One of the hardest things about reading comics is knowing where to start. Comics shops carry hundreds of titles and get dozens of issues in every week on new comic-book day. On top of that, many comics have complex mythologies and backstories that make it hard to just pick up any random issue and have a clue what is going on.
That’s why Heroic Girls recommends comics every week that are excellent “jumping on” points for new readers or books that you should have been reading all along. Without further ado, here are our picks for the week of October 16, 2019.
Marvel has just finished completely overhauling and revamping their X-Men line of comics. So there probably hasn’t been a better time to jump into the world of mutants in almost 30 years. There are going to be several X-Men related titles, but this is the first and it revolves around original X-Men field commander Cyclops’s hand-picked team.
Cyclops (Scott Summers) appears to have made this team a family affair, by including his wife/girlfriend Jean Grey (Marvel Girl), their daughter from the future, Rachel Summers (Phoenix); their son from a different alternate future, Nate Grey (Cable); his brother Alex Summers (Havok); his other brother Gabriel Summers (Vulcan); his father Christopher Summers (Cosair) and longtime frenemy Logan (Wolverine).
The book is being written by the X-Men universe’s new architect Jonathan Hickman, so it’s bound to be interesting and important to the future of Marvel’s mutants going forward.
Pound-for-pound, this trade paperback is by far the best value this week. It collects issues 1 through 11 of Invincible Iron-Man (2016), the run that introduced Riri Williams, the black teenaged girl genius who took over Stark Industries when Tony died in the comics. (He got better.)
The story was written by Riri’s creator, Brian Michael Bendis, who also created the fan-favorite reinterpretation of Spider-Man, Miles Morales. And I just want to walk through some simple math with you. The average single issue of a comic book costs $4. This graphic novel collects 11 issues of Ironheart’s adventures. If you bought those 11 issues individually, it would cost $44. This trade paperback gives you all that story for just $12.99.
In the near future all of humanity’s needs are administered by a godlike artificial intelligence called Azoth, and it’s Cassandra Price’s humiliating job to do tech support on it. The advent of Azoth has deepened inequality and robbed humanity of its soul, but Cassandra’s life changes when she finds herself dragged violently into Azoth itself, manifested as a secret digital world beneath our own, one built on a combination of magic and metadata. There she encounters a group of apparently magical girls locked in a war with mysterious monsters for the power to fix the world-if only they could agree on what the world should be. Why was she chosen? What is the omnipotent Hermeticorp up to? Who created the Azoth world? And who are these girls anyway?
Goddess Mode was one of the first comics written by video game programmer Zoe Quinn, and it furthers their interest in the upcoming convergence of man and computer. The story is a fun mash up of cyberpunk and paganism and the art provided by Spider-Gwen co-creator Robbi Rodriquez is gorgeous with eye-popping colors. Collects Goddess Mode #1-4.
Bad Luck Chuck
Cursed at birth with extraordinary bad luck, Charlene ”Chuck” Manchester provides disaster where someone else can profit. Got a failing business? Contact Chuck, and before you know it, you’re collecting that insurance policy without ever getting your own hands dirty. But after a crime boss hires her to take out an evangelical cult, the mob boss, the cult leader, and a dogged insurance-fraud investigator all come for her at once.
Author Lela Gwenn has been bopping around the comics scene for the past few years, contributing short stories to a number of innovative anthologies, but this is the first full-length work of hers that I’ve read, and I hope it is the first of many. The story marries a classic film noir feel with a fun supernatural twist. The art by Matthew Dow Smith is moody with a great muted palette that really serves the story well.
Kate Strand reboots her destructive life and moves to LA to be the superhero she always wanted to be–Calamity Kate: gun-toting monster killer. With her latest career change, she faces new challenges, relationships, and competition; desperate to show she’s worth a damn in a world overrun by zombies, vampires, demons, goblins, and the ultimate monster bounty: the Seven Fabled Beasts of Yore.
The trade paperback of Calamity Kate collects writer Mags Visaggio and artist Colin Howells’s entire four-issue miniseries. Every now and then it’s just fun to read a book about a woman kicking ass. This is that book. The action is well-paced and Howell does a great job creating a sense of motion and action with static images.
Superman Smashes the Klan
The year is 1946, and the Lee family has moved from Metropolis’ Chinatown to the center of the bustling city. While Dr. Lee is greeted warmly in his new position at the Metropolis Health Department, his two kids, Roberta and Tommy, are more excited about being closer to their famous hero, Superman! While Tommy adjusts to the fast pace of the city, Roberta feels out of place, as she tries and fails to fit in with the neighborhood kids. As the Lees try to adjust to their new lives, an evil is stirring in Metropolis: the Ku Klux Klan. When the Lee family awakens one night to find a burning cross on their lawn, they consider leaving town. But the Daily Planet offers a reward for information on the KKK, and their top two reporters, Lois Lane and Clark Kent, dig into the story. When Tommy is kidnapped by the KKK, Superman leaps into action-with help from Roberta! But Superman is still new to his powers-he hasn’t even worked out how to fly yet, so he has to run across town. Will Superman and Roberta reach Tommy in time? Inspired by the 1940s Superman radio serial ‘Clan of the Fiery Cross,’ Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese, Boxers and Saints, The Terrifics, New Super-Man) presents his personal retelling of the adventures of the Lee family as they team up with Superman to smash the Klan.
If you have a kid, this is the book to buy this week. One of the reasons we love superheros is that they can inspire us to be better versions of ourselves. There may be no better example of that then the original Superman Smashes the Klan radio serial, which took on the KKK at a time when Hollywood was still busy lionizing the group with movies like Birth of a Nation.
At a time when hate crimes are on the rise across the nation and the world, Superman Smashes the Klan is a reminder of the power of popular culture to take a stand and to help shape public opinion for good.
Ms. Marvel, vol. 1
Ms. Marvel is back – and she’s magnificent! But there’s no such thing as business as usual in Jersey City. Aliens are wreaking havoc in Kamala’s corner of the world, and they seem weirdly interested in Ms. Marvel…and her family! Kamala is about to face a devastating loss – but with an alien invasion ravaging her neighborhood, she won’t have much time to grieve. Even if Kamala saves her hometown, will her life ever be the same? And what’s all this business about a ‘Chosen One’? Eisner Award winner Saladin Ahmed (BLACK BOLT, EXILES) and rising star Minkyu Jung take the reins of one of Marvel’s most beloved young characters for the shocking start of an all-new era! Guest-starring the Invincible Iron Man!
This collection kicks off a new era for everyone’s favorite teen Muslim superhero, Kamala Khan. Longtime series writer G. Willow Wilson has left the book to give us her spin on Wonder Woman, and left Ms. Marvel in the capable hands of Eisner winner Saladin Ahmed.
This first collection sees Jersey City’s finest superhero go interstellar as Kamala visits an Islamo-futuric society on another planet after they identify her as a “chosen one’ who will save their planet from certain doom.
This book is represents a soft reboot of the character, and is a perfect jumping on point for kids (or adults) who want to get familiar with one of Marvel comics rising stars.