Essential Captain America Vol. 4

Essential Captain America Vol. 4

Essential Captain America Vol. 4

First Published: January 2008

Contents: Captain America and the Falcon #157 (January 1973) to #186 (June 1975)

Key Creator Credits: Steve Englehart, Stever Gerber, Tony Isabella, Mike Friedrich, John Warner, Sal Buscema, Alan Weiss, Frank Robbins, Herb Trimpe, and others

Key First Appearances: Viper (I), Solarr, Deadly Nightshade, Helmut Zemo/Phoenix (I), Moonstone (I), Roscoe Simons/Captain America (V), Viper (II) (Madame Hydra), Nomad (Steve Rogers)

Story Continues From: Essential Captain America Vol. 3

Story Continues In: Essential Captain America Vol. 5

Overview: Just a word of warning before we get too deep into this review. You may want to take some notes along the way, because this one might get confusing. In this book, we have two Captain Americas; we have two Vipers; we have the first appearance of Phoenix, but it’s not THAT Phoenix that you are thinking about. Likewise, we meet Moonstone for the first time, but it’s not THAT Moonstone that you are thinking about. I’ll do my best to keep things clear, but your best bet might be to pick up a copy of Essential Captain America Vol. 4 and follow along with me.

Now, if you were to make a list of Captain America’s most fearsome foes, we probably would put Baron Zemo on that list. The problem there is which Baron Zemo. There’s been at least a dozen Baron Zemos. One dies, and the next crazy Zemo takes on the costume and title and rushes off to face Cap. In this volume, we meet Helmut Zemo, who works under the Phoenix identity. He won’t become Baron Zemo for another 100 issues, but we are more familiar with him as Citizen V in The Thunderbolts.

This volume is a slow build up to the Secret Empire storyline. We met the Secret Empire years ago, as an offshoot of Hydra. Remember Hydra – cut off one limb, two more rise up! So it turns out that the Secret Empire has been inserting agents into the highest offices in the United States government. And not just the highest offices, but the oval offices too, if you catch my drift. With the help of the Falcon, members of the Avengers, and the X-Men, Captain America is able to uncover and take down the Secret Empire (for now).

Following the battle with the Secret Empire, Steve Rogers finds that he is questioning everything he thought he knew. He finds that he can no longer wear the costume of Captain America, and walks away from the role. Nature abhors a vacuum, and several volunteers step up to assume the mantle of Captain America. The most notable of those was Roscoe Simons, who finds an outfit and tries to partner up with the Falcon. Unfortunately for Roscoe, the pair encounter the Red Skull, who is not happy that his most hated foe is no longer wearing the Captain America uniform. He beats Roscoe senseless, hopefully teaching him a lesson.

Meanwhile, Steve Rogers has adopted a new identity in Nomad, the man without a country. Nomad discovers the beaten Roscoe Simons, and realizes he still has a responsibility. He can represent the American people and the American spirit, even if he does not always represent the American government. Steve Rogers returns to the Captain America identity, and the hunt is on to track down the Red Skull.

What makes this Essential?: This is an intriguing collection. While I personally do not care for many of the stories here, I recognize that they are important to the history of the Marvel Universe. The Secret Empire/Nomad story came out during the Watergate era in Washington, D.C. Coupled with the Vietnam war, many people were disillusioned with the United States government. It makes complete sense that Steve Rogers would walk away from the uniform and his government. The story appealed to a lot of readers at the time, and Sal Buscema and Steve Englehart have indicated in interviews that this run put Captain America into the top ten books sold during this era. So from a historical perspective, I think this is worth reading.

Footnotes: During the Secret Empire story arc, the X-Men were working alongside Cap. During this era, the X-Men comic was reprinting issues from the 1960s. The only way readers could keep up with their favorite mutants was following their adventures in other titles, such as Captain America, Avengers, Marvel Team-Up, and the Incredible Hulk.

