I’ve been reading comics for a little over a year now and through that year, I’ve tried many, many different titles. While my current reading list is pretty big, I’ve actually dropped a ton of other titles – either because they weren’t interesting or because finding them was pretty difficult and not worth the hassle for me. I’m not nearly up to date on everything I’m reading, but I’ve got a decent pace set for myself and am managing quite nicely, at least being able to keep up with the series that I enjoy the most. So, the following list is in no real order, though at the end, you’ll find a rough top ten.
I was hesitant to get into anything Superman related when I first started out because, like a ton of people out there, I assumed Superman was this overpowered buff with no redeemable features. Man, I was pretty wrong. The Superman stories in Action Comics have a lot going for them. Action Comics in this era is about a much younger Superman, and for the first 10 issues or so, he doesn’t even wear the iconic uniform. This is about Superman in his earliest days as a hero and because of that, there’s a rough edge to his character. Clark is still the nice guy he always was, but the persona that will become Superman still needs some work. The rough style of art also lends itself pretty nicely to the theme of the unpolished Superman story. I stuck to this over the main Superman title because that thing was way too wordy for me. I’m a book guy, so I don’t mind that, but when I go to comics, I want to be able to enjoy the art just as much, if not more, than the text.
Yeeeaaah. I am really behind on this one, aren’t I? I plan to catch up eventually, but it’s not one of those comics at the top of my life. That said, it’s not bad or anything, I enjoyed what I read, but I just have this habit of letting myself fall behind on a ton of stuff. I managed to catch up on a lot of comics over the summer, but sadly Aquaman is one of those things that has fallen a little outside of my radar. Geoff Johns as writer on it does keep me interested though, and I know I’ll probably start catching up on it at some point, even if only because of Johns.
This is a newer read for me, so I don’t feel as bad about being behind on it as I do with Aquaman. The series is basically a Spider-Man team up series where our hero goes off on different missions with other superheroes. What I like about this series so much is how open it is to newer readers. Have no idea who Spider-Man is teaming up with? Don’t worry! The comic will tell you a lot about his partner for the current arc. The art and writing is also constantly changing with each arc and it can be hit and miss, but so far I’ve found that I enjoy most of what I see and read.
…okay, don’t let the issue count here fool you, I skipped around, a lot. I read the first two issues of this one when it began and decided it wasn’t for me. I wasn’t a fan of the art and didn’t really like the way they were writing Barbara. The hero had this sort of pretentious air to her and it just didn’t make reading the series fun, and I wasn’t a fan of her roommate either, who also managed to get an oddly large amount of face time. In all, I’ve read about five issues of the series so far. I picked it back up again because of the art and, well, yeah. That’s pretty much it. Well, the writing is pretty awesome too, but I think the art is gorgeous.
I’ve only recently started reading this one, but from the little I’ve read of the old Robin series, Stephanie Brown, a sorta villain turned hero, was a favorite character of mine and here she goes on to become the Batgirl before Barbara. Or after. Or, I dunno, it’s all confusing here. She’s the third one, basically. Stephanie is one of those feisty main characters you love to read because she can make any situation interesting. Her past also really lends to her characterization as someone trying to find their identity as a hero. And the art is pretty stellar for the series as well. By which I mean, it is really…really good. Like, man, it’s amazing.
This is another one of those misleading ones as I’ve only read a handful of issues. I think I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m just not a fan of Scott Synder’s writing. It didn’t help matters that the Night of the Owls story arc was pretty boring and that but me off a lot of the current Bat Books. I’ve picked the series up again to read Death of the Family at the request of a fan and hopefully this time reading it will be a little more enjoyable. (so far, so good!)
