I’ve gradually been leading my wife into the nerd world over the past few years. It was slow to start, but once she saw Robert Downey Jr. portray a pretty amazing Iron Man/Tony Stark, and then discovered the magic of Tom Hiddleston and Benedict Cumberbatch, she’s been rocketing past me in fandom at a fairly brisk pace.
And really, who can blame her?
Recently, she decided that investing in the Avengers movie/television universes wasn’t nearly enough, so we’re now getting into some Marvel comics. I wasn’t about to argue with her logic.
Just a bit of background, once upon a time, I used to collect tons of Marvel comics. I was a huge Marvel fan, especially anything Wolverine, and have stacks of comics in storage (including some classic favorites, Wolverine #50, #75, and #100!). I stopped collecting around college, when money was tight (and any extra cash at the time was feeding my Magic: the Gathering habit) and never picked it back up again. In more recent years, I’ve been reading a ton of DC comics because my boss is a huge DC fan and started bringing them all in so we could read them over lunch breaks.
What we really needed more than anything were quality starting points. Luckily, Marvel has done something really smart now that they have immensely popular movies out. They’ve started a lot of series over at number 1 to give people some vantage point from which they can springboard into various storyarcs of popular characters. Another smart thing they’ve done is bring in some absolutely top-notch talent to write and draw these series’. So here’s a rundown of some of the stuff we’ve been reading lately.
Ms. Marvel – This was a no-brainer for us. A great main character who is female, ethnic, and Muslim, but also an ordinary teen who feels socially awkward and writes Avengers fanfic online. An immediately likable and translatable character with a story that is brilliantly written and drawn. We’re definitely enjoying this series.
Captain Marvel – I’ve always liked Kelly Sue Deconnick’s work, so seeing that she was taking on Captain Marvel again, and they were restarting with number 1 made this an easy choice. Powerful character and great storytelling.
Loki: Agent of Asgard – This is one we picked up because my wife can’t resist Loki (ever since he was played brilliantly by Tom Hiddleston in the movies). After a couple of issues, she’s starting to feel like it’s nothing more than fan service, and while I agree to a certain extent, I can’t help but feel there’s more to it than what we’re seeing so far. I’m willing to give it another couple of months.
Secret Avengers – On a whim, I picked up the newest reissue of this series and really enjoyed the hell out of it. Quirky, fast-paced, and definitely not taking itself too seriously, I can see it being a refreshing series among all of the Very Serious Literature™ we see these days. Hanging onto this one until it decides to let me down.
Iron Man – I just picked up the soft trade of the “Believe” story arc and the wife has devoured it greedily. I haven’t started yet, but it sounds like it’s another great series that we’ll be following for a while. We’re way behind in this series, and I’m really looking forward to getting to the “Iron Metropolis” story arc because that looks killer.
Hawkeye – I will read anything written by Matt Fraction, up to and including a Denny’s menu. Luckily Hawkeye is much more entertaining than that. A great look into the rough life of a superhero with no powers making his way in the big leagues. Hawkeye’s greatest enemy is oftentimes himself, and this series weaves a really interesting story on that concept.
Saga – Okay, one non-Marvel series on the list. If you aren’t reading Saga you absolutely need to pick up the trades. This is seriously fantastic craftsmanship in both art and storytelling, and I have a feeling that it’s something that will be a classic once it’s all said and done, and will be talked about for decades following its eventual completion. Such an amazing series, definitely don’t miss out on this one.
So, yeah, COMICS! We may be adding more to our collections in the coming months. I may have to do a review later in the year of what we may have added, and what we may have dropped in favor of higher-quality series’. In the meantime, please excuse me, I have some Iron Man to catch up on…