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new reader guide

New Reader Guide: Justice League

Welcome to the Austin Books & Comics New Reader Guide! We’re here to introduce some of our favorite books that you may not already know about, and maybe even help you find your next favorite comic series!

Justice League

The greatest team ever assembled in the DC Universe, the Justice League has been the premier superhero team for over half a century, featuring the famous Trinity of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, as well as many more. The Justice League has had numerous incarnations over the years, from the high-level superhero A-list to the lesser-known underdogs, but it’s never without its share of thrills and heroics.

In this guide you’ll find the recent Justice League ongoing series, as well as some of the more acclaimed miniseries, story arcs, and other series.

All titles are available at the store, and if not we will be happy to special order them for you!

Current Ongoing Series

Justice League (Rebirth)

Justice League

Relaunched in 2016 as part of DC’s Rebirth initiative, this series finds the Justice League teaming together for the first time. Batman and Wonder Woman are mistrustful of their newfound ally Superman, but they must put their differences aside to stop both earthquakes from shattering cities around the world as well as an ancient intelligence known as the Awakened turning people against anyone with superpowers, including the League!

Writer: Bryan Hitch
Artist: Jesus Merino

Injustice: Gods Among Us

Injustice: Gods Among Us

Based on the hit video game of the same name, Injustice: Gods Among Us tells the story of an alternate universe where Superman was tricked by the Joker into killing Lois Lane. Mad with rage and sorrow, Superman not only kills the Joker, but takes over the world to rule as he sees fit. The heroes of the DC Universe are split, some siding with ruler Superman and his new world order, others do not, including Superman’s greatest foe: Batman!

Writers: Tom Taylor, Brian Buccellato, Justin Aclin
Artists: Mike S. Miller, Jheremy Raapack, Tom Derenick, Bruno Redondo
Number of volumes: 8

Concluded Series (New 52)

JLA

JLA

Described by writer/artist Bryan Hitch as the book he’s wanted to do since he was a kid, the 2015 JLA series featured a more classic approach to the iconic team while still bringing Hitch’s modern “widescreen” style. The series starts with the well-established Justice League encountering a massive alien fleet as it heads towards the Earth, with a startling tie to the planet Krypton.

Writer/Artist: Bryan Hitch

Justice League (New 52)

Justice League

One of the flagship titles of DC’s line wide relaunch, Justice League features the team at the very beginning: Batman discovers a massive threat to all life on Earth, and assembles a team of an all-powerful alien, an Amazon warrior, a scarlet speedster, a cocky space cop, an undersea king, and an accidental teen superhero to face this threat. Can they set aside their differences and trust each other long enough to face the enemy and save the world?

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Jim Lee, Scott Williams, Ivan Reis, Doug Mahnke, Jason Fabok, Francis Manapul
Number of volumes: 8

Justice League of America (New 52)

Justice League of America

Spinning out of Throne of Atlantis (Justice League, volume 3), Col. Steve Trevor of ARGUS forms a new Justice League consisting of Catwoman, Katana, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Martian Manhunter, Hawkman, Star Girl and Vibe. This “world’s most dangerous team” fights threats lurking in the shadows, but not everyone may be fighting for the same cause.

Writers: Geoff Johns, Matt Kindt
Artists: Brett Booth, David Finch, Doug Mahnke
Number of volumes: 2

Justice League International (New 52)

Justice League International

With the growing metahuman population around the world, the United Nations commissions a team consisting of Batman, Booster Gold, Green Lantern Guy Gardner, August General in Iron, Fire, Ice, Vixen and Rocket Red to promote unity and trust in the general populace. The question is if they can achieve this goal without killing each other first. A modern take on the classic 1980s JLI.

Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artists: Aaron Lopresti, Matthew Ryan
Number of volumes: 1

Justice League 3000 (New 52)

Justice League 3000

A thousand years in the future, the greatest heroes of the DC Universe are born again to new and strange world to face amazing new threats. However, the future isn’t so bright when they discover the means of their resurrections in the distant future as well as the forces standing to destroy the world.

Writer: Keith Giffen
Artists: J.M. DeMatteis, Howard Porter
Number of volumes: 2

Justice League Dark

Justice League Dark

When supernatural forces threaten the DC Universe, a new Justice League will come together! Made up of Shade the Changing Man, Madame Xanadu, Deadman, Zatanna, Mindwarp and John Constantine, this team of mystics face the threats too strange and unnatural for the regular superheroes.

Writers: Peter Milligan, Jeff Lemire, Ray Fawkes, J. M. DeMatteis, Dan DiDio, Ann Nocenti
Artists: Mikel Janin

Concluded Series (Pre-New 52)

Justice League International

Justice League (1986)

Following Crisis on Infinite Earths, the creative team of Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, and Kevin Maguire came together to put their unique, quirky spin on the Justice League. Organized by scheming businessman Max Lord, the team of Batman, Guy Gardner, Black Canary, Doctor Light, Martian Manhunter, Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Shazam, and Doctor Fate set off to the brutal world of Apokalips to rescue their comrade Mr. Miracle, if they can stop bickering long enough to do so. The origin of many long-running jokes and references, including “one punch,” the sentient island of Kooey Kooey Kooey, the iconic cover featuring the oddball team, and much more.

Writers: Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis
Artist: Kevin Maguire

Justice League of America

Justice League of America (1997)

Widely considered one of the greatest JLA series of all time, the 1997 relaunch featured many now-legendary creators and storylines, including Grant Morrison, Mark Waid, Joe Kelly, Bryan Hitch, and more. Starting with a “back-to-basics” approach, the team is primarily made up of the core seven characters of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash (Wally West), Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner), and the Martian Manhunter. The series also introduced the team’s iconic Moon-based Watchtower headquarters. Many high-concept ideas were introduced, such as the team being allegories for mythical characters. Being the most powerful team of heroes in the DC Universe, they primarily faced off against only the most powerful and complex threats including White Martians, Starro the Conqueror, a futuristic Darkseid, and more. Almost completely self-contained, this run on the Justice League redefined the team while being very accessible for new readers.

Writers: Grant Morrison, Mark Waid, Joe Kelly, Denny O’Neil, Chuck Austen, Kurt Busiek, Geoff Johns, Allan Heinberg, Bob Harras
Artists: Howard Porter, Bryan Hitch, Doug Mahnke
Number of volumes: 8

Justice League of America

Justice League of America (2006)

One year after the events of Infinite Crisis, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman convene in the Batcave to re-form a new Justice League. They end up selecting Green Lantern Hal Jordan, Black Canary, Red Arrow (Green Arrow’s former sidekick), Red Tornado, Vixen, Black Lightning, and Hawkgirl. The series initially focuses on android Red Tornado, and has the team facing a reincarnated Solomon Grundy and the rebuilt android Amazo. Prior to the New 52 relaunch, this series was effectively the core of the DC Universe.

Writers: Brad Meltzer, Geoff Johns, Dwayne McDuffie, Alan Burnett, James Robinson
Artists: Ed Benes, Dale Eaglesham, Mark Bagley, Andy Kubert, Brett Booth
Number of volumes: 10

Limited Series and Events

Crisis on Infinite Earths

Crisis on Infinite Earths

The original mega-crossover, Crisis on Infinite Earths brought together DC’s vast multiverse in an unprecedented event that changed things forever. The Anti-Monitor rampages across universes to destroy all of reality, and the Monitor races across the remaining universes to gather forces and stop his evil counterpart.

Writer: Marv Wolfman
Artist: George Perez

Final Crisis

Final Crisis

Darkseid, the ultimate villain of the DC Universe, has come to Earth. Gathering all of the forces of evil, he wages war against the heroes of Earth, killing several major players early on. Grant Morrison’s trademark cerebral style is on full display here, as the limited series deconstructs superhero tropes and archetypes.

Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: J.G. Jones

Formerly Known as the Justice League

Formerly Known as the Justice League

When the Justice League is busy fighting Darkseid and other global threats, who do you call for the little things? Max Lord has the answer! Reuniting the old JLI lineup of Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Fire, Elongated Man, Captain Atom and Mary Marvel in a strip mall as the “Super Buddies,” Giffen, DeMatteis, and Maguire bring their signature quirky style to this oddball team as they bicker with each other and investigate an underworld supervillain casino and superpowered fight club.

Writers: Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis
Artist: Kevin Maguire

I Can't Believe It's Not the Justice League

I Can’t Believe It’s Not the Justice League

The follow-up to Formerly Known as the Justice League, the Super Buddies operations get thrown for a loop when former foe Blackguard sets up a sports bar next door in their strip mall, with his business partner Guy Gardner! Quips fly fast as the team fights evil alternate dimension versions of themselves, and they literally go to hell!

Writers: Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis
Artist: Kevin Maguire

Infinite Crisis

Infinite Crisis

The DC mega-event of 2005 reaches every corner of the DC universe: epic interstellar wars, magical chaos, multiversal threats, massive conspiracies, and more! This limited series shook the DCU to its core and completely changed the status quo for years.

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Phil Jimenez, George Perez

Justice

Justice

The greatest villains of the DC Universe have united with a startling new plan: do more good for the world than the Justice League ever could! As the world begins to accept the seemingly-former villains as the new global protectors, the Justice League attempts to reveal the villains’ actual plan for world domination. Gorgeously illustrated by legendary artist Alex Ross, this series explores what it really means to fight for truth and justice.

Writer: Jim Krueger
Artist: Alex Ross

Justice League: Gods and Monsters

Justice League: Gods and Monsters

A prequel to the animated film of the same name, this alternate take on Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman finds the trio as a ruthless team imposing their unique brand of justice on their foes. Featuring Superman as the son of Zod and raised by immigrants, a vampiric Batman, and Wonder Woman as one of the New Gods.

Writers: Bruce Timm, J.M. DeMatteis
Artist: Thony Silas

The New Frontier

Justice League: The New Frontier

This acclaimed miniseries depicts the heroes of the DC Universe at the twilight of the Golden Age and the dawn of the Silver Age. The heroes of World War II have retired, and a startling new generation has arisen. Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman have lasted through the anti-superhero sentiment of the 1950s, and are joined by new allies as they face the threats of a new era.

Writer/Artist: Darywn Cooke

Justice League: The Nail

Justice League: The Nail

In this classic Elseworlds story, a random nail causes a flat tire on the car of Jonathan and Martha Kent, preventing them from ever finding the crashed rocket of the Last Son of Krypton. How does the DC Universe turn out without the guiding force of Superman?

Writer/Artist: Alan Davis

JLA: Earth 2

JLA: Earth 2

Alexander Luthor, the sole surviving hero of the Antimatter universe makes contact with the Justice League, informing them of an alternate world ruled by the Crime Syndicate of Amerika, a twisted mirror-image version of the Justice League. Made up of Ultraman, Owlman, Superwoman, Power Ring and Johnny Quick, these villains rule their alternate Earth with an iron fist, but have their sights set on our own!

Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Frank Quitely

Kingdom Come

Kingdom Come

In the near future, the superheroes we know have retired, replaced by edgier, more violent vigilantes that cause almost as much chaos and destruction as the villains they fight. When the world comes to the brink of destruction, Superman and his old allies must come out of retirement for one last stand for truth and justice.

Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Alex Ross

Posted September 28, 2016 by Patrick

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New Reader Guide: Wonder Woman

Welcome to the Austin Books & Comics New Reader Guide! We’re here to introduce some of our favorite books that you may not already know about, and maybe even help you find your next favorite comic series!

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman aka Diana Prince: Amazonian warrior princess, feminist icon, 1/3 of DC’s Trinity, and the world’s most famous female superhero, Wonder Woman has endured for over 70 years as a legendary inspiration. Her combination of strength, grace, and compassion is what has lead her to be such a high-profile figure in the DC canon.

In this guide you’ll find the recent Wonder Woman ongoing series, as well as some of the more acclaimed miniseries, story arcs, and other series.

All titles are available at the store, and if not we will be happy to special order them for you!

Current Ongoing Series

Wonder Woman: Rebirth

Wonder Woman (Rebirth)

Alternating between past and present, the most recent run of Wonder Woman features the Amazonian princess dealing with her powers faltering in the present, and how it ties into her early days as Earth’s guardian.

Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Nicola Scott

Concluded Series (New 52)

Wonder Woman (New 52)

Wonder Woman

The critically-acclaimed New 52 run of Wonder Woman begins with the shocking reveal of Diana’s father. Drawing elements from Greek mythology with modern twists, this was easily one of the best series to come out DC’s 2011 New 52 line-wide relaunch.

Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artist: Cliff Chiang
Number of Volumes: 9

Sensation Comics

Sensation Comics

An anthology series featuring stories by some of the biggest as well as up-and-coming names in comics today, Sensation Comics captures the spirit of Wonder Woman, and shows why she has lasted for so long among the world’s greatest superheroes.

Writers: Gail Simone, Amanda Deibert, Ivan Cohen, Sean E. Williams, Neil Kleid, Corinna Bechko, Adam P. Knave, Neil Googe, James Tynion IV, Cecil Castellucci, Aaron Lopresti, Josh Elder, Derek Fridolfs, Barbara Kesel, Karen Traviss, Carla Speed McNeil, Caitlin Kittredge, Trina Robbins
Artists: Ethan van Sciver, Cat Staggs, Marcelo Di Chiara, Marcus To, Marguerite Sauvage, Dean Haspiel, Gabriel Hardman, Matthew Smith, Neil Googe, Noelle Stevenson, Chris Sprouse, Aaron Lopresti, Jamal Igle, Tom Fowler, Irene Koh, Emma Vieceli, Laura Braga, Andres Guinaldo, Carla Speed McNeil, Scott Hampton, Chris Gugliotti
Number of volumes: 3

Superman/Wonder Woman (New 52)

Superman/Wonder Woman

This series centers around the romance between the most powerful couple in the DC universe: the Man of Steel and the Warrior Princess of the Amazons, as they fight against not only enemies, but those that disapprove of their pairing.

Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Tony Salvador Daniel
Number of volumes: 4

Concluded Series (Pre-New 52)

Wonder Woman (1987)

Wonder Woman (1987)

Following the conclusion of Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1986, DC relaunched Wonder Woman. Written (primarily) and drawn by the already-legendary George Perez, this series took the heroine to basics, pitting her against God of War Ares in “Man’s World,” and facing ever-difficult challenges both on the battlefield and off. Regarded as one of the most character-defining runs of all time.

