July is kicking off with a massive heat wave in most of the country, and even bigger waves are rocking comic publishers this month. Since the Fourth of July falls on a Wednesday this year (a.k.a. new comic day), big publishers like Marvel and DC are celebrating the holiday with massive comic events: Batman’s getting married, Catwoman’s getting her own book, and Captain America is entering a new era.
Check out EW’s top comic picks for Independence Day and beyond.
Batman #50 (DC)
Tom King (writer), Mikel Janin (artist), almost every living person who’s ever drawn a Batman comic (artists)
This is it, ladies and gentlemen — the wedding we’ve all been waiting for. There is no shortage of great Batman comics throughout his history, but writer Tom King’s current run has differentiated itself by actually offering the Dark Knight a real chance at happiness in the arms of his eternal femme fatale, Selina Kyle. After reigniting their romance on the rooftops of Gotham early in King’s run, Batman and Catwoman decided to actually get engaged. The last year has been spent in preparation, with Catwoman stealing the perfect wedding dress, Batman checking in with his son’s mother Talia al Ghul, and the two of them going on a double date with Superman and Lois Lane. Everything reaches its climax in this monster-sized issue that features contributions from the most acclaimed Batman comic artists of the last few decades, from Frank Miller to Paul Pope. This comic is a celebration of all the things that make Batman and Catwoman so fascinating, inspiring, and darkly romantic, while posing the most challenging superhero question of all: Can these characters ever really change?
Catwoman #1 (DC)
Joelle Jones (writer/artist), Laura Allred (artist)
In addition to exploring new (happy!) emotions for Batman, King’s recent stories have also reminded readers what an amazing character Catwoman is. She’s smart, sexy, tricky, unpredictable, and now she has her own ongoing comic series once again. This issue goes on sale the same day as Batman #50, so make sure to read the wedding story first in order to make sense of Selina’s new status quo. Suffice to say Catwoman is in a mood to quash some violent, youthful imitators and prove that she’s not too old for the femme fatale lifestyle.
Captain America #1 (Marvel)
Ta-Nehisi Coates (writer), Leinil Yu (artist), Alex Ross (cover artist)
Ta-Nehisi Coates’ first superhero comic was Black Panther, and it began in the midst of some truly trying times for Wakanda. The epic Marvel event series Secret Wars had just concluded, in which Wakanda had been invaded and destroyed, and Coates used that status quo to fuel his stories about the political reimagining of Wakanda. In similar fashion, he’s now taking on Captain America not long after the lead Avenger became the face of fascism in Secret Empire. Coates picks up with Cap as he struggles to rehabilitate his image, in stories that echo some real-life questions about America’s purpose.
“This will be an exploration of what it means to be Captain America in a time when people are questioning what America itself is,” Coates recently told EW.
Justice League Dark #1 (DC)
James Tynion IV (writer), Alvaro Martinez (artist)
The DC Universe has really started blowing up — literally. The recent crossover event Dark Nights: Metal ended with the protective Source Wall around the universe being damaged, and last month’s Justice League: No Justice miniseries demonstrated how the Source Wall’s damage has resulted in an influx of never-before-seen forces entering and changing the DC Universe. One example of that was Wonder Woman learning she had a deep connection to magic, and this new series will find her exploring that connection alongside magical heroes like Zatanna, Detective Chimp, and Swamp Thing. Tynion and Martinez recently tackled Zatanna in an arc of Detective Comics, and proved they’re capable enough of far-out storytelling and jaw-dropping magical illustrations to make this a must read for any fan of superheroes and sorcery.
The New World #1 (Image)
Ales Kot (writer), Tradd Moore and Heather Moore (artists)
And now for something completely different… From Zero to Secret Avengers, Ales Kot and Tradd Moore have been responsible for some of the most mind-bending genre comics of the last few years, and now they’re turning the dial up even further. This new series picks up in a ravaged America that has splintered in the wake of nuclear devastation. A star-crossed romance struggles to blossom in the ruins of the old world, while radical designs and crazy colors propel readers headfirst into a new and strange one.