The Best Comics & Graphic Novels of December 2018

Goldfish, by Brian Michael Bendis
Bendis’ long out-of-print Jinxworld books represent not just some of his earliest work, but also some of his most beloved. The gritty noir series stars David Gold, a con man known as Goldfish, who returns to Cleveland, Ohio after a long time away in order to regain custody of his son. The boy’s mother is running the local criminal underworld, and the whole town seems to stand against him in his quest to reconnect with his kid. Fans of Bendis’ superhero books won’t want to miss this formative chapter in the writer/illustrator’s comics career.

Paper Girls, Vol. 5, by Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang, and Matt Wilson
This keep getting weird and more time-twistingly complicated in the fifth trade collection of Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang’s award-winning story about a group of paper delivery girls from the mid-1980s who find themselves bopping through time in the wake of the various forces waging a temporal war. This volume finally reveals a few answers (even as it poses a lot more questions) as it reveals the origins of the “old timers” who have been hounding our girls, even as the plot line moves from the year 2000 and the Y2K crisis into the far future.

Eternity Girl, by Magdalene Visaggio, Sonny Liew, and Chris Chuckry
Caroline Sharp has been a superhero and a spy, but lately she’s finding life meaningless, and feeling unfulfilled and generally depressed. She’s also immortal, which makes changes in her life incredibly hard to instigate. Her old foe Madame Atom shows up with an offer: she can show Caroline a way to escape from eternal life, but she’ll need to destroy the world first. This is the latest book from DC’s fabulous, sadly on hiatus mature-reader imprint Young Animal.

Doom Patrol, Vol. 2: Nada, by Gerard Way, Nick Derington, Tom Fowler, Michael Allred, Tamra Bonvillain, Dan McDaid, and Laura Allred
In grand Doom Patrol tradition, the second volume of the relaunched strange superhero team-up series brilliantly brings the weirdness. Lotion the cat is back, in more or less human shape, and has developed an attraction to his former owner Casey. Meanwhile, everyone’s eating the new animal-free meal alternative S**t, about which Cliff has his suspicions. All the threads lead back to Mister Nobody and his new Brotherhood of Nada.

Rick and Morty, Vol. 8, by Kyle Starks, Tini Howard, Josh Trujillo, Rii Abrego, and Marc Ellerby
Thank goodness for comics to keep us swimming in Rick and Morty juices (er…) during the long, long hiatus between seasons. Writer Kyle Starks has impressively captured the voices of the characters and replicated the rude sci-fi tone of the show. The latest trade collection includes an appropriately depressing spotlight on Jerry, a gothic vampire-hunting adventure, and Rick turning into all sorts of stuff, not just pickles.

Immortal Hulk, Vol. 1: Or is he Both?, by Al Ewing, Joe Bennett, Ruy Jose, and Paul Mounts
This series has been one of Marvel’s buzziest this year, as Bruce Banner returns to the land of the living—but not alone. Drawing on the character’s long history, the team behind the book have created a full-on horror story, in which the Hulk is the scariest thing of all. The twists and turns are jaw-dropping, with each chapter building dramatically on the one before.

Giant Days: Early Registration, by John Allison
The mega-popular Giant Days series started as a self-published collection of stories, and those early installments haven’t really been widely available since the book went Boom—until now. This collection tells of the freshman-year first meeting between Esther, Susan, and Daisy, and reveals how they became friends. This is a fun look at the nascent days of an established hit, and a chance for fans to explore the origins of their favorite characters.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 12: The Reckoning, by Joss Whedon, Christos Gage, Georges Jeanty, and Karl Story
The Reckoning marks the conclusion of the long-running, five “season” canon continuation of the Buffy television show, and with both comics and TV reboots in the works, that might mean this is the end of the road for the original Scooby gang. After a year-long time jump, Buffy and friends encounter a threat from the future: Harth, vampire sibling to post-apocalyptic slayer Fray, who already knows exactly how everything turns out (no spoilers!).

Wayward, Vol. 6: Bound to Fate, by Jim Zub, Steven Cumminga, Tamra Bonvillian, Marshall Dillon, and Zack Davisson
Speaking of Buffy, the Slayer’s spirit lives on in Jim Zub and Steven Cummings’ Wayward, which follows a group of teens fighting mythical monsters in Japan. Ireland-to-Tokyo transplant Rori Lane has made friends and defeated hordes of supernatural enemies during her time as a monster hunter, and it’s all been leading up to this final volume, in which Rori faces her ultimate ending—which turns out to be a new beginning, of sorts. It feels like the right sendoff for this coming-of-age tale, but we’re sad to see it go all the same.

Memorabilia, by Sergio Ponchione
In the wake of the loss of comics and pop culture giant Stan Lee, here’s a chance to appreciate the lives and work of other titans of the medium. Here, Sergio Pinchione brings to life the stories offive of the all-time greats: Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby, Wallace Wood, Will Eisner, and Richard Corben. Ponchione illustrates their lives, blending biographical details with characters from the worlds each created.

