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Things we should all be reading

No particular order to these titles but all of these are making for compelling reads.

List items

  • Ancient/Marvel U History, grand conspiracy, cosmic drama...this series has it all.

  • Judd Winick took the D team of the DCU and treated them like the A listers they could be. Winick was set to do an ongoing but the DCU Reboot put the breaks on that. If you want to see the JLI written they best they've ever been then this book is where you need to be looking.

  • Robert Kirkman, Todd McFarlane, Greg Capullo...'nuff said, folk. EDIT: Things sort of hit a snag during the second arc of Kirkman's run, but Joe Casey and Nathan Fox have reinvigorated the title with new life and are doing some VERY interesting things on the book. And seriously, Nathan Fox's art is phenomenal. Definitely one of the most unique artists working in the medium today.

  • No exaggeration, Mike Carey has managed to give life to a classic. In a nutshell, The Unwritten is a story about stories and the power they hold over every facet of our lives. The central protagonist, Tom Taylor, is the son world famous author Wilson Taylor. Wilson is the mastermind behind the wildly popular "Tommy Taylor" series of novels. Despite making a living off of being the real "Tommy" Tom is definitely the Christopher Robin Milne who resents his father's work and how it stole his childhood and present from him. Which makes it all the more disconcerting as the world of Tommy begins to bleed into Tom's. As the story expands Carey offers some of his best and most thought provoking writing with his long time collaborator Peter Gross delivering the goods himself.

  • What's not to like about the Big Bad Wolf as a hardboiled, noir style detective in New York City?

  • Scott Snyder's "Dark Mirror" was simply put, phenomenal. His handle on Dick Grayson, the way he makes Gotham itself a living breathing character,and his unnerving portrayal of a long forgotten character are simply scratching the surface of this iceberg of awesome. The backup features focusing on Jim Gordon was compelling enough to justify their own series and the art by Francesco Francavilla was nothing short of breathtaking. That being said, pulling that off was no small feat as JOCK was simultaneously laying the smacketh down month after month on the main story. With his Detective run Snyder turned out a modern classic which drew out the full potential in all his co-conspirators and layed the foundations for his current (equally stellar) Batman run.

  • Marjorie Liu's one of my favorite writers in the game. She's got a knack for taking team characters and making them into strong, stand alone individuals. She also has a way with the ladies as displayed in her awesome depiction of Black Widow during her run on issues 1-5.

  • Marjorie Liu's AWESOME "The Name of The Rose" arc has now been collected as a trade, BUY THAT NOW!!! That being said, Liu really did some topnotch character work with Natasha. Her take on the Widow was one of the best I've ever read and Daniel Acuna's pencils share a wonderful synergy with her script.

  • Holy crap, this series is awesome for so many reasons that I can't even list them all. The short list is this; Nick Spencer's superb writing and Joe Eisma's refreshing artwork. Just check out my blog to see why I love it so much.

  • This series combined with Morning Glories are perfect examples of why Nick Spencer is one of most talented new writers in the game. Spencer does something rare with the series. He takes a classic title and stays true to the spirit of the source material while simultaneously re-imagining the characters and world, leaving behind his own indelible mark. His deft writing and CAFU's stellar artwork make for a deadly 1,2 combo on this title.

  • Of all the Batman related titles on the market pre New 52 this one was certifiably one of the best and most consistent in quality. The characterizations in this title are so spot on that I can literally hear the voice actors for the animated series of the 90's, even for characters like Damian who didn't appear on the show.

  • Recently discovered this series and I've got to say I regret not having done so sooner. Read this and prepare for shit to get real. This is probably one of the most important comics I've ever read and I love how it pulls no punches. From the crown to the sole you see the ugly whole of the present plight of Uganda. Is it a bit didactic and wordy? Yes. Does it clearly have an agenda? Yes. Is it a great story that transcends the former and grabs you by the guts and doesn't let go? Oh hells Yes!!! And that's why you, me, and everybody on the planet who's literate needs to read this. This is one of those titles that shows just what the medium of comics can do in the right hands. Sadly Vertigo canceled the series, you know, being jackasses and all. So gets the trades asap!!!

