Series, Runs, Trades, and Minis which I've been convinced I must read. Will naturally overlap with Cat-Killers & Wishlist, but serves a different purpose. If you agree/disagree/have something to add, comment below ^_^ No, seriously, INTERACT WITH THIS LIST PLEASE :D. Presented in the order in which I plan to buy them, either due to interest level or affordability (i.e. longer series which I'm more interested in may be lower than one-shots or single trades which are easier to take care of all at once...I may work my way into things lower on the list if they are long, even while buying things higher up). Naturally, priority is another thing I welcome commentary on.


Note: As of April 28, 2013, I've officially stopped reading Marvel Comics. On the off-chance that I ever end that boycott, these are the books/arcs I had intended to read, in the order in which I intended to acquire them.

Note: Not long after, I returned to reading Marvel comics and wrote a blog (which you can find; it's called Game On) in which I explained that decision. Uncertainty still suggests keeping the books up here is a better idea.

Uncanny X-Force - I own the first trade. So everything past that.

^ Removed because it seems Remender has made an ass of himself.

New X-Men - For Yost, X-23 and Cloak & Dagger appearing, and lots of other characters...

^ I'm still trying to determine how to go about reading this; trades are hard-to-find.

Astonishing X-Men Omnibus - Whedon's legendary run is legendary...I assume for a reason.

^ No longer pursuing omnibus, but do need to read this run.

X-Men: Phoenix Endsong/Warsong Ultimate Collection - Red Queen recommended.

X-Factor - Recommended by so many, time and again, and its impending end is lamented.

^ How? Digitally? Omnibuses? This is a very long-running book to try to catch up with.

Deadpool - Gail Simone: #65-#69. Legendary run. Impossible to find.

Agent X - Gail Simone (for the most part). Also legendary. Also impossible to find.

List items

36 Comments Refresh
Edited by Saranth

I didn't care for Remender's Uncanny X-Force, but I don't really care for Remender. I'm considering dropping his current Captain America run. But... READ BLACK MIRROR. My favourite trade; I have it in hard-cover and in digital.

Most of Simone's Secret Six run is sitting in the back-issue basement of my local comic book store, too. I keep leafing through them, but nothing she's ever written has thrilled me. Ray Fawkes did a better job on Batgirl over his two issues, if you ask me.

Posted by akbogert

@Saranth: You're not the first one who has said that about Fawkes; suffice to say I couldn't possibly disagree more, and didn't even bother picking up the last issue because of how little I liked his first one. But to each his own :)

And since I've already read the first volume of Remender's run and loved it, haha...

But yes, I hear that Black Mirror is thus far Snyder's best.

Posted by Saranth

See, I think seeing the worth of Fawkes' work requires you to have read Black Mirror. Fawkes captures the James Gordon Jnr of that book; the psychopathic, terrifying, calculating, deceptive creep. He's not the kind of person who'd hang with Joker, and that really killed Simone's Death of the Family stuff for me. The Joker doesn't have a plan; that's why Batman, the World's Greatest Detective can't work out his next move. Joker makes it up as he goes. That sort of approach is hideous and horrible to a psychopath renowned for his meticulous planning; James Gordon Jnr. He shouldn't have been shoe-horned into that story.

By the by, Fawkes' second issue is better than the first.

Posted by akbogert

@Saranth: I think the whole situation with that book was a crapshoot. Fawkes tried to deal with something Simone had slowly been setting up over the course of her whole run and, in my opinion, botched the reveal that she should have been writing. It made little sense based on what had been happening in the book and unfortunately we'll never know how Simone would have written in it. Add to this the failure to have any worthwhile tie-in to either the fallout of DotF or Damian's death (granted, either of which would have been hard to do even for the regular writer of a book, let alone a stand-in), and I am glad that Simone is back and starting somewhere new next issue.

...but of course this is all irrelevant to this particular list/thread :P I shall be reading The Black Mirror; the paperback was just released.

Posted by Saranth

Pft! Get the hardcover; it's beautiful.

