It’s upon us! Even though Marvel’s mega-event Secret Wars won’t quite be over until December, they’re pressing ahead with a line-wide All New, All Different Marvel relaunch starting in October with over sixty new books debuting into the spring, and more announced each week. That’s a lot of comics, many of them with completely fresh directions and creative teams – how can you wade through to find the most-interesting titles?
As always, I took care of the sifting for you! Here’s a list of every book Marvel has announced to date, the amount of hype I’m feeling on it, a one-sentence summary of the concept and creative team, and the elevator pitch on why you should care.
Ready? Here we go! Updated November 2!
What is it? An all-female team of Marvel heroes
Who’s creating it? Written by G. Willow Wilson (Ms Marvel) with art by Jorge Molina, one of Marvel’s most consistent artists
Why read it? Even for someone like me who lives for the women of Marvel, this assemblage of female heroes seems like a bit of a hodgepodge. At least Marvel Now’s Fearless Defenders had a cleverer central trope, but, it began with a pair of B-list players. Here, Marvel is pulling out all of the stops short of Storm and it’s probably going to pay off. Plus, Wilson was ace on her brief run on X-Men Vol. 4 – she clearly did the homework on the character’s rich histories, and they never sounded so good.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
What is it? Marvel’s comic version of the TV team
Who’s creating it? Original Green Arrow showrunner Marc Guggenheim
Why read it? It’s Agent Colson and friends mashing up with/against Hydra, which should be very palatable to Marvel’s TV fans. However, it’s going to take a lot for this to top both the prior Coulson-starring books, Ales Kot’s Secret Avengers and Mark Waid’s Agents of SHIELD. Plus, Guggenheim was weak on his X-Men arc in Marvel Now – the history was there, but the voices were off. Is that because a TV writer writes for actors and not pictures on a page? Either way, I’ll believe it when I read it.
All-New, All-Different Avengers
What is it? A team of second-generation heroes takes the Avengers mantle (but not the budget)
Who’s creating it? Writer Mark Waid with artists Adam Kubert and Mahmud Asrar
Why read it? Take four of Marvel’s hottest properties of the past few years – Falcon as Captain America, the black and hispanic teen Spider-Man, a female Thor, and the new Afgani-American teen Ms. Marvel. Add a pubescent Nova and cinematic smashes Iron Man and Vision. Oh, and Waid will write it hot off of one of the best (and most playful) Daredevil runs of all time. Yeah: everybody’s going to buy this comic book. I’m slightly less excited by the artists – Kubert is wildly uneven and Marvel has yet to find the right colorist for Asrar. Still, this book will be a smash.
What is it? The teen female Hawkeye under the watch of a much older Hawkeye from another dimension
Who’s creating it? Jeff Lemire (Essex County, Sweet Tooth, Animal Man) and Ramon Perez (A Tale of Sand)
Why read it? Lemire continues his follow-up volume of Hawkeye after Matt Fraction did a slo-mo mic drop, taking an extra year to squeeze out a final few issues of his prior edition. Lemire is great with familial ties and Perez is the right look for the characters, and fans dug the initial few issues prior to Secret Wars. Yet, Kate Bishop can be a sort of Mary Sue cypher who is cool and great at everything, and old alternate-reality Hawkeye is a 100% boring addition.
What is it? Classic Inhuman and former Mrs. Quicksilver Crystal steps out to lead a team investigating an odd phenomenon.
Who’s creating it? Witty lawyer with a time-turner Charles Soule plus the never-bad Stefano Caselli.
Why read it? Soule on another female lead is attractive after he aced She-Hulk, and Crystal spent a lot of the last decade in Ronan’s shadow despite showing some decent agency along the way. The question is – does this book need to exist? Crystal is leading an away team of Inhumans investigating mysterious spires emerging from the Earth all around the world. Sounds a lot like Warren Ellis’s amazing Trees, but also sounds like a conceit that shouldn’t be necessary to create action so early in the life of this newly expanded franchise. Soule’s working with a bigger canvas now and maybe his world-building will rely heavily on this story in the way his Letter 44 works on a global scale, but looking at its description it feels very “filling space.”
What is it? Wolverine’s female clone takes time off from All-New X-Men to fill in for poor dead Logan.
Who’s creating it? Tom Taylor (Injustice: Gods Among Us, Superior Iron Man), David Lopez (Captain Marvel, X-Men)
Why read it? Real talk – there has yet to be a bad series of X-23 (that’s Logan’s clone). Some like to harp on her exploitative introduction as an abused teenage hustler, but even that was good and she has acquired many interesting layers since then – especially in a solo romp by Marjorie M. Liu. Taylor has proven to be a deft scripter and Lopez is one of Marvel’s best who is perpetually on every fan’s wishlist. No worries there, but how will being a glossy, spandex-clad hero work for the decidedly anti-social X-23? It will be fun to find out.
What is it? Time-displaced junior X-Men still haven’t been put out of our misery but made new friends.
Who’s creating it? Dennis Hopeless (Spider-Woman, Cable & X-Force) and Mark Bagley (Ultimate-Spider-Man)
Why read it? One word: Hopeless. This guy is Marvel’s new secret weapon and it’s great to see him getting high-stake assignments. The problem is, this one might be DOA. The only reason anyone was paying attention to All-New X-Men other than for Brian Bendis was to read Teen Jean Grey, and she doesn’t appear to be in this cast. Despite the recently outed teen Iceman and X-23 doing double-duty from her solo title – plus Wolverine & The X-Men favorites Idie and Kid Apocalypse – there’s just no reason for this to exist. Bagely is pretty much the 90s Gold Standard of artists, but it could look good and still be a snooze unless Hopeless thinks of a truly killer story.
What is it? Peter Parker grows up to be a super-successful super-scientist, but has a lot of the same old problems.
Who’s creating it? Dan Slott (Spider-Man, Silver Surfer) and Giuseppe Camuncoli (Spider-Man, Daken)
Why read it? Slott can do little wrong when it comes to Spider-Man, steering him through smash after smash in the past few years. Pairing him with Camuncoli, the best artist in his arachnid rotation, and leveling Peter up to be more of a grown-up in a new social sphere will not be a bad thing. This should be a distinctly different take on the same Spider-Man, which will differentiate it from the slightly limp last volume, which was mostly a Spider-Verse vehicle that was trapped in the wake of Superior Spider-Man.
