These are some of the best comics and graphic novels I’ve read so far. Well, to me ‘best’ is a heavily layered philosophical concept. So these are some that I highly recommend.
Weapon X by Barry Winsdor-Smith
The series begins with Logan being captured and prepared for the adamantium bonding process. There are several mentions of his being tough, and the Professor, the director of the Weapon X program, along with his assistants Dr. Cornelius and Miss Hines, wipe his mind and bond him to adamantium, the hardest known substance on Earth, to prepare him to be a mindless, soulless killing machine. Throughout the program, Logan is constantly referred to not as a person but as a subject, and his humanity is almost completely disregarded in the course of the experiments. Logan frequently comes to odds with his mental programming, and eventually escapes into the wilderness
Kingdom Come by Alex Ross and Mark Waid
This Elseworlds story is set in a future that deals with a growing conflict between “traditional” superheroes, such as Superman, Wonder Woman, and the Justice League, and a growing population of largely amoral and dangerously irresponsible new vigilantes, in many cases the offspring of the traditional heroes. Between these two groups is Batman and his assembled team, who attempt to contain the escalating disaster, foil the machinations of Lex Luthor, and prevent a world-ending superhuman war.
The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller
Crime runs rampant in the streets, and the man who was Batman is still tortured by the memories of his parents’ murders. As civil society crumbles around him, Bruce Wayne’s long-suppressed vigilante side finally breaks free of its self-imposed shackles.
The Dark Knight returns in a blaze of fury, taking on a whole new generation of criminals and matching their level of violence. He is soon joined by this generation’s Robin — a girl named Carrie Kelley, who proves to be just as invaluable as her predecessors.
But can Batman and Robin deal with the threat posed by their deadliest enemies, after years of incarceration have made them into perfect psychopaths? And more important, can anyone survive the coming fallout of an undeclared war between the superpowers – or a clash of what were once the world’s greatest superheroes?
Red Son by Mark Millar
Strange visitor from another world who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel in his bare hands … and who, as the champion of the common worker, fights a never-ending battle for Stalin, Socialism, and the international expansion of the Warsaw Pact.
In this Elseworlds tale, a familiar rocketship crash-lands on Earth carrying an infant who will one day become the most powerful being on the planet. But his ship doesn’t land in America. He is not raised in Smallville, Kansas. Instead, he makes his new home on a collective in the Soviet Union!
Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore
The plot revolves around the Joker’s attempt to drive Gotham City Police Commissioner James Gordon insane, and is intercut with the villain’s flashbacks to his life before his disfigurement and criminal life.
Batman: Year One by Frank Miller
The story recounts the beginning of Bruce Wayne’s career as Batman and James Gordon’s with the Gotham City Police Department. Bruce Wayne, aged 25, returns home from training abroad in martial arts, manhunting and science for nearly twelve years. In Gotham, he bides his time, waiting for the right moment to strike, all the while preparing himself. Gordon, meanwhile, has moved to Gotham from Chicago with his pregnant wife, Barbara Kean-Gordon, and pursues a career in law enforcement.
The Crow by J. O’Barr
Eric Draven and his girlfriend Shelley meet their brutal demise at the hands of the inner city’s most notorious characters. Exactly a year later, Eric is brought back to life and granted the powers of superhuman strength and vision in order that he may seek vengeance on those who killed him – all under the watchful eye of a mysterious crow. One by one, Eric seeks out the gang, who are out for another evening of mayhem and violence, unaware of the fate that awaits them.