By Strider92 4 Comments
I recently went on a major independent binge as a friend of mine lent me a load (it began this morning and is still going on now lol). Seeing so many great titles that are largely unknown made me feel a little sad so I thought i'd make a list of the ones that in my opinion deserve some recognition. These titles are in no particular order:
Executive Assistant Franchise (Aspen Comics):
The reason i've written franchise and not a single comic title is because this is not a single title and has branched out into many others in the past that all interconnect. The franchise on a whole whole focuses on a group of people called Executive Assistants. This is of course a codename for people (mainly women) who are trained as what can only be described as Assassins/bodyguards. They are basically raised and trained to serve anyone their masters decide. The initial series that kicked of this franchise was called Executive Assistant: Iris and since then branched out into many other singular titles featuring other Assassins such as Lotus, Orchid and Violet.
This franchise currently has two titles on-going which are Volume 3 (at least I think its 3) of EA: Iris and a recently created title called Executive Assistant Assassins which unlike the other titles focuses on multiple assassins at the same time (although Lily seems to take most of the spot-light).
Although the story can be sometimes quite hard to grasp or even disjointed at times (i'm generalizing here. EA: Assassin's has been pretty consistent thus far) it is for the most part very appealing and the mix of writers that appear on it bulk out the universe Aspen has created and makes it diverse. This series is designed for people who like action with a bit of mystery thrown in. As in all series it has its ups and downs but in my opinion it hasn't been a bad series and deserves a bit of recognition for the effort put in.
The art for the most part has been above average in nearly every title:
Harbinger (Valiant Comics):
Harbinger is part of Valiant's thus far incredibly successful attempt at rebooting its titles. Having not read the original Harbinger series from back in the 90's I can't really compare the two (not sure if this is a good or bad thing) but from a new readers point of view this series has thus far been of a VERY high caliber in both story and art so much so that they make quite a few of Marvel and DC's big titles look bad. The story follows Peter Stanchek a boy who possess powerful pisonic abilities.
Harbinger is currently on its 9th issue so not that far ahead and has getting increasingly good as the series has progressed. I won't go into details to prevent spoilers for people who haven't read it yet.
There is absolutely no reason you should not give this a shot. It has been consistently brilliant both in writing and in art since it began and the fast-paced story-line keeps you interested in everything that is happening. I actually dropped a comic off my pull-list to make room for this series (Snyder's Batman. Which pained me because I love Capullo's art) but I do not regret it in the slightest. I've gotten much more enjoyment out of Harbinger than I have a lot of the big mainstream titles.
Bloodshot (Valiant Comics):
Another part of Valiant's reboot. Bloodshot follows an amnesiac soldier with nanites running through his body that grant him superhuman abilities (most notably his healing factor, invisibility and a sonic scream). Again I have not read Valiant's original series of this so I cannot compare them. The series kind of reminds of Jason Bourne (most likely because of the whole amnesia thing) and is on a whole a very good series. Like Harbinger it favors fast-paced story-telling and action.
Bloodshot is a series I really can't say much about without spoiling it as the story is driven by Bloodshot not knowing who he is. Like Harbinger Bloodshot is also only on his 9th issue so if this interests you at all I recommend giving it a shot.
Bloodshot's most notable feature is its writing. The story has been brilliant thus far and doesn't look like its going to drop in quality any time soon. It blends the "military experiment gone wrong" scenario in with an in-depth story and a sympathetic character. Although the story-line and writing deserve a lot of praise this does not mean that this on-going is lacking in art at all in fact the art in it has been consistently well above average.
Haunt (Image Comics):
Created by Todd McFarlane (Spawn) and Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead) with art from Greg Capullo (Batman) Haunt probably had one of the best starts in life that an independent comic could get with 3 top tier creators working on it and it didn't disappoint. The story revolves around Daniel Kilgore and the ghost of his dead spec-ops brother Kurt. When the two join it coats Daniel in a type of living suit (well honestly what did you expect from the creator of Venom and Spawn?) which enhances Daniel's abilities to superhuman levels and can allow Kurt to force his way into control.
Unfortunately at issue 18 the original creative team left their creation and moved on to other projects. Since then the new one has been ok but nowhere near as good as the big 3 that left. It is still a solid series but it may put you off reading after issue 18 with the slightly abrupt changes in morals and personality of the characters. The series is still on-going and just hit its 32nd issue.