Angela: Queen of Hel
What is it? The Neil Gaiman creation and fallen Asgardian angel takes over its nether realms.
Who’s creating it? Marguerite Bennett (Angela, Asgard’s Assassin) and Kim Jacinto & Stephanie Hans (Journey Into Mystery)
Why read it? This book has potential – Angela dealing with the politics of Hel and bumping up against other Asgardian players in the meantime holds a lot more interest than her just being a second female Thor fighting random villains from his rogues gallery. Any book with art from Hans is worth at least paging through, and Bennett has nothing but opportunity here as she plays with a character with a relatively clean slate who she is fresh off scripting with Keiron Gillen in a totally perfect series. It’s also possible this is planned as a relatively short story (as the last volume was), so even if the sales aren’t big it will keep Angela moving to her next story – and that’s not a bad thing.
What is it? Labyrinthine plotter Spencer pens his humorous take on Ant-Man (again) as a villain (again)
Who’s creating it? Nick Spencer (Superior Foes of Spider-Man, Morning Glories) and Ramon Rosanas
Why read it? Spencer had a secret and magical touch in Marvel Now, turning each series he wrote into gold. Ant-Man will be coming off a summer of all-time high visibility, and Spencer is seemingly going back to the well of unsuccessful super-villainy that made his Superior Foes such a rollicking read. There’s no way this isn’t a fun time.
What is it: Blade’s daughter slays vampires, Buffy-style.
Who’s creating it: Tim Seeley (Hack/Slash, Batman Eternal) and Logan Faerber
Why read it? I’m not sure yet.I’m not saying this will be bad, but there’s not source of hype yet for me. Blade has had some great limited engagements with Marvel teams over the past few years, and was probably due for another try on his own book. Instead, we’re getting a legacy-hero version that introduces his daughter to the mix. Not only does this potentially waste the potent Blade, but we already have Elsa Bloodstone to fill this sort of next-generation-of-slayer spot. Faerber doesn’t have much of a track record. Plus Seeley just did a similar young female protagonist on his Vertigo series Effigy – I’d rather have him keep doing that, and I fear this will just become a proxy for unused plots.
What is it: A serious take on what it means for your king to also be your greatest herowho works alongside interventionist America.
Who’s creating it: Ta-Nehisi Coates (The Atlantic, National Book Award nominee) and Brian Stelfreeze (Wednesday Comics, Day Men)
Why read it? In Coates, Marvel landed legitimate powerhouse writer who happens to be a crazy-bonkers comics fan to write their marquee black hero in the same quarter he makes his screen debut. They’ve paired him with industry vet Stelfreeze who doesn’t draw a picture that’s not dynamic. Oh, and by the way: both of those creators are black men.
Aside from the utter strength on strength of this plan, you have Coates just being an awesome guy. The day after this book’s announcement, he went on a prolonged and hilarious Twitter rant where he insisted that his Black Panther would be a graduate-level thesis on economics and political theory set to pictures (which: great). I mean, witness this tweet exchange:
What is it: Black Knight’s stuck in Weirdworld where the temptation of not being a hero is realer and maybe more dangerous.
Who’s creating it: Frank Tieri (Red Sonja, Gotham Underground) and Luca Pizzari (Red Skull)
Why read it? There are a lot of iterations of a Black Knight series that would be a complete snooze. What does not sound like a nap is Frank Tieri penning Black Knight as marooned in Weirdworld at Steve Roger’s request, attempting to be a leader with no moral support to help him shake off the negative effects of the Ebony Blade. That’s a great “fish out of water” concept that plays up all of Knight’s weaknesses all at once under the guidance of an author who knows how to torture his character in the most interesting ways. Looking through Tieri’s career, these offbeat setups are where he’s flourished most. Despite only average amounts of hype, this one could be one of the most enjoyable books of the reboot.
Black Widow – Late Update!
What is it: Waid shifts his transformational focus from Daredevil to his old West Coast partner.
Who’s creating it: Mark Waid (Daredevil, Hulk, SHIELD) and Chris Samnee (Daredevil)
Why read it? Natasha finally has some heat behind her after a gorgeous 20-issue run from Phil Noto, though Nathan Edmondson’s script didn’t necessarily show her in her best light. That’s not going to be a problem with Waid, who isn’t afraid of laying big ideas on big characters. Samnee is one of the highest-caliber of the indie-style artists at Marvel, but even on his A-game it’s going to be hard not to be wistful for more Noto perfection.
Captain America: Sam Wilson
What is it: The former Falcon continues his run as America’s top cop, with just as firm a moral compass but slightly less idyllic ideals.
Who’s creating it: Nick Spencer (Secret Avengers) and Daniel Acuna (Uncanny Avengers)
Why read it? Remender cedes his grip on the shield and the guy who steps up might surprise you. Authorially, I mean – we’re not getting another new Cap. I think everyone would have expected Al Ewing or even Gerry Duggan on this flagship plus a glossy, kinetic artist like they ones they were paired with on their books. Instead we get the newfound Midas Touch of Spencer plus the bold-but-cool retro look of Acuna. It’s an odd fit, but if anyone can make it work it’s Spencer, who is suddenly under Marvel’s biggest spotlight with Civil War hitting theatres in a matter of months.
What is it? Carol Danvers is still Marvel’s best female character, and now she’s in space, again.
Who’s creating it? Tara Butters & Michele Fazekas (TV’s Agent Carter) and Kris Anka (Uncanny X-Men)
Why read it? This one is hard to predict Kelly Sue DeConnick is stepping down from Captain Marvel after a memorable, human run whose sole fault was lacking an iconic story. Will sending Danvers back to space as a member of SWORD finally give us a worthy saga? Maybe so, as written by the showrunners of ABC’s Agent Carter, but artist Anka has proven unable to recapture the magic of his covers and character designs in his interior art after many opportunities. Despite massive fan support for Carol, this title could crash and burn or fly even higher than before – there’s no way to predict it accurately.
What is it? Spider-Man’s most-murderous foe gets upgraded to an ongoing after many minis.
