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Marvel’s Black Cat Origin Story, Not Just Another Catwoman

As Spider-Man wasn’t the first spider-themed superhero, Black Cat wasn’t the first comic book cat-themed cat burglar with an ambiguous relationship with a famous vigilante.

Master thief Felicia Hardy was created by Marv Wolfman, Keith Pollard, and Dave Cockrum and made her first official appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #194, in 1979. It wasn’t supposed to be her introduction as she was first drawn for the cover of Spider-Woman #9, before the story was even written. But Marv Wolfman left the book and brought his feline villain to another spider-titled series, the “amazing” one.

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15 Best Crime Comics to read, from Criminal to Sin City

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Some may think that comics are all about superheroes, but even the mask vigilantes and other overpowered costume heroes are just fighting crimes. Batman was born in the pages of Detective Comics after all, next to Slam Bradley and others. In fact, he is still doing investigating work in the street of Gotham, when he doesn’t fight super-villains.

Anyways, there have always been crime fighters in the realm of comic books, from Will Eisner’s The Spirit, pulp heroes like The Shadow, to paranormal investigators like Hellboy or Scooby-doo & co. There also are simple private detectives, cops, local sheriffs, and amateur sleuths in the pages of the Big Two comics or independent publishers–we can’t forget anthologies like Crime Suspenstories by EC comics.

If you are a dedicated reader of crime stories, you know that they come in a lot of different flavors. The following list is an attempt at covering the spectrum of the crime genre in comics with what is among the best series published. You can add to it by leaving a comment!

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Last Updated on May 20, 2024.

Batman Dawn of DC Reading Order

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Following the events of the 2022 crossover events Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths and Lazarus Planet, DC Comics put an end to its publishing initiative known as the Infinite Frontier to launch the Dawn of DC line. Introduced as a yearlong storytelling initiative, it became another era of the DC Universe with its relaunches and crossover events.

Like with Infinite Frontier, new creative teams had already taken over the main Batman series before the new ‘era’ began, and they continued to tell their story without much interruption. The Dark Knight continues his adventures in Batman by Chip Zdarsky and Jorge Jimenez, Detective Comics by Ram V and Rafael Albuquerque (and others), Batman/Superman: World’s Finest by Mark Waid and Dan Mora, but also in new volumes of Batman: The Brave and the Bold by Tom King, and Batman and Robin by Joshua Williamson and Simone di Meo.

The Dawn of DC era is developing an overarching narrative that focuses on Amanda Waller’s last nefarious plan. Also, the Justice League didn’t reform following the events of the Dark Crisis. Overall, Batman is not at the center of the big story but still has plenty to do.

Of course, as it is always the case, the following guide is mostly about Batman, but the Bat-Family is also featured. Nevertheless, their books are not necessarily included. Though, you can find them on their dedicated pages: Nightwing, Tim Drake, Damian Wayne, Jason Todd, Cassandra Cain, Stephanie Brown, Barbara Gordon, Batwoman, Catwoman, Harley Quinn, and Terry McGinnis (The Batman Beyond).

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The Origins of Man-Bat, a formidable friend… or foe of the Batman

In 1964, the Batman titles got a “New Look,” but as 1969 ended, it already faded and change was again needed as both Batman and Detective Comics didn’t sell that much anymore. Artist Neal Adams was motivated to bring the Caped Crusader back onto a darker gothic path and worked with writer Frank Robbins—and occasionally Denny O’Neil—toward this goal.

One of the creative highlights of the Adams and Robbins collaboration in 1970 was in the pages of Detective Comics #400 with the introduction of Man-Bat.

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Who is Azrael, Batman’s Ally?

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In 1992, DC Comics published a four-part miniseries titled “The Sword of Azrael,” written by Dennis O’Neil–the editor of the Batman line–and penciled by Joe Quesada. At the time, readers thought it was just another inconsequential adventure of Batman, not knowing that the introduction of the character Azrael was part of a bigger plan that would come to fruition with the Knightfall storyline.

Azrael, Vengeful Angel of the Order of St. Dumas

When Jean-Paul Valley’s father is mortally shot by a gangster he was sent to kill, he gives his son instructions to follow before dying. This led Jean-Paul to Switzerland where he had a rendezvous in a tiny mountain village to meet his destiny. There, a small man dressed as a monk named Nomoz becomes his new teacher. His brutal training starts.

Jean-Paul Valley is to become the new Azrael, the deadly Angel working to protect the Order of St. Dumas–a secret society/religious organization with a long history, dating back to the Crusades, that was originally connected to the Knights Templar. What he doesn’t know is that he was conditioned to take on this role from birth as were his father and ancestors.

