8:15am PT by Graeme McMillan
New 'Avengers,' 'Batman' and More: 5 Picks From This Year's Free Comic Book Day
Happy Free Comic Book Day. With comic book stores across North America (and, in some rare cases, beyond) opening up their doors to offer 50 titles from a number of publishers, including Marvel, DC, Image Comics and more, there's an impressive variety for comic book readers old and new to choose from.
A full list of what's available can be found here, but if you only have time for a handful of titles, here are some to look for in particular.
All-New All-Different Avengers
The future of Marvel's premiere franchise can be seen in this special edition featuring the debut of the new Avengers team that'll be seen in action this fall, which includes new members Ms. Marvel, Nova and Miles Morales, the Ultimate Universe's version of Spider-Man. The issue also includes a sneak peak at the upcoming Uncanny Inhumans series, waaaay ahead of the property's movie debut in 2019 (Fans of the Agents of SHIELD series might be familiar with them already, of course).
Also available: Marvel's massive summer event gets an early start in Secret Wars #0.
Probably my personal pick of the FCBD releases, DC offers a sneak peek at three of its big June series with new Batman, Justice League and Superman strips that tease out future plot developments for the company's major characters, including Lois Lane figuring out Superman's secret identity, the Justice League trying to prevent a war that could destroy everything, and Batman's replacement stepping up to save Gotham. Big things ahead, it seems.
Also available: DC has an additional FCBD release offering kid-friendly thrills with its Teen Titans Go/Scooby Doo Team-Up flip book.
Supermutant Magic Academy/Step Aside Pops
Two amazing cartoonists who made their reputations online are showcased in Drawn & Quarterly's release, which places Kate Beaton and Jillian Tamaki together for a one-two punch of smart, funny writing and outstanding artwork. If you're not familiar with either woman's work — and, given that neither are household names yet, it's very possible that you're not — then this might be the revelation of the day. Highly recommended.
Also available: The Comics Festival anthology also features some Kate Beaton work, as well as material from Faith Erin Hicks, Zac Gorman and Cory Doctorow.
Terrible Lizard No. 1
If you've been wondering why Jurassic World doesn't have a sizable comic book presence, then Cullen Bunn and Drew Moss' new series from indie publisher Oni Press might be your cup of tea. Mixing dines and Pacific Rim-style monsters appearing through holes in the fabric of reality, it's the touching tale of one girl and her pet … except that the pet is a dinosaur stolen through time, and together the two of them save the world a lot. What's not to love?
Also available: If this kind of genre-play is what you're looking for in your comics, then 2000AD Special is a must-read. A combination of new material and reprints of classic strips, it's a great introduction to the long-lived British sci-fi series.
Valiant 25th Anniversary Special
In time for newcomers to get into Valiant's shared universe following the company's recent Sony deal, the anniversary special includes new material introducing the new status quo for Bloodshot and the current state of X-O Manowar's universe, as well as pieces on the history of the company, hints at what lies ahead and something the publisher is calling "a cavalcade of special surprises!"
Also available: Archie's Dark Circle sampler is an introduction to another superhero line that might complement what Valiant is offering; if nothing else, the Dark Circle books to date have been as impressive as Valiant's relaunch back in 2012.