With New York Comic Con starting tomorrow I’ve decided to get into the spirit by sharing with you my favorite comics. I’m going to start off with my favorite comics from Marvel. Now just to clarify this is NOT A COMPLETE LIST but the ones off the top of my head. So, if you’ve read these, agree with me, or disagree with me, feel free to post. Feel free to post something I missed too. And if you’re heading to the show and haven’t read any of these think of this as a list of stuff to look for.
The Ultimates 1-12: What do you get when you cross Mark Millar, the ultimate action writer, with Bryan Hitch, the ultimate widescreen artist? Throw in political commentary, a horny Hulk out to get Freddie Prinze Jr., and Captain America spouting one of the greatest lines in comic history (“Surrender. What do you think this letter on my head stands for? France?”) And you get, the Ultimates.
Doctor Strange and Doctor Doom: Triumph and Torment: Here’s why Doctor Doom is one of the greatest characters of all time. To be granted a boon, Doom purposefully loses the title of Sorcerer Supreme to Dr. Strange. What does Doom want? To travel to Mephisto’s realm and free the trapped soul of his mother and he’ll do it by any means necessary. Masterful storytelling by Roger Stern and gorgeous artwork from a young, pre-Hell Boy, Mike Mignolia, “Triumph and Torment” is probably the finest piece of work released from Marvel’s line of Original Graphic Novels during the late eighties and early nineties. And trust me, its got stiff competition.
X-Men: Age of Apocalypse- The ultimate “What if?” story. Professor Xavier is murdered twenty years before he can form the X-Men. See how the loss of one man can so radically alter a universe as Magneto forms the X-Men and Apocalypse rules the world. Who lives? Who dies? Who never died? Why does Cyclops serve Mr. Sinister? How did Wolverine lose his hand? Are amongst the many questions that are answered in this masterpiece along with career defining art from Joe Madereria, The Kubert brothers, and Chris Bachalo just to name a few.
X-Men: Fatal Attractions- The X-Men celebrate their thirtieth anniversary with the return of their greatest foe, a bitter betrayal, and Wolverine having his Adamantium skeleton ripped straight out of him. That and the cool 3-D hologram covers make this one of the most memorable X-Men stories ever.
Wolverine 1-4: With a first issue that was the Holy Grail when we were young, this limited series from Chris Claremont and Frank Miller made Wolverine into one of the most complex and fascinating characters to ever grace the comic book page. After receiving a letter, Logan returns to Japan to discover his love Mariko has been forced into an abusive marriage by her father, Lord Shingen. Tricked and disgraced in his lady love’s eyes, Logan embarks on a quest to regain his lost honor and dignity as a human being. If any of my friends still have the first issue pull it out and read it. You’ll enjoy it.
Nomad 1-25: “What’s with this country when a man, his gun, and his baby can’t even hitch a ride?” That’s the question former Bucky, Jack Monroe asks as he takes to the road on a cross country quest to discover himself and raise his adopted baby, Bucky. A quest that leads him into the L.A. riots, the heart of the AIDS debate, and team ups with Daredevil, the Punisher, and Captain America. A portrait of America during the early to mid 90’s, it’s too bad nobody knew about it.
Captain America Volume 4, 1-present: What can I say? Since re-launching in 2005, Captain America has consistently been the best comic book on the racks. Bolstering photo realistic yet fluid artwork from masters like Steve Epting, Butch Guice, and Mike Perkins, the true strength of this book comes from the scripting of Ed Brubaker. From resurrecting Bucky to killing off and reviving the main character, Ed Brubaker’s Cap touches on everything from touch on everything from the history of the Marvel Universe to world politics with action packed, character driven stories, that remind you of the golden years of “24”. If you are not reading this comic, go buy the “Out Of Time” trade paperback NOW!
