New Hotness: Top Picks for March 19, 2014

Welcome to another exciting edition of New Hotness! Once again, Russell picks his top books to grab this Wednesday at your local comic shop or online. What looks fun? Which titles have major happenings? Is there a new book you shouldn’t miss? Find the answers to those questions and more right here each week!

 

DC New 52

Animal Man #29 cover

Animal Man #29 – Written by Jeff Lemire

Art by Travel Foreman and Jeff Lemire
Cover by Jeff Lemire 
$2.99

A special finale to Jeff Lemire’s run on the series by the creative team that launched Animal Man in The New 52! What is left of Buddy in the wake of “Evolve or Die”?

Picked because: This is it, everyone. The final issue of what has been one of the breakout hits of the New 52. Jeff Lemire is handling both writing and some art duties along side his original Animal Man collaborator Travel Foreman for this sendoff to the Baker family and it’s, no doubt, going to be beautiful. Buddy Baker has been through a lot in Lemire’s run and we’ve all gotten better stories for it. Not to mention having artists like Travel Foreman, Steve Pugh and Rafael Albuquerque creating some of the most incredible visuals the comics medium has ever seen. Lemire and company expanded the mythology of The Red beyond what anyone could have expected, too. Not since Grant Morrison’s storied run has someone taken this character and made him feel like the kind of guy you could really root for. This issue is all about closing out a major chapter in the Baker family’s life. Maybe even bringing some peace and closure to the tragedy they went through at the end of Rotworld. But don’t worry about getting more Animal Man adventures. Lemire is launching a new title called Justice League United next month and guess who’s front and center: Animal Man!

 

Superman Unchained #6 cover

Superman Unchained #6 – Written by Scott Snyder

Art by Jim Lee and Dustin Nguyen
Cover by Jim Lee
$3.99

The Man of Tomorrow and the Superman of yesterday go at it—no holds barred! Supes goes full throttle after his would-be ally, Wraith, in a seismic battle ranging from deep space to the ocean’s floor and ultimately the core of the earth! Meanwhile, Lois Lane holds the key to defeating Ascension, but she needs to reach the Fortress of Solitude to ensure its safekeeping—not to mention hers! And she’s being pursued by a heavily armed force, and it isn’t Ascension!

Picked because: If it were any other title, this kind of delay would be completely unacceptable in today’s market. It’s been three months since we had an issue of this stellar book and for some reason we’re all likely to be fine with it and buy it anyway. The reason for this is simple: it’s freakin’ Scott Snyder and Jim Lee on a Superman book! It’d be one thing if any issue of this series had been a disappointment, but that hasn’t happened. And now we’re going to get the throw-down we’ve all been waiting for since issue #3: Superman vs. WRAITH! The fight is going all over the place and there’s going to be plenty of big action as only Jim Lee could deliver. Not to mention the really great character-driven side of this with Lois’ investigation into the cyber terrorist group, Ascension and Lex Luthor’s experiments on Jimmy Olsen. All of this is about to come together as there are only 3 issues left in the series…which we should have actually gotten to by now. Still, this book is pretty much impossible to ignore. With so many huge things happening in its pages and the sheer brilliance of Lee’s pencils, missing it is just not an option for Superman fans. At least we’re all-but guaranteed one hell of a ride!

 

Wonder Woman #29 cover

Wonder Woman #29 – Written by Brian Azzarello

Art and cover by Cliff Chiang
$2.99

If the helmet fits…then it’s time to play God!

Picked because: Oh things are going to heat up now. Diana and Apollo might not have been on the best of terms, but killing off the God(dess) of War’s brother was probably not the best move for the First Born. And there’s still so much going on in the background that if you don’t do a little reading up before hand, it might all seem a bit overwhelming. But that’s Brian Azzarello for you, always making things complicated. Good thing he also makes them tons of fun, too. What Cassandra is really after is still a bit of a mystery and her connection to the gods even more so. But, now that she’s captured Dio and is using him to gain access to Olympus, threads are about to be pulled together. There’s also the question of what will become of the children of Zeus once little Zeke’s powers are revealed? But this issue is going to be about Diana finally fully embracing her role as the new God of War. Oh, and more epic, character-defining art from Cliff Chiang. There are lots of Wonder Woman stories out there and many creative teams have tried to fully define her as a character. But this run is one of the few that will be talked about for years to come. Not since George Perez has there been such a strong turn for DC’s biggest female superhero. If you’re late to the party, it’s time to get some trades, back issues, downloads or hit the Wikipedia page so you can get up to speed. Don’t miss out on this completely.

 

Marvel

Daredevil #1 cover

Daredevil #1 – Written by Mark Waid

Art and cover by Chris Samnee
$3.99

Join Marvel’s fearless hero as he begins his most awe-inspiring adventure yet in the sunny city of San Francisco! Gifted with an imperceptible radar sense and a passion for justice, blind lawyer Matt Murdock—a.k.a. DAREDEVIL—protects the Golden City’s streets from all manner of evil. But big changes are in store for Matt Murdock as old haunts and familiar faces rise to give the devil his due. Hold on tight, because here comes Daredevil…the Man Without Fear!

Picked because: It’s time for those of you who slept on this series the first time around to join the rest of us. Mark Waid has written many great comics over the years, but this is THE work of his mainstream comics career. He and Chris Samnee have redefined what it means to be a Man Without Fear and made ole’ Horn-Head fun to read again. There’s plenty of dark and gritty to go around, but what has always separated Waid’s Daredevil from other runs is that he shows why Matt Murdock keeps doing the superhero gig when he could have walked away from it and tried to live a normal life. The truth is, he just loves it too much to walk away. Now that Murdock is on the West Coast, things are going to be vastly different for him. He’s in a town that’s not his own in truly unknown territory. That’s going to wreak havoc on his radar sense, which has never been rendered better in any previous series. Yes, all that happened before certainly still counts, but this is a chance to truly start fresh for those who didn’t jump into the previous series and it’s the continuation of Marvel’s single best comic with its best creative team for those who’ve been on since the beginning.

