Friday, June 27, 2014

Comics I'm Currently Reading

It's been a while since I've written about the comics that I'm reading. From what I can tell, since my post in December counting down my favorite comics from 2013, I haven't really mentioned anything about my comic reading habits, except for a brief mention of Charles Soule's She-Hulk back when David Goyer was being a complete fuckwad.

With that in mind, I thought I'd post a little bit about what I've been reading. I picked out five comics that I'm currently reading monthly to recommend to you.

1) Captain Marvel (2014) 

Kelly Sue Deconnick managed to write one of my favorite superhero runs in one of my favorite books ever with the previous run of Captain Marvel. When Carol Danvers decided to adopt the Captain Marvel monicker and wear a new costume, it became clear that she was focusing up on the hero thing and really becoming awesome. I own all three trades of the original run (vol. 1, vol. 2, and Avengers: Enemy Within--the crossover event with her other then-running series, Avengers Assemble).

There was a loooooong time where there were no new issues, and then they said they were relaunching the book in February with a new #1. That worried me. From what I can tell, comics get relaunched when they're not selling well, and Captain Marvel deserves to sell well. Since they also cancelled Avengers Assemble, I was worried Carol Danvers would also get the ax.

While I can't say the new run is as good as the old, because I do occasionally miss the Earth-based adventures, I can say that the current run of Captain Marvel is very good. It's more space adventures, and it still has Kelly Sue Deconnick's trademark dialog. Carol is still as snarky, good-hearted, and bad ass as ever. Only now, instead of teaming up with Captain America, she's teaming up with the Guardians of the Galaxy. The current arc isn't finished yet, but it is still very good and I strongly recommend you pick it up. Since issue 4 came out a couple of weeks ago, there's still plenty of time for you to catch up if you wish.

As always, while your local comic shop should be considered for any comic purchases, if you don't have one (or if the one in your area is run by a douchebag, like mine is), then I recommend buying from Comixology. It's owned by Amazon, which is gross, but it became a well-known app for a reason, and so far Amazon hasn't fucked it up in any major way (at least, for me).

Captain Marvel current run
Previous issues: Vol 1, Vol 2, Avengers: Enemy Within

2) Daredevil (2014)

I'm trying to put the current issue cover up for each series so you know what to look for if you want the current issue. But, honestly, I love the cover to #1. It looks so trippy and cool.

I didn't read the previous run of Daredevil. I always intended to, but I was so far behind I didn't see the point in trying to catch up, especially since I'd never read any Daredevil and had only seen the movie from way back. But when they announced that it, too, was rebooting at #1, I decided to give it a shot.

Now, full disclosure, I've only read the first two issues. I don't have quite the money at the moment to add another title to my pull-list, but this series has been so fun that I couldn't leave it off the list. Matt Murdock has left his native New York and settled down in California. The first two issues involve Matt getting used to the new environment (no tall buildings = no swinging from rooftop to rooftop), and the Daredevil is sharp, witty, and a very interesting hero.

Issue 2 introduced a villain that I found very interesting, and I can't wait to read how things pan out.

If you're interested in the original run, the first two trades have been combined into a hardcover edition. I won't like to all of them, though, because there are several trades and I don't want to sort out all the volumes.

Daredevil current run
Previous issues: Daredevil by Mark Waid vol 1

3) Ms. Marvel

Originally, Carol Danvers was Ms. Marvel, and she fought alongside the original Captain Marvel. When he died, she decided to take up his name and don a new costume. Thus was born one of my favorite superheroes out right now.

No spoilers, but at the end of the Avengers: Enemy Within story arc, the last thing you see is a young woman who is a big fan of Captain Marvel hanging a picture of her up on the wall. She then flexes, and grows ginormous muscles. This is that girl's story.

G. Willow Wilson's Ms. Marvel is a very interesting series. Particularly of note is the new Ms. Marvel (although she doesn't really adopt that name for herself for quite a while--the first few issues are definitely an origin story) is that she's a Muslim of Pakistani origin. She lives in Jersey City with her more conservative family. The first issue of this series may be my favorite comic ever. G. Willow Wilson does a fantastic job writing a relatable teenage girl trying to strike a balance between her American teen life and her home life. Unlike Peter Parker's incessant whining (I love Spider-Man, but, y'all, he's a man-child), Kamala Khan is smart, proactive, and snarky. And weaving in little touches of her family's religion and how that influences her adds to the rich depth of the story.