If you like this volume, try: Avengers Forever by Kurt Busiek, Carlos Pacheco, and Roger Stern. Originally published as a 12-issue mini-series, this is the ultimate Avengers time-travel story. Immortus is targeting Rick Jones, who uses the Destiny Force to bring Avengers from different eras to help him out. One of those Avengers is the disillusioned Captain America that we saw at the end of the Secret Empire story. This Cap is still strong enough to inspire his fellow Avengers, but he doesn’t take over the book. Captain America and the other Avengers (current day Wasp and Giant Man; a Hawkeye from right after the Kree-Skrull war; Yellowjacket post-breakdown but pre-marriage to Jan; a future Captain Marvel; and an alternate universe Songbird) go toe-to-toe with Immortus across time and space. This is an epic story that only a master storyteller like Busiek could have pulled off. This story initially came out 15 years ago, but I still pull it off of the shelf every couple of years to re-read and marvel (pun intended) at how well done this book is. You can find this in both trade paperback and hardcover, as it has stayed in print over the years.

Showcase Presents Green Lantern Vol. 3

Showcase Presents Green Lantern Vol. 3

Showcase Presents Green Lantern Vol. 3

First Published: May 2008

Contents: Green Lantern #39 (September 1965) to #59 (March 1968)

Key Creator Credits: John Broome, Gil Kane, Sid Greene, Gardner Fox, Murphy Anderson, and others

Key First Appearances: Krona, Major Disaster, Princess Ramia, Zborra, Charlie Vicker, Guy Gardner

Story Continues From: Showcase Presents Green Lantern Vol. 2

Story Continues In: Showcase Presents Green Lantern Vol. 4

Overview: In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight. Let those who worship evil’s might, beware my power, Green Lantern’s light! With that, let’s dive into Showcase Presents Green Lantern Vol. 3.

Green Lantern is an interesting title of the era, as any type of story seems reasonable with this character. From traveling to the future or to parallel universes; or roaming the vast reaches of space to battling criminals in Coast City — it all works with the Hal Jordan character. In many ways, Green Lantern is the definitive science-fiction character of the 1960s.

Having worked with him in the Justice League-Justice Society meetings, Green Lantern has a series of solo team-ups with Green Lantern of Earth-2 in this collection. Alan Scout’s ring is powered by magic, and is vulnerable to anything made of wood, which is in complete contrast to Hal Jordan’s will-powered ring that is vulnerable to anything yellow. Let’s just hope that these two do not have to face crooks armed with yellow baseball bats.

Gil Kane’s art is the true star of the show in this volume. Although Kane’s career spans 50+ years, it is his work on Green Lantern that remains among the most-memorable of his career. This volume is an excellent example of his artistic brilliance.

Why should these stories be Showcased?: To date, each volume in this line is better than the previous. At this point, the creators (John, Gil, and Gardner) have fully established the character and his world. Now, we see Green Lantern’s universe expand, with team-ups with the Flash and Zatanna, and with the introductions of Alan Scott and Guy Gardner. (John Stewart fans, be patient – his time is coming!) As with the prior volumes, Green Lantern remains one of the titles most-impacted by the lack of color in the Showcase Presents line. Thankfully, the Silver Age comics were very diligent in explaining the Green Lantern ring’s weakness to anything yellow each and every time it occurs. Anyway, I think this would be a good spot to pick up Green Lantern if you haven’t so far. In particular, this should be a must own volume for Gil Kane fans!

Footnotes: After making appearances in The Flash and in Justice League of America, the Earth-2 Green Lantern, Alan Scott, finally makes an appearance in Green Lantern #40. Alan Scott, along with his pal Doiby Dickles, would make frequent appearances in Green Lantern going forward.

If you like this volume, try: the Green Lantern: Sector 2814 series of trade paperbacks from the last few years. These books collect the Green Lantern title from the 1980s – before, during, and following the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths. Hal Jordan finds that he needs to walk away from his role as defender of Sector 2814. But two men – John Stewart and Guy Gardner – step forward to take on the mantle as Green Lantern of Earth. Three volumes have been released so far, collecting the work from Len Wein, Dave Gibbons, Steve Englehart, Paul Kupperberg, Joe Staton, and others. These books are an easy way to explore some great Green Lantern Corps stories that often get overlooked.

