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A comiXology Guide to Zatanna!

I will admit, at the moment, we have some gaps in our Zatanna collection here at comiXology (I’ll be sure to let DC know WE WANT MORE!), including not only the first appearance of Zatanna in 1964’s Hawkman #4 but also the introduction of Zatanna’s father Giovanni Zatara whose story appeared alongside the introduction of Superman in Action Comics #1!

That being said, I put together a little reading list that will still give you a nice introduction to one of the DC characters that deserves way more attention than she gets and not just because her bowtie game puts mine to shame.

In 2010, longtime fan of the Zatanna, Paul Dini put the young magi in the spotlight of her own solo series. It’s a great place to start with the character, and Dini (who you may have heard of as the writer of  Batman: The Animated Series) has become the quintessential voice behind character. The series follows Zatana’s adventures having recently left the JLA, and while short lived adds much to the Zatanna mythos, seeing her pitted against a sorcerer who controls the supernatural crime scene in San Francisco, a Faustian casino owner who trades the souls of his new brides for everlasting youth, and a new supervillan named Siphon who attempts to steal Zatanna’s powers.

In the mid 2000’s Grant Morrison wanted to take what he felt was a bunch of DC “C-List” characters and form them into his own Avengers analogue. Zatanna was sloted for his Scarlet Witch counterpart and so a 4-issue miniseries featuring her was woven into Morrison’s grand over-arching storyline that brought all of his characters together ending in a climactic final battle. Zatanna’s story can be read on its own if you’d like just a taste, but the whole story has been collected into a couple volumes. With JH Williams III on art, it’s definitely worth a look or two

Maybe this is the whole reason I wanted to write this list. Just recently Paul Dini got back in the driver seat of the good ship Zatanna, and this time brought along the incredible joequinones to write one of the best books to come out under the DC banner in recent memory. Bloodspell sees two superheroes brought together by their love for one another as well as their love for fishnet stockings. Witness a young Black Canary meet an even younger Zatanna Zatara, and get glimpses into how their friendship began while they take on a curse that is hunting down the former members of an all-female casino heist that Canary had once infiltrated.

comixology:

Now that we’ve all seen the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer (one million times), I’m sure there are some of you out there who are curious about just who this group of proclaimed a-holes space pirates cosmic superheroes are. Well never fear, comiXology unbound is here to shed some light! 

If you haven’t seen it already, check out our earlier post which gave you a general introduction into the GotG, but if that little taste wasn’t enough for you we’re going to break it down for you one character at a time starting with the fearless leader of the gang Peter Quill aka Star-Lord!

The first appearance of Star-Lord was in Marvel Preview #4 (Jan 1976) written by Steve Englehart with art by Steve Gan. It shows the story of Peter Quill’s childhood and eventual ascension to the role of Star-Lord (a position he steals in a fit of rage). Star-Lord’s whole character is based on revenge and anger, and frankly he’s kind of a jerk. Creator Steve Englehart had plans for the character that went unrealized, however, later reflecting on his website:

I conceived something very large. My hero would go from being an unpleasant, introverted jerk to the most cosmic being in the universe, and I would tie it into my then-new interest in astrology. After his earthbound beginning, his mind would be opened step by step, with a fast-action story on Mercury, a love story on Venus, a war story on Mars, and so on out to the edge of the solar system, and then beyond.

But — after his earthbound beginning, where I established him as an unpleasant, introverted jerk, I left Marvel, so no one ever saw what he was to become.

After Englehart left Marvel, the character was taken over by legendary Marvel writer Chris Claremont and was changed to have more of a hard sci-fi/action feel. The Claremont issues also introduced Star-Lord’s companion, Ship, and added more backstory to his origins, namely that he was actually the son of a galactic emperor and his mothers death was actually part of a Hameltesque plot for the throne crafted by his evil Uncle. Both the Englehart and the early Claremont stories can be read in Star-Lord: The Hollow Crown and the the continuation of Claremont’s run can be read in Star-Lord: Worlds On The Brink

For a long time after that, Star-Lord didn’t see too much action in the Marvel universe, and it wasn’t until 2004 in Thanos #8 by Keith Giffen and Ron Lim when he made his return, revealed to be a captive in an intergalactic high-security prison called The Klyn. His reintroduction was followed up by Annihilation and then Annihilation Conquest (along with a spin-off miniseries starring Quill) which saw Star-Lord team up with the mightiest galactic heroes to fight the apocalyptic forces of Annihilus, lord of the Negative Zone and the techno-organic Phalanx. 