This is one of the few Bat Books I’ve managed to read every issue of so far. Simply put, I love this series. Just like the previous incarnation of the title, I love how Batman (even if it isn’t the same person under the cowl) is interacting with Damian and learning just how close this kid is to becoming a full on villain and that he needs that guidance and mentorship that Batman has been known to give to all his Robins. My relationship with Damian is very love-hate, I dislike his attitude most of the time, but there are those moments you just feel for the kid and the situation he’s in. (his dad is gruff and hard to bond with and his mom wants him dead)
Color me surprised when I learned that Batman and Robin wasn’t even a comic series until 2009. I figured this was the sort of thing that someone might have jumped on, but apparently not! Spoilers up ahead, by the way. This series follows Dick Grayson, the first Robin, taking on the role of Batman after the death of Bruce Wayne. To make the transition into this iconic role tougher, Dick is entrusted with the care of Damian Wayne, Bruce Wayne’s son. The art is very crisp at times, sketchy at others, and always a joy to take in. The series really plays it loose with reality at times and creates a lot of these larger than life villains that were sort of lost in the onset of everything needing to be grim and gritty in the last decade or two.
Batwing is the Batman of Africa, and that’s pretty much all there is to it on the surface. He’s a hero, but rather than living in a civilized world, he’s out there doing his thing in war-torn Africa. I think one of the angles I love about this comic is that, on top of the superhero stuff, he does have to deal with the civil wars and other humanitarian issues going on in that continent. The series has been so good at blending in supervillians into the exasperation of real-world issues over there in a way that doesn’t feel cheesy in the least. The first six issues or so had amazing art by Ben Oliver, and I want to say that art is what eventually had him leaving the series. Batwing’s early issues were incredibly photo-realistic. From a technical standpoint, I think they captured life better than any other title out there. You have to imagine that keeping that pace up on a monthly title wasn’t going to be the easiest thing. Eventually we get a new artist in the form of Marcus To, someone who I loved on Red Robin, but am just not feeling here on Batwing. The series writer, Judd Winick, is going to be leaving sometime around issue 14 and that makes me feel a little uneasy about the future of this one.
Skottie Young’s art makes these titles my favorite comic book reads out there. There is this awesome dream-like quality to them, things feel rough and free flowing and your imagination is so easily captured. These build on top of the already great Oz book series, started with Frank L. Bomb’s iconic The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Unlike the movie adaptations, these things are 100% faithful to the books. Sure, every now and then there are some unique additions or takes on certain elements, but everything that was present in the books can be found in these titles. Each series is an 8 issue limited series and we’re currently on Road to Oz, the fifth series based on the fifth book. I imagine these will go until sales flop, but thankfully that doesn’t seem to be the case. These titles aren’t mega sellers in issue form, but they do great when it comes to the collected editions. Though Road to Oz’s first issue actually saw a 5,000 copy increase from the previous series. Hot damn!
Oh man, this one is right up there as one of my favorite. The series follows an alternate world where Superman, Batman, and all the other iconic heroes are dead and a new generation of heroes needs to take their place. Ironically, this new generation are newer versions of the Justice Society of America, the precursor to the modern heroes in the main time line. This series also sort of shows the continued story of Mister Terrific after his series was canceled fairly early on its run due to low sales. There’s a lot to love with this modern twist on truly old school heroes.
Green Lantern Corps (2011) – Issue 5, Green Lantern (2011) – Issue 5
Oh boy, another one I’m behind on. There’s good reason for this one! I’m behind here because I’ve put myself on a temporary hiatus from everything that isn’t New Guardians or Red Lanterns. Why? Because the Green Lantern line of titles seem to be one of the few that didn’t really start over, everything that happened in the past still happened and it’s brought up from time to time. So, simply put, I’m not looking to get spoiled.
There isn’t too much to say about this one except that it ties into the overall War of Light story arc. I’m not the biggest fan of the series, but I am reading it because of those crossovers. The general theme of this series is that the Green Lantern Corps is vast and, hey, may as well make a series to focus on some of those others guys, right?
This is where it’s at for me, one of my favorite titles. This is the incarnation of Green Lantern that really changed its world and just gave you all this vast wealth of material to read about. We’re introduced to the various Lantern Corps in this series and follow the redemption of Hal Jordan from being a hero turned villain turned dead guy turned resurrected hero. Unfortunately, I’ve already been spoiled on the ending, but I’m hoping reading through this series will still be worth the time spent. (and so far, it has been!)
