Marvel Comics: What to Read After the #1 Giveaway

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At the SXSW event this past weekend, Marvel Comics announced that for a very limited time they would be making digital copies of over 700 #1 issues free both online and on the various apps that they have on the market. While this is obviously a pretty genius business idea as far as they’re concerned (I know for a fact that it’s going to cost my wallet a bit more than I was expecting to spend this month!) it’s also a great chance for people who are newer to comics to get introduced to some of the great content that Marvel actually produce.

Below I have detailed 5 series/events/story arcs that I think you should carry on reading after the first free issue. These are just a selection and are the start of a new series of articles called “Read this!” which will be debuting on the blog soon. Take a look and let me know if you enjoy my suggestions!

1. House of Mhouse of m

Marvels House of M event is one of my personal favourites. It signifies a very big change in the Mutant/X-men community that has led to a myriad of other plot lines which have shaped not only the X-men universe but the entirety of Marvel Continuity. House of M is based mainly around the mutant daughter of Magneto and former Avenger: Wanda Maximoff, aka The Scarlett Witch. Wanda has reality alternating powers and is suffering a bit of a mental breakdown after an entity in her mind causes her to attack the rest of the Avengers resulting in the deaths of Hawkeye and Vision. This, coupled with Quicksilver’s idea leads her to alter reality completely turning the world into one run by Magneto and giving all of the avengers and X-men what they truly desire. Fortunately a select few heroes remember the world as it was before and set out to right the wrongs.

House of M is a brilliantly written event and has an ending that changes the X-men’s place in the Marvel universe completely, definitely well worth a read.

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2. Cable

The Volume 2 of Cable that started in 2008 follows the beginning of the Hope story arc within the X-men series. Hope is the first mutant to be born after the events of House of M and becomes the focus of a number of organisations, from the X-men to the Purifiers (a mutant hate group based around religion) everyone wants to get hold on the mutant phenomenon. After lots of fighting it appears that Cable has actually taken the child into the future with permission from Cyclops in order to protect her. This is made much more difficult by Bishop, who having seen a version of the future where mutants are enslaved and kept in camps, thinks that killing the girl will prevent this from happening.

This all leads to a story based around survival but. it also develops a father/daughter relationship between Cable and Hope that adds a real emotional impact to the arc. I recommend also reading Messiah War, Messiah Complex and Second Coming as they develop on this plot further.

3. Runawaysrunaways

Runaways is, in my opinion, the most criminally underrated, undersold and lesser spoken about comic book series. It ran for 3 volumes before it was put on hiatus waiting for a new writer, which is a serious bummer! What has been written though is 3 fantastic volumes with great art and a great plot. Runaways is about a group of teenagers who discover that their parents are part of a criminal cult called the pride. They also discover that they all have powers or abilities or possessions that they never knew about. This leads to them running away from their parents and starting a new life as kids on the street. The brilliance in this series is the age of the protagonists, the oldest of the group is 18. This means that while there is a lot of action and traditional heroes beating villains, there is also a lot time spent assessing the relationships and interactions within the group. This leads to a lot of interesting character traits that you just don’t see in Marvel “main” comics.

Runaways is well worth a read and I really hope that Marvel finds a writer to carry on the series, it deserves it!

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4. Dark Avengers
The Dark Avengers series is set after the disbanding of the Avengers by the US Government. Norman Osborn is placed in control of the initiative and of SHIELD after he proved invaluable during the war against the Skrulls. This leads to him building a new team of Avengers similar to the old team but consisting of villains instead of heroes. Osborn then attempts to reform the public opinion and use his new found power to bring about rules and laws that would affect the lives of many Marvel Universe heroes in a negative way.

Dark Avengers is such a great read for 2 reasons. The first is the humour, this is a superhero team made up of a bunch of not very nice people, that have never been great at working together. Add into that Daken’s ability to alter peoples emotions with Pheromones and the flat out stupidity/awesomeness of Mac Gargan’s Venom and you have a highly amusing comic. The second reason is just how insane Norman Osborn is, you get to watch him breakdown and go from one of the most respected people in the country to just another villain, it’s brilliantly written.

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5. Carnage USA
The last entry on this particular list is Carnage USA. Released last year this short event has a lot going for it, for starters the art is done by one of my all time favourite comic artists Clayton Crain and is absolutely stunning. Carnage looks sufficiently disgusting and Cletus Kassidy looks sufficiently deranged. This comic also dawns the return of Carnage to the Marvel Universe (after having been ripped in half by Sentry) which is a good thing because I personally love the symbiotes. This particular story arc involves Kassidy invading Doverton in Colarado and either infecting or killing the civilians there. This of course involves the Avengers and, most importantly, long time rival or Carnage, Spider-man. It also involves a new government task force made specifically out of specialists that utilize symbiotes for the Government. I won’t spoil where it goes from there but it’s definitely worth a read and is only 5 issues long.

So there it is, a brief outline of 5 sets of comics that I think you should read. Keep an eye out on the site in the future for the new “Read This!” section where we will be outlining more great things for you to read. This won’t just be limited to comics either, expect novels, art books, rulebooks, anything and everything that we think is great.

Until next time!

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