Top Comics to Buy for January 4, 2023 – Comics Beat

Featuring Batman #131, Fantastic Four #3, Spy Superb #1, and more!
The Top Comics to Buy for January 4 brings us into the new year, with a week of releases mostly dominated by the Big 2, with relatively minimal offerings from other direct market publishers. There are, however, some major Big 2 books landing this week, including the latest issue of the flagship Batman title and the continuation of a new Fantastic Four run that has been extremely compelling. You can find those recommendations below (and more), along with the usual lists…enjoy!
Batman #131
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Pencils: Mike Hawthorne
Inks: Adriano Di Benedetto
Colors: Tomeu Morey
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Back-Up Art: Miguel Mendonça
Back-Up Colors: Roman Stevens 
Publisher: DC Comics 
Gotham City has never been darker or deadlier. And after Failsafe, there is no Batman to save it. Can the fractured ghost that roams the streets survive? Whatever happened to the man known as…Bruce Wayne?
Why It’s Cool:
I wrote about this issue at-length for this week’s DC Round-Up, but in brief, one of the things I liked about it was that it wasted little time in taking advantage of DC’s newly-restored infinite multiverse. And it did it interesting ways, building off the first story arc while taking us to entirely new places. 
Price:
$4.99
Fantastic Four #3
Writer: Ryan North
Artist: Iban Coello
Colorist: Jesus Aburtov
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The Human Torch is alone in New York, trying to survive in a city that hates and fears-well, mostly him specifically. There’s just one thing for Johnny to do: Adopt an all-new secret identity and take an all-new job nobody else wants! But when things at work heat up, Johnny discovers that while you can forget the past, that doesn’t mean it’ll stay buried…and has to decide if there’re certain things that the Human Torch can’t let himself do! Also! In this issue, Johnny Storm fights a tornado!
Why It’s Cool: The first two issues of this new Fantastic Four run have been fantastic, focusing first on Ben Grimm and then next on Reed and Sue Richards. With that in mind, the third issue is of course focused on Johnny Storm. And you know what? It’s absolute fire (ugh, sorry, had to). All three issues so far have been really character-driven. They’ve also been inherently siloed, ratcheting up anticipation for what this run plans to do once Marvel’s First Family has been brought back together.
Price:
$3.99
Gold Goblin #3
Writer: Christopher Cantwell
Pencils: Lan Medina
Inkers: Lan Medina, Scott Hanna, and Wayne Faucher
Colorists: Antonio Fabela, Andrew Crossley, Dee Cunniffe, and Pete Pantazis
Letterer: Joe Sabino
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Norman Osborn faced Chasm in DARK WEB #1 and has to face another terrifying opponent in this issue! Norman’s only been a super hero for a few days… but his tenure might be quite short!
Why It’s Cool:
While the current Spider-Man crossover, Dark Web, has been fine, the standout issues within it for me have been the Gold Goblin, which focuses on a redemptive arc for long-time Parker foe, Norman Osborn. This week, that series comes to a really satisfying conclusion that makes for a no-brainer addition to our comics to buy for January 4 list.
Price:
$3.99  
comics to buy for january 4Gotham City Year One #4
Writer: Tom King
Pencils: Phil Hester
Inks: Eric Gapstur
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: DC Comics
Slam Bradley’s search for the Wayne heiress takes a tragic, deadly turn and the simmering pot that is Gotham City is about to boil over!
As the world falls apart around him, Slam must decide between justice and revenge–a choice that will echo down the generations and redefine both Gotham and Batman!
Why It’s Cool: This remains a well-executed noir detective story that feels evocative of Old Hollywood in everything from its dialogue to the perspective choices. It’s also a really fascinating look at urban decay, one that doesn’t let Gotham City’s most famous wealthy family — the Wayne’s — off the hook. No, it instead directly implicates them. Four issues in, the narrative framing device — Slam Bradley at the age of 94 is writing a letter to presumably current day Bruce Wayne — is slowly unfurling in a really satisfying way. This book is also an interesting curiosity for long-time Batman fans. While it doesn’t incorporate too much lore and it certainly doesn’t rely on it, it does have some truly excellent small details, including in this specific issue, the origin of Crime Alley. Don’t miss this one.
Price: $4.99
Spy Superb #1
Writer/Artist/Letterer: Matt Kindt
Colorist: Sharlene Kindt
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
It’s John Wick meets Wes Anderson in this mystery-thriller about a secret organization that’s developed the perfect spy. Who is the perfect spy? A spy who doesn’t even realize they are a spy. AKA the “useful idiot.” This particular useful idiot is named Jay. Jay is sent on missions without even realizing he’s on a mission. Until he picks up the wrong phone with the wrong secret intel and now Russian hit-squads and elite assassins are after him. But Jay believes he was a sleeper agent-and really is the “spy superb”. His complete obliviousness and lack of survival skills may be the only thing that saves him in this globe-trotting espionage tale . . . where nothing is what it seems . . . but also . . . kind of actually is what it seems.
Why It’s Cool:
Last but certainly not least, is this over-sized extravaganza of a debut issue from Matt and Sharlene Kindt. While I usually role my eyes at MOVIE plus MOVIE comic book PR descriptors, this one billing itself as John Wick meets Wes Anderson is just perfect. It’s also a sendup of oblivious aspiring writers, which I absolutely love.  
Price:
$7.99
Read past editions of the Top Comics to Buy!
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