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Superman: New Krypton Saga Reading Order

Fifteen years ago, The World of Superman was shaken up by a big crossover story arc involving all the Superman titles in what is called The World of New Krypton – more often reduced to New Krypton. Following the events of Geoff Johns’ Brainiac arc and James Robinson’s Atlas arc on Superman, The Man of Steel must deal with the death of his adoptive father and the fact that 100,000 Kryptonians are now living on Earth, seeing the planet as the New Krypton!

To be more specific, as DC Comics’ official synopsis said ‘The Man of Steel learns that a piece of his home planet Krypton survived – the shrunken, bottled city of Kandor! And when the city is grown to normal size, it looks like Superman finally has the connection to his past he’s been missing all his life as thousands of Kryptonians are suddenly able to walk the Earth. But his happiness soon turns to dread as relations between the Kryptonians and humans dissolve, and the two cultures face a massive clash!’

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The Death of Captain Marvel, A Tragic And Impactful Event in the Marvel Universe

In the world of comic books, death and resurrection have become commonplace. For a long time, there was a common saying amongst readers that was “everyone comes back except for Bucky Barnes, Jason Todd, and Uncle Ben.” Or a variation of it. However, this saying had to change after 2005, when both Jason Todd and Bucky Barnes came back.

Although the deaths of some superheroes have had a significant impact on the industry, few had the emotional impact of The Death of Captain Marvel, which was written and drawn by Jim Starlin.

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Marvel’s Blood Hunt Reading Order, Vampires Takes Over The World

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The Gang War concluded only a few weeks ago, but a new bloody menace is emerging and, this time, it’s not confined to New York, it’s all over the world. The big summer event of Marvel Comics is here.

Coming from writer Jed MacKay and artist Pepe Larraz, as the official synopsis tells it, Marvel’s Blood Hunt starts as “the skies have gone dark, the sun hiding its face from the carnage to come. The children of the night, the vampires, have risen from the dark and hidden places of the world as one to drown the Marvel Universe in blood. Earth’s final night has fallen—can even the heroes of this doomed world stem the tide of blood that is to come? A dawn might assuredly come, but not before the universe is drenched in crimson!”

Avengers, Blade, Bloodline, Spider-Man, Hunter’s Moon, Tigra, Doctor Strange and Clea, The X-Men, and more are fighting in a war of a new kind against the creatures of the night.

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Last Updated on May 15, 2024.

Absolute Power, a DC Comics Event Reading Order

Last summer, horror was invading the DC Universe in the Knight Terrors crossover event. This year, the world of DC Comics will once again be shaken by another summer blockbuster event: Absolute Power! From the creative team of Mark Waid and Dan More (Batman Superman World’s Finest), DC Comics Absolute Power pits the greatest DC Super Heroes against the “Trinity of Evil” in a major conflict that will determine the fate of all metahumans in the DC universe.

Set in the aftermath of Titans: Beast World and House of Brainiac,  DC’s Trinity of Evil—the Brainiac Queen, Failsafe, and Amanda Waller—has won. As DC explained, they “hold all the cards in their final gambit to eliminate all metahumans in the DC Universe! Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, and the rest of the World’s Greatest DC Super Heroes make their last stand in Absolute Power.”

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Dragon Ball Reading Order, Akira Toriyama’s Classic Series

When it comes to manga, Dragon Ball is a classic. Written and illustrated by Akira Toriyama (1955-2024), Dragon Ball was first serialized in Shōnen Jump from 1984 to 1995. A long run due to the fact that it quickly became one of the most successful manga series of all time. A status cemented by the multiple adaptations into various anime series, movies, video games, and other media.

At first, the story of Dragon Ball tells the adventures of Goku, a pure-hearted, naive, and incredibly strong monkey-tailed boy martial artist, as he embarks on a quest for the mystical seven Dragon Balls, powerful artifacts that can summon Shenlong, a wish-granting dragon, when gathered together. Everything begins with Goku’s encounter with Bulma, a brilliant inventor who is searching for the Dragon Balls to fulfill her wish of obtaining a boyfriend. Together, they embark on a journey filled with battles against powerful foes, including the likes of Emperor Pilaf, the Red Ribbon Army, and the evil King Piccolo. Along the way, Goku trains under various martial arts masters, forms lifelong friendships, and faces increasingly formidable adversaries.

As the series progresses, Goku’s quest expands to include participation in various martial arts tournaments where he faces off against other skilled fighters from around the world. He also learns about his Saiyan heritage, a warrior race to which he belongs, and confronts powerful enemies like Vegeta, Frieza, Cell, and Majin Buu, who threaten not only Earth but the entire universe.

Beyond the first long-running series, Dragon Ball continued with other series like Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball SD, Dragon Ball Super, and more! Hundreds and hundreds of chapters of the manga were collected in a fairly notable amount of volumes published in America by Viz Media.

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