House of X/Powers of X Reprints House of X #1-6 & Powers of X #1-6 Written by Jonathan Hickman Art by Pepe Larraz and R.B. Silva
Forty-four years ago, writer Chris Claremont was tasked with reviving the middling X-Men title for Marvel. Compared to books like Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, and Captain America, X-Men was never a marquee hit for the company. Its characters were often operating in their own mutant pocket within the larger universe, occasionally being a part of the larger world. Claremont embraced the marginalization of mutants and expanded the mythos farther than it ever had been. At the end of his sixteen-year run on Uncanny X-Men, spinning off titles like Excalibur and New Mutants, Claremont left the book due to clashes with a new editorial staff. What remained was the template for what X-Men could be that every writer has clung to tightly since. The adherence to Claremont’s characterizations and plots have been so rigid that X-Men was a moribund franchise within Marvel for the last five years. Characters died only to be resurrected months later, and there never seemed to be real growth & change save for a small handful of heroes & villains. Then came Jonathan Hickman.
Spider-Man: Life Story (2019) Written by Chip Zdarsky Art by Mark Bagley
Peter Parker was fifteen years old when he was bitten by a radioactive spider. That was in 1962. Today it’s 2019, and he’s in his early thirties, finding some success in life but still rare in love. An expected conceit of comic book superheroes is that they will always age at a much slower rate than an average person. This allows writers to extend their lives. Superman has been around for 80 years, and in the last four has just become a parent through convoluted circumstances. Batman has been through five Robins yet is still mid-thirties at most while former Robin, Dick Grayson, is a mid-twenties Nightwing.
The Omega Men by Tom King (2015) The latter half of 2015 could be considered the Tom King period for me. I’ve consistently enjoyed almost everything he’s put out, even the stuff that seems to have a significant fan backlash. This 12 issue series for DC Comics takes the Omega Men concept (aliens united as the result of an oppressive force) and revamped it thirty years after its original conception. The Omega Men fight against The Citadel, an interplanetary corporation that uses the destruction of Krypton as a means to sell their services, stabilizing the cores of worlds. The rare metal needed to fix these planetary cores is only found in planets within the Vega System; thus, the inhabitants of those worlds have been enslaved, and in some circumstances, wiped out by genocide to ensure the resources can be harvested. The Omega Men kidnaps former Green Lantern Kyle Rayner so that they might have a witness to the atrocities done to their people and to see their retribution.
These are the comic books that I enjoyed reading the most that were published in the last decade. You’ll definitely see some recurring authors and characters, signifying my personal bias. I know there are a ton of great books I haven’t read from this period and as time goes on I plan on reading some (look for a huge Image Comics read-through in early 2020). Please let me know of any titles not on my list as I may have not read them and always appreciate recommendations.
Fantastic Four by Jonathan Hickman (2010) Jonathan Hickman came onboard Fantastic Four at the start of the decade with big plans for not just this series but Marvel as well. He adhered to that original Stan Lee/Jack Kirby of exploring the unknown and created an optimistic, diverse possible future. The best thing Hickman gave us, and what has been criminally underused since, is the Future Foundation. The Future Foundation was Reed Richards’ effort to cultivate the next generation of scientists, and it played with reader expectations. Of course, Franklin and Valeria Richards are part of the team, but Hickman also includes some adolescent Moloids, the android Dragon Man, and a clone of Reed’s foil The Wizard. Not only is this a great read, one of the best Fantastic Four runs we’ve ever gotten, but it’s also almost essential reading to understand this last decade of Marvel comics.
Hail Hydra! (2015) Written by Rick Remender Art by Roland Boschi
Avengers: Rage of Ultron (2015) Written by Rick Remender Art by Jerome Opena
The Marvel Universe has collapsed at the hands of Doctor Doom and been reconstructed as Battleworld. This mosaic planet features alternate pasts, presents, and futures. One such region is Manhattan if Hydra and the Nazis had won World War II. Captain America is a symbol of fascism, and Arnim Zola rules over all in his most expansive consciousness to date. The presumed dead Nomad finds himself alive in this bizarre reality thanks to SHIELD’s Infinite Elevator. He’s faced with his duplicate in this world as well as a Steve Rogers who never raised him. Once Secret Wars is resolved, a new Avengers team is formed and find themselves reliving the sins of Hank Pym’s past. Ultron returns from deep space and wants to punish his “father” in profound and horrific ways. The conclusion of this story will change the lives of Pym and Ultron forever.
All-New Captain America: Hydra Ascendant (2015) Written by Rick Remender Art by Stuart Immonen
Uncanny Avengers: Counter-Evolutionary (2015) Written by Rick Remender (with Gerry Duggan) Art by Daniel Acuna
Sam Wilson is Captain America. And he has teamed with the new Nomad to take down a resurgence of Hydra. This involves facing down EVERY rogue in Cap’s gallery, from Batroc to Armadillo to Baron Zemo to Baron Blood. Over the course of this all-out assault, Sam learns of a Hydra conspiracy that has infected every superhero team on Earth. The Uncanny Avengers have reformed, adding Sabretooth, The Vision, and Brother Voodoo to their ranks. Their first mission is to travel to the bizarre Counter-Earth. Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver have gone there to uncover their roots after learning the truth about their parentage during the events of AXIS. The team is fractured and is forced to face the near god-like power of the demented High Evolutionary.
Uncanny Avengers: AXIS Prelude (2015) Written by Rick Remender (with Cullen Bunn) Art by Sanford Greene, Gabriel Hernandez Walta, Javier Fernandez, Salvador Larroca, Daniel Acuna, and Paul Renaud
Avengers – X-Men: AXIS (2015) Written by Rick Remender Art by Adam Kubert, Leinil Francis Yu, Terry Dodson, and Jim Cheung
The Red Skull has been building his internment camps on the ruins of Genosha, once a mutant paradise. He plans to use the power of the deceased Professor X’s brain to turn man and mutantkind against each other. Havok, Scarlet Witch, and Rogue, the last remnants of the fallen Avengers Unity Squad have journeyed across the world to Genosha to stop the villain. Magneto has also made his way to the devastated island to settle his grudge as both a mutant and Holocaust survivor, remembering the Red Skull from the camp where he was a prisoner. The scope of the battle grows until Red Skull unleashes a deeper, darker power within Xavier’s mind and the heroes of Earth gather on Genosha to stop him.