Major Spoilers Staff Picks for December 12, 2012

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Looking for something to read this week?  Major Spoilers has a number of recommendations for you to check out when you stop by your local comic shop.

AME-COMI GIRLS: FEATURING DUELA DENT #3
Writers: Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti
Artist: Ted Naifeh
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
SOLICITATION: The first time in print for these digital-first adventures!
• Part 3 of the first Ame-Comi story line!
• The origin of the Duela Dent!
• First appearance of Ame-Comi Brainiac!

RODRIGO: Still have not made up my mind about this title. On the one hand it looks really dorky. On the other hand I like really dorky things. Hmmm…

ATOMIC ROBO FLYING SHE DEVILS O/T PACIFIC #5
Writer: Brian Clevinger
Artist: Scott Wegener
Publisher: Red 5 Comics
Cover Price: #3.50
SOLICITATION: This series was intended to be Volume 2. And then Volume 3. Then Volumes 4 through 6. But it was too big and too crazy. We weren’t ready to make it. Maybe we still aren’t, but we got tired of running from it.

ROB: Anything Robo is worth picking up, and this may be an exception in that it is more than worth it. The weird scenario and ridiculous feats Robo is performing make the book fun, but the solid characters and great art make this my favorite title this week.

STEPHEN:  Did the book come out last week, or this week?  I guess it depends on where you live and what gets shipped on time.  Regardless, the final chapter of Atomic Robo: Flying She Devils of the Pacific is going to be a must buy book this week.

AVENGERS ARENA #1
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Artist: Kev Walker
Publisher: Marvel
Cover Price: $2.99
SOLICITATION: Trapped on an isolated island, 16 superhuman young adults (including cult faves like members of the Runaways, The Avengers Academy and Darkhawk) are given a chilling ultimatum by their demented captor: Fight or die…only one will walk out alive! Thus begins a primal battle that will test the skills, stamina and morals of each combatant. Welcome to Murder World, where the secrets are plenty, alliances are fleeting, and the key to victory might be rewriting the rules of the game. Who will survive? The rising star team of Dennis Hopeless (X-MEN: SEASON ONE) and Kev Walker (THUNDERBOLTS) dare you to tune in to your new favorite comic NOW!

MATTHEW:  Could this be a train-wreck?  God, I hope so.  I also hope that some of the many thousands of teenage heroes in the Marvel U come out of this stronger, perhaps even as a new unit, say a group of New Warriors?  Fingers crossed that Klara Prast bites the dust, and that Hazmat doesn’t, and that it’s not too late for Marvel to blatantly steal Hunger Games and have it mean sales.

ZACH: I honestly don’t know about this title. Most of me thinks that this is just a way to show a bunch of characters beat each other to death, but a tiny part says, “Well nothing I have read from Marvel NOW! has disappointed me yet, surely it won’t start here.” If nothing at all I will at least get introduced to a few characters I haven’t seen before.

BATGIRL #15 (DOTF)
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Ed Benes
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
SOLICITATION:
• A “DEATH OF THE FAMILY” tie-in!
• With so many funerals planned, The Joker decides it’s time for a wedding!
• Barbara’s first confrontation with The Joker since he shot her is coming to a horrifying conclusion!

GEORGE: I might have Gail Simone on the mind due to this week’s news, but I enjoyed last month’s Batgirl a good deal. It tied neatly into the Death of the Family storyline, and the last page shocker of The Joker proposing to Batgirl tickled me in the most horrifying of ways. That’s a hell of a way to build anticipation for this month’s issue.

JIMMY: With the unfortunate news that Gail Simone has rather unceremoniously been dumped from this book, every issue that remains of her fantastic story should be cherished. I thought the series started out a little bit rough, but Gail has really rediscovered and redefined a new, younger Barbara for the New 52 era, and her confrontation with the Joker has been a long time coming. Also worth noting is the fact that she appears to have gotten a steady artist after suffering through the artistic upheavals that also plagued Gail’s Birds of Prey before the relaunch. Ed Benes is an artist who I really enjoy, and is a strong match for Gail on Batgirl.