Writer: George Perez, Greg Potter, Len Wein
Artist: George Perez

Wonder Woman (2001)

Wonder Woman (2001)

The 2001 run by Greg Rucka pitted the Amazon warrior princess against her Justice League compatriot, Batman! Then, the publication of her book opens up the floodgates of villains looking to not only defeat Wonder Woman, but destroy her home of Themyscira. Another of the most high-regarded runs, this series was recently collected in the “Wonder Woman by Greg Rucka” collection.

Writer: Greg Rucka
Artists: Shane Davis, JG Jones, Sean Phillips, James Raiz, Ray Snyder
Number of volumes: 1

Wonder Woman (2006)

Wonder Woman (2006)

This series picks up after 2006’s Infinite Crisis as part of the “One Year Later” relaunch. Donna Troy now holds the title of Wonder Woman, with Diana missing. Not all is as it seems, when a terrorist takes several of Diana’s friends hostage, demanding she reveal herself. This series featured myth and legend mixed with modern spy thrills as Diana often works with the Department of Metahuman Affairs to fight evil.

Writers: Allan Heinberg, Jodi Picoult, Gail Simone
Artists: Terry Dodson, Drew Johnson
Number of volumes: 8

Wonder Woman (2010)

Wonder Woman (2010)

Wonder Woman’s timeline has been altered and Paradise Island has been destroyed! The 2010 run completely shook up the warrior princess’ status quo with a new outfit, new villains, and new mission.
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artist: Don Kramer
Number of volumes: 2

Limited Series, Collections, and Graphic Novels

The Legend of Wonder Woman

The Legend of Wonder Woman

In this limited series, a young and adventurous Diana finds herself at odds with the leadership of Paradise Island. Read about the early days as she goes from young princess fighting against expectation to the heroic warrior of legend.

Writer/Artist: Renae DeLiz

Wonder Woman '77

Wonder Woman ’77

Inspired by the Lynda Carter-starring 1970s TV series, Wonder Woman ’77 is a fun throwback that captures the thrills and excitement of the iconic depiction of Wonder Woman.

Writer: Marc Andreyko
Artists: Matt Haley, Drew Johnson. Jason Badower, Richard Ortiz, Cat Staggs

Wonder Woman: Earth One

Wonder Woman: Earth One

Part of DC’s Earth One line of original graphic novels, Wonder Woman: Earth One is a modern retelling of Wonder Woman’s origin as she meets marooned pilot Steve Trevor and ventures into the unknown world of man, only to be brought back in chains and tried by the Amazons for violating the separation from the world that wronged them.

Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Yanick Paquette

Posted September 13, 2016 by Patrick

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New Reader Guide: Superman

Welcome to the Austin Books & Comics New Reader Guide! We’re here to introduce some of our favorite books that you may not already know about, and maybe even help you find your next favorite comic series!

Superman Logo

Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive. The Man of Steel, the Last Son of Krypton. The most famous superhero of all time, bar none. As another 1/3 of DC’s Trinity, Superman has endured as an inspiring symbol, representing the best of what we can be.

In this guide you’ll find the recent Superman ongoing series, as well as some of the more acclaimed miniseries, story arcs, and other series.

All titles are available at the store, and if not we will be happy to special order them for you!

Current Ongoing Series

Superman (Rebirth)

Superman (Rebirth)

Introducing Jonathan Kent, the son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, as the new Superboy. This series is a twist on the Kent family dynamic, putting Clark into the Pa Kent role, and being forced to decide whether he should encourage his son to embrace his powers, or hide them from the world.

Writer: Peter Tomasi
Artist: Patrick Gleason

Action Comics (Rebirth)

Action Comics (Rebirth)

Superman returns to Metropolis after some time away, only to find its new protector is Lex Luthor. In the midst of their confrontation they are interrupted by none other than… Clark Kent??

Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artist: Patrick Zircher

Concluded Series (New 52)

Superman (New 52)

Superman (New 52)

This series finds Superman in a shocking new status quo: the populace fears him, the media mistrusts him, and he is far from the inspiring figure he is known to be. Not only this, he must face a massive threat to Metropolis that he may be the cause of.

Writer: George Perez
Artist: Jesus Merino, Nicola Scott
Number of volumes: 5

Action Comics (New 52)

Action Comics (New 52)

As part of the New 52 relaunch, Action Comics features a younger Superman early in his career, having just arrived in Metropolis.

Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Andy Kubert, Rags Morales
Number of volumes: 8

Lois and Clark

Lois and Clark

Effectively using the often-twisty DC continuity, this series centers around the Pre-New 52 versions of Clark Kent, Lois Lane, and their son Jonathan, who have been transported to the (then) current New 52 version of Earth. Operating anonymously and in the background for years, this Superman and his family’s secrets are about to be revealed to the world, with their son caught in the middle.

Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artist: Sergio Cariello, Scott Hanna, Lee Weeks
Number of volumes: 1

Batman/Superman (New 52)

Batman/Superman (New 52)

It’s well-known that Batman and Superman are the best of friends. However, in the relaunched New 52 continuity, the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel barely know each other. This series depicts the early days of their partnership, and how they went from the heroes of their respective cities to the World’s Finest.

Writer: Greg Pak
Artists: Jae Lee, Ben Oliver, Brett Booth, Jonathan Glapion, Ardian Syaf, Vicente Cifuentes
Number of Volumes: 5

Superman/Wonder Woman (New 52)

Superman/Wonder Woman (New 52)

This series centers around the romance between the most powerful couple in the DC universe: the Man of Steel and the Warrior Princess of the Amazons, as they fight against not only enemies, but those that disapprove of their pairing.

Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Tony Salvador Daniel
Number of volumes: 4

Limited Series, Collections, and Graphic Novels

Superman Adventures

Superman Adventures

Inspired by the 1990s animated series, Superman Adventures captures the unique feel of the iconic series, featuring stories by comics legends Paul Dini and Scott McCloud. Full of action and thrills, this series appeals to Superman fans young and old.

Writers: Paul Dini, Scott McCloud
Artists: Terry Austin, Bret Blevins, Rick Burchett, Mike Manley
Number of volumes: 2

All-Star Superman

All-Star Superman

Widely considered to be one of the greatest Superman stories of all time, All-Star Superman incorporates numerous Silver Age-esque concepts while portraying Superman as the iconic, inspiring figure he was always meant to be.

Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Frank Quitely

Superman: American Alien

Superman: American Alien

Written by Max Landis with a different artist each issue, American Alien focuses on different points throughout Clark Kent’s life as he goes from rebellious Kansas farmboy to the legendary hero we all know, while developing connections to the greater DC Universe as he meets figures like Lex Luthor, Bruce Wayne, Oliver Queen, and more.

Writer: Max Landis
Artists: Nick Dragotta, Joëlle Jones, Jae Lee, Francis Manapul, Tommy Lee Edwards, Jonathan Case, Jock, Ryan Sook

Superman/Batman

Superman/Batman

This series explored the friendship, camaraderie, and antagonism between the titular characters. It opens with President Lex Luthor declaring Batman and Superman has public enemies, stating that a Kryptonite asteroid headed towards Earth is part of an evil plan of Superman’s. This sends both villains and heroes after the duo, who must work together to clear their names and prove Luthor’s guilt.

Writers: Jeph Loeb, et al
Artists: Ed McGuinness, et al
Number of volumes: 12

Superman Birthright

Superman: Birthright

A modern retelling of Superman’s origins, Birthright follows a young Clark Kent as he goes from Kansas farmboy to Daily Planet reporter and the greatest hero the world has ever known. His journeys around the world as a young reporter, combined with his rural Kansas upbringing and alien origin, provide a unique perspective on the value of life and the inherent goodness of humanity.

Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Leinil Yu

Death of Superman

Death of Superman

A truly shocking event for its time, the Death of Superman centered around Superman and his cataclysmic battle against the seemingly-unstoppable beast Doomsday, culminating in the apparent death of both combatants.

Writers: Dan Jurgens, Jerry Ordway, Louise Simonson, Roger Stern
Artists: Jon Bogdanove, Brett Breeding, Tom Grummett, Jackson Guice, Dan Jurgens

Superman: Earth One

Superman: Earth One

Part of DC’s Earth One line of graphic novels, Superman: Earth One depicts a young Clark Kent first arriving to Metropolis as he tries to find his place in the world not only as Clark Kent (finding a job, living up to his potential, making his parents proud) but also as Superman (revealing his powers to the world and the consequences that follow).

Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artist: Shane Davis
Number of volumes: 3

Superman For All Seasons

Superman For All Seasons

A four issue miniseries that depicts Superman from the perspectives of Jonathan Kent, Lois Lane, Lex Luthor, and Lana Lang. This coming-of-age story divided by seasons (in the literal and metaphorical sense) depicts Clark Kent making the difficult transition from small town Kansas farmboy to big city reporter, while trying to use his powers to the best of his abilities.

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Artist: Time Sale

Superman: The Greatest Stories Ever Told

Superman: The Greatest Stories Ever Told

A collection of essential Superman stories from over the years, most notably 2001’s “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice & the American Way?”, written by Joe Kelly with art by Doug Mahnke and Lee Bermejo. This story centers around Superman and his conflicts with a new superpowered vigilante group called The Elite, who often kill their foes. Despite public support, Superman disagrees with their methods, showing that there are lines that heroes should not cross.

Writers: Jerry Siegel, William Woolfolk, Edmond Hamilton, Elliot S. Maggin, Jim Steranko, John Byrne, Joe Kelly
Artists: Joe Shuster, Al Plastino, George Klein, Murphy Anderson, Curt Swan, Mœbius, Dick Giordano, Mike Mignola, Karl Kese, Doug Mahnke, Lee Bermejo

Kingdom Come

Kingdom Come

In the near future, the superheroes we know have retired, replaced by edgier, more violent vigilantes that cause almost as much chaos and destruction as the villains they fight. When the world comes to the brink of destruction, Superman and his old allies must come out of retirement for one last stand for truth and justice.

Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Alex Ross

Superman: Man of Steel

Superman: Man of Steel

After 1986’s seminal Crisis on Infinite Earths event, DC had creator John Byrne reinvent Superman for the modern era. This 6-part miniseries stripped away many of the campier elements of the Silver Age including the varying types of Kryptonite, Superman’s early career as Superboy with the Legion of Superheroes, and the other Kryptonian elements such as the bottled city of Kandor and Krypto the Super Dog. The series also reimagined many supporting characters, changing Lois Lane from damsel in distress to a strong, independent reporter and Lex Luther from mad scientist to scheming businessman.

Writer/Artist: John Byrne

Superman: Red Son

Superman: Red Son

One of the ultimate “What if?” stories, Red Son asks the question of what if the most powerful being on Earth didn’t grow up with a loving family in small town America, but instead came up in the harsh, frozen wastes of Soviet Russia. A brilliant twist on the Superman mythos, this miniseries explores alternate takes on Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Lex Luthor, and others.

Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Dave Johnson

Superman: Secret Identity

Superman: Secret Identity

This alternate take on Superman centers around a young man named Clark Kent who lives in a world where superheroes only exist on the pages of comic books. This Clark discovers that like his namesake, he has superpowers that he uses to help people. A meta take on the Superman mythos, this series explores the idea of what makes a regular person into a hero.

Writer: Kurt Busiek
Artist: Stuart Immonen

Superman: Secret Origin

Superman: Secret Origin

Following the Infinite Crisis event from 2006, this miniseries was the new definitive version of Superman’s origin. Incorporating numerous modern elements into the iconic tale, as well as reintroducing Silver Age concepts such as Superman’s early years as Superboy, the Legion of Superheroes, and more into a modern context.

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Gary Frank

Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?

Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?

Effectively a celebration of the Silver Age version of Superman, Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? features Superman facing off against his greatest foes, including a reimagined version of Bizarro, Lex Luthor, Brainiac, and more.

Writer: Alan Moore
Artist: Curt Swan

Posted September 06, 2016 by Patrick

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New Reader Guide: Batman

Welcome to the Austin Books & Comics New Reader Guide! We’re here to introduce some of our favorite books that you may not already know about, and maybe even help you find your next favorite comic series!

Batman

Easily one of the most popular superheroes of all time, as well as 1/3 of DC’s Trinity, Batman has endured as one of comic’s greatest icons for nearly 80 years. From the Dark Knight to the Caped Crusader, there have been various takes on the character that can appeal to everyone.

In this guide you’ll find the recent Batman ongoing series, as well as some of the more acclaimed miniseries, story arcs, and other series.

All titles are available at the store, and if not we will be happy to special order them for you!

Current Ongoing Series

Batman (Rebirth)

Batman

The most recent series aims to get down to the basic ideas of the character: becoming a symbol to inspire hope among the civilians and fear among the criminals. After saving Gotham City from a massive catastrophe, Batman meets a new pair of heroes who aim to replace him as their cities sole protectors.

Writer: Tom King
Artist: David Finch

All-Star Batman

All-Star Batman

This new series features reimaginings of Batman’s most iconic villains. It opens with Batman and Two-Face cuffed together, with Two-Face forcing Batman to take him to a specific location outside Gotham City. The only catch: every bounty hunter, assassin, and even ordinary citizen is out to kill the Caped Crusader before they can reach their destination.

Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: John Romita, Jr.

Detective Comics (Rebirth)

Detective Comics

A Batman team-up book, the new Detective Comics opens with Batman and Batwoman joining forces to train the young heroes of Gotham City, including Red Robin and Spoiler, to combat a new threat that has been terrorizing the city with precision attacks.

Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Eddy Barrow

Concluded Series (Pre-New 52)

Batman and Robin

Batman and Robin

Following the apparent death of Batman in the Final Crisis event, this run was unique in that rather than Bruce Wayne under the cowl, it featured Dick Grayson as Batman and Damian Wayne as Robin. This series was a reversal of the usual Batman and Robin dynamic in that it featured a more lighthearted Batman paired with a gritty, scowling Robin.

Writers: Grant Morrison, Paul Cornell, Peter Tomasi, Judd Winick
Artists: Frank Quitely, Philip Tan, Cameron Stewart, Andy Clarke, Frazer Irving, Scott McDaniel, Patrick Gleason, Guillem March
Number of Volumes: 4

Batman Incorporated

Batman Incorporated

Following the return of Bruce Wayne, Batman Incorporated featured Batman branching out and establishing other Bat-themed heroes around the world. The series features numerous new global Bat heroes fighting against an international crime organization known as Leviathan.

