The best day of the year is here! No, not Christmas, FREE COMIC BOOK DAY! Which books should you snap up? READ ON AND FIND OUT!
All-New, All-Different Avengers #1 (Marvel)
Marvel’s first Free Comic Book Day offering is a glimpse into the post-Secret Wars Marvel Universe. All-New, All-Different Avengers follows the newest incarnation of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, featuring mainstays like Captain America, Vision, Thor, and Iron Man (albeit in different forms), and newcomers Nova, Ms. Marvel, and Miles Morales, the ultimate universe Spider-Man. Writer Mark Waid and artist Mahmud Asrar’s one in done adventure is a really fun look into what’s ahead for Marvel, even if it doesn’t answer any questions.
Much of the issue follows the team tracking down the Radioactive Man, and training the new younger Avengers Members. Waid’s script does a great job of introducing all of the different players here in a way that’s accessible for new readers, but not a complete snooze fest for longtime Marvel fans. Obviously as I said before, Waid can’t say too much about this team for fear of ruining Secret Wars, so you’ll never get the answer for why Miles is in the 616 universe, but the script is entertaining enough so that it’s not a complete deal breaker. Mahmud Asrar does an incredible job on art with this issue. With the potential to get a lot of eyes on this book, Asrar clearly made sure to put down some of the best pencils of his career, and crafts some pretty dynamite action scenes of the new team in action.
The second half of this special issue features a preview of Charles Soule and Brandon Peterson’s Uncanny Inhumans, another series premiering after Secret Wars wraps. This preview is shorter than the Avengers one, and does a good job of hyping up that upcoming series as well. However, it’s pretty weird to me that Marvel would use Free Comic Book Day to hype up two series that won’t be out for four months. The likelihood of someone picking this up on May 2nd and remembering to come back months later for All-New, All-Different Avengers #1 seems pretty slim.
DC Comics: Divergence #1 (DC Comics)
No, DC Comics isn’t publishing books in the Divergent series for Free Comic Book Day. Instead of hyping up one event, DC is using Free Comic Book day to preview 3 upcoming summer storylines: Justice League’s “The Darkseid War”, Gene Luen Yang and John Romita, Jr.’s Superman, and Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman, featuring a new Batman that isn’t Bruce Wayne. DC Comics: Divergence is certainly the weirdest of the FCBD offerings, but it’s also the best. Each 8 page preview teases what’s to come perfectly, and while you’ll have to wait until June to actually read the start of these storylines, there’s a good chance that you might come back for them.
Of the three previews in this comic, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman 8-pager is the best, for one simple reason: it tells you exactly who the new Batman is. Don’t worry, I won’t spoil it, but I will say that it’s extremely interesting and different from what we’ve seen before. Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok’s Justice League story is excellent as well, and features some pretty dynamite panels from Mr. Fabok, an artist who’s quickly becoming a major artistic force at DC. Hell, even the Superman story is entertaining, and makes me want to check out Yang’s upcoming run.
DC’s currently in the middle of their Convergence mini-event, so the timing’s not great for this FCBD issue, but at least it’s better than Marvel’s with All-New, All-Different Avengers. However, DC’s done a pretty smart thing by putting their top books in one place. While it would’ve been cool to see Black Canary, PREZ, or one of the other new series starting up in June included here, DC Comics: Divergence is still one of the better choices for a freebie on May 2nd.
Secret Wars #0 (Marvel Comics)
Here it is, the start of Marvel’s latest big Summer Event: Secret Wars. Jonathan Hickman’s universe smashing event kicks off the first Wednesday in May, and unlike the All-New, All-Different Avengers FCBD issue, Secret Wars #0 is the perfect introduction for those who want to jump into the mega event. Featuring a script by Hickman and art by Paul Renaud, this issue does the impossible: it sums up the entirety of Hickman’s Avengers and New Avengers runs, and makes them coherent.
That’s not a knock on Hickman’s runs on both series. I’ve actually really enjoyed it a lot (when I could understand it). However, it’s clear after reading this issue that Marvel wanted Hickman to make this issue as new reader friendly as possible. Using Valeria Richards and the other members of the Future Foundation as a framing device, the multiple Earth-destroying events that have unfolded in Hickman’s runs with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is retold in a fun and accessible way, and leaves the audience waiting for more. Of course, with this framing device there’s not much action here for Paul Renauld to draw, but his art is effective anyways.
The second half of this issue contains the Avengers/Attack On Titan crossover, which will definitely please fans of the hit manga and anime series. While the Hajima Isayama and Gerardo Sandoval features some pretty awesome fights between Avengers and Titans, some of the panels are a little weird, and at time characters drop in and out at random.
If you’re curious about the upcoming Secret Wars event, then it’s essential that you grab this from you LCS on Free Comic Book Day. It remains to be seen just how new reader friendly Secret Wars #1 will be, so if you’re looking to jump on board, you really should pick this up. And if you like it, make sure to go back to your LCS on Wednesday and grab issue 1.
One Final Note From Someone Who Works At A Comic Store: Even though this event is called “Free Comic Book Day”, the comics that your local comic shop gets for today aren’t free. They have to pay for them to give away. So please take a look around and consider making a purchase on May 2nd as a “Thank You” for the freebies!