Labor day is one of the more bittersweet holidays. On the one hand, it represents an extra long weekend of fun in the sun, family barbecues, and poolside relaxation. On the other hand, it’s the end of summer. For our luckier readers, that means very little. For those of us in the Northeastern United States, it means crawling back into our hidey-holes and putting on three coats for the next nine months. Luckily ComiXology and Marvel are teaming up to help us send summer off with a bang.
If you need beach reading this weekend, use the code MARVEL at Comixology.com‘s checkout to access a buy-one-get-one-free deal on all Marvel books. While you could just get the latest two issues of that Civil War II tie-in you missed, catching up on some classic series would be a much better bang for your buck. Here are a couple of titles you should snag ASAP.
Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen team up to create the most ridiculous, irreverant, and funny book Marvel has released over the last decade or so. The series focuses on a group of superheroes who’ve been recruited into an anti-terrorist organization called H.A.T.E. (Highest Anti-Terrorism Effort) only to discover that H.A.T.E. and its parent company the Beyond Corporation are actually terrorist cells in and of themselves. What follows is a strange and ridiculous jaunt featuring perverted demons, dragons wearing diapers, and a not-so-all-ages representation of one of Marvel presently popular all-ages characters.
Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona are some of the biggest names in the business these days given their work on Saga and Ms. Marvel, but before their modern booms they were already making their presence known through Runaways, a hit series about a group of teenagers who are forced to run away from home after they discover their parents comprise an evil cabal called The Pride. Equal parts character drama, coming of age, and action, this series is will appeal to those who love the stories being told in books like Ms. Marvel today. Vaughan’s run spans through the series’ first seven volumes.
Speaking of Ms. Marvel, there’s no way we’d put this article out into the world without recommending Marvel’s best ongoing series. G. Willow Wilson and primary series artist Adrian Alphona do the work of their lives with the story of Kamala Khan, a Pakistani-American teenager growing up in Jersey City. Kamala is headstrong, passionate, and clever to a T, but she also has to work through the same issues many of us do growing up nowadays– the cultural baggage that comes with being a first generation child from an immigrant family, the pressures of teenage romance, and even gentrification! On top of all that, she’s a shapeshifting inhuman with powers that she had only imagined having in fanfiction.
If there’s any superhero that represents our generation, it’s Kamala Khan.
The story that inspired the movie that launched a thousand ships– Captain America: Winter Solider is one of the most important stories Ed Brubaker ever told with the character. Drawn by a team of artists including Steve Epting, Michael Lark, and J.P. Leon, The Winter Soldier kicks off Brubaker’s run in a huge way by bringing back Steve Rogers’ supposedly dead best friend, Bucky Barnes. The book shares a similar core to what made the recent Marvel film adaptation great and adds an additional layer of wonder to the proceedings in a way that only comics can.
Writer Kieron Gillen has described his work on Journey into Mystery as a superhero comic that would make you never want to read a superhero comic again. And he’s right– in the best way. Working primarily with artist Doug Braithwaite alongside a team of other rotating artists (and Stephanie Hans on covers!) Gillen and company remake Loki, the trickster god of Asgard. Tired of being seen as simply the villain in a neverending rivalry between himself and Thor, Loki sacrifices himself to save the realm and is reborn as a child. It’s tabula rasa for the character as young Loki is now able to reshape his destiny, but will the Asgardians who surround and loathe Loki give this new god a second chance? The question of nature vs. nurture lies central to this often meta, always beautiful exploration of what it means to tell stories. The series on ComiXology extends into a third volume and an additional collection entitled “Manchester Gods.”
Alex is the Managing Editor of the Comics Beat. He is also a freelance comics editor with previous credits at Papercutz. He is your go-to fella for creator interviews, conversations about comic book structure, and general DC Comics nerding. Currently geeking out over movies, too.