Writer: Grant Morrison
Artists: Yanick Paquette, Scott Clark, Cameron Stewart, Chris Burnham
Number of Volumes: 3

 Concluded Series (New 52)

Batman (New 52)

Batman

Easily one of the best titles to come out of the New 52 relaunch of 2011. One of the most notable things about this series is how Scott Snyder introduces new characters and concepts in a very original and organic way. Namely, the Court of Owls, which are tied in to the long history of Gotham City, as well as many generations of the Wayne family. This series exemplified DC’s New 52 initiative of taking a character back to their early(ish) days and making their new series easy for new readers to get into.

Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Greg Capullo
Number of volumes: 8

Detective Comics (New 52)

Detective Comics

The sister series to the New 52 Batman, Detective Comics starts with Batman investigating a new villain terrorizing Gotham City known as the Gotham Ripper. As Bruce Wayne, he romantically pursues a reporter who is covering the Gotham Ripper story, as well as trying to discover Batman’s secret identity.

Writer: Tony Daniel, John Layman, Francis Manapul, Brian Buccatello, Peter Tomasi
Artist: Tony Daniel, Ed Benes, Andy Clarke, Jason Fabok, Francis Manapul, Fernando Blanco, Marcio Takara
Number of Volumes: 8

Batman and Robin (New 52)

Batman and Robin

The New 52 relaunch of Batman and Robin centers around Batman taking on his son Damian Wayne as the newest Robin. The two have to get used to each other, as one is the Dark Knight of Gotham City, while the other has been raised by the League of Assassins since childhood. As they adjust to their new setup, they run afoul of a figure from Bruce Wayne’s past known as NoBody, who is very displeased about Batman, Inc. exposing his secret war on crime.

Writer: Peter Tomasi
Artist: Patrick Gleason, Mick Gray
Number of Volumes: 7

Batman/Superman

Batman/Superman

It’s well-known that Batman and Superman are the best of friends. However, in the relaunched New 52 continuity, the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel barely know each other. This series depicts the early days of their partnership, and how they went from the heroes of their respective cities to the World’s Finest.

Writer: Greg Pak
Artists: Jae Lee, Ben Oliver, Brett Booth, Jonathan Glapion, Ardian Syaf, Vicente Cifuentes
Number of Volumes: 5

Limited Series, Collections, and Graphic Novels

Batman '66

Batman ’66

A throwback to the 1966 TV series, Batman ’66 is a different take on the Caped Crusader, dialing up the camp and style to deliver a goofy but exceedingly clever and entertaining series. Full of BIFFs, POWs, and every Bat-device under the sun, this is a series Bat-fans of all ages can enjoy.

Writers: Jeff Parker, Mike W. Barr, Harlan Ellison, Jeff Parker, Len Wein, Ray Fawkes, Gabe Soria
Artists: Richard Case, Jonathan Case, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Michael Avon Oeming, Ruben Procopio, Jon Bogdanove, Brent Schoonover, Ty Templeton
Number of volumes: 5

Batman: Arkham Asylum

Arkham Asylum

On April Fool’s Day, the inmates of Arkham Asylum take over, demanding Batman in exchange for the hostages. Batman accepts, and has to endure a gauntlet of traps, torture, and other insanities from the nightmares of his greatest villains, including Poison Ivy, Two-Face, Joker, and others.

Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Dave McKean

Batman: Arkham City

Arkham City

The prequel to the acclaimed video game of the same name, Arkham City sets up the game by revealing more of Hugo Strange and Mayor Sharp’s motivations for building the walled-off prison city.

Writer: Paul Dini
Artist: Adam Archer, Carlos D’Anda, Derek Fridolfs, Ben Herrera, Ted Naifeh, Dustin Nguyen, Roger Robinson

The Dark Knight Returns

The Dark Knight Returns

One of the greatest Batman stories, The Dark Knight Returns features an older, grizzled Batman returning to action in Gotham after a decade. With a new, ultraviolent breed of criminal running rampant along with some familiar but even more dangerous foes, Batman is pushed to his limit to protect Gotham City.

Writer/Artist: Frank Miller

A Death in the Family

A Death in the Family

One of the most well-known Batman stories because the ending was decided by a fan vote, A Death in the Family featured the second Robin (Jason Todd) acting against Batman’s warnings about the Joker and paying the ultimate price. Following this, Batman sets out to avenge his fallen ward.

Writers: George Perez, Jim Starlin, Marv Wolfman
Artists: Jim Aparo, Tom Grummett

Batman: Hush

Hush

Batman sets out to discover the identity of Hush, a mysterious new foe who has been using the Dark Knight’s enemies – and allies – against him to cause chaos.

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Artist: Jim Lee

The Killing Joke

The Killing Joke

Another one of Batman’s best-known stories, The Killing Joke is an origin story for the Joker, and centers around the premise that even the best of us can be driven completely insane if pushed hard enough. It features the Joker torturing Jim Gordon in all manner of ways including kidnapping and hurting his daughter (and Batgirl) Barbara while giving us glimpses at the events that drove the Joker over the edge.

Writer: Alan Moore
Artist: Brian Bolland

Batman: The Long Halloween

The Long Halloween

Depicting Batman’s early days, The Long Halloween features a villain that only kills people on holidays. Batman must work with police lieutenant Jim Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent to stop this new foe known as Holiday. Not only does this story keep the reader guessing, it also ties into the origin of Harvey Dent as the villainous Two-Face.

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Artist: Tim Sale

Batman: Dark Victory

Dark Victory

The sequel to The Long Halloween, Dark Victory depicts Gotham City’s criminal underworld transforming from traditional organized crime to the powered supervillainy of Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze, and the Joker. In addition to that, the serial killer known as Holiday seems to have reappeared and is wreaking havoc once again.

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Artist: Tim Sale

Batman: Earth One

Earth One

Part of DC’s line of Earth One original graphic novels, Batman: Earth One features a young, vulnerable, angry Bruce Wayne setting out to avenge his parents’ deaths while combating the corrupt Gotham City police that let his parents’ killers go free.

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Gary Frank

Batman: Year One

Year One

Another one of the greatest Batman stories, Year One depicts Bruce Wayne’s first year under the cowl fighting crime in Gotham City.

Writer: Frank Miller
Artist: David Mazzucchelli

Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?

Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader

Written as the “last” Batman story, Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? depicts Batman’s allies and enemies coming together to eulogize the Dark Knight, each with a different version of how he died. Despite the wildly varying versions of Batman’s death, they all contain one central idea: Batman never, ever stops fighting.

Writer: Neil Gaiman
Artist: Andy Kubert

Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Ninja Turtles villain Shredder and his Foot Clan ninjas travels to Gotham City via dimensional warp, with sights set on conquest. The Dark Knight must team up with the Heroes in a Half Shell to fight the combined forces of their greatest foes.

Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Freddie E. Williams II

Posted August 22, 2016 by Patrick

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New Reader Guide: Aftershock Comics

Welcome to the Austin Books & Comics New Reader Guide! We’re here to introduce some of our favorite books that you may not already know about, and maybe even help you find your next favorite comic series!

Starting in 2015, Aftershock Comics has been the new publisher for creator-owned comics by some of the best writers and artists today. With a huge variety of styles and genres, Aftershock is sure to be a major player on the comics scene.

All titles are available at the store, and if not we will be happy to special order them for you!

Alters

Alters

A war between heroes and villains has been raging for years with more and more of the general populations caught in the middle. In the midst of this conflict, a third threat appears: the Alters. They appear all around the country with new and amazing powers, and are met with fear and distrust. This series centers around a young transgender woman known as Chalice, and her struggles of transitioning not only to her new gender identity, but also to her new superhero identity.

Creators: Paul Jenkins (w), Leila Leiz (a)
Genres: superhero
For fans of: Young Avengers, LGBTQ+ protagonists

American Monster

American Monster

In a small Midwestern town, a man covered in horrific scars appears. The townsfolk aren’t sure what to make of him, until he takes on a local gang of racist arms dealers and the corrupt law enforcement. Seen as a hero, they’re shocked to realize that he’s not there to save the town, but to take it over.

Creators: Brian Azzarello (w), Juan Doe (a)
Genres: crime, drama, horror
For fans of: Southern Bastards, True Detective, gritty and brutal crime stories

Animosity

Animosity

One day, the animals were able to think for themselves and communicate with people. They then started to take their revenge. A young girl and her dog escape from New York City to get to San Francisco in order to find the one person who can possibly save them.

Creators: Marguerite Bennett (w), Rafael de Latorre (a)
Genres: black comedy, adventure, action, horror
For fans of: Rover Red Charlie, Preacher, road trip stories

Black Eyed Kids

Black-Eyed Kids

It’s night. You’re at home, alone. Suddenly there’s a knock at the door. It’s a pair of kids, asking to use your phone. They look a little odd, but you let them in. As soon as they enter, you feel an overwhelming sense of dread. Then you notice their eyes: solid black. You desperately want to escape, but it’s too late, they have you.

Creators: Joe Pruett (w), Szymon Kudranski (a)
Genres: horror
For fans of: psychological horror, urban legends

Captain Kid

Captain Kid

Middle-aged shlub Chris Vargas has a secret: he can turn into teen superhero Captain Kid! This series asks the question: if you could be a teenager again, would you?

Creators: Mark Waid & Tom Peyer (w), Wilfredo Torres (a)
Genres: superhero, comedy
For fans of: meta/self-aware humor

Dreaming Eagles

Dreaming Eagles

Inspired by true events, Dreaming Eagles recounts the story of the Tuskegee airmen, a squadron of African-American fighter pilots during World War II. These brave pilots faced huge odds not only in the skies above wartorn Europe, but also in the face of racism at home.

Creators: Garth Ennis (w), Simon Coleby (a)
Genres: war, action, drama
For fans of: Battlefields, war stories, historical drama

Insexts

Insexts

In the late Victorian era, a pair of forbidden lovers discover a terrifying power that transforms them into monstrous creatures. Using this power, they create a new life for themselves while seeking vengeance on those that have wronged them.

Creators: Marguerite Bennett (w), Ariela Kristantina (a)
Genres: horror, romance, drama
For fans of: body horror, Victorian romance, LGBTQ+ protagonists

Jackpot

Jackpot

The world’s greatest con artists set out for a massive score: the powers of the gods themselves. Using their skills, wits, and a little luck, they’ll try to pull off the biggest heist of all time.

Creators: Ray Fawkes (w), Marco Failla (a)
Genres: action, thriller
For fans of: heist stories, modern mythology

Replica

Replica

At the intergalactic population hub known as the Transfer, Trevor Carter is a detective stretched too thin. Between a doofus partner, incompetent superiors, and too many responsibilities, Trevor decides to clone himself in order to better perform his duties. However, the cloning process goes awry and instead of one clone, he ends up with dozens. Each issue introduces a different clone, each with his own identity, including put-upon desk worker Number Two, stoner hippie Number Three, and half-baked legal genius Number Five.

Creators: Paul Jenkins (w), Andy Clarke (a)
Genres: sci-fi, action, comedy
For fans of: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Red Dwarf, British humor

Rough Riders

Rough Riders

In the 1890s, a young Theodore Roosevelt gathers a group of remarkable individuals to uncover and stop a force that threatens all mankind. With sharpshooter Annie Oakley, magician Harry Houdini, champion boxer Jack Johnson, and scientist Thomas Edison, Roosevelt and his Rough Riders fight a secret war against an alien threat.

Creators: Adam Glass (w), Patrick Olliffe (a)
Genres: action, adventure, sci-fi
For fans of: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, alternate/secret history, period sci-fi

Second Sight

Second Sight

Former celebrity psychic Ray Pilgrim was famous for being able to see through the eyes of killers who were terrorizing London. He fell out of the public eye after being accused of the same crimes he was helping to solve. Now his daughter is attempting to uncover the truth about a secret group of child abusers that include some of Britain’s most powerful men. Desperate to expose the group and protect his daughter, Pilgrim goes down the same dark path he had long since left.

Creators: David Hine (w), Alberto Ponticelli (a)
Genres: horror, thriller
For fans of: psychological horror

Strayer

Strayer

In a world full of giant monsters, outlaw Strayer will fight them, for a fee. He ends up teamed up with Mala, a young girl with magical powers that have not been seen in ages. They travel the world fighting monsters, attempting to uncover the conspiracy behind the sinister origins of the giant beasts terrorizing the populace.

Creators: Justin Jordan (w), Juan Gedeon (a)
Genres: action, sci-fi
For fans of: Shadow of the Colossus, mismatched buddy action movies, giant monster fights

Superzero

Superzero

19 year old Dru Dragowski absolutely believes that she is destined for great things. Desperate to gain the superpowers in order to achieve this destiny, she tries recreating the origins of her favorite superheroes, including hiring a hobo to mug her parents and taking a bag of ants into an X-ray machine. She ends up discovering a massive threat to the earth, and that she may well end up fulfilling her heroic destiny after all.

Creators: Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti (w), Rafael de Latorre (a)
Genres: superhero, action, comedy
For fans of: Kick-Ass, Ms. Marvel, Faith, sendups/parodies of superhero tropes

The Revisionist

The Revisionist

Martin Monroe is a time-travelling assassin known as the Revisionist, tasked with repairing the broken timeline. He is forced to team with his estranged father and face his sordid history in order to save the future, but can he overcome his past and live with his decisions to do so?

Creators: Frank Barbiere (w), Garry Brown (a)
Genres: action, sci-fi
For fans of: time travel, mind-bending sci-fi

Posted August 08, 2016 by Patrick

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New Reader Guide: The Avengers

Welcome to the Austin Books & Comics New Reader Guide! We’re here to introduce some of our favorite books that you may not already know about, and maybe even help you find your next favorite comic series!

The Avengers

“And there came a day unlike any other, when earth’s mightiest heroes were united against a common threat! On that day the Avengers were born!” Since 1963, the Avengers have been Marvel’s premier super-team, fighting to protect the world, the universe, and occasionally all of reality.

In this guide you’ll find a collection of both classic and modern Avengers titles.

All titles are available at the store, and if not we will be happy to special order them for you!

