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This Week's Essential Comics: 12/09/13

These are the comics you're looking for.

New comic book day is approaching and we're here to make sure you're prepared for the flood of new releases that'll hit your comic shops (both physical and digital) on Wednesday. Narrowing down the options isn't always easy and it can be particularly difficult if you're working with a tight budget. Because of that, we want to put the ones that'll hopefully rule right on your radar. After reviewing the list of this week's new releases, we've each picked a few that we're really excited to check out and we'll tell you why they're 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

BATMAN #26

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Batman Zero Year continues.

We're now in the second act of the story. The first part showed Bruce Wayne taking up his fight against the Red Hood Gang and eventually dining the Bat-suit. Now that the Riddler has unleashed his attack against Gotham City, we've seen the tension building. To make things worse, there's the appearance by the mysterious and deadly Doctor Death as well as pretty crazy cliffhanger last issue.

The solicit mentions Batman and Jim Gordon have to work together but we've already seen there appears to be some sort of animosity towards Gordon on Bruce's part. Another mystery for us to see play out.

Snyder and Capullo are carving out Batman's early days and each chapter, in its isolation from the rest of the New 52 universe, has been a treat.

Visit Hero Complex for another page.

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JUSTICE LEAGUE #25

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There's a lot of Justice League comics coming out this week.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #25 appears to be setting things up for each issue of FOREVER EVIL. Last issue we saw the fight build up between Ultraman and Black Adam, which then concluded in FOREVER EVIL #3*. This issue appears to be setting things up for Nightwing.

In the first issue of FOREVER EVIL, we witnessed Nightwing get brutally captured, beaten and have his identity publicly revealed. This is likely to have a huge impact on the character and there hasn't been a lot said or hinted toward what's in store for his future. This not only affects Dick Grayson's life but could also have repercussions for Bruce Wayne. And we need to also find out what Owlman has planned.

Because the Crime Syndicate is composed of some extremely evil individuals, we know there's some tension amongst the team members. It looks like we're going to see what plans Owlman has for Ultraman as well.

CBR has the last page.

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JUSTICE LEAGUE 3000 #1

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It's time to go back to the future. The notion of this series seems a bit odd. We're still seeing the present day New 52 being fleshed out but now we're going to jump forward about a thousand years to see what's going on.

We know there exists some form of the Justice League. There will be several questions as to how this team was formed or even how the legacies continued for so long. What connections, if any, do these heroes have to their present day counterparts? What is the world like? Who are the villains?

Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis are joined by Howard Porter to give us the next next generation of the Justice League. There will be a sense of "anything goes" since the time period is so far off. It'll be worth seeing how these versions compare and if they will earn a place in our hearts.

USA Today has one more preview page.

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Honorable Mention: LIL GOTHAM #9 (It's the Comic-Con issue now in print).

Mat 'Inferiorego' Elfring's picks

MANIFEST DESTINY #2

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Last month, MANIFEST DESTINY took my by surprise. I didn't know much about this series going in, and I picked it up on a whim. It turned out to be really awesome. Writer Chris Dingess takes a page from American history, presents a story most Americans are familiar with, and turns it on its head.The first issue introduces the reader to the idea that, at one time, there were some monstrous creatures lurking across the country. It's an interesting story with a big twist and since the first issue had so much promise, I've thrown it on my pull list. Jump on this book now, while you can. There's also a second printing of the first issue coming out this week as well.

CATACLYSM ULTIMATES #2

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We get TWO Cataclysm books this week? What's a boy to do?! Well, I can't really put both Cataclysm books on my list, so instead, I put the one I'm more excited for and that just happens to be the Ultimates tie-in. The last issue was a blast and had a great tie-in to Cataclysm #0.1. I was wowed with the writing and art. What really got me excited was that Ultimate M.O.D.O.K. is a part of this story. While the Ultimates have to fight off Galactus from 616, they also have to take on the cult of Gah Lak Tus, which is a really cool addition to this story. If you're going to get any tie-in to this event, pick this one up. Heck, even if you aren't reading Cataclysm, you should check this one out.

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Honorable Mention: SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN #6

Gregg 'k4tz' Katzman's picks

SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN #3

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Look, I get some of you loathe the idea of Clark and Diana dating, but Charles Soule's writing in this series has been seriously entertaining and the book has been explosive. It's basically like their relationship is secondary and *insert dilemma with big villain here* is the real focus.