Posted by akbogert

@Saranth: Heheh. Perhaps, but I'd rather buy twice as many slightly-less-beautiful-but-still-quite-durable softcovers than get nicer books, but half the reading.

Posted by Saranth

Each to their own. I used to read paperbacks, but my Marvel books all tend to peel at the edges. Spider-Island's been read twice and it's happening already. When I can, I get the hardcovers these days. In fact, I ordered Batman and Robin: Born to Kill today. (£12 on Amazon!)

Posted by akbogert

@Saranth: If/when the money's there, I'll pick up hardcovers of future series. Maybe even hunt down the very few stories I feel have personally earned owning such a nice version of (as it stands now, that'd be Innocence Lost & Batwoman: Elegy...and that's pretty much it). Time shall tell.

Posted by MatKrenz

Lots of superheroes but not much else. So check out Saga by Brian K Vaugh and Fiona Staples, the first trade has the first 6 issues and is priced at 9.99. Then theres Chew by John Layman and Rob Guillory, the first trade is 5 issues and also at 9.99 or you can get the omnivore hardcovers which collects 10 issues but im not sure about the price.

Now some Vertigo, I've recommended BKV current ongoing but check the series that made him a star, Y The Last Man, it's in 10 softcover trades and 5 hardcovers. And then theres Hellblazer. Im gonna assume theres 30 trades from the biggest names in the industry. Brian Azzarello first trade is Hard Time. Warren Ellis is Haunted. Peter Milligan is Scab. Mike Carrey is Red Sepulchre. Jamie Delano started the series with Original Sins. And Garth Ennis started with Dangerous Habits but I would only recommend this storyline only if you are 100 % behind Constantine. Because Constantine isn't the nicest person around and you have to accept that. Oh and tons of people die, most of the supporting cast, with the exception of Chas and Gemma, most people die. But don't let that detract from the stories.

Posted by akbogert

@MatKrenz said:

Lots of superheroes but not much else.

Very true. Admittedly, it's what I'm drawn to (though on my list of books I am interested in/considering reading more of, Fatale, Mind the Gap, reMIND, Thief of Thieves, and some other outliers...just none that I've decided to buy completely yet).

I actually really didn't like Saga. It's probably worth noting that I don't like books with much swearing in them. I also don't care for anything particularly explicit sexually, and have almost 0 tolerance for anything involving rape (which sort of killed Millar and a lot of Ennis for me -- in fact, seeing two pages of Ennis' "The Boys" has left me with no desire to ever give the man a dime for anything). And as you know, I tend to get emotionally invested in characters pretty quickly and deeply, so I'm hesitant when I hear death is prevalent in a book...

...does any of what I just said impact the extent to which you recommend what you recommend?

Posted by MatKrenz

@akbogert: Well let me double check my recomm.... You ain't reading crap from what I listed. Well maybe Chew, I think they say F*CK like 5 in the first 30 issues and then theres the running joke with Colby apparently being an irresistible hunk of man. So I think you could still check that out. But still I don't think any of comics swear in any particularly manner that feels cheap, or what do I know im such a fan of the stories it tells that the cussing just amplifies certain segments. Christ, Spider Jerusalem catch phrase is something im not sure I can type on here.

You could check out early Hellblazer, not a lot of swearing but still dealing with mature themes. Also this is Garth Ennis before The Boys, the stories he wrote in Hellblazer and his series Preacher have a lot of heart to them, something that apparently wasn't there in The Boys as I am told. Also I think the only run in Hellblazer that involves rape is in Peter Milligan's but as im told it was tastefully done, no idea how yet but im gonna find out in order to give it a better recemmendation. Other that it being Hellblazer.

So yeah hope this changes your mind to at least check these out. Also whats with "I don't like sexually explicit comics" bit ? In Saga that was really tastefully done, oh wait was it Sextillion ? Was it the pair of legs with a face ? Or the Barney the dinosaur with a penis ? Or any of the other stuff in the background ?