Classics:

The AvengersThe Avengers (1963)
Where it all began. Read the origins of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and their battles against the original foes that no one hero could withstand.

Avengers: Kree/Skrull WarKree-Skrull War (1972)
Written and drawn by comics legends Roy Thomas, Sal Buscema, Neal Adams, and John Buscema, the Kree-Skrull War is one of the most famous Avengers stories of all time. Centering around Kree hero Mar-Vell, sidekick extraordinaire Rick Jones, and the Avengers, this story brought the epic war between the Kree and Skrull empires to Earth. Notable for introducing the long-running romance between the Vision and Scarlet Witch, as well as the unprecedented massive scale and cast of characters.

Avengers-Defenders War (1973)
One of the earliest Marvel instances of superhero teams battling each other, the Avengers-Defenders War pitted the two teams against each other for possession of the Evil Eye, a cosmic artifact of immense power, only to discover that they had been manipulated by outside forces.

Avengers: The Korvac SagaThe Korvac Saga (1978)
One of the first big Marvel events on a cosmic scale, The Korvac Saga saw the Avengers facing down a threat of nearly limitless power. However this series was notable in that while Michael Korvac was a nearly godlike being, ultimately he wanted to help save humanity.

Avengers: Under SiegeUnder Siege (1986)
Written by comics legend Roger Stern, Avengers: Under Siege saw Baron Zemo and his reformed Masters of Evil hit the Avengers where they live, directly invading Avengers Mansion. Notable for revitalizing and establishing previously-minor villains as major threats, such as Titania and the Wrecking Crew.

The AvengersThe Avengers (1998)
Following the Heroes Reborn events of the late 90s, Marvel relaunched the Avengers as a flagship title in 1998. Written by Kurt Busiek and drawn by George Pérez, this run returned the franchise to a more old-school sensibility after years of grim and gritty edginess. Notable for numerous now-famous storylines such as Ultron Unlimited and the Kang Dynasty, Busiek and Pérez returned the Avengers to its former glory with a classic style while still moving the team to new heights.

Avengers: Earth's Mightiest HeroesAvengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (2005)
Taking place during the Avengers’ earliest years, this 12 issue maxiseries filled in the gaps between issues (or even pages), fleshing out the team’s and characters’ background, and adding a modern sensibility to the classic origin of Marvel’s premier super team.

Modern:

The Ultimates

The Ultimates (2002)

Written by Mark Millar and beautifully illustrated by Bryan Hitch, the Ultimates is a modern reimagining of the Avengers as a government-sponsored superpowered strike force. Notable for its more grounded, realistic (by comics standards) takes on classic characters and concepts, “widescreen” visual style, and for inspiring the Avengers film franchise, including a version of Nick Fury modeled after Samuel L. Jackson. Note: Strong violence and adult content, recommended for at least 16 and up.

Number of volumes: 4 (collected as Ultimates vol 1-2 and Ultimates 2 vol 1-2)

Avengers Disassembled (2004)

The beginning of Brian Michael Bendis’ massive, franchise-redefining run on the Avengers. Disassembled set the groundwork by destroying and changing key elements to the Avengers franchise including killing several characters and breaking up the roster.

The New Avengers

New Avengers (2005)

A new (at the time) and different take on the Avengers, refocusing the series on more grounded, character-driven stories. Notable for being the first Avengers series to include Spider-Man, Luke Cage, and Wolverine as official team members.

Number of volumes: 13

Great Lakes Avengers

Great Lakes Avengers (2005)

Written by Dan Slott, the GLA was a team of D-List heroes based out of Wisconsin: Mr. Immortal, who cannot be permanently killed (though it does incapacitate him), stretchy-but-flat Flatman (not to be confused with Mr. Fantastic), human/dinosaur hybrid Dinah Soar, size-changing supermodel Big Bertha, and Doorman, who can access the dark dimension. After the events of Avengers Disassembled, they are soon joined by Squirrel Girl, and end up facing a universal-level threat in the form of Graviton, who has chosen Wisconsin as the site of his evil master plan as it’s not as obvious as New York. Full of action, heart, and pitch-black humor, this series was one of the first major appearances of Squirrel Girl, and recently came back into print after several years.

Young Avengers

Young Avengers (2005)

Following Avengers Disassembled, a team of teen versions of the Avengers came together: Patriot, grandson of the original super soldier Isaiah Bradley, Hulkling, a Kree-Skrull hybrid, Wiccan, reality-manipulating son of the Scarlet Witch, cocky archer Hawkeye (Kate Bishop), Stature, the daughter of Ant-Man, and Iron Lad, a mysterious time traveler with powerful armor. The series finds the Young Avengers fighting Kang the Conqueror, as well as rebelling against Captain America and Iron Man over the responsibilities of superpowers.

Number of volumes: 2

The Avengers

Avengers (2010)

Following the Siege event, the Avengers was relaunched in 2010 part of the Heroic Age branding, which featured more old-school, bigger storylines. In addition to the previous lineup including Thor, Spider-Man, Iron Man, and others, this series featured Bucky as Captain America, and saw the team facing massive threats such as Thanos and Immortus.

Number of volumes: 5

The New Avengers

New Avengers (2010)

The sister series to the 2010 relaunched Avengers, New Avengers continued the street-level focus lead by Luke Cage and featured Jessica Jones, Ms. Marvel, the Thing, Wolverine, and Spider-Man, as well as bringing in mystical elements with Doctor Strange and Iron Fist.

Number of volumes: 5

The Ultimates

The Ultimates (2011)

When Marvel’s Ultimate line started in 2000, the general idea was revisiting and reimagining old plotlines with new, modern twists. When Jonathan Hickman came onto the Ultimates (and tie-in Ultimate Hawkeye miniseries), that completely went out the window. Hickman’s Ultimates run was characterized by his signature style of high concept sci-fi, meticulously detailed storytelling, and long-term plotlines. Not only did this completely shake up the Ultimate universe, it introduced numerous elements that ended up playing out in 2015’s epic Secret Wars event.

Number of volumes: 3

The Avengers
The New Avengers

Avengers/New Avengers (2013)

One of the key books of 2013’s Marvel NOW! relaunches, Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers (and later sister series New Avengers) were the very core of the Marvel Universe. Driven by the idea of “going bigger,” this series did just that, including more Avengers than ever and introducing ideas and elements never before seen in an Avengers title. New Avengers came along a few months later and focused on the Illuminati (Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic, Doctor Strange, Namor, Black Panther, Beast, and Black Bolt) as they work behind the scenes to stop the unnaturally-accelerated end of the universe.

Number of volumes (Avengers): 6
Number of volumes (New Avengers): 4

Starting after volume 6 of Avengers and volume 4 of New Avengers, they are both collected as “Avengers: Time Runs Out.”

Volumes available: 4

Young Avengers

Young Avengers (2013)

Relaunched as part of the Marvel NOW! line, 2013’s Young Avengers brought Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s signature brand of wit and characterization to the forefront. Incorporating previous Young Avengers such as Wiccan, Hulkling, and Hawkeye, as well as introducing new members Prodigy, Noh-Varr, Kid Loki, and Miss America, this run was met with with huge acclaim for strong characterization and style, as well as a focus on the diversity of the cast.

Number of volumes: 3

Mighty Avengers
Captain America and the Mighty Avengers

Mighty Avengers/Captain America and the Mighty Avengers (2014)

Written by Al Ewing. Spinning out of the Infinity event, the Mighty Avengers were formed when the main Avengers were off in space and no heroes were available to fight Thanos and his henchmen. Combining both street-level heroics (the Avengers hotline that anyone can call) with high-concept sci-fi (reintroducing Adam Brashear aka Blue Marvel and his explorations of the antimatter universe) as well as strong characterization and a sharp sense of humor, this series was consistently excellent from start to finish. Relaunched during Marvel NOW! as Captain America and the Mighty Avengers, the relaunched was essentially just a continuation of the previous series with some new additions to the team lineup.

Number of volumes (Mighty Avengers): 3
Number of volumes (Captain America and the Mighty Avengers): 3

Uncanny Avengers

Uncanny Avengers (2013)

Formed as the “Unity Squad,” Uncanny Avengers was the combination of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and the Strangest Superheroes of Them All. Featuring Avengers Captain America, Thor, Scarlet Witch, along with X-Men Rogue, Havok, and Wolverine, this series featured the best of both worlds of team dynamics, villains, and plots from both Avengers and X-Men franchises.

Number of volumes: 5

Uncanny Avengers

Uncanny Avengers (2015)

Founded by Steve Rogers post-Secret Wars, the new Uncanny Avengers not only included members of the Avengers and X-Men, but also the Inhumans and a certain red-clad fan favorite mercenary.

Number of volumes: 3

All New All Different Avengers

All New, All Different Avengers (2015)

Written by Mark Waid, All New, All Different is the flagship Avengers title post-Secret Wars. As the title indicates, this series has nearly an all new lineup of characters, with twists on the classic lineups including Sam Wilson as Captain America, the new female Thor, Miles Morales as Spider-Man, Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel, and Sam Alexander as Nova. Waid brings his classic Avengers sensibilities in this very fun, very accessible series.

Number of volumes: 2 (to date)

The New Avengers

New Avengers (2015)

Written by Al Ewing, this series and the relaunched Ultimates are spiritual successors to Ewing’s Mighty Avengers. Bringing the same blend of characterization and humor, New Avengers follows Roberto da Costa and the newly purchased and rebranded A.I.M. (Avengers Idea Mechanics) as the work outside the purview of SHIELD and the rest of the Avengers teams.

Number of volumes: 3

The Ultimates
Ultimates 2

The Ultimates (2015)/The Ultimates 2 (2016)

Also written by Al Ewing, the post-Secret Wars Ultimates goes by the tagline “the impossible is where they start,” this series continues the crazy sci-fi elements introduced in Mighty Avengers. Consisting of Captain Marvel, Black Panther, Miss America Chavez, Adam Brashear the Blue Marvel, and Monica Rambeau, this incarnation of the Ultimates works across space and even dimensions to actively solve problems before they become threats. Their first mission? Fixing Galactus.

Ultimates 2 picks up in the aftermath of Civil War II. The team is scattered, but the impossibly huge challenges they faced before still loom large. It’s up to America Chavez, Captain Marvel, Black Panther, Adam the Blue Marvel, Spectrum, and Galactus the Lifebringer to save all of reality!

Number of volumes: 2

A-Force

A-Force (2015)

Spinning out of Secret Wars, A-Force is notable for being an all-women Avengers team. The team, consisting of Captain Marvel, She-Hulk, Dazzler, Nico Minoru, and Inhuman queen Medusa, are brought together by Singularity, a young girl with immense power who still retains her memories of the team from Battleworld during Secret Wars.

Number of volumes: 3

Occupy Avengers

Occupy Avengers (2016)

Super heroes – they’re a privileged class. Doing what they want, when they want and suffering no consequences. They have no regard for the ordinary people who are left behind to suffer in their wake. Who will stand up for the little guy? There is a man. If you can find him, and if he believes in your story, he and his friends will put things right. Some call them outlaws, rebels, Robin Hoods. To others, they are heroes. No powers to speak of – just skills, smarts and a burning drive to do the right thing. His name is Hawkeye. Occupy Avengers: It’s time to “Take Back Justice”!

U.S.Avengers #1

U.S.Avengers (2017)

Spinning out of Al Ewing’s New Avengers, the United States of America needs a team of heroes they can rely on. Welcome to… American Intelligence Mechanics! A.I.M. will dare any danger — no matter how awesome that danger might be — to save their nation from the wildest, weirdest threats of all! The most patriotic super-group ever is here to save the day. And they’ll do it all looking tried & true in the red, white & blue! Can you live without… the U.S.Avengers?

Posted August 01, 2016 by Patrick

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New Reader Guide: Spider-Man

Welcome to the Austin Books & Comics New Reader Guide! We’re here to introduce some of our favorite books that you may not already know about, and maybe even help you find your next favorite comic series!

Spider-Man

Amazing, Spectacular, Ultimate. Lots of different titles have been used to describe arguably Marvel’s (and the world’s) most popular superhero, Spider-Man. First appearing in 1962’s Amazing Fantasy #15, Spider-Man’s enduring popularity is due in no small part to the combination of thrilling superheroics and the relateable drama of being an awkward, nerdy teenager, all under the mantra that with great power must also come great responsibility.

In this guide you’ll find the most accessible Spider-Man (and Spider-related) titles.

All titles are available at the store, and if not we will be happy to special order them for you!

Amazing Spider-Man

Amazing Spider-Man (2008)

In 2008, Spider-Man experienced a soft reboot of sorts with One More Day, which among other things undid Peter Parker and Mary Jane’s marriage. This brought Spider-Man back to his roots and introduced a brand-new, very accessible status quo. Written by the rotating “Spider-Man Brain Trust” of Dan Slott, Marc Guggenheim, Bob Gale, and Zeb Wells, among others, the Brand New Day era of Spider-Man was a great period for exciting new stories, characters, and long-running plot elements that are still around today.

Superior Spider-Man

Superior Spider-Man (2013)

Written by Dan Slott, this controversial series featured Doctor Octopus taking over Peter Parker’s mind. In doing so, he realized why Spider-Man does is the way he is, and decides that not only can he still be Spider-Man, he can do it better. Unfortunately, his villainous tendencies still crop up, such as hitting the bad guys a little too hard and hiring a mercenary army of Spider-Men to enforce his own version of justice.

Amazing Spider-Man (2014)

Amazing Spider-Man (2014)

Written by Dan Slott, the 2014 Marvel NOW! relaunch of Amazing Spider-Man found Peter Parker back in control of his body, but still having to deal with the fallout of Doctor Octopus running the show. This includes fixing strained and broken relationships with friends, family, and the superhero community, and trying to regain the trust of the public.

Spider-Verse

Spider-Verse (2014-2015)

This story arc (collected in volume 3 of the 2014 run as well as its own deluxe edition with all the tie-ins) brought together basically every alternate version of Spider-Man when a family of interdimensional vampires known as the Inheritors start killing off the Spider-people of different universes. Incredibly fun, exciting, and very funny, this event included and introduced a huge variety of Spider-people such as Spider-UK, the Captain Britain of his universe, anarchist hero Spider-Punk, breakout star Spider-Gwen, and even obscure versions such as the 1970s Japanese Spider-Man (complete with giant robot!) and the black and white daily newspaper comic Spider-Man.