The Annihilation event lead directly into what is considered the quintessential Guardians of the Galaxy book written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. It was in this series that Star-Lord assumed the role as leader of the Guardians.  

If all this seems WAY TOO MUCH, then don’t worry. brianmichaelbendis rebooted the series and it’s crazy fun. You can start with issue 0.1 to get a retelling of Peter Quill’s origin and go on from there. You’ll be caught up in no time. 

Congrats! You’re now a Star-Lord Scholar, brag to all your friends, and get working on your finger-machine. 

Bringing this one back for today’s comixology guide!

X-Men or Avenger? Pietro or Peter? Hero or Villain? Evan Peters or Aaron Taylor-Johnson? The story surrounding Quicksilver has quickly become a confusing place. We’re here to help make things a little clearer with a quick intro in…
A comiXology Guide to Quicksilver
Quicksilver made an appearance in the very earliest days of X-Men history alongside his twin sister Wanda Maximoff (aka Scarlet Witch) as members of Magneto’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants in Lee & Kirby’s The X-Men #4. Their membership in the brotherhood is tenuous at best, as it’s not a sense of evil but debt that keeps them under the command of the man that they will one day find out is their father.  
See Quicksilver’s debut in (Uncanny) X-Men #4
Following the events of House of M, in which Quicksilver played a large role and we learn more of the relationship between Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, and their father Magneto we see a world where Quicksilver is now powerless in the mini-event Son of M. Crushed and defeated, his only hope and refuge lies with the Inhumans. 
See what happens when Quicksilver loses his powers in Son of M
And if you’re one of those people who doesn’t care about the past, you only want the new and fresh and here and now, then you need to check out All-New X-Factor. Peter David, who penned some great Quicksilver in the 90s is back at the helm and he is known for writing the best version of the speedster. 
Catch up with the latest Quicksilver in All-New X-Factor

X-Men or Avenger? Pietro or Peter? Hero or Villain? Evan Peters or Aaron Taylor-Johnson? The story surrounding Quicksilver has quickly become a confusing place. We’re here to help make things a little clearer with a quick intro in…

A comiXology Guide to Quicksilver

Quicksilver made an appearance in the very earliest days of X-Men history alongside his twin sister Wanda Maximoff (aka Scarlet Witch) as members of Magneto’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants in Lee & Kirby’s The X-Men #4. Their membership in the brotherhood is tenuous at best, as it’s not a sense of evil but debt that keeps them under the command of the man that they will one day find out is their father.  

Following the events of House of M, in which Quicksilver played a large role and we learn more of the relationship between Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, and their father Magneto we see a world where Quicksilver is now powerless in the mini-event Son of M. Crushed and defeated, his only hope and refuge lies with the Inhumans. 

And if you’re one of those people who doesn’t care about the past, you only want the new and fresh and here and now, then you need to check out All-New X-Factor. Peter David, who penned some great Quicksilver in the 90s is back at the helm and he is known for writing the best version of the speedster. 

A comiXology Guide to The Sinister Six
With Amazing Spider-Man 2 now officially in theaters, we’re already anticipating the chatter to pick up around the next Spidey flick and the Sinister Six! 
We know the comic world can be a confusing place, so we’re here once again to set you off on the right path! If you want to get to know the greatest collection of rogues the Marvel Universe has ever seen, these are the stories that will bring you up to speed!
The Sinister Six have quite the strange history as their lineup has changed so many times over the course of history. But all great evil teams need to start somewhere, and when Electro, Sandman, Vulture, Kraven, Mysterio, and Doctor Octopus finally got sick of getting whooped by the web slinger on their own, they teamed up under the guidance of Octavius and formed the first iteration of the Sinister Six in the pages of Amazing Spider Man Annual #1.
See the first appearance of The Sinister Six
Since the Sinister Six are so famous, you may be surprised to know that they essentially disappeared from comics after their first defeat in 1963. They didn’t reemerge until 1990, when Kraven was replaced by Hobgoblin after meeting a ghastly fate in Kraven’s Last Hunt. 
Read the rebirth of the Sinister Six in Amazing Spider-Man #334-339
After being defeated once again, Electro, Vulture, Mysterio, and Hobgoblin get the band back together, and after tricking a reformed Sandman to rejoin their ranks, go out to seek their revenge on their former leader Doctor Octopus in The Revenge of the Sinister Six!
Read The Revenge of the Sinister Six
Jump forward in time to a Marvel Universe where Doc Ock has defeated Peter Parker by switching their bodies thus becoming the Superior Spider-Man, willing to do things your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man would never have dreamed of! Using his unmatched skills of bio-engineering, Octavius takes control of his old Sinister Six teammates and has them do his bidding as The Superior Six.
Read Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #6-8
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my new favorite iteration of the Sinister Six, found within the pages of the Superior Foes of Spider-Man. This series is the sleeper-hit of the current Marvel catalogue, featuring a Sinister Six that sometimes only includes as few as Four members but is always hilarious and surprising. 
Get started with the Superior Foes of Spider-Man
(Above art by Andrew Robinson)

