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Comic Book Story Recommendations

geminigod

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Post in this thread if there is a comic book story that really blew your mind.

Provide a very brief description of what it is about and relevant issue numbers if not obvious because the story has its own name (ex. Batman: Knightfall). Note: This is not the place to say, "I love Amazing Spiderman!" That is not helpful. Instead tell us what your favorite story from that comic series is.

I have it on good authority that there is an iPad app called Comixology for downloading and reading online if you don't want to track down and own an original print.

A little background: So I had this idea recently that even though I don't collect comics anymore, I would love to be able to just pick up my ipad and occasionally read a story that is hand selected by an expert and fed to my ipad via an app. In other words I just want to read the best of the best.

Then it occurred to me that there seem to be some peeps here still plugged into the comic book scene, so why not use this network! My thinking is that if I am in the mood to read something, I can peruse this thread and then download something that looks interesting!

Thanks in advance for any recommendations!
 

Gaith

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FWIW, there's a similar albeit long-dormant thread here. ;)
 

geminigod

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Oops, looked but never saw that, though I would still argue this thread could serve a different purpose for specific story recommendations vs. general chat.
 

Nic

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Here's a huge list of comic recommendations from a reviewer I trust.

http://atopfourthwall.blogspot.com/2013/04/comic-recommendations-20.html

I also have some recommendations of my own.

Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?


This story was written by Alan Moore as what was to be the "last Superman story" before DC rebooted their universe in "Crisis on Infinite Earths." All of Superman's villains get dangerous, with Superman's loved ones being killed and even his identity being revealed to everyone at the Daily Planet. I admit it's slightly off putting since it's not very stand alone like All Star Superman, but if you know enough of Superman's general mythos you'll get through it very easily, and the villain behind everything and the confrontation that follows makes for an excellent climax

Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?

Second verse, similar to the first. Written by Neil Gaiman, this tells the story of how Batman finally died in his one man war on crime, leading to his friends and villains talking about the impact Batman had on their lives. If no more Batman comics were written again, this comic would make that okay

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, Supergirl, and Super/Bat

This is a series where Superman and Batman star, giving a unique look to the two's relationship by having both of them give narration. In Public Enemies, President Luthor (I know, just go with it) manages to make both heroes public enemy number 1, Supergirl has Superman try to let his newly arrived cousin live life against the wishes of Batman and Wonder Woman, and Super/Bat has Superman lose his powers only to have them transferred to Batman. Out of the three stories, Super/Bat is the only one that does not have a collector's edition, so you'll have to buy issues 53-56 on your own.

Spider-Man
& Batman

Yeah, there are two stories where these two team up. First one involves Carnage and the Joker breaking out of prison, second involves Ra's Al Ghul acquiring The Kingpin's help in bringing about the end of the world. The crossover idea is great because Spider-Man simultaneously fills in the "Robin job" of bringing light-heartedness to Batman's dark persona, but he's never overshadowed by Batman and both get to save the day.

Superman: Birthright

One of the best Superman origin stories out there. Notable aspects I immensely enjoyed were the increasd roles of Lara-El and Martha Kent, Superman becoming a hero because he wants to be a hero rather than anyone telling him of his great importance (no influence from Johnathan Kent or Jor-El), and giving plausible explanations for both the Clark Kent disguise and why Lex would not equate Superman and Clark ESPECIALLY since they were childhood friends.

Superman Last Son

This story is of special note as it was co-written by Superman 1&2 director Richard Donner. Another boy from Krypton lands on Earth and Clark and Lois and Clark take him in as their son, Christopher Kent. The story also features an invasion by Zod, Ursa, and Non, all of whom have more characterization than they did in Superman 2.

Lex Luthor: Man of Steel

Admittedly, I'm cheating as I've not read it yet, but I do own it and the premise is so good I pretty much have to. It's set in the mainstream DC universe and told from the POV of Lex Luthor, with the goal of showcasing Luthor's more humanist traits.
 

havok1977

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So you want your mind blown... oh boy are you in for some real treats :)

I'll list some of the very best stuff I've read, I got plenty more if you'd like me to expand


Fear Agent

993861.jpg


Talk about imaginative SciFi with very strong character work, huge stakes and a very resonating human condition analysis at its core. Its over and done and ran for about 30 issues with and Im sure you can grab it digitally.