Who’s creating it? Gerry Conway (Spider-Man) and Mike Perkins (Captain America, Deathlok)
Why read it? Carnage has potential when treated with depth instead of as an XTREME and extremely violent psychopath. Enter classic Spidey author Gerry Conway, who simply doesn’t do exploitation as part of his bag of tricks. This is not going to be laugh-a-minute Deadpool-esque hijinks (a good thing), but can Conway keep it interesting for more than one arc? The textured pencils of Mike Perkins will help – he doesn’t exactly pair with light-hearted books, either.
Contest of Champions
What is it? Marvel heroes face off in Mortal Kombat, but can it possibly be in continuity? Apparently: yes.
Who’s creating it? Al Ewing (Mighty Avengers) and Paco Medina (X-Men, Nova)
Why read it? Ewing is undoubtably Marvel’s brightest rising-star writer, and they’ve given him a video-game inspired plot along with one of their glossiest artists in Medina. You don’t throw all that good talent after a bad idea. Even if this is just a serialized fight-fest, it’s going to be an interesting read. The fact that the insane-with-power future Hulk The Maestro is in charge of things gives this simple story a lot of potential teeth. I’m looking forward to seeing where Ewing steers it.
What is it? Daredevil goes on the offensive as a prosecutor as written by a real-life lawyer.
Who’s creating it? Charles Soule (She-Hulk, Inhuman) and Ron Garney (Wolverine, Uncanny X-Force)
Why read it? Soule is one of the hottest writers in comics, penning anything from Wolverine’s death to his creator-owned space drama ably … but really nailing it on his recent law-infused She-Hulk run. He’s quite literally the only author anyone wants to see on Daredevil after the end of Waid’s modern classic run. Garney is one of Marvel’s best artists in any era, period – he’s great on any book. Here, Daredevil is back in Hell’s Kitchen and now a prosecutor training a next generation of street-level superhero. This is going to be a blockbuster, can’t-miss comic book. The only possible downside is: how do you top Waid for inventiveness and his artists for groundbreaking layouts? I can’t wait to find out!
What is it? 20 pages of Deadpool being dead, every month. Not really. But maybe really?
Who’s creating it? Gerry Duggan (Deadpool, Nova) and Mike Hawthorne (Deadpool)
Why read it? Gerry Duggan somehow took Deadpool from Marvel’s irreverent Merc With a Mouth to a month-in-and-month-out best title, and he frequently did it along Mike Hawthorne. It’s a relief to see Duggan’s magic hasn’t ended despite him killing off old Wade at the end of his Marvel Now run. You know he’ll have something inane cooked up to bring Deadpool back to life.
What is it? Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme gets physical as he’s matched with two all-star creators/
Who’s creating it? Jason Aaron (Thor, Wolverine, Ghost Rider) and Chris Bachalo (Uncanny X-Men)
Why read it? Jason Aaron is in the midst of one of the best Thor runs of all time – it turns out he might be a steadier hand on mythological heroes than spandex ones. Chris Bachalo is nearly impossible to tear away from illustrating the X-Men, and when he’s at his best he dissects every page with insane layouts. To pair them together on a more proactive Doctor Strange (he’s carrying an axe) just as his movie begins to film? At worst, it will be a memorably twisted and borderline psychedelic re-imagining of Stephen Strange. At best, this could be the biggest runaway hit of the entire All-New lineup.
What is it? The most boring Guardian as written by a professional wrestler. Seriously.
Who’s creating it? C.M. Punk with Cullen Bunn (Magneto, Fearless Defenders) and Scott Hepburn
Why read it? I am not trying to hate on CM Punk here, who is a clever man and will be aided by the suddenly revitalized Cullen Bunn coming off of his Magneto run, but they’re paired on a character who is best in the background of a fight panel! Comic Drax is not really anything like lovable cinematic Drax, and an entire comic of him doesn’t sound too appealing (it wasn’t the last time they did one). There’s got to be more than an intergalactic wrestling match in store here or this book will quickly fizzle.
What is it? A classic core of X-Men paired with a time-tossed pair hits a contrived story.
Who’s creating it? Jeff Lemire (Hawkeye, Sweet Tooth, Animal Man) and Humberto Ramos (Amazing Spider-Man)
Why read it? Jeff Lemire admits he hasn’t been great on team books nor did he grow up on X-Men, so we just have to take his word that this will be good. The cast is pure Claremont – Storm, Nightcrawler, and Colossus, plus his sister Magik, a time-displayed young Jean Grey, and a time-displaced old Wolverine. Except, they’ve been saddled with an Inhuman plot device of runaway Terrigen Mists that are inhospitable to mutants and are being drawn by one of Marvel’s most super-deformed artists, Humberto Ramos. I really want to be excited about Lemire – he was my fantasy-editor pick to write X-Men in this era. Yet, this feels like a major editorial mandate to reverse all progress the X-Men have made in the past decade. Lemire or not, there’s no way to be positive on that.
What is it? We don’t know yet; this rumored book has been on the back burner for over a year.
Who’s creating it? Nicole Perlman (screenwriter of Guardians of the Galaxy)
Why read it? Original Guardians screenplay scribe Nicole Perlman takes over the green-skinned lady she helped make a household name last summer. That movie Gamora was pretty faithful to the comics but more interesting than the comic version we’ve seen the past few years of Marvel Now, so maybe we’ll get something good here.
Guardians of Infinity
What is it? A space-based mashup of every era of Guardians by their own kingmaker, Dan Abnett.
Who’s creating it? Dan Abnett (Guardians 3000, Guardians of the Galaxy) and Carlo Barberi (Deadpool, Ultimate Comics X-Men)
Why read it? In a world where Guardians has turned into a mega money-making franchise with as many titles to its name as X-Men, you want one of those books to be written by a man who put the team on the map. Abnett is half of the team who imagined the set of Guardians who are now internationally famous. He could have easily asked to continue his surprisingly great Guardians 3000 from Marvel Now or even settle into a dull Guardians Team-Up style of title that would be a big seller. Instead, we get an off-the-wall concept that smashes multiple timelines of Guardians together with a unique mission. Abnett has a tremendous gut for good stories. This will be great.
