Marvel Comics staged one of its most ambitious (and that’s saying something) events ever with Secret Wars in late 2015, and now that the dust has settled, we have some recommendations for the All New, All Different universe.
With more than a few issues now out in the wild for the 60+ new and relaunched comics, we’ve decided to run down a lost of 10 essentials you definitely need to pick up. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of other good (and bad) Marvel Comics on the shelf, but if you’re looking to dive back in (or just expand your pull list), this is an excellent place to start. From long-running series to up-starts as part of the relaunch, we try to run the gamut.
Check out our recommendations below, and let us know which All New, All Different comics you’re loving these days.
All New, All Different Avengers
Arguably the flagship ‘book of Marvel’s relaunched line, this Avengers run focuses on the new-look version of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes as they try to figure out what the heck they’re doing. With Miles Morales, Nova and Ms. Marvel on the roster, this team definitely skews young. It’s also led by some fairly new heroes, with Sam Wilson’s Captain America and Jane’s Thor joining stalwarts Iron Man and The Vision. But, that mix has made this one of the freshest comics on the shelf — and it’s a great showcase series for some of Marvel’s newest and most exciting heroes.
It took a while, but Miles Morales finally has his very own Spider-Man series, set within the main Marvel continuity (R.I.P. Ultimate Universe). With Brian Michael Bendis back to write it, this series largely picks up where Miles’ Ultimate adventures left off, though the young hero is obviously still trying to find his place in this new world. Between joining the Avengers, and trying to live up to Peter Parker’s legacy as the new Spider-Man (while Parker is busy as a globe-trotting hero in Amazing Spider-Man), there’s more than enough to keep Miles busy and some great stories left to tell. Thankfully, Miles’ family and best pal Ganke also make the cross-universe jump, so the supporting cast you know and love (or will know and love) is still in place.
This is arguably one of the weirdest, unsettling, and all-around fantastic comics currently on the market. From the creative team of Tom King, Gabriel Hernandez Walta, Jordie Bellaire, and Clayton Cowles, The Vision focuses on the long-time Avenger as he creates his own synthezoid family (a wife and two teenage children). From there, a dread-laden story of bigotry, murder, secrets and lies starts to weave around The Vision’s family, trying to create a life among humans who don’t really want them around. Heck, The Vision himself is barely in the story — and that’s totally fine, by the way. It’s rare for Marvel to try something this serious and ambitious, so make sure you enjoy it while it lasts.
Venom: Space Knight
This might prove a controversial pick for some, what with Guardians of the Galaxy and Legendary Star-Lord also providing some cosmic adventures with a better known cast and crew. But, this spinoff comic focused on Flash Thompson as he becomes an agent of the cosmos is a crazy fun thrill ride. Accompanied by his hilarious robot pal 803, Flash follows the call of his symbiote all over the galaxy to right wrongs and save the day. Is it deep? Not really, but it’s snappy and entertaining — and where else are you going to find a giant, adorable killer koala bear alien?
With the Ultimate universe no longer a thing, the former flagship title has been rebooted with a whole new direction — this is the super-team that deals with the big problems. Like, universe-busting problems. Don’t call these guys in for Hydra or your typical baddie slugfest. The new-look team features heavy-hitters like Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Spectrum, Blue Marvel and Ms. America. A few examples of their early missions: Reasoning with Galactus, and flying outside existence itself to check and see if the time stream is damaged. Ambitious stuff, to say the least. If you’re looking for the biggest-picture view of the Marvel Universe, this is it.
Set within its own little alternate universe, Spider-Gwen follows a version of Gwen Stacy who is bitten by a radioactive spider and becomes the Spider-Woman of her world. Peter Parker, sadly, doesn’t make it. It’s a fascinating “What If?” story in and of itself, and the creative team has done an amazing job of building a truly unique universe that is both familiar and wholly different from the one fans have come to expect. The easter eggs are great, but more than anything, Gwen is just a fantastic character who you’ll really enjoy just hanging out with every month.
This All-New ‘book carries over the previous story started by Dan Slott and Mike Allred, which follows the Silver Surfer as he kicks around the universe with his new pal Dawn Greenwood. The art is absolutely gorgeous, invoking a pop art vibe unlike just about anything else out there. But, it’s the dynamic between Dawn and the Silver Surfer that really make this such a treat. It’s a somewhat strange describer, but “sweet” is the word that comes to mind. This is a Silver Surfer who is finally finding his humanity, and who is being pushed and challenged everyday by a very strong and capable woman who is growing into a hero in her own right.
Captain America: Sam Wilson
Sam Wilson’s tenure as the bearer of Captain America’s shield has made for an interning arc, and we’ve seen him do everything from getting drawn into the complicated realm of politics and immigration, to turning into a werewolf (for real). Yeah, this is not your traditional Captain America comic. But, though it might not be what fans expect, Sam Wilson’s story has turned into a very compelling one. Sam is definitely not Steve Rogers, and he’s creating his own legacy in the iconic role. The perfect balance of topical, and fun.
With his big screen debut already in the works, Marvel has used the All New reboot to launch a brand new Doctor Strange solo ‘book. The mystical side of the Marvel Universe has sometimes taken a back seat to all the other comic book insanity over the years, but this series looks to chronicle the Doctor’s side of how this crazy world works. We also get to see the tragic price he has to pay for tapping into that powerful magic. Considering how long Doctor Strange has sometimes served as a Deus Ex Machina in the Marvel universe, this is an amazing effort to truly pull back the curtain.
Sure, this one is an obvious pick — but Kamala Khan’s acclaimed adventures are still some of the most unique stories in the Marvel Universe. The ‘book picks up some of the threads fans already know and love, though the All New debut is a fairly good jumping on point for new fans. Heck, just about every issue of this is a good jumping on point. Plus, Kamala is a member of the Avengers now, so you never know how those two worlds might intersect in the future…
BONUS PICK: Black Panther
It’s a bit early to give this one a resounding recommendation, what with the first issue just hitting shelves this month. But, the first issue looks really good (and pulls at some interesting threads), and it stands to reason this could become one of the better comics in Marvel’s catalog in the coming months. This ambitious run, written by Ta-Nehisi Coates with art by Brian Stelfreeze, kicks off with a story about dramatic upheaval in Wakanda and the Black Panther’s struggle to do right by his people as their ruler. Considering Black Panther’s increased prominence on the big screen, it stands to reason Marvel is betting big on his role in the comic realm, as well. It’s still early, but this one looks to live up to the hype.