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This Week's Essential Comics: 01/06/14

These are the comics you're looking for.

Welcome to 2014, Comic Viners. We may not all have jetpacks yet, but at least there's still new comics coming out each and every week. The Comic Vine staff has glanced over this week's list of new releases and you can bet there's more than a handful of fresh issues that have us all kinds of excited. We've each selected a couple or so to highlight and we're going to tell you why these issues are worth considering.

Are you buying any of the comics we've listed or does your list of essential comics look a bit different? Don't be shy, let us know below.

*Some previews may be in reverse order.

Tony 'G-Man' Guerrero's picks


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Most comic readers and Batman fans know that the first DETECTIVE COMICS #27, back in 1939, was the debut of Batman. It makes perfect sense for DC to go all out and honor that issue with a giant-sized issue to commemorate the historic issue.

You might notice and perhaps cringe at the $8.99 price tag but DC is going all out with this. Aside from the beginning of John Layman's final story arc (with art by Jason Fabok), Gothtopia, the issue will also feature stories by Brad Meltzer and Bryan Hitch, Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy, Paul Dini and Dustin Nguyen and many moore.

2014 marks the 75th anniversary or Batman and this issue is kicking off the celebration.


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There are a lot of eyes on Black Widow these days. Many were impressed with the subtle nature of being able to kick all sorts of ass in the Marvel Studios movies. The character has always been a fascinating one with many interpretations dealing with her past.

With her own ongoing series, Nathan Edmondson and Marvel are giving her the spotlight and attention she deserves. There aren't many non-superpowered individuals that can easily claim a spot on the Avengers roster next to the likes of Thor, Hulk and Captain America. Black Widow absolutely has what it takes.

There's also the fact that Phil Noto will be doing the art. I simply cannot get enough of it. That plus this marks another Marvel series with a female lead. We don't just need comics with dudes in spandex running around. Black Widow has many layers to her character and this should be an interesting series.


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The story continues. It's easy to think of this as some sort of zombie parody but Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is making it clear that is not the case.

The unthinkable has happened. A zombie outbreak has occurred in Riverdale. We've already seen some of the beloved Archie characters infected and there will indeed be more in this issue. AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE isn't just about placing these timeless characters in a zombie apocalypse. We're seeing some deeper characterization with the characters that you wouldn't immediately associate with an Archie comic.

To make it all more exciting and intense, Francesco Francavilla's art perfectly captures the disturbing and creepy vibe necessary for this intriguing story.

Honorable Mentions: GREEN LANTERN #27, THE X-FILES SEASON 10 #8

Mat 'Inferiorego' Elfring's picks


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ANOTHER Avengers book written by Jonathan Hickman? Count me in. Hickman has done some amazing work during his stint at Marvel, and they've all been a blast. On top of that, Nick Spencer is also writing on this book, and I've been loving what he's been doing on SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN. Obviously, this will be a bit more serious book, but both of these writers working on it has me excited. Frankly, I don't really know what it's even about, but I'm super pumped for it. That's right. It's on my essentials list without me knowing anything about it. It's here based solely on the fact that I love both of these writer's previous works.


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Cataclysm continues here! This event has been pretty amazing thus far. In the last issue, Miles is about to head into the 616 universe with none other than Ultimate Reed Richards. Everything you know and love about the Ultimate universe is contained within this book. Although this may be the end of the Ultimate universe, it's going out in style. I can't wait to see Miles and "Peter" reunited once again, even though Peter really isn't Peter right now. Bendis and Bagley are killing it on this story. If you've ever read anything from the Ultimate Universe, you're going to want to read this. It's pure fun.

Gregg 'k4tz' Katzman's picks


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There's a lot of books I legitimately love, but few are as absorbing and flat-out awesome as Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino's GREEN ARROW. Cliffhangers regularly suffice in keeping just enough of your interest until the next issue drops, but I've been incredibly anxious to get my hands on this issue ever since I put down #26. Lemire has finally kicked off The Outsiders War -- an arc he's been building up since he first jumped on the comic way back with issue #17. Now that all of the basics are in place, it's time to kick things off.

Given the creative team's history with the book, I see no reason to believe why this will be anything short of excellent. And heck, even if the plot doesn't live up to the hype, there's always Sorrentino's art (and Marcelo Maiolo's coloring) which never fails to enthrall. You can always count on this book to hit you with some gorgeous and unique pages.

