Superheroes pt 1

Even if you know your superheroes inside out we hope you’ll come across something new in our two part list deliberately avoiding the overly familiar.

Agents of Atlas – The opening shot of the creatively successful project rejuvenating a bunch of obscure 1950s characters. The period of their origin is embraced, and it’s fun, intelligent and drawn in a manner simultaneously modern and also recognising the heritage.  Jeff Parker, Leonard Kirk and Marvel.

Aquaman: The Trench – A highlight of DC’s shaky ‘New 52’ experiment was this instituting of Aquaman as a majesterial presence on land as well as in sea. All jokes are addressed and dispatched in this intelligent and readable reboot.  Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado and DC.

Astro City: Private Lives – In case you’ve forgotten how good Astro City is in depicting ordinary lives affected by superheroes, this is a 2105 collection, and it’s still prime quality, humane and engrossing as it toys with superhero mystique. Kurt Busiek, Brent Anderson, Graham Nolan and Vertigo.

Doctor Strange: The Oath – An appropriate misdirection in the title introduces a contender for the best Doctor Strange graphic novel. Sublime artwork and a character based story featuring a desperate race against time ensure this is worth your while. Brian K. Vaughan, Marcos Martin and Marvel.

Elektra Lives Again – Miller’s 1980s Daredevil work is still renowned, but this companion piece has slipped into unjustified obscurity. It’s a taut, stripped down precursor to The Dark Knight Returns, as Matt Murdock dreams of his dead former lover. Is she back? Frank Miller and Marvel.

Enigma – A now well ahead of the times investigation of gender attraction in an intelligent, seductive and compelling tale about a guy who dreams of the superhero whose obscure comics he read as a child. Then its villains start terrorising reality. Peter Milligan, Duncan Fegredo and Vertigo.

God and Science: Return of the Ti-Girls – Jaime Hernandez does so much so well, you shouldn’t be surprised that he can turn out a cracking superhero story with heart and soul as well as brilliantly wacky innovation. And oh, that art! Jaime Hernandez and Fantagraphics books.

Hero Squared: Another Fine Mess – Imagine discovering you have an alternate universe counterpart, and he’s a superhero, but he looks down on your lack of ambition and slobby ways. The perfect superhero sitcom is born. Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, Joe Abraham and Boom! Studios.

Hulk: Season One – The Season One line was designed to be the sampler entry for all Marvel’s heroes, their origins revisited for new readers, and the finer points explained. The results were mixed, but this is great, improving on the original Hulk origin. Fred Van Lente, Tom Fowler and Marvel.

Invincible: Family Matters – Some people still won’t try Invincible because it’s not Marvel or DC. In this day and age? It’s a fantastic superhero series building it’s own mythology, unpredictable and hugely enjoyable. Might as well start here, at the beginning. Robert Kirkman, Cory Walker and Image Comics.

Part two will follow…