15 comic books we’ll kick back with this summer
Ahh, summer, when a superhero’s fancy turns to crossover events. But there’s much more to this summer’s comics than superheroes slugging it out with villains — and even the slugfests look pretty fun!
As we look across the horizon of summer, we can see the long-awaited return of internet-favorite cartoonists, brilliant comics collected in book format for the first time, our favorite creators doing neat new things, beloved characters given new life, and even, maybe, something like a normal convention season.
Read on for Polygon’s most anticipated comics releases of summer 2022.
2022 was supposed to be the summer of The Flash, the long-gestating, timeline-shattering adaptation of DC’s 2011 Flashpoint storyline, and while parent company Warner Bros. was hit by scheduling problems, DC Comics at least stayed on track. Flashpoint Beyond returns to the company’s 2011 Flashpoint event, in which the Flash radically altered DC history by traveling back in time to prevent his mother’s murder.
Written by Flashpoint writer Geoff Johns with several artists contributing work, the six-issue story follows Thomas Wayne, the Batman of Flashpoint, as he solves the mystery of why his doomed timeline, supposedly reset at the end of Flashpoint, still exists.
Jurassic League is a six-issue miniseries about a world where the heroes and villains of the DC Universe are all anthropomorphic dinosaurs, inspired by Street Sharks, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Primal Rage, Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal, and the horror-inspired sculptures of James Groman.
In it, Batman is an Allosaurus who walks like a man, and whose parents were regular Allosauruses who were murdered in front of him by a sentient Dilophosaurus named Jokerzard. You should require no more explanation than this — except perhaps that it’s from the minds of Daniel Warren Johnson (Wonder Woman: Dead Earth) and Juan Gedeon (Venom, Doom Patrol), who are very cut out to keep this concept from deflating under its own bombast.
The one sentence pitch on Eight Billion Genies, from writer Charles Soule (She-Hulk, many Star Wars comics) and artist Ryan Browne (Curse Words) is: When every one of the eight billion humans on planet earth gets their own personal genie and one wish, chaos ensues.
But the two sentence pitch would say that the story is actually about a group of people trapped in a bar when it all happens, and how the earth evolves over the next eight seconds, eight minutes, eight hours, etc… for eight issues. We’ll be tuning in.
The horror/comedy series I Hate This Place (formerly Fuck This Place) comes from the pen of extremely hilarious writer Kyle Starks (Six Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton) and artist Artyom Topilin, and follows a queer couple who have inherited an absolutely haunted farmhouse. If it’s half as funny as Starks’ previous work it will still give me multiple out-loud HAs per issue.
“Dark Crisis” might sound like a parody of a DC Comics event, not a real title, and when you realize that it begins with the deaths of the entire Justice League, it might simply underscore the absurd point. But Justice League writer Joshua Williams has set a lofty goal: A “crisis event” that’s about DC’s history of crisis events, and how they’ve warped the lives of the setting’s heroes. A comic book event defined by a huge death, but that is about how superheroes reckon with living in a world where people come back from death as a routine. The event’s first issue drops on June 7, and we’ll be keeping an eye on it.
Said Rosie Knight in our 2022 comics preview:
“Jamila Rowser and Robyn Smith expand on their award winning minicomic Wash Day in this beautiful graphic novel from Chronicle Books. Kim, Tanisha, Davene, and Cookie are best friends and Wash Day Diaries follows them through their daily life in the Bronx over five interconnected short stories. Smith’s charming and inviting art invites comic book readers old and new to lose themself in this joyful and touching celebration of Black joy and sisterhood that cements the duo of Rowser and Smith as one of comics most powerful creative teams.”
Offshore Lightning is the first major Western release from Nazuna Saito, whose manga career didn’t truly take off until well into her middle age. Drawn & Quarterly presents both Saito’s early work and two more recent novellas grappling with subjects of aging and death, in English for the first time.
Said Rosie Knight in our 2022 comics preview:
“Bringing the star of the Telltale Games Walking Dead franchise to comics is no easy feat. Luckily, Skybound made one of the most interesting and exciting choices possible for this YA trilogy that begins with Clementine: Book One. Enlisting Tillie Walden, an award-winning cartoonist and one of the best working comics artists alive, Clementine centers on the titular hero as she traverses the zombie-filled landscape and finds a group of teenagers trying to create a Walker-free settlement. It sounds like the kind of emotionally driven sci-fi that Walden excels at.”
