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Alpha Flight Reading Order, Canada’s premier team of superheroes

A lot of Marvel’s superheroes are based in New York, but you can’t find more all around the world, including Canada! That’s where you’ll meet the members of Alpha Flight, a team often described as the Canadian’s Avengers.

From time to time, Wolverine’s back story was evoked and, in The Uncanny X-Men #120-121 by John Byrne, a new element was introduced, the Alpha Flight team. Their first on-page action was to try to abduct Wolverine to get him back to his home country as the Canadian government had invested in his training and wanted to have him rejoin his original team.

That’s how James MacDonald Hudson (Vindicator, later Guardian), Jean-Paul Beaubier (Northstar), Jeanne-Marie Beaubier (Aurora), Corporal Anne McKenzie (Snowbird),  Walter Langowski (Sasquatch), and Michael Twoyoungmen (Shaman) were first introduced to the readers.

John Byrne thought this was a one-off, but Canadian readers and X-Men fans alike loved the concept, and the Alpha Flight team quickly got its own ongoing series that ran from 1983 to 1994. Throughout the year, the team evolved by adding new characters.

After the first volume concluded, the series would come back multiple times and, to this day, is still active.

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Lobo Reading Order (DC Comics)

When he was first introduced by Roger Slifer and Keith Giffen in Omega Men #3 (1983), Lobo was a villain from planet Velorpian, the last of his race, who partnered with Bedlam. You can forget about that. This was not DC Comics’ Main Man, the Lobo who gained fame during the 1990s.

Reintroduced by Giffen in Justice League International, then in L.E.G.I.O.N. (and R.E.B.E.L.S.), before getting his own miniseries famously written by Alan Grant (plotted by Giffen) and with art by Simon Bisley that retconned his origins, Lobo is an interstellar mercenary and bounty hunter from the utopian planet of Czarnia. He is brash, indestructible, and likes being violent.

Drenched in black humor, Lobo was deliberately outrageous as he was used to parody the violent excesses of the time. As Giffen said it, “I have no idea why Lobo took off.  I came up with him as an indictment of the Punisher, Wolverine, badass hero prototype and somehow he caught on as the high-violence poster boy. Go figure.”

As a product of the 1990s, Lobo appeared less often during the following decades, but he still came by from time to time to collect a bounty and be chaotic.

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The Sixth Gun Reading Order (and Shadow Roads)

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The Sixth Gun is a comic book series created by Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt that was published by Oni Press. The story is set in the Old West, shortly after the end of the Civil War. It’s a Western with fantasy elements (or sci-fi, I’m not quite sure how to define it).

The story of The Sixth Gun takes place in the Old West during the late 1880s and centers around a set of six magic pistols connected to each other by dark powers. They will be used to rewrite the World. Each one of the six guns is bound to the man who used it until his death.

The Sixth one ends up in the hand of Becky Montcrief and now people want to kill her in order to take it back. With the help of the mysterious Drake Sinclair, Becky goes hunting for the other guns, and she’s not the only one. During their quest, they must fight against General Hume and his four horsemen, the Knights of Solomon, the Sword of Abraham, and the Grey Witch.

The main Sixth Gun series is composed of 50 issues. During its original run, the publication of the series was punctuated by multiple spin-off miniseries. Once the main story was concluded, a new ongoing spin-off series titled Shadow Roads was launched.

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Batman ’66 Reading Order

In January 1966, the American TV Network ABC launched a live-action Batman show starring Adam West as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Burt Ward as Dick Grayson/Robin. It soon became a massive hit which had a big impact on pop culture, influencing other TV Shows but also the comic book it was based on.

It was created by William Dozier, a man who, before starting work on the project, had never read a Batman comic in his life. Not knowing how to adapt the character, he tried multiple approaches and the one that worked was to make Batman a pop-art campy comedy. For the kids, it was a colorful action/adventure series. For the adults, it was a fun time.

This Batman show lasted for three seasons and a movie as ABC decided to milk this success to the max, ordering 60 episodes for the second season, emptying at a fast rate its creative juice. The public grew tired of Batman and Dozier tried to save the series by introducing Batgirl/Barbara Gordon (played by Yvonne Craig) and asking DC Comics to develop the character in the Batman comics. This was not enough to make the ratings go up–Dozier also flirted with surrealism at one point and tried to be more topical.

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Venom War Reading Order

As summer comes, Marvel delivers a new Symbiotes event–one year after the Summer of Symbiotes. It’s time for the Venom War from writer Al Ewing and artist Iban Coello. This time, it’s a family affair:

The Venom symbiote has bonded with both Eddie Brock and his son Dylan at different points. Now, both Brocks are going head-to-head, determined to be the one true Venom! Father versus son in a showdown of showdowns that threatens to tear the world asunder!

