Sunday, January 24, 2016

My Dream Suicide Squad

My Dream Suicide Squad



Because I have been catching up on the current Suicide Squad run recently and the Suicide Squad movie is due to be released later this year I wanted to have some fun and make my own dream Suicide Squad team.  I have even thought of a great premise for the story behind the team and the mission that they would be on.   I also have a couple ideas for the creative team I would like to see work on it.

The Premise-
After Amanda Waller when she leaves Belle Reve for a secret meeting, a new anonymous person is put in charge of assembling a new Task Force X with the mission of finding the people responsible and taking them out.  The problem is that the only person who was ever able to keep the convicts that make up the team in control was Waller herself.  So in an attempt to gain a small amount of control a few new members are brought in to oversee the team as on site leaders.  But as usually happens on Task Force X’s missions they quickly realize that they weren’t given all of the information necessary to take on their adversary.  But then as the series comes along it is revealed that Bruce Wayne is the anonymous new leader and that he had secretly bought Belle Reve and is using his fortune to try and improve the prison and increase the security as well as to help make the Task Force X program more successful.  


Writer-
I would like to see DC give Nathan Edmonson a chance to to do what he does best without any interference from the top like he faced with his run on Grifter.  I just feel that Edmonson has a great voice for the espionage style that could be brought to a title like Suicide Squad.  For proof just read his book The Activity for Image which also proves he knows how to balance a book with a decent sized cast of characters.

Artist-
My choice for the art would be Olivier Coipel.  Admittedly it is partially because I think he could do a good job on the book and partially because I just want to see more of his art than the couple issues Marvel trots him out for during whatever their next big event is.  But if Coipel starts running behind or just wants a break for an arc of the book I think that Marko Djurdevic who took over on Thor when Coipel left would be a great replacement.  And he hasn’t been real busy on the comics front in a while.

The Squad-

Grifter-  

I would love to see Grifter brought in as one of two leaders in the field with the squad.  He is enough of a gray area character that it would be believable that he would allow the team to do what’s necessary for the most part on their missions.  And he could also be a figure that could possibly keep control of the team.  Plus I am a big fan of the Grifter from the Wildstorm days and would like to see him get a better representation in the DC Universe.

Catwoman-

Catwoman would be my choice for the second team lead in the field because of her connection to Harley.  Selena Kyle would be great at keeping the craziness of Harley more focussed on the missions, and her constant toeing of the line between good and bad makes sense for her position on the squad.  Plus her experience as a thief makes her great for leading stealth missions.


Harley Quinn-

I really like Harley as a member of the Suicide Squad.  She brings just enough insanity to make her unpredictable, but at the same time she also has her moments of sanity where her true intelligence comes through and Harley seems just as dangerous but for completely different reasons.

Deadshot-

Deadshot is a constant on Task Force X.  And to me it isn’t Suicide Squad without Floyd Lawton.  And his marksman abilities also make him a valuable asset to the team.  It’s just another bonus that Deadshot and Harley have a great chemistry with their on again off again relationship.

Killer Croc-

I remember when I heard that Croc was being put on the Suicide Squad for the movie.  My first thought was why hadn’t they done that in comics?  Of course I have always preferred the look of the Lee Bermejo interpretation of Croc where he looks like Michael Clarke Duncan with a bad skin condition and filed teeth over the more anthropomorphic crocodile that artists like Jim Lee used.  His strength and anger issues make him a good fit for the squad.

El Diablo-

Diablo is a more obscure character, but I have really liked his power set since the first issue of the New 52 Suicide Squad.  The connection between his tattoos and his ability to conjure flames makes for an interesting dynamic, because if he runs out of tattoos he can’t make anymore flames.  And he also seems like he is legitimately looking for redemption.

Captain Boomerang-

Here is another member that I don’t think of as an amazing character, but Harkness seems to work well in Suicide Squad.  And the way he and Deadshot interact always brings a bit of humor that would help to break the tension when the book gets too serious.  

      Of course there would still be the rotating cast of back up team members who just fill out the team that would come and go throughout the missions.  But I could see my picks being the constants on the Suicide Squad.

