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20 must-grab digital Marvel Comics

Andy Ihnatko | April 16, 2013
Marvel's promoting free first issues of its comics. Please allow our comics steward, Andy Ihnatko, to make some recommendations

It's also a wonderful reminder of how small and personal some of Marvel's most overexposed and valuable characters once were. In 1982, Logan was largely a one-note character. This limited series opened up his world and granted him the broad shoulders that were necessary to carry deeper stories.

I kind of have to recommend "X-Men" Volume 2, Issue 1, recognized by Guinness as the all-time best-selling single issue of any comic book. I don't find the story particularly engaging. I didn't in 1991, either. But its visual influence on the art of all comics that followed is unmistakeable.

And: it's a free comic drawn by Jim Lee. Done deal! He's the James Cameron of comics. If Lee were a movie director, yes, he would dangle from the skid of a stunt helicopter to get exactly the sort of thrilling shot he imagined. It's slightly unbelievable that in the following twenty years, he only improved, expanded, and built upon the skills he put into every page of this book.

All right: how about an X-Men book with a story that I actually like?

Greg Pak was my gateway drug into X-Men comics. I'd been burned by this section of the Marvel Universe so many times before. I've seen hundred-yard balls of salvaged steel cable at a scrapyard that was more linear than Marvel Mutant storylines.

("I'm a clone of a man you knew in the future, inhabiting the body of your old enemy, sent by your son in an alternate reality to prevent a war that happened thirty years ago!")

But Pak is a name that I trust implicitly. I held my nose, gave "X-Treme X-Men Volume 2 Issue #1" a try, and I haven't been disappointed since.

The story starts out with 100 severed heads of Professor X! Sold.

And The Rest

I was a fan of Frank Miller's classic run on "Daredevil" back in the 80s. Subsequent treatments of the character became too tough for me to follow, and he dropped off my radar (oh, what a shameless pun) completely.

"Daredevil" Volume 3 Issue 1 won me back. Again we see the value of The Right Names. I've never read a book written by Mark Waid that was anything less than Very Good, and artist Paolo Rivera maintains a delightful balance between precision and freedom in his line. The new series avoids the tangled continuity of the character without invalidating anything that's gone before; a perfect jumping-on point that makes the character accessible to new readers while reminded old readers of their favorite past run.

Deadpool is a colossally stupid mercenary who exists almost exclusively to annoy every living thing he comes in contact with, including the readers of his books. In Issue 1 of his current series (Volume 4) every deceased President has risen from the grave to wreak havok upon the world and because no superhero wants to be photographed crushing the skull of even a zombified FDR, it's up to Deadpool. Funny stuff from Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan.

 

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