Top ’o the pile:
- Flash — I run a website devoted to this series. Under Mark Waid and now Geoff Johns, this series has delivered good stories with a strong sense of legacy, but without requiring you to know every nuance of the character’s history. Johns has made a career out of revitalizing forgotten or deteriorated characters (Hawkman, the JSA, Hal Jordan, etc.), and he regularly turns that talent to the Flash’s Rogues Gallery.
- Fallen Angel — covered in August. On hiatus until February, this series just wrapped up a major storyline answering questions about the origins of Bete Noir and the Fallen Angel.
- Powers — covered in August. The new dynamic is setting up plenty of conflict, as the status quo continues to change. In addition, both leads have picked up dangerous secrets.
- Girl Genius* — covered last year. You really can’t go wrong with the Phil Foglio/mad scientist combination!
- Planetary* — covered in August. Archaeologists of the Impossible, uncovering the secret history of the 20th century. It looks like it’s getting ready to start the push toward its big conclusion.
- Astro City* — Super-heroes from a human perspective. Sometimes it’s a look at the everyday lives of people who happen to dress in costumes and fight crime. Sometimes it’s a look at the lives of the ordinary people who live in a city where super-powers are the norm. Always a refreshing take on just what lies behind the archetypes.
* On those rare occasions that a new issue actually comes out.
More Good Stuff:
- Astonishing X-Men — The first X-book I ever picked up (unless you count the X-Men/New Teen Titans crossover), entirely on the strength of Joss Whedon as writer (although the Cassiday/Martin team on art certainly doesn’t hurt!)
- Fables — Still excellent, although “March of the Wooden Soldiers” dragged on forever.
- Supreme Power — JMS always starts slow and builds, and it looks like we’re nearing the end of the build phase. Things are beginning to get moving.
- Rising Stars* — JMS’ tale of 113 super-powered individuals who appeared in the 1960s, how they changed the world, and how the world changed them. The last few issues are finally coming out after a multi-year contract dispute.
- Teen Titans — I still prefer the Wolfman/Perez era (but then that’s what got me into comics in the first place, so there’s a nostalgia element), but overall I like the direction Geoff Johns has been taking it. It’s much better than the previous series, particularly the disastrous Jay Faerber run.
- Noble Causes — speaking of Jay Faerber, I really enjoy this series. I think on Titans he was just the low man on the totem pole (and as I understand it, the editor he got stuck with didn’t have much of an understanding of who the Titans were), plus he had to work within 40-odd years of continuity. And even though this is set in the Image universe, these are his own characters, giving him a lot more creative freedom — and it works.
- Tellos — If I’d posted this list a few months ago, I wouldn’t have listed this series. I thought it was dead, dead, dead. (Well, so were Colossus and Hal Jordan.) Set in an “anything goes” patchwork fantasy world, Tellos started out to tell the story of a boy and a man-tiger. The first story arc was told in 10 issues, after which the series went on hiatus. Three one-shot collections came out over the next two years, focusing on backstories and further adventures of the surviving characters. Then it vanished for two years, the website and forums disappeared, and I heard nothing until I walked into the comic store one day and they had placed the first issue of Tales of Tellos in with my pull list. Currently it’s running a 3-part anthology series
- Ocean — I’ve found that I often like Warren Ellis’s science-fiction tales (which means I really ought to pick up Ministry of Space at some point). This 6-part series starts with a disturbing discovery on Jupiter’s moon Europa. The focus is on the scientific team and on weapons inspector Nathan Kane, who has a matter of days to find out what their discovery means… and how to protect humanity if it goes bad.
- Outsiders — every month when I see it at the comic store, I think, “Why am I still reading this?” And then I read it, and I say, “Oh, yeah, the witty banter and the artwork! That’s why!” Except the last two months, which have read like “a very special episode of Outsiders.” The first issue of the story was especially bad. I just didn’t buy that (a) the team wouldn’t be willing to take on the problem from the start—tracking down master criminals is supposed to be what this team is about, isn’t it?—and (b) that the first thing Nightwing, who has trained with the World’s Greatest Detective and is in tight with Oracle, the master of information, would think of to track someone down is to call America’s Most Wanted. I’m on board for one more issue, but if it doesn’t pick up, it’s toast.
- Forsaken — I really need to catch up on this. So far I’ve only read the first issue, but picked up the next two.