The X-Men has been one of the most popular superhero franchises in comics for more than a generation, and the big screen adaptations helped kick off the current wave of superhero films, including X-Men: Apocalypse, which arrives in North American theaters this weekend.
The world of the X-Men is packed with relatable themes, from the simple school setting to more complex ideas about alienation and persecution. If you love the X-Men and what they stand for, here are five of the best independent comics that reflect the themes and message of Charles Xavier’s gifted students.
The newly young Steve Rogers is back as Captain America on May 25, with the release of Captain America: Steve Rogers #1, by Nick Spencer and Jesus Saiz. As we've discussed before, this means there are now two Captains America, and two Captain America titles, with Captain America: Sam Wilson continuing alongside this book.
There's also a prologue to the new title that will be available for free as part of Free Comic Book Day on May 7.
Avengers: Standoff! Assault on Pleasant Hill Omega introduces a new hero to the Marvel Universe, albeit one who's taking on a legacy that stretches back almost 40 years. The new Quasar is a female SHIELD agent named Avril Kincaid, and she's the creation of writer Nick Spencer and artists Daniel Acuña and Angel Unzueta.
Welcome to Cast Party, the feature that imagines a world with even more live action comic book adaptations than we currently have, and comes up with arguably the best casting suggestions you’re ever going to find for the movies and shows we wish could exist. This week, we're looking at one of the most fun comics Marvel has published in years, Nick Spencer and Steve Leiber's The Superior Foes of Spider-Man.
This is a comic about villains, so we're going to need people who can play utter heels, but still remain likable and maybe even relateable. I've picked out some of the finest performers in the world for this dream movie, and as is tradition here on Cast Party, there may be a wrestler or two thrown in there where appropriate.
Marvel’s spring event Avengers Standoff rolled into Sam Wilson: Captain America this week, in an oversized special in honor of Captain America’s seventy-fifth anniversary. In an action packed issue featuring stories from Greg Rucka & Mike Perkins, Tim Sale, and Joss Whedon & John Cassaday, the main story by Nick Spencer, Daniel Acuña and Angel Unzueta saw an old favorite return to form, hotter than he’s ever looked.
Lots of Marvel characters are fighting lots of other Marvel characters (almost like there's a Civil War coming) in Avengers Standoff: Assault on Pleasant Hill Omega #1, the finale to the Pleasant Hill story. Steve Rogers is young again, and leading a makeshift group of Avengers (I say "makeshift" mostly because it includes Cable) against a veritable army of supervillains led by Baron Zemo. There's reality-warping technology at stake, and we all know the Marvel Universe's reality can't warp much further without breaking.
This week saw the release of the prologue issue to Marvel’s spring event Avengers Standoff, in the form Avengers Standoff: Welcome To Pleasant Hill #1 by Nick Spencer, Mark Bagley, Scott Hanna and Paul Mounts. The event has been touted for a long time now, but heading into this first issue it was still rather unclear exactly what Standoff was going to be about.
Things are a lot clearer following the release of Welcome To Pleasant Hill, which is a moody mystery hidden behind a sunny suburban smile. Be warned this review contains meaty spoilers for the first salvo in this event as we unpack the events of the issue and its killer cliffhanger. In other words, if you want to know what Standoff is actually about before you investigate further, we're going to do our best to tell you.
On February 17th, the Avengers find themselves in small town with a big secret in Avengers Standoff: Welcome to Pleasant Hill #1, written by Captain America: Sam Wilson's Nick Spencer with art by All-New X-Men's Mark Bagley.
Beyond "little town with something big and weird going on" the press release reveals nothing about the plot except that it's meant to lead to other things. Likewise, there are only two preview pages, and they're just the Winter Soldier sneaking through a SHIELD facility and watching a recording of an explosion. But it seems safe to assume that this will be part of the road to Civil War II, because every story at Marvel is the road to the next story.
This week's announcement of a second Captain America title, Captain America: Steve Rogers, to run alongside the current Captain America: Sam Wilson series, is the latest example of a Marvel legacy hero getting to share a name with its originator. It's a trend that reflects two facets of Marvel's approach to major heroes. On the one hand, the publisher almost always gives big name legacy identities to characters that provide greater diversity than their predecessors, whether it's Cap, Spider-Man Thor, Hulk, Hawkeye, Wolverine, Nick Fury, Giant Man, or Ms Marvel. On the other hand, Marvel's big name heroes almost always come back.
The new Cap comic has plenty of promise; Steve Rogers is a popular and beloved character, and the team of artist Jesus Saiz and writer Nick Spencer should deliver great stories. Spencer is also the writer on the Sam Wilson title, so it's reassuring to know that he hasn't passed up Sam for Steve, and that Sam will still hold on to the iconic round shield. But Marvel's decision to make Sam Wilson the Captain America felt like a big deal. Is it still a big deal if he's just a Captain America?
With the Captain America: Civil War movie fast approaching, and the Civil War II crossover to go with it, the return of Steve Rogers to (physical) youth and the Captain America name was basically inevitable. And now Marvel has officially announced that Steve is getting his own Captain America: Steve Rogers series this spring, written by Nick Spencer, with art by Jesus Saiz, and featuring a new version of his costume and a brand new shield designed by Daniel Acuña.
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