Guardians of the Galaxy
What is it? More watered-down Guardians, this time without Star-Lord
Who’s creating it? Brian Michael Bendis (Guardians of the Galaxy, All-New X-Men) and Valerio Schiti (Journey Into Mystery)
Why read it? I don’t think you should – at least, not without hearing what results from the first story before dipping your toe in the water. Brian Bendis dilutes the team by ditching stars Star-Lord and Gamora and bringing in Venom (Already mishandled in a prior run.), Thing (On the same team as Drax? Really?), and Kitty Pryde as Star-Lord (Why not?!). Bendis writes tons of funny panels of Guardians comics, but has yet to turn in two consecutive enjoyable issues of anything more than scenery-chewing. The normally reliable Valerio Schiti turned in an initial cover that looks like it belongs in a dime-store coloring book. I feel zero hype here.
What is it? Marvel’s deposed god steps back into the spotlight.
Who’s creating it? Dan Abnett (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Luke Ross (Captain America, Secret Avengers)
Why read it? Hercules occupies unique territory at Marvel – he can handle globe-spanning stories with a lot of pathos, but they can still be light-hearted or a bit transgressive. And, honestly, when they aren’t Hercules winds up feeling like a knockoff Thor with a more tired mythology. Grek Pak and Fred Van Lente teamed up to make Hercules a sleeper hit for several years, and the real question is how Abnett will pivot from where they left off a half a decade ago, since Hercules has been all-but invisible since then. Marvel is already taking some heat about bi-erasure with the news that this will be an exclusively straight Herc, so this is really down to Abnett’s pitch – if it’s great and unique, then we could have a winner. Luke Ross certainly won’t let him down – he was great on Secret Avengers.
Howard The Duck
What is it? He’s a duck. What is so hard to understand about that?
Who’s creating it? Chip Zdarksy (correspondence on the Applebees Facebook Page) and Joe Quinones
Why read it? Chip Zdarsky is still funny. Joe Quinones is still the perfect artist to draw this anthropomorphic duck. The first arc will have Gwenpool backup stories. Just buy it, okay?
Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D.
What is it? Monsters and horror staples become a SHIELD team.
Who’s creating it? Frank Barbiere and Brent Schoonover
Why read it? These “we’re going to make supernatural super-heroes work!” titles almost always fail in the first year, but sometimes they’re really good along the way! This will fail, too – both Marvel and DC’s monster track record is abysmal in recent years, but you could catch a hidden gem by being one of its few readers. Frank Barbiere doesn’t have a lonf major publisher a track record yet aside from Avengers World and Brent Schoonover is similarly sparse on resume. This is an audition book – if it’s readable, we’ll see this gentlemen elsewhere in short order.
Hyperion – Late Update!
What is it? Marvel cobbles together a sure-to-fail book about their cross-dimensional Superman ripoff.
Who’s creating it? Chuck Wendig and artist Nik Virella
Why read it? While Jonathan Hickman found some resonant moments with Hyperion in his Avengers run, this is a character who has had his moment in the sun and should be relegated to being a team player. He has a dead family on some other world, and now he’s trapped on our Earth sucking up the air and printed pages that could be due to a character with some amount of demand behind their book. Nothing against Wendig, who might be a worthy author, but no one wants this comic book.
What is it? A gaggle of villains do stuff, but not in a funny way like in Foes of Spider-Man.
Who’s creating it? Josh Williamson (Birthright, Nailbiter) and Shawn Crystal
Why read it? It’s the perfunctory villains book! But, not just that. Writer Joshua Williamson’s creator-owned work is cannot put it down awesome and Shawn Crystal draws dynamic, high-contrast interiors. Can gun-toting, demon-powered villain The Hood hold his own after experiencing some Bendis-led oversaturation half a decade ago? Maybe so, and Williamson might unfurl something really interesting along the way.
International Iron Man – Late Update!
What is it? Iron Man gets a subtler vibe from a hit-and-miss superstar team
Who’s creating it? Brian Bendis (New Avengers) and Alex Maleev (Daredevil, Moon Knight)
Why read it? This book is all about Maleev, who is the rare artist who can always breathe life into Bendis’s stuttering scripts. Yet, the marquee pair tackled Spider-Woman and gave up earlier, then paired for Moon Knight together a few years ago and no one showed up to read it. They’re a surer bet on a mega-property like a second Iron Man book, and a James Bond-ish international flair may push Maleev out of his typically gritty, urban comfort zone into something remarkable.
Invincible Iron Man
What is it? Marvel’s wordsmith-in-chief Bendis tackles a solo Tony Stark for the first time
Who’s creating it? Brian Michael Bendis (Avengers, X-Men, Ultimate Spider-Man) and David Marquez (Ultimate Spider-Man)
Why read it? Bendis is known for putting way too many words on every page and making comics as much about snappy patter as the actual story. He’s met his best match yet in Iron Man, who should be exactly that. David Marquez is one of those marquee artists that Marvel fans celebrate on any book. There’s no way this goes wrongly, but there’s a question of how right it might be.
What is it? The most human Inhuman in his own book.
Who’s creating it? Warren Ellis (Moon Knight, Nextwave, Authority, Planetary) and Gerardo Zaffino
Why read it? Karnak is one of the most interesting Inhumans – he has no power but the ability to see the flaw in all things. He’s also dead as of last year. He’s also being written by one of the medium’s all-stars, Warren Ellis, and drawn by the obscenely detailed Gerardo Zaffino. This is a sleeper hit waiting to happen.
The Mighty Thor
What is it? Jane Foster continues the good fight as Thor while her own body breaks down.
Who’s creating it? Jason Aaron Russel Dauterman
Why read it? Aaron’s Thor was unquestionably the #1 highlight of the past three years of Marvel, and he’s not through with his story yet. While there’s a slight chance of him flagging here, it doesn’t seem all that likely.
What is it? The super-brilliant imitative Avenger stops playing second fiddle and becomes a star.
Who’s creating it? Chelsea Cain, who penned a smash-hit one-shot for Mockingbird this month.