Thanks for reading my article.  If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for other books to read.  Please leave them in the comments section.  And as always.  Keep Reading Comics Fans!!!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Quick Review of New Suicide Squad Vol. 1: Pure Insanity

I read the first issue of this series when it came out with the renumbering of the Suicide Squad series.  I remember really liking it but I never got around to reading any of the issues that followed.  So this week when I picked up my weekly issues from my local comic shop I decided it was time to catch up with the first trade.


New Suicide Squad Vol. 1: Pure Insanity
Written By Sean Ryan
Art By Various Artists

This volume of Suicide Squad begins with a new head of Task Force X Victor Sage,assuming shared control with Amanda Waller.  And as his first order he decides that the team isn’t imposing enough so he introduces two new members.  Deathstroke and Joker’s Daughter, neither of which is fitted with the usual bomb to keep them under control.  Immediately Waller is leary of the new members knowing that Deathstroke is only loyal to the amount he is being paid and Joker’s Daughter is completely insane.  Even though he has no idea how Suicide Squad works and he has no information on what the actual mission is, Sage pushes forward with the new teams mission in Russia.  A mission that goes about as well as you would expect from a team of criminals and psychopaths.  I really like the rivalry that begins to develop early in the series between Harley, the former girlfriend of The Joker and Joker’s Daughter, an unknown girl who where’s the Joker’s face as a mask after finding it in the sewer.  As much as the rest of team tries to keep them focused they end up fighting amongst themselves more than with their true adversaries.  This is almost mirrored in the constant political posturing between Waller and Sage as the missions start to go sideways.

Where this book suffers though is in the art.  It ranges from being as good as the best early Image Jim Lee art to being as bad as most of Rob Liefeld’s art.  Often making the variance from one panel to the next.  But then again what did I expect when some of these 8 issues have three or more artists on them.  

Rating: 3 Out Of 5
On the whole I really liked this trade, I just wish that DC would show a little faith in their lesser known titles and put better artistic talents on them.

Thanks for reading my review.  If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for other books to read.  Please leave them in the comments section.  And as always.  Keep Reading Comics Fans!!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

All The Best Of 2015

Best Of 2015

There was a lot to look back on in the year that was 2015 so I wanted to share the list of all of my favorites for the year.  I am going to break it down by the usual categories.


Comics-

Since this is a site that focus’ mostly on the comics medium I will start with the top comics that came out this year.

Lazarus and Black Magick by Greg Rucka


Let me just say that this has been the year of Rucka.  Between Lazarus that has continues to be one of the most interesting and different books in 2015.  And Black Magick which is the book I never knew I wanted, Greg Rucka has completely owned my 2015 comics wise.  Given, with neither book is it only Rucka that makes it amazing.  With Lazarus you have Michael Lark bringing the grim and often depressing world that the characters inhabit to life perfectly.  And Black Magick features the amazing art of Nicola Scott showing that you don’t need to have all of the flashy colors to make a book look beautiful.


Dr. Strange-

When Marvel announced that they were launching a new Dr. Strange title I was interested but figures it was just because they were trying to hype the movie.  Then I heard it would be written by Jason Aaron with art by Chris Bachalo and I no longer cared what their motivations were, I just wanted to read it for as long as Marvel could keep it running.  The good news is that the team of Aaron and Bachalo have given new life to the Sorcerer Supreme with a fresh take on his life and sanctum.

Harley Quinn-

The ongoing shenanigans of Harley Quinn in Coney Island, New York has been the only constant book from DC that I have pulled from Issue 0 till now.  I even grabbed all of the specials and annuals that have come out in connection to the series including the spin off book Harley Quinn/Power Girl.  The writing team of Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti combined with the art of Chad Hardin have found the perfect balance between keeping the character true to who she has been up until now and introducing new lore to Harley’s background.

The Mighty Thor-

Jason Aaron has been on fire with his run on Thor from the first issue of Thor God of Thunder when Marvel Now first launched, and 2015 was no exception.  This year Aaron has been joined by Russell Dauterman after a new female Thor was revealed when the original Thor is suddenly unworthy in the aftermath of Original Sin.  The small downside to the book was it’s tie-in to Secret Wars that sidetracked the main arc of the book for a few months.  But it quickly found it’s feet again quickly after the four issue tie-in wrapped up.