ROB: As long as Gail Simone is writing, I’m reading. Despite the fact that this is a tie-in with books I haven’t been reading, I still enjoy the experience. Add in that Gail will be gone soon and this is more than worth grabbing.

BATMAN #15
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Greg Capulo
Publisher: DC
Cover Price: $3.99
SOLICITATION:
• “DEATH OF THE FAMILY” continues here!
• The Joker’s attacks have taken their toll on Batman and his allies, and now they have to face the impossible.
• The final madness of The Joker’s plan revealed here! Why is he more dangerous now than ever before?
• Plus: In the backup feature, witness The Joker’s confrontation with the Riddler as the horror of The Joker’s plan is revealed.

JIMMY: Death of the Family has been the best Batman story since Batman: RIP, and the best use of the Bat-family-wide crossover since Chuck Dixon was writing every book in the Bat-family. If you aren’t reading this, either you’re as mad as the Joker or you’re just not a Batman fan (which, really, means the former may be true as well). While I’m not quite as high on Capullo’s art as some are, his visual storytelling ability perfectly complements Snyder’s writing.

ZACH: Every month I try to think of a reason why I should try and save the $3.99 and just drop Batman, but then I read that month’s issue and quickly realize I would be insane to stop reading this. Snyder is continually writing engaging main and backup stories that shouldn’t be missed.

BATTLEFIELDS #2 GREEN FIELDS BEYOND PT 2
Writer: Garth Ennis
Artist: Carlos Ezquerra
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Cover Price: $3.99
SOLICITATION: Stiles and Frankie are up against it: trapped on Gloster Hill with a small unit of British soldiers, facing a murderous onslaught by ten thousand Chinese troops. Worse still, they didn’t bring their tank along this time. It’s last man, last round, as the Tankies face their sternest test to date…

GEORGE: There’s something about Garth Ennis when he’s writing a war comic. And that goes double when he’s working with the great Carlos Ezquerra. The first issue was, well, dynamite. The Korean War is incredibly underexplored in fiction, and I’m pleased that Ennis and Ezquerra are bringing attention to this forgotten conflict while showing a novel side of it.

BORDERLANDS ORIGINS #2
Writer: Mike Neumann
Artist: Agustin Padilla
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Cover Price: $3.99
SOLICITATION: ‘Lilith.’ The legions of fans of the smash-hit video game BORDERLANDS have been clamoring to know: how did the Vault Hunters get on the bus with Marcus in the first place? Find out how Lilith started her journey with Mordecai, Roland, and Brick as her backstory about coming to terms with being a Siren unfolds. Learn how a young girl came to understand her incredible power, and how that power helped to save a world.

ROB: Book one was good, Roland’s story was just as awesome and over-the-top as it should have been, which should escalate here. Given the premise here and what’s to come, we should just be getting more absurd the further we go, which is exactly what you want from this series.

CABLE AND X-FORCE #1
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
SOLICITATION: Cable is back! NOW! with a new X-Force at his side, he must tackle the threats that nobody else can know about. But just who are Cable’s new recruits, and why is his team public enemy number one? Caught red-handed at the scene of a terrorist attack on a major American corporation whose CEO has expressed anti-mutant views, the X-Force is the run, with none other than the Uncanny Avengers in hot pursuit.

GEORGE: I can’t say I’ve ever read anything by Dennis Hopeless, but this week I’m giving Cable and X-Force a shot (and probably Avengers Arena by the same writer). What can I say? I’m a sucker for Cable. Being a young burgeoning comics fan in the mid-90s, I couldn’t avoid that metal-armed, pouch-wearing semi-cyclops and something about him must’ve stuck. And it’s such a weirdo team assembled for X-Force – Colossus, Domino, Forge and Dr. Nemesis? I’m in.