Why read it? Mockingbird tends to default to getting defined by the men in her life, whether that’s an AIM Scientist Supreme she’s duping or her perpetual romantic foil Hawkeye. Chalk it up to her nickname, which reflects her tendency to go into deep cover situations and her habit of uncovering the flaws in your plan. What goes under-written is that she was a top SHIELD agent with a doctorate in Biology – one of Marvel’s earliest women who got to be just as super-genius as its men. Cain wrote one issue of this clever, powerful Mockingbird and fans flocked to it – I haven’t read it yet, but the praise was everywhere on the web. Marvel did the smart thing and tapped her for an ongoing – Mockingbird’s first. It’s a great idea.
Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur
What is it? A super-brainy little girl takes the rains of Jack Kirby’s famous red T-Rex.
Who’s creating it? Brandan Montclare (Rocketgirl) & Amy Reeder (Batwoman) with Natacha Bustos
Why read it? Stick with me here – Montclare and Reeder both wanted to pen a heartwarming, Pixar-style all-ages book and found room to pitch it at Marvel. The concept is that a super-genius little girl doesn’t fit in with her friends (clearly she doesn’t know Valeria Richards) and knows she could be destined to be an Inhuman, but she finds an unlikely partner in a giant red dinosaur who she needs to keep in check in modern-day New York. This could be basic and cartoonish or layered and memorable, so it’s right in the middle of the hype scale for me – but I’m pretty excited that I can read it to my toddler with no regrets.
What is it? Moon Knight is crazy again. But maybe he’s really crazy! Again! Or maybe he’s not. That’d be new.
Who’s creating it? Jeff Lemire (Animal Man, Sweet Tooth) and Greg Smallwood (Moon Knight)
Why read it? Authors keep coming back to Moon Knight being crazy because, well, he is. This is a character born of multiple personalities, a would-be eccentric and rich Bruce Wayne who is at the mercies of phases of the moon and a crazy-making ancient Egyptian god. I didn’t expect Lemire to go so literal as putting him in a mental institution, which has the tendency to go really retro and offensive, but it’s also the right place to deconstruct some of these recurring themes and move them forward for the first time since Huston’s perfect 2006 spin on the character. That we’ve got Smallwood aboard, an Eisner-nominated newcomer who was high quality on Wood’s recent run, makes me think there could be real chemistry here. I hope so: I fucking love Moon Knight.
What is it? A teenage Muslim girl in New Jersey unwittingly becomes a superhero and is sort of okay at it.
Who’s creating it? G Willow Wilson (Ms. Marvel) and Takeshi Miyazawa (Runaways) / Adrian Alphona (Runaways)
Why read it? G. Willow Wilson’s Kamala Khan is relatable, charming, and just darn fun-to-read. Here she’s paired with the pair of runaways veterans, Takeshi Miyazawa and Adrian Alphona. The question is, how long can Wilson string alone Khan’s growth as a hero while keeping it as fresh and grounded as she had the past two years? Maybe a really long time!
What is it? A mish-mosh of fan-favorites take over the villainous aim.
Who’s creating it? Al Ewing and Gerardo Sandoval
Why read it? Al Ewing never disappoints and his team here is insane: Hawkeye, former New Mutant and major Avengers player Sunspot, Young Avengers pair and power-couple Hulkling and Wiccan, the always-entertaining Squirrel Girl, and Songbird – MIA for years! What the hell?! Paired with the cartoonish art of Gerardo Sandoval, this could turn to be a really fun, funny book about what its like to be a C-list hero trying to do good.
Nighthawk – Late Update!
What is it? Sometimes villainous Squadron Supreme member occupies morally gray ground
Who’s creating it? David Walker and artist TBA
Why read it? I am ultimately suspicious of any attempt to jumpstart a generally ignored legacy hero. Yet, Walker’s direction here has a bit of merit along wit a strong connection with 80s work by Moench and Miller by asking, “What if Nighthawk is such a vigilante that no one can tell if he’s a hero or a villain?” The risk is that he comes off as just a two-bit Batman copy, or that history-obsessed James Robinson writes a circle around this series and renders it disposable. Without knowing too much more about Walker’s pitch other than, “he’ll be living in the gray area” and “he’ll kill people,” it’s hard to get excited.
What is it? A like-father, like-son superhero tale of two Novas that might be more than meets the eye.
Who’s creating it Sean Ryan and Cory Smith
Why read it? The last volume of Nova was full of somewhat repetitive youthful exuberance that was pretty charming. Now it’s a father/son book. Will that be heartwarming, full of good conflict, or just annoying? Hard to know with this creative team, who don’t have a lot of books under their belts. This is fighting against a glut of other reimagined Marvel heroes but might get a bounce from Nova being in Avengers. Still, feels pretty middle-of-the-pack to me.
Old Man Logan
What is it? Bendis’s end-time Logan gets pulled back into the Wolverine void of the present day.
Who’s creating it? Jeff Lemire (Green Arrow, Animal Man) and Andrea Sorrentino (Green Arrow, I Vampire)
Why read it? Wolverine but old and completely extraneous to our beloved Marvel Universe, yet written by the peerless Lemire and drawn by wunderkind Sorrentino – reunited from their Green Arrow run. They’re going to make us love this whether we want to or not, and Sorrentino is a master of moody landscapes and bloody battles. The secret weapon here is that Lemire is also writing a flagship X-Men title starring Wolverine – it’s the first time someone has been at the controls of both books since Chris Claremont! Plus, there’s the idea that this Logan has some scores to pre-emptively settle before they turn into future problems. That’s a lot of hooks for someone who’s never short on ideas to begin with – maybe this Wolverine won’t feel so tacked-on afterall.
Patsy Walker, AKA Hellcat
What is it? An indie-comics team merge the snarky sidekick hero with her romance-comics history in an offbeat book.
Who’s creating it? Kate Leth (Kate or Die, Adventure Time) and Brittney Williams
Why read it? Hellcat was a ball of fun in her supporting turn on Charles Soule’s She-Hulk, but it takes a lot more than that to hold down your own series. Enter Kate Leth, who comic-blogged her own misadventures before breaking into actual comics on licensed titles like Adventure Time. Maybe it’s that comics-as-real-life component that makes her pitch sound so fresh, in particular that “[Patsy’s] mom wrote weird romance comics about her teen years, and her childhood frenemy has reprinted them, as if being a superhero wasn’t enough to contend with!” That sounds charming to me. Add to that Williams’ background at Disney Animation, and this is sounding like a solid smash!
