Favorite Series

This is a temporary list, as I move the content from my Pull-List to a new list.

Pull-List will be updated to depict what I am currently reading.

List items

  • Daredevil is consistently my favorite superhero. His series has also had the benefit of numerous talented creators telling his stories over the course of many years. I came in with Marvel Knights and Kevin Smith, and I have not missed an issue since. From Smith to David Mack, Brian Michael Bendis (probably some of his best work), Ed Brubaker, Andy Diggle, and Mark Waid the writing has been solid, the art spectacular, and overall quality unparalleled. (There are a few dips over time, most significantly to me was the Shadowland story line, simply because it wasn't as believable to me... just took DD a little too far.)

    Matt Murdock, to me, is one of the most human of superheroes. He has loved, lost, been persecuted, depressed, flirted with madness, coped with his disability, and ultimately – despite his past, learned to be happy again and continue to live his life. I love a number of characters in the comic book world, but he is the one closest to my heart.

    And I mean, c'mon – the guy is a BLIND superhero! You can't get much more badass than that!

    ESSENTIALS (Chronologically):

    • Daredevil: Visionaries: Frank Miller Vol. 2

    http://www.comicvine.com/daredevil-visionaries-frank-miller-/37-85509/

    Deals a lot with the Elektra/DD love story

    • Daredevil: Born Again – Frank Miller

    http://www.comicvine.com/born-again/39-55638/

    Probably the most famous Daredevil storyline – for good reason... just read this one.

    • Daredevil: Guardian Devil – Kevin Smith, Joe Quesada

    http://www.comicvine.com/guardian-devil/39-56131/

    Storyline that ushered in the modern age of Daredevil.

    • Daredevil: Parts of A Hole – David Mack, Joe Quesada

    http://www.comicvine.com/daredevil-parts-of-a-hole/49-43104/

    Follows directly after Guardian Devil, deals with the fall out and handles Matt Murdock's senses beautifully.

    • Daredevil: The Devil, Inside and Out – Ed Brubaker, Michael Lark

    http://www.comicvine.com/daredevil-the-devil-inside-and-out-volume-1/49-32466/

    Matt Murdock goes to prison...!

    [10.09.2011]

  • Although the first arc left me a little cold, I am very happy I persevered with this one. Upon reading "Animal Farm," I found my interest renewed with the addition of regular series penciler, Mark Buckingham. And with "Storybook Love" and "March of the Wooden Soldiers" I became forever hooked.

    The fun of this series is to see where these classic storybook characters end up after their famous tales. Who they become within the parameters that Bill Willingham has given his world. Then, to see supporting players you don't know much about come to the foreground and you suddenly realize, "Oh s**t! That's [so and so]! That's so awesome that they [did such and such]!"

    And then the characters you thought you knew divulge more of their stories and they turn out to be so much more.

    The Prince Charming we meet in these Fables is not only Snow White's, but Sleeping Beauty's, and Cinderella's – he has gotten around and he is a totally lovable cad. Pinocchio is STILL a little boy after hundreds of years, and all he wants is to go to a bar and get laid. Jack of the tales is all the Jack's you know from beanstalk to nimble, Frost to the hill, and all those adventures haven't made him anymore wise. The animal fables are there too, talking and causing mischief anyway they can. The series goes beyond European fairy tales as well, with the Arabian Nights tales, Arthurian legend, classic books such as The Jungle Book and Wizard of Oz, american folklore, and we are still only just starting to see Asian and African tales...

    There is a lot to love with this series, and the seemingly never-ending story routes they take you down only gets more fun as the story progresses. To give you an idea of how great this series is, it is the only series that I buy both the single-issues and the trades, because it is that much fun to go back and read.

    ESSENTIALS (Chronologically):

    • Vol.02 Animal Farm

    • Vol.03 Storybook Love

    • Vol.04 March of the Wooden Soldiers

    • Vol.05 Mean Seasons

    • Vol.06 Homelands

    • Vol.09 Sons of the Empire

    • Vol.10 The Good Prince

    • Vol.11 War and Pieces

    • Vol.12 The Dark Ages

    • Vol.14 Witches

    • Vol.15 Rose Red

    [10.09.2011]

  • Ed Brubaker and Sean Philips' various series are all worth picking up. They have a gritty realness that can be fun, brutal, and downright dark. These are stories about criminals, make no doubts about that, and because they are about the more morally ambiguous among us, you will likely get frustrated or even dislike some of the characters. But there are heroes too. Really, they are more anti-heroes, but in the shades of grey that exists in this criminal underworld, they look like knights in shining armor by comparison.