Amazing Spider-Man (2015)

Amazing Spider-Man (2015)

Written by Dan Slott, the most recent relaunch came along with Marvel’s entire linewide relaunch post-Secret Wars. This series finds Peter Parker as the globetrotting CEO of Parker Industries, an international technology company. Not just constrained to the urban jungle of New York, Spider-Man travels all around the world working with allies in SHIELD helping to prevent one global catastrophe after another, as well as preventing Parker Industries tech from being used for evil purposes. Similar in some ways to Tony Stark, but still with the goofy Parker charm.

Spidey

Spidey (2015)

A throwback to Spider-Man’s early days, this series features Peter Parker trying to balance being a superhero with his regular life as a teenager. Spidey hearkens back to the classic Stan Lee/Steve Ditko era, while bringing a fresh, modern take on the classic Spider-Man tropes.

Spider-Man

Spider-Man (2016)

Written by Brian Michael Bendis, this series follows Miles Morales following the events of Secret Wars, in which elements of the Ultimate and 616 (main) universes were folded together. With Peter Parker operating globally, Miles becomes the main Spider-Man of New York City. Frequently guest-starring the other teen Avengers Ms. Marvel and Nova, Spider-Man is a fun, modern take on the classic Spidey tropes.

Spider-Man and Human Torch

Spider-Man and the Human Torch (2005)

A five issue miniseries chronicling Spider-Man and Human Torch’s friendship throughout the years, with each issue taking place in a distinct period in Spider-Man’s (and comics) history from their early days to the present! An accessible, all-ages friendly love letter to the rich history of Spider-Man.

Ultimate Spider-Man

Ultimate Spider-Man (2000)

In 2000, Marvel launched the Ultimate line of comics, in which their classic characters’ origins were reimagined and updated to modern times. The most consistent and enduring of these was Brian Michael Bendis’ Ultimate Spider-Man, which fleshed out Spider-Man’s origins, tying them in with the likes of Harry Osborn, Oscorp, Doctor Octopus, and SHIELD. The series also had new and modern takes on Kraven the Hunter, Mysterio, the Kingpin, Venom, and the infamous Clone Saga, among others. Ultimate Spider-Man was also notable for breaking Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s record for longest run of a single creative team (108 issues in Fantastic Four) with 111 issues written by Bendis and drawn by Mark Bagley.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man (2009)

After the events of Ultimatum, the entire Ultimate line was relaunched as “Ultimate Comics.” Bendis continued his run, joined by artists such as David Lafuente and Sara Pichelli, further balancing the thrilling action with grounded teen drama. This series was capped off with the Death of Spider-Man event, which saw the death of Peter Parker and the introduction of Miles Morales, who ended up becoming the new Spider-Man.

All-New Ultimate Spider-Man

All-New Ultimate Spider-Man (2011)

Spinning out of the Death of Spider-Man, a new Spider-Man appeared. Miles Morales, a brilliant tween, was bitten by another genetically altered spider inadvertently stolen from OsCorp, which granted him not only the same spider powers as Peter Parker, but also limited invisibility and bioelectric venom blasts. Initially hesitant to use his powers, Miles is pushed by his best friend Ganke to use his newfound abilities to help people and continue the legacy of Spider-Man.

Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man

Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man (2013)

Following the Cataclysm event, this relaunch of the Miles Morales Spider-Man series saw the return of Peter Parker, further involvement with SHIELD, as well as a deepening of the conspiracy surrounding Miles’ father and uncle.

Spider-Gwen

Spider-Gwen (2015, 2016)

Written by Jason Latour, this series is a twist on the classic Spider-Man mythos. First appearing in Edge of Spider-Verse #2, Gwen Stacy of Earth-65 was bitten by a radioactive spider, granting her the proportional strength and speed of a spider. This series follows her adventures as Spider-Woman: fighting crooks, playing in a punk band, trying to clear her name for the death of Peter Parker, and hiding her secret identity from her detective father.

Silk

Silk (2015, 2016)

Written by Robbie Thompson, spinning out of Spider-Verse, Cindy Moon was a classmate of Peter Parker who was bitten by the same radioactive spider that granted Peter his powers. However, she was unable to control her powers, and is locked in a bunker in order to protect her and her family from Morlun and the Inheritors. She leaves the bunker just prior to the events of Spider-Verse, and soon discovers that her family has disappeared without a trace. The series follows her journey to find her missing family, as well as fit back into the world after being locked away for a decade. Best described as “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt with spider powers,” this series is bright, very funny, and often heartwrenching.

Web Warriors

Web Warriors (2015)

Also spinning out of Spider-Verse, this series, written by Mike Costa and draw by David Baldeon, stars a team of multiuniversal Spider-people including Spider-UK, Spider-Gwen, Spider-Ham, steampunk Lady Spider, Spider-Man India, and more, as they help protect the interconnected Web of Life from interdimensional threats. An incredibly fun, exciting series with a distinctive cartoony style, this is a must-read for fans of alternate versions of Spider-Man, and fun comics in general.

Venom

Venom (2011)

Written by Rick Remender, this series introduced a new version of Venom, starring former bully-turned-war hero Eugene “Flash” Thompson. After losing his legs serving in the Middle East, Flash volunteers for an experimental military program in which he is bonded with the Venom symbiote. This grants him not only the ability to walk again, but also super strength, speed, web shooters, and shape shifting powers. Codenamed Agent Venom, Flash can only stay bonded with the symbiote for up to 48 hours at a time before it becomes permanent. Dark, exciting, and deeply introspective, this series adds a ton of depth to what is often dismissed as just another extreme 90s character.

Venom: Space Knight

Venom: Space Knight (2016)

After his time with the Guardians of the Galaxy, Flash’s symbiote is purified, and he is recruited by the Agents of the Cosmos, traveling the stars to help those in need. He ends up teaming with depressed robot 803, Skrull soldier Tarna, deceptively cuddly bounty hunter Pik Rollo, and warrior queen Iqa, as well as his now-sentient Klyntar symbiote, as they travel across the galaxy evading bounty hunters and battling despotic warlords.

Posted July 25, 2016 by Patrick

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New Reader Guide: Marvel Cinematic Universe

Welcome to the Austin Books & Comics New Reader Guide! We’re here to introduce some of our favorite books that you may not already know about, and maybe even help you find your next favorite comic series!

Marvel Cinematic Universe

Since 2008’s Iron Man, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been the leading force in superhero movies. With a combination of excellent characterization, unique visual and tonal styles, and respect for the source material, Marvel Studios films have earned billions at the box office and aren’t slowing down anytime soon.

In this guide you’ll find some of the stories that either inspired or were inspired by the various Marvel movies and TV shows.

All titles are available at the store, and if not we will be happy to special order them for you!

Movies

Tv Series

 

Movies

The Avengers

The Avengers/The Avengers: Age of Ultron

The culmination of the first and second phases, respectively, of the Marvel Studios film slates, these movies brought together their biggest names in an unprecedented extravaganza of superhero action.

What to read next:

The Ultimates/The Ultimates 2 (2001)
Written by Mark Millar and gorgeously illustrated by Bryan Hitch, the Ultimates re-imagines the Avengers as a government-sponsored superpowered task force, taking on global and extraterrestrial threats while also dealing with interpersonal conflicts. Much of this series heavily inspired the Avengers films, including the Chitauri invasion of New York City, as well as the depiction of Nick Fury modeled after Samuel L. Jackson. (Note: the violence and mature content of this book would earn it a hard PG-13 rating, recommended for at least age 14).

New Avengers (2005)
Written by Brian Michael Bendis, New Avengers was a complete relaunch of the Avengers line that brought the team to a more grounded and accessible level, which still maintaining the original spirit of the title. Notable for being the first Avengers lineup with Luke Cage, Spider-Man, and Wolverine as full-time members.

The Avengers (2012)
Written by Jonathan Hickman, the theme of the 2010 relaunch of the Avengers was “go big.” Featuring Hickman’s signature epic scale and intricate storytelling, a huge team lineup, and loads of twists and turns, this series took both the Avengers franchise and the Marvel Universe to new heights, culminating in 2015’s epic Secret Wars event.

Avengers Assemble (2012)
Written by Brian Michael Bendis then Kelly Sue DeConnick, this run was initially featured as a new-reader friendly series for fans of the movie, including having the same team lineup. Very accessible for new readers.

Black Panther

Black Panther

First introduced in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, 2018’s Black Panther centers around warrior king T’Challa as he returns home to the advanced African nation of Wakanda, the only country on the continent to never be conquered by outside forces. Combining political intrigue and mysticism with superhero action, T’Challa must face down forces that seek to overthrow him from both within and without.

What to read next

Black Panther (2016)
Written by acclaimed writer Ta-Nahesi Coates, this series asks the question “If Wakanda is the most advanced nation on Earth, why does it still have a monarchy?” Featuring compelling political intrigue, brilliant characterization, social commentary, and intense action, this series redefined Black Panther for a new era.

Black Panther: World of Wakanda (2016)
Written by Roxanne Gay, World of Wakanda centers on Ayo and Aneka, also known as the Midnight Angels. As two of the top members of the Dora Milaje, the Black Panther’s personal elite guards, they must fight to protect their homeland from rebels attempting to destroy the throne.

Black Panther (2005)
A modern retelling of T’Challa’s origin and rise to the title of Black Panther with a distinct hip-hop flair. Featuring flashbacks through the lineage of previous Black Panthers, cameos from characters such as Storm and Luke Cage, this series featured a heavy dose of satire and an epic, cinematic scope.

Black Panther (1998)
Widely considered one of the greatest Black Panther, this series written by Christopher Priest featured a heavy amount of political intrigue, social commentary, and adventure with a heavy focus on T’Challa as a public figure through the eyes of US government official Everett Ross.

Iron Man

Iron Man/Iron Man 2/Iron Man 3

The introduction to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as well as the hands-down best depiction of a comic character with Robert Downey, Jr.’s Tony Stark, the Iron Man films have been absolutely essential as the driving force of the Marvel Studios films.

What to read next

Iron Man (2004)
Written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by Adi Granov, the mid-2000s relaunch of Iron Man had a massive influence on the film depiction of Iron Man, including the more-functional armor design, updating Tony’s origin to be in Afghanistan, and the focus on being on the absolute bleeding edge of technology development. Also notable in that it introduces Extremis, a key element in Iron Man 3.

Invincible Iron Man (2008)
Written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Salvador Larroca, the first issue was released the same week as the first film, and has a similar grounded-yet-advanced feel. The main theme of the series is Tony desperately trying to keep his technology out of the hands of those who would use it for evil.

Iron Man: Demon in a Bottle (1979)
Written by David Michelinie & Bob Layton and illustrated by John Romita, Jr., Bob Layton, & Carmine Infantino, Demon in a Bottle is one of the quintessential Iron Man stories. Famous for Tony Stark nearly succumbing to, and overcoming alcoholism, which has become a major part of the character over the years. Also notable for being one of the first times that Jim Rhodes takes over for Tony as Iron Man, leading to him eventually gaining his own armor and identity as War Machine.

Captain America

Captain America: The First Avenger/Captain America: The Winter Soldier/Captain America: Civil War

Bringing pulpy action, twisty espionage thrills, and political intrigue, the Captain America films have been at the forefront of the Marvel Studios have been among the best in handling heavy themes like illegal government surveillance and corruption without sacrificing that essential sense of fun that Marvel Studios is famous for.

What to read next

Captain America (2005)
Written by Ed Brubaker, this run is easily one of the best of all time. Most famous for bringing former sidekick Bucky Barnes back from the dead as the assassin The Winter Soldier. This series was notable for having a darker, more grounded take on Captain America and SHIELD, with Brubaker applying his signature noir style to weave a modern classic story of espionage and intrigue.

Civil War (2006)
Written by Mark Millar and illustrated by Steve McNiven, this series gained national headlines at the time of its release for including themes such as government regulation of superpowers, as well as a number of major unexpected character reveals and deaths.

Secret Warriors (2009)
Written by Jonathan Hickman, this series featured Nick Fury waging a secret war against the evil organization Hydra, who as it turns out has been inside SHIELD from its inception. This series is Hickman at his intricate, espionage best: juggling multiple plots, having completely unexpected twists and turns, and resolving everything in an absolutely brilliant way.

Black Panther (2016)
Written by famed author Ta-Nehisi Coates, the current run on Black Panther has had a heavy focus on developing T’Challa’s homeland of Wakanda as a living, breathing place, as well as asking the question “if Wakanda is the most advanced nation on Earth, why does it still have a king?” Political intrigue, revolution, and Black Panther struggling to keep it all from collapse make this one of the best new titles, and a fantastic, new reader friendly take on the character.

Thor

Thor/Thor: The Dark World/Thor Ragnarok

Bringing a fantasy/Shakespearean element to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Thor films blend action, court intrigue, fantasy, and humor into a truly unique blend that has stood apart from the other MCU offerings.

What to read next

Thor (2007)
Bringing back Thor and Asgard after being dead in the comics for several years, J.M. Stracynzski’s Thor was unique in that it brought Asgard back in the middle of the empty plains of Oklahoma, leading to some excellent character and plot moments of the Asgardians interacting with the average townsfolk of Broxton. The balance of high fantasy with grounded, relateable characters makes this one of the best Thor runs in recent memory.

The Mighty Thor (2015)
Written by Jason Aaron, this run gained a lot of attention for introducing a new female Thor after the Odinson was deemed unworthy following the events of Original Sin. This series features the bright colors, bombastic action, and sense of humor found in 2017’s Thor Ragnarok.

Journey Into Mystery (2011)
Written by Kieron Gillen, this particular run of Journey Into Mystery focused on a young, reincarnated version of Loki as the protagonist. Incorporating themes such as the importance of mythology and the nature of storytelling, this series blended a smart self-awareness with Gillen’s signature wit and style. A must read for fans of the Asgardian part of the Marvel canon.