Check out CBR for a look at the final preview page.


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Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn have proven time and time again they can create some wildly entertaining Deadpool stories and the start to this S.H.I.E.L.D. one is no exception. It's already proving to be a nice combination of everything they've hit us with in their other stories. There's some badass action, scattered laughs and a legitimately interesting narrative. Then there's the matter of what this all means for Agent Preston. Will Wade finally get her out of his head and into a LMD? Will she be stuck there forever? Or will the creative team hit us with yet another depressing conclusion down the road?

To top it off, Mike Hawthorne's back on art and the guy is more than capable of bringing Duggan/Posehn's script to life and adapting to whatever the tone may be. In just one panel, he can transform the Merc with a Mouth from a lovable and goofy goon to a guy you'd never want to bump into. Deadpool fans, don't miss out on this series.

Be sure to watch the Preview Theatre video for this issue.


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If you've been storing confetti, now is the time to go get it and then throw it like you just won the lottery. Why, you ask? Because INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US has finally returned to us. The digital debut issue of "Year Two" will hit online tomorrow and I simply can't wait to see how writer Tom Taylor will proceed with this twisted alternate universe. This was without question one of my top books in 2013 because of the sharp and engaging writing and the impressive way it juggled so many tones at once. One week, this book would make you laugh or have your jaw hit the floor with some staggering action. The next, it'll get your feels going into overdrive. Seriously looking forward to more from this universe and I can't wait to see what surprises Taylor has in store for us.

Visit USA Today for a look at the last preview page.


Jen 'MissJ' Aprahamian's picks


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Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky have charmed their way onto many a pull list with the honest, hilarious, and wickedly titled SEX CRIMINALS. This week, they'll bring a villain into the mix, amping up the action and revealing more about the others who can move about "the quiet." Sexy-time-bank-heists aren't without consequences, and things are about to get weird. In a good way. Bonus: pick up the fantastic fourth-printing cover of issue #1 this week!

LETTER 44 #3

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SEX CRIMINALS isn't the only book out this week with a sexy focus -- this month's LETTER 44 explores relationships and other entanglements amongst The Clarke's crew. As that action heats up, things start to spiral out of control back on Earth. Who's more at risk -- the astronauts investigating alien presence, or us? Charles Soule and Alberto Alburquerque have been delivering a unique and intriguing take on space and politics, and this book is an essential pick as the tension ramps up.

Honorable Mention: FATALE #19

Corey 'Undeadpool' Schroeder's picks


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Alright, stop me if you've heard this one: a well-liked series is declared over and that's that...only to be unceremoniously and sloppily resurrected before the first tears had dried! Well fortunately that's NOT what we have here as series architect Peter David is returning to a completely revamped roster and a totally different take on the team. There were even hints dropped throughout the concluding issues of X-Factor that this would not be the end and that certain members of the group were being recruited for something, so even saying this comes from nowhere isn't true. We even get art from the ultra-kinetic Carmine Di Giandomenico, one of the most dynamic artists working now and a master of the thousand and one facial expressions.


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Well this series came completely out of nowhere and won me over in record time! One of my favorite things are alternate histories and this one's an absolute doozy: Lewis and Clark explore the American wilderness, but it's one that's inhabited by strange, vicious beasts yanked from nightmarish myth. And this isn't a usual occurrence in this universe, the explorers have NO idea what they're dealing with. Chris Dingess has taken just enough from actual history and mixed in some truly unique creature designs to make this series equal parts action and horror (with just enough humor thrown in to keep it from getting too grim or gristly) and the art, by Matthew Roberts and Owen Gieni, is gut-churningly gory and detailed enough to evoke the horror of the situation these people have found themselves in.


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Last issue ended with one of the most shocking reveals this series is capable of delivering. It's amazing to see it remained so character-focused amid not just a title-wide crossover, but a massive, apocalyptic upheaval of cosmic proportions. Obviously Spidey isn't going toe-to-toe with Galactus, so it's been amazing watching how he acts and reacts to everything that's crumbling around him. Brian Michael Bendis hasn't lost a single step and this book is still clearly his baby, and he will take good, good care of it. David Marquez's art has been some of the best at getting across the action and the desperation of what's gone on the last few issues, perfectly balancing stylized and realistic. I honestly have no idea how this one's going to end, but whatever happens, I know it's at least in good hands.

Honorable Mentions: THREE #4, INVINCIBLE UNIVERSE #9

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