Did you notice Comixology’s servers getting utterly pounded on Sunday? (And quite possibly, still are?) Well, that’s just because Marvel just announced that they have over 700 comics available for a free download through the end of Tuesday, March 12.
There are of course a great many classic series that you can try out, but particularly if you’ve been thinking of getting into some of the recent Marvel runs, this is a great opportunity to see what you think of the new Marvel NOW! and other current titles. I’m sure that many of you will have other choices (and please leave your personal picks in the comments!), but here are some suggestions for #1’s that are worth a read. If you can’t get through right away, keep on trying – the site loaded for me after a few refreshes.
The runaway surprise hit of 2012 was Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye, featuring some sweet distinctive art from David Aja. Here’s what Clint Barton is doing when he’s not being an Avenger, and it’s awesome. Oh, and here’s a nice coincidence: the first trade comes out on March 19, so if you like the #1 you can jump right into that.
2. All-New X-Men
If you don’t know the basic storyline of Avengers vs X-Men, the huge Marvel event in 2012, you might want to give it a skim before picking up this book. Suffice it to say that someone did something bad, and someone else has the bright idea to go back in time to convince a younger version not to grow up and be stupid. Wibbly wobbly timey wimey, but the best part about this book is that it brings back Jean Grey as a character – or at least, a teenaged version of her.
3. X-Men Legacy
So Professor X has a son. He’s insanely powerful with tons of different abilities that have different personalities, and he keeps them locked up in a prison in his head. Here’s what happens when he loses control.
4. Avengers Arena
I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many hate letters in the back of a first comic than in this book. Here’s an idea: Let’s take a bunch of characters that people love, and make them fight to the death, Hunger Games style. I think the jury’s still out on whether this was a brilliant or horrible idea, but the first issue is certainly worth a read – especially if you’re missing Runaways or Avengers Academy. Though, I mean, if you’re really attached the characters then you might not want to read it…
So he’s been in the X-Men for a long time, doing all that helping people stuff, and he even taught at a school for a while (sex ed, in part, according to a course list in an issue of Wolverine and the X-Men) – so he’s a little itchy for some not-as-wholesome fun. Maybe a little thieving, even. Basically, this new Gambit series is him as Lara Croft. With a smattering of James Bond. And Neal Caffrey from White Collar. And he’s very attractive if you’re into that.
This isn’t a current run, but instead a comic that’s (sadly) over. But the entire run was only 21 issues, and it’s worth trying out, especially if you’re a Wolverine fan. This origin story of his teenaged female clone is a gem. (She’s currently appearing in Avengers Arena.)
8. Avengers Academy
Also a (very recently) finished run, clocked in at 39 issues. It’s about a new school formed with a group of promising young students – supposedly because they’re being trained to be future Avengers. Or maybe it’s that someone just wanted to keep an eye on them because there’s a good chance any of them could turn into super villains instead.
9. Iron Man
Kieron Gillen is my new favorite comic writer, and even if I’m not totally digging the art in this book, I really like this take on the character. As a new Marvel NOW! title it’s also a great place to jump in if you’re a fan of the films but weren’t sure where to start in reading the comics.
10. Young Avengers
I am kind of a fangirl of the original Young Avengers run, and even though I read Children’s Crusade I’ve been missing the series like crazy. Hearing that it was coming back with a new writer was scary, but hearing that the new writer was Kieron Gillen (see above) turned scary into awesome. It’s a well-rounded book: we’ve got both aliens/explosions and an adorable romance between two teenage boys. It also features the return of Kid Loki from Journey Into Mystery, and might be a great jumping off point for anyone who was a fan of Loki from the Avengers film and thought, gosh, wouldn’t he be fun as a teenager. It’s only two issues in, so if you like the first one, you can catch up immediately. (And you know what, while you’re at it pick up the #1 of the original Young Avengers also.)
This is far, far from an exhaustive list, of course – and obviously limited to current and recent titles. With 700 free comics to choose from, there’s a good chance you can find something you like – which I’m betting is exactly what Marvel is hoping for. So for my other comics fans out there: Which #1’s would you tell someone to try?