For the the better part of 4 years I have gotten back into comic books. And as stated earlier in this blog there have been some great books as well as some bloated event-style comics (even though I really enjoyed Civil War based solely on how awesome Captain America is). And with all the different publishers out there, there is a a ton of stuff to wade through (even though there is a simple equation I’ve used lately Jeph Loeb + Ultimate Universe = Horseshit. Actually, Jeph Loeb books not counting The Long Halloween = Horseshit.) So I’ve decided to compile a little list, in no particular order, of some great comics that are out there.
Uncanny X-Force – Written by Rick Remender
Now X-Force itself was one of those books that had kind of become stale since they brought it back. It kept getting saddled up with events that didn’t let them do what they do best which is basically be the X-Men’s hit squad doing things everyone else would find morally wrong. When they originally brought this team back it was under orders from Cyclops to basically take out any threat to the mutant race. They were disbanded when Cyclops decided he didnt like the idea of putting out hits on people who didnt agree with him.
This new incarnation involves Wolverine, Psylocke, Archangel, Deadpool, and Fantomex (who is a character I knew next to nothing about and then really began to appreciate). The thing about this version of X-Force is that the only people who know about them is X-Force themselves. Wolverine realized there will always be threats that need to be eliminated instead of incarcerated. So he made this team up behind everyone’s back.
The tone of the book is gritty which Remender thrives in, he had a great run on The Punisher before this series (that is he had a great run until he decided to turn Frank Castle into Franken-Castle, which in itself is a pretty bizarre read if you’re interested in that sort of thing). His style really works on this series because this isn’t a story about a team of normal “do-gooders” this is a team of killers, of people who will do whatever it takes to save their species and the world itself.
Without spoiling anything Remender does a great job giving this team tough choices to make. It’s not just “see that. kill it.” The first 4 issues demonstrate this beautifully. And he has tied all of these issues to the Marvel Universe at large, and to previous X-Men series as well. It’s also nice that this book isn’t just another Wolverine Vehicle this is an actual team book. Everybody matters here. And Remender does a great job balancing the personalities, specifically Deadpool. And that’s why it’s become one of Marvel’s most consistent books.
Punisher Written by Greg Rucka and PunisherMax Written by Jason Aaron
The two Punisher books on the shelves now a days couldn’t be more different and both are great reads.
What’s great about these two books is the direction they take The Punisher. Basically they take him in different directions. In PunisherMax, Frank Castle himself is being broken down and we are finding out what kind of person he really is. It’s a more insular character arc. We get a running inner dialog, something writer Jason Aaron calls Frank’s War Journal. Most of the dialog in the book is from Frank himself. It’s also kinda stands alone in its own universe there aren’t really any superheroes.
Now the newest revamp of regular Punisher series is completely different, Castle basically has no dialog at all. He has said maybe 7 phrases so far in the 4 books on the shelves. In this we kind of see a more outside look, its like Frank Castle is a force of nature and we see the reaction to his aftermath. And there are other superheroes as well but the Punisher is more a street level guy like Daredevil.
Moon Knight – Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Moon Knight is interesting because in a lot of ways he is just like Batman. He’s rich, great hand to hand fighter, lots of gadgets, very smart. But there is one little difference between the two, Moon Knight suffers from split personalities (if I told you who those personalities were it would be considered a spoiler just check the book out). And in this series Bendis is proving he can handle a character that is essentially like writing four.
And Bendis writes this in a Noir/Crime style which gives it a different feel than other books.
This one I’m going to catch some flack on…
Aquaman – Written by Geoff Johns
I know, I know… What the hell is this guy doing here? Well simply put I had a fun time reading the two comics that have come out since DC revamped their whole universe. In this universe Aquaman is taken as seriously as he is in ours, everyone pretty much thinks he’s a joke (even thought during the Blackest Night and Brightest Day events before this whole “New 52” stuff instead of summoning regular fish. He summoned zombie sharks, because he had been dead before those events. Another equation: Zombie Sharks = Awesome. Honestly if that was a regular power of his I’d be down with it). So I’m looking forward as to where they take this “Aquaman tries to get the entire world to take him seriously” thing they are doing.
Here is a list of some other comics that are just kinda getting started, or are just going about their biz, that im digging so far.
Wolverine and The X-Men– Wolverine has broken away from Cyclops and has decided to start up the ole X-men school again. This can only end well.
Uncanny X-Men- With Wolverine out of the way, Cyclops can now run his X-Men any way he sees fit. Which probably means he is going to make a lot of morally ambiguous decisions.
Action Comics– Grant Morrison writes this so I’m not even sure why there is a another Superman centric title, he is only going to blow that other title away.
Green Lantern- Basically Sinestro has a green ring and Hal Jordan does not.
Batman and Robin– This title focuses more on the fact that there is a Bat-Family and it has Bruce Wayne trying to be a dad. So far he sucks at it.
Ultimates– I’m completely ignoring “Ultimates 3” (see equation in the introduction) but Jonathan Hickman is doing a lot of interesting things so far and I’m eager to see where it goes.
Amazing Spider-Man– That Peter Parker can’t catch a break!
Captain America– Just read this, that guy rules.
Deadpool– This book makes me chuckle and is completely off the wall
Scalped– Another Jason Aaron book, this is about a Native American coming back to his reservation and trying to take down the crime boss that runs the whole thing. Lots of crazy stuff goes down here. Also the series is coming to an end soon, so its best you catch it in trade paperbacks.
So there you have it, a bunch of comics that if you’re interested in you can go sink your teeth into.