Can’t Wait for Comics | Should auld acquaintance be forgot

New comics arrive in the last week of the year by Ron Marz, Andy Lanning, Christopher Cantwell, Salvador Larroca, Magdalene Visaggio, Matt Furie, James Stokoe, Howard Mackie, Javier Saltares, Colleen AF Venable, Stephanie Yu and more.

The last week of the year is traditionally a light week, volume wise, for comics, and this week is no exception. Not that there aren’t plenty of reasons to head to your local comic shop this Wednesday, as you’ll see below. And if you’re lucky, maybe they’ll be having an end-of-year sale.

Here’s a look at what’s arriving in comic shops, bookstores and on digital this week. Check out a few recommendations below, or visit ComicList for this week’s list of new comics arriving in stores, and the comiXology new releases page for what’s available digitally.

Dark Nights: Death Metal has almost reached its end, but before we get to next week’s issue #7, we have this week’s Dark Nights: Death Metal The Last 52: War of the Multiverses. This is the one where everyone and the kitchen sink engages in one last battle against the Batman Who Laughs for the fate of everything. It’s an anthology featuring work by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Rob Guillory, Joshua Williamson, Alex Maleev, Pop Mhan and many others.

Just as Death Metal prepares for its final performance, so does another DC crossover — Endless Winter, the nine-part Justice League crossover written by Ron Marz and Andy Lanning that ran through December. Justice League: Endless Winter #2 wraps things up for our heroes, as they have a big showdown with the Frost King.

Get ready for one more round of “ho ho ho” this year. On the Marvel front, King in Black continues on with what looks like a fun crossover — a Dr. Doom/Iron Man team-up written by Christopher Cantwell (who knows both characters very well at this point) with art by Salvador Larroca. And it’s a Christmas (Knull-mas?) story, to boot, featuring a “horrifying inversion of yuletide joy.”

Here’s a rare treat — James Tynion IV writes the origin story for The Clownhunter, the vigilante who swung a big bat during the “Joker War” crossover event, and the very awesome James Stokoe returns to pencil, ink and color it in Batman Annual #5. Stokoe previously drew a Clownhunter story for Batman: The Joker War Zone #1 anthology, but this time around he’s drawing the full 35-page story.

Marvel’s been on a pretty deep nostalgia trip over the last couple years, bringing back characters like Maestro and reuniting them with their creators (In Maestro’s case, Peter David). And here’s another one. Children of the 1990s likely remember Vengeance, the more “extreme” version of Ghost Rider with a somewhat tragic origin story. Now he’s back in a new miniseries, Ghost Rider: Return Of Vengeance. It’s by Howard Mackie and Javier Saltares, who are known for their work on the Danny Ketch era of Ghost Rider.

Jinny Hex, whose family tree includes a certain famous cowboy from the DC universe, breaks out of the (now canceled) Young Justice into her own one-shot, by Magdalene Visaggio and Gleb Melnikov. In it, she goes up against a new foe named Three-Eyed Jack, who transports her home town to the Old West.

Avengers #40 by Jason Aaron and Javier Garron kicks off a new storyline featuring the Phoenix, which not only will feature a bunch of Marvel characters vying to become the Phoenix in some sort of competition, but also ties into the “ancient Avengers” storyline that’s been a running subplot in the book since Aaron took over.

Wolverine #9, according to the solicits, marks the 350th issue of “the solo adventures of Wolverine.” Thus, we get an oversized issue featuring the return of Maverick by Benjamin Percy, Adam Kubert and Viktor Bogdanovic to celebrate. I have to wonder what made up those 350 issues — does it include miniseries, like the first, classic four-issue one by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller? What about specials, as Wolverine had many of those? Or does it just include issues of an ongoing series? I’m sure someone somewhere has a list …

The new Avatar movies are still happening at some point, despite countless delays. If you’re curious what happened on Pandora after the first movie, Dark Horse is publishing this four-issue miniseries, subtitled “The Next Shadow” by Jeremy Barlow and Josh Hood. It’s about Jake and his life among the Na’vi.

Colleen AF Venable and Stephanie Yu have teamed up before on several editions of the children’s book series Guinea Pig, Pet Shop Private Eye, and now they’re back together for a new kid’s graphic novel — Katie the Catsitter. It’s about a girl who cat sits for her upstairs neighbor, who may or may not be a super villain.

This graphic novel is a tie-in to WolfWalkers, a new movie coming to Apple TV. In it, the daughter of a wolf hunter in Ireland meets a girl who was raised by wolves, literally, so … you can see the conflict. Sam Sattin adapts the story by Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart, who created the animated film.

Matt Furie and his creation, Pepe the Frog, have had quite the journey, as documented in the Feels Good Man documentary. Now he’s back with a new book of paintings, Mindviscosity, featuring his surreal anthropomorphic creations. “This is a showcase for an unsettling menagerie; creatures seem to be hiding their true intentions,” the description reads. “Furie is plumbing darker depths in these works, despite the paintings’ inviting colors and friendly cartoon iconography.” This was originally supposed to come out in September, but a printing error pushed it back to this week.

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