It's the last week of new comic releases of the year (Well, kind of, but I'll get to that later), so it's a good thing that tomorrow's haul at your local comic store is full of comfort and joy. Almost.
Okay, the majority of tomorrow's big new books may not be the most jolly holiday of reads, but there's a lot of great stuff to pick up.
Diving straight into Marvel Comics' deluge of product, you can catch up with the mondo depresso Dark Reign storyline with the following collections - Dark Reign: The Hood, Dark Reign: The Sinister Spider-Man, Dark Reign: Skrull Kill Krew, Dark Reign: Young Avengers and the very, very recommended Agents of Atlas: Dark Reign (Seriously, people: Gorilla Man? Marvel Boy? Venus? What about that doesn't sound appealing?).
You can also pick up a couple of single issues from the current Marvel status quo, Fall of The Hulks: Gamma and Captain America: Who Will Wield The Shield which, amusingly, is the follow-up to the Captain America Reborn series that finishes... next month. Hurrah for scheduling!
(Marvel also has a new Halo comic book, Halo: Blood Line, a hardcover version of the recent Marvel Zombies Return series, and a collection of stories from writer Brian Michael Bendis' first decade at the publisher: Brian Michael Bendis: 10 Years At Marvel, coming out. Told you it was a deluge.)
Over at DC, it's a much quieter week, albeit with a new Blackest Night tie-in launching (Blackest Night: JSA). There's a collection of the first half of superhero fantasy The Mighty, and also one of the kids' title Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures In The Eighth Grade that would make a pretty good gift for small kids with big imaginations.
Also suitable as stocking stuffers are Dark Horse's two one-shots of the week, Hellboy: Bride of Hell and the Joss Whedon-written Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Willow.
Keeping in a Whedon mood, IDW offers the Angel Annual (telling the story of the movie version of LA's time in Hell, which promises to be amusing), as well as the weather-appropriate fantasy genre Winterworld hardcover. Finishing up, there's a new Wall-E comic from Boom! Studios - which looks really fun, based on previews - and a new collection of the classic Judge Dredd spin-off, Judge Anderson: Psi-Files, from Rebellion.
If you're looking for something very unfestive to get your year finished right, however, there's one book that's definitely what you're looking for: The Last Days Of American Crime, which mixes crime noir, mind control and heist stories all together for something murky, slightly paranoid and altogether wonderful. Book of the week, easily.
Make sure you get to your local comic store tomorrow having seen this list and checked it twice to find out what's naughty and nice, because this is the last shipping week for new comics this year. Next Wednesday, there are (a few) new releases, but this is the last official week. Go with open wallet and heavy heart. Ho ho ho.