    If you like crime stories, if you like stories where it is all on the line every issue, where major characters can die in a heart-beat Brubaker and Phillips' series are for you. The most recent arc, "The Last of the Innocent," is probably one of my favorites. It only just ended, so you may still be able to grab all four issues before they are gone.

    It is important to note that, although these stories get collected in trades, part of the single issues do not. The story is all there, but you miss out on the essays that follow the comic that discuss various crime and pulp subjects and works. They are written quite well by anyone from comedian Patton Oswalt to crime/pulp historian Jess Nevins. They are accompanied by a beautiful painted illustration by Sean Phillips. Subjects include specific films, books, and TV shows and their creators, as well as characters types (such as femme fatale, Fu Manchu), and even children's detective stories (there is an essay on Encyclopedia Brown in a recent issue). Obviously, not everyone will read these essays, but they are great additions to the stories that even enhance the stories at times. Such as, in one issue of Incognito, there is an essay on Zeppelin pulps (!!), which is written in such a way that it blurs the lines between if they were real or if this is written from the perspective of if the story in the pages of Incognito were published in pulp's heyday.

    In addition, you also get a little wrap-up page written by Brubaker himself that concerns different things he is reading or watching, as well as what's coming up in their creative universe... I have gotten quite a few new favorites from these pages.

    These series are great for new readers, as each arc stands alone, and you can jump on with any given one, and Criminal and Incognito have been alternating story arcs on the shelves. They do, however, reward long-time readers with cameos and tie-ins to characters and arcs past, but each story stands on their own. Brubaker and Phillips' next project, Fatale will be starting in the months to come, and is expected to run 12 issues, so that is a great place to jump on as well!

    ESSENTIALS (Chronologically):

    • Vol.1 Coward

    • Vol.2 Lawless

    • Vol.4 Bad Night

    • Vol.6 The Last of the Innocent

    [10.09.2011]

  • (See Criminal entry above)

    ESSENTIALS (Chronologically):

    • Incognito

    • Incognito: Bad Influences

    [10.09.2011]

  • I have been enjoying Christos Gage's writing since I first took a chance on Avengers: The Initiative following Civil War. Although the series started characters I knew virtually nothing about, or were brand new, Gage and Dan Slott had me hooked every issue. I grew to love the new characters they were introducing, particularly Cloud 9 and Trauma. They were even able to make me care about characters I never thought much about, and even thought were lame, such as Tigra, Speedball, and Justice. It also included one-off issues that were often the best stories I read all month (particularly the one about Butterball, and the one about Johnny Guitar). This was one of those series where a lot is at stake for the characters. They are not huge names with a franchise behind them, so we know they can be gravely injured or killed at any time, and so it gave the series some weight.

    This series was great because it ran in tandem with so many other Avengers books, most of which were uneven or decreasing in quality as time went on. (Slott's Mighty Avengers, Bendis' Dark Avengers being exceptions). Meanwhile, here was a book with characters that were not big names, but had me invested and looking forward to each new issue. Every character had distinct voices, motivations, and arcs. I came to enjoy these characters so much, that I buy mini-series event tie-ins when they are featured (Fear Itself: Youth in Revolt and Home Front).

    Then along came Avengers Academy. Christos Gage not only kept up the kind of storytelling he had impressed me with in Initiative, but I think surpassed it. He streamlined the number of characters, kept the great teacher characters I had come to love from Initiative and Mighty Avengers, and gave us a new spin on the "team of young heros" tale. The spin being: these kids are the "at-risk" ones... the ones most likely to go rogue or become villains. In other words, it is a program for kids who need extra encouragement and a more guiding hand.

    Across the past year or so this series has been on the shelves, it has not disappointed. It gave us a group of teens that are more surly than your average young heroes. One is a bit of a megalomaniac, another lacking social-skills altogether, another's body is slowly breaking up, another looks like a red metal monster, and another trapped in a hazmat suit because she is so radioactive that she could kill anyone she comes in contact with. Reptil seems the odd-man out, but is also at risk due to his goals of finding revenge for his murdered parents. Tying them altogether, you have former Avengers who are all a little rough around the edges in their pasts: Hank Pym, Tigra, Justice, and Quicksilver. You have these kids trying to grapple with their situations and the destinies, and teachers trying their best to set aside their own personal issues to guide these kids the best they can. All these characters and personalities make for a really great ensemble book. There is character growth, palpable danger, relationships developed, secrets divulged, character connections to the greater Marvel Universe... and probably the best event tie-in story arc with Fear Itself that I have read in years. Because the event really truly has an effect on our team.