The Flutter Collection, by Jennie Wood and Jeff McComsey
Jennie Wood’s Flutter trilogy is collected here for the first time, ofering a perfect way to read a deservedly lauded series. The story revolves around 15-year-old Lily, a girl who struggles with her attraction to other girls—and then develops the ability to shape-shift into a guy named Jessie, a popular quarterback. Chaos ensues as Lily struggles to find her own identity and realizes the dangers of pretending to be someone she’s not.

Now #5: The New Comics Anthology, by Nick Thorburn, Eric Reynolds, Ana Galvan, and Roman Muradov
This economical anthology series has won acclaim for presenting top-tier self-contained stories from new and established comic talents. Each volume includes brand new tales, and this features work from Theo Ellsworth, DRT, DW, Ana Galvan, Maggie Umber, Eroyn Franklin. Roman Muradov, Jose Quintanar, Walt Holcombe, Walker Tate, Keren Katz, Darin Shuler, Jesse Reklaw, and Nick Thorburn. Freed from the constraints of an extended run, it’s exciting to see what they’ve come up with.

New Challengers (New Age of Heroes), by Scott Snyder, Aaron Gillespie, V Ken Marion, and Andy Kubert
DC’s New Age of Heroes promises a reinvention of some classic characters and teams spinning out of the Dark Knights: Metal event. Here, Batman regular Snyder and Andy Kubert join forces for a new take on the Challengers of the Unknown, a bunch of misfits lead by a mysterious “Professor” who’s tasked them with locating a group of strange artifacts before a rival team gets to them first, with the fate of the world at stake (naturally).

Venom by Donny Cates, Vol. 1: Rex, by Donny Cates, Ryan Stegman, JP Mayer, and Frank Martin
As the latest chapter of Venom’s anti-heroic life begins, Eddie Brock is a complete mess, living in a flophouse with an increasingly unstable symbiote. Before long, space dragons and cosmic gods connected to the symbiote’s alien origins show up to threaten New York. This story takes place on a massive scale, but, like the recent film, keeps the focus on the very dysfunctional relationship between Eddie and his bloodthirsty symbiotic pal, making it a good onboarding point for fans won over by the year’s most touching cinematic love story.

Aquaman: The Search for Mera Deluxe Edition, by Steve Skeates and Jim Aparo
The upcoming movie makes for a pretty good excuse to revisit one of Aquaman’s best runs (and, yes, he’s had some great ones) with this new edition of 1968’s Search for Mera. Plots and sub-plots weave in and out of this complicated narrative, which sees the Queen of Atlantis drugged and kidnapped and Aquaman on the hunt to rescue her. It’s no easy task: a shifty politician soon moves in to consolidate power in Atlantis, while Arthur’s arch-nemesis Black Manta makes his own plans take advantage of the situation. Jim Aparo stellar art looks as fresh as ever.

Mera: Queen of Atlantis, by Dan Abnett and Lan Medina
Speaking of Mera: in her solo book from Abnett and Medina, the Queen-in-exile Era of Atlantis Era fights to keep the peace between Atlantis and the surface world as civil war rages below the surface. While that’s going on, Aquaman’s brother Orm returns to claim the throne of Atlantis, leading to a clash between Mere and Ocean Master for the fate of the undersea world.

Star Wars, Vol. 9: Hope Dies, by Kieron Gillen, Salvador Larroca, and GURU-eFX
Including the landmark 50th issue of Marvel’s series, this volume finds the Alliance’s greatest victory so far—the liberation of Mon Cala—trumped by a shocking betrayal: Queen Trios of Sho-Torun has sabotaged the fleet’s ships, leaving them defenseless against an Imperial onslaught. Couple with Larroca’s dynamic art, Darth Vader writer Kieron Gillen’s run on the main series has kept this book one of the best things about the new Expanded Universe.

Daredevil: Back in Black, Vol. 7: Mayor Murdock, by Charles Soule and Mike Henderson
For almost two decades, Daredevil has transitioned from one brilliant, game-changing creative team after another. Charles Soule and company are but the latest and, as their run nears an end, things are reaching a fever pitch in Matt Murdock’s New York City. Daredevil’s plan to take down mayor Wilson Fisk failed, but a deadly ambush by the Hand does his work for him. With Fisk on the defensive, Matt gathers a team of allies… who might turn out to be more dangerous than the Kingpin himself.

Doctor Strange by Mark Waid, Vol. 1: Across the Universe, by Mark Waid and Jesus Saiz
Waid and Saiz take over, ushering in a new era for the Doc: the Eye of Agamatto has closed, and Stephen cut off from Earth’s magical forces. With new nightmares trying to break through to our reality, he seeks out the help of Tony Stark and sets out into space to find new powers and new allies. It’s a fun new spin on the Sorcerer Supreme.

All Marvel, DC, and Image titles are buy two, get the third free at Barnes & Noble through January 14, 2019.

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