Essential Doctor Strange Vol. 3

Essential Doctor Strange Vol. 3

Essential Doctor Strange Vol. 3

First Published: December 2007

Contents: Doctor Strange #1 (June 1974) to #29 (June 1978); Doctor Strange Annual #1 (1976); and The Tomb of Dracula #44 (May 1976) and #45 (June 1976)

Key Creator Credits: Steve Englehart, Marv Wolfman, Gene Colon, Frank Brunner, Jim Starlin, Roger Stern, Tom Sutton, and others

Key First Appearances: Silver Dagger, Gaea, Domini

Story Continues From: Essential Doctor Strange Vol. 2

Story Continues In: Essential Doctor Strange Vol. 4

Overview: As a part of the Marvel Universe for over 10 years, Doctor Strange served as the co-star of Strange Tales, which was later renamed (but not renumbered) as Doctor Strange; he was the focus of attention in Marvel Feature and Marvel Premiere; and he helped found a non-team in the Defenders. But it took until 1974 for Doctor Strange to finally get what every hero craves – a #1 issue!

Having finished his run in Marvel Premiere, Doctor Strange once again got his own bi-monthly title with the same creative team of Steve Englehart and Frank Brunner. But the title really picks up when Gene Colon returns to the title with issue #6.

There are some interesting stories in this volume. Doctor Strange becomes the last man alive, as the Earth is destroyed and then replaced with an exact duplicate. Doctor Strange travels to Boston where he encounters Dracula to save Wong from becoming a vampire. And who else could defeat Doctor Strange but a Doctor Stranger. Thankfully, Doctor Strange still has friends like Clea, the Ancient One, and Nighthawk to stand by his side as he faces down these new challenges.

What makes this Essential?: I do try to be original for each one of these reviews. But I run the risk of repeating myself with this review. So, I’m still not a big fan of Doctor Strange. But the art of this volume, in particular that of Gene Colan, is simply spectacular. I think that the black & white format actually enhances the art. This volume could serve as a primer for aspiring artists looking to understand page layouts and characters forms. The stories seem rather average against the artwork – for all of the talk about current writers stretching out stories for the trades, they should read some of these stories.

Footnotes: Doctor Strange #3 contains reprints of Doctor Strange stories from Strange Tales #126 and #127, framed with new pages. These Strange Tales stories were previously reprinted in Essential Doctor Strange Vol. 1.

Doctor Strange #14 and The Tomb of Dracula #44 and #45 were also reprinted in Essential Tomb of Dracula Vol. 2.

Doctor Strange #21 is a reprint of Doctor Strange #169, which retells the origin of Doctor Strange. This story was previously reprinted in Essential Doctor Strange Vol. 2.

If you like this volume, try: exploring the works of P. Craig Russell. Serving as the artist of Doctor Strange Annual #1 in this volume was one of Russell’s earliest jobs in comics. Over the years, he has been a modern master of the art, which a very distinct look and creative layouts. Russell is known for incorporating operatic themes into his work across multiple publishers and decades. He had a memorable run with Killraven, which can be found in Essential Killraven Vol. 1. Russell’s most recent work includes a two-volume graphic novel adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book.

Essential X-Men Vol. 8

Essential X-Men Vol. 8

Essential X-Men Vol. 8

First Published: December 2007

Contents: Uncanny X-Men #229 (May 1988) to #243 (April 1989); Uncanny X-Men Annual #12 (1988); and X-Factor #36 (January 1989) to #39 (April 1989)

Key Creator Credits: Chris Claremont, Marc Silvestri, Rick Leonardi, Louise Simonson, Walt Simonson, and others

Key First Appearances: Gateway, Reavers (Bonebreaker, Pretty Boy, Skullbuster), Tyger Tiger, Jenny Ransome, Tam Anderson, Philip Moreau, Genegineer

Story Continues from: Essential X-Men Vol. 7

Story Continues In: Essential X-Men Vol. 9

Overview: When we last saw the X-Men, the world had watched them die in Dallas during the Fall of the Mutants. Thanks to the goddess Roma, the X-Men were brought back, but their images could no longer be captured on film or video. Free to move about the world, the X-Men set up shop in the Australian Outback, in the former headquarters of the Reavers. There, we meet the mutant known as Gateway, who is able to transport people to any place at any time. Not one to say much, Gateway gladly welcomes the X-Men to their new home.

Following a way-too-short return of the Brood, we are introduced to the island nation of Genosha. Located off of the eastern coast of Africa, Genosha is a thriving nation built on it’s mutant slave labor force. The X-Men get wind of what is going on here, which leads Wolverine and Rogue to go in on a rescue mission. Over the coming years, Genosha would become a major focus in the mutant storyline, while serving as an allegory for the real-life issues of slavery and apartheid.

