COMICS TO FEAST ON: Week Of December 14th 2011

Nothing says Jesus’ birthday quite like a big steamy pile of horror comics! If you’ve still got some brutal holiday shopping left to do for that comic lover in your life, this is your week, with loads of new trades heading your way. This week brings on the first ish del Toro’s brand new book THE STRAIN, the newest trade of THE WALKING DEAD, and last but certainly not least, the WITCH DOCTOR collected edition. Read on for the skinny…

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With the ever-increasing number of books coming out between the tie-ins, the crossovers, and the new series, we’ve got to limit our lists for the week somehow. Rather than cramming so many previews down your throat that you barely breathe, we present you with our ten most anticipated books of the week. So feast your eyes on these! Whether you’ve been into comics since you were a young’un, or you’re new to the game, we’re here to help you decide which books to pick up.

Carnage USA #1 (of 5)

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WRITTEN BY: Zeb Wells
ILLUSTRATED BY: Clayton Crain
PUBLISHER: Marvel
PRICE: $3.99

The Low Down: “Spider-Man and the Avengers must go on a brutal hunt to capture Cletus Kasaday before a small town in the American heartland falls under his mass-murdering spell!”

The Feast: Carnage is back! Zeb Wells has been killing it with his Spider stories, and now he’s bringing back Cletus Kasaday, something fans have been demanding for a long time. Carnage was last seen (before Wells’ series earlier this year) in 2004 when The Sentry tore him asunder. Well he’s not dead apparently, and he’s probably going to kill a bunch of people and look awesome while doing it. Now, if we could only get him and venom together…

The Strain #1

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WRITTEN BY: David Lapham, Guillero del Toro, and Chuck Hogan
ILLUSTRATED BY: Mike Huddlesto
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse
PRICE: $1.00

The Low Down: “When a Boeing 777 lands at JFK International Airport and goes dark on the runway, the Center for Disease Control, fearing a terrorist attack, calls in Dr. Ephraim Goodweather and his team of expert biological-threat first responders. Only an elderly pawnbroker from Spanish Harlem suspects a darker purpose behind the event-an ancient threat intent on covering mankind in darkness.”

The Feast: Guillero del Toro is like sooo hot right now. We all know his love for comics from his Hellboy and Blade film adaptations, and now we get to see him work his magic in a comic adaptation of his debut novel, The Strain. Though the vampire premise may seem all too familiar, del Toro has a certain ability to draw out the originality in anything. For the $1.00 cover price, it’s a real steal (note: this is not a reference to that terrible movie “Real Steel”).

Witch Doctor Vol. 1: Under the Knife

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WRITTEN BY: Brandon Seifert
ILLUSTRATED BY: Lukas Ketner
PUBLISHER: Image
PRICE: $12.99

The Low Down: “Meet Dr. Vincent Morrow, the Witch Doctor, in the smash hit debut title from Robert Kirkman’s Skybound Originals line! Dr. Morrow’s looking for a vaccine – for the apocalypse – and in his quest to understand the biology of the supernatural, he faces vampires, demonic possession, faeries and more.”

The Feast: We absolutely love this series. Witch Doctor is everything a horror comic should be and more. Skybound needs to expand this into an ongoing series as quickly as possible unless Robert Kirman wants us to show up at his door with pitchforks and torches. If you didn’t get a chance to read the single issues, you’ll want to pick up this trade.

American Vampire #21

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WRITTEN BY: Scott Snyder
ILLUSTRATED BY: Jordi Bernet
PUBLISHER: Vertigo
PRICE: $2.99

The Low Down: “As “Beast in the Cave” concludes, the beast is finally unleashed! Plus: James Book and Skinner Sweet’s friendship is severed; setting in motion the events that would change their lives forever.”

The Feast: Issue #21 brings on the final issue in the “Beast in the Cave” arc, which has strayed quite far from the rest of the series, venturing far back into Skinner Sweet’s enigmatic past. With the amazon vampire beast now let loose, things are going to get bloody, and as we all know by know, Snyder has a god-sent gift for finishing of a story arc.