  • At one time or another we've all of complained about the state of the industry and the lack of creativity or novel stories being produced. Well, if we were all more willing to take a risk and support a title like the one Nick Spencer's created here, we'd all be a lot happier and the world would be a better place. With Infinite Vacation Nick Spencer's created the one of the most ambitious and thought provoking titles this side of Grant Morrison's Animal Man/Doom Patrol. If you're sick and tired of the same old same and are ready to have your mind blown and perceptions expanded then start reading this series. Pop the red pill, and dive into the rabbit hole, my friend. Down here the possibilities are infinite...

  • John Rozum and Irving Frazier relaunch Rozum's Milestone cult title with very successful results. This books got that classic vertigo feel that I love. It's humorous, offbeat, spooky,and above all else an entertaining read. I don't think it would be a stretch to say that was not only the best DC comic published but one of the finest books on the market period. Rozum's writing and Irving's art are a match made in some hellish heaven. If you missed out on this during its all to brief run then go out and get the trade of this superb six issue run ASAP!

  • Jeff Parker and Kev Walker are a creative team to be reckoned with on this title. This is one of the best team books out on the market and one of the few marvel titles I anticipate on a monthly bases.

  • Okay, so I'm guilty of writing this title off. After reading Snyder's Batman I realized dude can flat out write. This dropped at a bad time, admist the vamp craze, and after being bombarded by vampires in every other medium I was not the least bit interested in checking out this title. But boy, oh boy was that a mistake. This book has been an excellent read and Snyder manages to inject some new blood into one of the most played out tropes and turn the genre on it's ear. This title does for Vampires what Kirkman's Walking Dead does for Zombies.

  • If you're not reading this by now then I'll assume you've been living off world for the past decade.

  • Scott Snyder gets Batman and Kyle Higgins shows that he's no slouch himself. The story's co-written/plotted by Snyder and Higgins but Higgins handles the heavy lifting issue to issues. If you want a story filled with strong characterization, unique art, and engaging story then this book has it all in spades.

  • Once again I'll be taking a late pass on this one. Peter Milligan's the latest of great writers to take the reins on Vertigo's longest running series and he once again proves why he's one of the best in the game.

  • It's a shame to see such a superb title end, but I'm glad it went out on top. Gail Simone made an indelible mark on these wonderfully insane misfits and crafted a book that will be seen as cult classic for years to come.

  • Jonathan Hickman's crafted the quintessential Nick Fury story. Marvel espionage at it's finest.

  • Joe Casey is a writer who gives zero f*k$ whatsoever and I absolutely love him for it. This story has a lot going on but all the seemingly disparate pieces come together very nicely to form an engaging, exciting, and cohesive narrative. Casey does a good job of making this story very rewarding for continuity nuts without penalizing those less versed in the history of the Marvel U. A feat that's all too rarely pulled off in modern comics. And Nick Dragotta's art work is absolutely gorgeous from start to finish. This book didn't get a lot of attention as it was overshadowed by both Fear Itself and then the New 52. But during it Six issue run it was easily one of the best and most interesting books on the stands.

  • Quiet as kept, Man Without Fear was one of Marvel's most consistently excellent books (particularly the first arc). By all laws of logic and reason this title should've fell flat on it's face, but David Liss and Francesco Francavilla managed to not only make this book work, but make it work well. Liss took the gritty, down to earth appeal of classic Daredevil stories and inserted T'Challa right into the thick of things. I know that both Daredevil and Panther fans were a bit turned off by the premise of this book, but I guarantee if you give it a chance you'll find a lot about it to enjoy.

  • If It's one thing that David Liss knows it's noir/pulp fiction. This book finds him riding smoothly in his lane with Zircher comfortably riding shotgun. Edit: I really believe that Zircher turned in the art of his career on this book. Simply AMAZING stuff he did on this book.

