Marvel's solicitations for May 2011 have been released! This month's round of new comics are pretty robust, with a good mix of classic material that's been begging for a trade, some nice collections of recently concluded books, and then a group of really good looking comics. As usual, we've got the ten most interesting-looking Marvel comics for the month after the jump!

10. EMMA FROST ULTIMATE COLLECTION TPB



Written by KARL BOLLERS

Penciled by RANDY GREEN

& CARLO PAGULAYAN

Cover by GREG HORN

Learn the secret of how the X-Men's diamond-sculpted seductress became the formidable woman she is today. Witness the first time her mutant powers manifested, her difficulties at home and in school, and her early first love that explains how she blossomed from an innocent teenager into the wealthy, ruthless, feared and desired White Queen who has fought alongside and against the X-Men! Collecting EMMA FROST #1-18.

424 PGS./Parental Advisory ...$34.99

ISBN: 978-0-7851-5510-2

Aw, Marvel. You got so close with this one, and just missed it by this much.

This trade collects stories from a handful of years ago, back when Marvel gave anyone and everyone a solo series. Emma Frost, rather than recounting the career of the blonde bombshell mind reader that we all know and tolerate (or love!) these days, took us back an unspecified time in Emma's childhood. We got to see how her family interacts, we learned how she became the woman she is, and we witnessed a whole lot of school-related drama.

It was a pretty neat little series, and a nice change of pace from most X-Men spinoffs. Of course, since it stars Emma Frost, Marvel put Greg Horn on cover duty, and he churned out some theoretically sexy covers featuring the star of the book in various poses. Problem: this is a series about Teenaged Emma Frost, not Grown Up And Sexy Emma Frost. The disconnect between covers and content couldn't be bigger, and I desperately wish Marvel had chosen a different cover for this book. If you can get past the cover, there are some pretty good stories inside. But honestly, how hard would it be to sync up the cover and the interiors?

9. MYSTIQUE BY BRIAN K. VAUGHAN ULTIMATE COLLECTION TPB


Written by BRIAN K. VAUGHAN

Penciled by JORGE LUCAS, MICHAEL RYAN & MANUEL GARCIA

Cover by MIKE MAYHEWZ

Born with the ability to look and sound like anyone, the shapeshifting Mystique is a former pro-mutant terrorist wanted by nearly every government in the world for alleged crimes against humanity. She's used her morphing powers to stand against the X-Men in their battle for mutant-human coexistence for years - but in this increasingly complicated world, Mystique begins to find the battle lines are no longer so clear. In exchange for protection from her countless enemies, Mystique reluctantly agrees to go to work for Professor Charles Xavier, telepathic leader of the X-Men. But instead of being invited to join the team, Mystique is asked to participate in politically sensitive operations as one of Xavier's secret agents, operatives who can't be traced back to Xavier in the event of their capture or death. Can this former mutant-rights terrorist, who can disguise herself as anyone on the planet, be trusted? Collecting MYSTIQUE #1-13.

312 PGS./Rated T+ ...$24.99

ISBN: 978-0-7851-5511-9

Yeah, everyone got a series, and that includes Mystique. This one features work from a Brian K. Vaughan who was just on the cusp of stardom. Mystique dropped within Y the Last Man's first year, and slightly before Runaways hit. It's neat to see Vaughan doing a straight up superhero comic, since he ended up moving away from that with his most popular series. This series, set in the ashes of New X-Men when the franchise was more than a little aimless, features a Professor Xavier that's forcing Mystique into doing some black ops work for him. Vaughan raises some interesting questions about ethics, the X-Men's approach, and what type of person Mystique actually is. Call this a lost section of Vaughan's bibliography, well worth checking out and overall a good read.

8. HEROES FOR HIRE #6 & #7


Written by DAN ABNETT & ANDY LANNING

Penciled by BRAD WALKER

Covers by DOUG BRAITHWAITE

Issue#6 Variant Cover by HARVEY TOLIBAO

It's two issues in one month-and both star Spider-Man! Which Captain America foe is kicking Paladin's teeth in? Will the wall-crawler help a mercenary? And is Spider-Man for hire? Find out as the mysteries from the opening issues collide in the new story arc of the book that IGN.com calls "a wholly successful debut...with panels that pop off the page!"