Posted by akbogert

@MatKrenz: Haha. I only read the first issue of Saga. Most of what you just said I know nothing about...but yes, it looks like a book that is willingly sexual or "mature" just "because." I...I don't want a comic with cursing and nudity in it. It's pretty much as simple as that. There are rare exceptions to both, where it can work, but I certainly don't want to invest a lot or continually follow a book with that stuff in it.

The sexually explicit thing wasn't so much to do with Saga (though there were, like, two sex scenes in one issue, so...) as it was part of my general list of things I don't want.

Honestly, a lot of the books I read and movies I watch already have a lot of grit and depression and maturity and "real life" feel to them. That's why I gravitate towards superhero comics. I'm not saying I have no room for certain kinds of stories in the medium, but I want comics to be fun, uplifting, etc. I get the human experience spectrum across multiple media; as of now, I don't want that part of the spectrum from this particular medium.

I will probably look into Chew just because it comes up a lot. That's why I tried Saga and a few other books. Regardless, though, I do appreciate you taking the time to make the recommendations ^_^

Posted by MatKrenz

@akbogert: Well then you did not give Saga a fair shake. It's really not a grim gritty series that tries to be mature, Honestly from your comments people might think of you as a prude. It's using sex as a story telling device in order to help develop these characters for later on. The sex scene between the robots comes back in later issues and makes Prince Robot IV a guy you kinda wanna root for. Sex can be used in an artistic and tasteful manner, Saga does it in spades. It's a series about new parents on the run, sex is gonna be an important part of that life.

Also about the uplifting part, I find it's usually the stories that go trough the most depressing moments usually have the best uplifting moments. Transmetropolitan is a prime example of this. Spider Jerusalem is an asshole but there are really touching issues, like where he helps this woman that was cryogenically frozen for a long time cope with the future. Also theres the issue he helps his assistant Channon after her boyfriend dumps her and then transfers his mind into nano particles. Then there's all the stuff with the Smiler.

All im saying is this, if you don't want to read comic books that deal with sex or other mature themes in a well developed manner then you are not treating comic books as a serious story telling medium. And thats a shame.

Posted by akbogert

@MatKrenz: I am okay with people viewing me as a prude. I own up to a degree of prudishness. It doesn't define me, and most folks who take the time to know me will understand what flies well with me and what doesn't. Saga is a book which, among things, featured a robot sex scene in its first issue, has a character whose intestines are almost falling out, and is routinely depicted in a way which, while I completely understand that a lot of people are okay with and even love, I just recognize is not for me.

I am not saying I don't tolerate sex or nudity in books. But most of the time when they happen, they happen in a way which makes me wish they hadn't, they take away from my enjoyment of the story. And like you said -- this is a book which couldn't tell the story it wants to tell if it ignored those parts of life. That's fine. I'm not saying it's a bad book or that people shouldn't make books like that. I'm just saying it's not for me.

I thought I'd made it pretty clear earlier that I recognize the power of comics as a medium for exploring the full range of human experience. I simply said that as it stands now I prefer the limited exploration of some of these themes through other media. I am not saying I will never read comics that grapple with those issues -- just that, given my current media diet, and what I'm already feeding on elsewhere in the other things I'm already reading/watching/playing, the comics I want to read need to provide more of a relief/uplift as an escape from the darker things I'm getting elsewhere. Like when you're reading Crime & Punishment and you decide to watch a movie, maybe Schindler's List isn't the best option. Doesn't mean you should never watch the latter -- just that it's not going to help your emotional weight right now.

So perhaps I should add a caveat. I've tried Saga, and decided it's not for me now. Maybe a little down the line I'll decide it is. And I will look at all the recommendations I've received and reevaluate them as my tastes and needs change.

