5 comics to read this June: Twisted team-ups and games gone wrong
Whether it’s a husband and wife reuniting after time away, or old friends reconnecting for the first time in years, June’s comics are full of strange team-ups that never seem to go the way anyone expects. Green Lantern and Green Arrow, one of the most famous superhero duos in the DC pantheon, come together once again in this month’s The Green Lantern, while the second volume of Boom!’s Coda finds a bard and a berserker navigating both a post-apocalyptic fantasy wasteland and their own complicated marriage. Then there’s Loki, who has a complicated reunion with his old Young Avengers teammates Wiccan and Hulkling in the midst of the War of the Realms at…where else?…a drag brunch.
Below, check out our list of five comics to pick up this June.
Die Volume 1: Fantasy Heartbreaker (Image)
Kieron Gillen (writer), Stephanie Hans (artist)
Dungeons & Dragons meets Jumanji in this fascinating comic. Decades ago, a group of young friends entered into a fantasy role-playing game where they embodied their characters, but the world of Die contains just as many horrors as wonders, and they barely escaped with their lives. Their friend, the Grandmaster who designed the game, never made it out at all. Now in their 40s, the group finds themselves summoned back to Die by their old friend, who might now be their greatest enemy. Not only do they have to contend with steampunk dragons and fantasy knights, they also have to face up to the contrast between their adolescent fantasies and their jaded adult selves.
Gillen is currently wrapping up his other epic fantasy comic, The Wicked & the Divine, but this is Hans’ first ongoing comic, and her art shines as she depicts swords made out of emotions, worlds made out of dice, and all the other wild visuals contained in this impressive book.
Order Die Volume 1: Fantasy Heartbreaker here.
Coda Volume 2 (Boom!)
Simon Spurrier (writer), Matías Bergara (artist)
If Die is the story of what happens when players get sucked into their fantasy tabletop role-playing game, Coda is the story of what happens to the inhabitants of such a fantasy world when the players get bored and overturn the table. Lord of the Rings meets Mad Max in this comic about how to survive in a magical world after all the magic is gone. The first volume introduced readers to a bard named Hum, who found meaning in dystopia by searching for his wife Serka, who he said had been captured by the “Urken” (Coda’s version of orcs).
Volume 2 tells an even more interesting story, building off the revelation that Serka is not a captive of the Urken; she IS an Urken, and a peerless berserker warrior at that. Hum views her as a “captive” to the bloodthirsty rages imbued in berserkers, but Serka doesn’t see it that way. As a result, this volume is both a mind-blowing cavalcade of fantastic images (courtesy of Bergara) and also a thought-provoking meditation on relationships and whether it’s okay to want your partner to change.
Silver Surfer: Black #1 (Marvel)
Donny Cates (writer), Tradd Moore (artist)
It’s hard to envy any creative team taking the reins of Marvel’s Silver Surfer in the wake of what Dan Slott and Mike Allred did with the character just a few years back, but such is the nature of ongoing superhero comics. And to their credit, Cates and Moore seem like just the team to put a new spin on the Sentinel of the Spaceways. Cates has been cutting his cosmic storytelling chops with recent runs on big-name space books like Thanos and Guardians of the Galaxy; in fact, Silver Surfer: Black picks up right where Guardians of the Galaxy #1 ended, with a bunch of space heroes getting sucked into a black hole.
Meanwhile, Moore is coming off the Image miniseries The New World, which was one of EW’s favorite comics of 2018. His art has always been colorful and innovative, but it leveled up imagining that futuristic dystopia-paradise, so it will be fascinating to see him take his talents to the weird world of Marvel’s cosmos.
Pre-order Silver Surfer: Black #1 here.
War of the Realms: War Scrolls #2 (Marvel)
Jason Aaron & Devin Grayson & Anthony Oliveira (writers), Andrea Sorrentino & Paul Davidson & Nick Robles (artists)
War of the Realms is Marvel’s currently ongoing mega-crossover event, building off years of Jason Aaron’s Thor comics. Thor’s demonic enemies from Asgard have now invaded Earth, the only realm they have yet to conquer. This war affects pretty much every character in the Marvel Universe, from the big names to the smaller heroes. Some classic Marvel dynamics get recast in the style of Norse mythology, as in the story here where Daredevil and Kingpin battle in the streets of New York, as they’ve done hundreds of times before…but this time, they’re armed with Heimdall’s sword and Svartalfheim black steel.
The real highlight of this miniature anthology, however, is “My Drag Brunch With Loki,” a short story by Oliveira and Robles about Wiccan and Hulkling from the Young Avengers meeting up with Loki shortly before the war broke out. It channels the brilliant Young Avengers run from a few years ago by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, while also pointing ahead to the upcoming Loki solo comic by Daniel Kibblesmith and Oscar Bazaldua, but it’s also just a brilliantly told little story about whether Loki is truly evil or not.
This issue technically came out in the last days of May, but June is Pride Month, and the “My Drag Brunch With Loki” story makes for a delightful way to kick off the month of celebration.
Buy the issue here.
The Green Lantern #8 (DC)
Grant Morrison (writer), Liam Sharp (artist)
Since its debut, The Green Lantern has steadily grown into one of DC’s weirdest ongoing comics. Morrison told EW when the series launched that he wanted to explore the “day-to-day life” of a space cop, and one thing that distinguishes The Green Lantern from many other ongoing superhero books is how most issues tell an individually contained story, so readers can jump in to the psychedelic space madness anywhere without necessarily reading it month-to-month. In one issue, Hal Jordan went on a surreal survival mission into the very heart of his Green Lantern power ring, while another found him undergoing the galaxy’s scariest obstacle course on a planet of alien vampires. This month’s issue takes a more classic approach, revisiting the two-man team-up of Green Lantern and Green Arrow made famous by Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams in their ‘70s story Hard-Travelin’ Heroes. But, Morrison being Morrison, his and Sharp’s take on the team is a little different.
“Back in the day they played Green Arrow like this fiery liberal loudmouth, a social justice guy, and Green Lantern as a bone-headed right-wing cop,” Morrison told EW back in December. “But I thought, wait a minute, Hal Jordan’s actually the drifter guy with no money who travels from one woman to another, an untethered guy, a Jack Kerouac Dharma Bums character almost. And then Green Arrow is a millionaire with a steady girlfriend, so I think we’re taking that dynamic and really spinning it a little bit, changing it around so GL isn’t just the dumb guy who’s having his eyes opened to reality. Green Arrow’s a bit of an idiot in some ways as well. So it’s about taking that dynamic and applying it to what the characters are actually like. It’s Hard-Travelin’ Heroes but with the roles kind of reversed a little bit, and we see it from a different angle. We’re gonna do a ripped-from-the-headlines story, but with a more surreal, parodic aspect to it.”
Order the issue here.