X-Force, Superior Spider-Man & More in Required Reading: Comics for 12/26/2018

Comics Lists Required Reading
X-Force, Superior Spider-Man & More in Required Reading: Comics for 12/26/2018

Merry Christmas Eve, if you’re actually clicking this article on the day it was published! Worry not—this cheerful Paste writer typed these words last week, and scheduled the post in advance. While 12/26 is technically a New Comic Book Day, most publishers have opted to ship nada, nothing, zip on this final Wednesday before 2019, or just a few trades of existing material. Only reliable Marvel Comics is treating this week like a semi-regular publishing opportunity, so you’ll have to forgive us for cutting the list at just five entries, four of them from or related to the House of Ideas. That’s all the preamble we can muster—Santa is waiting! If you brave your local comic shop on the 26th, consider picking up something from one of our Best of 2018 lists to help justify them opening the doors the day after Christmas, eh?

STL102482.jpgFantastic Four #5
Writer: Dan Slott
Artists: Aaron Kuder, Adam Hughes, Mike Allred
Publisher: Marvel Comics
As we wrote in our list of The 10 Best Superhero Comics of 2018, Dan Slott is a splendid fit for Marvel’s First Family, and he, along with original artist Sara Pichelli and assisting talent Nico Leon, launched this long-awaited Fantastic Four return with one of the most heartwarming arcs the Richards clan has ever seen. In just a few issues, new codenames have been adopted, proposals have been made and accepted and elders of the universe have been defeated (for now). In this week’s fifth issue, also cover-marked #650 for legacy-numbering purposes, longtime flames Ben Grimm and Alicia Masters finally tie the knot. Given how 2018’s two widely advertised superhero marriages went down—one called off, the other cancelled mid-ceremony and replaced with a shotgun union from two other characters—it’s actually quite nice to end the year on a successful wedding, which Marvel has repeatedly reassured is actually happening this time (fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me; fool me three times…). Artist Aaron Kuder joins the oversized, $7.99 spectacle to kick off his participation in the next arc, and he shared this space with living legends Adam Hughes and Mike Allred. Steve Foxe

STL100109.jpgGreen Arrow: War of the Clans Essential Edition
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Andrea Sorrentino
Publisher: DC Comics
DC Comics may not be shipping any new comics this week, but they are releasing a handful of trade collections, including this Essential Edition collecting the second massive arc of Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino’s Green Arrow revival from a few years ago. Lemire and Sorrentino are now conjuring beautiful black magic together in the pages of Gideon Falls, but Green Arrow was the book that cemented their partnership. While this volume technically takes place during the New 52 era, its grim stakes coupled with Sorrentino’s shadow-drenched artwork, should endear it to fans across the GA spectrum, from current readers to Arrow viewers and even to vintage Ollie followers who’ll get a kick out of how Lemire and Sorrentino re-imagine some classic supporting characters. Steve Foxe

STL102164.jpgMarvel Action: Avengers #1
Writer: Matthew K. Manning
Artist: Jon Sommariva
Publisher: IDW Publishing
The second volley in IDW Publishing’s young-readers licensed Marvel Comics hits shelves this week, focusing on the most iconic members of the Avengers. Matthew K. Manning and Jon Sommariva, both veterans of IDW’s TMNT/Batman crossover efforts, take on Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye in adventures that should be appropriate for younger fans of the characters’ MCU exploits. While IDW’s Spider-Man title seemed tailor-made for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse timing, Marvel Action: Avengers looks to be totally free of Thanos and his big ‘ole glove, which means adults can hand this one to kids without having to explain why anyone is dissipating into dust. Steve Foxe

STL103007.jpgSuperior Spider-Man #1
Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Mike Hawthorne
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Maybe it’s because we’re just too excited about Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse or maybe it’s because Nick Spencer, Ryan Ottley and Humberto Ramos’ Amazing Spider-Man series has found success with a more streamlined take, but Spider-Geddon seems to be a bit of a forgotten event. Christos Gage, who frequently guested throughout Dan Slott’s long tenure with Peter Parker, took the reigns of Spider-Geddon, yet even when it was a catalyst for launching a new Spider-Gwen series, this second go-around with the concept of multiversal Spider-heroes didn’t seem to stick. If you did love the arachnid hijinks, or just miss the Otto Octavius Spider-Man from Slott’s series, good news: this week Gage and artist Mike Hawthorne launch a solo series for the Superior Spider-Man, spinning out of Spider-Geddon. The solicit text promises an “intense and heartbreaking” story, but we’ll settle for Otto plying his signature smarmy, self-serving brand of heroism. Steve Foxe

STL103012.jpgX-Force #1
Writer: Ed Brisson
Artist: Dylan Burnett
Publisher: Marvel Comics
We had complicated feelings about how Extermination handled the fate of one teen X-Man in particular, but that debatable decision doesn’t change the fact that Ed Brisson and Pepe Larraz’ X-event was one of the strongest in recent memory. This week, Brisson is back, teaming with Cosmic Ghost Rider’s Dylan Burnett for a brand-new, all-old take on X-Force. Like much of the current X-Men line, this X-Force is doubling down on nostalgia, jettisoning the black-ops assassination-squad concept attached to the title for the last decade and making a return to (most of) the original ‘90s cast, brighter costumes and a focus on Cable and his time-travel hijinks. With the older Cable dead, this X-Force has his killer in their targets. Unfortunately, older Cable’s killer is…younger Cable. Comics, everybody! Burnett absolutely killed it on Cosmic Ghost Rider and Brisson’s work on Extermination and Old Man Logan put him in a great position to capture the essence of the original X-Force run with slightly more internal logic at play. Steve Foxe

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