Friday, October 16, 2015

A Really Good ____ Story

Doug: We've done this from time to time in the past, and of course my memory probably betrays how long it's been. Everyone likes a solid recommendation of a good book, so today I'm thinking we can do this --

For a specific character or team, pick a story you've loved. Ideally it's been published in a trade paperback or hardcover collection. But if it dwells within a Masterworks, Archive, Showcase Presents or Essentials volume, just let us know.

I'll lead it off with one of my favorite Superman tales and that's Kurt Busiek's and Stuart Immonen's "Secret Identity". What a warm fuzzy of a story that respects the source material but with a neat twist. I've only read it once, and need to read it again, but it left an impression.

Unfortunately, one of my favorite Captain America stories has never (to the best of my knowledge) been collected -- I've mentioned this one before: Fabian Nicieza's and Kevin Maguire's "The Adventures of Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty". What a fun story, reminiscent of the old movie serials. It really needs the trade treatment!

So now it's back to you -- what should I be reading?


Anonymous said...

I'll mention my two favourite Fantastic Four stories because they were back-to-back. The first was the one where the Mole man builds a house containing a device which will turn the whole world blind but Sue and Reed Richards buy the house and start moving in, d'oh ! The story is incredibly daft (why would the house be for sale ?) and there's a terrible continuity blunder featuring the Thing but I thought the house was super-cool and futuristic and I wanted to live in it - I still want to live in it. The second story following straight after was the one where the Thing is captured by the Skrulls and taken to a planet that looks exactly like prohibition-era Chicago and Ben has to fight the robot Torgo to the death in the arena. I've read both these stories in a Marvel essentials volume but really they remind me of when they were printed in Marvel UK's unique "landscape" format comic 'The Titans' in May/June 1976.

david_b said...

Many favorites come to mind, but the two that stand out on this busy day are NTT 18 with the returning Russian Starfire (reprinted in New Teen Titans Archives, Volume 3). It threw them into the then-Cold War and with that, Marv was able to yet-AGAIN open up a new spectrum of Titan's personalities, most importantly bringing out Wally as the team's unapologetically staunch conservative. Suddenly, a relatively two dimensional stalwart character like Kid Flash finally has his day. Glorious.

My next involves Reed and Sue back in FF 140-141 (reprinted in Masterworks Fantastic Four Masterworks 13). If you didn't think a year or so of their marriage being on the rocks was a serious enough blow to this young, newly-christened Marvel Zuvembie, then to have Reed zap little Franklin's mind, effectively shutting it down. Blow-by-blow, you felt the team's individual reactions quite vividly.

I could throw in ASM 121-122, but figured I'd spring some others on ya..

JJ said...

Any excuse. It's not a Bronze Age classic, but it could have been. It's a story that left a really strong impression and had me wishing all modern comics were done this well. ADAM STRANGE: PLANET HEIST. Published in 2005, it's an eight-issue mini series by Andy Diggle and Pascal Ferry. Both writer and artist turn in exemplary work here, as does colorist Dave McCaig. This is a beautiful-looking comic and the writing is just as sharp.

It opens with Adam Strange in civilian clothes under interrogation by a hard-boiled Gotham detective. Strange has been apprehended after a massive explosion in the city. He tries to tell the cop who he really is, but it's not going over very well. In a snappy flashback we see both a recap of Strange's origin and a recent memory where Superman knocks on his apartment door to tell him...the planet Rann is missing! Naturally, our hero is quite upset upon hearing this bit of shocking news from the Man of Steel. Back to the present. Will Strange escape police custody and solve the mystery of the missing planet Rann?

This launches a rollicking DC space epic, one well worth picking up, especially if you dig Adam Strange, as I do.

Doug said...

Colin and David, I'm glad you mentioned some Fantastic Four stories. I was trying hard to think of a trade that had a solid FF arc in it and was pretty stumped. Of the stories that have been packaged in that way nothing really grabbed me. The Masterworks that reprints FF #s 51-60, however... Not really an arc, but perhaps the zenith of the book's history.

If I want to read a favorite Spider-Man story I will return to "Kraven's Last Hunt". J.M. DeMatteis and Mike Zeck knock it out of the park, in my opinion.