Cyborg-

In July of 2015 one of my favorite underused characters in the DC Universe finally got his own ongoing series.  And if you add that David Walker and Ivan Reis were the creative team that were going to make it happen.  Walker is a writer I have been keeping an eye on since reading No. 13, the creator owned book he did for Dark Horse.  And of course Ivan Reis is still one of the best artists that DC has in their stable.  Cyborg gets a slight upgrade to his enhancements in this series but that is the core of the story that Walker and Reis present, because there is a race of beings from another dimension who want Victor Stone and the tech that he now has so they can make themselves perfect.  But with the arrival of the Technosapiens also comes an army that has spent their lives fighting an endless war with them who also want to get there hands on Vic.  This book was a great surprise to me because I was really worried it was going to be trapped in the same hell as most DC books where they are completely drowned by editorial control.

Ragnarok-

With this IDW title came the return of Walt Simonson to the Asgardian mythos.  Sure it isn’t the same Asgard that he was responsible for with Marvel, but it was still a treat to see Simonson writing and drawing a book in such a great universe that he is famous for making so iconic.  However unlike his time with Thor, the main focus of Ragnarok is a family of dark elves tasked with a difficult mission in a post Ragnarok world.  A mission that leads to the return of the last god of Asgard to make things right.  This book is just beautiful to me, but I could understand if a newer comic reader would be put off by the older art style that Simonson uses.


Games
2015 wasn’t a very big year for games in my book.  There were a couple of games that I expected to be really good but fell extremely flat in the long run.  BUt that doesn’t mean I didn’t find a few gems.


Rainbow Six Siege-
Rainbow Six Siege was really the surprise hit of the year to me.  I had it pre-ordered because of my love of the Vegas games of the previous console generation, but was still sceptical until the release of the game in December.  I wish they would have made a few things differently, but for the most part it is the right balance of challenging and fun.  And that is not an easy balance to find in today’s gaming market.

Halo 5-
After the mess that was Halo: The Master Chief Collection multiplayer I was really happy to find that Halo 5 was back on the right track.  I haven’t put a whole lot of time into the campaign yet, but the multiplayer is the best in franchise since Halo: Reach which is the highwater mark for the game series.  The maps and gameplay just seem to make for better matches and not as many complaints during matches as some of the earlier volumes.


Fallout 4-
The only reason I picked up a copy of Fallout 4 initially was because my wife is a huge fan of the series.  But admittedly I really enjoyed it.  Though I did feel that the story was a little weak towards the end of the game, but as usual the real fun ius in wondering the open world of the game.  The gameplay is on point like all of the Bethesda games but unlike most of the games that came before I haven’t had any of the problems with glitches that Bethesda is known for having for the first year.  


Exploding Kittens-
The card game created by the founder of the Oatmeal, Exploding Kittens is easy to learn and fun to play.  It can be played with only two people but the more you have the more fun the game gets.  It plays a lot like a much more adult Old Maid.  I wish games lasted a little longer sometimes but that just means you can get more games in on a game night.


Books-
I didn’t read a whole lot of books that were actually released in 2015, but I did catch up on some great books from the past.  So I am going to just highlight the books that I have read this year that stood out to me.  

You’re Making Me Hate: A Cantankerous Look at the Common Misconception That Humans Have Any Common Sense Left You by Corey Taylor-

This was a great book.  Corey Taylor lets out a lot of internal frustrations about many aspects of humanity that aggravate him.  Each chapter focus’ on a different subject from modern day music and celebrities, to the way that being in an airport brings out the worst in people.  But what makes this really great to me is that as Taylor rants about humanity he also shines the light on himself and the points that he is guilty of lacking common sense.  If you don’t mind reading a series of freeform rants that are vulgar at times this is a fun book that does make some great points.