A comiXology Guide to The Sinister Six

With Amazing Spider-Man 2 now officially in theaters, we’re already anticipating the chatter to pick up around the next Spidey flick and the Sinister Six! 

We know the comic world can be a confusing place, so we’re here once again to set you off on the right path! If you want to get to know the greatest collection of rogues the Marvel Universe has ever seen, these are the stories that will bring you up to speed!

The Sinister Six have quite the strange history as their lineup has changed so many times over the course of history. But all great evil teams need to start somewhere, and when Electro, Sandman, Vulture, Kraven, Mysterio, and Doctor Octopus finally got sick of getting whooped by the web slinger on their own, they teamed up under the guidance of Octavius and formed the first iteration of the Sinister Six in the pages of Amazing Spider Man Annual #1.

Since the Sinister Six are so famous, you may be surprised to know that they essentially disappeared from comics after their first defeat in 1963. They didn’t reemerge until 1990, when Kraven was replaced by Hobgoblin after meeting a ghastly fate in Kraven’s Last Hunt. 

After being defeated once again, Electro, Vulture, Mysterio, and Hobgoblin get the band back together, and after tricking a reformed Sandman to rejoin their ranks, go out to seek their revenge on their former leader Doctor Octopus in The Revenge of the Sinister Six!

Jump forward in time to a Marvel Universe where Doc Ock has defeated Peter Parker by switching their bodies thus becoming the Superior Spider-Man, willing to do things your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man would never have dreamed of! Using his unmatched skills of bio-engineering, Octavius takes control of his old Sinister Six teammates and has them do his bidding as The Superior Six.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my new favorite iteration of the Sinister Six, found within the pages of the Superior Foes of Spider-Man. This series is the sleeper-hit of the current Marvel catalogue, featuring a Sinister Six that sometimes only includes as few as Four members but is always hilarious and surprising. 

(Above art by Andrew Robinson)

It’s finally Friday, and that means that its time for another comiXology guide to one of our favorite comic book characters. This week, we’re dedicated to bringing you the low-down on the man they call “The Merc With a Mouth” - the one and only Deadpool!

Thanks to his tendency to refuse to remain in one universe or timeline for any meaningful length of time, Wade Wilson is definitely one of the more confusing characters in the comic landscape. But this snarky parody of the comic book world is also one of the major reasons that he has become the beloved fan-favorite that he is today. If you feel like you need some help figuring this guy out (you aren’t alone), then read on and take a crash course into degeneracy with…

A comiXology Guide to Deadpool!

You probably already know about Deadpool’s well deserved reputation as a big ol’ jerk and generally insane individual, but where did all of this madness begin? The first appearance of the character was in New Mutants #98, as a character that seemed to have a very striking similarity to a certain DC character known as Deathstroke. Co-creator Fabian Nicieza even went so far as to provide Deadpool with the name “Wade Wilson”, after Deathstroke’s secret identity “Slade Wilson”. Although he changes drastically in the years to come, New Mutants #98 set the stage for the kick-ass character that is Deadpool.

Arguably the best iteration of the modern Deadpool that we all know and love came from his involvement in Rick Remender’s Uncanny X-Force. Although he dons a different costume, Deapool’s antics and sardonic wit are in full force while the he and the rest of the X-Force (a group of mutants recruited to do the dirty work the X-Men wont do) team up to stop Apocalypse by any means necessary.