32 PGS. (each)/Rated T+ ...$2.99 (each)

ISSUE # 6 COVER SHOWN

I realize I just got done praising this series, but seriously: Heroes for Hire is the truth. It's got good action, great character work, and the cast is always interesting. It plays around in a broad cross section of the Marvel Universe and pulls you along for the ride. I don't know that there's been a fast-paced series like this that really utilizes the Marvel Universe in several years. I think Abnett & Lanning's cosmic work comes closest, but the execution here is pretty good. Adding Spider-Man into the mix, who is one of Marvel's few characters who can work on both the street and cosmic levels, is going to be fun. If you haven't gotten on the series yet, now's the time to do it.

7. AVENGERS ACADEMY GIANT-SIZE #1


Written by PAUL TOBIN

Penciled by DAVID BALDEON

Cover by ED McGUINNESS

Variant Cover by CHRIS SAMNEE

HUMONGOUS-Sized Issue...Guest-starring The Young Allies!

The traps are set and the dice are rolled as the vibrantly villainous Arcade decides to rebuild his tarnished reputation...by setting his sights on the "easy pickin's" of the Avengers Academy and the Young Allies! But when one of his teenage victims escapes, is it a setback for Arcade, or all part of a master plan to turn the entirety of New York into... Murderworld?

80 PGS./Rated A ...$7.99

This used to be a miniseries! Months ago, Marvel solicited this as Arcade: Death Game. It looked neat, and more work from Paul Tobin and David Baldeon is always welcome, but a recent wave of cancellations saw it slip from the schedule and eventually disappear. Now, the project is back as an over-sized one-shot. Eight bucks is much cheaper than I expected to see as far as price goes, but I'm curious to see how Tobin and Baldeon adjust to the new format. Story-wise, the students at Avengers Academy and the Young Allies teaming up makes perfect sense. They're the foremost teen teams in the Marvel Universe right now, and, if we're being perfectly honest, the Young Allies are practically an Avengers team already. Add in Arcade and you've got a recipe for an entertaining comic.

6. SECRET AVENGERS #13

Written by NICK SPENCER

Penciled by SCOT EATON

Cover by ADI GRANOV

X-Men Evolutions Variant by TBA

FEAR ITSELF TIE-IN

Armies are mounting against the Avengers on every side, and even the Gods have turned their backs on Earth. With humanity facing it's gravest threat yet, Steve Rogers and his Secret Avengers will make some hard choices about what's just in times of war. And even as they do, a new danger of a different kind emerges-- one that confronts them not in the name of evil or fear, but freedom and liberty.

32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.99

This is a surprise -- Nick Spencer and Scot Eaton pinch-hitting on Ed Brubaker's ongoing saga of Steve Rogers's private strike force. Spencer went from having a fairly well-regarded comic at Image to being the new big man on campus. Marvel is clearly invested in his success, and putting him on a high profile title like Secret Avengers is probably a good move. Scot Eaton, of course, is an art monster. He can do exactly the kind of realistic and dirty superheroic action that makes Secret Avengers click. He proved it on Black Panther with Reggie Hudlin a few years back, and I expect him to perform similarly here.

5. SECRET WARRIORS #27


Written by JONATHAN HICKMAN

Penciled by ALESSANDRO VITTI

Cover by PAUL RENAUD

Ignore everything you've heard about when this series is ending! IT'S NOT THIS ISSUE. Jonathan Hickman lost his mind and wrote too huge an ending to just be contained in ONE ISSUE! Join us this month for the PENULTIMATE issue of SECRET WARRIORS! It's Wheels within Wheels, Part 4: I'LL SLEEP WHEN I'M DEAD

32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$2.99

A couple years ago, Jonathan Hickman began what ended up being his first stab at a massive amount of world-building in the Marvel Universe. Secret Warriors explained the secret history of Nick Fury and the quiet wars that go on worldwide. He revealed previously unknown facts about Hydra and SHIELD, introduced a new generation of black ops superheroes, and set up a huge threat. Now, it's over... almost. It looks like it's going to take another issue to wrap up the series, hopefully with a few of Hickman's trademark charts and graphs, so now the last issue is the next to last issue.

4. THUNDERBOLTS #157


Written by JEFF PARKER

Penciled by KEV WALKER

Cover by J.S. Rossbach

Eastern Europe. Castles. Witches. Werewolves. Satana is having interesting effects on her team members, The Thunderbolts – and now the daughter of Satan will lead them into the Occult! Back in the states, Songbird takes her initial crew of NEXT Thunderbolts out to see how they work together. Hint: It's not a good time to be in charge of Thunderbolts teams....