    As a whole, Avengers Academy has that young hero feeling that you get from a New Mutants, Generation X, Young Avengers kind of book. It also has notes of the Runaways series as well. All I can tell you is, it is the only Avengers book I am currently reading, and I have no plans of ever putting it down. Period.

    ESSENTIALS (Chronologically):

    Well, it only has about 20 issues so far, so you really can read all of it pretty easily, and I would recommend doing so. The first two volumes are available already in trade, and the Fear Itself issues should be still available on the shelves. And the next story arc is about to begin.

    [10.09.2011]

  • Rick Remender's run on Uncanny X-Force has been on of the most exciting X-Men stories I have read in years. I used to be a regular X-book reader, but stopped after the whole Onslaught thing, after which I found myself pretty sick of them. I picked up again when Matt Fraction was writing, and collected all of the excellent "Second Coming" arc. But despite that, I didn't stick with the X-books again. Until this one came out.

    This is probably the best written story of these characters I have ever read. After experiencing serious Wolverine and Deadpool fatique with both the characters total over-saturation of the shelves in the past couple years, I was in no way looking forward to picking up anything else with these two done-to-death characters, and I couldn't imagine how anyone could make me interested in these characters again. I stand corrected.

    Remender doesn't paint the one-dimensional loner-pissed-off-my-way-or-the-highway version of Wolverine that I've been fed for a while, nor does he give us the watered-down team-player. He gives a Wolverine that shows his history, his personality, and his budding leadership, as he has transformed over his many long years. He is gruff, but he gets the job done, and he is also a little melancholy underneath that tough exterior. Something that I would think would have to come with all those years of seeing friends and lovers die over and over again. He is affected by the absences of Kurt and Jean, and they are palpable emotions that come through with the character.

    Deadpool is also written expertly. He is not the cartoon of himself he has become as of late. He is demented, off-kilter, humorous and all those things, but he also displays his moral compass and heart that we know is buried down in there somewhere. He is also not an idiot, he is intelligent and crafty, and in the direness of the situations this team is faced with, he is a team-player.

    The rest of the cast is filled out extremely well with Psylocke, Archangel, and Phantomex, all characterized beautifully. Phantomex is the real star of the book as he trades jabs with Deadpool, flirts with Psylocke, does something heroic, and then pisses everyone off. He is also a character that is laced with secrets and they are hinted at and developed over the course of the book nicely. Psylocke and Archangel's relationship here is very nicely portrayed, and with the added strains of Warren's dual personality, the stakes for them only get hirer and more difficult.

    Then you talk about the art in this book... it is just awesome. The colorist does an amazing job as well, with such interesting and expressive colors as well as texturing and tonalities that give the penciler's forms so much more oomph.

    It is a great book, that no matter who you are as a fan of any one of these characters, or simply a comic fan in general... you will not be disappointed.

    ESSENTIALS:

    Also in it's infancy, you can pick up most of this run already, but likely not in single-issue form, as it is constantly sold out.

    [10.09.2011]

  • Some of the best short stories in all of fiction. Prose, comics, or otherwise.

  • I call it "acid-trip-time-travel-espionage." It is a really unique book in this sense. I had trouble grasping the first storyline in just one issue, but when I read them all together (and while more awake), it clicked much better, and hooked me solid. The latest storyline is looking like it could be the best yet. The art is beautiful, and story really fun and engaging. It's like Back to the Future meets James Bond meets Hunter S. Thompson meets the 60s. Or something. And Casanova Quinn looks like Mick Jagger... c'mon Mick as a spy..? It's gotta be great!

  • Alas, poor Agents, I knew thee well... Jeff Parker and Gabriel Hardman kicked all kinds of butt with this and "Atlas".

  • Another book I didn't think I would be reading beyond the first couple issues, but those Vertigo books have something magical to them. I wasn't a fan of Mike Carey's run on X-Men with Bachalo drawing, but this book changes my opinion of him completely. Very engaging and fun story.

  • Lots of fun, and Roberson is entering into one of my favorite writers. At first glance, I thought I'd only read a couple issues of this and be done with it, but I'm still picking it up every month and loving the characters. As much as I like Mike Allred's Madman, I really enjoy when he illustrates even more. This is another great pairing for him.