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In the summer of 2019, I read Wanderers (an amazing book) when it was still fiction.  In it, Chuck Wendig weaves a sprawling story filled with plagues and politics that was eerily prescient for the events that would hit us in 2020.  Thankfully, I was able to enjoy this book from the safety of precedented times. I’m never sure I can responsibility recommend it during The Unprecedence.

But maybe I still can. Since the pandemic began, many folks have flocked to apocalypse and plague fiction.  Some surely sought it out for solace (the fictional folks have it worse than us, right?  RIGHT?).  Others sought it out for the pain, much like when we push on a bruise to see if it still hurts.  Perhaps still others searched for answers in the fiction; maybe there are some helpful hints to be mined to help survive the reality we’re living in. There are likely many reasons I can’t even fathom because fear and trauma makes us humans unpredictable.

Whatever the reason(s), these stories have continued to be very popular, in a time when it feels like we’re living through our own version of the Apocalypse.  For those looking for stories of the END of things, for stories of the After-times, for stories of humans fucking everything up, comics offer us many Apocalypses to explore (not even including the actual Marvel character of Apocalypse. If you are looking for him, the X-men comics are the place to go).  Here are some of my recent favorites:

Marvel’s Dark Ages is a new limited series about what happens when the Marvel Universe is unmade.   There is an enemy buried with the earth.  An enemy that that the Avengers, the X-men, and every other superhero known on Earth cannot defeat. Not Thor, not Iron Man, not Dr. Strange, not even Wanda. The heroes have incredibly and thoroughly lost.  And as a result, the Earth is left dark.  What now? I adored the first issue of this comic and can’t wait to see where it goes.

What happens if fictional superheroes and villains come to life and battle it out in the real world?  In Cross Over, what happens is total destruction.  That is, until a superhero creates a dome over the city of Denver, Colorado.  Anyone outside or inside are trapped.  The dome keeps people out and supers in.  Or does it?  This comic is extremely meta and very funny.

Eve grew up in a virtual reality simulation, unaware that she was really trapped in a pod until it was her turn to save the world.  When it finally is her time, she wakes up to a planet of zombies and a flooded landscape.  Alone except for her robot protector (disguised as a teddy bear) she must find the clues to save the world and the few remaining people left. This comic keeps you guessing and has a lot of important (timely) messages about environmental issues.

In Bubble, based on the podcast of the same name, Earth overrun with aliens.  Humans live in Fairhaven, a bubble set up to keep them isolated from the monsters.  But the monsters still get in, with concerning (and surprising) regularity.  So monster-hunters are in high demand.  Kids who grew up outside the bubble are enlisted to use their hard-earned survival skills to help the community.  They sign up for an Uber-esque social media app.  Hilariously funny and a great social commentary about social media, capitalism and government corruption.

In We Live the Earth is overrun by a group of genetically-modified, psychedelically-colored animals.  Humans can’t survive anymore and their extinction is a matter of time.   A select group of children are given a bracelet that allows them access to the ships escaping the Earth.  But they need to make it safely to the extraction point.  Tala needs to get her brother Hototo there no matter what (and there is a lot of What to be dealt with).  The art is this comic is beautiful, vibrant, and creepy. 

In Skyward the Earth has lost a significant portion of its gravity.  The rich have figured out ways around this using their money and their power, while the poor must squeak by as best they can.  There is a real danger of flying off into the atmosphere, but Willa doesn’t care.  She’s fearless and reckless and fierce.  She has never really known gravity.  But then she stumbles upon some inconvenient truths about how the low-gravity happened and how it (maybe?) can be fixed.  So she has to leave her home and survive obstacles (like giant bugs) to find the truth.   Giant bugs. I’m not sure what else I need to say.

Like in many other dystopian stories, in Origins humans have created their own extinction; human technology evolved into a tech-virus that kills or corrupts all living beings and replaces them with a networked AI.  It’s been 1,000 years and the only survivors are androids and one human – David.  But who is he and why is he the only one left? Even he doesn’t know, but he needs to find out before the AI finds him.  The art in this comic is as unnerving as the story. 

The Unfortunates were born without any luck into a world of chaos created by the powers of Good Luck and Bad Luck.  In their world Luck is a resource that can be measured and hoarded and distributed.  But the Unfortunates never have any Luck. These five kids have been training for years so that they can be unleashed directly into the chaos to restore everything to normal.  Except without luck, there is quantifiably no chance they will succeed.  But they try anyway. After having read issue #3, I’m still not sure I know what’s going on, but I’m invested. Artie and his Unfortunate friends are the ultimate underdogs. They literally can’t win.

What to do if the entire MULTIVERSE is at stake? Well, in Commanders in Crisis, you steal the best of the best from other multiverses to help. Until they figure out that something weird is afoot and they stop helping. And what if Empathy itself is murdered, what then? This comic will make your head spin a bit, but in a good way.  Like a glass to many of champagne. It’s silly, it’s raunchy, it’s sexy it’s snarky. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Jessica’s Reading

Jesse’s Reading

Jesse and Jessica are Both Reading

Devin’s Reading