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So, what else are you reading?

Dropping in on the Rachel Maddow Show's comic book backchannel

...Steve was asking if I'd yet had a chance to catch up on the Netflix Daredevil series. I have not (dammit), but still intend to because nary a discouraging word has been uttered about this show, and every time someone says, "If you like 'x' then Daredevil on Netflix is ten times better," I'm already a fan of 'x' and wonder how much better this could be. Anyway, my side of the conversation in that exchange was to ask Steve if he'd seen that Marvel was putting out a new Civil War comic book series. Steve recognized the title, having read Volume 1 as a graphic novel and also recalled hearing that the new Captain America move is going to have a Civil War theme._______________________

Now that he said that, everywhere I look are previews and speculations about the breadth of the Civil War in the Marvel Universe, so I'm a little embarrassed that I wasn't paying attention well enough to realize what was happening, but also pleased that I picked up on it when I did.

If Civil War is new to you, the idea is that there was a horrible, superhero-related tragedy and people were so upset that they decided it was time for super-powered people to be put into a registry. This idea split the super-population as some saw it as a necessity and other saw it as a personal infringement or worse. Those favoring the idea were led by Tony Stark. Those opposed were led by Captain America. Now, Volume 1 came out in 2006, so I'm going to say a spoiler, but surely we're past the statute of limitations on that by now: The two sides fight, resulting in an even bigger, more tragic disaster and millions of innocents are killed and the United States is literally cleaved in half. 

So we come to Volume 2 with the U.S. divided into two countries. The Tony Stark-led side is rigid and orderly and more successful geopolitically. The Steve Rogers side is more libertarian and struggling in terms of resources (in part as a result of the enmity with the Ironman side. (These political themes are what prompted me to mention it to Steve.) Volume 2 is a 5 issue series and we're only up to #4, but given the significance to storytelling in the Marvel Universe, I'm sure they'll bundle it into a trade paperback quickly.

What else am I reading? I'm reading the new Batman story arc. In the previous arc, Endgame, Batman (and Bruce Wayne) had kind of a rough go, so the new story begins with Gotham not being able to find Batman and everyone figures he's dead. But the Gotham Police Department feels it's important that there be some Batman, so they build a robot super-suit and train Jim Gordon to drive it. At the same time, Gotham is attacked by some new villains, who we learn have as their source a great new bad guy called Mr. Bloom.

The new story arc started with #41 and we're only up to #44, so there's time to catch up if you want to collect the monthly floppies. 

By the way, you may have run into #44 in the course of your regular news reading last week. Even though police corruption in Gotham is a familiar element of the Batman setting, this particular book gives a very current, relevant treatment to that corruption that has garnered a lot of attention and acclaim.

What else is Steve reading? He writes to say, "I'm into a relatively new series called 'Letter 44.' It's kind of awesome."

It so happens that io9 published the whole first issue online, so I'll offer their brief description and encourage you to head over there to check that out.

As presidents leave office, they also leave a letter for their successors. In Oni Press' new comic Letter 44, the newest president is taken aback when he reads the letter from the man who preceded him — a man who seemed to tank the economy and embroil the nation in needless wars — but was actually secretly preparing America for an imminent alien invasion.

What else is Rachel reading? Rachel did one of those superlative web videos in conjunction with her appearance on the Wendy Williams Show the other day and revealed that she's reading Saga.

In case my embed of the video doesn't go to the time code directly, her recommendation is at 1:41. Saga is up to Volume 5 in graphic novels, so you have some catching up/binging to do on this one. But you'll be rewarded for doing so. The story is exciting, the characters are amazing, the art (by the aptly named Fiona Staples) is wonderful, the ideas and concepts are compelling, and even the way the story is laid out over the pages is really well done.

So what else are you reading?