32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$2.99

Man, check out that cover. J.S. Rossbach did a great job of capturing the feel of a horror story in that image. I like the way your eye naturally slides down the image, too, from the lightning to Satana to the Thunderbolts on down to Luke Cage. This is really good work, and it's nice to finally have a good cover artist on what's Marvel's best comic. Parker's scripts always keep the action moving, while Walker's action scenes manage to sell both emotional content and Juggernaut beating the bone marrow out of some bad guy or monster. These two click in a big way, and I hope to see them collaborate for a long, long time. Of course, this issue has the magic word ("Satana") so it's even more of a must-buy.

3. CAPTAIN AMERICA: MAN OUT OF TIME PREMIERE HC


Written by MARK WAID with STAN LEE

Penciled by JORGE MOLINA with JACK KIRBY

Cover by BRYAN HITCH

When the Avengers pull a mysterious, tattered soldier from the sea, they unwittingly bring back to life the Living Legend of World War II - a man whose memories of a life sixty years ago are as fresh as yesterday! How will Steve Rogers, frozen in suspended animation for half a century, adapt to the world of the 21st century? Brought to you by super-scribe Mark Waid (CAPTAIN AMERICA, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN) and AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE artist Jorge Molina! Collecting CAPTAIN AMERICA: MAN OUT OF TIME #1-5, plus the classic AVENGERS #4 (1963).

144 PGS./Rated A ...$19.99

ISBN: 978-0-7851-5128-9

Trim size: standard

Okay, we're slowly coming out of the flood of comics starring Captain America, and as it turns out, the one about his origin might well end up being the best of the lot. Rather than being a retelling of Cap's adventures in World War II, Waid and Molina recreate Captain America's defrosting and debut into the present day. These are pretty good, as Waid does a good job of balancing Cap's fish out of water antics with straight up classic action, and his work in the third chapter absolutely nails a pivotal scene. It may well end up becoming one of my favorite Captain America scenes ever, and I'm willing to bet that's true for many fans of Cap. This is a good one. Check it out.

2. TASKMASTER: UNTHINKABLE TPB


Written by FRED VAN LENTE

Penciled by JEFTE PALO

Cover by ALEX GARNER

Taskmaster has trained henchmen for every terrorist organization and criminal cartel in the Marvel Universe. So when the rumor starts that he's turned traitor and now works for Steve Rogers, a billion-dollar bounty is put on his head. Now, every cadre of costumed fanatics - A.I.M., Hydra, Ultimatum, the Sons of the Serpent and more - is looking to collect. Taskmaster must fight hordes upon hordes of his psychopathic students while at the same time uncovering who framed him - which requires him figuring out who he really is! That's right, the man with the photographic reflexes has no memory of his true identity - and you'll learn the unexpected truth along with him! The action-packed secret origin comes courtesy of New York Times bestselling writer Fred Van Lente (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN) and acclaimed artist Jefte Paolo (DOCTOR VOODOO)! Collecting TASKMASTER #1-4 and material from AGE OF HEROES #3.

112 PGS./Rated T+ ...$14.99

ISBN: 978-0-7851-5260-6

I didn't pay much attention to this series when it came out in floppies (other than the issue about the town full of Hitlers), despite being fans of both Van Lente and Palo. I mean, Taskmaster? Honestly? I'll read a comic about Moon Knight if you force me to, but Taskmaster is a harder sell. The joke ended up being on me, though, because apparently this was one of the hottest comics to come out from Marvel last year. Van Lente managed to straighten out a few decades of Taskmaster's history, introduce some new aspects to the character, and tell a rocking and goofy story, all in four issues. And Jefte Palo... if you've ever seen that guy draw anything violent, you understand exactly why he's a great choice for this series. Mark this one down as a pleasant surprise.

1. SPIDEY SUNDAY SPECTACULAR! #1


Written by STAN LEE

Pencils & Cover by MARCOS MARTIN

The legendary Stan "The Man" Lee and artist extraordinaire Marcos Martin bring the real world into Spidey's world in this collection of their two-page Spidey Sunday strips, straight from the pages of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN! Get ready for a heaping helping of fourth-wall-breaking, web-swinging wonder in the Mighty Marvel Manner!

40 PGS./Rated A ...$3.99

For a few months last year, Stan Lee and Marcos Martin provided a two-page backup story. It was a string of classic Stan Lee hucksterism, corny jokes, absurd cliffhangers, and beautiful, beautiful, Marcos Martin art. You may think that's a thin hook, and you might be right considering the price tag on what's essentially a series of gag strips, but Martin's art is incredible. He's got a creepy, Steve Ditko-influenced style, and he's officially joined the ranks of people who were born to draw Spider-Man, a ground that includes Humberto Ramos, Chris Bachalo, John Romita, Sr., and Todd McFarlane. At the very least, you need to flip through this one in the store, even if you aren't going to buy it.