Posted by SmashBrawler

I'm not sure how I bumped into this list but since I've seen where some of these suggestions come from I guess I'll comment on some of them:

  • All-Star Superman: Do not read this series. Yes, I know that's a weird thing to say, but hear me out. To me this is the Superman story, no other has come close to this one in terms of overall quality. However, I think All-Star is better enjoyed once you've got a good grasp on the character, since it's a celebration of Superman's entire history and mythology. If you're a new reader you won't be able to get what this series is trying to accomplish and may end up even disliking it (it has happened before). I recommend first reading other Superman stuff, see if you like the character and then read All-Star Superman.
  • Villains United: Definitely a must-read if you want check out Simone's magnus opus, Secret Six. This is where everything began and where characters like Catman or Ragdoll were transformed into true likable badasses. It's an Infinite Crisis tie-in, but don't worry, you don't need IC to understand this story, you only need it to give Villains United some proper closure (although Infinite Crisis is a little harder to get to).
  • Absolute Kingdom Come: I recommend not getting the Absolute edition. DC's Absolutes are pretty much big Collector's Editions so you'll get looots of extra content such as original character designs, sketches, ads for KC and The Kingdom (KC's sequel, it sucks), photos of the toy line, etc. So if you happen to not like Kingdom Come you'll end up with a lot of extra stuff you won't care about.
  • Geoff Johns' Teen Titans: It's good, but it's definitely not one of Johns' strongest works. His JSA run was far superior, although it doesn't have its own Omnibus yet (Why not? I have no idea).

And about Deadpool, have you read Joe Kelly's run? In my opinion, that's the best Deadpool run yet, although Simone's short stint is solid as well.

Posted by akbogert

@smashbrawler: Hey, so I don't know why I didn't ever respond to this, but I am now (a month later!).

Duly noted on All-Star. I will get Kingdom Come first, and then get All-Star after that (the only in-between I've considered is Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow -- thoughts?).

I've since discovered that some things are much more expensive or difficult to find than others. The Absolute version of KC is so much pricier that I would've gotten the normal one even if you hadn't suggested doing so. The reviews of Johns' Titans collection suggest that it's actually confusing because it spans and skips many major events without really contextualizing anything at all. I just got a bunch of comics from a friend (hundreds of them -- check out my list From Pancakes, With Love), which includes a lot of his Titans, as well as at least one issue of Villains United, so I'll use those as a metric for how worried I should be about trying to get an entire collection.

Posted by SmashBrawler

@akbogert: Heh, no problem. It's easy to overlook some stuff in the inbox, has happened to me.

Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow is a classic story but it suffers the same problems All-Star does: it's a celebration to Superman's history (or in this case, a last goodbye). There's a lot of Silver Age references and since the Silver Age was very silly those references may affect the way a new reader sees the actual story. If I had to make a good recommendation for new readers it would be either Last Son (Superman Returns done right) or the Earth One novels (which always struck me as very friendly for modern readers).

I never bought the Teen Titans Omnibus but I'm guessing those events are Identity Crisis and Infinite Crisis. Without reading those events things may be somewhat confusing, yeah.

Edited by V_Scarlotte_Rose

Long Hallowe'en, Hush and Harley Quinn are definitely worth getting, and I think I thought the Emma Frost issues I have were pretty good. Volume 2 of the Harley Quinn series is out next month I think.

Posted by akbogert

@v_scarlotte_rose: I plan to order one or both of those Batman books soon. I actually just read the first volume of HQ (Preludes & Knock-Knock Jokes) and am very much preordering volume 2. I also read the Emma Frost series (obviously this list has to be updated soon ^_^); my thoughts are here.

Edited by V_Scarlotte_Rose

Cool. If you like Long Hallowe'en, it has a sequel, Dark Victory. Same writer and artist, and a similar length. Definitely worth a read(even on it's own, I read if before I got Long Hallowe'en).

It's great that Volume 2 is coming out, hopefully they'll start releasing the rest fairly regularly.

I haven't read the whole Emma Frost series, and it was about a year ago that I did, so I can't really compare notes. I'll maybe re-read it again sometime. But yeah, some of those covers are too 'sexy' for me.