Batwoman #4

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WRITTEN BY: J.H. Williams III and Haden Blackman
ILLUSTRATED BY: J.H. Williams III
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $2.99

The Low Down: “Blood drenches the back alleys of Gotham City in Part four of “Hydrology” – and Batwoman’s life begins to burn!”

The Feast: It baffles and amazes me how Williams III is able to come up with the page layouts for Batwoman. They are so innovative, so stylish, so edgy that it actually puts nearly every other book out there to shame. However it’s not only the incredible art that makes this book incredible. Batwoman is one of the strongest characters to come out of the New 52, and this story arc successfully combines elements of romance, horror, and action.

Vertigo: First Blood #1

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WRITTEN BY: Various
ILLUSTRATED BY: Various
PUBLISHER: Vertigo
PRICE: $7.99

The Low Down: “Don’t miss this value-priced reprint of four hot debut issues from Vertigo: AMERICAN VAMPIRE #1, iZOMBIE #1, THE UNWRITTEN #1 and SWEET TOOTH #1!”

The Feast: Not really sure why they decided to call this one First Blood given that only one of these titles is a real horror story, but nonetheless it collects some of the best books to come out of Vertigo in the past two years. If you’re looking for a cheap gift for someone who you probably aren’t that close with but you know loves comics, this is it.

Severed #5

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WRITTEN BY: Scott Snyder and Scott Tuft
ILLUSTRATED BY: Attila Futaki
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $2.99

The Low Down: “In 1916, a boy runs away from home in search of his father. But along the way he meets a salesman with sharp teeth and a hunger for flesh. SCOTT SNYDER (American Vampire, Batman, Swamp Thing), SCOTT TUFT and ATTILA FUTAKI (Percy Jackson) are back with 2011’s most terrifying horror series. SEVERED.”

The Feast: We’re hoping that the slow pace of the last few issues will finally pay off this month and lead into some real heavy, gory, gruesome events. Snyder and Tuft have done a tremendous job of pacing this one out and now that they have us on the edge of our seats, it’s time to let the streets run red.

The Walking Dead Vol. 15: We Find Ourselves

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WRITTEN BY: Robert Kirkman
ILLUSTRATED BY: Charlie Adlard
PUBLISHER: Image
PRICE: $14.99

The Low Down: “The events of “No Way Out” have affected everyone in the community, and not everyone has survived to pick up the pieces. Rick and the survivors must now try to pick themselves up and carry in the wake of disaster… and by doing so, they find hope.”

The Feast: If you read the trades this is an exciting week for you, if you don’t, what’s wrong with you? Also, I should mention that this is NOT a good place to jump on board, if you’re going to do it, do it right and start at number one.

Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE #4

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WRITTEN BY: Jeff Lemire
ILLUSTRATED BY: Alberto Ponticelli
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $2.99

The Low Down: “’Monster Planet’ comes to its world-shattering conclusion as Frankenstein and Nina take on the massive Sea Monster, while Lady Frankenstein and the rest of the Creature Commandos go head to head with the colossal Ogre Titan. Plus: Don’t miss the debut of the G.I. Robot Squadron and the new War Wheel!”

The Feast: Lemire is clearly not afraid to bring this book into weird and unconventional places, and that is exactly what makes this book so entertaining. This is vastly different from his other works (Animal Man, Sweet Tooth), it’s not as cynical or dark, and it’s easy to see that this is where he lets himself have some fun.

The Occultist #2

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WRITTEN BY: Tim Seeley
ILLUSTRATED BY: Victor Drujiniu
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse
PRICE: $3.50

The Low Down: “With spell-crazed hit mages and the malevolent serpentine demon known as the Swordbreaker hot on his tail, it’s a steep learning curve for the Occultist, who must master the powerful magic of the Sword-or suffer at the hands of numerous sorcerous enemies. But is our hero wielding this enigmatic weapon, or is it the one in control?”

The Feast: The title pretty much says it all…if you’re a fan of occult stories by the likes of Hellblazer, or Buffy, you’ll dig this bad-boy from Tim Seeley.