Can’t Wait for Comics | ‘S.W.O.R.D.,’ ‘Home Sick Pilots,’ ‘Avengers’ and more

New comics arrive this week from Cullen Bunn, Kurt Busiek, Ben Dewey, Al Ewing, Valerio Schitti, Zeb Wells, Fred Van Lente, Ryan Dunlavey and more.

Once again, we take a look at what’s arriving in comic shops, bookstores and on digital this week, with a tour that stretches from Marvel’s prehistoric past to a pair of haunted houses to the end of the DC universe — and several points in between.

If you’re wondering what to get this week, check out a few recommendations below. ComicList has this week’s list of new comics arriving in stores, and the comiXology new releases page for what’s available digitally.

Avengers #39 kicks off a major new storyline featuring The Phoenix, as Jason Aaron is joined by Dale Keown to tell the story from One Million B.C.E. This feels like something that Aaron has been building up to since he took over writing the Avengers.

Batman: Black and White, the popular series from the 1990s that featured rotating creators telling stories about Batman, his friends and his foes in black and white, returns for another run this week. This first issue features five stories:

  • James Tynion IV and Tradd Moore explore the world of Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Assassins
  • J.H. Williams III returns to DC Comics for a trip through the Dark Knight’s history
  • Emma Rios explores the eternal struggle of the Dark Knight
  • Paul Dini and Andy Kubert pit Batman against an infestation of ninja Man-Bats in the Batcave
  • G. Willow Wilson and Greg Smallwood portray Batman in his strangest standoff ever with Killer Croc

Cullen Bunn and Nelson Blake II team up for a new title from AWA Upshot, Byte Sized. It’s a Christmas tale, so it’s timely, but don’t expect it to be merry — it’s about two toy robots unwrapped by two siblings that are actually self-aware. And one of them is bad.

Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey crowdfunded the latest edition of their “Comic Book History” series earlier this year, as they turned to cover the animation industry in the same way they have other non-fiction topics — philosophers, presidents and the comic industry, for instance. Now IDW is releasing it as a comics series, with the first of five issues coming out this week.

This is another Dark Nights: Death Metal tie in, and another anthology, to boot. It features stories by Mark Waid, Gail Simone, Scott Snyder, Jeff Lemire, Francis Manapul, Travis Moore and many more, with the theme of showing what various heroes are doing in their final hours before the big battle with the Batman Who Laughs. Why yes, that is Mark Waid’s name in the prior sentence, making a rare appearance in a DC comic …

If the “end of the world” theme of the previous DC anthology has you down, never fear — DC’s Very Merry Multiverse is just the thing to lift your spirits. This is one of DC’s annual holiday specials, featuring stories of multiversal merryment by Ivan Cohen, Jay Baruchel, Tom King, John Layman, Keith Giffen, Steve Lieber and more.

Earlier this year Zeb Wells and Gurihiru created a series of webcomics for Marvel, featuring their characters adapting to life during the pandemic. If you’re curious to see what Spider-Man, Hulk, Captain Marvel, Wolverine, Black Panther and Captain America have been doing in quarantine, this one’s for you.

This new Image title, Home Sick Pilots, is described as “Power Rangers meets The Shining.” Which is really the only selling point I need. It’s by Dan Watters and Caspar Wijngaard, and it’s about a punk singer trapped inside a walking haunted house.

Christmas comes early, as Kurt Busiek and Ben Dewey team up once again for a tie in to the current Marvel event, King in Black. Featuring Teen Namor, Teen Dorma and Teen Attuma, and the debut of The Swift Riders, the Atlantean Empire’s greatest heroes. Or at least they were, as this is set in the past and somehow ties into King in Black, so I kind of suspect things may not end well for them …

Speaking of haunted houses and Cullen Bunn, this prestige format one-shot comes out from AfterShock Comics and features artwork by Szymon Kudranski. In Piecemeal, a group of kids discover a brain in a jar inside the Nightmare House, a local urban legend — and that brain wants a body.

Even though X of Swords wrapped up, Marvel is staying in the sword business with S.W.O.R.D. The new series featuring Abigail Brand, Cable, Magneto and several other mutants in cosmic adventures by the team of Al Ewing and Valerio Schitti.

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