JJ -- thank you for the Adam Strange suggestion! That's the strength of post's like this, as we get tips for material we either might not have known about or might never have come across on our own.


Doug said...

A couple of programming notes:

Tomorrow we'll feature Tarzan of the Apes, as rendered by Joe Kubert, in our Saturday #Inktober celebration.

Sunday we'll begin a weeklong "inmates running the asylum" festival where we unbox your post ideas, as collected this past Wednesday. Many thanks again for your creativity, and I'm looking forward to the conversations. If you see your topic is the day's feature, feel free to slip into the moderator's chair (hint -- I am going to run your ideas basically in the order they were given in the comments section).


Edo Bosnar said...

Totally agree with your choice of Secret Identity. And I've been wanting to read Sentinel of Liberty ever since I learned of existence, as I've read/heard nothing but good things about it. Yep, Marvel really, really needs to reprint that one.

David, I like that issue of NTT quite a bit as well, but since it came out during this a great little run of Teen Titans done-in-one issues (from 16 to 20) that I find it hard to pick any one over the others.

Doug, if you're looking for collected editions of good FF stories, I would suggest either or both of the first two volumes of FF Visionaries: John Byrne. Those contain some of my favorite FF stories ever. Another good FF story is Fantastic Four: The End, by Davis and Farmer - very enjoyable, despite the downer title.
And speaking of Byrne, my own pick for a really good story is Byrne's Batman and Captain America, which can be considered a really good Batman, Captain America, crossover or Elseworlds story.
As for another good Superman story, I'd also suggest Gerber's Elseworlds trilogy consisting of Last Son of Earth 1-2 and Last Stand on Krypton.

Doug said...

Edo, I agree on the Cap/Batman crossover. Good stuff.

For Cap collections, many around here have praised the Marvel Premiere Hardcover "War and Remembrance", collecting some great Roger Stern/John Byrne stories. I think that material is also included in a recent Epic Collection for Cap.


J.A. Morris said...

I recently re-read the X-men Brood Saga (UXM 162-167) in a Masterworks Book. I think it's the best post-Byrne/Austin X-men story. The team has brood eggs inside them that will eventually kill them. But they keep fighting anyway because that's what heroes do. Lots of great "character" moments in this story to go along with the battle scenes.

Edo Bosnar said...

Oh, yeah, War & Remembrance is fantastic - one of my favorite tpbs. I didn't mention it, since you said story (singular) and that one has several stories (all quite excellent, though). That whole run is also collected in a Panini digest, with the title "Blood on the Moors."
By the way, another really good Cap story is Forever Allies. It features the Bucky Barnes Cap, and given how much you liked the Winter Soldier story line, I think you'll like this one as well.

Doug said...

Edo, you are right and I stand corrected. "W&R" does have several stories. So to fit what I originally requested I'll say the 2-part Baron Blood story contained in that collection (and reviewed here on the BAB) is outstanding. And Prowler really does need to get his mitts on those Panini digests!

J.A., I don't have much X-perience between the end of Dark Phoenix and just before issue #200, so I appreciate the recommendation!


William said...

If we're talking classics, you can't go wrong with the hardcover collection "Avengers: Bride of Ultron". It features my two all-time favorite Avengers stories which are "Bride of Ultron", (by Jim Shooter and George Perez) and the super powered Count Nefaria 3-parter (by Jim Shooter, and John Byrne). To me, that Count Nefaria story is the quintessential Avengers tale.

If you're in a Spider-Man mood, you can't go wrong with the hardcover collection "Nothing Can Stop The Juggernaut", which features some of Roger Stern and John Romita Jr's very best Spider-Man stories. Which makes them some of the best Spider-Man stories of all time.

On the DC side of things, I personally like John Byrne's "Man of Steel" mini-series (collected in TPB), that reboots Superman's origin. I thought it was a very well thought out and entertaining story that succeeded in turning me into a Superman fan.

I also enjoyed "Cosmic Odyssey" which features a variety of DC Superheroes (like Batman, Superman, and Green Lantern) teaming up with the New Gods to stop Darkseid from obtaining Anti-Life. Great stuff in my book, and I've read it several times. I still have the original single issues, but It is also collected into a TPB.

