Money is one of the most powerful forces in the world because it gives people the chance to live the life they want to lead. In certain situations it can be treated like a religion, with people doing whatever they can to earn more. Johnathan Hickman focuses on the cult-like effect money has with The Black Monday Murders: Vol 2. The graphic novel is set in a world where different banking firms control the world through magic, blood sacrifice and ruthlessness. A member of the wealthy Rothschild family has been murdered, leading to a brutal war between the firms.
Daredevil is one of the most relatable heroes in comics because of his background and believable powers. There have been a number of memorable stories about The Man Without Fear, though perhaps the greatest is Born Again, written by Frank Miller. Born Again involves the complete destruction of Matt Murdock’s life at the hands of The Kingpin. Not only is Daredevil pushed to the brink of sanity, but his mental health issues are exposed in a respectful, tragic manner. With themes of religion, family and overcoming adversity, Born Again is a graphic novel that needs to be read by all comic fans.
Green Arrow is one of those superheroes that people find it easy to connect with because of his beliefs. As someone who stands up for the little guy, Oliver Queen has dedicated his resources to making the world a better place with a bow and arrow. But it took him a long time to become the man he is, as Queen had to learn how to survive on his own two feet before becoming Green Arrow. Ollie’s transformation from frivolous playboy to hardened hunter is chronicled in Andy Diggle’s Green Arrow: Year One. The graphic novel contains themes of isolation, manhood, slavery and the power of nature against urbanisation.
Comics can be a valuable source of commentary on political issues, and a character who represents a liberal viewpoint is Green Arrow. Oliver Queen has established a reputation of standing up for the little guy, with various stories delving into his political worldview. One of the best arcs I’ve read that deals with political fallout is Green Arrow: Crawling Through The Wreckage. Written by Judd Winick, the graphic novel involves Green Arrow becoming the Mayor of Star City to make his home a more socially conscious place to live.
“Chefs are primal creatures. Always have been. When you see puffed up fools bellowing at their kitchen staff on the cooking shows, this is what I mean, so you tell me: isn’t a bit of intramural kicking far more sane than screaming obscenities at some hapless underling? You recall that one chef on TV who does that? About ready to pop an artery? And when he does and there’s a funeral, who’s going to show up? No one. Because he’s an asshole who shouts at his employees.” – Gavin Cruikshank
We live in a world where reality TV is a popular form of escape for many people, with it extending to the cooking industry as well. Celebrity chef programs are enjoyed by billions because of the competitiveness and the emotional trauma that it causes among the people involved. Some shows are just for fun, while others are designed to push chefs to the edge for the entertainment of the audience. Not only does that say a lot about society as a whole, but it forms a large part of STARVE: Volume 1. Created by Brian Woods, Danijel Zezelj and Dave Stewart, STARVE is about the world’s most famous chef, Gavin Cruikshank, who created a reality cooking show that turned into a morally corrupt arena for the wealthy to dine on illegal cuisine and bastardise the industry. The graphic novel contains a multitude of relatable themes that will appeal to chefs and cooking enthusiasts.
Food and comics are two of my biggest interests, so I’m always looking for an excuse to combine the two together. It’s why I’m kicking myself for only recently discovering the Chew series created by John Layman. The series follows Tony Chu, a Food and Drugs Administration agent who solves crimes by getting psychic visions from the food he eats. His power puts him a variety of messed up situations that involve cannibalism, gun fights and murder all in an effort to uphold the law. Chew: Volume 1: Taster’s Choice introduces the character’s world and it’s one of the most original, entertaining stories I’ve ever read.
Doctor Doom is one of the greatest villains in the history of comics. He’s taken on The Fantastic Four, Avengers, battled aliens and monsters and even ruled the Multiverse as an all-powerful god. So, what happens when he tries to make up for all the wrong he’s done in his life? You get Infamous Iron Man Vol 2: The Absolution Of Doom. Written by Brian Michael Bendis, the graphic novel follows Doom as he takes on the Iron Man identity to make the world a safer place. The second volume feels like it has higher stakes than the first because of the introduction of the evil Reed Richards from the Ultimate Universe. Traditional roles are flipped and Doom finds himself in a situation where even he doesn’t have all the answers.