While the threat of Doomsday still remains and the brute could definitely appear in this issue, this chapter primarily brings Zod front and center. This book has not shied away from action one bit, so you can be certain Zod's inclusion is going to be a hectic one -- especially if the solicit says it's all about the duo trying to stop him before he can gain full power thanks to our delicious yellow sun. Throw in Tony S. Daniels' artwork and you can bet this will be one of the first issues I read on Wednesday.

Check out IGN for the final preview page.

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UNITY #2

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If you've been reading Valiant's books, then this new series is nothing short of pure amazingness. If you haven't been reading Valiant's books, then this is a GREAT way to learn all about some of the publisher's big characters and see why we're all praising them.

Matt Kindt's opening chapter did an awesome job giving this book an epic vibe. It's new reader friendly, but if you're not new to the Valiant-verse, it's just surreal seeing all of these cool characters share the pages and being put in such an interesting scenario. We all know X-O Manowar and Toyo Harada are immensely two powerful dudes, but what happens when they're at odds? This issue will reveal how Toyo forms "Unity 2.0" in an attempt to take down Aric and I just can't wait to read it.

If you've been waiting to jump on the Valiant train, now's the time to hop on. Plus, you can never go wrong with more Ninjak.

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Honorable Mentions: CAPTAIN AMERICA #14, HARBINGER #19

Jen 'MissJ' Aprahamian's picks

LAZARUS #5

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A new arc begins, and if it's anywhere near as thrilling as the last, we're in for a treat. This second chapter focuses on the Waste, shifting from the corrupt and spoiled Family towards another slice of Rucka's complex and dystopic world. So far, all we know is that this class comprises "everyone else" -- those who aren't privileged enough to be Family or specialized enough to be Serfs -- and they seem perfectly poised for some action (an uprising, perhaps?). LAZARUS has been one of the most exciting books of 2013, and Rucka and Lark don't show any signs of slowing that down. It's packed with sharp cultural commentary, palpably-realistic science, explosive action, and good old-fashioned interpersonal drama, making it an essential pick for readers with a wide range of tastes.

DEAD BODY ROAD #1

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Justin Jordan's macabre sensibilities meet Matteo Scalera's gritty, dynamic style, and DEAD BODY ROAD seems like it's going to be quite the ride. It looks like the sequential equivalent of a grindhouse revenge flick -- it's dirty and textured, there's a heist gone bad, and there's an angry-as-hell protagonist who's out for blood. Knowing Jordan's body of work, that blood will be spilled in a most creative manner, and I trust Scalera to realize that on the page with flourish. DEAD BODY ROAD makes a late-year debut as an essential crime book, perfect for action junkies and fans of thought-provoking thrillers.

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Honorable Mention: NIGHTWING #26

Corey 'Undeadpool' Schroeder's picks

INVINCIBLE #107

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The storyline of Monster Girl being a father to an alien entity is one of the most bizarrely compelling storylines that Invincible has ever shelved. But Robert Kirkman doesn't let storylines pass their expiration date, he takes them right down off that shelf, cracks 'em open, and feeds us thick, nutritive stories! That analogy kinda got away from me at the end, but that doesn't diminish my anticipation to see how that progresses, and with Ryan Ottley staying strong on art, I can't see this going anywhere but up.

CABLE AND X-FORCE #17

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It's the action book that reads like a bizarre character study as Dennis Hopeless' unusual union of mutants reaches a fever pitch with Forge's blackouts finally being explained. With Cable's team quartermaster/inventor turning against them, I'm anxious to see what fresh hell he has planned. Gerardo Sandoval continues cutting his own artistic path on the book, and so far his visuals have been a great union for the writing and I'm excited to see that continue.

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UNCANNY X-MEN #15.INH

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Kris Anka has done some absolutely stellar work on the covers of Uncanny X-Force, matching up with that book's surreal, mystic tone to absolute perfection. The idea that we get those same visuals on interior art, even just for one issue, means that this will definitely be a must-see. Brian Bendis working an Inhumanity storyline into my favorite X-Roster is sure to be a great tale as well, especially writing any kind of girls' night out that involves Emma Frost.

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