Let Me In by John Ajvide Lindqvist-

The book that has spawned two movies.  One in it’s native country of Sweden called “Let The Right One In” and one in america that shares the books name.  The story of a young boy who is constantly bullied at school and neglected by divorced parents at home, who meets a young girl who moves into his apartment building with her father and they become fast friends.  Even if she does tell him repeatedly that they can’t be friends.  The more time the two spend together the more the boy realizes there is something not normal about the girl.  She isn’t normal though, she is a vampire and the man that she lives with is not her father.  It is a beautiful story of coming of age and young love in the middle of a tense thriller.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman-

I have been hearing for years now how great this book is.  And admittedly I haven’t had a great track record with truly loving books when I keep hearing nothing but how amazing it is.  But in this case I was pleasantly surprised that what I had heard was right.  Gaiman weaves a spectacular tale of an ex-con named Shadow who is thrust into the middle of a never ending battle of gods new and old.  And as the title indicates the new gods are the gods of America.  And it is scary how accurate Gaiman is on what kind of gods would rise and be worshipped and even be sacrificed to by the American People.  Of course as usual not everything is what it appears.


The Forgotten Tyrs- Book 1: Welcome To Grizzlydale by Aaron Duran-

One of only a few books that I read this year that came out in 2015, Welcome To Grizzlydale is a fun young adult book with a similar feel to Goonies and Monster Squad.  It is the story of Eric Del Bosque, a 11 year old who moves to a new town where there are stories of a monster that lives in the barn on an abandoned lot next to his house.  But sometimes ghost stories have a basis in reality as Eric and his new friend Heather suspect to be true.  What is happening to all of the local pets that are suddenly disappearing?  What is the truth of the legend of Hairy Baby?  And what are the Tyrs that are threatening to destroy our reality?



Music-
This was a good year for music to me.  There were new albums from many of my favorite artists as well as the return of a band that I thought was never going to make new music again.


Kill The Flaw by Sevendust-

The eleventh studio album by Sevendust, Kill The Flaw is a strong addition to their discography.  I have been a fan of Sevendust since their second album “Home”.  So even though I was slow to grab some of their albums after they were released I do own every one.  While Kill The Flaw isn’t the beat of their large body of work it is still better than most of the music being released by the newer artists in the rock landscape.


Meanwhile In Burbank/Straight Out Of Burbank by Stone Sour-


I put these two five song EP’s together because while they aren’t the same album they are the first two installments in a three EP set that Stone Sour is releasing.  Each EP features five cover songs for bands that inspired the band Stone Sour.  While a lot of people have looked down on bands releasing cover albums I am a big fan of them.  It allows the fans of the band to discover the bands that made them want to be a band themselves.

I Got Your Six by Five Finger Death Punch-

this is the sixth album that Five Finger Death Punch has released and it fits right in with the rest of their studio albums.  The five piece Las Vegas band brings their driving beats and  mix of harmonic and growling lyrics out with some strong messages.  Any fan of 5FDP should grab this one and they won’t be disappointed.  

Dark Before Dawn by Breaking Benjamin

After six years of hiatus Breaking Benjamin finally came back this year with their fifth album.  The band went their separate ways in 2010 after their label used songs that were “borrowed” from the laptop of the band and put onto a greatest hits album without their permission.  Thankfully after some time away most of the band came back and recorded Dark Before Dawn.  It is a strong album and a constant in my playlist.

Repentless by Slayer-

The first album that the trash-metal gods recorded without founding guitarist Jeff Hanneman, Repentless still has the in your face metal riffs that the band is known for.  But there is a sadness within the album as well.  You can feel the loss of their brother-in-arms in every song, even though you can tell that they are moving forward because it is what Hanneman would want.


The Star Pilot’s Demesne by Kielen King-

Demesne if the third installment in the Star Pilot saga.  While I don’t feel that it is the strongest entry in the series, that honor goes to Star Pilot’s Revenge, it is still a very strong album.  The portland based rapper creates a deep universe of smuggling and space battles.  For fans of sci-fi and smooth rhymes  will love all of King’s albums.


Television-
I didn’t watch a whole lot of television this year, I don’t have cable after all.  So I was left with watching the shows I can through Netflix.  As little as I got around to watching I did watch some good shows.


I, Zombie-
This was a surprise hit for me.  I started watching it one night when I didn’t have anything else to watch but was quickly taken with the quirky nature of this horror/comedy/mystery.  It follows a brilliant surgeon named Olivia “Liv” Moore who gets attacked at a party that she didn’t even want to go to and when she wakes up she is in a body bag.  Liv finds herself craving human brains and going through massive changes.  So she gets a job in the city morgue to get easy access to brains for her to eat.  With her bosses help Liv then begins to use the unique power of getting memories from the brains she eats to help the Seattle police solve murders.


