So, for the past few months I have had a subscription to Marvel Unlimited and this has proven a very wise investment indeed. As a result I have enjoyed a significant number of series that I would not have otherwise read, as well as all of those that I would likely have hunted out anyway. What can I say, I’m a big fan of comics! And seeing as I’ve written a few Ramblings about which series are my favourites I thought I would continue in that vein. This post is about the best comics currently being published by Marvel. I doubt I will be able to write a similar post for either DC, Dark Horse or IDW as I do not read enough of their output to compile such a list. I love Hellboy and the associated series at Dark Horse but I can’t think of any others that I read from them and DC has published almost unrelenting bleakness since the New 52 began. I enjoy Scott Synder and Greg Capullo’s Batman, and I want to read both Stewart Cameron’s Batgirl and Tim Seeley’s Greyson, but I can’t think of any others that I currently love from that company. I also read Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye and Zombies Vs. Robots from IDW but that’s about it. And I’ll likely compile a list of my favourite Image comics series as they publish a lot of excellent material but for now onto my favourite series from Marvel.
Right, so here is the list: Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel, Loki: Agent of Asgard, Thor: God of Thunder, and Secret Avengers. Now, I am aware that two of these series have the word Marvel in their name and that several have either completed their runs as single issues or will shortly do so. But I don’t buy or read them as singles and there is delay on issues arriving on Unlimited. And most still have trades to be released or have just released their final book and so I will ignore that discrepancy.
OK, so first up is Captain Marvel, written by Kelly Sue Deconnick and Christopher Sebela with art by several artists including Dexter Soy, Scott Hepburn, David Lopez and quite a few others. I have loved this series since the very first issue, through the continual relaunches, and finally to its conclusion at the start of Secret Wars. The thing that defines this series above all else is its grounding in character and the way in which the story is told with warmth and heart. I love it! I believe Captain Marvel will be relaunching sometime in the near future with a new writer and I am looking forward to reading the new take on the series. But I do not expect it to be the same and I have to say that as I read the last page of the final issue, before the series was folded into Secret Wars, I was very moved by its conclusion. I would also recommend that you check out DeConnick’s other series like Bitch Planet and Pretty Deadly. They are both highly enjoyable!
Moving on, Ms. Marvel, from the pen of G. Willow Wilson with art principally by Adrian Alphona was a surprise hit. A series about a young, Muslim girl who becomes an inhuman and then takes on the mantle of Ms. Marvel does not sound like the easiest sell to comic book fans but this series quickly found its feet and audience soon after launch and that is a good thing indeed. For it is wonderfully told with a remarkably authentic voice that combines the kick-ass approach of Buffy the Vampire Slayer with humour and wit and cultural authenticity. Kamala Khan is a fantastic superhero and the series will soon be relaunching with a new number 1. So you have no excuse for not giving it a go!
Next up we have Loki: Agent of Asgard. Now, I have been a fan of Loki from his depiction in Journey Into Mystery, written by Keiron Gillen, through Young Avengers, also written by Mr. Gillen, and now in this series written by Al Ewing with art principally by Lee Garbett. In my opinion, Ewing has done a phenomenal job of sculpting a brilliant, literary comic that builds on all that has come before whilst keeping Loki as the mischievous scamp we know that he is (well, sort of!). This series has recently come to a conclusion with the start of Secret Wars and I have actually finished the run, but I don’t mind cheating and including it on this list. It’s well worth a read, as are Journey Into Mystery and Young Avengers, so go find them and I hope that we will see Loki return in his own series again soon!
Fourth on my list is Thor: God of Thunder. In my opinion the main Thor series has had its ups and downs since J Michael Straczynski’s seminal run and, though I enjoyed Keiron Gillen’s run (he’s on this list quite a few times, eh!), I was less impressed by Matt Fractions’ handling of the series, which was surprising given the quality of his Invincible Iron Man run. But Jason Aaron’s series since the relaunch has been nothing less than stellar. With stellar art from Esad Ribic, Ron Garney, Agustin Alessio and more recently Russell Dauterman , Aaron has built an impressive, epic story that culminated in the son of Odin losing his hammer. And now that the son of Odin is no longer Thor, with an at-first unnamed lady wielding the hammer, the series has continued to impress.. I can’t wait to see what Aaron does next!
Finally we have Secret Avengers in its most recent incarnation. Following on from the series’ helmed by Ed Brubaker, Warren Ellis, Nick Spencer and most recently, Rick Remender, Secret Avengers by Ales Kot is unlike any of these. Kot’s SA is brilliant and bonkers and quite hilarious, with a distinctive art style, as we follow the misadventures of Maria Hill, Hawkeye, and Phil Coulson among others. With art by Michael Walsh, Secret Avengers is laugh-out-loud funny (no, seriously!) with heart and pathos and the tragically short run, is quite fantastic. I hope Marvel collects it in a shiny hardcover, I’ll buy it!
Now, I know that I have cheated a little by having a few series that have actually finished their runs as singles, and even on Unlimited, and I think I will write another of these in a while once I’ve had a chance to read some of the series that are coming out following Secret Wars. I will also eventually compile a list of my all-time favourite series published by Marvel though it might be quite tricky to pick only five series. For now though I recommend that you read the series listed above as they are excellent and easily found by either purchasing a Marvel Unlimited subscription, which is an incredible bargain in my opinion, or by picking up the trades from either your local comics store or by borrowing them from the library. You won’t be disappointed (I hope!).
Check out my other “Rambling” blogs posts for articles on comics, politics, self-publishing and my novel, ‘Only an atheist can help God save the world’ which is out now at all electronic retailers! Also follow me on Twitter @onlyanatheist1. Cheers!