Seriously, this is a book that deserves a huge audience. Pick it up while there's only five issues out, okay? Do it. DO IT!

Preorder the trade: Vol 1

4) Sex Criminals

While I mostly read Marvel comics anymore (seriously, DC, you need to shape up), I do try to read a few indie titles. I read Red Sonja when I can, but as I said, I can't afford to add a new title to my pull-list, so I can only read it sporadically.

One comic that is in my pull-list is Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky. This one comes with a content warning, but if you're the type of person that loves funny, irreverent comics exploring relationships, sex, and crime, this is a comic you don't want to miss.

The story starts centering around Suzie. Whenever she has an orgasm, time stops. Literally. This is very lonely, and she thinks she's the only one like this until she meets Jon. Shenanigans ensue when they decide to use this time-stopping ability to their advantage.

The comic went on hiatus a while back while Fraction and Zdarsky worked on other deadlines, but now they're back, and they're just as awesome. Issue 6 starts a new story arc, this time more from Jon's point of view, and it's a great place to jump on. Or, you could catch up and just buy all 6 issues if you have the extra dough.

One thing: I strongly suggest you pick up the individual comics just for the letters column. They are hilarious and embarrassing, and amazing.

Sex Criminals current run
Previous issues: Vol 1

5) She-Hulk (2014)

I've never read a She-Hulk comic. In fact, I didn't even know there was a She-Hulk character until I watched the Hulk animated series that ran in the late 90's.

While the Hulk is all ideal-male physical build and unbridled rage, She-Hulk is the opposite. Where the Hulk becomes stupid and beast-like, She-Hulk maintains her intelligence. While Bruce Banner can't control when he transforms and when he doesn't except very minimally, Jennifer Walters can control her transformation at will. In fact, she's so in control, and so comfortable with who she is, she spends most of her time transformed anyway.

And she's a lawyer, too. Yeah, she's a total bad-ass.

She-Hulk has always been a relatively funny series, from what I understand. This run is no different. Charles Soule write She-Hulk as a completely competent, in charge, and nuanced character. She's not extremely sexualized (well...not much...she is a gigantic, green, Amazon...), she's smart, she's dedicated to her job. And while there's definitely some exciting super-villain fights, a lot of it is also wacky law-related hi-jinks, which proves that not every superhero book HAS to be a crime-fighting, epic-fighting adventure. There's room in comics for other stories. This is a great one. And only 5 issues are out right now.

She-Hulk current run.
Preorder the trade: Vol 1

Special Mention: The Movement

The reason The Movement isn't numbered like the rest of my countdown is because DC can take a hard sit on their own nutsacks.

Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent, Hal Jordan, Barry Allen, Wally West, Dick Grayson, Damien Wayne, Jason Todd, Jonah Hex, Arthur Curry, Oliver Queen, Alec Holland...what do all of these characters have in common?

They're white dudes.

And while I can name several female characters that head their own books, they are also almost entirely white.

What's more, the above mentioned people are also straight.

What I'm saying is, white, straight people--men and women--have their pick of story types and heroes.

There are an extremely limited number of heroes that are gay, or a person-of-color, or disabled. And that is a goddamned shame.

Enter The Movement, a very cool comic series that sort-of-kind-of spun off of the Batman universe. It's about a group of kids with super powers that unite together to fend off both a super powered serial killer and a corrupt police department. While that is an interesting enough premise, each kid has a unique something about them. You've got characters of varying sexualities, races, and abilities, and it's AWESOME! And just when we were finally getting to some character development and fleshing out a little of who these people are, the series got canned.

The series lasted only 12 issues because apparently DC can't let have a title featuring so many different types of people or...I don't know, maybe a giant white dudebro comes and devours the Earth while shotgunning a can of beer.

Obviously, I'm a little bitter about the series' cancellation.

All 12 issues will be out in trades eventually, but you can get them all on Comixology if you don't want to wait.

Individual issues (whole series)
Vol 1 trade (available now) & Preorder Vol 2 trade (available 12/9/14)