Jessica Jones-
The second of the Netflix shows for Marvel, Jessica Jones follows a private eye with super powers as she goes about her self destructive life in New York.  Jessica is just fine drinking away what little money she earns from her cases until she gets proof that the man that ruined her life has re-emerged and is stalking her.  What follows is a twisted game of cat and mouse between Jessica and the sinister man with the ability to make you do whatever he tells you by the name of Killgrave.


Longmire-
The fourth season of Longmire was released by Netflix after it was cancelled by A&E.  Longmire follows a Wyoming sheriff of the same name as he keeps the peace in his town and the neighboring indian reservation.  When they ask for his help.  But along the way he is also trying to solve the murder of his wife years ago.  Walt Longmire is joined by his daughter Cady, deputies Vic, Ferg, and Branch, as well as his closest friend Henry Standing Bear throughout the series and all of them are well developed characters who bring something to the table.


Podcasts-


Lore-
This is a newer podcast with only 24 episodes so far, but every episode has been really good.  The host, Aaron Mahnke, covers the truth behind many of the biggest folk lores throughout history.  From Vampires to the legend of Springheel Jack, Mahnke does the research to find where these lores started and theorizes on how the stories spun into what they have become.  Each episode is only 20 minutes and he only does an episode every other week so it is a quick listen.


Major Spoilers-
This is a pop culture podcast with four hosts who have an amazing chemistry.  You can tell almost immediately that the two main hosts Stephen and Matthew have a lot of history together and it makes for a really fun dynamic between them.  But then you add in Rodrigo who has a very different perspective than the rest and the latest addition to the podcast Ashley brings the view of a younger female fan.  They cover pop culture news, comic reviews and even read and discuss famous comic runs every now and then.  This podcast has been running for over 650 episodes so there is a lot of back matter to go through for anyone looking for a podcast that will provide many hours subject matter to go through.


Geek History Lesson-
This podcast is just what it sounds like.  A podcast where Jason Inman and Ashley Victoria Robinson choose a single character or topic in pop culture and give the history of that character from who created them to all of the various incarnations and continuities.  They also do special shows every now and then where they compile lists of their perfect Avengers team or best/worst of the year.  If you don’t mind a podcast where the hosts will occasionally go into song or impersonations this is a really fun show.


Film Sack-
The podcast that explores the bottom of the barrel of cinema.  The four hosts have lots of fun watching bad movies and discussing the finer points from classic tropes the movies use to highlighting some of the better/worst dialogue that is delivered by the actors of the films.  If you like to watch movies and don’t mind watching and hearing about movies good and bad this is one of the most fun podcasts there is.  And every now and then they will do a commentary for a movie or television episode for a special edition podcast.


Talk Is Jericho-
Singer, actor, and wrestler Chris Jericho hosts a talk show where he sits down for a hour long conversation with other former and current wrestlers along with musicians, actors, and occasionally directors.  Jericho has a great ability to lead an interview that keeps it loose and fun, allowing the conversation to move through topics organically.  


Movies-
There were a lot of good movies that I saw this year so this was the hardest category for me to thin down.  But I will do my best.  I also will not be explaining too much about  the movies because I am sure most of these will be fairly recognizable.  


Mad Max: Fury Road-
This one made for the pure fun it was to watch.  The story wasn’t bad either but the non stop adrenaline rush that was Fury Road just stuck with me.


Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens-
I was hesitant going into this one because of how bad this franchise was hurt by Lucas in recent years.  But the second the opening crawl started I was all in and geeking out.  I had my issues with aspects of it, but I feel it is back on the right track after this movie.


Avengers Age Of Ultron-
I didn’t feel this was a perfect movie but after watching it several times it definitely earned it’s place on my best of 2015.


Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2-
I was not impressed with the first of the Hunger Games movies, but as this series went on I liked the movies more and more.  This earned a spot on this list because it just felt like a well put together ending to the story being told.  Even if it was a little predictable.


The Hateful Eight-
For fans of Quentin Tarantino it is an event when his next movie comes out.  so to me this was one of the most anticipated movies of the year.  It is a tense movie that is completely character driven movie that for the most part takes place in a one room cabin with eight people crammed into it and the viewer doesn’t know who is who they say they are and who is plotting against the others.  And of course it wouldn’t be a Tarantino movie without a few shocking and uncomfortable moments.  And if Walton Goggins doesn’t get recognition for his part in The Hateful Eight it will be a tragedy.


