Been long enough, better continue the series.
I would like to clarify one thing: what I mean when I say “volume.” In comics, a new “volume” of a title begins whenever that titled is re/launched at a #1 issue. This means different titles have different amounts of volumes based on how many times they were launched as a new series. This does not mean that more volumes makes for a longer series or a better/worse character. For instance, Amazing Spider-Man is just now on volume 2 while a title like Daredevil is currently on volume 4. However, Amazing started in 1963 and Daredevil started in 1964. It just boils down to how many times the characters are restarted due to creative or editorial decisions. This is also confused with the Trade Paperback use for the term “volume,” which refers to a sequential addition in a group of collections. The confusion gets exacerbated when you realize that each volume of a title contains multiple volumes of trade paperbacks. Why they didn’t decide on a different term for the collections, who knows.
Ultimately, all you need to understand is that “volumes” in these posts refer to the specific runs. If you have specific questions about how to hunt down the stories or series, shoot me a message.
Anywho, here we go:
Marvel Men Part 1
Marvel Women Part 1
- Character Summary: Steve Rogers – Boy Scout with a sometimes gruff exterior; Driven and mission oriented; Tactical and Careful; A super soldier in both ability and personality; Old-fashioned, has always maintained a sort of tragic element about him, really getting across the “displaced” feeling, especially in the hands of talented writers.
- Common Themes: The line between duty and what’s right; Freedom vs. Oppression; ‘MURICA!
- Good For: People who like Tom Clancy books/movies; People who really liked the Cap movies, honestly; People who are looking for a healthy balance of espionage, city destroying action, and the occasional wholesome moral.
- Go To Series: Captain America (Volumes 1, 3 and 5, imo); The Ultimates
- Stand Out Stories: Civil War; The Hero that Was; The Secret Empire; Captain America No More; Operation Rebirth; The Death of Captain America; Man Out of Time
- Character Summary: Carl Lucas; Sometimes called Power Man; NYPD cop, wrongly imprisoned, volunteered for an experiment to shorten his sentence; Thanks to some racist redneck jerkwad Georgia prison guard, the experiment went haywire and granted Lucas super strength and impervious skin; He then breaks out, moves back to NY and changes his name to Luke Cage; Founding member of Heroes for Hire, Cage deals with a lot of the street-level crime with the likes of Iron Fist, Spidey-Man, and others; Due to Luke’s history dealing with gang violence, he is typically seen running against crime syndicates and cleaning the streets of larger gangs; Luke was also a member of the New Avengers and the Mighty Avengers for quite some time, and has helped the Avengers on several occasions, including fighting the X-Men during the Avengers vs X-Men crossover and aiding Captain America during the Civil War story-line
- Common Themes: Racism (duh); Life on the Mean Streets; Tough can be nice; With Great Power come Great Bad-Guy Butt-Kicking; Don’t judge a book by its huge muscles and tiara
- Good For: Fans of Street-Level heroes; Fans of cop shows/movies; People who like the “tough guy with a heart of gold” trope
- Go To Series: Power Man (vol 1); Heroes for Hire (vol 1); Mighty Avengers (vol 2)
- Stand Out Stories: Pulse 11-14; New Avengers (vol 1) Annual #1; New Avengers (vol 1) 1-5; Luke Cage: Noir
- Character Summary:…Wait, crap…
- Character Summary: Hercules… Like from Greek mythology. Here he is a Greek God and Hero (Much like Thor and the Norse Pantheon, the Greek Pantheon also exists parallel to the world of Mortals); Hercules is sometimes portrayed as a bit of a drunk and a definite womanizer, thus as a foil to Thor’s reservedness, Hercules tends to be a bit more rambunctious; What’s excellent is watching Hercules try, in that Thor was sort of just accepted into the fold, but Herc spends a lot of his time trying to show that even though he has his own hang ups, he can be a real, full fledged hero with the rest of them, which is an interesting play on the “brash jock” trope.
- Common Themes: Fantasy and Mythology; A God among Mortals; The Strong Protecting the Weak; control and restraint; The need to prove one’s self
- Good For: Greek Mythology Fans; Machismo hunters; people who like Bears (and not the grizzly kind… I don’t judge)
- Go To Series: Hercules; Herc; Hercules: Fall of an Avenger; Hercules: Twilight of a God
- Stand Out Stories: The Incredible Hercules; Chaos War; Tales to Astonish #79; Wolverine/Hercules: Myths; Monsters and Mutants; Hulk VS Hercules: When Titans Collide
- Character Summary: Richard Rider – Quippy, cocky highschooler given massive amounts of power by a dying member of the Xandarian Militia, the Nova Corps: These individuals are all granted levels of power by a supercomputer called the Worldmind, which hands out power based on rank: Nova feels very much like Marvel’s answer to the Green Lantern, with the addition of that tasty Marvel flair for one-liners and smart-mouthing superheroes. Nova does take a much darker tone after the completion of the Annihilation storyline, feeling betrayed and abandoned by his earth brethren and taking mostly to space: Rider was eventually replaced by Sam Alexander, who acts much like Richard Rider did pre-Annihilation, though is a little bit more immature due to his young age.
