So, you’re stuck at home and Netflix, Hulu, and even Disney+ are beginning to lose their luster after just a couple of weeks. (To be fair, that’s probably because you’ve not watched The Rocketeer enough, but we’ll let that slide for now.) With television and movies beginning to fail you, it’s time to do that thing you’ve been promising yourself you’d finally get around to: catch up on reading.
Don’t worry; it isn’t time for you to reach for Cormac McCarthy just yet. Instead, it’s time to catch up on some of the comics you’ve missed in recent years. Here, for your entertainment and education, are five comic-book runs for you to enjoy, as well as just where you can find them online. After all, this isn’t the time to go out shopping for books.
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Imagine the most out-there group of Avengers you can think of, dealing with threats to existence on an almost existential level, and you’ve pretty much got the gist of the most recent incarnation of the Ultimates, a superhero group that think bigs, but has a heart as large as its ambitions. Writer Al Ewing has proven himself to the Marvel faithful with his current Immortal Hulk comic book series, which brings body horror and almost supernatural dread to a character previously defined by his skin color and how angry he was at any given moment; this series showcases a more cosmic side, arguably a more metatextual side, and one that would rather heal the universe than smash it. Isn’t that the kind of hope we need right now?
How to read it: Available on Marvel Unlimited as single issues or ComiXology in four collections: Ultimates: Omniversal Volume 1: Start With the Impossible, Ultimates: Omniversal Volume 2: Civil War II, Ultimates 2 Volume 1: Troubleshooters and Ultimates 2 Volume 2: Eternity War.
What if one of the most trustworthy of DC’s superheroes—a founding member of the Justice League, and one currently on television every weak bringing a security and stability to the world on Supergirl—wasn’t who he said he was, or even who he thought he was? That’s the hook behind this stealth reboot of the character from a few years back, which is far less a superhero comic than a paranoid science fiction story that may or may not be about an alien invasion. Imagine Philip K. Dick writing the DC Universe and you’re not a million miles away from what’s on offer here. Who is the Martian Manhunter? Turns out, not even he knows the answer to that question.
Judge Dredd Day of Chaos
Perhaps a story about the way in which a virus can utterly decimate society feels a little too real right now, but Day of Chaos is a story unlike many others; one that easily jumps between genres—is it a political thriller? a pandemic disaster? the darkest of dark comedies? The real answer is “yes, and then some,” and it remakes the already dystopian, if increasingly recognizable, world of Judge Dredd into something even more grim in the process. Is this a story that we’re all living right now, or simply one that feels exactly right for his moment in history? (The answer, again, is probably “yes, and then some.”)
How to read it: Available via the 2000 AD web store or iOS app in three collections: Judge Dredd Day of Chaos: The Fourth Faction, Judge Dredd: Day of Chaos — Endgame and Judge Dredd Day of Chaos: Fallout.
Ice Cream Man
Imagine a Black Mirror that was more invested in getting weird, or a Twilight Zone that really wanted to leave you a little freaked out, and you have Image Comics’ Ice Cream Man, which is an anthology of short stories which share two particular elements: the ice cream man of the series’ title—who seems like a good guy on the face of things, but is far creepier than it seems at first—and the fact that you’ll likely leave each one just a little unnerved by what you’ve just read. Things are already feeling a little strange; this is what you read that’ll help you lean into that just a little bit more.
How to read it: Available on Hoopla or ComiXology in four collections: Ice Cream Man: Rainbow Sprinkles, Ice Cream Man: Strange Neapolitan, Ice Cream Man: Hopscotch Melange and Ice Cream Man: Tiny Lives.
She Could Fly
A story about super powers and mental health may not sound like what to expect from one of the creators of the much-missed TV show Halt and Catch Fire, but Christopher Cantwell’s comic book debut excels in evading and out-performing expectations throughout. The sudden appearance—and disappearance—of a woman who can apparently fly turns the world of a 15-year-old girl upside down, blurring the lines between reality and fantasy even further for both the girl and the reader, in what turns out to be a surprisingly touching, beautifully gentle story. (There are moments that are very not gentle in here, which might make you doubt that reading, but it’s true.)
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