Of course, this being an event, it’s not just about Eddie and Dylan fighting over Venom. Agent Anti-Venom (aka Flash Thompson), Red Goblin (aka Normie Osborn), Widow (aka Natasha Romanov), Carnage (aka Cletus Kasady), Spider-Man (aka Peter Parker), and Meriduis (a future version of Eddie Brock) are taking part in this war.

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Last Updated on June 18, 2024.

Secret Six Reading Order

DC Comics is full of teams and organizations, some more famous than others. Everybody knows the Justice League and Suicide Squad, but you can’t say the same about the underused Secret Six.

Created at the end of the 1960s by E. Nelson Bridwell and Frank Springer, The Secret Six is the name given to a succession of clandestine, non-governmental special ops teams. The team, to put it simply, was at the time of its creation, DC’s version of Mission: Impossible (which was launched on television in 1966!).

The team features generally six members who all possess special skill sets but also some dark secrets that, if revealed or exploited, would result in imprisonment, disgrace, or death. They are led by the faceless Mockingbird, often with each character assuming that the leader must be one of the other five members. 

Each team can be read independently from the other, so let’s explore the several versions of Secret Six that exist in the main continuity with this Secret Six reading order!

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Darkseid Reading Order

If Marvel’s Thanos is nowadays vastly known, he is not the only tyrannical ruler with a deadly agenda for the rest of the Universe. Before him, there was another one introduced in the DC Universe by none other than Jack Kirby. We are obviously talking about Darkseid, a New God and the tyrannical ruler of the planet Apokolips. 

Darkseid first appeared in a cameo Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #134 (1970) in what is known as the beginning of the Fourth World Saga–he made his first full appearance in Forever People #1.

Born Prince Uxas, Darkseid took control of the planet Apokolip, a nightmarish dystopia that is the complete opposite of its sister planet, New Genesis, a utopian world ruled by the wise and benevolent Highfather. The inhabitants of these planets possess incredible powers and abilities far beyond those of ordinary mortals. Eventually, the two went to war against each other. But a peace was ultimately signed and required an exchange of “hostages” as Highfather’s son, Scott Free (Miracle Man), was traded for Darkseid’s son, Orion.

What Darkseid really wants is to eliminate all free will from the universe. To achieve that, he searched the Anti-Life Equation and that’s why he took an interest in Earth as he thought he could piece together the Equation by probing the minds of every human. But he also had to fight the heroes of Earth. He tried other approaches over the years to accomplish his desired goal. From antagonist in Jack Kirby’s saga, he became the greatest adversary of the Justice League.

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Kyle Rayner Reading Order (Green Lantern)

Following the 1993’s Reign of Supermen saga, Hal Jordan–the main Green Lantern of that era–is pushed on a downward spiral during the famous Emerald Twilight storyline that will have grave consequences for everybody. Hal lost his mind and destroyed what was the heart of the Green Lantern, killing most of the Guardians of the Galaxy in the process, before going away for a time. During his absence, one surviving Guardian, Ganthet, visited Earth to find a replacement Lantern. He found Kyle Rayner.

Editor Kevin Dooley was faced with dropping sales and decided to let go of Hal Jordan, now considered a hero from a bygone era but a lot of readers, and introduced a new Green Lantern for the 1990s. As it was the era of the Death of Superman and backbreaking Batman, the trend was destruction and Hal (and Coast City) had to be destroyed to let an All-New Green Lantern take his place.

In Green Lantern (vol. 3) #48, writer Ron Marz and artist Darryl Banks introduced Kyle Rayner, a freelance comic book artist working in Los Angeles. Unlike Hal Jordan, Kyle was not a fearless and somewhat perfect hero. In fact, he had his problems and knew fear, but it was his capacity to overcome it that led Ganthet to give him what was at the time the last working Green Lantern power ring.

Without the Green Lantern Corps to help him, Kyle had to learn the hard way how his ring works. When his girlfriend, Alexandra DeWitt, was murdered by the supervillain Major Force (who infamously stuffed her body in a refrigerator), Kyle was forced to confront the seriousness of his new job as a Lantern. He moved to New York and decided to become the best Lantern he could be–this storyline was the origin of controversy, but the Green Lantern series survived and thrived with his new hero.

Since then, Kyle Rayner joined the Justice League, achieved godhood, helped create a new group of Guardians of the Galaxy, helped carry on the legacy of the Corps, and fought Parallax and a lot of powerful enemies.

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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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Last Updated on June 21, 2024.

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 July 10, 2024.