New Hotness: Top Picks For Dec. 18, 2013

Welcome to another exciting edition of New Hotness! Once again, Russell picks his top books to grab next 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

Harley Quinn #1 cover

Harley Quinn #1 – After a stellar #0 issue last month, we’re finally getting Jimmy Palmiotti’s and Amanda Conner’s story as it’s going to be from now on. Last month Harley spent the entire issue jumping from one crazy scenario to another, breaking the “fourth wall” and being drawn by a host of various artists.

Harley’s attempting to live a “normal” life, but her definition of normal is obviously going to be very different from those around her. Usually when this happens the results are a lot of fun. See Batman: The Animated Series episode “Harley’s Holiday” for an example. The character hasn’t flown solo very often so we’ll see if this one sticks.



Superior Spider-Man #24 cover

Superior Spider-Man #24 – Darkest Hours has been a really great way of introducing the current Venom to a Spider-Man he only thinks he knows. Things went south quickly for Flash Thompson in issue #23 and now the symbiote has found a new host: Doc Ock, aka The Superior Spider-Man Venom!

Add to this the building intrigue behind the Green Goblin’s plot and the revelation that the Spider Slayers are coming back with some significant upgrades and you’ve got plenty of reasons to get this one.  Dan Slott has gotten some flack online for his Spider-Man story, but in all honesty it’s done nothing short of breathing new life into a character that was becoming more than a little stale. This is one of the most unpredictable superhero books on the shelf.


All-New X-Men #20 cover

All-New X-Men #20 – What a wild ride this book has been since it started, but things have really picked up now. Kitty Pryde has taken the time-displaced X-Men and left the Jean Grey School to join with Cyclops’ crew.

If that wasn’t crazy enough, there’s the reemergence of X-23 and it looks like she and the younger Cyclops are about to get a little cozy. Wonder what the young Jean Grey is going to think about this? Not that it’ll matter much seeing as how she now knows Cyclops doesn’t exactly turn out so well. Oh, and she’s about to be put on trial by an intergalactic force for her crimes committed as Phoenix…which this Jean hasn’t actually done yet. Brian Michael Bendis isn’t my favorite writer, but the guy has done some really great things with X-Men and that shows no signs of stopping. This should be a great time!



Saga #17 cover

Saga #17 – Anytime this book is hitting the shelf, it’s a must-buy! After the events of the last issue finally got everything clicked into place, this issue should hit the ground running.

There are still a lot of questions about Alana’s and Marko’s past, but that’s Brian K. Vaughn for you. He delights in building his worlds and character backstory this way. It can be frustrating to some readers who want linear explanations for everything, but for those who love high-concept fantasy and/or sci-fi, it’ll feel like coming home.


Black Science #2 cover

Black Science #2 – After a seriously trippy first issue, this one should continue to be lots of fun. Rick Remender is a natural fit for the horror genre. He didn’t bother with exposition scenes to fill the readers in, he just drops them and his lead character into the middle of a seriously intense situation and lets things progress from there.

This dimension-hopping story has a very H.P. Lovecraft feel to it, but crossed with Lost in Space with a twinge of Stargate. And the twisted art from Matteo Scalera and Dean White is at once dark and hyper-colorful. For anybody looking for something different and off-the-wall crazy, you should go get issue #1 and this one, too.


Velvet #3 cover

Velvet #3 – Velvet might just be the most well-developed new character in just two full issues. Her escape from London in issue #2 was both an incredible action scene and filled with good exposition. That’s a rare thing in today’s comics. This issue is only going to take that story deeper.

Seeing how she plans things and why shows the true strength of Ed Brubaker’s writing. The man is perfectly at home in the espionage genre. And Steve Epting’s art is truly cinematic in that you won’t believe that the images on the page are just two-dimensional images. This is already turning into a modern classic.



X-O Manowar #20 cover

X-O Manowar #20 – Unity is in full swing, but there’s still room for subplots. This one is teasing that there’s dissension in the ranks of Aric’s forces. That might just be the opening Unity needs to take him down.

Robert Venditti has built this character virtually from the ground up and it’s only getting better and better. If there’s one thing this title always does well, it’s give great character moments. What makes this kind of tie-in even better is that it’s also a standalone arc. That’s something Valiant has managed to do way better than either of the Big 2.


Dark Horse

Dark Horse Presents #31 cover

Dark Horse Presents #31 – Don’t let the $7.99 price tag scare you off, this one is jam-packed with awesome!

We’re getting a direct follow-up to Hellboy in Mexico and Hellboy’s getting married…Yes, married (thanks Duck!). Plus there’s a brand new Mind MGMT story from Matt Kindt that introduces an all-new heroine to the series. Then there are new chapters for Integer City, Alabaster, Nexus, Monstrous, City of Roses, and Saint George. There’s a lot in this one!



TMNT #29 cover

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #29 – Got pushed back at the last-minute last week, so here it is in this week’s New Hotness, too.

City Fall is over and the Turtles are taking some much-needed recovery time. A lot happened in the last story arc and there’s no way it won’t change everyone involved. I’m especially curious to find out how Leonardo’s role is going to change going forward.

This is the beginning of a brand new story arc and could be a good time to try out the book. TMNT fans will definitely want to follow or keep following this as it has only built upon a great mythos from issue #1 to now. And that original TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman is still on as a co-writer should get any fan’s attention.