I think one of the reasons I enjoy this series so much is because it feels like the Justice League of Lantern Corps. Different heroes coming together for a common goal, even though they’re often at odds with each other and not able to work was a unit a lot of the time. (it doesn’t help that the team was formed under false pretenses)
You can find my review of the first arc here. How are things going so far? Still just as great. The second arc was a lot more free flowing and not nearly as grand as the first. That first arc was more or less intense action while the second was a much more personal story focusing on the inner demons of the heroes. Jim Lee’s art for the first year of the series was absolutely amazing and it’s a shame to see him go, but it looks like the replacement artists are sort of mimicking his style while trying to infuse their own into its overall look.
This is a series about the bad guys, yay! It follows the Lantern Corps that were one of the main antagonists for the longest time. They aren’t super evil these days, but they’re still not the first set of superpowered warriors our heroes would go to in a pinch. The story is very introspective for such a violent series. Most of the first year is about the main character wondering how he’ll be able to control his team and whether or not he even has a place in the universe. The art varies, but for the most part, it’s very good, though very violent at times and man do they love their blood.
So, in the past Red Robin was just Robin Robin, but now he’s Red Robin and Damian is Robin Robin. If that’s not confusing… But, yes! This series is about Tim Drake, the third person to call himself Robin and be Batman’s sidekick. After the death of Bruce Wayne, Tim is more or less the only person who believes his adopted father isn’t dead and is still alive out there, somewhere. Our hero gives up the mantle of Robin and becomes Red Robin as he scourers the world in an attempt to bring Bruce back.
So in the 90s, Spider-Man had a clone. This clone thought he was the real Spider-Man because the real Spider-Man was missing. Stuff happens, the truth comes out, and the clone, now known as Ben, goes off to become the Scarlet Spider. Skip ahead 15 years or so and bam! There’s another clone! Only this time, this clone knows he isn’t Spider-Man, and he doesn’t want to be. Our hero is trying to hide from the limelight, wanting to escape a world he feels he doesn’t belong in, only begrudgingly accepting the role of the new Scarlet Spider when drawn into a tangled web of secrets. (oh, the puns, they hurt)
…because I too enjoy frilly girly comics, I too…enjoy frilly girly comics…
This is another one of those hit and miss things for me. I don’t always enjoy the issues, but when I do, I absolutely love them. The story focuses on a group of ex villains who basically have bombs strapped to their necks and are sent out on top secret government missions. Our team doesn’t really act like a team, and unlike those other titles were our heroes eventually bond, yeah, that does not happen here. Members get killed off fast enough that no one ever really forms that deep of a connection with each other and the focus is more on the struggle for survival.
The series follows the clone of Superman in his journey to find a place in the world. I wasn’t immediately drawn into this one, unable to decide whether or not I wanted to follow it for the longest time, but after a while, I decided it was worth the read. Our hero goes from being a violent weapon to someone who cares about the people he saves, most of the time. The guy’s still a teenager and in need of some guidance.
The series follows the cousin of Superman in her journey to find a place in the world. Hm, I sense a trend. Yeah, all the Super Family titles are basically about finding your place in the world. The concept of yet another hero who doesn’t quite care for humans isn’t that great, but the execution is. This series is always a joy to read thanks to its hot headed lead who knows she needs to keep a lid on herself. Supergirl is trying to spread her wings and keep herself apart from Superman, the person she used to know as her baby cousin. (whew, being frozen for 15 years can do a number on you) The series doesn’t really go anywhere, but it’s still an enjoyable read. Though the fact that the first year is all essentially happening within a one week span kind of bugs me.
The previous incarnation of Supergirl and it…er, it isn’t as good as the current series. The art never quite catches me, but it’s an okay read. It’s one of those series I don’t find myself reading regularly and only ever really read in spurts because the story can be so bland. The start of the series is also really confusing and the sort of thing that I think requires you to actually have a sizable knowledge of the DC world around the time of this series starting. Raise your hands if you also had no idea what the heck was going on because you were a newbie reading who thought issue 1 was a good place to start. Oh, Kurenai, you silly bastard.