This volume concludes with the next crossover event known as Inferno. Demons are making plans to take over the Earth, and they plan to use Magik from the New Mutants (and younger sister of Colossus) as their gateway to our world. At the same time, Madelyne Pryor finds out that Jean Grey is alive and well, and that her missing husband has been hanging out with her doppelganger. Guided by Mr. Sinister, Madelyne’s mind slips over the edge, and she becomes the villainous Goblin Queen. During the final battle with the X-Men, the Goblin Queen commits suicide in an attempt to take Jean Grey with her, but fails on that point.

What makes this Essential?: Over his many years on the title, it’s very easy to make jokes about Chris Claremont’s run on the X-Men title. Yes, he can be very wordy – if it takes 15 words to describe a scene, expect Claremont to use 143 words. And don’t worry about any dangling plot points, as Claremont plans to return to them in three years. That said, the more I re-read his run, the more impressed I get with Claremont’s X-Men opus. For example, take the creation of Genosha. At the time of Genosha’s debut in the comics, political and economic pressures were mounting on South Africa, which had been maintaining a policy of apartheid for 40+ years, which treated colored citizens as second-class. Claremont took a real-life situation and incorporated those points into the book. While the Genosha story would continue for many years, the beginnings shown in this volume shows why Claremont is a master of his craft, and why Essential X-Men should be a must read.

Footnotes: Uncanny X-Men #242 and #243 and X-Factor #36 to #39 are also reprinted in Essential X-Factor Vol. 3.

If you like this volume, try: the Inferno omnibus collections from 2009 and 2010. OK, I really enjoy these Essential volumes. But when we get to these large crossover events, this format is not designed to collect the full story. As we saw with The Fall of the Mutants storyline, we miss out on one-third of the story by not having the New Mutants issues collected in the volume. In addition, there was a four-issue X-Terminators mini-series that ties in with Inferno. So in order to get the COMPLETE story, I recommend you track down the two omnibus collections for this story. The first collection from 2009 includes all of the main mutant books, such as Uncanny X-Men, X-Factor, New Mutants, and X-Terminators. The second collection from 2010 includes all of the crossover issues across the Marvel Universe, including issues of Avengers, Daredevil, Fantastic Four, Power Pack, and issues from all three ongoing Spider-Man books.

Showcase Presents Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 2

Showcase Presents Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 2

Showcase Presents Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 2

First Published: April 2008

Contents: Legion of Super-Heroes stories from Adventure Comics #322 (July 1964) to #348 (September 1966); Superboy #117 (December 1964), #124 (October 1965), and #125 (December 1965); and “The Origin and Powers of the Legion of Super-Heroes” pages from Superman Annual #4 (1962), Adventure Comics #316 (January 1964) and Adventure Comics #365 (February 1968)

Key Creator Credits: Otto Binder, Curt Swan, Jerry Siegel, Sheldon Moldoff, George Klein, Jim Mooney, John Forte, Edmond Hamilton, Jim Shooter, and others

Key First Appearances: Spider-Girl, Heroes of Lallor (Beast Boy, Duplicate Boy, Evolvo Lad, Gas Girl, Life Lass), Timber Wolf, Magnetic Kid, Glorith, Computo, Duo Damsel, Color Kid, Ferro Lad, Karate Kid, Nemesis Kid, Princess Projectra, Doctor Regulus, Kid Psycho

Story Continues From: Showcase Presents Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 1

Story Continues In: Showcase Presents Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 3

Overview: From across the vast reaches of the known galaxy, the most powerful teenagers gather together to protect the universe. With unique abilities across the members, these teenagers are united to peace and prosperity to all beings. This is the Legion of Super-Heroes. Sit back and enjoy the ride, as we have a fun set of stories in this second Showcase Presents volume.

Part of the charm of the Legion is the ever growing line-up, as new heroes are introduced to join the clubhouse – from Timber Wolf to Ferro Lad to Karate Kid to Princess Projectra. Not everyone is truly Legion material, but not to worry as the Legion of Substitute Heroes always has a spot open for them. And sometimes you let the wrong person in, as the Legion found out with the introduction of Nemesis Kid.

One of the Legion’s greatest threats to come is introduced in a rather humble beginning. The murderous living computer Computo (accidentally created by Brainiac 5) shows up, intent on killing off all life. During the course of the battle, Triplicate Girl makes the ultimate sacrifice to protect her teammates.