  • When I heard Mark Waid was taking over this book I was more than a bit skeptical, but boy was I ever wrong. Waid, Martin,& Rivera have completely blown me away. I actually read Daredevil and laugh and smile and walk away with a sense of joy. Seriously this book returns Matt to his swashbuckling ways and fully embodies all the fun that comics are capable of delivering.

  • Hickman again. The next step in the evolution of Hickman's landmark Fantastic Four. It's pretty new reader friendly considering just how intricate and layered Hickman's Four was. In fact, it was my first exposure to Hickaman's work with the characters. The first issue was so good that it made go back and inhale his Fantastic Four like a Kushed up Kirby.

  • How good was this run? Well for starters it made me READ FANTASTIC FOUR!!! I have two hard and fast rules. One, I don't read Superman. Two, I don't read the FF. Not only did I read his run but I devoured it! On a whim I purchased a few issue of the Three arc and immediately found myself sucked into the story. The next day I went and collected every single issue of his Four run.

    P.S. this is definitely needed if you want to get the most pay off out of his FF issues.

  • This is an absolutely magnificent book. Gillen's writing is superb and Brathwaite's art is simply breathtaking. This title is the perfect follow up to Gillen's Thor and the must read Asgardian centered book at Marvel.

  • Scott Snyder's script is bone chilling and absolutely terrifying. Attila Futaki's artwork is absolutely gorgeous. If you're into horror comics you will absolutely love this book. The Salesman is, bar none, one of the most disturbing fictional characters ever to escape from the dark and twisted corners of the human mind.

  • From the moment I saw the cover for #1 I knew this series would be something special. When I finally got my hands on it it totally blew me away on EVERY LEVEL CONCEIVABLE. Lemire is writing his ass off on this and Travel Foreman's art is ridiculously perfect for this series. Without a doubt this' my favorite book of the DCnU.

  • So this was my second most anticipated book of the New 52 and wouldn't you know it, it just so happens to be written by a writer who's all over this list. Snyder's writing his second favorite character of all time and you can feel the passion he has for this book bursting from every page. Likewise Yanick Paquette's delivering some of the best work I've seen from him and you can tell he's equally as passionate about this project. Here we have two great talents, some of the best of their generation, dedicated to a true labor of love.

  • Brubaker and Phillips are one of those creative teams that should go down in the annals of history among the greatest and deadliest of one two punches. Few writers do noir storytelling as deftly as Brubaker and Sean Phillips mastery of shadow, anatomy, and acting only help to quicken Brubaker's script to it's full potential. The best way to describe this book is L.A. Noir meets Lovecraft. I was going to trade wait on this but am extremely happy that I didn't. The personal messages from Brubaker, exclusive (poster worthy) images by Phillips, and the essays about the history of the horror genre definitely more than justify the $4 price tag. Do yourself a favor and drop one of your million Avengers/X-Men books and invest in this book which oozes just as much style as it does cold sweats.

  • This one's a new title that I just checked out this week and I've gotta say that Kirkman's writer's room approach to this comic is something I've never personally experienced in my years of reading comics. And of course having Nick Spencer on as the first co-writer for the initial arc only heightened my interest in this book. Throw in Sean Martinbrough's slick and shadowy widescreen, highly cinematic pencils and you've got a book that has a lot to offer. Issue one plays it pretty close to the chest, but hey, what great heist story doesn't? If you're down to watch the long con play out then I'd highly advise you to give this one a whirl. Especially if you have an upcoming light week then definitely drop that $3 you were gonna spend at Wendy's on this book. Spencer's usual penchant for writing crisp, clever,& convincing dialogue shines bright as ever. And Martinbrough reminds me just why I feel he should have more and more work on his plate. Definitely an artists I'll be keeping my eye on in the near future and beyond.