Power Man & Iron Fist – Late Update!
What is it? Marvel’s most iconic duo back together for a book for the first time in nearly 20 years!
Who’s creating it? David Walker (Cyborg) and Sanford Green (Runaways)
Why read it? This book is going to enjoy a lot of cross-promotional synergy from Marvel as the bearer of not one but two of their remaining Netflix show stars. Add to that a solid all-black creative team and the ability for this duo to be both heavy and tongue-in-cheek, and it’s almost hard to go wrong on this comic! The pitfalls do exist, though – neither hero has much of a rogue’s gallery, Iron Fist’s entire continuity has just been effed up by his prior series, and Cage has a wife and daughter to worry about! Of course, you can look at each of those as a potential upside for launching a news series, especially into a market that’s hungry for it.
The Punisher – Late Update!
What is it? An unlikely pair of creators pick up Punisher’s pieces from a bloody end prior to Secret Wars
Who’s creating it? Becky Cloonan (Southern Cross, Gotham Academy) and Steve Dillon (Preacher, Punisher)
Why read it? This is such an odd duck that I might be a little excited by it! Cloonan is far from an author you’d expect to turn up on Punisher, but the writer/artist has no shortage of inventive, boundary-pushing ideas elsewhere. That tends to indicate an adventurous, worthwhile pitch. Meanwhile, Steve Dillon is associated with some of the most acclaimed Punisher comics of all time – which should ground whatever Cloonan is cooking up with the square, sneering illustration that is his speciality. Together they’re going to make something memorable, whether or not it’s any good.
What is it? Marvel decided to push this indigenous-American hero before they knew what to do with him.
Who’s creating it? Nathan Edmondson (Punisher, Black Widow) with interiors by Dalibor Talajic (Dexter, Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe) and covers by Jeffrey Veregge.
Why read it? Don’t. Marvel can be lauded for their push for more diversity, but they put the cart before the horse with this one and it shows with the dreadful fit of Edmondson as a writer, calling Red Wolf “Jason Bourne of the West.” Nope. You had Forge, Moonstar, and Warpath all available to fit that bill, but you need more imagination than that to resurrect this dormant character. When it comes down to it, this is an artificial push with a bad fit of a writer, and history has shown no amount of well-intended market positioning can overcome that to make a book great.
What is it? A deconstructionist take on a tangled hero who has been through the ringer.
Who’s creating it? James Robinson (All-New Invaders, Fantastic Four, Starman) and rotating artists
Why read it? When it comes to big-two comic writers, Robinson may by the biggest comic history nerd of a writer that exists – and if any character needs someone to untwist her history, it’s Wanda Maximoff! Whether it’s her murky parentage, the mutant vs. magic aspect of her powers, or her role destroying the Avengers and mutantkind alike, Scarlet Witch has a lot of baggage to unpack. Rick Remender broke the ice on bringin back her steely resolve as a hero, but he had a lot of other characters to juggle on Uncanny Avengers. Now, Robinson has promised single-issue stories that each explore a new facet of Wanda much in the style of Warren Ellis’s recent Moon Knight run. Even if this only runs for six issues it will be worth reading.
What is it? Spider-Man’s power-profile twin spent all these years locked in a basement, and now she’s the Kimmy Schmidt of superheroes.
Who’s creating it: The returning team of Robbie Thomson and Stacey Lee
Why read it? Silk is one of Marvel’s burgeoning leading ladies but one of comparatively few Asian leading characters. He pre-Secret Wars volume was well-liked, but not a breakout hit. Thomson and Lee are going to have to do some heavy lifting and fast for this book to not get lost in the shuffle… especially compared to the next spider-lady on this list!
What is it? See the human side of the Silver Surfer and his board Toomie as he travels the universe with a totally normal Earth girl.
Who’s creating it? The returning team of Dan Slott (Amazing Spider-Man) and Mike and Laura Allred (X-Statix)
Why read it? Every month the last iteration of this comic came out it was the best comic on the stands that month. The cleverness, the humanity, and the beautiful heart of this book are undeniable, as is the amazing fusion of Slott breaking free from Spider-Man and the Allred’s loosed to create improbable images. Indeed, this has a very Hitchhiker’s Guide feel to it in the best possible way, only with a silvery surfboard instead of a towel. Don’t overlook Laura Allred’s contributions here – a series of uncolored pages in the last collected edition proved just how much she defines the look of this book.
What is it? What if Peter Parker was the minor love interest and Gwen Stacey was the star? And what if she was the drummer in an awesome rock band?
Who’s creating it? The returning team of Jason Latour (Wolverine and the X-Men) and Robbi Rodriguez (FBP)
Why read it? The band’s back together on this alternate-universe Spider-(wo)Man after her fan-demanded first go-round. It’s probably going to be charming, and Rodriguez’s art is beautiful. This takes everything that was great about the Ultimate Universe way back in the day – all the characters and codenames you expect, but a bit jumbled to produce something fresh and new.
What is it? Miles Morales, the Ultimate Spider-Man everyone loves, comes to the main Marvel Universe.
Who’s creating it? Brian Michael Bendis (Ultimate Spider-Man) and Sara Pichelli (Ultimate Spider-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy)
Why read it? Ultimate Spider-Man finally inhabits the same Earth as the rest of the Marvel heroes we know and love! Bendis keeps up his unbroken streak of scripting Spider-Man, now heading into a fifteenth year. Hell, he’s been doing it almost as long as I’ve been blogging. This is going to be quick-witted and fresh, and Pichelli’s artwork is like seeing your dreams on the page. Plus, there’s hundreds of character interactions for us to witness for the first time. This book will be around for a long while.
What is it? A future Spider-Man negotiates our past and his present while trying to undo the evil in his future without erasing himself. Or, at least, that’s what he was doing before Secret Wars.
Who’s creating it? Peter David (X-Factor) and Will Sliney (Fearless Defenders)
Why read it? Of all the unlikely comebacks, Peter David resurrected his 90s future dystopian spider-guy on the back of a clever re-intro from Dan Slott and it was awesome – owing largely to perfect artwork from Sliney. David tends to snowball on titles, just getting better and better – but that snowball doesn’t always pick up new fans as it rolls downhill. Hopefully this title strikes a chord.
