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Entertainment Weekly

Books

5 comics to read this December: Into the wintry woods

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Winter is almost upon us, and the holidays are around the corner. This time of year typically brings seasonally appropriate one-shot issues, such as for Grant Morrison’s Klaus series, about a superhero Santa. It’s also a period for reflecting on the year that was, which makes it the perfect time for Marvel to publish the collection of its House of X/Powers of X series, which rocked superhero comics this summer and fall.

Marvel; Image Comics; DC Comics

Below, check out our full list of issues to check out this December.

Marvel

House of X/Powers of X (Marvel)
Jonathan Hickman (writer), Pepe Larraz & R.B. Silva (artists)

If you’ve been following EW’s comic coverage this year, you’ve already read a lot of words about this double-headed maxi-series. You’ll likely hear more when it’s time for best-comics-of-the-year coverage later this month. For now, suffice to say that House of X and Powers of X were the most energizing superhero comic event in years. If you missed them the first time around, this collection will be the perfect opportunity to see what all the hullabaloo is all about. Even if you’ve already read them, it will probably be fascinating to re-read the issues in this collected order.

The House of X/Powers of X collection hits stores Dec. 11. Pre-order it here.

BOOM! Studios

Klaus and the Life and Times of Joe Christmas (Boom!)
Grant Morrison (writer), Dan Mora (artist)

It’s almost Christmas, and you know what that means: a new comic about Grant Morrison’s superhero Santa. The initial seven-issue Klaus series was essentially a Batman Begins for Santa Claus; in Morrison’s uniquely magical worldview, this figure of Christmas mythology is essentially a superhero. Since then, each new holiday season has brought with it a new special Klaus one-shot. This one is a callback to Morrison’s New X-Men Annual from 2001, which was memorably told in “widescreen” format. Additionally modeled after an Advent calendar, it will tell 25 stories about Klaus teaming up with a man named Joe Christmas over the years. Expect lots of mind-bending Morrison goodness.

Klaus and the Life and Times of Joe Christmas hits stores Dec. 18. Pre-order it here.

Image Comics

Family Tree #2 (Image)
Jeff Lemire (writer), Phil Hester (artist)

Where would comics be without Jeff Lemire? Well, there would probably be a lot fewer of them. Lemire is one of the most prolific writers in comics, and shortly after concluding the first phase of his Black Hammer superhero saga, he’s already out here with a fascinating new creator-owned comic (with legendary artist Phil Hester) about the end of the world. You probably haven’t seen the apocalypse like this before, since it kicks off with people becoming plants. The title is a pun on the book’s focus on the central working-class family and the fact that the young daughter is apparently turning into a tree. There’s lots more to learn, especially given the cliffhanger at the end of the first issue last month, so now’s the time to jump on this book.

Family Tree #2 hits stores Dec. 18. Pre-order it here.

DC Comics

The Low, Low Woods #1 (DC Comics)
Carmen Maria Machado (writer), Dani (artist)

Carmen Maria Machado is one of the busiest and buzziest writers working right now. Not only did she just release one of the most acclaimed memoirs of the year with In the Dream House, she’s also making her comics debut with the next title from Joe Hill’s Hill House Comics imprint at DC. Illustrated by Dani, The Low, Low Woods is a fascinating horror story set in the dying coal town of Shudder-to-Think, Penn. The location is based on Centralia, a real-life ghost town that’s had a coal fire burning for decades, but set in the ’90s, when it’s still in the process of dying. There’s a Deer Woman and mysteries surrounding lost memories, but at the center of The Low, Low Woods is a romance between two young women.

“I just like the idea of queer characters from the past being able to live their lives,” Machado told EW in September. “Whether you think of that as fantasy or not, it’s really interesting to me. I liked the idea of them being able to live their sweet, queer, ’90s lives without actually having that anxiety. I mean, they have a lot of problems in these six issues, there’s a lot going on, but homophobia is not one of them.”

The Low, Low Woods #1 hits stores Dec. 18. Pre-order here.

DC Comics

The Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child #1 (DC Comics)
Frank Miller (writer), Rafael Grampa (artist)

Frank Miller still isn’t done with Batman. The writer-artist behind The Dark Knight Returns revolutionized the character in the ’80s, but he still has things to say about Gotham’s vigilante — or more accurately, Carrie Kelly. First introduced as a new female Robin in the original Dark Knight Returns, Carrie has now taken up Batman’s mantle from an aging Bruce Wayne. But Batman isn’t the only superhero with successors. In this universe, Superman and Wonder Woman have had two children: Lara, who played a major role in the previous series, The Dark Knight Returns III: The Master Race, and Jonathan, the titular “golden child.” Despite his youth, Jonathan is shaping up as a force to be reckoned with, and artist Rafael Grampa is giving the story its own look to distinguish it from its predecessors.

“I don’t try to get anybody to draw like me, and they don’t try to. I usually work with people who can draw better than me,” Miller told EW back in September. “When I work with somebody, I do my best to push them and make them work on things they might not want to, which will make them get stronger and better. But also I do my best to bring out of them what’s already there. With Rafael there’s a wonderful buoyancy. He draws people flying like nobody else has ever drawn people fly: Lara laughs and Jonathan is just always wherever he wants to be already. That’s what Raf really does bring to the page, he brings a lot of joy.”

The Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child #1 hits stores Dec. 11. Pre-order it here.

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