There isn’t much to say here since this thing has only had issue 0 and 1 and there hasn’t been a ton revealed. Um, there’s this girl and she’s a princess but she doesn’t know she’s a princess until she’s told and then she has to fight people with her princess powers. Er, yeah, that’s the basic gist of the thing. It is good so far though!
Because following a series about a character based on a story from a story arc you hated is a good idea!
I remember the first time I learned that TMNT is actually based on a pretty dark comic from the early 80s and was surprised to see that it was still running. I read a few issues and the art just felt like too much of a distraction to really keep reading. Last year, a new series, in the same tone of the original, but with much better art, launched, and I’ve been reading it thanks to my renewed interest in the turtles since the launch of the new animated series.
I’ve always been a fan of the younger heroes and this entry is no exception. The series started to drag a lot around the time of The Culling story arc, but it recently found its legs again and it’s been a great read.
As with Aquaman, this is just another one of those things that I haven’t quite read as much as I would like, despite really enjoying the story. I’m not too sure why I haven’t read a lot, but I might give the next issue a go after I finish writing this.
This one comes out less regularly, it started a couple of months ago and only two issues are out. It’s a creator owned independent comics, so it’s one of those things I try to support as much as I can. The series plays a lot with the idea of imagination and different worlds and has a very unique style of art that relies on a lot of single tone hues. If you’ve not read this one yet, I totally suggest grabbing at least the first two issues. (since the first one is pretty ambiguous as to what’s going on)
There isn’t a whole lot to say here. The main character is a major douche bag. And he isn’t a d-bag because of his attitude, really, he’s a d-bag because he does what he’s told and never questions it. Send a girl, against her wishes, to live with her father, who happens to like the idea of torturing her into being his successor and is also a demon king? Hey, sure, if the universe wills it, whatever! He’s also one of those heroes we know nothing about thanks to his mysterious mysteriousness. I think it’s his schtick.
Yet another series spun out of a story arc that I didn’t enjoy, good idea! Actually, this one is a lot of fun to read. The story seems to focus on Tera, Beast Boy, and red headed lady whose name I can’t remember, in the aftermath of The Culling and escaping being test subjects bred for nothing but war.
I…have no idea why I’m reading this one! I got it at random because it was a new series and I’ve always wondered what the comics were like. The stories are very focused on war and the life of a soldier, which is cool from the perspective of giant robots. There isn’t too much to say here because I’m not that far into the series, but it’s been an enjoyable ride so far.
This is another one of those series I latched onto right away and have not been able to get enough of since it began. The story is focused on Miles Morales, a kid taking on the mantle of Spider-Man after the death of Peter Parker. I just really enjoy the main character because he’s going through what a lot of the other heroes went through as far as identity issues are concerned, but at a much younger age. This is another one of those comics I would recommend people go out an get a few issues of because it’s just that much of an enjoyable read.
Other Mentions – These are comics that I’m reading from time to time and mostly scattered issues of and have no real commitment to. Voltron, Ultimate Comics X-Men (2012), Peanuts (okay, I’m reading this one religiously, but there isn’t a lot to talk about)
As far as my top ten goes? It looks something like this:
1. Green Lantern New Guardians
2. Marvel’s Oz
3. Supergirl (2011)
4. Ultimate Comics Spider-Man
5. Justice League
6. Batman and Robin (2011)
7. The Ravagers
8. Action Comics (2011)
9. Green Lantern (2005)
That’s actually a heck of a lot more than I thought I was reading. It’s surprising given the number, but I don’t actually spend a ton of time reading comics. I can read an issue in 10-15 minutes and I only read three or so titles per week, so I like to space my comics out over the course of a couple of days. Though, if I find myself getting really behind, it’s a heck of a lot more difficult to will myself in catching up.