Planetary is true modern classic, you might have read it already but it is worth mentioning

Planetary19.jpg


Warren Ellis is one of my all time favorite comic book writers, and Planetary is quite close to being his crowning achievement during his revisionism period

[video=youtube_share;-DeaYJkpQbU]


Prophet

1607066114.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_SL400_.jpg


I can't elaborate on why I love it so much any better than what is said in this article - http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2013/02/words-and-pictures-prophet/

Suffice it to say that if you enjoy imaginative and original Sci Fi with a visual style reminiscent of the master Moebius, you will love it. It's not over yet, some 10 issues are yet to be published for the creative team to finish their story but you cant grab the first 2 trades already.
 

havok1977

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Shifting in tone a little bit lets look at some supernatural stuff

Perhaps this needs no introduction but there can be no supernatural comic recommendations without the seminal, classic Alan Moore run on Swamp Thing

swampthingdj90.jpg


Moore took a monster of the month type of comic, turned it on its head and delivered one of the most memorable runs in decades. His run was directly responsible for the launch of the Vertigo Mature readers line back in the 80s.

Heck it warrants an issue by issue analysis - http://sequart.org/magazine/11984/a-ghost-dressed-in-weeds-unearthing-alan-moores-swamp-thing/

Consolidating Vertigo's influence, Im sure you are aware of Sandman another modern classic

51TjXKXy2qL.jpg


Again, a pro analysis is the way to go here http://sequart.org/magazine/18443/sandman-1-8-preambles-and-introductions-full-of-sound-and-fury/


For something quite recent, I strongly recommend the latest version of the Dial H for Hero concept from DC
51w9ZtSWZoL.jpg


Celebrated prose novelist China Mieville dips his toes in comic book writing and oh boy is it a doozy: imaginative, original, weird.
Sadly in the current market it couldn't find a foothold and only lasted for around 16 issues. yet IMO each and every one of them is pure gold
 

havok1977

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What's that you say? No superhero recommendations at all Havok!?

Not so my friends, not so.

Allow me to point out some of the very best big two superhero runs and arcs from recent years starting with favorite franchise of mine: The X-Men

(New) X-Men by Grant Morrison

250px-New_X-Men_114.jpg


The year is 2001, the speculative comics market of the mid 90s nearly destroyed the comic industry. Marvel filed for bankruptcy and was saved from the brink of oblivion by a toy company. Not long ago, after a couple years of being an outsourced creative force, Joe Quesada is hired as Editor in Chief and starts rebuilding the company back to prominence.

Welcome to the X-Men for the 21st Century. after nearly a decade of mediocrity with some bright sparks in between in the wake of Chris Claremont's first dismissal, Morrison is hired to jump ship from the Distinguished Competition in order to bring back Marvel's merry mutants to the forefront of quality sequential storytelling.

Picking up from a clean-ish slate and over the course of 40 some issues the X-Men are picked apart, put through the grinder and shaken to their core. Unfortunately the art featured in this run is far from my favorite, but I tend to overlook that aspect if the story is compelling enough. And it is.


Astonishing X-Men
by Joss Whedon

41VID3Ka%2BeL.jpg


The spiritual successor to Morrison's run, this 25 issue run features a continuity light approach to the X-Men. Top quality writing and art, if you will read it for the first time be thankful the original publication delays won't be an annoyance for you.

Top quality artwork from John Cassaday, of Planetary fame.


- Uncanny X-Foce vol 1 by Rick Remender

5145AVqmP5L.jpg


The ubiquitous Wolverine puts together his very own hit squad of X-Men to run convert missions in order to strike evil at its root. The catch? These superheroes actually kill their opponents for the greater good.

Launched in 2010, over some 30 issues the comic explores the consequences and ramifications of killing villains as a 'final solution', features fully realized character arcs for most of the cast and features a mind-blowing crescendo mid way with the arc aptly titled (in a not subtle wink to old school X fans) "Dark Angel Saga".

