to deliver all of the madness and multiple laughs. Delgado's colors then give it all a little more depth and bring all of the vibrant colors you'd expect from a Ghostbusters story.

If you consider yourself a fan of the franchise, this is a story you really can't miss. Who you gonna call? Your local comic shop so you can tell them to hold an issue aside for you.

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DEADPOOL #29

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Deadpool's history is... well, to call it "complicated" would be putting it lightly. We've seen different stories by different writers, but in the latest run, co-writers Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn attempted to simplify this by revealing how much Butler has messed with Wade Wilson's head. Now, we're allegedly going to see the Merc with a Mouth's true origin story, so you can bet my interest is through the roof.

This writing team has yet to disappoint and they've been able to handle everything from slapstick comedy to gut-wrenching moments. If they're diving into Wade's earlier years, you can bet they'll tackle this one carefully and hit us with all kinds of twists and turns. In Duggan and Posehn I trust.

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DEAD BODY ROAD #6

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All good things must come to an end, and unfortunately, this sixth chapter marks the end of Justin Jordan and Matteo Scalera's DEAD BODY ROAD. It's sad to see the book go, but this Image title has been one of the most thrilling reads around. Jordan keeps the story moving at a ridiculously fast pace (one whole chapter was a chase scene!) and now it's time to see how he'll wrap it all up. Who will be standing when it all comes to an end? Will Gage get his revenge? I can't wait to see what he has in store for us. Also something I can't wait to see: Scalera's stunning visuals. This man is the master of filling panels with an unparalleled amount of energy and intensity. These two have created one of the most exciting rides around... now it's time to see how they'll end it.

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Honorable Mention: LARFLEEZE #11

Corey "Undeadpool" Schroeder's picks

STAR WARS: REBEL HEIST #2

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The first Rebel Heist was one of my favorite things: taking broadly archetypal characters (those in the Star Wars Universe) and making them not only specific, but intimate. Anytime Han Solo gets involved in his own story, it's a good time for me but I am absolutely stoked to see this creative team take on Princess Leia, one of the characters most ripe for further badass developments. I can't tell, based on the solicit, if the issue is going to be stand alone or a contiguous story, but either way with Matt Kindt, Marco Castiello and Dan Parsons at the helm, it's gonna be good. The Adam Hughes cover is a nice bonus.

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RED LANTERNS #31

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Supergirl has scarcely been more interesting (since, around, the reintroduction of Cyborg Superman) as she has been in this book, but it's great to see that she isn't going to simply be a blunt instrument to solve all their problems. The newly introduced Judge is in effect as is the return of Dex and Atrocitus, so Charles Soule has plenty of toys to play with. And make us laugh uproariously. This series seems like it's going to be exactly as serious as it needs to be while Alessandro Vitti renders it in beautiful, sharp detail. Guy Gardner hasn't shaved yet, so I have confidence in the saga continuing.

AVENGERS #30

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The Illuminati done SCREWED UP!! The fate of the Time Gem as well as Captain America's revelation of what was done to his mind has been realized and, at last issue's climax, several plot threads have converged and everything has been thrown into THE FUUUUTUUURE! Which, along with Uncanny Avengers, I feel sets a great precedent for insane, continuity-bending storylines. Jonathan Hickman helming this sci-fi epic with Leinil Yu's visuals would be enough on their own, but the anticipation that's been building since early Hickman New Avengers makes this a real payoff issue.

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Honorable Mention: THUNDERBOLTS #26

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