- Common Themes: Space; War; Sacrificing one’s life for power and/or to uphold justice; The universe beyond Earth; Shared power versus supreme power; Teamwork
- Good For: Fans of spanning space epics; Green Lantern Fans; People interested in Cosmic Marvel, or the world/galaxy outside of New York
- Go To Series: Nova Vol 4, New Warriors Vol 2, Nova Vol 5 (Sam Alexander)
- Stand Out Stories: Annihilation, Annihilation:Conquest, The Thanos Imperative
- Character Summary: Matt Murdock; A smart, obedient boy growing up in Hell’s Kitchen with his boxer/mob enforcer father; Matt’s dad wanted the boy to study up and get out of the mean streets of Hell’s Kitchen, hoping his son wouldn’t have to live the life he chose; One day, Matt goes to save a blind man who is almost run over by a truck and has chemical waste spilled on his eyes; His remaining four senses are heightened dramatically, giving Matt a sort of radar he can use to navigate and “see” the world around him; Eventually, Matt enrolled into law school and while studying deciding to go see his pops, who had been doing very well in the boxing circuit of late, fight one big upcoming match; Unbeknownst to Matt, his dad was told to throw the fight, but he refused to lose in front of his son; So Matt’s daddy comes out swinging and wins; Yay! The End.
- …Oh, and then he gets murdered by the mobster that told him to throw the fight… So Matt trains up and utilizes his ultra-perception powers to fight crime in Hell’s Kitchen and protect people from the likes of those that murdered his father; As Daredevil, Murdock is very stoic and broody, a la batman (post Miller, at least); He is also one of those “no nonsense” types of Superheroes; He has qualms about killing, but is not as quick to “this person lives no matter how many people they’ve killed” as Spider-Man or others; An excellent fighter (trained by the Stick, a ninja master), Daredevil’s fight scenes include a lot of precise punches, high flying and gymnastic flips
- Common Themes: The darkness inside one’s self; The power of fear; Overcoming disabilities; The importance of training, study and practice; Life on the mean streets; Law vs Order
- Good For: Nightwing/Grayson fans; People who think Law and Order: SVU is best when Stabler goes batshit and beats the crap out of some young perv; People looking for a foil to quippy, Times Square savin’ heroes like Spider-Man; Noir fans
- Go To Series: Honestly… ALL OF THEM. Seriously, Daredevil has had some INSANE writing talent that has shaped him over the years, from Frank Miller shaping the dark, brooding nature of the character, to Kevin Smith shaping Daredevil’s relationships to the world and characters around him, to Brian Michael Bendis adding a detective feel and Ed Brubaker filling out some noir elements. Recently Mark Waid has been helming the Man Without Fear and has bee doing a fine job at that. Seriously. ALL. OF. THEM.
- Stand Out Stories: The Man Without Fear (mini), Daredevil: Yellow, Underboss (Vol 2 #26-31), Daredevil (vol 1) #191
- Character Summary: Scott Summers; Mutant ability to produce high energy blasts from his eyes; Due to “mental trauma,” however, Summers cannot control his optic blasts, and they pour from his eyes constantly; the only method he has of being able to see without damaging any one or thing around him is to wear glasses or visors made of ruby quartz, which nullifies the red blasts; Cyclops has had a long and storied career as leader of the X-Men and has fallen in and out of favor with his team and the public more than Shia Lebeouf; Tactically, Cyclops is an excellent leader, learning every strength and weakness of his team and knowing the best ways to actively use them; He is also an excellent planner, instantly drawing up hundreds of strategies for any situation; where he lacks, however, is his inability to take criticism or challenges to his leadership lightly, a trait that increased in intensity as time went by and ultimately resulted in a schism in the X-Men, with Wolverine staying in New York and Cyclops moving a team to San Francisco; One of the best parts of Cyclops’ full story is watching his philosophies mold and evolve as he experiences victories and losses, happiness and tragedy; Without revealing too much, it’s very interesting to see where he is now and how he has ultimately become the type of revolutionary that he had originally been fighting against.
- Common Themes: Leadership vs Friendship; Moral choices and dilemmas in war/combat; Civil Rights; Powerful people and their relationship to the weak; Evolution, physical and emotional; the dangers of dogma
- Good For: People who want to be able to watch a character grow up and/or alter their beliefs; Fans of large, team-based comics; Fans of any of the “mutant” comics/characters; People who believe the “boy scout” trope can only go so far; People who like a lot of social/emotional/relationship drama in their comics
- Go To Series: Astonishing X-Men (vol 3); Cyclops (current ongoing); X-Factor (vol 1); Uncanny X-Men (vol 1 and 3)
- Stand Out Stories: X-Factor (vol 1) #68; Avengers Vs X-Men (core series and “Consequences”); X-Men: Civil War; Schism; X-Factor (vol 1) #14