The Marvel universe is knee-deep in “Secret Empire” for this month, but between all the hubbub over Captain America’s face-heel turn, there are surely still more comics to get excited about. So let’s see what constants remain strong, and what new series are worth checking out, as June’s solicits are released.
10. Just in Time for Netflix
Yep, since “Defenders” will be on Netflix sooner or later, it’s inevitable that the comics will try to mirror it. So we’ve got the same team as the show, except as these characters have a far more fleshed out history of interaction than their Netflix counterparts, we can expect to see some very different chemistry and a fair amount of luggage. Still, as much as I like to complain about Bendis’s style of dialogue (“Dialogue?” “Yeah.” “The way he writes it?” “Exactly, the way his characters all-“ “Keep talking over each other?” “Keep talking over each other.” “And everyone gets short lines?” “Such short lines.” “Plus the repetition.” “The repetition?” “The repetition.”) I cannot deny he knows how to write those street-level heroes. He invented Jessica Jones and made Luke Cage’s name as well-known as it is today, so the man knows what he’s doing.
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Illustrated by David Marquez
Variant Covers by Neal Adams, David Mack, Ron Lim, and Scottie Young
Kirby 100th Anniversary Variant Cover by Jack Kirby
Hip-Hop Variant Cover by TBA
Blank Variant Cover also available
Daredevil! Luke Cage! Jessica Jones! Iron Fist! Individually, these four heroes have been on the front lines of the battle to keep the streets of the city safe and secure! But now, with a deadly enemy from the dim past making a major move to unite the underworld, they will need to become more — they will need to become DEFENDERS! Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez unite to bring you the next great super-team, in the tradition of NEW AVENGERS!
40 PGS./Rated T+ …$4.99
9. Oh look, more Secret Empire stuff
Oh “Secret Empire,” it seems every time we get some new news about you, it just makes the fans more angry. Pretty much every “Secret Empire” solicit is either “Characters are freaking out about this!” or “Look, these characters are bad now too!” So why do I have this on the list? One name: Gwenpool. I am indeed looking forward to seeing Gwen freak out over this twist, and probably complain about how entirely at-odds it is with continuity. Let’s see if her brand of wacky nonsense can fix up “Secret Empire” a tad.
Secret Empire: Brave New World #1 (of 5)
Written by Paul Allor, Jeremy Whitley, and Nick Kocher
Illustrated by Brian Level, Diego Olortegui, and Will Robson
Cover by Paulo Siqueira
Variant cover by Chris Samnee
Teaser Variant cover by John Cassaday
Steve Rogers, Captain America, Liberty’s most dedicated defender is actually the Supreme Leader of Hydra. Faced with this adversity, the world’s heroes have two choices: stand and fight or fall in line. See how Earth’s protectors come to grips this earth-shattering revelation in an action packed first issue featuring Gwenpool, Giant-Man and Steve’s oldest allies, THE INVADERS!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99
8. Back to the Past, Samurai Cable
There are two big reasons I’m looking forward to this issue of Cable. The first is my love of all things time travel, if just to analyze the mechanics of Cable’s impact on history as he jumps through it. The second is the fact that Cable is traveling to feudal Japan and fighting what appear to be mech-armored samurai with lightsaber katanas.
Honestly, that’s all the reason I need.
Sure, “Cable” comics can be hit and miss, based on who’s writing him and how “edgy” they want to be, but this sounds like just the right amount of time traveling shenanigans.
Written by James Robinson
Illustrated by Carlos Pacheco
Cover by Dale Keown
Variant Cover by Jon Malin
ONE STEP FORWARD — THREE CENTURIES BACK!
• CABLE follows his target back to feudal Japan…
• …and is met with decidedly FUTURISTIC warriors!
• But WHOM exactly is Cable after, and what do they need in this time period?
• Jump into the timestream with CABLE and find out!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99
Who doesn’t love droids? Okay, so there was that one barkeep at Mos Eisley who doesn’t serve droids, but most of us love ‘em, right? So to see an issue all about the best little droids “Star Wars” has to offer sounds like good fun. R2-D2 and BB-8 are fan favorites, of course, but Darth Maul’s probe droids? Sounds like an exploration in side characters that we’ve come to expect from the “Star Wars” universe.
Star Wars: Droids Unplugged #1
Written and illustrated by Chris Eliopoulos
Variant Cover by Mike Allred
• Collecting three stories featuring everyone’s favorite droids!
• What adventures did the probe droids in The Phantom Menace get into when Darth Maul wasn’t looking?
• Luke’s got a mission for R2-D2! But can the astromech complete it in time?
• And all BB-8 wants is to help…two Resistance soldiers fall in love!
40 PGS./ONE-SHOT/Rated T …$3.99
6. The Comic Cometh (does anyone even say “cometh” any more?)
Really, what took them so long? We’ve had comics exploring all sorts of X-Men side characters, but for one of the original five, Iceman has been frequently overlooked. In fact, he even seemed to grow at a slower rate than the rest of his teammates, keeping him as a comic relief character with untapped potential for so long.
This could be Marvel’s chance to amend that, by giving him his own space to grow in. Not only that, but he’s got his time-displaced counterpart, who is him except younger and queerer – definitely something the comic should explore. So I’m looking forward to seeing how Bobby develops from this (both versions of Bobby), and that’s all I’ll say before the urge to make ice puns grows too strong to resist.
