With the near simultaneous release of Daredevil Season 2 and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, it is evident that The Summer Super Hero Season is upon us. If you’ve watched these films and television shows and have ever wondered,”Man, that was fun! What comics should I read to further this sense of fun?”, we at #2016ComicBookRenaissance have put together a reading list to help tide you over until Captain American: Civil War blows us all away. Enjoy! (All text is from publisher copy except where noted)
Wonder Woman, warrior princess of the Amazons, is among the most famous heroes of all time. From her introduction in 1941, she has been a shining example of feminism and the strength of womankind. But what was her role during the wartime of her creation? Wonder Woman: The War Years 1941-1945 details how she used her super speed, strength, and Golden Lasso of Truth during World War II to bring peace and justice to a turbulent world.
(For even deeper reading into the subject of Wonder Woman, check out Jill Lepore’s The Secret History of Wonder Woman, a fascinating exploration into the life of William Moulton Marston, the unconventional creator of the Amazon Princess. – Joe T.)
It is ten years after an aging Batman has retired and Gotham City has sunk deeper into decadence and lawlessness. Now as his city needs him most, the Dark Knight returns in a blaze of glory.
Joined by Carrie Kelly, a teenage female Robin, Batman takes to the streets to end the threat of the mutant gangs that have overrun the city. And after facing off against his two greatest enemies, the Joker and Two-Face for the final time, Batman finds himself in mortal combat with his former ally, Superman, in a battle that only one of them will survive.
(This controversial and influential book blew up the superhero fandom and propelled itself into the mainstream like a piece of dynamite back in the mid 80s. A major influence upon the film Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, it’s a book begging to be re-discovered and re-evaluated. It also inspired one of my favorite songs: “Coldbringer” by Chicago punk band, Naked Raygun. -Joe T.)
Witness the Man of Steel in exciting new adventures featuring Lex Luthor, Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane, Bizarro, and more. The Man of Steel goes toe-to-toe with Bizarro, his oddball twin, and the new character Zibarro, also from the Bizarro planet. And Superman faces the final revenge of Lex Luthor – in the form of his own death. Writer Grant Morrison teams with artist Frank Quitely on this spectacular re-imagining of the Superman mythos, from The Man of Steel’s origin to his greatest foes and beyond.
(I have to admit that I’m not a fan of the Man of Steel interpretation of Superman and so I won’t be watching Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice at the theater. If you want to know what my ideal interpretation of Superman is, look no further than this book One of my all-time favorite Superman stories and also one of my all-time favorite comics, this book is a tribute to the heroic power of icons such as Superman. – Joe T.)
A fire burns deep within Matt Murdock. He was raised by a single father, an over-the-hill prizefighter with one last chance to make it good – a chance that cost him his life. Taunted and tormented by children while growing up, Matt’s life was irrevocably altered after he was blinded by radioactive materials while saving the life of an old man. The payoff? An unbreakable will and a keen intelligence, helping focus the super-senses he was blessed with during the accident. His story is one of love, pain, disappointment, and strength. Witness the tour-de-force origin of the Man Without Fear by industry legends Frank Miller and John Romita Jr
(This book is the major influence upon Season 1 of Daredevil and the flashback sequences in Season 2 that deal with Matt and Elektra. I love this book, the art especially as John Romita Jr. has always been one of my favorite illustrators. – Joe T.)
Experience the gritty and uncompromising Punisher MAX from the very beginning. When a mob hit killed his beloved wife and children, Frank Castle became the Punisher – an unstoppable one-man army waging war on every piece of criminal scum plaguing New York’s streets. But do the Punisher’s origins trace back even further? In 1971 Vietnam, Captain Castle’s platoon faces a Viet Cong attack…and to survive, he must make a grim choice. Then, Punisher’s old partner Microchip, long thought to be a casualty of Castle’s war, resurfaces with a startling offer
(I’m not the biggest fan of the Punisher but I do recognize that Garth Ennis’s run on the Punisher is one of the few to treat the character as a recognizable human being. Geared towards a more “mature” audience, Punisher Max places the titular character in a world without superheroes and thus keeps him firmly in line with his inspiration: Mack Bolan, The Executioner. If you’re gonna read only one Punisher comic book, Garth Ennis’s Punisher Max is the one you should read. -Joe T.)