  • I hadn't followed the 616 Frank Castle in forever and a day. After reading Ennis' work with the character on his phenomenal Knights/Max run I didn't think the Marvel U Punisher had anything left to offer me. And after Reading Aaron's recently wrapped Max series that opinion was all but cemented. Then came Greg Rucka and Marco Checchetto. To keep it short, Rucka's done for Frank Castle what Mark Waid's manage to do for Daredevil. Greg Rucka truly gets Castle and what makes him tick. His take on the character is familiar yet fresh and Checchetto's art has been topnotch and only getting better. Rucka's manages to walk the difficult tightrope of making Frank's life firmly set in the Marvel U without diluting the character's rawness and grit.

  • Following up Garth Ennis' mammoth and monumental run on this series was no small feat. But Jason Aaron and Steve Dillon do so with an unswerving confidence in their abilities and mastery of their craft that made this not only a worthy follow up but a pitch perfect end for the series. Including familiar faces from the Marvel U was a very controversial decision made by Aaron which was met with both applause and appall by longtime fans. I for one loved his handle on Kingpin & Bullseye and those characterizations combined with his firm grip of Frank Castle, the man made this book one of the most consistently excellent books I read month in and month out. Truly sad to see this one go, but glad it went out even better than it came in. Do yourself a favor and buy up these trades ASAP!

  • If any other book I was reading billed itself as "The Best Superhero Comic Book in The Universe" on its cover I'd roll my eyes and snidely say "riiiiiight" before preparing to rip it's pretentious ass a new one...but as the great Muhammad proved time and again, it ain't braggin' if you back it up. And believe me Kirkman and co. most definitely back up those words. Invincible shows exactly what the tights and fight genre is capable of when it's free of it's constraining cliches. It's a shame that the character growth that we witness Mark Grayson go through in this title is a rarity in this titles mainstream counterparts. Outside of Dick Grayson or Wally West few characters are allowed to experience the kind of landmark life changes that Mark has and the way that Kirkman masterfully filter's all of this through the lens of Superhero comics while simultaneously turning the genre on its head is something truly mesmerizing to behold.

  • So when I heard that Leifeld's Extreme line was being reintroduced this year my first response after rolling my eyes dismissively and snidely snickering to myself was to say "So they took the DCNU reboot to its logical conclusion, eh?". I hadn't heard of Brandon Graham Prior to this book, but if I had known then what I do now I'd have been all over this one. This book really impressed me and perhaps its most amazing feat is how much "wrong" it gets away with. For most books having a detached, omniscient narrator exposit information would be tedious . For most books having a mostly nonvocal protagonist would make a reader un-invested in the story. For most books throwing the reader into the deep with little to no explanation would make for a frustrating and unsatisfying read. But Prophet isn't most books, Graham's writing turns all of these weaknesses into beautiful strengths and of course the art carries it's weight as well. Chemistry between a writer and artist is always important and Graham and Roy have it in spades. Roy's take on the flora and fauna that inhabit this new Earth that John Prophet's found himself in perfectly blend the familiar with the alien. And the world building he does here is topnotch. Despite using decidedly stylized line work everything he renders feels so down to earth and real. If Prophet is an omen of things to come from the reborn Extreme Studios then I predict you'll be seeing a lot more of these Image titles popping up on my and many other must read lists.

  • When BKV announces he's doing a comic you best believe its going to be an event. When he announces he's going to do an ongoing with the immensely talented Fiona Staples it becomes an epic one. Hype and success are a some of the sharpest double-edged swords out there and with Saga BKV was facing both coming at him full speed. Anybody who's read Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina, or Runaways definitely came into this book with lofty expectations. Personally, I've been waiting on this book since the 2011 comicon and to say that I had heaven high expectations is an understatement. But not only did Saga meet my expectations, it effortlessly exceeds each and every single one of them. Vaughn's dialog is as natural, sharp, and humorous as ever. But this book wouldn't nearly be what it is without Staples lush and enrapturing pencils. In case you're wondering, this book's carpets definitely match the drapes. Staples is known for her ability to kill covers and with Saga she proves she's just as lethal between the cover pages. Her unique and always interesting character designs and the superb attention to detail she gives to everything truly brings this title to life. Image keeps on coming with the goods in 2012.