In terms of creators, a (then) true teenager took over the writing duties of the Legion in this volume. Legendary comic creator Jim Shooter begins his long run with the kids of the future in Adventures Comics #346. Shooter’s Legion run is often cited as one of the more influential runs with the characters. We will get more of the Shooter stories in the next Showcase volume.

Why should these stories be Showcased?: For the most part, the Silver Age stories from DC Comics do not hold up. However, with the Legion of Super-Heroes, this volume surprisingly does stand the test of time. The stories are fun adventures that can go anywhere and everywhere in the course of 15 pages. We’ve gotten past the need to re-introduce characters and their powers each month, and just get into the telling of the story. There are several key Legionnaires introduced in this volume, which makes for interesting reading to see how they began compared against how they came to be used later.

Footnotes: The Legion Flight Ring makes it’s debut in Adventures Comics #329 (February 1965).

If you like this volume, try: the 2005 reboot of The Legion of Super-Heroes by Mark Waid and Barry Kitson. Over the years, the Legion has had their story rebooted numerous times. Sometimes it’s a soft continuation of where things left off, and other times it takes the Legion in a completely different direction. With this relaunch, if felt like a modern refresh of the original LSH, in terms of number of Legionnaires as well as a general positive approach to the story. From issues #16 to #36, the title was renamed as Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes. With issue #37, it went back to just Legion of Super-Heroes, as Jim Shooter returned to the teenage heroes where he got his start. Personally, I would stick to the first 36 issues, which have all been collected across six trade paperbacks. That said, I see these issues in back issue bins, so it may be a fun hunt to track them down at conventions.

Essential Punisher Vol. 2

Essential Punisher Vol. 2

Essential Punisher Vol. 2

First Published: September 2007

Contents: The Punisher #1 (July 1987) to #20 (June 1989); The Punisher Annual #1 (1988); and Daredevil #257 (August 1988)

Key Creator Credits: Mike Baron, Klaus Janson, Whilce Portacio, and others

Key First Appearances: David Lieberman/Microchip, The Rev, George Wong

Story Continues From: Essential Punisher Vol. 1

Story Continues In: Essential Punisher Vol. 3

Overview: Following the success of his four… er, five-issue mini-series, the Punisher moves into his own monthly book, the first of many series to come. For right now, let’s look at the first 20+ issues which Marvel has been so kind to collect for us in Essential Punisher Vol. 2.

Now, we all remember the horrific origin of the Punisher, and if you don’t remember, you will be reminded at least once per issue. Vietnam veteran Frank Castle is on a picnic in Central Park with his family. Unfortunately, warring mobs have a show down in the park, and Frank’s wife and children are killed in the crossfire. The enraged Frank Castle starts a one-man war against all forms of crime – drug dealers, mafia families, third world dictators, and jaywalkers, just to name a few.

While many of these stories are stand-alone, we get an ongoing narrative from issue to issue. We meet Microchip, the tech genius who outfits the Punisher’s Battle Van with armor, guns, and other wonderful toys. We also find that anyone else that aides the Punisher in his war on crime usually ends up on the wrong side of a bullet. Seriously, these people should be wearing Star Trek red shirts!

We are given a crossover with Daredevil, which tells the same story from the Punisher’s point of view as well as from Daredevil’s point of view – pun intended. While both characters agree that the thug should be punished, Daredevil wants to see the criminal be tried in the justice system, while Frank is willing to serve as judge, jury and executioner to expedite things along. In this instance, Daredevil prevails.

The final long story arc has Punisher working on the drug scene in a local high school, which he later finds out is being controlled by the Kingpin. That leads to the first of many encounters between the Kingpin and Punisher.

What makes this Essential?: I went into reading this volume expecting to hate it. However, I was surprisingly impressed by this book. While many of these stories are one-and-done, there is a ongoing narrative that ties it all together from start to finish. Mike Baron puts together some solid stories. The art is very good, from a modern master in Klaus Janson and a young Whilce Portacio whose career was just starting to explode. As much as I still dislike the concept of the Punisher, this is a decent volume. It should be a must-own collection for any fans of Frank Castle.

Footnotes: The Marvel annuals of 1988 were linked together in story arc titled “The Evolutionary War.” This was the first time Marvel ran an event exclusively in the annuals. For this Essential, the Punisher stories are included from the annual, but the High Evolutionary story is not reprinted here.