That is my best of 2015 thanks for reading.  let me know what you think in the comments section.  And I look forward to seeing what 2016 brings.  And as always thank you for helping make this fun for me  over the last year.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Top 5 Books Every Fan Should Read!!!

Top Five Books Every Fan Should Read

This is another article that was inspired by an episode of Geek History Lesson that was done in response to a listener suggestion.  We will be adhering to the same format that they used on the podcast which is a Marvel pick, a DC pick, a pick from an indie publisher, a pick that came out before 1990, and a wildcard pick that can be from any publisher.  But to make it a little more difficult we are going to keep away from duplicating any of the choices that the hosts of Geek History Lesson used.  Because we will be covering these books in depth there will be spoilers so be forewarned read on at your own risk.   So let’s get down to it….


Marvel Pick-

Ted-

Captain America by Ed Brubaker-  
In 2003 Ed Brubaker took over Captain America and gave the usually goody two shoes character a much needed overhaul.  Brubaker and the artists that accompanied him began to recreate the Captain America mythos with a grittier more espionage based feel.  Even going so far as to make Bucky a lethal young boy who is unafraid to kill a man whether it be with a weapon or his bare hands.  Brubaker’s run is so iconic that the first major arc was the foundation for Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  And in the aftermath of Civil War Brubaker created the perfect atonement for Bucky by having him don the Captain America costume and lead the Avengers until the eventual return of Steve Rogers.

Tony-

Superior Foes of Spider-Man

I absolutely adored this book as it was coming out, issue by issue.  It’s a wonderful way to introduce new readers to how fun the comics medium can be without the burden of large swaths of continuity to worry about or having to be particularly invested in an established character.

This series just oozed charm and humor.  It’s a heist tale that comes together in the most ridiculous fashion and with characters that are gloriously inept.  The whole series is collected in three trades right now.  But in February, a single omnibus will be made available.  
DC Pick-

Ted-

Secret Six Vol. 3-

This could be a controversial choice considering it contains none of the trinity of DC, but to me this encompasses what I love most in DC.  Lesser known characters interacting with the fringes of the main DC universe.  In fact other than a quick tie-in to Blackest Night and a few quick appearances of larger characters Secret Six takes place in it’s own little corner of DC and weaves a tale where the team straddles the line of good and bad.  The other highlight to this run was Simone’s choice to bring Bane on to the team.  Bane joined the team of Scandal Savage, Ragdoll, Catman, Deadshot and eventually Black Alice for 32 issues of great storytelling right up until DC relaunched with the New 52.  Gail Simone used Secret Six to completely redefine Bane, making him a much stronger character who lives in fear of the drug he once used as one of Batman’s toughest opponents.  

Tony-

Wonder Woman vol.4 #1-35

The DC pick was, by far, the hardest pick for me to make on this list.  My disdain for DC as a publisher is no secret.  Through a combination of reboots and ridiculous editorial oversight, they’re just not a very “new reader friendly” publisher.  But this pick was an exception to that.  Somehow it was born out of a reboot (the New 52) and involves a character that is usually locked up in so much editorial control that it usually chokes the creativity out of the creators that take a crack at her.  But this was different, and it was glorious!

Brian Azzerello and Cliff Chiang teamed up to tell a very Xena-esque tale of a band of heroes and their adventures in opposition to the gods of Olympus.  I was especially impressed with Chiang’s depiction of Wonder Woman.  She was beautiful, larger than life, and not overly sexualized.  He clearly rendered her with the respect she deserved as the only female among the DC trinity.

Indie Pick-

Ted-

Y The Last Man-
This book goes back and forth with Preacher for the honor of being my favorite book of all time.  The story of Yorrick Brown and his monkey Ampersand journeying through a world where everything with a Y chromosome died of a massive outbreak of a disease with no explanation.  At the beginning the only goal on Yorrick’s mind is finding his way to Australia to find his girlfriend, but as his journey moves on he gets wrapped up in the agendas of several groups that have risen from the ashes of “death of man”.  Plus there is the ultimate question of why are Yorrick and his monkey the only male specimens to survive?

