Recommended Reading List: Second Quarter, 2015

Hiding my shock that not everyone loves Rom
Hiding my shock that not everyone loves Rom

So from April, May, June of this year, here are the books I put to you as being worth your time and effort. Excelsior?

List items

  • From Boom! comes a comic series which is one part X-Files, one part Super 8, and all fun. The writing appeals to sophisticated readers without crapping on those who only want escapism, and the art is detailed so that the colors give it mood and texture. Don't knock it until you've tried it.

  • This isn't Nancy A. Collins' first vampire rodeo (now THERE'S an untapped story of sanguinary horror), having written the Sonja Blue series of novels, which I think are now published by White Wolf. She's also written layered horror fiction for DC/Vertigo. This series has lasted a year now, and it continues to be as engaging as Vampi's Warren series, with quite enough characterization to distinguish it from the cheesecake horror books like Lady Death and Chastity. I would love to see Patrick Berkenkotter's art more in more and more books. Pick up Vampirella and see for yourselves why.

  • I love the Aaron core book, but have nothing but contempt for Princess Leia, which seems more bent on making her a Disney teenage princess than being true to the source character. This book, however, does NOT have that problem. In Jabba's court or in complete control of a phalanx of Stormtroopers, Darth Vader is portrayed here as the Emperor's hand, and it is not a the hand of a beloved relative cupping your chin after a long absence. Rather, it's a fist and it's clutched around the hilt of a lightsaber! Through all of this, the narrative is revelatory, peeling back new layers of Anakin Skywalker's alter ego.

  • From # 5 on, this book is a lot of fun. I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts since Secret Wars is predestined to f*** it up, like every other Marvel book. As a fan of crappy villains, though, the current case/storyline has my full attention. The art grew on me, though I wasn't initially a fan. Hopefully it will grow on you, too. I do hope that they use this book to revisit some of Jessica's old foes like Daddy Longlegs, the Hornet, and the Needle. Also, didn't Marvel introduce a new Enforcer during Dark Reign? Where's that dude?

  • This is a reprint book of material originally published in 2000AD and then reprinted in Eagle and Fleetway's Judge Dredd books. I like the packaging best on these, though. The first three or four issues were Brian Bolland art from front to back, and if you only know him from his cover work, you need to pick this up and check him out as a visual storyteller.

  • If one could get superpowers from having unprotected sex, I'm sure ComicVine would be a ghost town. What if those powers killed you in six months, though? Killed you stone dead? Heh! I could probably name some Viners who still would be offline. This is the sequel to Titan's limited series based on just that premise. Art? Yes. Story? Yes. Tots awesome? Wouldn't recommend it otherwise.

  • I scored a big run of Rom and a couple of its annuals from a friend in a comic book trade, and I am so glad! Marvel will never reprint these stories because the license is not public domain, but ohmigod, they are so, so damn good. The set-up is basically the Secret Invasion before there was a Secret Invasion! I'm kind of annoyed that Galador was destroyed in Infinity # 1, but rereading these stories back when Sal Buscema's art wasn't terrible (people open their mouths without odd spitlines) made me so happy. As Rom, who gave up his humanity to save the human race from the shape-shifting Dire Wraiths, finds love and tries to regain his soul, perhaps you, the reader, will regain yours after buying into Marvel Now and New 52 titles the last several years? Or maybe not.

  • Will Starfire kill her sister, Blackfire, who sold her into slavery?? Will the Titans and the Omega Men die beneath the force of the Citadel? This was originally published in 1981, so you can guess at the answers, but this Wolfman and Perez classic is a fantastic read should you find it while thumbing through long boxes at your corner comic dealer.