What old-school comics are worth reading in their current run?
June 22, 2010 6:57 PM   Subscribe

What long-running superhero comic book monthlies are currently putting out really good story arcs, art, or otherwise have a creative team that sets them apart? Like is Green Lantern having a great year? Uncanny X-men?

I know the alt-titles and indie graphic novels are what usually get recommended here and want to assure anyone concerned for my comic book reader soul that I am not ignorant of the awesome nontraditional stuff out there. I'm just indulging an urge to get better acquainted with the core titles that have survived the Silver and/or Bronze age of comics and are still around after the ups and downs of the past few decades. Who's currently on an up swing?
posted by cowbellemoo to Media & Arts (19 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
The current run of Invincible Iron Man by Matt Fraction is just absolutely aces. I'm not sure if Immortal Iron Fist is still going (although I know Fraction isn't writing it anymore), but it started off as strong as I've ever seen a series start.

Grant Morrison's All-Star Batman and Robin has its moments more often than not. Likewise, his 12-issue run of All-Star Superman is long over but deserves a read.
posted by griphus at 7:03 PM on June 22, 2010

not sure if Immortal Iron Fist is still going

It is. Not quite as amazing now, but still good. The limited series about the Immortal Weapons was quite good as well.
posted by yerfatma at 7:12 PM on June 22, 2010

Grant Morrison's title is just "Batman and Robin," no All-Star. It's pretty decent, although it's where it ties into his Return of Bruce Wayne that it shines. I'd recommend both.

X-Factor, with Peter David writing again, is good. I'd second the Invincible Iron Man recommendation. Many of the X-Men titles are currently absorbed in yet another ridiculous crossover, so it's hit-or-miss. I feel like Ed Brubaker's Captain America has possibilities, although its best days may have recently passed.

If you consider Vertigo/Marvel's alternate material as mainstream, I'd pick up Daytripper and Electric Ant.
posted by mikeh at 7:13 PM on June 22, 2010

Many of the X-Men titles are currently absorbed in yet another ridiculous crossover...

I've found that this is actual an all-around problem with Marvel right now (DC seems to have toned down on the PENULTIMATE CRISIS OF FOURTEEN AND A HALF EARTHS crap,) but it wasn't as bad as it seemed after I got into some books and realized that outside of the Crossover-titled stuff, it isn't as bad. Plus with Wikipedia you can keep up like you couldn't back in the day.

Oh! Greg Pak's 2006 Planet Hulk storyline was amazing.
posted by griphus at 7:22 PM on June 22, 2010

Grant Morrison's title is just "Batman and Robin"

Yes! Please don't accidentally pick up the steaming pile of fecal matter that is Frank Miller's All-Star Batman and Robin.
posted by griphus at 7:22 PM on June 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

I've heard that Jonathan Hickman's current Fantastic Four run is great, but haven't picked it up. (Waiting for the trade on that. Actually, waiting for the paperback trade on that. Hate those hardcovers...)

X-Factor is generally great but is currently stuck in a...surprise!...crossover. The rest of the X-Men books have been so boring I finally just dropped them en masse.

I can't speak for DC, but Marvel is currently stuck in a huge, unfortunate creative rut. The concepts they're playing with are exciting but the execution isn't translating, for whatever reason. You're not going to find the situation like it was in the early 2000s, when Grant Morrison was lighting the X-Men on fire, the Ultimate line was fresh and exciting, J. Michael Straczynski was making Spider-Man relevant again, Runaways and Young Avengers were quietly being amazing self-contained young adult titles, Mark Waid was mixing hilarity, pathos, and sci-fi on Fantastic Four...etc.
posted by greenland at 7:37 PM on June 22, 2010

I hear very good things about Greg Pak on Incredible Hulk lately, starting with #610. Pak and Fred van Lente's Prince of Power limited series is reliably hilarious.

Kieron Gillen is rocking house on Thor. Fraction on Iron Man, as stated. I am quite fond of the first issue of Bendis and Immonen's New Avengers I picked up last week-- it's an Avengers book that plays up the quirky team camaraderie, unlike the slightly more serious Avengers title Bendis is writing and the heavy covert-ops Secret Avengers Brubaker's working on. (I like those too, but if you just want fun, I think New Avengers is your book).

I also hear good things about Andy Diggle's Daredevil run, but am not primarily a DD fan, so don't take my word for it.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 7:40 PM on June 22, 2010

Oh, oh God, how did I forget Fantastic Four?

