July is always a conspicuous month in the comic book industry, thanks to the intimidating event that is Comic-Con International in San Diego. But of course, there's more that month than just the massive annual comics convention, and in the past week, comic book publishers provided a glimpse on their upcoming July 2016 offerings.
For Marvel, the wide-ranging "Civil War II" event will be in full bloom, with many tie-ins on the way -- and a big character death teased. There's plenty more beyond that, too, and here are our top five Marvel picks for the month of July. During this sure-to-be blazing month, you'll find said casualty of war, a resurrection, the conclusion of an apocalyptic struggle and a team led by the most unlikely leader in all of Marveldom. These aren't the only worthwhile Marvel books shipping in July, but they are the ones grabbing the most attention way back here in April -- read on, and let us know what you're excited about from Marvel this summer.
Civil War II #3 and #4
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: David Marquez
While the opening shots will be fired in June, July's solicits promise a major casualty in the war between heroes. Marvel is calling this death "unthinkable" and speculation is already rampant regarding which character will perish. But before anyone will have time to reel from the death's impact, Marvel will release another issue of the crossover event later that month, each installment from the fan-favorite "Invincible Iron Man" team of Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez. The fallen hero's death will force the rest of the Marvel Universe to pick sides and align themselves behind Iron Man or Captain Marvel -- and that's where this crossover has the potential to become even more of a can't miss proposition with Bendis already saying the lines will be blurrier than ever before.
"Squadron Supreme" #9
Writer: James Robison
When the first issue of James Robinson's "Squadron Supreme" arrived last year, it did so with a bang, killing off one of Marvel's oldest characters, Namor, the Sub-Mariner, in violent fashion. This July, Robinson and Aco will tell the story of his resurrection. Whether Namor returns this issue or this is the start of a larger storyline remains unclear, but "Squadron Supreme" #9 is being billed as special 40-page spotlight on Warrior Woman that leads to the possible return of the fallen Atlantean monarch. In addition to being a "Civil War II" tie-in, this issue also serves as a lead-in to the upcoming arc titled "Finding Namor." And if Namor is found, and alive, what are his plans for the team that killed him?
"Deadpool & The Mercs for Money" #1
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Iban Coello
To say Deadpool has enjoyed a big year would be an understatement. He's been the protagonist of his own hit comics, become an Avenger and conquered the box office. In "Deadpool & The Mercs for Money," which picks up where the current miniseries leaves off, he'll be faced with a new challenge: becoming a leader. Cullen Bunn has delivered some great "Deadpool" stories over the past few years across his "Killogy" and in the initial "Mercs" miniseries, and seeing him committed to Waid and his mercenary pals for the long haul is something many fans have been waiting for. The book's twist on the familiar Deadpool formual should lead to some unforgettable -- and ultra-violent -- adventures. The debut issue finds Wilson and Co. taking on a cadre of radioactive villains. While 'Pool has that handy healing factor to keep him alive, he may have to adopt some new tactics to keep characters like Slapstick, Stingray, Solo, Terror and more alive.
"Extraordinary X-Men" #12
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Humberto Ramos
Apocalypse will be the villain everyone is buzzing about this summer when the world's first mutant makes his movie debut in "X-Men: Apocalypse" as brought by "Star Wars: The Force Awakens'" Oscar Isaac. Marvel has already begun capitalizing on the increased exposure in the currently unfolding "Apocalypse Wars" event, which all comes to a head in July "Extraordinary X-Men" #12. The A-list team of writer Jeff Lemire and artist Humberto Ramos will make sure the latest chapter of Marvel's decades-old Apocalypse saga ends on a high note. "Age of Apocalypse" changed the world of mutants forever in the 1990s, and the conclusion of "Apocalypse Wars" could be setting the stage for the next decade (or more) of X-Men stories in comics and potentially beyond. Like the aforementioned "Civil War II," there's always the possibility not every mutant makes it out of this war alive.
"Civil War II: Kingpin" #1
Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artist: Ricardo Lopez Ortiz
Between the line-wide "Civil War II" and the "Apocalypse Wars" crossover in the X-Men titles, Marvel is going big this summer. But that also gives them opportunity to focus down on a very macro level to how those massive events affect individual neighborhoods or characters. As their Netflix series have proved, everyone loves the down and dirty mean streets of Marvel's New York City, and they will again be the focus as a new series hones in on Wilson Fisk's territory. With the war dividing heroes over an Inhuman with the ability to predict crimes before they happen, it should be fascinating to see how the Kingpin of Crime So how will that affect the Kingpin of Crime? Writer Matthew Rosenberg has shown an affinity for the dark side of the street in books like "We Can Never Go Home" and the upcoming "4 Kids Walk Into a Bank," and Ricardo Lopez Ortiz's art oozes grit and grime on "Wolf," meaning the Kingpin's monumental struggle during "Civil War II" could be just as dirty as his hands have become over years in Marvel's underworld.