If you like this volume, try: looking into some of the other work from writer Mike Baron. This Essential collects the first 20 issues of the ongoing monthly comic, all written by Baron. In fact, Baron would write the title for over five years (along with a stretch on Punisher War Journal), finishing up with more than 80 Punisher stories. In addition to this work, he helped launch the Wally West Flash title at DC, following the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths. Baron is probably most famously known for his work at Capitol Comics, where he wrote Nexus and The Badger. The Nexus issues has recently been collected in omnibus editions from Dark Horse Comics, so that would be a good place to start.

Essential Daredevil Vol. 4

Essential Daredevil Vol. 4

Essential Daredevil Vol. 4

First Published: September 2007

Contents: Daredevil #75 (April 1971) to #101 (July 1973); and Avengers #111 (May 1973)

Key Creator Credits: Gene Colan, Gerry Conway, Steve Gerber, and others

Key First Appearances: Man-Bull, Mister Fear (III), Angar the Screamer

Story Continues From: Essential Daredevil Vol. 3

Story Continues In: Essential Daredevil Vol. 5

Overview: It’s said that you cannot keep a good man down. Guess what, the same could be said about a good blind man, too! So sit back and enjoy the ride as Daredevil enters the 1970s with a new love interest, a new hometown, and new foes left and right.

Writer Gerry Conway came on board at the end of the last Essential. Traditionally when a new writer comes aboard, he or she likes to immediately put their own spin on the title, dropping past storylines from the previous writer, while introducing new situations. So Matt says goodbye to Karen Page, because his time as Daredevil keeps getting in the way of their relationship. Matt obviously needs a girlfriend in the superhero industry, someone who understands what it is like to wear the spandex and swing from rooftops. Enter the Black Widow, along with her guardian, Ivan Petrovitch. While we’re at it, goodbye New York City and hello San Francisco!

Conway tries to toughen up Daredevil’s rouges. The Owl becomes a key foe, but is now outfitted with more weapons. A robot from the future travels to throw test after test at Daredevil. Man-Bull is introduced, giving Daredevil a Rhino-type physical villains to go up against. Purple Man returns and starts to actually be perceived as a true threat!

The volume concludes with a crossover, as Daredevil and Black Widow team up with the Avengers to battle Magneto. When the battle is finished, the Avengers offer Matt and Natasha membership in their ranks. Matt quickly turns the Avengers down, but Natasha says yes. Not to worry, she doesn’t stay with the Avengers for long (considering her name is still on the masthead of the book), and she returns in the next issue of Daredevil to assist him in fighting Angar the Screamer.

What makes this Essential?: Not to sound like a broken record here, but the reason to buy this Essential Daredevil book is for the artwork once again. If IDW would ever consider doing a Gene Colan’s Daredevil Artist Edition, I would be the first in line to pick this up. Daredevil seems so realistic on the pages, and Colan’s female figures in Karen Page and Black Widow are exquisite. In terms of the story, well, hmmm…. Gerry Conway writes the majority of this volume, so I will focus on him. The stories are very average. These are entertaining stories, but I don’t believe they are memorable stories. The biggest events are Matt Murdock finally breaking things off with Karen, and the law practice moving to San Francisco. So get this for the Colan art, and read it if you wish.

Footnotes: Beginning with issue #93, the title was rebranded as Daredevil and the Black Widow. It would stay this way until issue #108.

Daredevil #99 and Avengers #111 are also collected in Essential Avengers Vol. 5.

If you like this volume, try: the Black Widow: Sting of the Widow hardcover. In 1970, Marvel relaunched Amazing Adventures as a new anthology book starring the Inhumans and the Black Widow. Written by Gary Friedrich with art by John Buscema, the Black Widow feature ran for eight issues, before she was bumped out of the book due to the popularity of the Inhumans feature. Not to worry, Black Widow immediately left that title to join up with Matt Murdock in Daredevil #81. The Amazing Adventures stories were collected in a premiere edition hardcover in 2009, around the time that Black Widow was making in her big screen debut in Iron Man 2.

In addition, I know I recommended the first volume of Mark Waid’s Daredevil with Essential Daredevil Vol. 1. That title came to an end earlier this year and has relaunched with a new volume still written by Waid. With this second run, Waid has moved Matt Murdock and his practice back out to San Francisco, where many of the stories in this Essential are set. Any fan of Daredevil should be reading this series.