A list of collected comics or graphic novels that Jake picked up in 2014. Requirements: purchased in volume form or in bulk in 2014. Either taken as part of a sale or trade-waited. Actual publishing dates vary. 1 volume per book, other volumes read will be mentioned.
#10: Red Robin: Collision
Writer: Chris Yost
Artists: Marcus To
Inkers: Ray McCarthy, Dexter Vines
Also Read: The Grail, The Hit List, 7 Days of Death
Contrary to my DBAH-dian persona, Tim Drake has always been one of my favorite characters, despite the fact that I don’t really have much experience reading him. I liked the idea of a techsavy, generally brilliant protege of Batman, and in his own book Tim really gets to shine. The series actually kicks off in the prior volume, The Grail, but Collision is where things come to a head, as the title suggests. Occurring during the year when Batman was “dead,”Tim is the only one that believes he’s alive. His quest for proof results in him butting heads with one of Batman’s greatest foes, Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Assassins. The challenge, orchestrated by perennial favorite Chris Yost and wonderfully executed mainly by Marcus To, shows exactly what makes Tim worthy of his own place in the Bat family.
#9: Avengers: Red Zone
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Oliver Coipel
What seems like a biological terror attack centered at Mount Rushmore calls the Avengers to investigate. The conspiracy they uncover, however, runs far deeper than simple terrorism. A classic Avengers tale from Johns and Coipel expertly shows many of the Avengers at their best. Any fans interested in how Black Panther operates/is so much of a badass should definitely pick this up.
#8: Stumptown Vol. 1
Writer: Greg Rucka
Illustrator: Matthew Southworth
Colorist: Lee Loughridge
This pulp crime tale from Greg Rucka follows the misadventures of P.I. Dex Parios as she attempts to track down a casino owner’s missing daughter. Southworth and Loughridge paint a wonderfully moody picture of Portland as Dex hurtles further and further down the rabbit hole of conspiracy and corruption. A page-turner from start to finish, Stumptown is one of the best of the genre.
#7: The Manhattan Projects
Vol. 1: Science. Bad.
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Nick Pitarra
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Also Read: Volume 2
What would you get if I told you that the atomic bomb testing was just a cover-up for something wholly more intricate and awful? You’d get Batshit Insane, The Comic, is what you’d get. You’d get a comic where Robert Oppenheimer is actually Joseph Oppenheimer, his psychotic twin brother who has consumed the former’s corpse and taken his place. You’d get a comic where Enrico Fermi’s an alien, FDR’s dead brain becomes the first supercomputer, and there’s something funny going on with Albert Einstein. This madcap tale from the somehow functioning mind of Jonathan Hickman is stunningly captured in Pitarra’s complex line-work and Bellaire’s striking hues of red and blue. “What the shit”was a constant utterance at the turn of every page. “Science. Bad.”indeed
#6: Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. Vol. 1:
This Is What They Want
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Stuart Immonen
Also Read: Vol. 2: I Kick Your Face
Remember how I told you the last series was insane? Welcome to the progenitor of insane mainstream comics. The grandaddy of them all, Nextwave is madcap fun from start to finish. Operating under Dirk Anger, Director of Highest Anti-Terrorism Effort, Monica Rambeau (aka Captain Marvel aka Spectrum), Boom-boom, Elsa Bloodstone, Machine Man, and The Captain (formerly Captain *******, an epitaph so vulgar it was censored from the comic) fight the zaniest shit imaginable (Elvis M.O.D.O.K.s, babies in Iron Man suits, Cyclops Apatasaurs, etc). And that’s it. It’s the best purest parody of superhero comics: all fighting, all posing, all one-liners, no plot. And it’s great. Ellis and Immonen’s Holy Grail only lasts twelve issues, but it’s twelve issues of purest crack.
#5: Transformers: Robots In Disguise Vol. 1
Writer: John Barber
Artist: Andrew Griffith
Also Read: Vol. 2-5; Dark Cybertron Vol. 1-2
Look at that. Look at that Also Read. Seven fucking volumes of a fucking Transformers comic. And it’s not even the cool Transformers (Beast Wars 4 Lyf!!). And I spent enough money to cover seven fucking volumes because the story was that engrossing. The Autobots have finally beaten the Decepticons and reclaimed Cybertron. So now what? Ruling the ravaged planet and its natural inhabitants along with the subdued Decepticons is a very complicated affair, as Bumblee’s Autobot government is bound to find out. It’s like House of Cards, but with political figures that can turn into fighter jets. That sentence should explain exactly why I spent so much money on a series about fucking truck-robots.
#4: Saga Vol. 1
Writer: Brian K. Vaughn
Artist: Fiona Staples
Also Read: Vol. 2
This series is everything it’s cracked up to be. Vaughn has crafted yet another amazingly rich tale: Not-dumb Romeo and Juliet in the middle of the Cold War that happens to take place in fantasy space. Despite the incredibly diverse cast of species and characters, Vaughn’s voice and characterization are perfect, making each character we come across wonderfully life-like. He’s aided in this endeavor by the supremely talented Staples. Working both pencils and colors, Staples is a force all her own, essentially making a Hollywood adaptation of the book redundant, so vivacious is her art. Fonografiks also deserves a nod as well, expertly lacing the narrators script throughout the story with a delicate touch. Saga is one of the freshest things to come out of the market in a long while and definitely deserving of a pick-up.
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Frank Quietly
My emotions, you guys. My heart aches just reminiscing about this juggernaut. This three-issue series from a decade ago puts on a clinic of storytelling and characterization. Three science experiments—a doggie, a kitty, and a bunny—escape from the lab and go on the run from their human captors. Also, the animals have mech suits with incredible destructive power. Legends Morrison and Quietly are on their A-game, making these three issues some of the most complete and satisfying I’ve ever read.
#2: Thor: God of Thunder Vol. 1:
The God Butcher
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Esad Ribic
Colorist: Dean White
Also Read: Vol. 2: Godbomb
Epic. That’s what this tale of Thor feels like. Aaron crafts a tale that sounds insane: three Thors from different times (young/Viking, modern/hero, old/King) combatting the seemingly unbeatable Gorr, the God Butcher, at their respective points in time. But it works incredibly well. Ribic and White’s work is jaw-dropping. Every page feels like an echo of a Frazetta painting with Ribic’s kinetic pencils and White’s moody muted hues. This book feels like something that could never be captured in any other medium with the same effect. It’s rare to find a comic that’s a perfect example of all of its creators, subjects and source materials, but I think God of Thunder is that comic.
#1: Fables Vol. 2:
Writer: Bill Willingham
Artist: Mark Buckingham
Inker: Steve Leialoha
Also Read: Vol. 1: Legends in Exile, Vol. 3: Storybook Love
At a cursory glance, Fables seems like just another adaptation or uplift of classic fairytales that are so common these days. But Fables is so much more. Rather than simply placing these classic characters in the modern or real world and saying “go,” Fables takes the time to think everything through. How would this work? Where would they go? Who’s in charge? How does that work? The result is a complex and shockingly fresh tale that stands all on its own. The second volume takes place on the Farm, where all the non-human Fables who can’t afford to pass as such are forced to go. As the Bard once cried, something is rotten in the state of Denmark and assistant mayor Snow White has arrived to investigate. Machinations and danger abound in another exemplary entry in the Fables series.