Tony-

Fear Agent
This series bounced between Dark Horse Comics and Image Comics as its publisher.  This was an incredibly engaging series about an alien invasion of earth that goes horribly for us and humanity’s last ditch efforts to fight back while being led by a man who’s every bit as likeable as he is flawed.  The writing is typical Rick Remender-solid and the stable of artists that work their way through this series are all incredible.  The whole series has been collected into 6 volumes of trades or 2 larger “Library Editions”

Before 1990’s Pick-

Ted-

Walt Simonson’s Thor (1983-1987)
As a huge Thor fan this was no brainer for me because while Thor was created by Stan Lee, Larry Kieber and Jack Kirby in 1962, but Walt Simonson defined the character he is in modern times with his time writing and drawing the thunder god.  Even doing both writing and drawing for a small chunk of the run.  

As his run begins he introduces the reader to the character Beta Ray Bill, an alien who is the last of his race who was awakened by his living ship Skuttlebutt when Thor is sent to investigate it’s presence.  Bill originally fights Thor feeling he is a threat to his existence, and during the battle he is the first character outside of the Norse gods to lift Mjolnir and wield it against Thor in battle.  And that’s just how he begins his run.  Throughout his thirty issue run Simonson adds many other great pieces to the Asgardian lore of Marvel including Frog Thor, Thor’s second alter ego Sigurd Jarlson, and the main villain of Thor: The Dark World Malekith the Accursed.  As well as he strengthened pre-existing characters like Baldur and the Warriors Three by flushing them out and giving them more character.

Tony-
I think I’ll have to bow out on this one, as I didn’t really get into comics until the early 90s and most of what I went back and read isn’t exactly new reader friendly.  For example, I’d say the Dark Phoenix saga is an incredible read, but I couldn’t imagine reading it without having some prior exposure to the X-men.

The Wild Card

Ted-

Scalped-
This is not a book you can give to just anyone, but it is definitely one of the best books I have ever read.  It is uncomfortable and really hard hitting and makes the reader question if the main protagonist is truly a good guy and if the “big bad” is truly a bad person or just a man who has the best of intentions to save his people but loses sight of the lines that should never be crossed.

Scalped follows Dashiell “Dash” Badhorse as he returns to the Prairie Rose Reservation after being sent away by his mother fifteen years earlier.  But the reservation he returns to is not the same as the one he once called home.  Now Prairie Rose is being run by Lincoln Red Crow, a former activist with a questionable past, who is in the middle of trying to build what he feels is his crowning achievement.  The Crazy Horse Casino.  Dash is quickly swept up into the shady underbelly of reservation politics when he gets a job as an officer in the tribal police department from Red Crow.  But what is the real motivation for Dash returning to the reservation?  And why was he sent away by his mother in the first place?  Those are just a couple of the mysteries that ensnare the reader throughout the 60-issue run of Scalped, but I am not going to ruin any of the twist and turns that take place.  But I will say The Shield and Sons of Anarchy have nothing on this gritty series.  And I will also say that either Shawn Ryan or Kurt Sutter would both be amazing choices to translate the comic to television in my opinion.

Tony-


Starman

Writer James Robinson wrote his magnum opus with this series.  It’s a timeless tale of a son trying to live up to the legacy of his father.  Jack’s father, Ted Knight, was Starman, a hero of the silver age.  He was powerful and respected, but aged out of the role.  He had two sons, David and Jack, who couldn’t be more different from each other.  David was the “favored son”, he was athletic, charismatic.  Jack, on the other hand, was rebellious, introverted, and artistic.  David was clearly the right choice to inherit the mantle of Starman.  One small problem with his Starman career--he died.  Through a series of events Jack begrudgingly takes on the mantle.

As the series continues, we see him struggle with his new role, but we also see some real growth in him as a hero and a person.  This series is a beautiful tale of family, of sacrifice, and what it really means to be a hero.  It’s a sprawling epic that even takes to the cosmos.  It somehow manages to be very friendly to new readers and pays homage to legacy.


Thanks for reading our article.  If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for other books to read.  Please leave them in the comments section.  And as always.  Keep Reading Comics Fans!!!