May 2016's Marvelous Marvel Highlights: "Civil War II," "Punisher" & More

War is never easy, and often fought on multiple fronts. Marvel is taking that approach with its film and comic book efforts this May as "Captain America: Civil War" pits the big screen Avengers against each other while the entire Marvel Comics Universe will be in conflict in "Civil War II." Looking through the publisher's May 2016 solicitations, war is just the beginning as new releases include a brand new series starring the deadliest vigilante around, two Captain Americas and so much more.

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Considering how difficult it can be to decide which comics to buy, CBR has put together a handy guide to the cream of the Marvel crop this May. While we certainly encourage you to check out even more new releases, these are the books you absolutely need to bring home when they land at a comic shop near you. How else will you keep the good vibes going after "Civil War's" inevitable post-credits scene.

"The Punisher" #1

Writer: Becky Cloonan

Artist: Steve Dillon

Every glimpse of Jon Bernthal's take on the Punisher in the upcoming "Daredevil" Season Two has been exhilarating, and it's no surprise Marvel will take advantage of the skull-shirted vigilante's increased profile to launch a new ongoing series. "Preacher" co-creator Steve Dillon, who illustrated classic, blood-soaked Frank Castle stories for writers Garth Ennis and Jason Aaron. That alone would make this book must-read, but joining him on the crusade is Becky Cloonan, the first female writer to ever take on a "Punisher" monthly. Best known as an artist, Cloonan has shown she has chops to spare with her writing on DC's "Gotham Academy" and Image Comics' "Southern Cross." Regardless of how high the expectations for the Punisher are following his appearance in "Dardevil," this this killer creative will be ready to deliver action as hard-hitting as Frank Castle's impressive arsenal.

Captain America

"Captain America: Steve Rogers" #1

Writer: Nick Spencer

Artist: Jesus Saiz

"Captain America: Sam Wilson" #9

Writer: Nick Spencer

Artist: Angel Unzueta

When Steve Rogers lost the Super-Soldier Serum that granted him both super strength and age-defying vitality, there was only one man he felt could carry on his mission as Captain America: his former parter, Sam Wilson. The former Falcon has spent the last two years as Captain America, but this May he'll have some company as Steve Rogers gets back in the heroic swing of things. Rather than cede his title, for the first time ever the Marvel Universe will have two Captain Americas. Nick Spencer's take on Sam Wilson has been daring and political, and in the midst of an election year we expect more of the same as he takes on Steve Rogers' adventures in a second title. "Captain America: Sam Wilson" has already explored memorable aspects of Cap lore including the Serpent Society, the Sons of the Serpent, and even made Cap-Wolf more than a joke. Alongside artists Jesus Saiz and Angel Unzueta and working with two different Captain Americas, Spencer just might make patriotism the most powerful superpower.

"Civil War II" #0

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Olivier Coipel

Mark Millar & Steve McNiven's "Civil War" changed Marvel forever. Friendships ended, families were destroyed and an icon died. Two of Marvel's biggest guns, "Invincible Iron Man" writer Brian Michael Bendis and his "House of M" and "Siege" collaborator Olivier Coipel join forces again for this opening salvo and with sequels essentially required to up the ante, it's hard to imagine how big this #0-issue could be. While most details on the event have been shrouded in secrecy, we know Iron Man and Captain Marvel will be at the heart of the conflict that sends a schism through Marvel's heroic ranks. "Invincible Iron Man" has been called the flagship book of All-New, All-Different Marvel and Carol Danvers has ascended to A-list status over the last few years (not to mention a solo film in development) and now she'll play a pivotal role in the sequel to one of the most popular crossovers of all-time. While moviegoers may be paying more attention to "Captain America: Civil War," there's every chance that "Civil War II" could go places and do things no budget or director would even dream of putting in a movie.

"Thunderbolts" #1

Writer: Jim Zub

Artist: Jon Malin

They say lightning doesn't strike the same spot twice, but don't tell that to the Thunderbolts. The classic team returns for an explosive new series from writer Jim Zub ("Skullkickers") and artist Jon Malin ("Youngblood"). The original T-Bolts were actually classic Avengers villains the Masters of Evil masquerading as super hero until they actually embraced an altruistic path. Well, most of them... Numerous creators have delivered classic takes on these villains turned heroes and Marvel is bringing the team back in a big way, but with some All-New, All-Different twists. Old favorites like Moonstone, the Fixer, Atlas and MACH-V will be led by none other than the Winter Soldier, AKA Bucky Barnes, following his key role in the "Avengers: Standoff" crossover. Bucky's outsider status should be right at home with the villains-turned-heroes as they provide Marvel with a new team who can explore what it means when doing the right thing doesn't necessarily mean being "good."

"The Vision" #7

Writer: Tom King

Artist: Michael Walsh

"The Vision" has thus far presented a distinctive twist on classic Marvel characters that allows fans to experience the familiar in startling new ways. Despite the new perspective, writer Tom King never strays from the core essence of his players. In what sounds like the series' most ambitious story yet, King teams with artist Michael Walsh to present on a new take on the star-crossed romance between Vision and Scarlet Witch before the synthezoid Avenger became a family man. Filtered through King's unique take on the Marvel Universe, this retelling of one of Marvel's greatest love stories will likely be something to behold. The new arc should allow readers who haven't sampled Marvel's most unexpected series to jump right in to this post-modern take that blends equal parts sci-fi and horror ahead of what we expect will be some serious Eisner Award consideration.

KISS: The End #5

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