Planet Hulk (2011)
Written by legendary Hulk writer Greg Pak, this series heavily influenced the gladiator aspects of Thor Ragnarok, and featured a Spartacus-like story of Hulk rising from slave to gladiator to conqueror of a brutal alien world.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy/Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2

Marvel Studios biggest gamble to date paid off in spades with this amazing sci-fi/action/comedy about a mostly-unknown team of misfits banding together to save the galaxy against a massive threat. The combination of thrilling sci-fi action, hilarious moments, and genuine pathos set this apart as a completely unique entry to the Marvel Studios slate, which continued into the equally hilarious, thrilling, and heartfelt Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2.

What to read next

Guardians of the Galaxy (2008)
Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, this run influenced the film so much that “Based on Guardians of the Galaxy by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning” is included in the end credits. Starring the same team lineup from the movie as well as some new faces, this run combined sci-fi action, humor, and characterization into a grand space opera that is incredibly thrilling from start to finish, and one of the absolute best Marvel cosmic books.

Guardians of the Galaxy (2013)
Written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Steve McNiven & Sara Pichelli, this series took inspiration from the movie, with a similar team lineup and dynamic, as well as a grand space opera feel not unlike the Star Wars classic trilogy.

Nova (2013)
Starring teenager Sam Alexander, this series introduces a new generation of Nova. Blending classic Marvel teen superhero tropes with high-flying sci-fi action, Nova provides a unique perspective on cosmic adventures.

Silver Surfer (2015)
Written by Dan Slott with art by Mike and Laura Allred, this series has a heavy focus on fun, adventure, and cosmic goofiness with a healthy dose of Doctor Who-inspired whimsy. Following the cosmic adventures of the Silver Surfer and Earth girl Dawn Greenwood as they fly all over time and space, including the center of the universe, a space hotel made of millions of planets, and getting caught in a time loop, this series is thrilling and exciting from start to finish, with fantastic plotting, characterization, and some truly innovative artwork.

Ant-Man

Ant-Man

Another big gamble (and payoff) for Marvel Studios, Ant-Man is basically a mashup of heist films, comedies, and superhero movies. Adding to the broader history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe while still telling a very personal story, Ant-Man brings classic characters and concepts to the big screen.

What to read next

The Astonishing Ant-Man (2014)
Written by Nick Spencer, the style, characterization, and themes are very similar to the movie (comedy/heist elements, Scott Lang as Ant-Man with Hank Pym’s legacy overhead, Scott trying to provide for his daughter). This series combines characterization and comedy with great storytelling that is perfect for fans of the film.

Superior Foes of Spider-Man (2013)
Also written by Nick Spencer, this series is effectively the spiritual predecessor to Astonishing Ant-Man. Featuring a similar combination of wit and pathos, it features a group of D-List Spider-Man villains teaming up for a big score. It’s just a shame they’re too busy trying to stab each other in the back to effectively get ahead. If you never thought you’d be rooting for a group of loser supervillains, read this book and be pleasantly surprised.

The Incredible Hulk

The Incredible Hulk

An often-overlooked entry into the MCU, The Incredible Hulk still brought explosive action, style, and strong characterization, in addition to a lot of world-building.

What to read next

Planet Hulk (2006)
The ultimate “Hulk vs. everybody” story, Planet Hulk finds the jade giant shot off into space after the Illuminati determine him to be too big of a threat to global security. Hulk lands on an alien world and is cast into gladiator combat, where in a parallel to the classic film Spartacus, gathers a group of allies to fight their way to the top and overthrow their oppressors.

Hulk Visionaries: Peter David
Widely regarded as one of the greatest Hulk writers, Peter David’s run combined massive action with deeply introspective character moments, with large doses of humor throughout. Notable for introducing different versions of the Hulk, including the reintroduction of the Gray Hulk and the iconic Mr. Fixit.

Totally Awesome Hulk (2016)
A twist on the standard Hulk story, Totally Awesome Hulk features longtime Hulk ally and 7th smartest person in the world Amadeus Cho as the new Hulk. This series has huge, thrilling monster fights and Cho’s teenage goofiness, along with the struggles of keeping a rampaging beast contained.

Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange

The first introduction of magic and mysticism in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Doctor Strange follows the story of Dr. Stephen Strange, brilliant but arrogant neurosurgeon, as he goes from the top of his field to the lowest of lows after a car crash destroys the use of his hands. Desperate to fix himself, Strange spends his fortune and travels the globe looking for a solution, only to discover the mystical forces just outside of our normal view, and becomes Sorcerer Supreme, guardian of Earth against magical and extradimensional invaders.

What to read next

Doctor Strange (2015)
Written by Jason Aaron, this series introduces the reader to the everyday weirdness faced by Doctor Strange and his magical allies that’s always hiding just out of view. Featuring Aaron’s signature combination of excellent storytelling and characterization, Doctor Strange is portrayed as world-weary, yet still confident and a little cocky. Very accessible for new readers.

Doctor Strange: The Oath (2006)
Written by Brian K. Vaughan, The Oath focuses on Doctor Strange desperately trying to fulfill his oath as a doctor, Sorcerer Supreme, and friend when his loyal servant Wong is given a terminal diagnosis, as well as uncovering the identity of the person who attempted to kill him.

Strange (2004)
Written by J.M. Straczynski, Strange is a modern retelling of Doctor Strange’s origin. From his beginnings as an arrogant surgeon to his harrowing journey to find the Ancient One and learn the ways of the mystic, Strange is an excellent introduction to the Sorcerer Supreme.

Spider-Man Homecoming

Spider-Man Homecoming

Spinning out of his appearance in Captain America: Civil War, this first full entry of Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe finally nails the combination of characterization between Peter Park and Spider-Man, along with a great supporting cast (featuring a scene-stealing Ned Leeds and disturbingly intense Vulture), and enough references to plant it firmly in the MCU while standing well on its own.

What to read next

Ultimate Spider-Man (2000), Ultimate Comics Spider-Man (2009)
A modern retelling of the origin and early years of Spider-Man in Marvel’s Ultimate universe, this series redefined the character for a new era, and featured an excellent balance between teen drama with Peter Parker and superhero action as Spider-Man.

All-New Ultimate Comics Spider-Man (2011)
Following the death of Peter Parker, this series centers around Miles Morales, a New York kid of African American and Puerto Rican descent, who also ends up bitten by a genetically engineered spider and gaining powers. Unlike Peter Parker, Miles is a few years younger, and gains new powers including venom blasts and invisibility. The series follows his journey to live up to Peter’s legacy, while also balancing life as a superhero with that of a teenager.

Spider-Man (2016)
Following 2015’s Secret Wars event, this series finds Miles as part of the main Marvel Universe. Peter Parker has taken off worldwide with Parker Industries, leaving Miles as the main Spider-Man protecting New York City. With a supporting cast featuring Kamala Khan aka Ms. Marvel and Sam Alexander aka Nova, this series features the classic Ultimate Spider-Man formula of teen drama and superheroics with some new twists and turns.

Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man (2017)
Bringing things back to basics, this series written by Chip Zdarsky finds Peter Parker back to New York City where he takes on foes both old and new, teaming up with heroes such as Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, and Riri Williams aka Ironheart, as well as appearances by J. Jonah Jameson and Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin of Crime!

Spidey (2015)
Featuring untold stories from Spider-Man’s early years, this series brings an old-school superhero sensibility with some modern twists.

TV Series

Jessica Jones

Jessica Jones

Smart, witty, dark, and unabashedly feminist, Jessica Jones introduced the flawed-yet-likable title character to the MCU with an intensely personal story of overcoming the horrors of your past and living up to your fullest potential.

What to read next

Alias: AKA Jessica Jones (2001)
As equally witty and dark as the show it inspired, Alias provided a unique view into the seedy underbelly of the Marvel Universe while developing Jessica as a strong but deeply flawed character. (Note: This series was published under Marvel’s MAX mature readers line, so parental discretion is strongly advised).

The Pulse (2004)
The successor to Alias, The Pulse featured Jessica Jones working at The Pulse, a subsection of the Daily Bugle focused on the superhero goings-on in New York. Notable for further developing the relationship between Jessica and Luke Cage, including the birth of their daughter.

New Avengers (2010)
The 2010 relaunch of New Avengers featured Luke Cage as the new team leader, with him, Jessica, and their daughter moving into the rebuilt Avengers mansion. This series saw even more development of Jessica and Luke’s relationship, with her struggling with balancing motherhood and superheroics.

Jessica Jones (2016)
Her first solo series in a decade, this new ongoing takes Jessica back to her PI roots of the gritty underworld of the Marvel Universe.

Daredevil

Daredevil

Marvel’s first foray into the Netflix prestige series format, Daredevil introduced MCU fans to the gritty underworld not previously seen onscreen. The series hints at the larger universe while taking place in a world all of its own. Combining thrilling martial arts action and hints of mysticism, Daredevil on Netflix is one of the strongest onscreen depictions of a Marvel property to date.

What to read next

Daredevil (2001)
Widely regarded as one of the best Daredevil runs of all time, Brian Michael Bendis consistently put Matt Murdock through the wringer in this incredibly gritty run that returned Daredevil to the crime noir roots planted by Frank Miller in the early 1980s. This series delves deep into Matt’s mental state as he is pushed to the absolute limits, but shows the resiliency and heart that he’s famous for.

Daredevil (2011)
A huge contrast to so many other Daredevil runs, Mark Waid’s Daredevil much more swashbuckling action-adventure than gritty, self-loathing. This run combines a unique visual style by artists such as Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin (including an incredibly cool depiction of Daredevil’s radar sense) with Mark Waid’s wonderful balance of action, drama, humor, and heart to provide a consistently great experience from start to finish.

Daredevil (1979)
The defining Daredevil run, Frank Miller took Daredevil’s Silver Age goofiness and injected it with a ton of crime drama grit with a heavy dose of noir. This series introduced numerous character-defining elements such as Matt’s Catholicism, the incorporation of ninja mysticism, and rebuilding Daredevil’s villains as more nuanced and dangerous, while still maintaining a grounded, noir feel.

Luke Cage

Luke Cage

First introduced to the MCU in 2015’s Jessica Jones, Luke Cage takes the bulletproof hero uptown to Harlem where he tangles with crime lords, arms dealers, shady politicians, and more, while exploring topical subjects like African American identity and masculinity, corrupt authorities, and family secrets. Stylish with a distinct sense of 70s cool, with the most overt references to the greater MCU, this series brings a slick hip-hop sensibility to the Netflix corner of the Marvel Universe.

What to read next

Power Man and Iron Fist (2016)
Focusing on the now (mostly) straight-laced family man Luke Cage and the still let’s-beat-up-the-bad-guys Iron Fist reuniting the Heroes for Hire to protect the city from gangsters, magic and otherwise. Featuring a heavy hip-hop influence, this is Marvel’s premier buddy-action duo at their goofy best, and that’s no fiddle-faddle.

Mighty Avengers/Captain America and the Mighty Avengers (2013)
Spinning out of the Infinity crossover event, this newest team of Avengers comes together when the main team is off-world, and nobody else is there to defend against Thanos and his crew of villains. Setting up shop in the repurposed Gem Theater in Harlem, Luke Cage leads this new team of street level heroes, with their hotline open to anyone

Luke Cage, Hero for Hire (1972)
Where it all started: wrongfully imprisoned Carl Lucas undergoes a dangerous prison experiment, granting him super strength and unbreakable skin. He heads to Harlem, New York, and sets up shop as a Hero for Hire, busting up gangs and fighting the good fight for the little guy.

Luke Cage (2017)
The latest series starring the unbreakable man. This series finds Luke as he learns of the death of the doctor who gave him his indestructible skin, and subsequently goes to New Orleans to discover that he wasn’t the only product of the experiments that created him.

Iron Fist

Iron Fist

The final entry in the Netflix corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe before the big Defenders team-up event, Iron Fist follows Danny Rand, son of wealth and privilege, as he returns home after being presumed dead for 15 years. In his time away he was raised as a warrior in the mystical city of K’un-Lun, sharpening his body and mind to become the Iron Fist, Living Weapon and sworn protector of K’Un-Lun. Upon his return, he quickly falls into a web of shady deals, family secrets, and secret evil organizations threatening to destroy society as we know it.

What to read next

The Immortal Iron Fist (2006)
Widely regarded as one of the best takes on the character, this run, initially written by Matt Fraction and Ed Brubaker with art by David Aja expanded the origin and background of Iron Fist, making Danny the current in a long line of Immortal Weapons. Blending gritty, street-level action with a strong sense of mysticism (as well as Fraction’s distinct sense of characterization and humor he’d later use in his Hawkeye series), this series brings a thrilling, modern take on the character.

Power Man & Iron Fist (2016)
The boys are back in town as the best friends and former Heroes For Hire Luke Cage and Danny Rand, the Immortal Iron Fist, team up to protect Harlem from all threats, including demonically-possessed former employees, revamped gangsters, and the resurrected son of former West Coast crime bosses.

Iron Fist (2017)
K’un-Lun has been destroyed, and Danny desperately travels the brutal underworld fighting rings around the world as he seeks to reconnect with the chi that powers the legendary Iron Fist. In this journey, he is taken to a deadly island and forced to fight in a series of matches organized by a mysterious group seeking the power of K’un-Lun for themselves. Reminiscent of classic 70s Kung Fu movies, this series is a must read for fans of martial arts, gritty action, and a touch of mysticism.

Power Man and Iron Fist: Heroes For Hire (1978)
Marvel’s original buddy action duo teams up the unbreakable Luke Cage, Power Man with the mystical master of Kung Fu, Danny Rand, the Iron Fist. As the Heroes For Hire, they’ll take on any job, no matter how dangerous, as long as the check clears.

Iron Fist (1974)
The original stories of Danny Rand, son of privilege, Kung Fu master, and wielder of the immensely powereful Iron Fist. Returning to his home of New York after years in the mystical city of K’un-Lun following a plane crash that left him orphaned, it’s wall-to-wall King Fu action as Iron Fist faces down ninja assassins, death cults, and more, while teaming up with allies Colleen Wing and Misty Knight aka the Daughters of the Dragon.

The Defenders

The Defenders

The culmination of the first four Netflix series, The Defenders finds Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist being forced to team up and save New York from the Hand as they seek to destroy the city and kill millions of people.

What to read next

The Defenders (2017)
Inspired by the Netflix series, this ongoing series features the foursome teaming up to fight major street-level threats, including powerful underworld forces, the Kingpin of Crime, and a certain skull-clad antihero.

