The Top 10 Marvel Comics Coming In April 2011
April sees the release of Marvel's latest new event, Fear Itself. While that's all well and good, they also are shipping eleventy-billion other comics that might just be worth reading. The X-Men are wrapping up Age of X, Steve Rogers is popping up in a few annuals, the Point One initiative is still going (and making less and less sense), and still more comics featuring Thor are coming out. After the jump, we've got the ten most promising reads.
10. CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIGHTING AVENGER #1
Written by BRIAN CLEVINGER
Pencils by GURIHIRU
Covers by GURIHIRU &
Captain America's Day One!
He's got the strength. He's got the training. But has he got what it takes? A ragtag Special Forces unit takes Captain America on his first mission of World War II. Their orders? Don't get him killed! But when the low-profile assignment draws the attention of Baron Strucker, the future Red Skull and half the Nazi army, it'll be a crash course in super heroics for Marvel's first Avenger!
48 PGS. /One-Shot/Rated A ...$3.99
It's just a one-shot, but c'mon--it's got Gurihiru art. You want this, even if you don't know it yet. Gurihiru took on the Power Pack for Marvel for a few years and delivered such a great take that they practically made the characters their own. The thought of Gurihiru drawing what amounts to a war comic, with Nazis and dudes wearing monocles, is a great one. Brian Clevinger's work on Atomic Robo makes for an entertaining comic, and I figure he's going to bring that same consciously comic flavor to this book. If this sells well, maybe we'll see some more from the creative team? Fingers crossed.
Written by CHRISTOS GAGE
Penciled by TOM RANEY
Cover by MIKE MCKONE
Korvac has defeated The Avengers...now the world's only hope lies with the students of the Avengers Academy, who have been grown to adults! With time manipulated, the team gets a glimpse of what the future might hold for them. For some it's a revelation...for others a life sentence! Can they overcome their personal demons and master unfamiliar abilities in time to defeat a foe powerful enough to conquer Earth's Mightiest Heroes? Find out in the book that Newsarama's Best Shots calls "one of the best Avengers books – and, for that matter, one of the best Marvel books – on the stands."
32 PGS./Rated A ...$2.99
The Avengers are a tough sell. There's a metric ton of characters involved in the franchise, a lot of villains who are hard to care about, and the sheer weight of decades of history to push through. Korvac is one of those Avengers villains I think of as being hard to get into. So, I was more than a little skeptical of this arc of Avengers Academy, but after thinking about it, this may be the best time to try and figure out what makes the Avengers work. You have a classic villain, several characters who will have no idea who he is and therefore need his history explained in an easy to take dose. Also, glimpses into the future are almost always fun.
Written by DAN ABNETT & ANDY LANNING
Penciled by SCOT EATON
Cover by STEPHEN SEGOVIA
Thor - God of Thunder, Son of Asgard, heir to the ancient and mythic heritage of divine power! Iron Man - invincible hero, miracle of technology, offspring of scientific genius and engineering wonder! These two mightiest of Avengers come together to face a menace that is both magical and technological, and which threatens to wipe away the pantheons of legend and science so it can replace them with a shocking new order for the 21st century! Collecting IRON MAN/THOR #1-4 and material from THOR SPOTLIGHT.
112 PGS./Rated A ...$19.99
Trim size: standard
I'm pretty sure that Thor/Iron Man (which I'm pretty sure was published as Iron Man/Thor, but Thor's the one with the movie this year...) was one of the high points of the glut of Thor comics in 2010. It didn't really have a point beyond throwing Thor, Iron Man, and a few of their villains into a mixer and seeing what happened, but it was plenty enjoyable, and even a little funny. The good art and straightforward story make it good for people looking to "get into" Marvel books, too. The cast is very deep, but you get very quick and easily digestible introductions to the major characters. But really, for a book about Thor and Iron Man shooting things with lasers and hitting them with hammers, Thor/Iron Man more than fits the bill.
Written by Nick Spencer
Penciled by SCOT EATON
Cover by MIKE DEODATO
THE SECRET IS OUT! Word of Steve Rogers' clandestine operations has leaked to the world, kicking off a global race by the Secret Avengers to save compromised superhuman assets before they can be taken off the board! Behind it all: a mystery man in familiar garb, who'll force the Super-Soldier to confront some very hard realities about his new role as a general.
32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$2.99
Ed Brubaker and Mike Deodato's Secret Avengers has been a pretty entertaining book. Deodato has consistently upped his art game and Brubaker's been writing the kinds of stories that he's best at. What the series has been intentionally missing is how the Marvel universe would react to Steve Rogers's black-ops team. While Marvel's Point One initiative is a little suspect (it's hard to convince me that these are jumping on points when several of them feature guest creative teams), Nick Spencer and Scot Eaton are a very solid creative team. Eaton is one of those guys who is very good at superheroic action, and Spencer does well with dialogue, so I'm looking forward to this one.
