Now that we’re approaching the end of the year and the holidays are coming up, it’s the perfect time to kick back with some much-needed comics. EW’s list of the best comics of 2017 will be out later this month, but in the meantime, here’s a heads-up on some of the coolest issues due in December.
Justice League #34-35 (DC)
Christopher Priest (writer), Pete Woods (artist)
Christopher Priest has crafted one of the best books in the entire DC Rebirth line with Deathstroke — seriously, the only reason I’m excited about a potential Joe Manganiello/Deathstroke movie is the hope that they’ll base it on Priest’s thrilling, surprising, whip-smart, action-packed saga. But now we get to see what he does with truly famous characters. The first issue alone is going to pack in threats from “interstellar tourists” and “YouTube jihadists,” which means we should be in for another mind-blowing superhero adventure from Priest.
Marvel Two-In-One #1 (Marvel)
Chip Zdarsky (writer), Jim Cheung (artist)
Marvel has not been doing a great job of connecting with fans of late. The recent Secret Empire event, which controversially revealed Captain America as a double agent for the Nazi-adjacent supervillain organization Hydra, resulted in some of the lowest sales for a big Marvel crossover in years. In the following months, Marvel launched a new publishing initiative called Legacy and changed its editor-in-chief.
Maybe one of the reasons the House of Ideas seems to have lost its mojo is the absence of its first family, the Fantastic Four. Though the quartet haven’t translated well to movies or TV like their friends in the Avengers, they still represent the heart of Marvel (its sense of family, its underdog heart, its cosmic imagination), and it’s clear that something has been missing ever since Reed and Sue Richards left the universe at the end of 2015’s Secret Wars event. But at least now, two of the four — Human Torch and the Thing — are back in action with their own series. The page teasing their reunion was the best single part of this fall’s Marvel Legacy one-shot. Even if the full Fantastic Four are remaining offscreen for now, their spirit might live on once more.
Hellboy: Krampusnacht (Dark Horse)
Mike Mignola (writer), Adam Hughes (artist)
Hellboy has explored nearly every variety of mythology over the years, but this one-shot issue finally brings him face-to-face with Christmas legends. No, not the ghosts of Christmas past and future — as the title suggests, this is the story of Hellboy’s tussle with the anti-Santa, the monstrous demon Krampus.
Quantum and Woody #1 (Valiant)
Daniel Kibblesmith (writer), Kano (artist)
This mismatched duo of brothers, who have to klang their bracelets together every 24 hours lest they explode, makes for one of the funniest superhero properties around. Luckily, Kibblesmith has proved himself up to the humor challenge, between his work on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert and comics like Valiant High. As he told EW back in September, “Quantum and Woody has always been a buddy comedy at its heart, and my favorite part of writing them so far is the bantering (or bickering) because the characters carry you away so naturally, it’s easy to get carried away in their back-and-forth.” Plus, the first issue comes with ’90s-style foil covers!
Black Bolt volume 1: Hard Time (Marvel)
Saladin Ahmed (writer), Christian Ward (artist)
2017 has not been a good year for Marvel’s Inhumans. Given that the live-action TV adaptation turned out to be an unwatchable mess, it’s likely that Inhumans comics might be dead in the water soon as well. Which is a shame, because this series is one of the most astonishing superhero comics of the year. For his debut Marvel comic, novelist Saladin Ahmed has demonstrated a fluency with comic history and a sureness of purpose. By putting the Inhuman king Black Bolt inside a hellish space prison, Ahmed explores superheroes’ often-problematic relationship to the prison system. After all, if Black Bolt is trapped in this space jail innocently, maybe his fellow prisoners don’t deserve it either. These themes make a great combination with Ward’s cosmically psychedelic art, and this collection makes an excellent introduction.