You want Hickman's Fantastic Four. Really. It is the best the book has been in decades.

As for the X-books, I await whatever Marvel's going to do to revamp the current dire mutant ratscrew where they're all holed up on the old Asteroid M having repetitive issues. Until then, I don't know that I'd bother unless you're a big fan of Dr. Nemesis, Madison Jeffries, or Fantomex, in which case Uncanny might work for you.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 7:41 PM on June 22, 2010

I loved Joss Whedon's run on Astonishing X-Men (I believe that was the first four collections of the series). (Are X-Men classic enough?)
posted by Margalo Epps at 7:46 PM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

DC just had a great crossover event with Green Lantern at it's center. Blackest Night was a great combination of DC lore with sort-of-zombies. It also introduced a whole chunk of Lantern Corps information that should be interesting to see fleshed out. Before that, the Sinestro Corps War was also a great miniseries with the Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps titles.

After it ended, a new Green Lantern event called Brightest Day was started, but I haven't got a chance to start reading it yet. I can't recommend it, but if it's anything like Blackest Night, it should be amazing as well.
posted by SNWidget at 7:55 PM on June 22, 2010

I'm not usually into superheroes, but the Batwoman run on Detective Comics was amazing (the book comes out in July) and I've really been enjoying the rebooted Ultimate Comics Spider-Man.
posted by leesh at 7:56 PM on June 22, 2010

Double plus thumbs up on the Batwoman run of Detective Comics! Beautiful art and a great story.
posted by Fui Non Sum at 9:42 PM on June 22, 2010

It is.

It isn't. #27 was the final issue.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 9:48 PM on June 22, 2010

Morrison has also returned to writing the regular Batman book, as well as doing Batman and Robin (and Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne). They've all core parts of his ongoing 'Batman novel' though, so can be a bit impenetrable unless you've been following the whole thing.

On the other hand, JM Straczynski is set to take over both Superman and Wonder Woman with issues 701 and 601 respectively. Given his past form on Thor and Amazing Spider-Man, they should be worth a look.
posted by permafrost at 3:30 AM on June 23, 2010

The Amazing Spider-Man book has been doing some really high-quality stuff since the most recent shake-up a year or so ago. They cancelled all (most?) other Spider-Man titles and turned Amazing into a weekly with rotating creative teams. Javier Pulido has done some of the issues and his artwork is "amazing" (sorry).

You will have to overcome any knee-jerk resisitance you may have at Marvel's decision to magically erase Spider-Man's marriage to Mary Jane, though.
posted by joelhunt at 7:18 AM on June 23, 2010


Hickman's current Fantastic Four run. I am really enjoying the hell out of it.
PAD on X-Factor
Matt Fraction on Invincible Iron Man and the previously mentioned run of Iron Fist.


Green Lantern has been good to great depending on the book for a while now. I don't know what I would suggest starting with that though. Maybe as far back as Green Lantern: Rebirth to start the beginning. Depends on how much time and money you feel like investing.

More Iron Man from a few years back (2007), I really liked Iron Man: Hypervelocity by Adam Warren and Extremis by Warren Ellis was the reboot that got the last few years rolling. Both of those are definitely a more modern/updated version of Iron Man.

One of my favorite Superman stories from recent years (2005) wasn’t even part of the regular DCU continuity. Superman: Secret Identity. A mild mannered teen in a world much like ours is named Clark Kent. In this world, the DCU is a comic book universe too. Then one day he discovers he has Superman’s powers too. This probably isn't the type of suggestion that you are looking for, but I am going to recommend it anyway.

I liked All-Star Superman too and I am looking forward to the upcoming works by JMS.
posted by PlutoniumX at 7:37 AM on June 23, 2010

Thanks, everyone. It's awesome to see that so many titles are still exciting.
posted by cowbellemoo at 7:43 PM on June 23, 2010

It isn't. #27 was the final issue.

Argh, wow. I just got caught up on my pulls (was about a month or so behind) and just finished #27 which ended on a cliffhanger, so I sort of expected a #28. Forgot Marvel stopped doing anything sensible once they made a dollar in the film industry.
posted by yerfatma at 9:30 AM on June 24, 2010

It's a long-running non-superhero monthly, but Milligan's Hellblazer (started with #250, I think) is killer.
posted by Bigfoot Mandala at 9:04 PM on June 24, 2010

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