Make a Solicit Check: Best of December 2016 Solicitations

There are many comics coming out every month, so it’s easy to lose track of promising new releases. That’s why we here at Critical Writ have started "Make a Solicit Check" – a monthly column devoted to the most inspiring announcements.

This month: we deck the halls with boughs of holly (fa la la la la, la la la la). Along the way celebrate a long running comic, and get an unexpected return from one of the greats.

12. So This Is Christmas...

It’s that time of the year again, where every company tries to capitalize on the holiday cheer and get the poor shmucks to buy the festive-themed editions of their product. Comic publishers aren’t any different – they’ve got special one-shot issues to tempt you with. DC will release its Rebirth Holiday Special, feature holiday-themed short stories by Paul Dini, Cullen Bunn, Tim Seeley, James Tynion IV, Vita Ayala, Steve Orlando and more – which will be out on December 14.

Meanwhile Marvel, probably trying to compensate for not being part of what’s at this column’s number one spot, will release two seasonal comics. First is their apparently annual now Gwenpool Holiday Special, this year titled Merry Mix-Up, with stories by Gwenpool writer Christopher Hastings, Ryan North, Nick Kocher and more. Next up is a special issue of Power Man and Iron Fist, Sweet Christmas Annual #1, written by David F. Walker and drawn by Scott Hepburn, where Danny will try to get Luke out of the holiday blues. The Gwenpool special will be out on December 14, while the Luke Cage and Iron Fist one on December 21.

And finally, Boom! Studios will release a special one-shot issue of Klaus, Grant Morrison and Dana Mora’s recently finished Santa Claus origin story. Titled Klaus and the Witch of Winter #1, it will be out on December 21 and feature Santa battling the Snow Queen. Presumably not Elsa.

11. Are You Ready to Rock?!

Rockstars #1 – Joe Harris, Megan Hutchison (Image)

Joe Harris (Snowfall, The X-Files) teams up with a debuting artist, Megan Hutchison, to bring an ongoing where every story arc will feature a new crime connected to a different period in rock ‘n roll history. In this opening story arc, the comic’s stars, rock nerd Jackie Mayer and music writer Dorothy Buell, join forces after a pattern of unsolved groupie murders from the 1970s resumes in modern day LA.

Rockstars #1 is set to be released on December 14.

10. The Mighty Has Fallen

The Mighty Captain Marvel #0 – Margaret Stohl, Ramon Rosanas (Marvel)

Carol Danvers has had a hell of a year, both in the Marvel universe and in terms of character derailment she had to undergo for the horrendous Civil War II to take off. Luckily, Margaret Stohl, the writer of Black Widow: Forever Red, is here to play damage control. Joining her in this prelude to her 2017 Captain Marvel run is Ramon Rosanas, whom you might recognize from Nick Spencer’s stellar Astonishing Ant-Man.

The Mighty Captain Marvel #0 is set to be released on December 21.

09. Happy Anniversary

Astro City #41 – Kurt Busiek, Brent Anderson (DC/Vertigo)

Kurt Busiek’s Astro City is one of the the superhero comics. First published at Image and since moved to DC’s Vertigo imprint, this affectionate, constantly amazing and thoughtful re-imagining of the entirety of superhero comics will be celebrating its 100th issue. For that occasion, Kurt Busiek will take us in this 40-page issue to the very origin of the setting’s name, and the city’s most revered hero the Astro-Naut.

Astro City #41 will be out on December 21.

08. May the [TOP SECRET] Be With You

Star Wars: Classified #1-2 – Kieron Gillen, Kev Walker (Marvel)

In my personal opinion, Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larocca’s Darth Vader is the best ongoing Star Wars series Marvel has been putting out since the start of 2015. So the news that the former is starting a new series set in the universe will fill a hole that will be left in my heart by that comic’s end with issue 25 (out on October 12). Other that that, and the fact that Kev Walker will provide the art, I have no idea what to expect. Is it a Doctor Aphra and the droids spin-off? Will it focus on the Punisher-like former Rebel spy Gillen introduced in the Star Wars annual? We’ll have to wait and see.

Star Wars: Classified issues 1 and 2 will be out, respectively, on December 7 and 21.

07. We Used to Be Friends, a Long Time Ago

Hawkeye #1 – Kelly Thompson, Leonardo Romero (Marvel)

The fallout from the despicable Civil War II continues. This time Kate Bishop, one of the Hawkeyes (or, in some circles, the Hawkeye) decides she needs a break from the rest of superhero community and moves to L.A., just like in Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye run. While her primary reason is a personal case she’s interested in solving, she ends opening her own P.I. business, becoming pretty much the superheroic version of Veronica Mars. Hopefully with her lovable partner, Lucky the Pizza Dog.

Written by Kelly Thompson (A-Force, Jem and the Holograms), drawn by Leonardo Romero and colored by the superb Jordie Bellaire, Hawkeye #1 is set to be released on December 14.

