HOT FIVE(ish): Week Of July 4th, 2018

Welcome to Comicosity’s Hot Five(ish). Hot Five(ish) is a short list of the top books we think you’ll want to be checking out. Be they new title launches, key issues or just continuing stories from some of the industry’s most acclaimed books, this list is your guaranteed gold in the comic market.

You may have noticed something a tiny bit different about the title of this column. In celebration of Canada Day this past Sunday, and NCBD falling on America’s birthday this week’s entry into the long running weekly look at what you should be reading will be the start of a new era for the column formerly known as Hot Five.

Wait, I must admit that I lied a little in that last sentence. This change has nothing to do with what day of the month NCBD fell on this week. The truth is that this has been a long time coming, as it’s been increasingly hard to pick just five issues most weeks. We are in the middle of one of the greatest creative stretches in the almost 25 years I’ve been reading these funny books. I can’t remember a time when there were this many publishers putting out this many books from so many talented creators on a weekly basis. There’s really no reason why this column should be limited by the number in its title, so it won’t be.

In order to preserve the quality of your reading experience I’ll try to keep the number of titles chosen as close five as possible each week, hence the new title. Then there are weeks like this week where that will be impossible, because it’s one of the single best NCBD lineups that I’ve ever seen. So sit back and enjoy this week’s look at your guaranteed gold in the comic market.

ASSASSINISTAS #6
Written by Tini Howard
Art by Gilbert Hernandez (Pencils) & Rob Davis (Colors)
Published by IDW Publishing – $3.99

Someone’s fate hangs in the balance, and the future of the Assassistas trio is uncertain, as all things collide at Winnie’s Hot Wheels roller disco party showdown in the final issue of the series. The final issue of Howard and Hernandez’s high-octane family drama! Special enhanced RI cover from Gilbert Hernandez!

Why It’s Hot: Shelly Bond’s Black Crown imprint has carved out a nice little niche in the comic book world for IDW. This comic has been a perfect example why. You have an up and coming star like Tini Howard paired with a legend like Gilbert Hernandez for a comic that fits both of their creative sensibilities almost perfectly. As the series comes to an end fans who have been along for the ride will not be disappointed. As for readers who have been holding out? I hope they use this entry to go and pick up the series or put in an order for the trade.

ASTONISHING X-MEN #13
Written by Matthew Rosenberg
Art by Greg Land (Pencils), Jay Leisten (Inks) & Frank D’Armata (Colors)
Published by Marvel Comics – $3.99

A NEW ERA BEGINS NOW!

The Reavers are back, and they have a new weapon that only Havok knows about. It’s going to take a ragtag group of X-Men to save a world that hates and fears them! But after his villainous turn, can any of the X-Men really trust him? Can he blame them? Havok! Beast! Dazzler! Warpath! Colossus! It’s an all-new, all-different kind of X-Men story from the minds of Matthew Rosenberg (PUNISHER) and Greg Land (INCREDIBLE HULK)!

Why It’s Hot: Matthew Rosenberg given the reins to one of the premier X-Men titles where he gets to put together a team featuring some of his favorite characters. That should be enough to get fans excited for this one, but then there’s that thing that happens. You know, that one thing that will have fans everywhere talking. Wait? You don’t know? You definitely need to check this out and see for yourself!

BATMAN #50
Written by Tom King
Art by Mikel Janin (Pencils), June Chung (Colors) & too many to list here
Published by DC Comics – $4.99

It’s the wedding you never thought you’d see! The Batrimony is real as Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle are set to tie the knot in a can’t-miss, extra-length milestone issue that will reshape Gotham City. All their friends (and a few enemies?) will be party to a comic book coupling for the ages. Superstar scribe Tom King officiates the sure-to-be-offbeat nuptials, joined by an all-star lineup of guest classic Bat-artists doffing their hats to the lucky couple in a series of pre-wedding flashback scenes sure to set the romantic mood.