Notice the name of the writer? Yep, the same guy who wrote Fear Agent mentioned previously along with quite a few of his artist collaborators bring us the best X run in the last 5 years ... a pattern emerges :)


IMO these are the absolute top three runs to read starring the X-Men since the millennium started; while there are other - continuity heavier - stories worth reading, I'll leave them unmentioned for now. I'm happy to elaborate on them if anyone is interested...
 

dangermouse

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Wow, thanks Havoc.
I was going to say "I read HUSH and it was fantastic - great visuals, great story, oh, and Batman vs Superman". But, wow, from your posts there's a LOT of amazing stuff out there!
 

steelio2006

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Yeah, there's definitely a lot of great and amazing stuff out there.

One of the series that I'd definitely recommend, if you haven't checked it out yet, is Ultimate Spider-Man by Brian Michael Bendis. It's one of the core foundations of Marvel's Ultimate verse. This was one of the fundamental series that got me reading comics fully. Bendis does an amazing job on the writing. And if you dug the tone of Sony's latest Spidey offering, The Amazing Spider-Man, I'd recommend checking it out.
 

havok1977

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dangermouse said:
Wow, thanks Havoc.
I was going to say "I read HUSH and it was fantastic - great visuals, great story, oh, and Batman vs Superman". But, wow, from your posts there's a LOT of amazing stuff out there!

Glad you liked my suggestions :)

Re: Hush, I agree partially, Jim Lee's art is the definition of comic book eye - candy. It can feel slightly over the top at times in my opinion but yeah Hush in particular was very good in that regard.

The writing tho? Hmm I honestly think that Jeph Loeb's best period was the late 90's and his work from 2000 forward simply doesn't stack up, Hush is like a Michael Bay summer blockbuster compared to his earlier, more cerebral work on Batman. Don't take my word for it, it was Christopher Nolan who used Loeb's 90's Batman limited series as a loose template for his Dark Knight trilogy.

The graphic novels deal more with Batman's early career dealing with the Gotham based Mafia just as his rogues are getting started, they are essential reading for any Bat fan.

The Long Halloween

1479465-1283_400x600.jpg


Dark Victory

batman_dark-victory_cover-art.jpg


Of course none of this would be possible without Frank Miller's revised origin classic Year One

1616784-batman_year_one.jpg



From here on out tho, the Batman recommendations list is quite long. I'd need the time to write several posts about it... Besides a very dedicated group of people already did a great job
 

geminigod

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havok1977 said:
Glad you liked my suggestions :)

Re: Hush, I agree partially, Jim Lee's art is the definition of comic book eye - candy. It can feel slightly over the top at times in my opinion but yeah Hush in particular was very good in that regard.

The writing tho? Hmm I honestly think that Jeph Loeb's best period was the late 90's and his work from 2000 forward simply doesn't stack up, Hush is like a Michael Bay summer blockbuster compared to his earlier, more cerebral work on Batman.

Funny you should say that. I just finished reading this too. I loved the art and had mixed feelings about the writing. It was a great one to get back into reading comics though because I was a big Jim Lee fan back in the day. Hush was written just a couple years after I dropped out of the comic book scene.
 

dangermouse

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Hmm. I was sniffing around Year One and the Long Halloween. Thanks for the Havok stamp of approval. :)
 

Solid11

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I will very big +1 for Hush, Batman: Year One and The Long Halloween. All great reads. Dark Victory, the sequel to The Long Halloween, isn't as great, but still good. (Catwoman's When in Rome is the story filler in between the 2 if you want some more of her story. It's meh - I could take it or leave it, but good for seeing her full picture)

As I recommended before (in case new people are reading this thread), I would recommend Superman: For All Seasons, Superman: Red Son, and Superman: Earth One, Vol 1. Batman: Earth One wasn't good enough for me to recommend, and neither is Supes: Earth One, Vol 2 so I can't recommend that one either.

The Joker is pretty dang gritty if you're in to that. A bit too much for my taste. (Even at 31, I'm still not a fan of "too evil" - and this is too much for me)

The Gotham Central series started out very promising, but ended flat. I ended up not liking them in the end.

