Three Image Comics You Need to Read- NOW

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If you know me at all (I like to think of us as the symbiote suit, or maybe even a cult) then you know I like comics. It’s not even about reading a thousand a week or being obsessed, but the medium itself interests me.

And while I’ve always been a Marvel Man (and sometimes a Marvel girl), occasionally I’ll come across something that’s outside of my normal reading habits and man, can they take you by surprise.

Below are three books that you should check out, even if you’re not into comics.

1. Invincible by Robert Kirkman and Ryan Ottley

Currently on Issue #114 as of November, 2014.

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Having started its run in 2003 with The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman and penciler, Cory Walker, Ryan Ottley took over after issue #7 and has been drawing ever since.

Part parody, part homage, Invincible follows the exploits of a young man who finds out he’s of an alien race. A very powerful alien race and his dad used to be earth’s most powerful superhero, known to the public as Omni-Man. Invincible’s mild-mannered ego Mark Grayson, upon discovering his powers not only has to cope with “regular” teenage life, but his life as a super powered being as well. His abilities include super strength, flight, super durability, and a few other abilities. You get the idea.

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It’s basically as glorious as this picture.

Sound familiar? A little bit of Superman here, and a little bit of Spider-man there, Invincible is a series that uses your previous knowledge of the superhero genre and builds on top of that. The difference between Invincible and other superhero titles is that writer Kirkman doesn’t hold back in the death or dismemberment toll.

While Marvel and DC are comfortable in only upping the ante by killing off C-listers or temporarily getting rid of main characters, Invincible’s world is meant to be as real as ours and when somebody dies, it’s normally not even heroic. At times, supervillains’ plots are actually followed through with and a lot of people die in the process. It’s stuff like this that lets you settle into the world where the hero can’t always save everybody.

Look at that. The fight is breaking OUT of the panel.

Look at that. The fight is breaking OUT of the panel.

But don’t get me wrong- while series’ of this nature have been done before, the comic is equal parts of satire and respect to the genre it’s a part of. While writers like Mark Millar have had success in their own series such as Kick-Ass and Wanted, Kirkman’s overtones in Invincible adopt a more comically intense feel over the more cynical vibes found in Millar’s worlds. At times, Invincible (That is the character’s superhero name, by the way) can’t figure out how to defeat a villain and has flown them to Antarctica, or even just thrown them into space when he doesn’t see another option.

And why not? He’s not a genius, just a young guy with superpowers. It’s this aspect that makes Invincible such a great read.

2. LOW by Rick Remender and Greg Tocchini

Currently on issue #4 as of November, 2014

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Billions of years into the future (Yes, billions) earth’s two million inhabitants are struggling to survive in their underwater city of Salus. With the surface uninhabitable due to the sun having become a red giant, Stel and her family search for livable conditions elsewhere; all while the city’s authorities are allowing everyone to slowly die and pirates are abound.

This really is an almost perfect book. Growing up primarily on superhero comics, I’d always thought that if the images on the page weren’t consistently dynamic, why not just write a novel? And though I still see some truth in that, Low has already proven itself to be a amazing combination of story and art.

It's like Gungan City without the horrible what's-their-names.

It’s like Gungan City without the horrible what’s-their-names.

Written by Rick Remender (Uncanny X-Force, Punisher), we’re given the story of Stel; whose optimism knows no bounds even in the face of one of the most depressing stories I’ve ever read. And she’s about the only redeemable character in the story thus far. It’s not to say that no one else but her is likable but…no, that’s about exactly what I’m saying. Everyone else is despondent or a murderer or perhaps a despondent murderer- yet’s Stel persists. She’s the driving force of the story so far with hope as the driving theme.

And as miserable as so many characters in the book are, it’s almost difficult to see it as the dismal world that it is with Greg Tocchini on the art. Seriously, every panel should be framed and hung in every room you have. From metallic workshops, underwater opium dens and seeing life underwater two billion years in the future, it all just looks great.

So far, the book is a nicely paced buildup to I-don’t-know-what, but whatever it is, I’m looking forward to it.

3. Wytches by Scott Snyder and Jock

Currently on issue #1 as of November, 2014.

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Clearly, there’s only so much to go off of here. With only the first issue having been released at this point, you may wonder how I can even recommend this. Especially considering Invincible has been around since 2003. Is it really on the same level as a decade old series that’s been consistently delivering? Yes and no.

No, it doesn’t compare by the standard of sheer time alone, but yes in the sense that the firs issue alone is gripping. After borrowing it from a friend, I had the thought go through my head, “Okay, what are they gonna do in a single issue to bring me back for the next?”

Let me just say that they’ve done it.

Charles Rooks and his daughter, Sailor, move into a new town to escape a traumatic event involving a girl that bullied Sailor. While the father and daughter hope to put whatever events happened behind them, an eerie presence lurks in the woods near their new home. What is it? Well, you can guess from the title but I’m not spoiling anything.

They've got problems.

They’ve got problems.

Writer Scott Snyder (Superman Unchained, Batman, American Vampire) is no stranger to writing on the underbelly of any genre. With his acclaimed work on Batman, specifically The Court of Owls storyline or the Death of the Family arc, his work is as good as it is popular. A back story at the end of the issue from Snyder reveals his inspiration for the story and it’s as interesting as the story itself. A nice set up that has certainly pulled me in to see what happens next.

The artist known as Jock has also carved a niche for himself with his sketchy look fitting the horror motif quite disturbingly. And though it doesn’t necessarily say anything to speak to the quality of the book itself, Brad Pitt has already decided to adapt Wytches to the big screen. After one freaking issue. Even if they’re not fans of Pitt, the creative team has got to know they’re onto something at this point.

Somethin' creepy.

Somethin’ creepy.

I’m also reading Uncanny X-Men, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Amazing Spider-Man, and The Immortal Iron Fist along with back issues of Peter David’s X-Factor that ran from 2005-2013. Naturally, I recommend these books as well but the ones gone into detail about don’t exactly have the same publicity as those listed below, if you catch my drift.

These were just books that are not only too good to pass up, but should be checked out by anybody looking for good reads.

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