Yesterday was Free Comic Book Day, and while I nabbed a handful of preview comics and free issues on ongoing series, I also decided to purchase a few trade paperbacks as well from a local comic shop. All three were Marvel properties, the first being Ms. Marvel: Best of the Best, as I’ve really been digging Carol Danvers’ role as Captain Marvel in the more recent Avengers tales and her current solo series. I thought it appropriate to travel back to some of her earlier tales of action and heroism. Along those same lines, I picked up the Avengers/Invaders collection, a post-Civil War story which appears to highlight Ms. Marvel, Captain America, Black Widow, and many other Avengers members who I am familiar with, as well as some that I would like to read more about. Finally, I grabbed the second collection in the X-Men: Age of Apocalypse epic, a release which, as I understand it, was something of a confusing series of trade paperbacks, as this second volume is where the Age of Apocalypse story truly starts, while the first collection is comprised largely of side stories and supplementary material. Until very recently, it had been years since I had read a proper X-Men story, but upon finishing X-Factor Forever, my interest in the mutants was somewhat rekindled, as I wanted to learn more about Apocalypse as a villain – the vast majority of my pre-existing familiarity with X-Men tales stemmed from the conflicts between Charles Xavier’s titular team and Magneto’s Brotherhood of Mutants.
Also among my semi-recent purchases are Avengers: Ultron Unbound, an early 1990s story wherein Ultron attempts to take down the West Coast Avengers and build himself a robotic wife in preparation for his plans to kick-start dormant volcanoes to wipe out all life on the planet. It’s a bit corny, and the oddball cast that makes up the West Coast Avengers is a striking reflection of Marvel’s 1990s style, but Ultron is an entertaining villain as always, and the interactions between some of the Avengers members imply some less-than-happy-go-lucky outcomes. I recently finished the second trade paperback collection of Rick Remender’s Black Science, a series which – if it continues to fire on all cylinders while maintaining a scope that balances intrigue with a focused plot, as it has been from the start – may go down as one of my all-time favorite graphic novels. I am somewhat wary in stating that, as I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, but Rick Remender’s writing has consistently impressed me across the many different storylines and genres he has tackled.
By the end of this month and into early June, I expect to have added the latest volumes of Guardians of the Galaxy, Nova, Captain Marvel, Legendary Star-Lord, and Captain America to my collection, as well as Jim Starlin’s latest original graphic novel, The Infinity Relativity, and the Realm of Kings reprint in order to round out my collection of Marvel's cosmic renaissance works. I may also end up purchasing the Annihilation Conquest Omnibus for that same reason. Other trades that I have my eye on and may bundle into orders later this summer include Spider-Man Noir: Eyes Without a Face, Infinity War, Infinity Crusade, Thanos: A God Up There Listening, Uncanny Avengers, and the Thunderbolts series featuring Agent Venom, Red Hulk, Elektra, Punisher, Deadpool, and Ghost Rider.