Finally, I would highly recommend "Batman: Mad Love, and Other Stories", a hardcover volume that reprints all of Paul Dini and Bruce Timm's Batman comicbook work. Including the Eisner Award winning title story "Mad Love". (Pretty much my favorite Batman story ever).

Garett said...

I just reread Mike Grell's Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters. I really like how he develops the warm relationship between Ollie and Dinah. It's also some of Grell's best art, and it's shown off well in this TPB from 2012. Beautiful colors by Julia Lacquement. This doesn't have the political tones of Denny O'Neil's Green Arrow, and the writing is so much better than the Kirby version from the '50s.

I'm also really enjoying Wally Wood's MAD spoofs! Funny writing by Harvey Kurtzman, and my favorite Wally Wood art ever. I assume everyone has read Superduperman, but maybe some have not? This TPB has Wood and Kurztman's stories from the first 23 issues of Mad, 1952-55.

I like that Teen Titans story too David.

Humanbelly said...

It looks like there are indeed collections available of the end of Alan Moore's run on SWAMP THING, which is more or less when I came to that book, and I thoroughly enjoyed it-- even long after Moore's departure.

EARTH TO EARTH reprints issues 51-56
REUNION reprints 57-64

It's been a looooooong while since I've read them, but it covers two arcs-- the first focusing on the societal repercussions of the Abby/Swampy, uhm, consensual relationship and Alec's HUGE ramping-up of his powers & abilities. And this leads directly to his being cast off-planet and going through a series of off-beat (even for this title!), often bittersweet, outer space adventures as he conscious-hops from planet to planet.

I know much is made (and deservedly so) for the dark masterpiece of ANATOMY LESSON, and the earlier period of Moore's run on the title-- but the latter stretch and wrap-up for Moore is incredibly engaging as well-- and at times surprisingly sentimental. And if it grabs you, the upshot is that Rick Veitch did a fantastic job of maintaining Moore's "world" and style and voice for the book.

And the art was good for years and years, too. It seems like the book dictated its own style to a number of artists, rather than the other way around.

But--- Swampy may well be an acquired taste. And I have to say that by the early 90's I was hating the oppressive, gratuitously violent and pornographic direction it had taken. Like many other titles at the time, it had lost any semblance of artistic consideration in relentless pursuit of being "shocking" and "edgy".


J.A. Morris said...

Should have mentioned in my last comment:The Brood Saga can be found in Uncanny X-men Marvel Masterworks vol. 8:

Redartz said...

William- you beat me to it regarding "Mad Love"! Great book indeed; Dini and Timm make a perfect collaboration.

As a second chice, may I recommend "Batman: Black and White" vol.1? Loads of memorable stories and art. Incidentally, Vol. 2 features a story illlusrated by Big John Buscema!

HB- that Swamp Thing is something I've wantd to re-read for years. Bought the original Moore/Bissette issues off the rack. Sold them soon after; sadly...

Anonymous said...

I'm with Garrett when it comes to Grell...great artist, great writer. In that vein, I'd recommend the Showcase Presents edition of Warlord (as long as you don't mind black and white art), or if you prefer something more modern, the Jon Sable collections.

A great ongoing series is Ron Randall's Trekker. It's about a futuristic bounty hunter named Mercy St. Clair, and there's plenty of action, cool characters, and a little bit of mystery just to make things even more interesting. Randall posts a new page every Monday on his site and when a storyline is finished, puts out a collected edition. Pretty good stuff.

Of course, I could go on about Spider-Man, LSH, New Teen Titans, All-Star Squadron, MOKF, Daredevil...but you're probably familiar with those.

Mike Wilson

Edo Bosnar said...

Since Moore's Swamp-Thing is getting so much love, I think it's only fair to mention a really good Man-Thing story: the 2-parter in MT #s 9-10 - I call it the "Dawg" story. It never makes anyone's favorite or best-of lists, but I truly think it's the best story in Gerber's entire run with the character. It's been collected in Essential Man-Thing v. 1 (which I have), the Man-Thing Omnibus (which I have no hope of ever having) and will probably be included in the second volume of the Man-Thing Complete Collection that will probably only be published some time late next year.

