Today in our Christmas top ten list it’s comics editor Christopher Williams’ turn to step up with his selection of the ten best graphic novels out there right now…
Do you have a comic nerd on your gift list and aren’t quite sure what to get them? Maybe you are that nerd yourself, but are unsure what to ask for. Have no fear; we are here to help.
Marvel’s Civil War
I remember I picked this one up before I really got into picking up comics on a weekly basis. The premise was so interesting that I just had to. The Marvel Universe is in upheaval after a catastrophic incident involving a group of superheroes. The government wants all heroes registered and leading the cause is Iron Man. This doesn’t sit well with Captain America and both heroes gather forces to fight the other’s agenda. Hero on hero battles, need I say more?
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
Frank Miller delivers a story of an older Bruce Wayne who has retired his cape and cowl, but ten years after that he finds Gotham is in need of the Batman once more. Miller’s knack for crafting a gritty story and pairing it with some striking visuals is on full display in this book. Anyone who has seen Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises will find some interesting parallels between the movie and this book.
Star Wars Legacy: Broken
This is a collection of the first volume of Dark Horse’s Star Wars Legacy series. In a future distant to the central point in the Star Wars timeline, the Battle of Yavin, the Jedi Order has been weakened by Sith ruler Darth Kryatt. Standing in his way of total imperial conquest is reluctant hero and descendent of Luke, Cade Skywalker. I eat up Star Wars canon like pizza and was sucked in by the story of Cade and not wanting to shoulder the responsibility of his name’s legacy. If you are a Star Wars fan do yourself a favor and pick this up.
I won’t lie, I read this in anticipation of the movie’s release a few years back and ended up reading it cover to cover twice before I passed it on to a friend. What a doozy, Alan Moore’s story of a corrupted future where heroes are everyday people was a refreshing split from the normal super powered fare. These dudes have problems, deep psychological problems that make Tony Stark’s alcoholism look like light reading. It’s a real sign when a book of this age still holds weight all these years later.
Green Lantern: Rebirth
Anyone who has never read Geoff Johns and his knack for ret-conning characters into relevance needs to pick up this book. To be honest I never cared for Green Lantern before Johns, and then I found I couldn’t stop reading him. His introduction of the emotional spectrum, emotional entities and the other lantern corps is nothing short of spectacular. The idea that Hal Jordan was never Parallax is probably one of the single most brilliant maneuvers in all of comics.
Scott Pilgrim 1-7
I must admit, I am still only at book three, but Bryan Lee O’Malley’s most famous work is some of the funniest material I have ever read. I usually don’t look to printed media for my laughs, but I found myself in fits of laughter over these books. O’Malley’s clever writing and great use of pop culture references will have even the most die hard superhero comic fan grinning from ear to ear.
Batman: The Long Halloween
This is one book that I had a great time with. A serial killer is picking off criminals on holidays spanning through out the year. Batman is on the case as he tries to determine who the mystery killer is. Long Halloween is one of those Batman books that every die hard Bat-fan will tell you that you need to read, and guess what, they are absolutely right. This mystery story will keep you engaged page after page as you try to figure out who is offing Gotham’s criminals.
This collects the first six issues of Grant Morrison’s pre-New52 Batman and Robin run. With Bruce Wayne thought to be dead, Dick Grayson takes up the mantle of Batman with Damian Wayne as his Robin. If I am being honest here, this is the book that sold me on Dick Grayson not as Nightwing, someone who I was never a big fan of before, as I always preferred Tim Drake. After reading this I became a huge Grayson fan, not just a Nightwing fan.
Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps War
I picked this up in two volumes though I think a single comprehensive volume may be available now. The Sinestro Corps War has to be one of the most fascinating comic reads to come out of DC, you get it all, the Justice League, the whole GL Corps, a big team of Sinestro fear powered baddies, Superboy Prime, the return of Parallax invading Kyle, Cyborg Superman Hank Henshaw, and the Anit-Monitor. You really couldn’t ask for more.
Age of Apocalypse Vol. 1-4
Now this is hands down, without a doubt, my favorite comic collection, and my true #1. A few years ago I was kicking around the graphic novels section of Barnes & Noble and came across four rather thick volumes from Marvel. Inside of them contained the complete X-Men epic, the Age of Apocalypse. I swallowed all four volumes whole and then went through them again a month later. I can honestly tell you that I have never experienced a more sweeping comic event than this. Just as a fan of alt-universe versions of characters I was sold, bad guy, longhaired, one arm out Cyclops? Hell yeah! Now when I say this story is epic, I mean its EPIC! I was also introduced to a now one of my favorite characters who is an alt-version of another favorite character, X-Man. A Cable who has realized his power’s full potential because he never was infected with the techno-organic virus? Yes please. Now this set was not easy on my wallet at $30 per a volume, so if you pick this up for someone, make sure it’s someone you really love.
So that’s my list of favorite graphic novels and trade paperbacks. I hope that if you are stuck on what to get for that nerdy loved one, or if you are that nerdy loved one, that this list will help.
Follow Christopher on Twitter @AUDone44 and The Nerd @nerdfollowing