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This Week's Essential Comics: 3/16/15

These are the comics you're looking for.

So many new comic books are going on sale this Wednesday and we're here to make sure you're prepared for the big day. We've reviewed the full list of new releases and we're going to tell you which ones are on our radars and why. Maybe -- just maybe -- we'll convince you to check out something new. After you see what we recommend buying, don't forget to chime in with your own list! You just may motivate someone else to pick up a new series, after all. Now, let's see what the staff is excited to read.

Tony "G-Man" Guerrero's picks


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Have you ever read a new series without really knowing what it was about and getting blown away? That’s what happened when I read CHRONONAUTS #1. We reviewed it HERE back in February and now it’s time for the first issue to be unleashed upon the world.

Written by Mark Millar with art by Sean Murphy, you almost don’t need or want to know more about the series before you get a chance to read it. With time travel involved, we have plenty of surprises and moments of suspense as these two storytellers set the stage for this new comic book world. Time travel stories are always fun but when they’re told in a satisfying and intelligent way, you can’t help but feel your excitement build up even more. You do not want to miss out on this. I’ve been on the edge of my seat waiting for issue #2.


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How much do we really know about Princess Leia? We know she’s a tough character who doesn’t back down to the likes of Darth Vader or Jabba the Hutt. We knew she was a diplomat and senator before the Emperor disbanded the Senate. We’ve wondered how she felt after the destruction of Alderaan. With escaping from the Death Star immediately followed with the possible decimation of the Rebel Alliance, she never really had a chance to think about it. That’s the beauty of this series taking place immediately after the events of Episode IV.

In the first issue, we saw Leia determined to figure out where her place in the Rebellion would be after Alderaan was destroyed. Of course there would be some concern and overprotectiveness with her but there’s no way she’d stand for that. We’re seeing her embark on her own mission and we’ll also get to see some insight into what her past was like. This is a great chance to find out more about what makes Leia who she is.


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In the aftermath of Superman revealing his secret identity to a friend, where will they go from here? To add to the mix, Superman sort of doesn’t have any superpowers right now. With the new power he discovered last issue, he is now left temporarily powerless until he recharges. You know this is going to come into play, especially if you take a look at the cover. This will give us a good look at how the revelation will affect the characters and it gives Superman a chance to slow down and think things over. After the craziness of the previous arc, it’ll be good for the characters and readers to catch their breath.

We know some changes are coming up after Convergence and Geoff Johns will be wrapping up his run on the series. We’ll be reading the issue very carefully to see if there’s any clues about the changes.

Visit ComicBook to check out two more preview pages.

Honorable Mention: C.O.W.L. #9

Mat "Inferiorego" Elfring's picks


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You know what I love about PUNKS? The solicits are just as ridiculous as the book itself:

"The rip-roaring conclusion to the first arc of 'PUNKS!' Questions get answered and answers get questioned! Will Flo leave Boshannon for the Big City? Can Effie ever truly love again? Just how much feeling has Eddie lost from the thresher accident? None of these questions and more won't be answered."

From what I've read on the Twittersphere, this is the Manga issue of PUNKS, so be prepared to read everything backwards! Not the words, mind you, but from the last page to the first. In all seriousness though, dropping the usual quips I make when writing about PUNKS, this book is the well-needed break from the comics we read. I think of PUNKS as a palate cleanser. I don't mean for that to sound demeaning to the book at all, since it's one of my favorites. But sometimes, reading about some dude with powers in a costume can be redundant, and PUNKS is a series that puts fun back into comics. Why should you pick this up? Well, aside from that few things I just wrote, this book is so different from everything else going on in the best way possible. In addition, it makes me laugh and I never feel like this book is trying to hard to do so. Maybe I just have the same sense of humor as Joshua Hale Fialkov and Kody Chamberlain... Oh, go pick up the trade for this book too.


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I was tasked with the important mission of deciding to pick IVAR or DIVINITY for Essential Comics. I said "I liked IVAR better, so I'll pick that!" However, as the days went by, I flipped my pick to DIVINITY. Oh well!

Valiant is a company that has something for almost everyone. DIVINITY is something that's a bit more out there, it deals with space and it's a bit more surrealistic than what Valiant fans are accustomed to. This is one of those books where I have a good idea of what's going on, but I have a good feeling that as more is revealed, I'll be a bit lost, in the best way possible. DIVINITY, through the first issue only, offers something tonally different from everything else at Valiant and it's crafted completely different as well. Matt Kindt and Trevor Hairsine have something special going on here and if you're looking for something new to jump into, pick up the first and second issue of DIVINITY.


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I love Hellboy. And after talking to writer Mike Mignola about FRANKENSTEIN UNDERGROUND, I was sold, even though he didn't reveal a lot about the book. There's something very intriguing with how Mignola puts stories together and how he weaves legend and myth into his books, and I'm pretty excited to see how he does that with FRANKENSTEIN UNDERGROUND.

