COMICS REWIND: What I’m Reading

(Welcome to Comics Rewind, a weekly column devoted to discovering – or re-discovering – great comics published some time in the past. Here you will find looks back at comics published in every era, from the Golden Age to the Modern Age, as well as retrospectives on the work of important comics writers, lists of “essential” comics, and evaluations of important works, as well as works worthy of a second look or a wider audience. Enjoy!)

Yeah, this is both lazy and self-indulgent, but it’s another list this week, and this time I’m listing the back issues I’m in the midst of reading through right now. Why? Well, I read back issues all the time, both for this column and for the fun of it, but occasionally I get scatterbrained and find myself in the middle of about a dozen or so series, none of which I’m anywhere near a stopping point on. That happened this week. I was trying to pick an arc to finish in time to write about it, realized I couldn’t, and so I thought instead I’d try to give you a sense of my reading in general. So here we go.

Some or even all of these are likely to pop up in future columns, as I wrap up reading them and get some thoughts in my head worth voicing. In the meantime, they’re all up in the air things that I haven’t finished, either because I haven’t tracked down the next part of the story yet, or the library hasn’t got the book I want in yet, or I’ve just been too lazy to get one done.  They’re in no particular order, as I have no idea which ones I’ll finish next. So, what I’m reading now…

Anna Mercury by Warren Ellis and Facundo Percio

I am a hopeless worshiper of Warren Ellis, but I’d never read any of his more recent Avatar Press work (except FreakAngels) before I started this sci-fi series about a secret agent who travels through several alternate universes looking to neutralize various threats. As usual, it’s excellent.

Uncanny X-Force by Rick Remender and Jerome Opena

I’m a recent Rick Remender convert, so I’m looking back at the start of this relatively young series. It’s brilliant. It might be my favorite Marvel thing he’s done. It’s got all the slickness of  a Marvel comic combined with the freewheeling fury of Fear Agent. Opena’s art also has me staring at pages much longer than I normally would.

JSA by James Robinson, David S. Goyer, Geoff Johns and various artists

I’ve never read a Justice Society of America comic before. I’ve read comics in which they pop up, but never one just starring them. I was missing out. This series doesn’t have the mad plotting that propels Grant Morrison’s neighboring JLA series, but it does have very solid characterization, dialogue and truly captivating plots by three great writers. I have a long way to go on this one, but I don’t plan on stopping.

Superman: Red Son by Mark Millar, Dave Johnson and Kilian Plunkett

This, of course, is the “What if Superman had landed in Russia?” story. The concept has always been intriguing to me, but I’d never picked up the comic until just recently. So far, as Millar builds the theme of American paranoia when the Cold War takes an unexpected turn for the worse, it’s fantastic. It’s the first Millar I’ve read in a long while, and it’s reminding me how much I love him.

Uncanny X-Men by Matt Fraction, Terry Dodson, Greg Land and various artists

I’m a big Fraction fan, but I’m only just now making my way into his earlier Marvel stuff (before Fear Itself and Invincible Iron Man, anyway). I’m often intimidated by X-Men books, because they’re often a massive revolving door for characters, and they’re all dealing with…well, stuff. It’s that legendary X-Men angst coupled with a lot of names and a lot of threads to keep in hand. Fraction somehow makes all that less complicated, and that – plus the major plot developments that include the Utopia crossover – keeps me hooked to this run.

So, there’s a fairly hefty portion of my current reading list. Expect to see at least a few them back here sometime soon. And while I’m on the subject of what I haven’t covered yet, if you think there’s something COMICS REWIND has missed (so far; I’m only one man, after all), drop me a line in the comic and steer me toward your favorite books.

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