Another month has gone by and we’re already through the halfway point of summer! Can you believe that? Well, luckily for all of us, these fantastic comics don’t take a break and this month we saw some exciting comics come out. Before we get started, I do want to post a spoiler warning as there will probably be some throughout this article. With that out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the comics that stood out for us!
The oversized landmark issue of Aquaman hit the shelves this month by Kelly Sue DeConnick, returning artist Robson Rocha, Daniel Henriques, and Sunny Gho. I know Aqua-fans have been eagerly anticipating this issue after the SHOCKING revelations from last month’s issue and we’re left wondering how Aquaman is going to fix things. Aquaman is on his way home and he’s brought the old sea gods with him to find a new home in Amnesty Bay. The people of Amnesty Bay are thrilled to have their hometown hero back and Arthur even gets a visit from his close friend, Wonder Woman. He confides in her, explaining what happened with Mera and how he needs to make things right. Meanwhile Arthur’s nemesis Black Manta begins making plans to go after Aquaman.
Robson Rocha returns to the book and it is a welcome sight to behold. His characters and environments are beautifully detailed and gorgeous. I have to hand it to DC Comics, they have made Aquaman one of the most visually arresting comics being published right now. Rocha excels at not only conveying the moods of our beloved heroes, but his environments (Amnesty Bay and Atlantis) are expertly rendered and captivating to behold. I can’t wait to see more of his Black Manta. This is a comic series that EVERYONE should be checking out right now. Kelly Sue DeConnick is giving us an exciting and emotional run with Aquaman, and with this art team, Aquaman is one of the most beautiful looking comics on the shelf. Do yourself a favor and start reading this series!
Amazing Spider-Man #25
We have come to the end of Nick Spencer and Ryan Ottley’s first year on Amazing Spider-Man. That’s crazy! I remember when they were just joining the book. Pete’s life has been anything but normal since this creative team took over. His reputation is in question as he was accused of cheating for his graduate work, he had a huge ordeal with Kraven and his son, and to make things worse, he has a mysterious villain stalking his every move! This oversized issue does a fantastic job of setting up the future of the title (or Year Two I guess we can call it). We also get to see (newly Marvel exclusive) Patrick Gleason’s first work on the title. Peter isn’t the only one whose life is about to get more exciting, however. In fact, his girlfriend, Mary Jane received a huge story in #25. After foiling Electro’s attack on a theater, Mary Jane is thrust back into the spotlight and it big things appear to be on the horizon, including a new miniseries! Mary Jane really stole the show in this issue and to see Spencer giving her her own big story to participate in is extremely exciting.
Between the threats of Kindred, Mysterio, and even the new Carnage event, Spidey and MJ have their hands full! The artwork by Ottley, Ramos, and Gleason shines in this issue as they each get the opportunity to contribute to this exciting issue. While Ramos is parting ways with the title, Ottley and Gleason will be the new art team moving forward. Things are looking brighter than ever for Spider-Man and Marvel is putting out some fantastic books based on Spidey and his allies and supporting characters.
House of X #1
This is perhaps one of the most exciting comic releases of the entire year. That’s right, Jonathan Hickman is returning to Marvel and this time his sights are on the X-Men. Hickman is most famous for his runs on Fantastic Four and Avengers, which was his last ongoing he did for the publisher. After Secret Wars, Hickman spent his time focused on his creator-owned projects. Now, he’s back with the X-Men and the first issue of the Hickman era began this month. Professor Xavier makes mankind an offer, an offer that seems too good to be true. After Krakoa Island is formed and makes itself the new home for mutantkind, Xavier offers Krakoa to humans to cure diseases and prolong their lives as long as they recognize Krakoa as a nation. Hickman masterfully weaves a brilliant and engaging opening for his era of the X-Men, setting up intriguing plots of questions. He is joined by Pepe Larraz and Marte Gracia who make this comic shine! They work beautifully together in this issue as they give us moments of excitement and thrilling action, as well as gorgeous establishing shots and environments. The new era of the X-Men is upon us and I can say, I have never been more excited to be along for the ride.
We have arrived at the final arc of Tom King’s Batman run. Bruce has been pushed to the edge, physically and mentally, by Bane and his cabal of allies. While the opening pages might be a bit jarring, especially to those who haven’t been keeping up with the title, it works beautifully to establish the sort of hell Bruce can look forward to, and the predicament Gotham City is faced with. Gotham City is now being run by the criminals such as Riddler, Joker, Hugo Strange, and of course, the big guy himself, Bane. King does a great job of showing us just how twisted Gotham has become under Bane’s rule and why it needs its Dark Knight more than ever. Meanwhile, Bruce is trying to regain his strength after the ordeals he has been put through and he finds an ally who might be the key to everything. King is joined by Tony Daniel and Mitch Gerads for this oversized issue, which also plays into the Year of the Villain event at the end of the issue with Bane receiving a call from Lex Luthor himself. The artwork is fantastic and while their styles are significantly different from each other, I never felt like the styles clashed against each other. King and company are clearly ready to go out with a bang for his final Batman arc and I, for one, am excited to see how King will close out his exciting run on Batman.
The War of the Realms is over. Malekith’s forces have been defeated, but what was the cost of this war? During the final battle, after wielding the hammer of the War Thor, the weapon shattered and bonded with Jane. It became Undrjarn the All Weapon, an object that can form itself into whatever the wearer wishes. With Undrjarn, Jane must take on the role of the last surviving Valkryie after all the other Valkyries were slaughtered during the war. Without her, Valhalla will cease to exist and all the dead warriors would be lost forever. Aaron and Ewing do a great job setting up Jane’s new status quo as well as explaining the differences of her new role compared to her time as Thor. As Brunnhilde, whose spirit now acts as a guide for Jane, put it, Thor is a god, Valkryie is a job. Cafu’s artwork is absolutely stunning, the attention to details is astonishing. Cafu does a brilliant job with not only portraying exhilarating action sequences but also the quieter, softer moments as well where he can express the character’s emotions. Valkyrie #1 is an exciting new start for Jane Foster and I can’t wait to see her learn more about what it means to be a Valkyrie. If you are a fan of Aaron’s Thor run, this is a must-read book!