I think the idea of Frankenstein being this monster that lives and wanders underground to be pretty cool, since he fell into the center of the Earth in the "Mignolaverse" years ago.The solicit and creative team offer up a book with an amazing amount of potential.

In addition, I really like the art of Ben Stenbeck. While I'd rather see Mignola do the art work himself on these books, Stenbeck is a great artist who does Mignola's work more than justice.

Honorable Mention: IVAR, TIMEWALKER #3

Gregg "k4tz" Katzman's picks

TMNT #44

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"Attack on Technodrome" has been an epic story. It's done such an excellent job balancing character and huge action. Somehow, the creative team has been able to juggle a ridiculously large cast of characters so well while also offer a ton of spectacle. It's smart and exciting, people. And this issue? Well, all I'm going to say is you absolutely cannot miss it.

Please, do yourself a favor and read this issue before you're potentially spoiled online. This is an issue with a development so big that you're going to want to read it for yourself. Shouldn't consistently solid writing and Cory Smith and Ronda Pattison's visuals be enough to lure you in, though? Ninja Turtles fans, just trust me on this one and read this as soon as possible, okay?


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Love horror? Love gruesome craziness? Love people attempting to survive seemingly impossible odds in a post-apocalyptic setting? Or maybe you just really, really like John Carpenter's The Thing? Oh, you do? Neat! Then yeah, SPREAD is definitely for you.

On the surface, Justin Jordan, Kyle Strahm, and Felipe Sobreiro's Image series is all whole lot of bloody and frightening mayhem. The main characters have yet to catch a break and things are just getting more and more intense. Humans, monsters, monster-ish humans... the threats they face keep coming and coming. This is looking like it'll be yet another action and horror-heavy issue, but what's great about this series is it also has a whole lot to say about humanity. How would these experiences impact everyone? How would it impact society as a whole?

SPREAD is frightening, thrilling, and seriously addictive. Go lose yourself in its twisted world, horror fans.


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This latest Punisher series may have a whole lot of familiar story elements, but it's leaving an impression because of just how well it's all being executed. The writing and the art has been top-notch, constantly keeping my eyes glued to the pages and delivering cliffhangers that leave me wanting more. At first, this series had me not all that interested in the supporting characters -- especially the Howling Commandos. But the last handful of issues or so have taken major steps to build our emotional connection to these individuals while also delivering a satisfying focus on the dude we're all here to see: Frank Castle.

Nathan Edmonson's script continues to keep a tight grip on my attention and refuses to let go. Now Frank is attempting to strike at the heart of this ginormous plan and that brings him all the way to Washington, D.C. The Punisher in the nation's capital? Yeah, that alone should pique your interest. The writer's fortunate to have Mitch Gerads bringing his script to life in creative ways. That artist is somehow able to produce striking covers and fill the pages with engaging and cleverly presented panels. This series has really picked up the pace and I'm feeling very optimistic about this upcoming chapter.

Honorable Mention: SECRET IDENTITIES #2

Corey "Undeadpool" Schroeder's picks


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A first outing that is a definitive "great intro" has me excited to see what New York's newest Spider-themed hero gets up to in her next issue. Some familiar faces will confront her, but it's been the strength of the character, and the creators around her, that she's been established as more than just "female Spider-Man", but as a character all her own, especially around her personality and life. Robbie Thompson and Stacey Lee did a fantastic job of making her an absolute breakout sensation, and I can't wait to see what she gets up to in her first solo story arc.


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One-shot tie-ins to larger events start out an uphill proposition, but a great way to obviate a large part of that is to have the usual creative team on the book, and while we won't be getting Babs Tarr on this particular issue, we WILL see Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher, with Bengal on art, steer Babs through the labyrinthine tale that is Endgame. The one-shot format, in this case, is a great idea as it clearly delineates that this is a side-story, rather than breaking up the numbering, and the trade, with a story that seemingly comes from out of nowhere, and I'm intrigued by the idea of the more light-hearted direction that Batgirl's been on being dragged back into the pitch blackness of one of the darkest storylines in the history of Bat-tales.

The Huffington Post has two more preview pages.


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Planet HYDRA is imminent, and the newly emerged Baron Zemo seems to be making up for lost time when he became a force for at least less-evil with his most Reich-tastic plan in years. It's a fitting, if not at all subtle, place for the new Captain America to earn his stripes, but with how wrong it's been going, he'll be lucky to get out intact and with the world still fertile. Rick Remender and Stuart Immonen haven't been afraid to put Cap through the absolute paces in an adventure that would've been grueling for anyone, and I'm legitimately curious about how this one, inevitably, shakes out.

Honorable Mention: BATMAN ETERNAL #50

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