What is it? Hey, it’s a female hero with no strong direction – she should be pregnant!
Who’s creating it? Dennis Hopeless (Cabe & X-Force) and Javier Rodriguez (Daredevil)
Why read it? I’m high on Hopeless, so why the low score? Because visiting pregnancy on a hero as a plot development is very rarely a sign of true progress. I can think of exactly two good examples off the top of my head – Sue Storm and Jessica Jones – and both were natural outcomes of their stories. Even if this is the cleverest, most-empowered possible execution of the concept, it just doesn’t need to exist for a character who is constantly waiting in line for someone to get her right. Even if Hopeless turns it around with some kind of ironic reversal, it will stink of Carol Danver’s rape at the hands of Marcus – a pregnancy plot against the heroines’s better wishes just for editorial reasons.
What is it? In-continuity, kid-friendly Spidey with little of the meta-drama.
Who’s creating it? Robbie Thompson (Silk, Supernatural) and Nick Bradshaw (Wolverine and the X-Men)
Why read it? It’s a weird world where there’s no kid-friendly version of Spider-Man that can act as a gateway drug to the rest of the Marvel Universe. In the wake of Ms. Marvel and Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, it’s a world we don’t need to live in anymore. I’m not convinced Thompson was the best man for the job, but Bradshaw’s slightly deformed artwork is a lock for a gawky and youthful Spider-Man.
What is it? Solid Fantastic Four team takes on a group of heavy-hitting dimensional castoffs
Who’s creating it? James Robinson (All-New Invaders) and Leonard Kirk (X-Factor)
Why read it? Let’s get this out of the way: this might be a snoozefest. Robinson and Kirk’s Fantastic Four was an enjoyable slow-burn, and Robinson’s Invaders could be a little ponderous. Robinson is known primarily as someone who mines forgotten continuity for its strongest points, and here he’s going to have to work fast … not a single one of these characters is one who can carry a book. If this doesn’t explode with hype after its first issue it’s going to run a year and then get put to bed.
What is it? Peter Quill goes solo while Kitty Pryde is off leading the Guardians.
Who’s creating it? Sam Humphries (Star-Lord) and Javier Garron
Why read it? Humphries is one of a select group of writers who get to hop right over to All-New All-Different while keeping the same characters. Garron was totally perfect for space adventures on Cyclops. This could be a match made in heaven – the only potential downside is whatever status quo Quill winds up with post Secret Wars.
Starbrand & Nightmask
What is it? Two characters Hickman used for the grimmest of purposes break free to… be buddies and go to college?
Who’s creating it? Greg Weisman and Dominike Stanton
Why read it? Heck if I know. This could be great, but the character choice is so left-field that it’s hard to react to. It feels like it’s gone past Marvel’s carefully curated, “We’ll try X on Y,” method of recent years to just be flinging shit at the wall to see if it will stick. That Greg Weisman has been around forever and is mostly known for running cartoons like Gargoyles and Spectacular Spider-Man is neither here nor there.
The Totally Awesome Hulk
What is it? Teen super-genius Amadeus Cho takes a turn at being the big green guy, and he’s not too angry about it.
Who’s creating it? Greg Pak (Planet Hulk, Storm) and Frank Cho (busty women)
Why read it? Here’s a story. Greg Pak had been pitching a Storm book for years, finally got it accepted, and it was hands down one of the best books of Marvel Now. Marvel editorial says to him, “We want you back on Hulk.” Maybe he replies, “You know, I kinda did that already to massive critical acclaim, and now I write Superman and stuff.” Maybe Marvel replies, “We get it. But, when you come back, you’re going to write Hulk as a character you created – Amadeus Cho – who you love and who happens to share your Korean heritage. Oh, and we’re pairing you with Korean-American superstar Frank Cho on art to tell this story.” There is no way this is not an out-of-the-park home run. I would never believe Pak could be better on a book than he was on Storm, yet this is that book. And we’re getting an Asian male hero who doesn’t do kung fu (although, he is the seventh smartest person on Earth).
What is it? Black Panther leads a majority-black super-team with Captain Marvel to take on the biggest threats in the universe.
Who’s creating it? Al Ewing (Mighty Avengers, Loki: Agent of Asgard) and Kenneth Rocafort (Red Hood and the Outlaws, Superman)
Why read it? Al Ewing has yet to turn in a single bad issue of Marvel Comics. He’s shown great facility with both minority hero voices and discarded characters. He has a cast of massive fan-favs here with Black Panther, Miss America Chavez, and Carol Danvers, and he’s already proven to be a great writer of Spectrum and Blue Marvel. On a galaxy-wide stage he can really cut loose with big concepts. Rocafort is a solid, enjoyable artist who doesn’t really go wrong. The sky is the limit here.
I have to include a quote here from Comics Alliance, because Al Ewing is awesome:
CA: This is notably a very diverse team, as were your two Mighty Avengers rosters, but now we also have a diverse main Avengers team as well. Why do you think this sort of diversity is so important?
AE: I think it’s important in the way that a roof is important. If you’re moving into a building and the landlord says “oh, and we have — get this — a roof! And four walls! We’re not just a hole someone dug in the street!“, you don’t start giving out medals for that. That’s just a basic thing that ought to be standard. It’s just fiction reflecting reality — there are all kinds of people in the world, and we should reflect that properly and try not to screw up. To be honest, I think there’s a long way to go in a lot of ways, both on the page and off. Read More: Squad Goals: Meet the Team in Al Ewing’s ‘Ultimates’.
Unbeatable Squirrel Girl
What is it? More squirrelly collegiate awesomeness from the NYT bestselling team!
Who’s creating it? Ryan North (Dinosaur Comics, Adventure Time) and Erica Henderson
Why read it? The first volume was smirkingly awesome. Ryan North brings the deadpan wit of his Dinosaur Comics to a much kinder and gentler character than his trademark T-Rex, but don’t be fooled: this young hero has taken out everyone from Dr. Doom to Galactus. North and Henderson are wonderfully in on the joke of how ridiculous Squirrel Girl is, yet they keep things real with showing her desperately trying to fit in as a Freshman in college. This is a “hand it to any kid and they’ll love it” sort of comic.