Posted by akbogert

@v_scarlotte_rose: I honestly HATE Horn's covers. With one or two exceptions I think they are terrible. Worse still, they have nothing to do with the story since it all takes place long before she ever even wears an outfit like that. The nice thing about the trade is you just have to deal with that front cover...everything else is on the inside, and can be quickly flipped past so as to get to the really great story.

DC apparently just did some internal reshuffling and one of the higher-ups apparently has plans to radically expand digital, which is great because that's how I predominately read anyway (it's how I read Preludes) and it's ridiculous how many great DC runs are impossible to read without pirating these days. The fact that I can even have a list of "books I want to buy but can't because no one is even selling them" is kind of ridiculous.

Posted by V_Scarlotte_Rose

I have seen some good Greg Horn covers, but some bad ones too. I imagine the outfit was used to make it more recognisable to people.

Well that'll be good for digital readers. Hopefully they'll have the same things available in print as they have in digital too though.

Posted by akbogert

@v_scarlotte_rose: It'd be nice, but it's unlikely, especially given the uncertainty with printing costs. Going purely digital with old stuff just makes a lot more financial sense, since if only one person buys it they didn't print a few thousand unwanted copies.

Posted by V_Scarlotte_Rose

That's true I suppose. Maybe they'll considering printing certain things if they sell well digitally.

Edited by akbogert

@v_scarlotte_rose: I honestly don't understand what leads them to publish or not publish things.

Gail Simone's Deadpool run, for example, is acclaimed and sought after by a ton of people. They've been begging for it for years. Books like that, it really doesn't make any sense they haven't already been printed, so I'm thinking if people are willing to buy digitally then they'll just leave it at that.


Posted by V_Scarlotte_Rose

I'm surprised there's any Deadpool that hasn't been reprinted, unless maybe they have a regular schedule of when they come out and it just isn't time for it yet.

Hopefully they'll realise that some people aren't willing to buy digitally. Digital means nothing to me, so if it's not been reprinted, I look for an original copy.

Posted by akbogert

@v_scarlotte_rose: Understandable. I care not one wit for collectability; I'm in it for the stories. Only a handful of books have struck me as the sort of thing I am going to want "permanently" to display or share or treasure, and those I'll hunt down physically. Otherwise I only buy print when it's cheaper or when I don't have a choice.

Posted by lykopis

Your entire list is DC.


(still going to recommend it -- but BARELY)

Posted by akbogert

@lykopis: Nooooo there's Marvel stuff in the description. I took it out when I was going to boycott the company and ended up not injecting it back in.

And there are a couple things which are not yet on this list that will be on this list soon, I am pretty sure, which are not in either house.

Posted by lykopis

Description doesn't count!

I am heading in that direction myself. My loyalty to a few characters has me still picking up some Marvel but I am much more interested in Vertigo, Aspen, etc.

Edited by akbogert

@lykopis: But I explained in the description why they were in the description :P

And Aspen? Really?

Posted by lykopis

Yes, really, lol. I have all these Executive Assistant books I need to dive into and there is Fathom as well which I have heard nothing but great things about. It's been on my radar for so long, it's shameful, let alone their new books like Shrugged.

Posted by akbogert

@lykopis: I've just had trouble trying to take seriously a book which seems to have been tailor-made to have as many bikinis as possible in it. Aspen Matthews does seem like a cool character though.

Posted by lykopis

Now that is very, very true. Keep in mind I have yet to read anything so for all I know, I can become a raging hater of the series should it prove to be nothing but cheesecake fodder for the masses.

Posted by akbogert

@lykopis: I read the Aspen FCBD issue and it sounds like they have a big summer event thing happening and are subsequently relaunching some things? I guess now is probably an ideal time to be checking them out. The story in that issue (which, again, free, so...) suggested to me that Aspen is sort of an unwilling version of Aquaman, except in reverse: a liaison between land and ocean-dwellers, with friends and enemies on both sides.

Of the Aspen books I sampled, Charismagic was the one I actually am considering looking into.

Posted by lykopis

Ah -- I see -- appreciate the info. I'll look into Charismagic too, then.