I'm also following along with All Star Western and have Guns and Gotham, vol 1. It's pretty good. Nothing special, but good if you like the western feel and some great Gotham backstory. (which I do - my entrance into comics was old Western's I would get from antique shops when I was dragged there with my mom as a kid - I still have quite a few that are pretty dang old... pretty beat up so not worth anything, but cool for the nostalgia factor... I still want to be a cowboy...;-))

If you're interested, out of New 52 Batman research I've done, these are the basic differences of the 4:

Detective Comics Batman: gritty crime mysteries

The Dark Knight: action, Michael Bay version of Batman (my translation of what I read of the reviews)

Batman & Robin: the story of father and son trying to get along

Batman: a good mix of the other 3

I went with Batman and have Court of Owls vol 1 and City of Owls vol 2. They are both good, not disappointed. I recommend those as well.

I also started following along the World of Warcraft books that follow the story of Lo'Gosh. (vol 1 here) Not sure if you're in to WoW, but they aren't bad if you are. They are nothing compared to the others here, to be honest... but they are fun if you've been around Azeroth a few times. (Basically, if you haven't played WoW, don't get them - they will suck... ha And even if you have - be prepared for some... interesting... dialogue... and one-sided characters)

I've read through just about all of the Green Arrow books (was doing research for a board game) and they were nothing special for me. (Green Arrow: Year One is one of the better ones if you do like Mr Queen though) He, Flash, nor Green Lantern ever held my interest for reading more than 1 or 2 books. Kind of forced my way through them mostly. Same with the X-men books I've read - there just wasn't enough tangible substance for me to enjoy. This is all my opinion of course, but they were very fluff - more about the powers and fighting and less about the characters. (Hence, why Batman is my favorite superhero...)

Now: I haven't read the following books, but they are on my Amazon list to get at some point (or let other people buy them for me... ha). Not all of these have the best reviews, but they all piqued my interested in one way or another to make the list. I just thought I'd mention them in case you went through all the rest of the recommendations and don't know where to go... :D


Batman: Gotham by Gaslight


JLA: Tower of Babel


Batman and the Monster Men


Batman Incorporated: Vol 1


Batman: Noel


(sensing a pattern? haha)

Anyway, I hope this helps!
 

theslime

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I really, really like Grant Morrison's run on Batman. It started in 2006 and after 7 years of pretty much non-stop monthly releases and something like 15 trade paperbacks it finally ends THIS WEEK. I'm way more excited about this than I was with the Fringe series finale (which is saying something).

A lot of people really dislike the direction Morrison has taken Batman. Especially since he's combined past (light-hearted) continuity with present (brooding) continuity and stressed that Batman is never alone in his fight against crime. Also, some writers (and Christopher Nolan) avoid Robin like the plague (or make Robin brooding as well, Chris O'Donnell-style), but Morrison welcomes the yang (or is it the yin?) and makes the Batman as traumatized/deranged father figure a central part of his story. I think this has been a really fresh run.

The recommended reading order (collected editions) is a bit weird because of wonky bundling by DC, but in my opinion this is the most correct:
1. Batman & Son
2. Batman: The Black Glove (first three chapters)
3. The Resurrection of Ra’s al Ghul
4. Batman: The Black Glove (the rest)
5. Batman R.I.P. (except the last two chapters)
6. Time and the Batman (second chapter only)
7. Final Crisis (everything except the last two chapters )
8. Batman R.I.P. (the last two chapters)
9. Final Crisis (the last two chapters)
10. Time and the Batman (third chapter only)
11. Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? (optional)
12. Batman: Battle for the Cowl (optional, but recommended for continuity)
13. Batman & Robin: Batman Reborn
14. Batwoman: Elegy (optional, but cool)
15. Batman & Robin: Batman vs. Robin
16. Time and The Batman (first chapter)
17. The Return of Bruce Wayne
18. Batman & Robin Must Die!
19. Batman, incorporated
20. Batman, incorporated: Demon Star
21. Batman, incorporated: Gotham’s Most Wanted

