Fair warning: This is not where to start if you’re just getting into comics. However, for those of you out there who want my opinion (for some reason) on comic books to read, these are a few I suggest. And while I believe they should all be 5/5, ratings correspond to one another as far as my scale goes.
“Blackest Night” (6/5)
I have to start with my all-time favorite story arc. “Green Lantern: Blackest Night” is one of the best comic series ever, and I will stand by that. For those of you who are nerds like me, you know that “blackest night” is in reference to the Green Lantern oath, “In brightest day, in blackest night.”
Well, the blackest night came.
The color of lanterns relates to the emotional spectrum: rage (Red Lantern corps), avarice (Agent Orange), fear (Sinestro corps), willpower (Green Lantern corps), hope (Blue Lantern corps), compassion (Indigo tribe) and love (Star Sapphires). “Blackest Night” deals with the creation of the Black Lantern corps—death.
This comic is a great coming together of superheroes and villains, including the dead ones. It also deals with how some heroes come back to life a lot. It’s really fun and has some really fantastic surprises. One of my favorite things is when (SPOILERS!) several heroes and villains are recruited for the corps as reinforcements, so we get Blue Lantern Barry Allen, Agent Orange Lex Luthor, Red Lantern Mera and the like.
“Watchmen” is a classic comic story that almost transcends comic books. Heck, I remember seeing the iconic cover when I was a kid, and not even processing it could have been a comic. It’s been made into a movie once, and is supposed to be getting the reboot treatment soon.
This graphic novel was written at a time of political strife when comics were getting to be darker than before. The story takes place in an alternate reality, but it still closely resembles America in the ‘80s, and while there are superheroes, the only “super” superhero is Dr. Manhattan.
The story is something I prefer to let people experience for themselves rather than sum up. But what I like about it is how it doesn’t happen chronologically. The story switches time and perspectives around, which mirrors how Dr. Manhattan sees time. It also begs the question of what is more important: the truth or the greater good? I also love how everyone has flaws, and it doesn’t end black and white.
“Deadpool: Dead Presidents” (4/5)
Recently, Deadpool has gained popularity, and I’m all for it. His comics are always fun, albeit sometimes serious. His character is just crazy and wacky enough to bring about some great series.
“Deadpool: Dead Presidents” is a prime example of what the comic writers can do when they want to have fun. When former presidents are zombified and bent on destroying America—or at least making a mess—Deadpool has to step in.
If you’ve ever wanted to see Doctor Strange and Deadpool interact, or just see Deadpool slicing the head off of George Washington or Ronald Reagan, this is your comic. And of course, there’s a healthy amount of sass and fourth-wall breaking.
“Dark Phoenix” (5/5)
“Dark Phoenix” can be summed up to this: Jean Grey losing it. Her full power is unlocked and she goes hard on the entire Marvel universe. While Marvel comics tend to be darker than DC, this comic is more on the fun side of things.
Dark Phoenix is Jean at her all-time most powerful self, and she renames herself such to further divide her new self from her former self. She goes through intergalactic travel, takes the energy from a star and kills people. When she returns to Earth, she faces conflicts between her Dark Phoenix self and her old self where she cared for others, and others have to decide what happens from then on.
This is a story where Marvel lets a character be insanely powerful, to the point of being unstoppable. This was also a way for Jean no longer to be the damsel. Overall, it’s a great read.
“Flashpoint” the comic was a bit different than how Flashpoint happened in the beginning of the new season of “The Flash.” While Barry did save his mom in both the show and the comic, in the show everything seemed generally OK. Yes, Joe was an alcoholic and Walley was hurt, but that’s not as bad as the comic.
In the comic, Barry awakens to find he is not the Flash, nor does he have powers. Captain Cold (Barry’s villain) is a celebrated hero and the Justice League doesn’t exist. Several different superheroes have taken over cities and countries, and destroyed others. Millions have died. Similar to the show, Barry’s memories begin to fade, causing him to realize he will soon be stuck in this alternate reality. Also, Barry’s mom was going to die again anyway, because nukes.
The comic is a really interesting read. I think DC just likes making characters fight one another or push them to their limits and see what they can do.
The “Injustice” comic series is a prequel to the “Injustice: Gods Among Us” video game. And while the game is great, the comic is also fantastic to read on its own.
The comic is about Superman descending into madness when he’s tricked into killing a pregnant Lois, and Batman trying to save the planet from his rage. So yes, this is basically a Batman vs. Superman story, told separately from the main continuity.
The comics are broken up into five parts by year, delving into how Batman and Superman try to take one another down. The first is the basics, the second is about Lanterns, the third is about magic, etc. My biggest issue is I’m not a huge fan of the art style. Overall it’s a fun (and sad) read, especially if you like seeing those two heroes fight.
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