Monday, July 9, 2012

Suggested Reading (Comic Book Edition)

In no particular order:

Thunderbolts: This is the series that got me back into comic books as well as was the original inspiration for this blog. The idea behind the Thunderbolts team is that the Masters of Evil have (ostensibly) reformed from their villainous ways in the wake of the Onslaught Crisis, robbing the world of many of its villains. The first run is the best, but I'm personally up to issue 80-something (it started to renumber the issues as "New Thunderbolts" around then, but snapped back to normal numbering in time for issue 100). I'm especially looking forward to see how Civil War changed the team -- already, they've changed a lot since the first run that introduced the villains-as-heroes theme Thunderbolts does so well.

A good series to meet some interesting characters and see some unusually mixed up heroes.

Suggested issues: Thunderbolts #1-??, and more if you find yourself enjoying it.

Maximum Carnage: This is the series that got me into comics when I was younger. This is a series that gets a lot of love/hate debates going, so let me preface that this is an early '90s run of comics, which means the story is generally pretty bad. What this series does bring, however, are fan favorite (and loathed) characters Venom and Carnage into an epic fight that spans all of New York City (as well as 14 issues). The story? Carnage gets free and goes on a killing spree in New York, picking up a small band of villains (Shriek, Doppelganger, Demo-Goblin, and Carrion) along the way. Spidey has to gather a band of heroes (many make appearances, but most notably Venom, Cloak, Dagger, and the Black Cat) to stop them. That's it, for 14 wonderful issues. Good super-hero action, all in all.

I might do a series review for this, eventually.

Suggested Issues: #1-14 (Made up of: Spider-Man Unlimited #1 and 2, Web of Spider-Man # 101-103, The Amazing Spider-Man #378-380, Spider-Man #35-37, Spectacular Spider-Man #201-203 -- Or just get the TPB)

For now, this will be the only Spider-Man listing I'll make here. I'll do a separate "Suggested Reading (Spider-Man Edition)" soon.

Wolverine: Old Man Logan: You do not get a bleaker post-apocalyptic world than Wolverine's Old Man Logan (OML) run. Even the Age of Apocalypse has its upsides for mutants. OML has pretty much everyone screwed equally. I don't read much Wolverine (when he's not teaming up with Spidey), but this has a good story, great art, and some really interesting visions of a much darker future timeline for Marvel characters.

Note: If you warm and fuzzy feelings, do NOT read this. If you like post-apocalyptic stuff and bleak/dark stories don't bother you, PICK THIS UP!!!!

Suggested Issues: Wolverine #66-72 and Wolverine Giant Sized Old Man Logan

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns: I believe this may be another love/hate series. It is set, once again, in a grimmer (alternate) future, this time in the DC universe (dystopian, not apocalyptic). Batman comes out of retirement at the age of 55 to put the beat down on a world gone mad. The problem is, the world doesn't want him, for the most part. I think the story is wonderful, though I'll admit I don't care for the art (too dark and at times indistinct). Climax is a Super-Man vs Batman fight, and Batman had time to prepare. What can be better than that?

Suggested Issues: #1-4 (Made up of: The Dark Knight Returns, The Dark Knight Triumphant, Hunt The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Falls)

Ex Machina: For something a little different, take a look at Ex Machina. It is set in an alternate New York City and, while published by DC, falls under the Wildstorm logo and has no relation to any other comic universe (that I've seen yet). The series follows the current Mayor of New York, Mitchell Hundred. Before he was mayor, Hundred was a masked super-hero known as The Great Machine, who's power was the ability to talk to machines (and, you know, tell them what to do). The issues tell the story of Mayor Hundred as present day while The Great Machine's story is told as a flash back.

This series has great characters, a really interesting story/concept, and is creatively told. Mayor Hundred has to deal with issues from marijuana legalization to gay marriage while The Great Machine has to defeat his nemesis, Jack Pherson, while trying to make a super-hero actually fit in today's society.

Oh, and one of the major reasons The Great Machine was able to become the Mayor of NYC was his actions during 9/11. The series, as far as I can tell, prefers a "leave no stone unturned" mentality, and it works.

I'm personally about 40 issues in and plan on completing my collection as soon as I can.

Suggested Issues: All of them. Seriously.

That's all for now, folks. Keep an eye out for a few more "Suggested Reading" posts; I'll do more general Comic Books series, specific comic book runs, and novels that I've enjoyed. I read a lot, so this could take a while... I'll try to keep them short(ish) installments like this one!

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