The Punisher

The Punisher

Spinning out of the second season of Daredevil, The Punisher finds Frank Castle at the end of his mission of unrelenting brutality against the people who killed his family. Seeking a quiet, peaceful life, Frank is soon embroiled in a conspiracy of secrets, lies, and violence dating back to his time fighting in Afghanistan in the Marine Corps. A surprisingly thoughtful take on the nature of violence, treatment of veterans, PTSD, and grief, this series combines high-octane action with introspection and pathos.

What to read next

Marvel Knights: The Punisher (2000)
One of Garth Ennis’ defining runs on the character, this series centers around Frank Castle and his brutal one-man war against crime. Combining Ennis’ unique blend of violence, characterization, and pitch-black humor, this series set the style and tone for Ennis’ subsequent Punisher runs for much of the 2000s.

Punisher Born (2003)
This four issue miniseries follows Frank Castle through the jungles of Vietnam as he goes from USMC captain to the walking embodiment of death and destruction that he would later become.
(note: this miniseries was published under the Marvel MAX line and is absolutely not for kids)

Punisher MAX (2004)
Ennis’ other defining take on the character, this series dialed up the grit and brutality and dropped the goofiness found in the Marvel Knights series, with only small cameos from characters such as Nick Fury and Microchip. This series featured a much older Frank Castle, who has been active for decades, and often includes references to major real world events such as the War on Terror, corporate crimes, conflicts in the Balkans, in a decidedly much more grounded take on the character.

PunisherMAX (2010)
Written by Jason Aaron, this series combined elements of Garth Ennis’ runs while taking place in the current Marvel Universe, featuring Frank fighting against MAX versions of familiar supervillains.

The Punisher (2011)
Written by Greg Rucka and taking place firmly in the Marvel Universe (and shedding the adults-only MAX label) and featuring cameos from characters such as Daredevil and Spider-Man, this series focuses heavily on those surrounding and affected by his actions. Frank ends up teaming with Rachel Cole, a fellow former Marine and grief-stricken wife whose husband was killed on their wedding day.

Runaways

Runaways

A group of Los Angeles teenagers from affluent families discover that their parents are supervillains and part of a secret group called The Pride. They make this discovery as they accidentally see their parents kill a teen runaway as part of a ritual sacrifice ceremony, and are forced to band together using their unique abilities, newly-discovered powers, and family secrets (including a genetically-engineered dinosaur!) to stop their parents’ reign of crime and terror.

What to read next

Runaways (2003)
Written by Brian K. Vaughan, this series introduced the LA teens to the world as they make the horrifying discovery about their parents. Their adventures include meeting Skrull royalty, running headlong with the Avengers (featuring Wolverine getting into superpowered Molly’s face and the hilarious results), and fighting the son of a legendary Marvel villain. Combining teen drama, superpowers, comedy, and romance, this is one of the defining teen superhero comics of the last couple decades.

Runaways (2017)
Written by Rainbow Rowell and featuring art by Kris Anka, this series finds the surviving members of the Runaways as they try to put their lives back together and face new threats.

Agents of SHIELD

Agents of SHIELD

Tying into the background of the films (including a turning point based around the climax of Captain America: The Winter Soldier), Agents of SHIELD features presumed-dead Agent Phil Coulson and his secret team of spies, soldiers, and scientists as they fight the forces of Hydra and other villainous elements of the MCU.

What to read next

Agents of SHIELD (2016)
Written by Mark Waid, the Agents of SHIELD comic series introduced the characters of the show into the main comics universe, interacting with characters and elements never before seen onscreen (including an early cameo from Howard the Duck!).

Secret Warriors (2009)
It only makes sense that a TV series starring a presumed-dead agent and his covert team of operatives waging a secret war against Hydra would borrow elements from Jonathan Hickman’s espionage thriller Secret Warriors. Much like the show, this series takes place in the background of major events of the greater universe.

Posted July 19, 2016 by Patrick

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New Reader Guide: Valiant Comics

Welcome to the Austin Books & Comics New Reader Guide! We’re here to introduce some of our favorite books that you may not already know about, and maybe even help you find your next favorite comic series!

Valiant Comics

Since their relaunch in 2012, Valiant (give ‘em a follow on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr!) has been putting out top-quality comics in a tight, shared universe that has garnered consistent critical acclaim. Some books regularly cross over or feature characters from other books, while others are pretty much entirely independent. They have a wide variety of genres, from political action-thrillers, high-concept sci-fi, supernatural romance, and buddy action-comedies, so there’s something for everyone!

All titles are available at the store, and if not we will be happy to special order them for you!

Ongoing/Collected Titles

Archer & Armstrong

Archer & Armstrong

Obadiah Archer is a naive assassin raised in an fundamentalist cult called the Dominion, part of a larger conspiracy of groups called The Sect who aim to take over the world. Aram Anni-Padda, aka Armstrong, is a 6,000 year old immortal warrior who is more content drinking, reading poetry, and palling around with artists. Archer is sent out by his parents to kill Armstrong and gather the parts of the Boon, which granted Armstrong and his brothers immortality, only to learn the truth about his parents’ evil plans. Together they travel the world fighting the various arms of the Sect, including a Wall Street death cult called the 1% and psychic Nazi Tibetan Monks.

Genres: Action, adventure, comedy
For fans of: Globetrotting adventure, social/pop culture satire, mismatched buddy action-comedies, Marvel’s The Incredible Hercules, The Venture Brothers
Number of volumes: 7

A&A: The Adventures of Archer & Armstrong

A&A: The Adventures of Archer & Armstrong

The continuing adventures of Valiant’s mismatched pairing of a drunken immortal warrior and his super-polite assassin best friend. The new series finds Armstrong reminiscing about an old friend, so he dives deep into his magic bag to retrieve an old bottle of whiskey (Lagavulin 1907, to be precise). Along the way he gets captured by the mad party god Bacchus, who has been trapped in the bag for millennia and now commands armies of goblins and monsters. Archer discovers his friend is missing and dives straight into the weirdness contained within Armstrong’s bag.
Genres: Action, adventure, comedy, fantasy

For fans of: The Venture Brothers, Cartoony action, buddy action-comedies, bizarre adventures with goofy new characters
Number of volumes: 3

Bloodshot

Bloodshot

Bloodshot is an amnesiac soldier, enhanced with nanomachines that give him a variety of abilities including enhanced strength, speed, and the capability to withstand and recover from an ungodly amount of damage. For years he was used by the private military corporation Project Rising Spirit as the perfect weapon for a variety of black operations. On one mission he was captured by a rogue PRS scientist who revealed the truth to him. Now, Bloodshot seeks revenge on the people who manipulated him for years, as well as redemption for all of the atrocities committed while under PRS’ control.

Genres: Action, political thriller, military sci-fi
For fans of: smart, exciting action movies, Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Comic and film), the Bourne films
Number of volumes: 6

Bloodshot Reborn

Bloodshot Reborn

Following the events of The Valiant, Bloodshot is a shadow of his former self. Eager to escape the violence and chaos of his past life but still plagued by nightmares of the atrocities he has committed, he works as a handyman in a small-town motel. He is reluctantly pulled back into action when a rash of mass shootings occurs committed by people with white skin and red circles on their chests.

Genres: Action, thriller
For fans of: smart, exciting action movies, psychological thrillers, redemption stories, Old Man Logan, The Punisher
Number of volumes: 4

Bloodshot Salvation

Bloodshot Salvation

After the events of Bloodshot USA, Ray Garrison, the man formely known as Bloodshot, has finally found peace with his love Magic and their baby daughter Jessie. But when Magic’s horrific family creeps back into the picture, Bloodshot is once again called back to his old life of violence in the name of protecting his family. Also, in the near future, Bloodshot is missing and Magic and Jessie are hunted relentlessly by agents of Omen (risen from the ashes of Project Rising Spirit) including the sinister super soldier Rampage, an evil mirror image of Bloodshot.

Genres: Action, thriller
For fans of: smart, exciting action movies, Taken, family dramas, Logan (movie), Lone Wolf and Cub
Number of volumes: 3

Eternal Warrior

Eternal Warrior

For 6,000 years Gilad Anni-Padda, the youngest and bravest of the three immortal Anni-Padda brothers, has fought at the behest of the Geomancer, who can speak with the spirit of the Earth itself. After millenia of constant warfare, he has grown weary and simply wants to live a quiet life in peace. However, for the Eternal Warrior, the battle is never far behind.

Genres: Action, adventure, fantasy
For fans of: 300, historical action/drama
Number of volumes: 3

Wrath of the Eternal Warrior

Wrath of the Eternal Warrior

Following the events of Book of Death, Eternal Warrior Gilad Anni-Padda finds himself in a foreign yet familiar place far beyond the reaches of life and time itself. Surrounded by strange, evil forces and an overwhelming sense of dread, he sets out to return to the world of the living.

Genres: Action, supernatural
For fans of: action, horror
Number of volumes: 3

Faith

Faith

Spinning out of the pages of Harbinger and Unity, fan favorite Faith Herbert aka Zephyr is setting out on her own to discover what it means to be a solo superhero. Hiding her identity as mild-mannered blogger Summer Smith, the high-flying fangirl heads out to Los Angeles where in between stopping muggers and puppy-nappers she uncovers a deep-rooted alien conspiracy.

Genres: Action, superhero
For fans of: Ms. Marvel, bright, fun, and positive superheroics, stories with a strong female lead
Number of volumes: 4

Generation Zero

Generation Zero

Raised by the paramilitary corporation Project Rising Spirit to be psychic weapons, the group of psiot teens known as Generation Zero have escaped and gone underground. Now they’ve sworn to use their powers to protect each other, as well as to fight for a generation without a future.

Genres: Action, teen drama, sci-fi
For fans of: Runaways, the A-Team, Stranger Things, Doom Patrol
Number of volumes: 2

Harbinger

Harbinger

Peter Stanchek is a psiot, an individual with incredible psychic powers. He is recruited into the Harbinger Foundation by Toyo Harada, a rich philanthropist and easily the most powerful psiot ever. Peter is horrified to learn of Harada’s methods and intentions of global domination. He escapes and recruits a team to fight against Harada: Kris, a brilliant childhood friend with no powers; Torque, a disabled young man whose psychic powers make him appear as a big, strong, superhero; Flamingo, a woman who can create and manipulate fire; and Faith, a full-figured, confident, geeky young woman who can fly.

Genres: Action, teen drama, sci-fi
For fans of: Runaways, a darker, more grounded take on the X-Men
Number of volumes: 6

Harbinger Renegade

Harbinger Renegade

In the fallout of the events of the end of Harbinger, the Renegades are scattered. Peter is gone, and with all of the Harbinger Foundation’s secrets out in the open, psiots with amazing powers are appearing right and left. However, the already-dangerous nature of psiot activation is made even more deadly by untrained builders using DIY systems. With a new, darker threat on the horizon, the Renegades must regroup and fight back against the coming storm.

Genres: Action, teen drama, sci-fi
For fans of: Runaways, a darker, more grounded take on the X-Men
Number of volumes: 2

Imperium

Imperium

Following the events of Harbinger, all-powerful psiot Toyo Harada decides to take a more active role in the shaping his vision of humanity’s future. Gathering an incredible force including a genetically engineered Vine assassin, a former terrorist-turned-super-soldier, a pacifist killer robot, and an amoral interdimensional scientist, Harada begins his “battle for Utopia,” which he is determined to win at any cost.

Genres: Action, sci-fi, political thriller
For fans of: Warren Ellis’ Thunderbolts, villains who believe that they’re the hero
Number of volumes: 3

Ivar, Timewalker

Ivar, Timewalker

Ivar, the oldest and wisest of the three immortal Anni-Padda brothers, can track small holes in space-time that he uses to travel through time. Dr. Neela Sethi is a brilliant young physicist working at CERN who discovers time travel. Their paths cross immediately before she makes this discovery, and they end up teaming with Ivar’s brothers Armstrong and Gilad, traveling across space and time, including (not) killing Hitler, the end of all time, alternate timelines, and the 41st century. Did I mention clown vikings? Because clown vikings.

Genres: Adventure, comedy, sci-fi
For fans of: Doctor Who, exciting adventures with a lot of humor
Number of volumes: 3

Ninjak

Ninjak

Colin King aka Ninjak is a British aristocrat and one of MI-6’s top intelligence agents. His solo book follows his hunt for the Shadow Seven, an international criminal cabal connected the people who trained him to be the world-class operative/assassin that he is today, as well as his formative years as a child and later as a new recruit with MI-6.

Genres: Action, adventure, spy thriller
For fans of: the James Bond films, Batman, high-tech spy action
Number of volumes: 5

Ninjak

Ninja-K

Colin King is the latest in a long line of elite ninja agents trained and operated by the British government, dating back to the first World War. The past and present of the Ninja Programme will collide when numerous past ninja agents are killed one by one by a mysterious assailaint, and only Ninjak can stop it.

Genres: Action, adventure, spy thriller
For fans of: the James Bond films, Batman, high-tech spy action, conspiracy thrillers
Number of volumes: 2

Quantum and Woody

Quantum and Woody

Straight-laced Eric and sleazy con man Woody are estranged foster brothers, brought back together by the murder of their father. During their investigation they end up accidentally gaining amazing powers, but have to KLANG their wristbands together every 24 hours or they will de-atomize completely. Eric, calling himself Quantum, is determined to be a superhero, while Woody is more focused on using his powers for fame and fortune. Throughout their misadventures they run afoul of everyone from separatist militias to a Thomas Edison-founded super science terrorist organization.

Genres: Action, comedy, satire
For fans of: Psych, The Venture Brothers, buddy action comedies, political/social satire, equally crass and heartfelt characterization
Number of volumes: 4

Quantum and Woody (2017)

Quantum and Woody (2017)

Dysfunctional superhero brothers Eric (aka Quantum) and Woody Henderson have become estranged, living separate lives but still (begrudgingly) meeting up once every 24 hours to KLANG their wristbands together. The cause of their estrangement? Eric discovered the identity and whereabouts of Woody’s birth father, but kept that to himself. Wackiness and brotherly hijinks ensue when Woody teams up with a questionable-at-best organization who promises he can be free of Eric forever if he helps them steal an ultra-secret item from a government facility, where Eric happens to be a security guard.