As for Spider-man, a really good story is that 3-parter from the Lee/Ditko run (#s 17-19), in which Spidey initially runs off from a battle with the Green Goblin because he learns Aunt May had a heart attack, and then everyone thinks he's a coward (and JJJ is ecstatic), but then he makes his comeback. It just has everything you want in a Spidey story: Pete's teen angst (including the usual problems in his love-life), his angst over Aunt May's health, lots of drama peppered with occasional humor, guest appearances by the Human Torch (and all that entails) and Spidey's trademark underdog heroism.

I also just remembered a really good Daredevil story, one of my personal favorites: the re-telling of his origin from issue #164, when reporter Ben Urich reveals that he knows DD's secret identity. A really good one from early in Miller's run, when the now largely (and quite unfairly) forgotten Roger McKenzie was still writing the stories.

And Doug, if you want some really enjoyable X-men stories from the period between Byrne's departure and issue #200, I can warmly recommend Annual #s 4 and 5. The former has our heroes visiting Dante's Inferno, while the latter is something of a sequel to Annual #3 (the best annual ever, in my opinion, and another great story), with a guest appearance by the Fantastic Four to boot!

William said...

Edo, that is a great Spider-Man story. One of my faves as well. It takes place in ASM #17-19. And ASM #17 was the very first Steve Ditko Spider-Man I ever owned that wasn't a reprint. So, that story holds a special place in my heart.

And your mention of Avengers Annuals 4 and 5 reminded me of another story I've read multiple times. Which is the death of Adam Warlock at the hands of Thanos, which appeared in Avengers Annual #7 and Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2. A story told in just two books, but it still felt like an epic mini-series. That story, (and many other great ones) are reprinted in the "Avengers vs. Thanos" TPB. I highly, highly recommend it. (See, it got two "highlys", so you know it must be good).

Anonymous said...

New Mutants 35-40:

Professor X has left the school in Magneto's hands! How will the teenage mutants respond? While reeling from their new status quo, they have to deal with the Beyonder and they don't come out of the confrontation unscathed. In fact, they end up in the hands of a rival school who deal with Magneto by calling in the Avengers!

The best New Mutants comics were the two major Sienkiewicz stories. This arc was close,however. It was one of the best uses of the Beyonder in any comic. Claremont managed to broaden the Mutants' character development and the art was solid throughout. I consider NM 35-40 an underrated gem.

- Mike Loughlin

The Prowler said...

Just to pop in real quick and leave a few of my suggestions. I think I still have time since Mike in TnT hasn't posted yet. Is it a holiday down there? Over there? Around there?

ASM, I think it's 97-100. Where he gets six arms. I love that storyline.
Avengers, the 140s. The Roxxon/Brand storyline. Hawkeye in the Old West!

A few comments. The Brood storyline, if I recall, also had Carol Danvers becoming Nova? BINARY!!! She became Binary. That's right. I have much of my X-Men scanned, well, up to 179. I'm not saying that I can load those scans into a word document and then saving it as a PDF final. And I'm not saying that I think my e-mail is in my profile. There's so much I'm not saying, know what I'm saying?

In the Avengers Assembled animated series, Hulk and Hawkeye travel to Mojo World and battle Torgo. I know! It's a rip off of the Fantastic Four.

In the Brood storyline, wasn't there a big fight over killing the Brood or not killing the Brood?

Is it just me or has it been awhile since Edo pulled out a really good Man-Thing story?

(Sloopy lives in a very bad part of town
and everybody else, tries to put my Sloopy down
Sloopy I don't care, what your daddy do
Cuz you know Sloopy, girl, I'm in love with you).

Anonymous said...

Whoa Prowler, you sneaky dude trying to steal my thunder! :) Nah, there's no holiday in T & T today (gov't declared Nov 10 as the holiday for Divali). Well, yeah, OK I do have the privilege of coming right after you then! Hmm not very many stories come to mind, off the top of my head the Kree/Skrull war and the Under Siege Avengers story arc are what I recommend.

- Mike 'Prowler thinks he can just barge in on me? Hah!' from Trinidad & Tobago.

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