The first 18 issues deserve to be read simply for the awesomeness that was McFarlane, Kirkman and Capullo because lets be honest that is a killer team for a dark supernatural style book. As I said the new creative team is ok but not as good. Don't let this put you off starting it though it deserves to be given a shot. The art in it originally was of course brilliant thanks to Capullo and because of the dark setting Haunt has it really allowed him to get gory.
Halcyon (Image Comics):
Halcyon is a five-part series released in 2010. Although it was only a limited series it was still a very good read. Oculus the biggest threat the world surrenders himself to the authorities and due to this he renders hero's completely void as there is no longer a global threat for them to fight and things quickly spiral out of control as the hero's begin to descend into darkness realizing that having no enemies makes them nothing.
The series brings up a very unusual and interesting subject about the hero-complex and how super-hero's view themselves. Something this unique doesn't crop up very often and deserves to be read if for no other reason than to break up the monotony of predictable story-lines. The art is also above average.
Luther Strode (Image Comics):
This began in a six-part limited series called "The Strange Talent Of Luther Strode" and was the picked up again in another 6 part series called "The Legend Of Luther Strode". It follows a young man called Luther Strode who through a desire to become muscular tries out an exercise routine called the Hercules Method this unlocks his talent giving him superhuman abilities.
The second six-part series is currently on issue 4. It is worth starting out with the first series "The Strange Talent Of Luther Strode" before moving on as jumping in on the current one will only confuse you (I know it did me).
Although the storyline may sound very weird it is actually portrayed really well. Much better than I thought would have been possible especially for such a strange concept. The art is also very good and unique compared to a lot of the styles we are currently seeing in comics. like the story it almost feels like a bizarre style but it fits the characters and really gives them a sense of power. This series was brought to my attention by k4tzm4n's best weekly battles so if you'd like to see a bit of what you're missing feel free to go look. The fight scenes in this series are very brutal. You have been warned!
Robyn Hood (Zenescope Comics):
Having never read anything from the "Grimm Fairy Tales" universe I wasn't really sure what to expect when I jumped into this. Not to mention i'd heard a few other their titles were ermmm.....a bit "Classic Witchblade" in regards to female characters so I was a little apprehensive about trying it out but i'm glad I did. The story follows Robyn a girl who discovers she has a connection to the the "Myst" (through some very unfortunate circumstances) which gives her supernatural abilities with the bow (inhuman speed, accuracy etc..). The story actually takes place in modern times and in the "Myst" which is back in the medieval ages. The story sounds far-fetched but it is actually executed extremely well and a lot better than what I had previously feared. One of the things that surprised me was how strong in character Robyn was portaged to be.
Robyn Hood volumes one was a five-part series back in 2012 and by popular demand is starting up again in May 2013 in a new volume called Robyn Hood: Wanted. Which unlike the first volume will only take place in the modern day. So if you want to catch up before the new series begins you have a month to read the five-part first series.
This comic has something in it that is very hard to come by and that I never thought I would find in this comic and that is a very strong female lead. Robyn is without a doubt the most powerful female lead in terms of personality and morals that I have read in a LONG time. The art in it is also very good.
Irredeemable (Boom! Comics):
Ever wanted to know what would happen if the worlds most powerful hero became the villain? Irredeemable gives you exactly that. The Plutonian who was once the biggest force for good has now gone insane and is now destroying everything in his path with the other hero's powerless to stop him. What caused his sudden change and shift in morals is explained as the series progress's. Not only does Waid give the Plutonian and intriguing dynamic but also a great and unique power-set. One which I honestly didn't see coming and I don't believe has been used prior or post this series.
Irredeemable finished in 2009 with a total of 37 issues.
Due to the fact that this an independent universe it shows with horrifying detail what would happen if the greatest hero fell from his duties and turned to destruction something that cannot be done with say Superman in DC for obvious reasons. Here however the character is completely free to do whatever he wants without restraint and that in itself is refreshing. Coupled with some stella artwork it is a series that I think everyone should read to truly appreciate the thin line between hero and villain.
Thats it for the moment. I plan updating this as I go through more of the indie titles so feel free to check back here from time to time if you're interested in more recommendations.