Written by Sina Grace
Illustrated by Alessandro Vitti
Cover by Kevin Wada
Variant Cover by Damion Scott
Young Variant Cover by Skottie Young
Corner Box Variant Cover by Leonard Kirk
Hip-Hop Variant Cover by SKAN
Bobby Drake has been in the super hero game longer than most. But while reflecting on what he’s accomplished over the years, he realizes that the legacy he’s built is a few good one-liners and a string of failed relationships. Not only that, but now a younger version of himself has emerged from the timestream and he’s more put together than Bobby ever was: already a world-class hero in his own right, but also totally comfortable in his own skin, complete with a relationship with a handsome Inhuman to boot. In this new ongoing series penned by Sina Grace (Burn the Orphanage, Self-Obsessed) and drawn by Alessandro Vitti (SECRET WARRIORS), Bobby realizes that the time is never or now, and sets out to build a life and legacy he can be proud of…and be the best ICEMAN he can be!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99
5. Supporting Cast Extravaganza!
Yes, it’s another month of “Squirrel Girl” making the list. This time, though, the comic is taking a break from Doreen herself and looking at her supporting characters. The comic has introduced an excellent supporting cast, filled with quirky characters who are just as endearing as the protagonist. It’s a stand-alone issue, so new readers can jump right in; this is the same creative team that gave us an issue all about Nancy’s cat, Mew, and made it work, so we can look forward to it.
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #21
Written by Ryan North
Illustrated by Erica Henderson
• Squirrel Girl, Nancy, and Mary go to the Negative Zone for the weekend! So Koi Boi, Chipmunk Hunk, and Brain Drain PROMISE to fight any crimes that pop up so that the city will be just as Squirrel Girl left it when she returns! This would be a very short and uneventful issue, except for these facts:
• A crime wave begins the second Squirrel Girl leaves
• Koi Boi and Chipmunk Hunk are powerless to stop it so things get real bad real quick
• And Brain Drain is a nihilist brain in a jar on a robot body which means he’s KINDA a pain to be around sometimes?
• This special stand-alone issue features friendship, fights, and friendship fights! PLUS other things too, but you’ll have to buy the issue to find out, because this is just the solicit text and we don’t want to spoil everything. Honestly, you probably shouldn’t even be reading these solicits unless you own a comic-book store because they are chock FULL of spoilers!!
32 PGS./Rated T …$3.99
4. I Can Already See the Cosplays
There’s one very good reason this issue made it so high on the list: Mary Jane Venom. Yeah, I love the idea. We’ve seen what the Venom symbiote does to various characters; it can make them super-evil, or they can become heroes in their own right. So how will it react with Mary Jane? How will the symbiote change her? I don’t know, but I look forward to finding out.
Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #8
Written by Gerry Conway
Illustrated by Ryan Stegman
Variant Cover by Clayton Crain
• Mary Jane Watson-Parker has been saving the day as Spinneret, but at the cost of some of her husband’s powers. So she’s going to try something new…
• That’s right, MARY JANE VENOM. It’s on!
32 PGS./Rated T …$3.99
3. Visions of the Past
Tom King’s run on “Vision” was something of a modern masterpiece, so it’ll be interesting to see how it works a second time around, with extra content. It sounds like it’s just the first two issues in one, but with extra little add-ons. If you missed it the first time around, though, definitely give the comic a look when it comes out again.
Vision Director’s Cut #1 (of 6)
Written by Tom King
Illustrated by Gabriel Hernandez Walta
Cover by Mike Del Mundo
Black and White Young Variant Cover by Skottie Young
One of the most surprising super-hero stories ever told, now better than ever! Experience Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta’s masterpiece…re-presented with bonus behind-the-scenes content! Behold the Visions! They’re the family next door, and they have the power to kill us all. What could possibly go wrong? Collecting VISION (2015) #1-2, plus extras — including Tom King’s original series pitch, script excerpts, character designs and sketches by Gabriel Hernandez Walta, cover sketches by Mike del Mundo and more.
80 PGS./Rated T+ …$6.99
2. Gonna Make a Supersonic Man Out of You
What more can be said for “Nova?” It’s a great comic with wonderful characters, a good balance of super heroics and Sam’s own life, and a look at Richard Rider as we learn more about his trip to the Cancerverse. It’s been a great read so far, and every next issue sounds just as interesting, so it deserves a high spot on the list.
Written by Jeff Loveness & Raon Perez
Illustrated by Scott Hepburn
Cover by Dan Mora
• As Richard Rider struggles to come to terms with the revelations from his return to the Cancerverse, Sam Alexander struggles with homework, his family and (gulp) dating!
32 PGS./Rated T …$3.99
1. God Bless America
“America” has been off to a great start, so it’s time to see where this comic goes. It seems she’ll be learning an important lesson about not being able to punch every problem away, owning her mistakes, and teamwork. Plus more information about her enemies! If you’re in the market for a butt-kicking, queer, Latina superhero with a great team behind the script and artwork (and who wouldn’t be?), “America” has you covered.
Written by Gabby Rivera
Illustrated by Joe Quinones
FOOLS RUSH IN!
• When an enemy she thought she’d punched away returns, America will have to face the facts: She messed up. What will her mistakes cost her — and the people she loves?
• One thing’s for sure: She’s gonna need help. Good thing she’s the leader of the Ultimates! Uh, they’re around, right? Guys?
• And while America fights the good fight, the mysterious figure behind those time-travel mishaps makes a move! Who is Madrimar, and what does she want with America?
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99
Check out the full solicitations over at CBR.com.