Collecting ASTONISHING SPIDER-MAN & WOLVERINE #1-3
80 PGS./One-Shot/Parental Advisory ...$4.99
The Astonishing brand has fallen since the glory days of Joss Whedon and John Cassaday's Astonishing X-Men. The books don't sell like they used to, and online chatter seems to have fallen by the wayside. Despite that, Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine is a funny comic book. It's not just random wackiness or dumb puns. This one is funny like X-Statix and Garth Ennis's Marvel Knights Punisher was funny. Jason Aaron and Adam Kubert push against what we think of Spider-Man and Wolverine stories as being about, partly by putting them into new situations and partly just by delivering some sharp and well-executed work. You missed this when it first came out. Go on ahead and get on the train with this mini-collection, and then pick up the rest of the series.
Written by JONATHAN HICKMAN
Penciled by DUSTIN WEAVER
Cover by GERALD PAREL
Leonardo Da Vinci was an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. So was Issac Newton. So were Imhotep and Zhang Heng and Galileo and many other geniuses throughout time. They were the first heroes to defeat Galactus and the Brood and turn Celestials back. They saved the world long before Captain America or Iron Man were ever born, but what does this mean to our heroes of today? What does this mean to Nick Fury? Do not miss this Marvel Comics masterpiece that fans will be talking about for decades to come. All the insanity is courtesy of Jonathan Hickman (FANTASTIC FOUR, SECRET WARRIORS, Nightly News) and Dustin Weaver (X-MEN). Collecting S.H.I.E.L.D. #1-6 and materials from S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 DIRECTOR'S CUT.
176 PGS./Rated T+ ...$24.99
Trim size: oversized
ComicsAlliance contributor David Uzumeri would kill me if I didn't include this one! Jonathan Hickman and Dustin Weaver are telling the secret history of the Marvel universe. Rather than delving into continuity porn, though, Hickman and Weaver are doing the equivalent of continuity porn for history. "Everything you learned in World History is wrong!" While it's not without its faults (almost everything that ever mattered in history happened in Europe to white dudes, I guess), the art is fantastic and Hickman's plotting is building up to something huge. If you like playing connect the dots, then you're in luck.
Written by RICK REMENDER
Pencils by JEROME OPEÑA
Cover by ESAD RIBIC
Wolverine promised Cyclops that X-Force would disband. He lied. A secret society has resurrected En Sabah Nur, putting into motion events that will turn this age of heroes into an Age of Apocalypse! To hold them back, Wolverine and Archangel bring together Fantomex, Deadpool and Psylocke to form the Uncanny X-Force! Stained by their history, they are the only ones capable of making the hard resolutions necessary. A band of likeminded friends and mercenaries set to one purpose, one big ugly task: kill Apocalypse by any means. Collecting UNCANNY X-FORCE #1-4 and material from WOLVERINE: ROAD TO HELL.
120 PGS./Parental Advisory ...$19.99
Trim size: standard
I haven't been a fan of X-Force since the Milligan days, and that wasn't really X-Force at all, was it? But I gave Uncanny X-Force a chance after a friend recommended it and was pleasantly surprised. While the gimmick is still a little goofy ("We can't tell Cyclops that we're still going out to murder people!"), the book is very good, with well-executed action scenes. Remender's even taking on old X-Men ideas and flipping them in new ways. Apocalypse is a villain that could go either way, but when you build up the fact that he needs to get murdered before he can return to power, and then reveal that, whoops, he's a kid, you have an interesting dilemma and a good hook.
