Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Nerd's Top 5 Current Comic Series

A lot of my comic reviewing is for previously released or already finished runs of comics. I've tapered off with my Pull List Reviews due to a reduction in my Pull List and a general unhappiness with current offerings. For now, though, I'd like to touch base on five of my favorite comic series that are still running today. I've written about most (if not all) of these before, but they are still going strong (though I may not be current). I'll try and give these some semblance of order, which is unusual for me, but here goes:

5. The Superior Spider-Man

Alright, spot five is only taken by SSM because I haven't been reading too many current series. There are plenty I'd love to start reading (East of West, Lazarus, Wolverine and the X-Men, etc...), but I've been taking it slow. That being said, Superior Spider-Man has been surprisingly strong. I didn't enjoy the Superior-Venom stint, but Goblin Nation, which has been building up all year, has started interestingly and promises to send of Otto with a bang.
Arc was boring, but didn't hate the design.

And, while I hate the spoilers our media is saturated with today, I am happy to know that Peter Parker will be making a comeback. I'm not particularly enjoying his part in the comics right now, but I would LOVE to see some changes to Peter when The Amazing Spider-Man relaunches, or at least a shakeup with the cast.

Rating: 7.5/10 -- Saying "Superior Spider-Man" every issue wasn't that funny to begin with, and Otto losing it as much as he has lately seems to contrast to harshly with where he was going.

4. Thor: God of Thunder

Very much looking forward to this fight.
Another series where I didn't much care about the most recent run (which involved Malekith, in time for the film), overall this series has had some tremendous writing and I really do enjoy the shots we get of Thor from the past, present, and future. Each one is the same character and yet substantially different, and each one is interesting for their own reason. If it seemed forced, it wouldn't work as well (which we kind of see with Young Thor), but the recently started "Last Days of Midgard" promises to be another arc to solidly follow up the amazing "God Butcher" saga.

The art on this book, aside from one past-Thor issue I didn't care for, has been continuously phenomenal.

Rating: 8/10 -- Even with story lines I don't terribly care about, I find something to love.

3. Fables

Note: I am NOT caught up! I'm only on issue 84 or so.

Fables takes characters you recognize and puts them in the real world. They've been here for centuries, so have both history that can be pulled from their own homeworlds and from their time spent among us. At this point, they've made some pretty dramatic changes to their status as rogue outcasts from a crushing empire, yet are still finding Big-Bad trouble to overcome. I'm in the Fables Crossover trade, which crosses over Fables, Jack of Fables, and introduces The Literals. It's not my favorite trade so far, but everything before now has been solid and interesting and seen so many character changes that I really look forward to see what comes next.
Not the brightest moment, but no awful.

I feel the series must drop off eventually and miss a step in its stride -- it may have already happened. But I'm happy to get there with the classic characters that have been giving a new (and, above all, interesting) spin.

Rating: 9/10 -- I don't love some of the artists, and the trade I'm on currently is flagging a bit, and I truly have no idea where the series can go, but I've enjoyed it so far and actively look forward to catching up.

2. Hawkeye

Surprisingly loving Kate Bishop.
The art for this series alone makes it one of the best comics I'm reading. Add in the down-to-earth stories of a superhero who seems to actively be dealing with depression and a lack of understanding/accepting the world as it is, and you've got a really interesting set of stories about a character that has never interested me before. Add in Kate Bishop (a character I didn't even know of before), and we have a young woman trying to find her way (as a P.I., no less) across the country, yet having trouble shrugging the repercussions of her superhero-ing.

While it is set in the Marvel universe, and definitely pays homage to that with some visiting cast, this series is about two characters trying to live lives outside the masks, and it is such a poignant  contrast between their exciting, heroic lives to trying to make heroic ideals work in a world that, really, doesn't want or support them.

Also, the writing is strong and can range from touching to hilarious, sometimes at the same time.

Rating: 10/10 -- Love everything about this series. Still don't care for Hawkeye anywhere else, but as long as this team keeps up on this book, I'm a fan.

1. Saga

Screw everything I just said above. If there is one comic you really NEED to follow, it is Saga. It is published fairly slowly due to the desire to keep the creative team together, without needing to farm out for talent during time crunches, but it is completely worth it.

We are constantly introduced to vibrant characters in an unusual sci-fi world. Around every corner, there is something strange and new. Also, around every corner, there is some sort of heart break. It's almost Game of Thrones level of sex and death (though I would argue that it is better written, though that's opinion all over the place).
So what if my favorite character is a cat?

This book has the characters, the writing, and the art to make it a complete knockout. Will follow this book until the bitter end, may it never come.

Rating: 11/10 -- I don't call myself the Arbitrary Nerd for nothing!

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