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First Volumes: Four Comics I’m Digging Right Now

four comics i'm digging right now

One of the secret benefits of being a contributor to a site like Book Riot is that I benefit from the vast reading lives of the other contributors. As a result of their enthusiasm, I’ve been much more open into exploring the world of comics over the last several months.

I like to try out single issues of new series on Comixology, a cloud-based digital comics platform that I wrote about more extensively last August. Once I’ve read a couple of issues and think that this is a series I’d like to continue, I almost always wait for the series to come out in trade paperbacks before I read any more.

Trades usually combine five or six single issues into a book of around 120 pages and are a much more satisfying reading experience for me. Single issues feel like watching a single episode of a television show, then having to wait an entire month for the next installment. It’s hard for me to follow plot threads or spend enough time with the characters to fall into the story when they’re so short. So, I’m a big fan of trade editions of comics.

Today I want to share some thoughts on a few series I’ve recently started as trades that, after the first volume, I strongly recommend.

Rat Queens, Vol. 1: Sass and Sorcery

rat queens vol 1The Rat Queens are “a pack of booze-guzzling, death-dealing battle maidens-for-hire, and they’re in the business of killing all god’s creatures for profit.” The four women in this group – Hannah, Violet, Dee and Betty – live hard and don’t take crap from anybody. But they also do really care for each other and, when they’re not partying or getting in brawls, take on challenges to save their town from various evil monsters and conspiracy theories. This series is totally goofy, but also totally badass. I love it and I’m so excited that the second volume of this series will be out at the end of this month! (UPDATE: Jeff noted in the comments that volume two got bumped to May… sad!)

Alex + Ada, Vol. 1

alex and ada vol 1Alex + Ada is a science fictional story about a man and his android. In the first issue, Alex, a bit of a sad sack dude, is given an X5, a new class of realistic android as a birthday present. The company behind the androids is careful to make sure they’re not sentient – after all, sentient androids were responsible for a terrible massacre not long before the series begins. But Alex isn’t happy with Ada as she is and starts to explore whether he can unlock help unlock Ada and give her a mind of her own. There isn’t much for plot in the first volume of this series, but the ending has me so curious for where it’s going next.

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal

ms marvel vol 1Kamala Khan is a normal, Muslim American teenager from Jersey City until a mysterious fog turns her into a superhero, Ms. Marvel. Kamala needs to learn to deal with her new powers, while also struggling with the same things other teenagers deal with. I love this one, at least in part, because it’s amazing to see a young, diverse, woman at the center of a superhero story. Kamala is just wonderful, and I love the way the comic addresses her challenges in all areas of life. I’m a little iffy on superhero stories, but this is one I’m eager to continue.

The Unwritten Vol. 1: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity

the unwritten vol 1It’s possible that The Unwritten series was written exactly for me. Tom Taylor’s life has been kind of a mess ever since he was a kid when his dad made him the star of a Harry Potter-esque series of novels. The Tommy Taylor series ended abruptly when his father mysteriously disappeared, messing up Tom even further. Years later, Tom is making ends meet by cashing in on his famous alter-ego… until things go awry again as the books start to become real life! The first volume of this series, which is already at 10 or 11 trades, introduces a mysterious group out to protect Tom as well as a group trying to kill him off. And it has my favorite thing in books, documents that help add to the story! I finished the first volume Sunday night and immediately ordered the second, third and fourth trades. #sorrynotsorry #mycredtcardissorry

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  • Jeff February 12, 2015, 7:40 am

    Actually Rat Queens Vol 2 got bumped until May due to the personal issues of one of the creators causing some delays. A new artist is/will be coming on board. I can’t wait either – “This series is totally goofy, but also totally badass” sums it up perfectly.

    The last Unwritten trade is also coming out in May. I hope it finishes strong because the last couple of trades have been disappointing.

    • Kim February 12, 2015, 2:01 pm

      Thanks for the update on Rat Queens, I missed that! Bummer.

      I’m actually kind of glad to hear The Unwritten has an end date, I’m not so intimidated getting started.

  • Belle Wong February 12, 2015, 6:55 pm

    I really need to check out Comixology! I have Marvel Unlimited and have been reading Ms Marvel there. I’m also catching up on The Unwritten, which I love – all those literary references! Rat Queens and Alex + Ada both look good!

    • Kim February 14, 2015, 5:48 pm

      I’ve heard good things about Marvel Unlimited, but haven’t pulled the trigger on a subscription yet — I don’t know how many Marvel comics I actually read.

  • Monika @ Lovely Bookshelf February 13, 2015, 1:45 am

    I totally devoured Alex + Ada these past couple days!! I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did.

  • Alex (Sleepless Reader) February 13, 2015, 5:29 am

    I’ve also read Ms Marvel this month (and loved it) and have Rat Queen waiting on the TBR. I’ve read The Unwritten a couple of years ago, when it first came out and something about it made me not interested in getting the second volume. I don’t think I really got it then, but am determined to try it again!

    • Kim February 14, 2015, 5:49 pm

      I thought The Unwritten was pretty awesome — more violent than I was expecting, but fun anyway.

  • Kailana February 13, 2015, 8:17 am

    When I saw the title of this post I had to look at the picture before allowing myself to click. lol I have so many comics on my TBR at the moment I don’t need more! Thankfully I either have read or own all four of these. Yay! I am glad you like The Unwritten. For whatever reason I just don’t love it like I expected to, but it is still one of my favourites. I also really enjoyed Ms. Marvel when I read it last month. Can’t wait for the sequel! I actually just ordered Alex + Ada and The Rat Queen so look forward to reading them.

    • Kim February 14, 2015, 5:50 pm

      I read Rat Queens awhile ago — I’ll probably have to read it again before Vol. 2 comes out in May. It’s really goofy and fun.

  • Trisha February 13, 2015, 8:49 pm

    I need to get back into comics and I think you’ve given me a way to do so. Off to Comixology.

    • Kim February 14, 2015, 5:50 pm

      I love trying out first issues electronically — it’s pretty cheap, and no more books piling up. And there are usually sales where you can get a few issues for pretty cheap.

  • nikki @ book punks March 9, 2015, 9:04 am

    That is EXACTLY how I felt about The Unwritten when I picked it up for the first time last year. My credit card is very, very sorry that that happened. But I can say I am caught up on all the volumes…

  • parker May 11, 2015, 7:51 pm

    Thanks for the review on Rat Queens. I think I will try it!!!!
    Good bye,