06. Not a Prank

Reggie and Me – Tom DeFalco, Sandy Jarrell (Archie Comics)

Forget Thanos and Darkseid. Forget the Punisher and Bullseye. The evilest character in comic book history is finally getting an ongoing comic and his name is Reggie Mantle. Okay, I might be exaggerating by a degree, but he's definitely a contender for Riverdale's biggest jerk. December 7th will mark the beginning of his first solo series in the new Archie universe, penned by Tom DeFalco and drawn by Sandy Jarell, Kelly Fitzpatrick, and Jack Morelli. I have to admit, I don't know a lot about those artists, but I will do research on them. As for Mr. DeFalco, judging from his years scribing stories for Mayday Parker, he can definitely write teens. (Zachary)

05. Hit It

Motor Crush #1 – Brendan Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, Babs Tarr (Image)

The Fletcher/Stewart/Tarr run on Batgirl was, minus a few smaller or bigger missteps (i.e. the Dagger Type issue), a success. And now they’re bring their electric style to their very own Image title. Motor Crush will star Domino Swift, racer in an international motorcycle racing league by day, member of a biker gang by night. In her nocturnal alter-ego she fights in gang wars over the rarest of contrabands: an engine-boosting "machine narcotic”, Crush.

Motor Crush #1 is set to be released on December 7.

04. Hooked on a Feeling

You probably can’t tell, but I’m very excited. Bendis’s run on Guardians of the Galaxy was a frustrating mediocrity, so news of his actual final story arc fill me with hope that the next run will end up being actually fun and compelling. But what’s especially good news, and the main reason for this entry, is the new comics starring each of the Guardians. First, Matthew Rosenberg and Jorge Coelho take on Rocket Raccoon and his attempts to skip the backwater world known as Earth. Second, comedy star Chip Zdarsky with artist and superhero fashion expert Kris Anka will have Star-Lord deal with having to live as a regular Earth guy after years of space adventures. And finally (in more ways than one), Nicole Pearlman and artist Marco Checchetto will chronicle in their long, long, long-awaited comic Gamora’s days before joining the team, showing us how she became the Deadliest Woman in the Galaxy.

Rocket Raccoon #1 is set to be released on December 28. Star-Lord #1 and Gamora #1 are set to be published on December 21.


Locke & Key: Small World – Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez, Jay Fotos (IDW)

It’s back! One of the best horror/urban fantasy comics ever is back! Written by Joe Hill and drawn by Gabriel Rodriguez, Locke & Key told the story of three Locke siblings, moving after a violent death of their father into Keyhouse, the old family manor located in Lovecraft, Massachusetts. They quickly discover the house holds a secret no adult knows about (which is explained in the series): it has many keys with magical properties. One can change the user’s physical sex. Another can reveal their mind by opening their head in half. This amazing story of Keyhouse ended in 2013, but the beauty of Locke & Key is that the house’s long history, stretching to American Revolution, has many gaps that can be filled by the creators at their leisure. Which is what they’re doing three years after the series finale with Locke & Key: Small World. It’s a true Christmas miracle.

02. Double the Mariko, Double the Fun

Supergirl: Being Super #1 – Mariko Tamaki, Joelle Jones (DC)

Hulk – Mariko Tamaki, Nico Leon (Marvel)

Mariko Tamaki is awesome. And now the co-creator of Ignatz and Eisner Award-winning graphic novel This One Summer is beginning her mainstream career at both Marvel and DC in the same month. The first comic is a miniseries about Supergirl, unrelated to the main DC universe. It will tell a story of a teenage Kara Danvers overcoming her anxieties and becoming the heroine we know her as. Drawn by the amazing Lady Killer and Helheim artist Joelle Jones, Supergirl: Being Super #1 will come out on December 28.

In a mirror opposite of her DC title, Tamaki’s Marvel ongoing sounds like it’ll be darker in tone, showing Jennifer Walters, a.k.a. the Sensational She-Hulk, dealing with the aftermath of the abominable Civil War II. Titled Hulk and drawn by Nico Leon, it’s set to be released on December 28.

1. Love Survives

Love Is Love - Phil Jimenez, Cat Staggs, Steve Orlando, Dennis Cowen, Paul Dini, Ming Doyle, Brian Michael Bendis, Emma Vicelli, Ed Luce, Kieron Gillen, Jay Edidin etc. (DC/IDW)

Earlier this year we were all shocked and angered by the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida— the biggest and most violent hate crime aimed at the LGBTQIA* community in the USA. Now, DC and IDW join forces for a special one-shot issue remembering this tragedy. Organized by writer Marc Andreyko, this 144-page project will feature over 100 short stories (1-2 pages long) commemorating LGBTQIA* superheroes from DC and the loss of life in Orlando, written by writers and celebrities like Patton Oswalt, Olivier Coipel and Phil Jimenez. It will also feature pinups like the above Batwoman pin-up by Rafael Albuquerque. The one-shot will retail with a $10 price, and all proceeds will go to Equality Florida’s fund for victims and survivors of the Orlando shooting.

Dominik Zine is a nerdy lad from northeastern Poland and is generally found in a comfy chair with a book in hand.

Zachary Krishef is an evil genius. Do not question his knowledge of Saturday Night Live trivia or Harry Potter books.