Why It’s Hot: I don’t know how much more I can say about this issue that hasn’t been said already. In my opinion this just might be the best single issue of 2018 so far, the best issue of King’s Batman run, and one of the best comic books the scribe has ever written. You have a writer on top of his game, and the greatest collection of artists ever assembled for one comic. This issue is so much more than a straight info dump from the New York Times, and fans should be excited to see how it plays out.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #1
Written by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Art by Leinil Yu (Pencils), Gerry Alanguilan (Inks) & Sunny Gho (Colors)
Published by Marvel Comics – $4.99

IT IS WINTER IN AMERICA.
For over 70 years, he has stood in stalwart defense of our country and its people. But in the aftermath of Hydra’s takeover of the nation, Captain America is a figure of controversy, carrying a tarnished shield…and a new enemy is rising!
Who are the Power Elite? And how do they intend to co-opt and corrupt the symbol that is Captain America?

Why It’s Hot: This is why Ta-Nehisi Coates was brought into Marvel. What other writer in comics is equipped with the knowledge and skill to follow up on Secret Empire, to ask all the hard questions about Captain America’s place in his country, and to be able to make real world parallels all while keeping in mind that they are writing a superhero story? There aren’t many, and I don’t think any that can do it as well as Ta-Nehisi Coates. The MacArthur Genius Grant winner’s previous Marvel work, while solid for the most part, felt lîke a warmup for this run. Happy Birthday America! I hope your fictional Marvel version survives the experience.

CATWOMAN #1
Written by Joëlle Jones
Art by Joëlle Jones (Pencils) & Laura Allred (Colors)
Published by DC Comics – $3.99

The wedding night’s barely over, but Catwoman’s back on the streets, this time to expose a copycat who’s pulling heists around Gotham City. As Selina cracks the whip on her former criminal cohorts, she’s attracting unwanted attention from one of Gotham’s most dangerous groups. The mob? Nope. Try the GCPD. And as if the Bat-Bride didn’t have enough problems, don’t miss the debut of an all-new villain determined to make trouble for all nine of Selina’s lives. Don’t miss the start of an all-new monthly series written and illustrated by Eisner Award-nominee Joëlle Jones!

Why It’s Hot: In the wake of Batman #50 artist extraordinare Joëlle Jones puts on her writing cap as she launches a brand new ongoing starring Selina Kyle. There are a lot of reasons to be excited about this one, but I’m not about to spoil the wedding issue after you’ve gotten this far. What I will say is that this is one hell of a debut issue and should be on the to read list for DC fans everywhere. The hype is real, and I can’t stress this enough.

COSMIC GHOST RIDER #1
Written by Donny Cates
Art by Dylan Burnett
Published by Marvel Comics – $3.99

EXPLODING FROM THE PAGES OF THANOS!
Frank Castle was the Punisher. A deal with the devil made him Ghost Rider. A deal with Galactus made him cosmic. A deal with Thanos made him…DEAD?!? Not to worry, he’s coming back, and he’s got a plan to make the universe a better place that’s going to lead him into an even CRAZIER adventure than he’s ever been in! Join hot new comic (and cosmic?) writer Donny Cates (THANOS, DOCTOR STRANGE) as he pushes his wildest creation past the breaking point!

Why It’s Hot: The breakout character of 2018 gets his own wild and crazy miniseries! Cosmic Ghost Rider captivated fans of Cates’ Thanos run earlier this year. Who he was led to questions about why he was. After those questions were answered fans demanded more of the character! But wait!? Isn’t he dead? The answer to that is probably the least crazy part of this entire thing. If you enjoyed Cosmic Ghost Rider’s other appearances or enjoy characters like the Pools (of the Dead and Gwen varieties) you’ll want to pick up this comic.

DEATH OF THE INHUMANS #1
Written by Donny Cates
Art by Ariel Olivetti
Published by Marvel Comics – $4.99

THE TITLE SAYS IT ALL – HERE LIE THE INHUMANS.
The Kree have gone murdering, leaving behind a message: Join or die. Thousands of Inhumans have already made their choice – the evidence floats bleeding in space. Black Bolt and his family are next. Rising star Donny Cates and PUNISHER: WAR JOURNAL artist Ariel Olivetti bring their brutal talents to the Inhumans!

