These days, everyone and their mom knows that comic books are a huge cultural phenomenon, but if you want to get into them it can be tough to know where to start. Between deaths, revivals, alternate universes, alternate timelines, reboots, and more, the newly minted comic nerd probably feels a little overwhelmed. In order to feel a little more whelmed (Young Justice anybody?) we’ve put together a list of comics for total beginners.
This 2011 comic run is an action packed classic that most DC fans could probably tell you about. Important note: this does involve an alternate reality, but worry not, the story line isn’t as confusing as you would think. Basically, the Flash has ended up in another universe where his mother is alive, but that’s not the only difference. Beloved DC characters are fighting over claim to this world, and no one is sure how they’ll make it out alive. It’s definitely an interesting read while the beloved speedster races to get back to his home.
Warnings: mild violence and physical injury
Loki: Agent of Asgard
In this comic, a recently revived Loki tries to redeem himself from his villainous past by completing missions for the crown of Asgard in exchange for his misdeeds being expunged from recollection. Naturally, he’s going to go about this in his traditional trickster fashion. Full of magic weapons, a human lie detector, and various Asgardians of old, this comic is surely going to draw you in.
Warnings: violence, physical injury, and mild nudity
Being shipped off from earth by your friends, crash landing on a planet with too many problems, and being sold into slavery is enough to make anyone mad, but naturally, the Hulk handles it much, much worse. This is one of the comic runs that Thor: Ragnarok garnered lots of inspiration from, but this is not the glittery trash planet of Jeff Goldblum that you know. Gladiatorial battles, inter-species relations, political drama, and a whole lot of smash are all major parts of what makes this comic book special. This one is a fair bit darker than some of the other comics on this list, so be warned.
Its hard to be a teenager sometimes. You’ve got to deal with school, drama, and who could forget your secret life as a superhero? Kamala Khan is a Muslim teen in Jersey City trying her best to be the the new superhero on the block. She’s got big shoes to fill as a young hero, so it’s a good thing she can grow and shrink at will. This comic is a great coming-of-age style story, and it’s funny enough to keep you laughing right along with it.
All your favorite marvel superheroes assemble in The Ultimates. After the Hulk destroys a section of the bay, Shield steps up to create a superhero team to combat growing threats that the normal military can’t handle. There are many differences to the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Avengers movies, but it still makes for an interesting story. As with Planet Hulk, this story eventually gets quite dark, so be warned.
Warnings: nudity, sexual references, abuse, violence
This comic run tells the escapades of the son of Batman and the Son of Superman. Jon Kent (Superboy) is a mild mannered ten year old that lives with his parents on a farm. In contrast, the slightly older Damian Wayne (Robin) fights crime with his dad and the Teen Titans. The two annoy each other and get into loads of trouble like any good super kids do. This comic is full of action, adventure, and hilarity that will keep you coming back for more.
Warnings: mild violence
*written by Ruth Duncan