It's obviously not 21 books since several are listed more than once, but it's still a pretty big collection. But heartily recommended.
 

havok1977

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Thanks for saving me the trouble of writing a post about Morrison's Batman run theslime :), it really is quite the huge epic and certainly not to be missed by any Bat fan - I wish I could have collected the whole thing in single issues myself but life got in the way.

theslime said:
14. Batwoman: Elegy (optional, but cool)


519rmLGib6L.jpg


And indeed Batwoman is awesome, I loved Rucka's initial 'Elegy' run back when she was starring on Detective Comics, and the stuff on her own series afterwards has been pretty great as well, both Hydrology and World's Finest (a team up with Wonder Woman) are not to be missed. And its completely stand-alone, no need to read anything else to enjoy it.

The arc in between these two is take or leave really.

Plus the art by JH Williams III is simply jaw dropping.

51rYTGwIrSL.jpg


51eDmuUyQPL.jpg
 

geminigod

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Does anyone know of an app that is better for old comics than Comixology? I really want to check out those "whatever happened to" stories by Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman but Comixology doesn't go back to the '80s.
 

geminigod

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Here's a couple recommendations of my own in the Spidey department:

Secret Wars is good fun and a classic. It was a 12 issue series that was done in the 1980s. It includes many people from the Marvel verse, but it is particularly important for Spiderman as it tells the origins story of an important piece of Spiderman lore that is horribly depicted in the movie Spiderman 3. The conclusion of the spiderman story that begins in Secret wars ends with the first few issues in a new series that started at the same time called Web of Spiderman. Comixology has a collection for Secret Wars but not the Web of Spiderman story arc that begins with Web of Spiderman #1.

EDIT: Oops, my memory failed me. Web of Spiderman #1 is a followup story with his black costume and Venom. According to this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venom_(comics) the first appearance of the black suit (after Secret Wars) is in Amazing Spiderman #252. The first appearance of Venom is Amazing Spiderman #299. I seem to recall that the stories between those two issues where Spiderman is actively using the black suit are a lot of fun. This was kinda a golden age for Spiderman comics.

"Kraven's Last Hunt" was another storyline for Spiderman that was my absolute favorite as a kid. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kraven's_Last_Hunt. Unfortunately Comixology doesn't have this either.

In the Batman arena, my favorite of all time, which surprisingly hasn't been mentioned yet is the whole Sword of Azrael -> Knightfall -> Knightquest -> Knightsend storyline. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knightfall. It is a storyline that runs for a couple of years and was pretty ridiculous when I was a kid. It also inspired the Batman Rises movie, which pales in comparison to the comic story. IMO the Batman Rises adaptation fails about as miserably as the Spiderman 3 adaption I mentioned above. The Knightfall and Knightsend pieces of this are available on Comixology but not the rest. If you can track it down somewhere online, there is also an awesome Radio dramatization of this entire story that is absolutely fantastic entertainment for a long drive.
 

geminigod

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Also...

X-Men: Mutant Genesis. This story arc is from 1991, X-Men issues #1-7. This is a classic Magneto story with Chris Claremont writing and Jim Lee on pencils. The story has huge ramifications for Magneto and Wolverine, and it wouldn't surprise me if it got incorporated into the next X-Men movie. Also Jim Lee's art here is the first depiction of a certain something that is in the new Wolverine movie. Comixology has this in single issues and as a collection.
 

theslime

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geminigod said:
Does anyone know of an app that is better for old comics than Comixology? I really want to check out those "whatever happened to" stories by Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman but Comixology doesn't go back to the '80s.
There's plenty of old stuff on Comixology, including the Moore story. It's probably their search function that's wonky. (The Gaiman story is quite new, btw. 2009, I think.)

Here:
Superman #423 (Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? part 1)
Action Comics #583 (Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? part 2)

Batman #686 (...Caped Crusader? part 1)
Detective Comics #853 (...Caped Crusader? part 2)

Also, to answer your question, if it's not on Comixology it's probably not available digitally, at least that's the case with DC. If it's old Marvel, there's a separate subscription deal called "Marvel Unlimited" (also on iPad, I believe) which covers a lot.
 
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