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*I have not read all these series, and none of the ones I have read are in their entirety. These are books you should try out based on a synposis that spoke to me, the people who worked on it and the justifiable popularity of the book. Specifically, I have not read Black Orchid or read (only watched) V for Vendetta.
The second part of “Books to Read from Vertigo” (that no one demanded) includes titles that are still great despite the test of time. The following titles are all worth a read and all come from Vertigo, the company renowned for horror. Check out Part 1 for more great titles Vertigo offers – with their share of flaws, of course, if you squint hard enough.
Vertigo has had a part in many volumes of Swamp Thing, usually working with their partner company DC Comics. Swamp Thing is the tragic saga of scientist Alec Holland, who is turned into Swamp Thing during an explosion at his lab and is able to communicate with nature – or as he calls it, the Green. With a mad scientist villain like Arcane, a fleshed-out and lovable love interest turned wife Abby Holland, and an extraordinarily powerful demon daughter Tefé, this roster of characters is just as enjoyable as the story and the art. The art throughout the series was almost always beautiful enough to be a portrait, even the art from the 80s, which in any other comic may feel outdated. Swamp Thing has aged gracefully with time. The series is going to be rebooted with DC’s new re-launch and will be written by Scott Snyder (writer of American Vampire), but the old series of Swamp Thing will always have wonderful stories and art to admire with legendary guest stars including Batman and John Constantine from Hellblazer.
The perfect spin-off of Swamp Thing, Black Orchid continues the trend of picturesque imagery in a much shorter run. Black Orchid is another controller of nature, in female form. Readers are also treated to more comic legends, including Swamp Thing, Poison Ivy and Lex Luthor (which one of these things doesn’t seem to belong?).
Another title soon to be rebooted by DC (to be written by Jeff Lemire, writer of Vertigo’s Sweet Tooth), Animal Man started purely as a DC title. Starting with issue #57 coming from the mind of Jamie Delano, Animal Man became a Vertigo-published title with a change in art style similar to Vertigo’s other beautifully horrific art. The story of Buddy Baker, a man able to use the abilities of animals to aid him in his mission to help others, had an animal rights message. Grant Morrison also took the character under his creative wing and put more focus on Baker’s strained relationship with his family because of his heroic ways, again doing the trademark Vertigo story element of looking into the negative sides of being a superhero.
V For Vendetta
Gaining much notoriety after being made into a classic action movie, V For Vendetta reached similar levels of popularity as the recent Watchmen movie had, both written by Alan Moore. Another very serious series with its share of dark moments and complex characters, a war is going on and one man with a mask and a tragic past is out to make people see how cruel the world’s leaders are.
Vertigo still manages to produce great new titles today, but even their diseased titles still have some fight in them, with many returning to the comic scene in the DC reboot. Regardless of how those turn out – butchered or exemplified – their counterparts will always be classics.