Fabian Nicieza returned to the character he helped create in a major way with the funny, action-packed, and totally nuts Cable & Deadpool. A series that truly lives up to Deadpool’s reputation, this is a great place to become introduced to the hilarity and insanity that we have come to expect from Wade Wilson.

When Gerry Duggan (gerryduggan) teamed up with comedian Brian Posehn to bring us Deadpool’s current series, they obliterated the notion that Deadpool couldn’t be a strong character without a team to balance him out. This run gives us a bit of a darker take on the character, but doesn’t skip out on the comedic elements that have become Wade Wilson’s trademark. If you want to get caught up with Wade Wilson’s modern life, then this is a great place to start!

Every Friday, were going to try to bring you a brief guide on a different comic book character or story, because we all know the world of comics can be a confusing place, and we want to help.

There seems to be a lot of fans of Wonder Woman here on Tumblr, but if you’ve been wanting to find out more about Diana Prince, Themyscira, and The Amazons, we humbly present to you:

A comiXology Guide to Wonder Woman!

Fierce, bold, and confident, Diana, Amazon Warrior Princess of Themyscira, is both feared and respected by the denizens of the DC Universe. 

Wonder Woman’s first appearance came in 1941 within the pages of All Star Comics #8 but her origins really were developed in the early issues of DC’s Sensation Comics. In these classic comics, you see the introduction of some of WW’s best known tools like the Invisible Jet and her Magic Lasso. In May 1942, only 5 months after her first appearance, Wonder Woman was the star of her own solo comic.

If all you want is one must-read example of a great modern take on Wonder Woman, look no further than gailsimone's story, The Circle, which brings the heroine face-to-face with talking gorilla warriors, neo-nazis, and the vulnerability of being powerless.

Finally, the rebooting of the DCU with The New 52 saw the combining of comic legends Brian Azzarello and cliffchiang bringing their much acclaimed talents to the Wonder Woman comics. While the New 52 has seen its share of successes and failures, Wonder Woman has consistently been one of the brightest stars in the new universe.  

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or have been frozen in a block of ice for the past couple months, you’ve probably heard a bunch about this Captain America guy, and hey, we get it, comics can be a treacherous world to navigate so we’re here to make it a bit easier for you with a comiXology Guide to Getting Started with Captain America!

Cap has had a long glorious run of protecting the American Way, but it all had to start somewhere, and way back in 1941 (that’s even before Tumblr existed!) Nazis were rolling through Europe and freedom as we know it was being threatened. Joe Simon & Jack Kirby saw the need for a new American Hero and thus Captain America was born, making his first appearance in the now iconic cover of Captain America Comics #1. This comic has the beginning of all that is Cap: The Super Soldier Program, Bucky, and the first appearance of The Red Skull (who is sporting a hell of a sweatsuit…)

Stan Lee, also with Jack Kirby, put his classic style into a retelling of Steve Rogers transformation into the First Avenger in Captain America #109

In what is now seen as the essential Captain America run, Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting brought Cap up to present time. If there is one Captain America story you are going to read this is the one. 

And if you’re really just more of the type of person who wants the newest thing, Rick Remender has helmed the Captain America ship and brought along his unique sci-fi stylings. See how Steve Rogers fares when he is transported as far away from the good ol’ U.S. of A. as he has ever been before with Captain America: Castaway in Dimension Z.

That should give you a good jumping off point for all things Cap! Enjoy!

When IDW resurrected G.I. Joe for an all-new, all-out insane comic series they brought back the only enemy the Joes ever needed: Cobra Commander! Ruthless, resourceful and often downright terrifying the mantle of “Commander” has been worn by many a mysterious evildoer and this week we’re shining the spotlight on that mirror-plated helmet of evil.