Why It’s Hot: Donny Cates has written a lot of good comics for Marvel over the past year or so, and this one may just be the best yet. With Ariel Olivetti turning in some of the best work in his career, if the Inhumans are going out they are doing so in style. Batman and Captain America are getting much  the hype for this monster week, but don’t sleep on this comic. I promise you this will have everyone talking, whether they’ve read it or not!

JUSTICE LEAGUE #3
Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Jorge Jimenez (Pencils) & Alejandro Sanchez (Colors)
Published by DC Comics – $3.99

John Stewart: Ultraviolet Lantern? Believe it! Under the influence of the Ultraviolet Spectrum, John Stewart engages in some ultraviolence against his teammates Flash, Wonder Woman and Aquaman. Meanwhile, the rest of the League investigates the scene of the fallen Source Wall fragment, and encounters not only a horde of giant monsters, but a pair of longtime archenemies using stolen Atom technology to literally get under their skin. Best to stock up on Cortizone for that sort of itch! All this and…the Turtle? Yep.

Why It’s Hot: The standard for team based superhero comics just keeps on getting better and better as the secrets of the DC Unverse continue to unfold. An out of control John Stewart versus his teamamtes! The origin of the Ultraviolet Lanters! Superman, Martian Manhunter, Batman, and Hawkgirl venture into the Totality with unexpected stowaways! The Flash goes for an unexpected ride! And that’s not all! Superhero comics don’t get much bigger or adventurous than this!

MAN OF STEEL #6
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Jason Fabok (Pencils) & Alex Sinclair (Colors)
Published by DC Comics – $3.99

The fate of Lois Lane and Jon Kent is revealed! Metropolis’ survival hangs in the balance! And Superman must somehow put an end to Rogol Zaar’s rampage! It’s do-or-die time for the Man of Steel in the final chapter of this explosive miniseries!

Why It’s Hot: Brian Michael Bendis’ first Superman story comes to an end, and the groundwork for the foreseeable future of the franchise is established with a new status quo. For five weeks now Jason Fabok’s art has slowly teased the fate of the people closest to Superman two pages at a time. Now the superstar artist is joining Bendis for an entire issue that will change everything for the Kents. The most prolific writer of the past two decades has arrived at DC, and he’s not messing around!

SUBMERGED #1
Written by Vita Ayala
Art by Lisa Sterle (Pencils) & Stelladia (Colors)
Published by Vault Comics – $3.99

On the night of the biggest storm in New York City history, Elysia Puente gets a call from her estranged little brother Angel, terrified, begging for help. When the call cuts out suddenly, despite the bad feelings between them, Ellie rushes into the night. Finding his broken phone in front of a barricaded subway station, Ellie follows echoes of her brother into the sinister darkness of the underground, desperate to find him before it’s too late.

Why It’s Hot: Vault Comics has slowly but surely been making a name for itself this year among fans of indie comics. The buzz surrounding their titles has been building one comic at a time, and in many ways it feels like Submerged is what that buzz has been building towards. This comic from rising star Vita Ayala, artist Lisa Sterle, and colorist Stelladia has the combination of hype and execution to potentially be the publisher’s first big hit. I’m not sure how the orders for this one were, but I have a feeling this issue will still be a hot ticket.

ALSO AVAILABLE THIS WEEK:

* Ant-Man & The Wasp #3
* Avengers #4
* Death Or Glory #3
* Deathstroke #33
* Green Lanterns #50
* Harley Quinn #45
* The Immortal Hulk #2
* Marvel Rising: Squirrel Girl & Ms. Marvel #1
* New Lieutenants Of Metal #1
* Nightwing #46
* Paper Girls #22
* Star Wars #50
* The Unexpected #2
* Vagrant Queen #2

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