Genres: Action, comedy
For fans of: Arrested Development, The Venture Brothers, buddy action comedies
Number of volumes: 2

Rai

Rai

Witness the future of the Valiant Universe in the 41st century. Japan was built up and developed into a massive pillar, which detached from Earth and is now an orbiting station home to billions of people. New Japan is run by a benevolent artificial intelligence called Father, and the nation itself has divided into sectors based on social hierarchy. Enforcing Father’s justice is the near-mythic figure Rai, the spirit guardian of New Japan, who is called to investigate the first murder in centuries.

Genres: Action, sci-fi
For fans of: futuristic/cyberpunk sci-fi, Japanese culture, Akira, The Matrix, Appleseed, Ghost in the Shell
Number of volumes: 4

Shadowman

Shadowman

Jack Boniface has inherited his late father’s role as the Shadowman, a supernatural guardian against the forces of Master Darque and the Deadside. The gritty underworld of New Orleans will become a supernatural battleground as Jack struggles to live up to his father’s legacy and preventing the forces of darkness from running rampant on the world of the living.

Genres: Horror, action
For fans of: horror with a voodoo/Cajun bent, Supernatural (TV series)
Number of volumes: 5

Shadowman

Shadowman (2018)

Having returned from the Deadside, Jack Boniface is ready to reclaim his title as the supernatural defender Shadowman. As it turns out, he’s the latest in a long line of Shadowmen, dating back to the mid-19th century when the mystical loa bonded with his ancestor and fated Jack to his destiny.

Genres: Horror, action
For fans of: horror with a voodoo/Cajun bent, Supernatural (TV series)
Number of volumes: 1

Unity

Unity

The team of machine-talking psiot Livewire, Gilad Anni-Padda the Eternal Warrior, MI-6 operative Colin King aka Ninjak, and Aric of Dacia aka X-O Manowar unite to use their unique skills to counter global threats to humanity, including psychic terrorist sleeper cells, intergalactic alien hunters, and Toyo Harada himself.

Genres: Action, sci-fi
For fans of: The Avengers, Justice League, team books, non-stop action
Number of volumes: 7

X-O Manowar

X-O Manowar

Aric of Dacia is a 5th century Visigoth warrior. Brave, noble, but brash to a fault, he was on the verge of leading his people to sack Rome. Immediately before the final push, he was kidnapped by a scout team of aliens known as the Vine. Along with several of his fellow Visigoths as well as other humans from around the world, he was enslaved and tortured for years until he stole the Vine’s sacred X-O Manowar armor and returned to Earth. However, due to time dilation from lightspeed travel, 1600 years had passed and he was now in the present. A man out of time and equipped with invincible power armor, Aric declares himself protector of Earth against all threats.

Genres: Action, sci-fi
For fans of: “Man out of time” tropes, fast-paced storytelling, the idea of how a superpowered person would shift global politics
Number of volumes: 13

X-O Manowar

X-O Manowar (2017)

On a distant world, the weary Aric of Earth tries to find peace, far away from the war and strife that has followed him his entire life. However, when he is conscripted into action to fight a war between two long-warring factions, the man once known as X-O Manowar will once again don the unstoppable alien armor and rise from soldier to general to emperor.

Genres: Action, sci-fi, war
For fans of: space operas, The Longest Day, fantasy, Star Wars
Number of volumes (to date): 4

Event/Limited Series

4001 AD

4001 AD

After a failed attempt to overthrow Father and free New Japan from his despotic rule, Rai finds himself exiled to a barren and desolate Earth. However, he won’t be alone, with allies including a much older and wiser Eternal Warrior and a gigantic power armor derived from the original X-O Manowar. The fight for the future begins in 4001 AD.

Genres: Action, sci-fi
For fans of: Akira, Appleseed, Ghost in the Shell, futuristic sci-fi, cyberpunk, revolution stories

Armor Hunters

Armor Hunters

The Armor Hunters are a corps of elite soldiers, gathered to stop the growing spread of unstoppable power armors across the universe. Their hunt leads them to Earth and puts not only X-O Manowar, but all of humanity in the crosshairs.

Genres: Action, sci-fi, crossovers
For fans of: Sci-fi action on an epic scale

Bloodshot USA

Bloodshot USA

In the fallout of Bloodshot Island (Bloodshot Reborn #14-18), Project Rising Spirit has initiated the next phase of their Deathmate project: infecting Manhattan with a nano-virus that turns regular people into unstoppable Bloodshot drones! Bloodshot and Bloodshot Squad (old Bloodshots from wars gone by) must lead the most dangerous invasion ever on American soul to save New York and the world itself!

Genres: Action, sci-fi
For fans of: smart, exciting action movies, The Rock (film), The Punisher

Book of Death

Book of Death

Following the events of The Valiant, the Earth seems to be rebelling against humanity, with bizarre natural disasters killing hundreds of people. Having brought a young Geomancer named Tama from the distant future to the present day, Gilad Anni-Padda consults her knowledge of future events in order to stop the death and destruction caused by the Earth itself.

Genres: Action, fantasy
For fans of: crossovers, fast-paced event books with major consequences

Britannia

Britannia

At the height of Nero’s reign of the Roman Empire, “Detectioner” and Legionnaire Antonius Axia is sent to the farthest reaches of the Empire to investigate the reports of strange events coming from the isle of Britannia. On the fringes of civilization he will face unimaginable horrors that blur the line between real and nightmare.

Genres: Action, horror, mystery, crime noir
For fans of: psychological thrillers, historical action, pulp detective stories

Britannia: We Who Are About To Die

Britannia: We Who are About To Die

As Rome’s leading (and only) detectioner, Antonius Axia is dispatched by Nero to investigate a string of gruesome murder of Roman nobility, the only connection between them being a bloody statue of Apollo found at each of the murder sites. Meanwhile, a fierce woman gladiator is only a few victories away from earning her freedom, stirring up whispers of uprising in the empire.

Genres: Action, horror, mystery, crime noir
For fans of: Gladiator (film), psychological thrillers, historical action, pulp detective stories, Roman mythology

Britannia: Lost Eagles of Rome

Britannia: Lost Eagles of Rome

When three of Rome’s finest legions are soundly defeated by Germanic barbarian hordes and the eagle standards they carried signifying them as mighty Roman troops are stolen, the mad emperor Nero dispatches detectioner Antonius Axia and his companion, the former gladiatrix Achillia to recover the lost symbols. Their journey leads them to the depths of terror and madness in the woodlands of Tottenwald as they discover the true power of the lost eagles.

Genres: Action, horror, mystery
For fans of: psychological thrillers, historical action, Roman mythology, H.P. Lovecraft

Dead Drop

Dead Drop

Four interconnected stories follow the unlikely grouping of X-O Manowar, Archer, Detective Cejudo, Beta-Max, and MI-6 operative Neville Alcott as they desperately pursue a courier carrying a deadly alien virus across New York City. If they don’t catch the virus before it’s released, it’s the end of all life on Earth as we know it.

Genres: Action
For fans of: fast-paced non-stop action

The Delinquents

The Delinquents

Conspiracy-busting best pals Archer & Armstrong team up with the World’s Worst Superhero Team of Quantum & Woody in a cross-crountry adventure to find a massive hoard of hobo treasure while preventing it from falling into the wrong hands. Using an ass-map. Yes, really.

Genres: Adventure, comedy
For fans of: crossovers, road trip comedies, The Venture Brothers, team-up stories

Divinity

Divinity

Decades ago, Abram Adams was the USSR’s top candidate selected for a top-secret program that would not only beat the Americans into space, but to the farthest reaches of the galaxy. He was lost, presumed dead, and erased from the history books. Now he has returned in the present with the powers of a god.

Genres: Sci-fi
For fans of: smart sci-fi, 2001: A Space Odyssey

Divinity II

Divinity II

In the first Divinity miniseries, a trio of cosmonauts were sent to the furthest depths of space. One of them returned with godlike powers, threatening to shift the balance of world affairs. Now another has returned, and is setting her sights on using her immense powers to restore Mother Russia to her former Soviet glory.

Genres: Sci-fi, political thriller
For fans of: classic sci-fi, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Cold War thrillers

Divinity III: Stalinverse

Divinity III: Stalinverse

Following the events of Divinity II, the world as we know it has changed. The Soviet Union won the Cold War and now rules and globe with an iron fist, their rule enforced by the nanite-enhanced Komandar Bloodshot, alien armored champion Aric, Son of the Revolution, and the godlike cosmonaut Myshka. Amongst all this, Soviet Agent Colin King remembers a world of heroes, and seeks out the omnipotent Divinity to restore the world to normal.

Genres: Sci-fi, political thriller
For fans of: smart sci-fi, alternate history, Cold War thrillers

Eternity

Eternity

Outside of our known universe of space and time, a parallel realm has developed full of mystery and wonder, linked intangibly but irrevocably to our own. What are these links, and what do its inhabitants want with the son of Abram Adams, the being known as Divinity? Join Abram and his companion Myshka as the venture into the infinite realm and encounter the Unknown itself, source of their godlike powers.

Genres: Sci-fi
For fans of: smart sci-fi, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Moebius/Jodorowsky, Kirby and Ditko’s psychedelic work in the 1970s

 The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage

The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage

Shan Fong, better known as Doctor Mirage, has the ability to talk to the dead, a gift she uses to help solve murders and bring peace to the grieving. Sadly, the only one she can’t communicate with is her recently-deceased husband Hwen. Shan embarks on a journey into the world of the dead in the hopes of finding her lost love, before he is truly lost forever.

Genres: Supernatural, horror, romance, drama
For fans of: supernatural romance, strong female leads, varying ways people deal with grief

Doctor Mirage: Second Lives

The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage: Second Lives

Following the events of the first miniseries, Shan and Hwen Fong are searching for some way to restore Hwen to his physical form. They discover an ancient, obscure spell that can do exactly that, only to find that it accompanied by an unspeakable evil that threatens to destroy both the living and the dead.

Genres: Supernatural, horror, romance, action, drama
For fans of: romance, strong female leads, Supernatural (TV series)

Faith and the Future Force

Faith and the Future Force

Time itself is unraveling as a mysterious foe is destroying the threads of history, throwing all of reality into chaos. Dr. Neela Sethi, Timewalker, recruits LA’s own high-flying fangirl Faith and they set out on an epic mission across all of space and time to prevent everything that is, was, or ever will be from being destroyed.

Genres: Action, sci-fi
For fans of: strong female leads, time travel

Harbinger Wars

Harbinger Wars

Bloodshot and the psiot children rescued from Project Rising Spirit, Toyo Harada and the Harbinger Foundation, the group of psiots known as Generation Zero, Peter Stanchek and his Renegades, and the advanced paramilitary force of Project Rising Spirit all come crashing together on the Las Vegas Strip in the first Valiant crossover, featuring the casts of Bloodshot and Harbinger.

Genres: Action, sci-fi, crossovers
For fans of: Large scale action

Harbinger Wars II

Harbinger Wars II

With the sudden surge in the number of active psiots following the release of the Harbinger Foundation’s data, the government dispatches the paramilitary organization Omen and their H.A.R.D. Corps unit to stem the tide. Meanwhile, the Harbinger Renegades have been building a force of psiots with astonishing abilities to stand up against the oppression brought down by Omen and their army of thugs. This also draws the attention of X-O Manowar, having just returned from his own odyssey of war and struggle on a distant world. Still more, Amanda McKee aka Livewire sees the growing threat of Omen and must choose between her allegiance to the government and her own team of Secret Weapons. In the ensuing chaos, Bloodshot and Ninjak are dispatched to stop Livewire at all costs.

Genres: Action, sci-fi, crossovers
For fans of: Large scale action

Rapture #1

Rapture

In the mysterious and dangerous realm known as the Deadside, Tama the Geomancer of Earth must gather the eclectic team of Ninjak, Shadowman, and Punk Mambo to stop an ancient foe from breaking through to the walls of heaven and destroy all of creation.

Genres: Action, adventure, fantasy
For fans of: Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones

Savage

Savage

In the past, world-famous soccer star Kevin Sauvage, his wife Veronica, and their infant son Kevin, Jr. crash land on an uncharted island. However the island is far from deserted… Deep in the jungles lie monstrous reptilian horrors from the prehistoric era! The family must struggle not only to survive, but to retain their very humanity. Today, Kevin, Jr. is alone on the island, struggling day-to-day to survive and fighting off vicious dinosaurs at every turn.

Genres: Adventure, action, horror
For fans of: dinosaur action, the Savage Land, survival/castaway stories

Secret Weapons

Secret Weapons

The technopath hero Livewire, in an effort to fight evil and protect the innocent, recruits a team of psiots with seemingly useless powers: a girl who can talk to birds, a young man who can make anything appear but with no control over what appears or when, and a man who can make anything glow with a soft green light. Drawn out by the killer mechanical horror known as Rex-O, Livewire’s team will realize their full potential and show that no matter how useless, their powers can make a world of difference.

Genres: Action, sci-fi
For fans of: misfit superhero teams, Misfits (TV series), Runaways

The Valiant

The Valiant

For 6,000 years during his time as the Eternal Warrior, Gilad Anni-Padda has faced the Immortal Enemy three times. Three times he has failed, which led to the Geomancer dying and Earth being plunged into a new dark age. This time, he won’t be fighting alone. Valiant’s major event of 2014 brings together every major hero of the Valiant Universe, with a main focus on Bloodshot and the Eternal Warrior.

Genres: Action, adventure, horror
For fans of: fast-paced event books with lasting consequences

Valiant High

Valiant High

A re-imagining of the heroes and villains of the Valiant universe as high school students and their teachers. X-O Manowar as the hotshot quarterback, Livewire and Faith as the lead besties, Ninjak as the mysterious new foreign exchange student, Bloodshot as the overly-intense gym coach, among others. Laughs, thrills, and romance abound, and you never know who will turn up in the halls at Valiant High!

Genres: Comedy, romance
For fans of: Archie, Ms. Marvel, Teen Titans GO!

The Valiant

War Mother

2,000 years in the future, a lone warrior and her sentient sniper rifle are all that stand between a peaceful village in the jungles of former Central America and a violent end at the hands and claws and fangs of unspeakable mutant horrors that lie just beyond the walls.

Genres: Action, adventure, sci-fi
For fans of: strong female leads, Mad Max: Fury Road

Posted July 11, 2016 by Patrick

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