I’m starting to realize that I am somewhat of a completist when it comes to comic books.
I routinely show up late to the party when it comes to the newest and most popular story arcs, largely because I get hung up trying to play catch up.
In most cases, it’s simply not enough for me to hit up Wikipedia to find out what I missed.
When I “get into” a character or storyline, I prefer to start from the “beginning,” which is typically represented by the work of a signature author or storyline; and work my way through the trades until I get up to date.
Unsurprisingly, this has resulted in me purchasing and reading some pretty bad books every now and again.
It’s just the nature of the superhero comics industry, with writers and illustrators jumping from project to project all the time; it’s only natural that various books have dips in quality every now and again.
It’s funny, I actually remember saying, on this very blog; stating that I would probably never pick up a copy of Secret Invasion.
I heard it wasn’t very good, and was hoping to avoid it, but eventually I got so immersed in the Marvel Universe as a whole, (I don’t know about you, but Dark Reign really “did it” for me) that I reached a point in which most of the characters I was reading had a big fat hole in their continuity left by me not having read Secret Invasion or any of it’s copious tie-ins.
Secret Invasion was indeed kind of a crappy, (not Messiah Complex crappy, mind you) but for whatever reason, it’s comforting to me to have those plot holes filled.
The Punisher stuff kind of speaks for itself.
Garth Ennis was the best thing that ever happened to the character, so his departure from the series pretty much resulted in the bar being set far too high for anyone to possibly measure up to.
For your information, that’s about 5 years worth of storylines, told across 5 major arcs, as well as possibly a tie-in book or 2; most of which were written by the dynamic duo of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning.
That’s a lot of fuckin’ comics.
Curiously enough, my association with this sprawling story came in the form of jumping right smack in the middle of it a few years ago.
The first book in the series I read was War of Kings, which turned out to be a surprisingly enjoyable read despite my general unfamiliarity with most of the characters.
Over the course of the story, I developed a newfound respect for Black Bolt, as well as an unexpected degree of interest in the cosmic Marvel Universe.
Though I went on to pick up the War of Kings: Warriors trade that collected a number of tie-in issues associated with the core story, for whatever reason I never went any further than that until just last week.
Last week I finished reading the first book of Annihilation, the initial story arc of the Annihilation saga; and boy was I impressed.
As with War of Kings, I found myself becoming attached to characters that were largely on the periphery of the core Marvel canon, but not only that, I found myself being sucked into the story itself; regardless of it’s place in Marvel lore.
In short, the first book; while little more than build up to the meat of the story, was a damn good read.
That being said, while I know I’ve got my work cut out for me, I’m actually looking forward to cutting a swathe through Annihilation and seeing how everything pans out.
Typically, when I’m faced with diving into a story this big, I tend to feel pensive about the emotional and monetary investment it represents, but in this case; I’m actually kind of jazzed.
Now, all I have to do is find a comic shop that actually carries a copy of Annihilation: Book Two, and then I can actually get started…