What is it? Marvel crams Spider-Man and Deadpool into another book, adds Quicksilver and Rogue, hopes it sells.
Who’s creating it? Gerry Duggan (Deadpool, Nova) and Ryan Stegman (Superior Spider-Man, Wolverine)
Why read it? I’m really trying to get excited for this book due to my affinity for Duggan, but I can’t get there. The cast is a hodgepodge, Stegman’s promo art doesn’t look great, and it feels like it will be a guffaw-filled Deadpool vehicle where Rogue continues to waste away. Also? This just doesn’t feel like the “unity” team that’s supposed to be the core conceit of Uncanny Avengers (Spider-Man doesn’t scream unity – more like, “please buy this”). Maybe there’s more to be revealed outside of the promo image to give more context.
What is it? Marvel’s main Inhumans book starring two major non-Inhumans and drawn by their biggest gun.
Who’s creating it? Charles Soul (Inhumans, Death of Wolverine) and Steve McNiven (Uncanny Avengers, Civil War, Death of Wolverine)
Why read it? Inhumans haven’t really caught fire with fans yet despite Marvel’s big push, and as pushes go this is about as big as it gets – Marvel’s wunderkind Soule plus their go-to event-artist McNiven reunited after making Death of Wolverine readable. Will they find the excitement in the tired-sounding plot of Medusa having an affair with Johnny Storm while the most-boring X-Men Beast lives with the Inhumans? Probably, but I fear this may give in to Soule’s more workmanlike tendencies while his heart is focused elsewhere on Daredevil. It just sounds so damn dull – but, to be fair, that’s true about all Inhumans books.
What is it? You thought Uncanny X-Men were morally gray when they were an Extinction Team or terrorists? Now they’re just villains!
Who’s creating it? Cullen Bunn (Magneto) and Greg Land (Iron Man, Uncanny X-Men)
Why read it? It’s the most exciting X-Men book on the horizon. It’s nearly inconceivable that the book that raised Cullen Bunn’s workmanlike profile to cult status for Marvel was Magneto, but that is an actual thing that happened for the past year. Pair that with the high-gloss cinematic quality of Greg Land and a cast of mercenaries like Mystique, Sabretooth, Psylocke, and Fantomex – plus Magneto, of course – and this could be the best X-Men book in years. Despite Marvel’s lack of push behind mutants, whatever title gets the “Uncanny” moniker tends to do killer sales. This creative team and Magneto in the lead could be the sleeper hit of the line.
What is it? That pesky black symbiote is currently clinging to disabled veteran Flash Thompson, who’s shipped out to space.
Who’s creating it? Robbie Thompson (Silk) and Ariel Olivetti (Namor, Cable)
Why read it? Forget for a moment that Bendis’s Venom-in-Space on Guardians was not very exciting and recall how awesome Flash Thompson was as Venom in Rick Remender’s Secret Avengers. This is a trained soldier who doesn’t get freaked out by much going to the weirdest places in space. That’s what I’m hoping for from Thompson, but let’s be honest: the big draw here is Ariel Olivetti. He draws glossy characters and jagged landscapes that are colored to look like a crew of G.I. Joes wandered onto a Dali painting. Putting him in space and drawing the creepy-crawly Venom is utter genius and makes this book worth a look.
What is it? The Vision, like in Age of Ultron, but not as sexy as Paul Bettany.
Who’s creating it? Tom King (DC’s Grayson) and Gabriel H. Walta (Magneto)
Why read it? Vision as a solo character is dull as a box of rocks – there’s a reason he only has a pair of limited series to his name. Tom King has a weird record – he’s mostly an author but he’s been in comics for over 20 years. His main accomplishment seems to be illustrating a run of Futurama issues before writing a decently-regarded run on Grayson last year. I’d call Walta’s sketchy art a bad fit for this, but I would have said the same thing for Magneto and been totally wrong. In sum, this might not suck but there’s not a lot to get excited about. Yet.
What is it? A gaggle of multi-dimensional spider characters get into hijinks as a team.
Who’s creating it? Mike Costa and David Baldeon (X-Men Legacy, Storm)
Why read it? This sounds like a bit of a throw-away, but it has a few good things going for it. Costa turned in a really great Scarlet Spiders tie-in to Spider-Verse using this same concept. More to the point, his main experience is writing G.I. Joe and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so he knows how to make a super team seem like the awesomest of action figures. Baldeon has always been a solid artist save for his gawky faces – but, here, they’ll all be under masks! I think this will wind up being pretty enjoyable, if not remarkably long-lived.
What is it? Marvel’s foray into swords, sorcery, elves, and dwarves.
Who’s creating it? Sam Humphries (Star-Lord) and Mike Del Mundo (Elektra, X-Men Legacy covers)
Why read it? Marvel re-awakens a non-superhero franchise to try to cash in on the current market for fantasy-tinged comics, but will anyone show up to read it? Well, if there are any two creators who can put the weird in this world it’s the far-out Humphries and the visionary Del Mundo. While it’s disappointing not to see Del Mundo on a more core title, he’s a guy who can make this unmissable with his art alone. The real question is if Humphries can spin an unusual yarn that readers who are fresh to this world will stick with for more than twelve issues.
X-Men ’92 – Late Update!
What is it? An out-of-continuity series aping Marvel’s famous 90s X-Men cartoon but throwing in any kind of 90s nostalgia it can find
Who’s creating it? Who cares?
Why read it? Marvel takes everything away from the X-Men with one hand and with the other gives you back this turd, a warmed over retread of the indelible 90s cartoon series rife with Jim Lee designs and filled with famous Claremont plot beats. That will be further mashed up with other 90s comics and concepts, but also stealing the best of what came after – like Morrison’s Cassandra Nova. This is fan service for a non-existent fan. Is it marketed at nostalgic cartoon fans now in their 30s or current adolescents with close to zero connection with the X-Men since Marvel refuses to market them? It had the right idea with the official Claremont continuation of his abandoned 1991-era plots in X-Men Forever.