 

Thor: God of Thunder #20 cover

Thor: God of Thunder #20 – Written by Jason Aaron

Art and cover by Esad Ribic
$3.99

THE LAST DAYS OF MIDGARD Part Two

• Thor battles to save the Earth on two fronts.

• In the present day, Thor takes on Roxxon, the world’s most powerful and nefarious super-corporation. While in the far future, King Thor is all that stands between Old Galactus and the planet he’s been dying to eat for a very long time.

• Even if King Thor wins, is the Earth still doomed?

Picked because: Business is picking up now! Thor is going all environmentalist and Old Man Thor is poised to take on Old Galactus in the far future. The parallel stories are definitely going to have some common themes that will resonate from one end of time to the other and that’s thanks to some expert crafting from writer Jason Aaron. The theme is a strong one: is it still worth fighting for when all is already lost? Thor taking on a dirty corporation who may have a truly powerful evil at its helm is bound to yield both great action and some incredible humor. All previous arcs have done just that so this will be no exception. And of course Old Man Thor trying to coral his wild-bunch granddaughters (who also happen to be gods) will have some of the best dialog the series has seen yet. We really need a family road trip issue and/or arc after this one. And while Thor’s romantic relationships haven’t really wound up so well over the years, his new one is quite a different dynamic than the God of Thunder is prepared for. There’s no reason anyone should be missing this, especially now that Esad Ribic is back on art and giving us the single best rendition of Thor that’s ever been. Pick up this and issue #19 at your local shop tomorrow if you haven’t yet.

 

Ms. Marvel #2 cover

Ms. Marvel #2 – Written by G. Willow Wilson

Art by Adrian Alphona
Cover by Ian Herring
$2.99

• As seen in the New York Times, CNN and other media outlets the world-over, the all-new Ms. Marvel has made her thunderous debut!

• Kamala Khan’s very ordinary life has suddenly become extraordinary. Is she ready to wield these strange and immense new gifts? Or will the weight of the legacy before her be too much to handle?

• Critically acclaimed writer G. Willow Wilson (Air, Cairo) and fan-beloved artist Adrian Alphona (Runaways, Uncanny X-Force) bring you the groundbreaking Marvel series that has set the world abuzz. Don’t miss history in the making.

Picked because: Did you read the first issue? No? Why not? Do you not like good comics? Seriously, this title exceeded all expectations and set up one of the most relatable and downright adorable new characters in the entire Marvel universe. Not to mention some of the best modern comic art today from Adrian Alphona. Kamala Khan is about to start a whole new journey in her life as the new Ms. Marvel, but legacies can be heavy burdens. After wanting nothing more than to be one of The Avengers, Kamala is about to find out that being a superhero is a lot harder than she could ever have imagined. But, part of the fun of this issue is going to be the discovery of her new powers. Any teenager who suddenly gets superpowers is going to take them for a test run. This should be a whole lot of fun to watch. But the larger mystery is still where her powers came from and how it will tie into the larger Inhumanity story. And much like the now-canceled Young Avengers, this is the title meant to reach out to the younger audience without talking down to them or alienating the older fan base. G. Willow Wilson has pulled that off flawlessly. Comic dialog has proven a challenge for many a newcomer, but you’d never know Wilson was the new girl on the block. She brings a modernized flavor to the proceedings that many other, more experienced, comic writers should be using. This is smart, fun comics like we all say we want. Now go out there and get it.

 

Vertigo

American Vampire: Second Cycle #1 cover

American Vampire: Second Cycle #1 – Written by Scott Snyder

Art and cover by Rafael Albuquerque
$3.99

Pearl Jones is a new kind of vampire, one of an American breed that can walk in the sun and has rattlesnake fangs. She’s beautiful and powerful – and she’s hiding from a tragic past…

Skinner Sweet is an American vamp too – the kind you love to hate. He’s good when he wants to be, but most of the time he’s downright bad. He’s Pearl’s maker, but he’s off in Mexico with an agenda of his own…

Will their two stories collide, or are they separated forever? And who is this new villain on the horizon, someone bloodier and more evil than anything seen in AMERICAN VAMPIRE before? Who is THE GRAY TRADER and what does his arrival mean for Skinner and Pearl?

Picked because: Scott Snyder is back to the title that made him a breakout hit and it’s a prime time for new readers to jump into things. And having Rafael Albuquerque back on art too is such a welcome sight. The duality of this series has always been one of its strong points and it’s great to see Snyder intends to continue that theme. Jumping to the 1960s is certainly going to put a very interesting spin on the story going forward and that new setting is exactly the kind of step forward a series like this needs to stay fresh. Not that we should expect anything less from this team. And the themes for this first arc are ones that are easy to relate to, as well. Can you really go home again? And what happens when you try? Skinner and Pearl have gone their separate ways, but that can never last. Fate has a way of reuniting these two, even when they want nothing more than to live their own lives. And if there’s one thing Snyder has taught us, it’s that there’s always a bigger, meaner evil out there. Even non-horror fans will find plenty to love in this gorgeous, character-driven story that is always ramping up the tension. This is how vampires should be written. There’s nothing sparkly or “misunderstood” about them here. It’s all brutal, manipulative and self-destructive goodness wrapped up in terrifying splashes of blood and shadow. Don’t miss it!

Author: Russell Sellers

Comic book geek extraordinaire, Russell Sellers enjoys enthusiastic conversations about all things geek. He also traffics in ill-timed puns and random obscure Ghostbusters quotes. Send Russell an email