FANTASTIC FOUR #2
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Mark Bagley
Publisher: Marvel
Cover Price: $2.99
SOLICITATION: Marvel NOW! The First Family leaves time and space! How long can Reed hide his motivations from his family? What undiscovered places, amazing things, and incredible people are out there waiting to meet the Fantastic Four?

MATTHEW:   I’m enjoying Fraction’s take on Marvel’s first family, as well as the always-interesting art of Mark Bagley.  Given the secret that Reed Richards has been hiding, the flash-forward moments of story we’ve already seen as well as the interesting takes on the Fantastical Four, I’m excited for this book, especially the “gone for four minutes” hook.  Here’s hoping that the story holds up in the long run.

ZACH: I eagerly awaited Fraction’s first issue of Fantastic Four and he didn’t disappoint. When reading that issue you can’t help but get the sense that this is a book revolving around a family first and foremost with his ability to write all the different interactions that occur within the Baxter Building. This book will surely be a standout amongst all the Marvel NOW! books.

IRON MAN #4
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Greg Land
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
SOLICITATION: The new Iron Man heavy-duty battle-suit debuts. The least subtle Iron Man armor of all time! Tony’s hunt for Extremis takes him to the ancient Catacombs of Paris where absolute horror awaits! Things man was not meant to know Vs. the man who wants to know everything.

JIMMY: While I respect the complaints that have been brought against this series–that it’s too early to bring back Extremis, that Greg Land isn’t a top-tier artist–I have actually been really enjoying this series. Land’s art is only occasionally distracting, and I actually really like how he draws the Iron Man armor, and I’ve been LOVING the colorist’s work on this title. Gillen’s story has been a high-octane thrill ride that has managed to tell an overarching story in bite-sized “done in one” issues that focus on Tony taking down the Extremis-recipientof-the-week, and I’ve loved the variety that we’ve seen so far. As someone who’s recently been making a foray into Marvel comics after loving the movies, this title gives me exactly the Tony Stark that I want to see.

ORCHID #11
Writer: Tom Morello
Artist: Scott Hepburn
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Cove Price: $3.50
SOLICITATIONS: In the penultimate chapter of Tom Morello’s fantastical science-fiction class-war epic, the fight for freedom rages on! Orchid and her army of newly determined Shadow Rebels gain an unlikely ally and attempt to turn the tide of war. But even with this new fighting force among their number, will it be enough to overcome the seemingly endless forces of the fearsome dictator Tomo Wolfe?

RODRIGO: This is a weird one, not bad weird, just weird weird. We’re getting close to the end here and I don’t think the good guys are gonna make it.

TO HELL YOU RIDE #1 To Hell You Ride #1
Writer: Lance Henriksen, Joseph Maddrey
Penciller: Tom Mandrake
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
SOLICITATION: A deadly curse plagues a small town, melting the flesh from its victims–the violent revenge four warriors set in motion when their sacred burial grounds were disturbed for the sake of gold miners’ greed!

A new horror series written by Lance Henriksen (Millennium, Aliens, Near Dark) and Joseph Maddrey (Nightmares in Red, White and Blue: The Evolution of the American Horror Film), with art by Tom Mandrake.

RODRIGO: The Indian burial ground angle is rarely seen as anything other than a joke nowadays, maybe this will clean it up a bit?

THE WALKING DEAD #105
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Charlie Adlard, Cliff Rathburn
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
SOLICITATION: Sing me a song.

MATTHEW: With the show on hiatus, the monthly comic is the only way to enjoy the adventures of Rick and his (ever-so-doomed) friends. I’m tuning in every month, awaiting what I hope to be an epic revenge by Rick upon Negan, the leader of the outcasts and murderer of Glenn a few issues ago. And why is Carl pointing a gun at us? I don’t know, but I’ll guarantee you that the little bastard isn’t in the house! Bah-dump-BUMP!