Gateway Comics — Batman

Gateway Comics is a recommendation thing I do where I list works in a franchise that are good for new readers, that hopefully make them want to check out more of the franchise or character. It features franchises/characters that I am personally familiar with, although I will be using others’ opinions at times. The key point is that these are recommendations for new readers.

With Detective Comics #1000 only a few weeks away, I decided work on this ahead of Superman (sorry, Big Blue) for the people who will inevitably buy Detective Comics #1000 but not actually be Batman readers, but who do want to read comics. Along with the X-Men, who I covered here, the Batman franchise helped get me into comics. Unlike many, who came into comics from The Dark Knight, I got into the franchise through a combination of Batman: Arkham Asylum (the video game) and Batman: Under the Red Hood (which came bundled with Arkham Asylum) before watching The Dark Knight. I started with a few titles here and there, got big into Scott Snyder’s Batman run, then jumped around a lot. I have a lot of experience with the franchise, so this is something that I’m comfortable talking about.

Anyway, without further delay, here are the comics I recommend to those who want an introduction to the world of the Bat.

Continue reading “Gateway Comics — Batman”

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Worst Comics of 2018

I wasn’t going to do this. I like to celebrate the good in comics, not lampoon the bad. Comic readers already have an image of being overly negative and I don’t want to be that guy. But… some of the comics this year truly did it for me. They managed to take my goodwill and optimism and grind it into the dirt. Yes, some of these series may recover, or may even have already. But that doesn’t take away from how terrible these particular comics are. With that in mind, here are the worst comics of 2018. Continue reading “Worst Comics of 2018”

Best Continuing Comic Series of 2017

Last year was a good year for comics. DC’s Rebirth relaunch settled in, allowing creators to tell some truly amazing stories with strong reimaginings of the company’s characters. The Young Animal imprint mostly stayed strong throughout, really coming into its own. Marvel took a page from DC’s book and is trying to recapture what it thinks fans miss from their universe (something I have mixed opinions on, but here’s not the place for that). And during all this you have some excellent series not from the Big Two either maintaining their excellence or just coming out of nowhere and surprising everyone. 2017 was a good year for comics.

I’ve been away from blogging for a long time, but that little sidebar ranking current ongoing series I’m reading? That is completely up to date. I’ve just fallen really behind on monthly ongoing comics, which made me question whether or not I should do this list. However, I think that this list has been determined for a while now. Nothing that I haven’t read will likely really make a difference to this list. To qualify for this list, the series had to have had at least one issue released in 2016, and one in 2017. Anyway, let’s get on with it. These are the best continuing series of 2017.

Warning: mild spoilers.

Note: Please forgive the weird formatting on some entries when it comes to art. Comixology is bad about this and is where I get my information. Continue reading “Best Continuing Comic Series of 2017”

Ongoings 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 “Ongoings for the New Comic Reader – DC Comics (2016, Q3)”