As promised last year, the Hellfire Gala is now an annual mutant event, where everymutant who’s anymutant gets a dope couture look and hobnobs it with the rest of the Marvel universe. Last year, the showstoppers were the reveal of a new team of X-Men — happening again this year — and also the X-Men terraformed Mars. It’ll be hard to top that, but you can bet the X-Men bullpen is going to try.
It’s a new era for the Dark Knight: Writer Chip Zdarsky takes the helm of DC’s biggest title, with artist Jorge Jiménez and a long-term plan to put Batman through his paces. In doing so, Zdarsky is taking the second step on the venerable Daredevil-to-Batman pipeline, in which creators who are great at one of those characters move on to the other and continue to be really great at writing a guilt-ridden street-level vigilante with principles of steel. Considering that Zdarsky’s Daredevil is very good, we can expect his Batman to pay dividends as well.
Like Dark Crisis, Marvel’s A.X.E crossover — subtitled Judgment Day — comes off as the latest entry in the well-trod path of superhero on superhero dustups. You remember Avengers vs. X-Men? Well this brings in *checks notes* the Eternals, to make it Avengers vs. X-Men vs. Eternals. Huge yawn.
But wait! The X-Men actually haven’t been this hot in a couple of decades, with writer Kieron Gillen fueling Krakoa’s attempts to establish mutants as Earth’s dominant species. And the Eternals might actually be the most interesting they’ve ever been in Gillen and artist Esad Ribic’s series. Meanwhile, the human heroes on the Avengers, under the pen of Jason Aaron, are looking at the mutants askance even as they boldly live inside the refurbished corpse of one of the Eternals gods.
These three groups actually have non-contrived reasons to beef with each other, with stellar writers driving them and the crossover. In other words: We’re genuinely enthused about A.X.E.: Judgment Day.
San Diego Comic-Con (July 21-24)
OK, so it’s not a comic, but this summer (barring global catastrophe, presumably) marks the first in-person San Diego Comic-Con since 2019. What companies will be there? As yet unknown! Will they bring big reveals, or have corporations gotten accustomed to making waves with their own proprietary online events like DC Fandome, Star Wars Celebration, or D23? Only time will tell! But you can bet that many eyes in the comics industry and beyond will be on the new status quo of the U.S.’s largest fan convention.
Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow is simply a beautifully drawn, warmly crafted, heart-wrenching fantasy travelogue through the wonders of pulpy space travel. For her 21st birthday, Supergirl rents a spaceship to find a red star to sap her of all her powers, so that she can go to a bar and actually get drunk. From there, she becomes embroiled in the life of our loquacious narrator, a farm girl on a revenge quest across the stars. The end result is a meditation on loss, revenge, heroism, power, and also a story that spends on entire issue on public transit.
Artist Bilquis Evely and colorist Mat Lopes put everything they have on the page, and in this writer’s opinion, it’s the best thing writer Tom King has done since Mister Miracle. This summer, it’s finally collected in a single book for the first time.
Edge of Spider-Verse (Aug. 3)
After four years away from the wall-crawler, writer Dan Slott is returning to the world of Spider-Man for one last ride, the promised “end” of Spider-Man’s multiverse, End of Spider-Verse.
But before End will come a new Edge of Spider-Verse, an opportunity for creators to add new multiversal alternate Spider-Mans multiverse in the same way that now famous characters like Spider-Gwen/Ghost Spider, Peni Parker, and Spider-Man Noir were introduced. New Spider-Persons, including Night-Spider, Hunter-Spider, and Spider-Laird, will hit shelves in this five-issue miniseries.
Hark! A Vagrant’s Kate Beaton was once one of the internet’s most prolific, memetic, and adored cartoonists when she officially stepped away from the webcomic in 2018. This fall Beaton returns with her first long-form graphic novel, a memoir of her time working in the exploitative, remote world of Alberta’s oil sand industry. Followers of the cartoonist will know she’s been contemplating a longer piece on her experiences for close to a decade, and it’s exciting to finally see those ideas take flight.