The days are getting hotter, but the assortment of geekery hitting theaters and comic shops in June offers more than enough excuses to spend some time cooling off this summer. Along with a long list of high-profile comics on the way, the month is book-ended by two blockbuster films, a trio of geek-friendly releases on the home video side, and enough collectible toys, statues and other swag to make your shelves sag and your wallet cry.
Let's get to it, shall we?
What to Read
Marvel Comics is celebrating a big anniversary this year, so you can expect lots of pomp and circumstance surrounding the publisher's 75th year of bringing fans the adventures of Spider-Man, the Avengers, the X-Men, and a long list of other world-famous superheroes and villains. Hard-core fans will almost certainly be drooling for (but definitely not drooling on) the Marvel Famous Firsts: 75th Anniversary Masterworks Slipcase Set that collects 10 of the most popular “Marvel Masterworks” hardcover anthologies (including the first volumes of Captain America, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Avengers and The X-Men, among others) in a limited-edition set signed by Stan Lee himself. The slipcase for the collection – which goes for $500 – is even modeled after Avengers Mansion. You'll need to preorder the set now, before the limited-edition collection ships in September. Excelsior, indeed!
Marvel isn't the only publisher with some big books arriving in June, however, as DC Comics has not one but two big Superman-related comics that are worth checking out. Superman #32 pairs DC Comics Chief Creative Officer (and fan-favorite architect of the DC Comics universe) Geoff Johns with popular artist John Romita Jr. for a new story arc that should not only be a great read, but also a great jumping-on point for anyone interested in the Man of Steel's comic book adventures. Meanwhile, Adventures of Superman #14 features an original story written by Max Landis, the writer of the excellent 2012 film Chronicle (one of my favorite movies of the year), in which the Joker makes a visit to Metropolis.
And while we're on the subject of filmmakers writing comics, this month's Batman '66 Meets Green Hornet #1 teams up Kevin Smith with comedian Ralph Garman for a story in which Adam West's Batman encounters famous pulp hero Green Hornet. It's a premise so crazy it might actually work, folks.
Oh, and the arrival of The Strain #1 provides one more filmmaker-friendly comic, with the $1 issue based on Guillermo del Toro's trilogy of novels offering a brief introduction to the upcoming television series based on the books.
The imminent arrival of Transformers: Age of Extinction in theaters offers a great reason to get acquainted (or reacquainted) with some of the impressive stories that have been told in IDW Publishing's long-running Transformers series. One of the most memorable story arcs in the series was the 16-issue “All Hail Megatron,” which offered a glimpse of what Earth would be like if the Decepticons won the battle against the Autobots. That entire arc is collected in this month's Transformers: All Hail Megatron Deluxe Limited-Edition Hardcover, which is signed by the creators and comes in a fancy, hand-assembled metallic cover.
What to Watch
The month in movies kicks off in a big way with Edge of Tomorrow, a big-screen adaptation of Hiroshi Sakurazaka's celebrated 2004 sci-fi novel All You Need Is Kill, about a soldier – played by Tom Cruise in the live-action film – who gets trapped in a time loop and is forced to relive the same battle with a group of deadly aliens over and over again. Sakurazaka's novel was adapted into manga form earlier this year, and was also released as a graphic novel last month. If all the positive early reviews of the film are to be trusted, you may want to see the movie and pick up the various adaptations to get the full, time-twisting, explosive experience.
Sandwiched between Edge of Tomorrow and Transformers: Age of Extinction are two, lower profile films that may be worth the price of admission if you can find a theater screening them. The Signal hits theaters June 13 and looks to be a strange, suspenseful story that may or may not involve aliens, superhuman powers, or other weird stuff – the previews don't really give much away about the plot. Laurence Fishburne is in it, though, so it has that going for it. Two weeks later, Snowpiercer brings Captain America: The Winter Soldier star Chris Evans back to the screen for an adaptation of the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige, about a train that travels through the frozen remains of the world carrying the last remnants of humanity after a global-warming experiment triggers a new Ice Age. The R-rated film looks to be a dark, violent thriller and features an impressive cast that, along with Evans, includes Tilda Swinton, Ed Harris, John Hurt and Alison Pill.
Finally, Michael Bay brings the robots in disguise back for another adventure in Transformers: Age of Extinction, which hits theaters June 27. This time around, Mark Wahlberg serves as the human element of the story, but let's be honest: We're all here for the Dinobots. If the image of Optimus Prime riding a flame-spewing Grimlock into battle with sword aloft doesn't get you right there, you should probably check your pulse.
