Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Five major comic book series from 2020

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Every Wednesday, I go to my local comic book store to buy almost a dozen books, most of them from Marvel and DC. I’m a huge fan of the classic superhero formula and have been reading capes and masks articles every week since I was eight. My first ongoing series was Captain America, which was soon followed by Batman, and then I got it all in. I wanted to read as much as I could, and I haven’t stopped doing it in the decades since.

Like most things happening in 2020, the comic book industry has had a strange year. When the pandemic took hold, the comic ceased to exist. The new version racks had nothing on them. For the past few months, physical comics haven’t been released, and digital distribution barely has a footprint. The industry has just closed, and there were concerns that it would not come back the same way.

Not having my weekly story correction has been one of the hardest things for me to adjust during the pandemic. I can take shelter with the best of them, but not having a book on hand to read over lunch or at any time was a habit that I struggled to change. I didn’t realize how huge a role comics have in my life until they were taken from me.

When the wheels of most entertainment industries started to spin again, comic book stores reopened and new books gradually hit the shelves, making Wednesdays meaningful and fun again.

Considering the number of comics that come out each week, it’s impossible to get an accurate reading of everything, but for DC and Marvel superhero books, I think the year was run by one person. : Donny Cates. His writing was inspired and gave the Marvel Universe an exciting boost that isn’t predictable.

Along with Cates’ outstanding work, here are the 2020 books that I recommend any comic book fan or budding reader to check out:

Thor
Now 10 questions in depth, Cates’ handling of the God of Thunder has been nothing short of extraordinary. His run begins with Thor as Galactus’ herald in “The Devourer King”. This means he gets a new look and powers to go with it. Thor doesn’t accept his duties as a Silver Surfer so much, and what happens next shapes one of the best comic book stories of the year, which is also one of Thor’s all-time great arcs. Cates’ next big story on Thor, “Prey,” is now two issues old and proves to be just as clever, twisted, and unexpected. Thor is easily my favorite comic of the year and takes this age-old hero to new territory that also adheres to its rich history.

Venom
This is another book by Cates that has been on fire. Yes, “Venom Island” was a silly read, but with Eddie Brock playing Rambo, his son Dylan has established himself as an important character tied to Knull, the big bad of the Marvel Universe this year and beyond. Knull’s arrival on Earth was brilliantly teased most of the year, which showed just how threatening he is. His arrival in King in black lives up to the expectation and has touched almost every great Marvel heroe. Reminds me of Thanos showing us what he’s really capable of The infinity glove. Venom Also just wrapped up a fun alternate reality arc that opens up the universe to new possibilities. Carry on, Mr. Cates. Keep doing what you are doing. It’s awesome!

Batman
For most of the year, James Tynion IV had fun with the Caped Crusader’s gallery of thieves and rounded most of them for the long arc “Their Dark Drawings”. Riddler and Joker were perfectly written, but they didn’t catch the eye. New villains have emerged from the shadows of Gotham and may remain in power in the Batman universe. The work of Jorge Jimenez is also exceptional. It has been one of the best Basic Batbooks for quite some time.

Suicide Squad
Without any excuse and bloody as hell, Tom Taylor’s take on Suicide Squad is a real page turner, and it’s sadly over. This Suicide Squad imprint only lasted 11 issues, but it rarely had a lull, and Taylor had surprising freedom to be able to take down heroes and villains. As the body bags line up, Taylor also tells a crazy revenge tale that sets the stage for a new team with a new name.

The Amazing Spider-Man
Peter Parker is having a terrible week in a story called “Last Remains”. Kindred, Sin-Eater, and other old threats beat him bloody. The entire Spider-Gang is in the crosshairs of this sprawling story that bounces between two different ongoing Amazing Spider-Man books. With each passing issue, the story becomes more personal for Peter and the ongoing conflict is all the more worthy. We still don’t know how “Last Remains” ends, but it looks like this chapter in Peter’s life won’t be quickly forgotten.

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