Tuesday 28 May 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Free Comics on Comixology

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

As you may have noticed from recent Monday reviews, I'm trying to post more about graphic novels and comics here. One reason is that I've been picking up a lot from my local library; another is that I recently downloaded the superb Comixology app for my iPad and am reading a decent amount on there. I wanted to spread the word about just how good Comixology was, so thought a (hopefully!) interesting top ten for this 'freebie' day would be 10 of the best free issues I've found on there.

Note: In most cases - the exception being Y: The Last Man - I've only read the free issues and am going to pick up the rest when I have time, so I'm basing my reviews solely on the individual issues rather than the strength of the series as a whole. I've also tried to go for a variety of publishers and genres.

Second note: There are so many free comics on Comixology that my original plan of reading them all over the weekend was never going to work (unless I stopped doing anything else, including sleeping.) I turned to Twitter to ask what I should read and recommend and the fabulous Saranga, who blogs over at the awesome New Readers Start Here - an essential site for anyone wanting to get into comics - was kind enough to recommend a bunch of comics to me, which was massively helpful in narrowing things down.

Third note: All were free when I got them at some point over the last two weeks and as far as I can tell are still free now - this may change, though, so if you're interested in reading, grab them sooner rather than later!

Superman: War of the Supermen #0 - Well, if you're going to try comics, you need to take a look at one of the most iconic and enduring characters around. This is one that I hadn't read before Saranga recommended it to me, but having just taken a look, I can see why she chose it. It contains two stories - the first, with some awesome splash pages and brilliantly drawn fight scenes, sees Superman take on General Zod on the planet of New Krypton as he finds out that the supervillain is about to declare war on Earth. The back-up strip, focusing on Lois Lane recapping the events that led to the creation of New Krypton and why Superman left Earth, is a clear and concise way to bring new readers up to speed on things.

GI Joe Origins #1 - I'm not remotely interested in war/soldier comics normally, but picked this up as it was free and was hugely impressed. Larry Hama has created a good story with a hook that makes me want to read issue 2 as soon as I get a chance, and Mike Hawthorne and Tom Feister's strong art and gorgeous colours work brilliantly with it.

Molly Danger/Princeless - Molly Danger is a perfectly acceptable action comic, as far as I can see, but not massively to my tastes. Princeless, though - WOW! I've been wanting to read this for ages and after reading this story I'm desperate to get the actual series as soon as possible. It's about a princess and a dragon (the cutest I've ever seen!) trying to rescue other princesses from the towers they're locked in to await knights to rescue them. The bright, vivid cartoony art is absolutely gorgeous, with the weirdly-shaped frames in the big fight scene making it stand out from the rest of the book. The plot and script are also very strong, and the message that girls don't have to wait around to be rescued is a great one to spread.

Y: The Last Man #1 - One of my very favourite ever comics (I'm about halfway through the series at the moment), this nightmarish tale of a world where all the males except two - title character Yorick and his monkey Ampersand - suddenly die is phenomenal. The opening issue - starting with a police officer pointing a gun at her own head and saying "All of the men are dead," before catapulting us back half an hour to see events in the lives of Yorick and the other characters who will go on to be major players - is stunning, and features one of my favourite ever comics panels, as two women's soccer players try to see what's wrong with a male referee who's collapsed, while another looks at the slumped figures who make up most of the crowd in horror.

Mouse Guard #1 - The first issue in the original Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 mini series, this follows three members of the Mouse Guard trying to find a mouse who's disappeared peddling grain. It's a good story with a brilliant twist at the end, and the three mice - Saxon, Kenzie and Lieam - are brilliantly portrayed with writer/artist David Petersen bringing out their personalities with both his script and his artwork.

Action Lab Confidential - It has the first five pages or so of Princeless, what more do you want? Noir-style detective story? Check, Jack Hammer. Psychological comedy with super heroes? Yup, Fracture. Roller skating monsters? Yes! Seriously. (Actually, I'm not sure 'seriously' is the best way to describe Monsters Are Just Like Us, but it's there, I promise you.) Lots more, including some interesting interviews with creators, makes this probably the one I'd recommend picking up above everything else simply because of the sheer variety.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 - I only got this as a 'blast from the past', because I liked the Turtles growing up in the 80s, but the new IDW series works on more than just a nostalgia level. This first issue starts with a well-executed fight scene then does a great job of introducing the turtles and their sensei Splinter. Good artwork and story makes it definitely worth picking up.

Adrenaline #1 - I'd never even heard of this before picking it up, but really enjoyed the first issue - it's set in Africa and starts with a rich kid hunting while a doctor is trying to cure people in Tanzania. Hearing that he's killed a lion, she races to stop him from leaving, only for the pair to clash, setting up an intriguing series. Great art - particularly on the animals - and I thought Dr Saida Nri was a fantastic leading lady.

Secret Skull #1 - Intriguing pulp/horror mash-up about a skeleton who stalks the streets killing bad guys. The muted palette of the artwork is a perfect match for the pulpiness of the story.

Lady Mechanika #0 - I'm not usually a steampunk fan, but occasionally I find something that makes me want to give it a go anyway - and this certainly did! The title character, a mercenary, is really well-introduced and it's a strong story.

What do you think of the list? Are there any must-read freebies that I've missed off? How about other books on Comixology - what should people new to the site/app, like myself, make sure they're reading?

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