First up, the most prominent of all the releases is the 700th issue of Amazing Spider-Man. It is also the last.
As some of you might know (by either reading the book or a comics news site in the last three months) Peter Parker has been having a rather bad time lately. Doc Ock has swapped brains with Peter, only moments before the his own death, leaving Peter with minimal options of escape. Having managed to survive, Peter as Ock, calls on the Sinister Six to aid him in returning his brain to his body. #700 picks up from there, answering the dire question of whether Peter can return his consciousness to his body before the one he’s in gives out. Trust us, True Believers, if you thought the twist ending of AMS #698 was a doozy, your brain with self-destruct over this one. Truly an event that will change the course of the Spider-Man universe for the foreseeable future. And, if you’re the collector type, the issue ships with multiple variant covers by Humberto Ramos, Marcos Martin, and more, each celebrating the many decades of web-slinging that has lead to issue #700.
On the DC front, the first massive crossover between the Justice League and Aquaman series begins, with Justice League #15 and Aquaman #15. Both issues also come with their own variant covers (like the one pictured on the right). And what has drawn these two flagship DC titles together, besides the mutual presence of the King of the Seas? As Aquaman has been away from Atlantis since he was a young boy, his half-brother, the Ocean Master, has ruled in his stead. But now Arthur wants his throne back. This Grecian-esque power struggle will rage across land and sea, drawing in the other heroes and villains of the universe, including the newly created creatures known only as The Trench. As Geoff Johns writes both series, expect a tightly controlled, character-driven event kept lively by sprawling battles.
DC also finishes up another of the terrific Before Watchmen series this week, with Nite Owl #4.
With the big two out of the way, let’s focus on the artistic world of creator-owned independent comics.
And by that I mean a balls-to-the-wall smash’em up extravaganza known as Deathmatch! Written by Paul Jenkins (Sentry, Hellblazer, Thunderbolts), Deathmatch may remind you of the Hunger Games, Battle Royale, Running Man, Civil War, and, oh, possibly that recent Dennis Hopeless title Avengers Arena. Basically, a bunch of superheroes are trapped by a villain of unknown origin and told to murder one another to get free. Not a new concept, but one that will be taken to its most violent conclusion by this series; if Avengers Arena is the character-driven version of this premise, Deathmatch is the gorey, all-fights-all-the-time version. And issue #1 is only a $1.00!!!!
Brian Wood, author of such politically-motivated, socially conscious series as DMZ, Local, and The Massive (Plus the upcoming Star Wars series from Dark Horse), tackles the topic of celebrity worship with his new Image miniseries, Mara. Starring a young woman, who’s already world-famous from her exceptional physical prowess as an athlete, spontaneously manifests superhuman abilities on live television. As the only superpowered individual in the world, Mara immediately becomes the center of global attention. Things don’t play out so well from there.
And that’s the entirety of next week’s comics, folks! Happy holidays!