The Punisher: Welcome Back Frank- During the nineties, the Punisher went stale from over exposure. The solution, kill him off and make him a ghost hunter. That failed. What did Marvel do? Hire the creative team that made ultra violence an art, Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon. What did they do? Stick to the basics, he kills criminals, only Ennis and Dillon manage to make it funny.
Nextwave Agents of H.A.T.E.- Perfect for Adult Swim, Nextwave stars Z-list Marvel heroes as they face some of the most ludicrous foes imaginable in a tongue and cheek manner. Evil broccoli men? They’re here. Also, learn some of your favorite super heroes pick up lines.
Daredevil: Born Again- Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli tell this story of a super heroes worst nightmare. Daredevil’s ex-girlfriend Karen Page is so desperate for heroin she sells his secret identity for ONE FIX, starting a chain reaction that leads to the Kingpin systematically destroying Matt Murdock, socially, physically, professionally, monetarily, and spiritually, turning him into the most dangerous man there is…one with nothing to lose.
Amazing Spider-Man 300- The introduction of one of my favorite villains, Spider-Man’s alien costume wants revenge so it teams up with disgraced reporter Eddie Brock turning him into Venom. Great art from Todd McFarlane, the introduction of the most significant Spider-Villain since Hobgoblin, and the return of the red and blue costume make this a must read.
Avengers Disassembled: Thor- The highlight of the “Avengers Disassembled” event. The prophesized Twilight of the Gods has fallen upon Asgard and only one man can save it, Thor. To save his people, Thor must repeat the ordeals of Odin to gain the power needed to stave off Ragnarok and in the process learns the terrible truth about the Gods and why he was sent to Earth.
X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga- The greatest X-Men story ever told. Nuff Said.
New X-Men Volume One- In 2001, the X-Men needed a shot in the arm, and Grant Morrison administered the treatment, injecting the X-Men with new ideas, new characters, new costumes, and a new purpose. In one year Morrison gave us microscopic sentinels, Professor X’s evil twin sister Cassandra Nova, the human/mutant hybrid’s the U-Men, and brought Beast out of the closet…. or did he? (find out in later issues). Despite inconsistencies in art, Morrison writing is so good you won’t even notice.
Astonishing X-Men: Gifted- I pitied whomever was following Grant Morrison on X-Men, even if it was “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” creator Joss Whedon and artist John Cassady. Guess what? They were better. Witty dialogue, great art, and one of the most powerful reunions in comic history, and that’s only in these first six issues.
GI Joe 61-66- Snake Eyes’ Vietnam buddy Stalker, along with Quick Kick and Snowjob, are captured and sent to a gulag in the People’s Republic of Borovia. Any rescue attempt is an act of treason. Unacceptable. Faking their deaths, Snake Eyes and Scarlett gather a group of ninjas to storm the gulag and rescue their friends. Guess who wins?
Transformers 69-75- The Transformers ancient enemy Unicron is coming and the Creation Matrix, the only thing capable of stopping him, is lost. With his races survival on the line, Optimus Prime does the unthinkable and surrenders to the Decepticons. Witness the Autobots and Decepticons team up to battle extinction and Optimus Prime’s confrontation with Primus, the father of all Transformers that shakes his faith to his core. And you thought Transformers was just a story of giant robots.
Ultimate Spider-Man 13- Picking a favorite out of Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley’s reinvention of the Spider-Man is as hard as Peter Parker keeping a date. But this issue with Peter Parker revealing to Mary Jane that he is Spider-Man stands out especially Aunt May’s line about hanky panky.
The Sentry- What if Marvel had a Superman? Turns out they do, we just don’t remember him. Why has the Sentry been forgotten? And what is the terrifying connection between him and his sworn nemesis, the Void? A great psychological study by Paul Jenkins with moody art from Jae Lee.
Marvels- The defining moments of the Marvel Universe told through the eyes of the average man. The book that put Alex Ross on the map and if the second chapter doesn’t bring a tear to your eye you need your humanity checked.