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Essential reading

  • Captain America: Winter Soldier - Ultimate Collection
    by Ed Brubaker

    I'd never read a Captain America story before, but I gave this modern take on the concept a shot because its writer, Ed Brubaker, is one of my favorites. This book, Captain America: Winter Solider - Ultimate Collection, compiles the first movement of Brubaker's political/action saga in an inexpensive and convenient volume that sets up a compelling premise: Steve Rogers, America's "super soldier" and lost hero of World War II, finds his struggle with contemporary times compounded when his fiercest foe, a similarly long-lived Nazi, is mysteriously assassinated by a new, greater threat.

    It is difficult to say more without giving away crucial story points, but I cannot recommend this book strongly enough. As I said, I didn't know anything about Captain America before reading this, and now I cannot wait for the next "Ultimate Collection" to continue Brubaker's story.

     
  • Hellboy, Vol. 1: Seed of Destruction (v. 1)
    by Mike Mignola, John Byrne

    First, forget anything you might know about the movies.

    The opening chapter of what has become one of my very favorite works of fiction in any medium, Hellboy: Seed of Destruction, introduces us to the enigmatic Hellboy, a creature summoned from the pit by Nazis during World War II, but who somehow appeared to U.S. soldiers instead. Raised by Americans in the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, Hellboy is just a blue-collar, average Joe, working stiff kind of guy who just happens to be some kind of demonic entity whose true purpose remains a mystery even to himself -- for now. Armed with an expert's knowledge of folklore and the occult, Hellboy protects mankind from supernatural threats like ghosts, goblins, dragons, vampires and cybernetic Nazi apes. 

    Think Indiana Jones crossed with The X-Files. The artwork by Mike Mignola is subtle and stunning, and you will love it.

    Hellboy is one of the most celebrated comics series in recent years. The ultimate artists' artist and a great storyteller whose work is in turns haunting, hilarious, and spellbinding, Mike Mignola has won numerous awards in the comics industry and beyond. When strangeness threatens to engulf the world, a strange man will come to save it. Sent to investigate a mystery with supernatural overtones, Hellboy discovers the secrets of his own origins, and his link to the Nazi occultists who promised Hitler a final solution in the form of a demonic avatar.

     
  • Sleeper: Season One
    by Ed Brubaker

    This is a book I truly could not put down. In short, Sleeper is the thrilling story of Holden Carver, a government agent whose reputation and record are totally destroyed so as to make him appear rogue as all hell. This is so that Carver may more effectively infiltrate and spy on the most ruthless and dangerous criminal organization in the world, all while being hunted by his former colleagues in the U.S. government. To keep his cover as secret as possible, not even the good guys know Carver's still a good guy, nobody but Director John Lynch, who's inconveniently fallen into an irreversible coma, leaving Carver out in the cold and forced to keep up his evil act just to stay alive.

    Linked here is "Season One". There is a second and final volume that I am completely certain you will buy after completing this most excellent graphic novel.

    SLEEPER is the critically acclaimed graphic novel series written Ed Brubaker and illustrated by Sean Philips, the Eisner Award winning creative team of Criminal, which tells the story of agent Holden Carver and the secret criminal organization he becomes enmeshed with. Carver is forced to live one day at a time in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse he plays with its leader, Tao, the amoral master of manipulation trying to elude detection since he has no way back in from the cold.