3. ACTS OF VENGEANCE CROSSOVERS OMNIBUS HC DAVIS COVER
Written by WALTER SIMONSON, ARCHIE GOODWIN, ROY & DANN THOMAS, PETER DAVID, MIKE BARON, CARL POTTS, CHUCK DIXON, ANN NOCENTI, TERRY AUSTIN, JAMES HUDNALL, LOUISE SIMONSON, CHRIS CLAREMONT, DWAYNE MCDUFFIE & GERRY CONWAY
Penciled by RICH BUCKLER, RON LIM, JOHN BYRNE, JACKSON GUICE, JEFF PURVES, BILL REINHOLD, JIM LEE, SAL VELLUTO, JOHN ROMITA JR., ERNIE COLON, JOHN CALIMEE, TERRY SHOEMAKER, GEOFF ISHERWOOD, ROB LIEFELD, PAUL SMITH & ALEX SAVIUK
Covers by ALAN DAVIS & ROB LIEFELD
The Acts of Vengeance are here, and no hero is left untouched! Witness some of the most unexpected battles of all time! Wolverine vs. Tiger Shark! Dr. Strange vs. Hobgoblin! The Punisher vs. Dr. Doom! Daredevil vs. Ultron! Power Pack vs. Typhoid Mary! And while the Fantastic Four fight against the passing of a Super Hero Registration Act, Psylocke is changed forever at the hands of Mojo! Collecting Collecting FANTASTIC FOUR (1961) #334-336; WOLVERINE (1988) #19-20; DR. STRANGE, SORCEROR SUPREME (1988) #11-13; INCREDIBLE HULK (1968) #363; PUNISHER (1987) #28-29; PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL (1988) #12-13; MARC SPECTOR: MOON KNIGHT (1989) #8-10; DAREDEVIL (1964) #275-276; POWER PACK (1984) #53; ALPHA FLIGHT (1983) #79-80; NEW MUTANTS (1983) #84-86; UNCANNY X-MEN #256-258; X-FACTOR (1986) #49-50; DAMAGE CONTROL (1989) #1-4; and WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #64-65.
752 PGS./Rated T+ ...$99.99
Trim size: oversized
Fair warning: these stories probably have not held up at all. It was the '80s, the crossover was a little ill-conceived ("Hey, my fellow villains! Let's all switch who we fight because [to be explained at a later date]!"), and I wouldn't wish the fashion in these books on my worst enemy. BUT! Look at that art line-up. Look at that story summary. There is a ton of classic Marvel madness going on in these 752 pages, and if you want to see how the House of Ideas used to swing, this is definitely worth checking out. The tales are pretty dumb, but they are pretty entertaining at the same time. Pick it up, read a couple chapters a week, and just revel in what we used to think was cool, back before we were all jaded. And how sharp is that Alan Davis cover?
Written by JOHN LAYMAN
Penciled by LEE GARBETT
Cover by STEVE MCNIVEN
"IDENTITY WARS," A THREE-PART ANNUAL EVENT STARTS HERE!
In a perfect world, what could possibly go wrong?
An exciting new story by Eisner Award Winning writers JOHN LAYMAN (Chew) and LEE GARBETT (Batgirl).
Peter Parker thinks life couldn't get any better-until an explosion at Horizon Labs plummets him (along with Deadpool and Hulk) into another dimension where The Amazing-Spider is the world's most powerful and beloved hero and Peter Parker is a billionaire mogul playboy (with surprises in his supporting cast). Will Peter discover the price for perfection? And what dreams come true does this dimension hold for Deadpool and Hulk? Find out as the story continues in their respective Annuals in May and June.
40 PGS./Rated A ...$3.99
This sounds familiar, sort of like another take on House of M, and the team-up is weird, but hey--John Layman's work on Chew is great, and he wrote the only genuinely good Gambit comics ever a few years ago. Lee Garbett did a fine job on Batgirl. I trust these two guys to deliver a strong, character-focused story, and considering how darkly humorous Chew can be, we're likely to get some good old-fashioned laughs out of it, too. I'm less than enthused about the structure of the event (what happened to just being standalone miniseries, rather than criss-crossing through annuals like it was 1988 all over again?), but I have high hopes.
Written by KURT BUSIEK & PETER DAVID
Penciled by MARK BAGLEY, SAL BUSCEMA, STEVE EPTING, BOB MCLEOD, TOM GRUMMETT, RON RANDALL, GENE COLAN, DARICK ROBERTSON, GEORGE PÉREZ, CHRIS MARRINAN & MIKE DEODATO JR.
Cover by MARK BAGLEY
Justice, like lightning! When the world's heroes disappear, a new team rises to take their place! Meet the Thunderbolts: Citizen V! Techno! MACH-1! Songbird! Meteorite! Atlas! But what dark secret are these heroes hiding? Read the stories that changed the way the world looks at redemption! Guest-starring the Hulk, Spider-Man, Black Widow and Franklin Richards! Collecting THUNDERBOLTS #1-5, #-1 and ANNUAL '97; INCREDIBLE HULK (1968) #449; SPIDER-MAN TEAM-UP #7; and material from TALES OF THE MARVEL UNIVERSE #1
296 PGS./Rated A ...$29.99
These are old, but have aged surprisingly well. The introduction of the Thunderbolts was, at the time, crazy. The awesome twist at the end of issue one has been completely spoiled over the years, but as a superhero comic, Thunderbolts is still good. While the modern series has morphed into being about villains being forced to be heroes, the original conceit of villains pretending to be heroes, and then realizing that they actually really like being heroes, is still pretty fresh. Honestly -- this is a classic. It's well worth reading.