Here’s your reading assignment:

  • G.I. Joe Origins #1 – 5: Originally intended to be THE Cobra Commander by fan-favorite Joe scribe Larry Hama, the character of ‘The Chimera’ was first introduced as an insane stock broker who murdered his family and gathered a militia around him. He was later dropped for the Cobra Council, and while it has not been proven, he is most likely the “Commander” seen in the first Cobra series.
  • G.I. Joe Cobra: When a Joe secret agent infiltrates Cobra to bring them down from within, a web of deceit and betrayal is woven and at it’s center stands the Commander. Here the title belongs to a wealthy and even well known businessman who chooses to remain hidden in the shadows, but when he is forced to play his hand all out war ensues for the venomous organization. Grab the first issue for FREE right now.
  • G.I. Joe: Cobra Civil War: When the Cobra Council seeks to elect a new Commander, their tried and true method of Trial by Combat causes nothing but trouble for the world at large. Many assets of the organization and it’s revered head are revealed in this exciting mini-series that changed what we know about Cobra and paved the way for the current commander and his even more lethal agenda of world wide terror.

 Extra Credit

  • G.I. Joe Cobra Files: While this new series focuses on an elite Joe team dedicated to gathering data on all things Cobra, it does shed some light on the ever-evolving mythos of Cobra, and it’s on sale right now. so it’s definitely worth picking up.  

Crimes, Cruelty, and Chaos: An Introduction To Villainy
Part Two: Thanos

Thanos. The name alone strikes fear into the hearts of the entire Marvel Universe. In this introduction to The Mad Titan you will read the first ever appearance of Thanos in Jim Starlin’s Iron Man #55, and then some of his first encounters with The Avengers, Captain Marvel, and Adam Warlock all leading up to Thanos Quest. After reading these you will have a good starting idea of who Thanos really is and be ready to jump right into one of the most famous Marvel events of all time Infinity Gauntlet. See Thanos in top form; complex, driven, and unfathomably evil. 

  • Avengers vs. ThanosSee Thanos’s bid to become a god and lay siege to Earth, with only the Avengers able to stop him. Collects Iron Man (1968) #55; Captain Marvel (1968) #25-30; Marvel Feature (1971) #12; Daredevil (1964) #105-107; Captain Marvel (1968) #31-32;Avengers (1963) #125; Captain Marvel (1968) #33; Warlock (1972) #9-11, 15; Avengers Annual (1967) #7; Marvel Two -In-One Annual #2; material from Logan’s Run #6.
  • Silver Surfer: Rebirth of ThanosThe quest that led to INFINITY GAUNTLET begins here! Back from the dead, Thanos is after the power to bring the rest of the universe with him on a return trip! Can the Silver Surfer, Drax the Destroyer and others stop the cosmic iconoclast before he uses reality as a token of his affection for Death? Collects Silver Surfer #34-38 & Thanos Quest #1-2.

Thanos Art by Jon Hughes & Blake Henriksen

comiXology University is a regular post by the fine folks at comiXology Unbound where you can learn everything you’ve ever wanted to know about comics through thematically curated reading lists.

Crimes, Cruelty, and Chaos: An Introduction To Villainy
Part One: The Joker

The Joker: One of the most well known, reviled, beloved, and feared miscreants of all time. What better place to kick off our course on villains than with a quick rundown of a few of the most important stories featuring the Clown Prince of Crime? 

  • Batman (1940-2011) #1- The first appearance of the Joker written and drawn by the legendary Bob Kane, Bill Finger, and Jerry Robinson. The Joker was originally meant to be a one-time-use character, but was brought back later by popular demand. This is not the maniacal, theatrical Joker that exists today but grim, noir-ish, figure with a dark sense of humor. 
  • Batman (1940-2011) #251  - Creators Denny O’Neil and Neil Adams officially crowned The Joker the “Clown Prince of Crime” in his first modern day appearance right here. The perfect antithesis of The Batman – a pale yet colorful madman out to be the last one laughing as the world burns to ash around him – here we meet The Joker the world would come to know and ultimately fear for generations to come. That signature playing card still sends a shiver down the spine. 
  • Batman (2011-) #13 - 17 - The Joker’s twisted campaign of gruesome horror shook the house of Wayne to it’s very foundations in Death of the Family. A literally faceless enemy obsessed with tormenting Batman and those around him no matter the cost. Whose reign of terror was left unfinished rather than played out. As if simply waiting in the shadows to strike at the heart of gotham once more. Here fans got a Joker re-invented for the New 52. Gone is the cheap purple suit and simple sight gags. Replaced with a menacing agent of chaos out for one final face off (see what we did there?) with Batman, where the stakes have never been higher.

comiXology University is a regular post by the fine folks at comiXology Unbound where you can learn everything you’ve ever wanted to know about comics through thematically curated reading lists.