Oh, and if you know of any kids who are excited about all the Transformers marketing but might be too young to see Age of Extinction in theaters right now, keep an eye out for Transformers Animated: The Complete Series, a collection of all three seasons of the hit children's show featuring the Transformers that aired from 2007-2009. It was a fun series that should placate any kids yearning for giant-robot adventures, and be perfectly tolerable (and quite possibly enjoyable, if your tastes run similar to my own) viewing for any dads and moms in the vicinity, too.
Oh, and also on the home-video side of things, the recent RoboCop remake arrives on DVD and Blu-ray in the first week of June, and it's followed a few weeks later by The LEGO Movie, which surprised everyone by becoming the highest grossing film of the year in the U.S. (Those little blocks can build one heck of a box office, eh?) On the other side of the spectrum, however, the more modest box office performance of 300: Rise of an Empire could be improved by the 300 sequel's release on DVD and Blu-ray at the end of the month.
What to Put on Your Shelf
With the reveal of Ben Affleck's Batman costume in the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, there's been no shortage of critique, analysis, and general pondering of the various looks the Dark Knight has sported over the years. One of the most bizarre versions of Batman to debut in recent years appeared in the Batman: Arkham City video game during a particularly surreal sequence in which Batman fought his way through a bad trip resulting from some of the Mad Hatter's hallucinogenic tea. Now you can have your very own “Rabbit Hole Batman” action figure, thanks to the good folks at DC Entertainment, and it can serve as a nice discussion point the next time you get into an argument about Bat-fleck's cape and cowl.
I'm certain I'm not alone in mourning the passing of The Fast and the Furious actor Paul Walker, so it seems appropriate to call out the release of a new, 1/43 scale die-cast model of his iconic ride from the first chapter of the franchise. The Fast & Furious 95 Toyota Supra MK IV 1/43 Car should arrive on shelves at the end of June, giving you the chance to own your very own 10-second car – or at least a replica of one.
Yet another car to look out for is Mattel's Hot Wheels Elite Back to the Future Time Machine with Mr. Fusion 1/43 die-cast car, which is a ridiculously detailed model of everyone's favorite time-traveling DeLorean. Its doors open, its interior is detailed, and even the “Mr. Fusion” opens up! Great Scott! It arrives in the last week of June, Marty!
Sure, everyone talks about Arnold Schwarzenegger's T-800 as the star of 1984's The Terminator, but I was always a big fan of Michael Biehn's soldier from the future, Kyle Reese. After appearing in 2009's Terminator: Salvation (portrayed by Anton Yelchin), the character will return again in next year's Terminator: Genesis, played by Jai Courtney. The classic Kyle Reese will always be my favorite, though, and FunKo's nostalgia-inducing line of retro movie action figures seems to be on the same page as me when it comes to that sort of thing. Its line of ReAction 3 3/4” action figures based on The Terminator includes a retro-tastic Kyle Reese that will almost certainly end up on my shelf when it arrives in late June – and I don't need to know the future to be sure of that.
If you're looking to bring the sexy back to your bookshelf, go ahead and place your order now for Kotobukiya's Marvel Comics Avengers Now Black Widow ArtFX+ Statue. The sculpt is based on artist Adi Granov's fantastic design for the Russian spy created by Stan Lee, Don Heck and Don Rico, and features all of the necessary elements of Black Widow's most iconic look: skin-tight bodysuit, gold belt, “Widow's Bite” bracelets, and fiery red hair. The statue is the second figure in Kotobukiya's series of Avengers statues which began with Hulk, and will continue with Hawkeye, Captain America and Iron Man, and Thor in the future. Black Widow will be available June 11, will cost around $50, and will make all of the other statues on your shelf look like the ugly friend.
That's it for this month, fellow aficionados of assorted nerdery! As always, I've included links to as many of the items I've recommended here as possible, but some will only become available once they're released – so make sure to check in with your local comic shop or look online if you're uncertain how to get your hands on any of these items.
Next week, we'll be back to our regularly scheduled pondering of geeky things!
Question of the Week: Which of this month's recommendations are you most excited about?
Rick Marshall is an award-winning writer and editor whose work can be found at Movies.com, as well as MTV News, Fandango, Digital Trends, IFC.com, Newsarama, and various other online, print, and on-air news outlets. He's been called a “Professional Geek” by ABC News and Spike TV, and his personal blog can be found at MindPollution.org. You can find him on Twitter as @RickMarshall.
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