Underrated: A Random Selection Of TPBs

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: a somewhat random selection of trade paperbacks..

This week I wanted to highlight books that have either already appeared in this column, or haven’t appeared yet (but that I plan to cover in more detail in the future). There’ll be no real order here, but each book will be a jumping on point of some kind into a series that are each absolutely worth reading.

Voracious: Diners Dinosaurs and Dives (Action Lab) The elevator pitch for this series is pretty simple and immediately interesting; time travelling chef hunts dinosaurs. But as catchy as that is, it does a disservice to Markisan Naso and Jason Muhr’s series. Across two miniseries (or two trades), the pair have created a story with more flavours than a tyrannosaur steak; there’s a cop drama, genuinely funny and heart warming moments, a deeper exploration of the mechanics of time travel than you’d necessarily expect and some straight up action sequences. This is easily one of the most exciting comic series I’ve read in the last five year (the final part of the trilogy launches in the next couple of months).

God Country (Image) The concept for this story is pretty unique and straight forward; a man with Alzheimer’s regains his memory when holding a mysterious sentient sword. The only problem is, the sword apparently belongs to some space gods… God Country is one of Donny Cates finest stories, and one that has the potential to hit a lot of us who have experienced a loved one suffering with this horrible disease. There’s also an undertone about discovering who you once were, who you are, and the question of whether a sentient sword is a possession or a free being. Plus, with this being made into a movie in the future, you’ll want to read this sooner than later.

Wrath Of The Eternal Warrior: Risen (Valiant) Hardly surprising I’d include a Valiant book, and Risen is the introductory story to one of Valiant’s finest fourteen issue runs in recent memory. This chapter tells the story of how the Eternal Warrior comes back to life each and every time he dies – another simple concept, but one that weighs heavier and heavier each time you see him fall later in the series.

Sex Criminals (Image) Sometimes you just really need a good crime story. And despite the title, this isn’t about sex criminals, but criminals who have sex and then commit a crime. Because every time they orgasm time freezes so they choose to rob a bank (or take a shit in their bosses office). As you do.

Letter 44: Vol I (Oni Press) I had very little idea what this was about when I picked up the first trade, but quickly discovered that it tells the story of humanity’s first contact with extraterrestrial beings, and the president who chose to keep their existence a secret (all the while perpetuating wars to give his soldiers combat experience and developing incredible technology to combat the potential threat). Equal parts political intrigue and science fiction story, I’m still not sure whether the tension is higher in space than it is on Earth, but the story is freaking amazing.

Ether (Dark Horse) A tale about a scientist who can travel inter-dimensionally, Ether explores what would happen if said scientist arrived in a world where magic, not science is the rule of law – but what is magic but as-yet unexplained science?

Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.