As always, “Five & Three” brings you my favorite things in comics this week. Every week I pick my five favorite covers and three favorite panels to create “Five & Three”. I like to talk about why I picked the covers and panels and welcome hecklers and trend setters alike. 

Be prepared for a “Five and Three” a year in review article coming soon. I’ll cover the best of 2014 as far as “Five and Three” is concerned. If you have a vote, don’t forget to tweet it out to me @MarkAvo. Now, onto the best of last week just before Christmas Eve and all the books you’ll be reading this holiday weekend.

Let me express my thanks for another year with Big Shiny Robot and another year of “Five and Three” by wishing you all a Merry Christmas via the wonderful cover art to the one-shot “Flash Gordon Holiday Special”.

Flash Gordon Holiday Special

I’m going all portrait covers first. Sure, there were plenty of Darwyn Cooke covers to get me through the cover selection this week but I couldn’t say no to the terrific artwork to “Elektra #9” by Michael Del Mundo. The ninjas appear to be phantoms as they form a bull’s-eye around the sometimes heroine Elektra. They also thrill me to no end.

Elektra #9

We’re going to go simple with a reminder that I was going to pick the Cooke variants this month. He is my favorite artist in comics. I can say that with confidence but you’ll hear me call many artists my favorite. I have a bunch of them. For today though, it’s certainly Darwyn Cooke and this pick is for “Catwoman #37”.

Catwoman #37

This cover is a Darwyn Cooke variant for “Justice League #37”.

Justice League #37

This cover is a Cooke variant for “Teen Titans #5”.

Teen Titans #5

The cover to “Batman Superman #17” is my favorite Cooke variant for the week.

Batman Superman #17

If you didn’t read our review to “A Town Called Dragon” by Zombietron, I highly suggest you do. After that you should be convinced this is a book you’re missing out on. If you’re able you should get it for your stocking and pretend Santa brought it to you.

A Town Called Dragon

I’m glad that Nathan Edmondson and Mitch Gerads are back in stellar form with the creator owned masterpiece “The Activity”. This book is a grounded in military intelligence but often uses future looking weaponry. They never go too far though, and with the latest issue #16 they remind us all that war has costs and that freedom and liberty are not free. I’m hoping it isn’t another 13 months before we get the next issue but I’ll be reading their work on Marvel’s “The Punisher” while I wait.

The Activity

In “Batman #36” we find out from Alfred that The Joker has concocted his masterpiece and he is unleashing it on The Batman. In this issue, it’s confirmed that Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have been releasing their masterpiece all along. The character of The Batman is beloved. He is many people’s favorite character in all of fiction, but I have often found the character tired. It is hard to hit the right notes with The Batman without making him into a god or a joke. Snyder and Capullo are creating the perfect stories for The Batman. There is just the right amount of history, crime, detective work, and horror. I believe that the horror is what makes this character feel so real. It certainly works when The Batman’s arch nemesis inverts The Batman’s inspired weapon – fear – against The Batman himself. Scott Snyder is no stranger to horror, and with many issues of Spawn in his portfolio neither is Greg Capullo. I believe that is what makes them such a great pair and why they’re creating a definitive storyline in The Batman’s history of publication. The Joker is horrifying in “Batman #37” and the mental game he is playing is all from the crazy talented mind and pencil of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. 

Batman #36

That’s all for this week. If you disagree with a pick, let me know in the comments or on Twitter @MarkAvo or on Instagram @TheMarkAvo. If you think I should’ve picked something else or if you have a pick in mind for next week, give me a shout out and let me know. If you’d like to check out more “Five and Three” comic book moments start with “Five and Three” from last week. And remember, buy your friends and loved ones comics for the holidays!

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Tags: Image Comics , Legendary Comics , Marvel Comics , Five and Three , DC Comics