Recommendations for the New Comic Reader – DC Comics (2017, Q1)

Recommendations for the New Comic Reader is exactly what it sounds like — the posts where I recommend current ongoing comics to new readers, mostly based on the current or most recent arc. I focus heavily on the series being new reader friendly, so if the latest masterpiece of Grant Morrison’s isn’t here, you know why. I’m mainly concerned with what I myself am reading, but will occasionally recommend something people have told me or I’ve heard is good, if I feel it bits (these recommendations will be clearly labeled).

DC’s output has finally levelled out a bit, with the Rebirth titles being frequent enough that I can now determine quality more accurately, so quite a few things have dropped off this list. At the same time, both the Young Animal imprint and the rebooted Wildstorm universe have been establishing themselves, and have been mostly excellent, so they easily fill in for the series that I wouldn’t recommend. Join me after the break for my comic recommendations for new readers based on Q1 of 2017.

Continue reading “Recommendations for the New Comic Reader – DC Comics (2017, Q1)”

Recommendations for the New Comic Reader – Marvel (2017, Q1)

Recommendations for the New Comic Reader is exactly what it sounds like — the posts where I recommend current ongoing comics to new readers, mostly based on the current or most recent arc. I focus heavily on the series being new reader friendly, so if the latest masterpiece of Grant Morrison’s isn’t here, you know why. I’m mainly concerned with what I myself am reading, but will occasionally recommend something people have told me or I’ve heard is good, if I feel it bits (these recommendations will be clearly labeled).

So as a whole, I have to say I’ve been pretty disappointed in Marvel’s output this year. There are some good ongoings, but they’re few and far between, as everything seemed to be caught up in the abysmal Civil War II–or rather, dragged kicking and screaming, since every tie-in seems to have at least one rant on how the event is dumb. But there are some gems, and if you’ve seen my “Top Ten Comics of 2016” list, you probably know some of what’s going to be here. Anyway, join my after the break for my comic recommendations for new readers based on Q1 of 2017. Continue reading “Recommendations for the New Comic Reader – Marvel (2017, Q1)”

Recommendations for the New Comic Reader – Indie Comics (2016, Q3)

Here are my recommendations for readers from companies that basically aren’t Marvel or DC. I know it’s kind of harsh to only have one category, but if I didn’t do this, I’d have one comic for Aftershock, tons for Image, etc. So here’s my recommendations for indie comics, using the same rules as my DC recommendations: Generally avoiding thicker reads, comics with very little hand holding and series over a certain issue count. Don’t worry, I’m not recommending The Black Monday Murders if you’re new! Also, no Saga, because I feel you need to read that series from the beginning to fully appreciate it.

Cover

Animosity
Published by Aftershock
Currently on issue 2

I you like animals, Animosity is the comic for you. Set in a world where animals are suddenly anthropomorphic and can speak, Animosity is a surprisingly interesting. Aside from the obvious animal abuse issues that arise, there is also controversy over the very act of eating meat and the idea that humanity should have dominion over animals. Not only that, but there’s exploration of how animals acted before the unexplained event. Without spoiling anything, it’s a very good read. Marguerite Bennett writes really good drama without any of it feeling forced. Her relationships feel grounded real, despite such a fantastical event occurring.

Rafael de Latorre’s art is beautiful to look at. He can actually draw different face shapes, making him better than lots of comic book artists working for the Big Two. But De Latorre honestly is very good at drawing faces, and his facial expressions clearly convey emotions while still being subtle. At least when things call for it, because he can still have fun during intense scenes. De Latorre’s obviously really good at drawing animals, otherwise he’d be a poor fit for this series. The softer colours help give the world a more vibrant feel, but that doesn’t meant the series is averse to shadows when the need arises. Animosity is easily one of the best looking comics being published.

My one sticking point is that the world Bennett creates is genuinely interesting, and is ripe for exploration. There are a number of issues that are briefly mentioned and are really interesting, at least enough for an arc each, but so far many have just been glossed over in favour of a story focused on Sandor, a house dog. Not that the story isn’t good, because it is, I’d just like Bennett to do more with the interesting world she’s built.

Animosity has a great premise which leads to a great world. While Bennett doesn’t always fully explore all the elements of this world, the main story of a Sandor’s is worth the trade-off, at least for now. Continue reading “Recommendations for the New Comic Reader – Indie Comics (2016, Q3)”

Recommendations for the New Comic Reader – DC Comics (2016, Q3)

So I’ve been planning to do a kind of “new reader” piece for a while now. In fact, I have been working on something for a while now focused on the history of a specific character and their significant stories and whatnot. But it’s taking tons of research and I can’t see it being that regular a thing. I’ll try my hardest, but it’s definitely not something I can do often.

But I really want to write a kind of guide to help people get into comics every now and then. As in ongoing series, not just older stories. And it’s also something that can be done regularly, what with the frequent relaunches Marvel and DC seem to love. And what better time than now, with DC’s Rebirth having had enough time to cook that a series’ quality can be determined (as long as they retain the same writers, and to a lesser degree artists, that is)? Of course, this will mostly be from what I read, but will also include series that I’ve heard are good from fans and friends. To make it perfectly clear, I’ll make sure to mention how I know the series is good. Since this will be focusing on new readers, I won’t be recommending the thicker reads like Black Panther, the stories that don’t hold your hand at all like Batman, or series with over a certain number of issues even though I enjoy them. I was going to just make one list, but it was huge, so I’m separating these by publisher. Anyway, here we go. This list is arranged in descending order (most recommended to least), and series I don’t read myself will always be at the bottom.

1

Wonder Woman
Currently on issue 6 + one special issue (Rebirth one-shot)

Greg Rucka’s Wonder Woman is the comic that will make you like Wonder Woman. The story isn’t that important: Diana is trying to find Themyscira after finding out that her New 52 origin is a lie. What’s great about the series is that its characterisation of Diana as a compassionate, patient and loving person who’s still willing to fight when things call for it. The plot is interesting though; it introduces a decent villain, a cool subplot featuring Steve Trevor that ties into Diana’s quest, and makes great use of Cheetah. And all that is finished off with some great mythic elements that always elevate any Wonder Woman story.

At least that’s the plot of the odd numbered issues. The even numbered issues tell the “Year One” story, which is basically what Diana’s probably going to learn herself. It’s essentially a modernised version of her Post-Crisis origin, wherein pilot Steve Trevor crashes on Themyscira, and Diana escorts him back to “Man’s World”. However, since there are foregone conclusions, Rucka doesn’t waste time detailing them, instead focusing on smaller emotional scenes that didn’t get much focus the first time around, before focusing on his own story. It ties in neatly with the odd numbered issues as well.

The art for both stories is phenomenal. Liam Sharpe’s thicker lines and strong eye-work given Diana a real sense of strength. Nicola Scott’s Wonder Woman looks younger and much more naive, with a dorky innocent smile across her face. Both artists nail backgrounds, posing and expression, and are honestly just great. And Rucka knows when to cut back and let the art tell the story, or just add layers to a scene.

If you want to get into Wonder Woman, now is the time. I cannot recommend the current Wonder Woman run enough. It’s easy to get into but still has depth.

Note: The Rebirth special is pretty irrelevant and kind of just outright not good. It’s just an issue long statement that Diana’s confused about her origins. You can safely skip it. Continue reading “Recommendations for the New Comic Reader – DC Comics (2016, Q3)”