A lot of us here at Multiversity have been slobbering over the slew of teasers Marvel has been handing out for their upcoming street-level event, Shadowland. However, if you haven’t been following Marvel’s various street-level characters, you’re probably thinking “so what?” Obviously, in order to be excited for such an event, one needs an investment in these characters. Well fret not, because I have a batch of recommendations for getting into the heads of the various characters involved in Shadowland following the jump.
Now, most of these recommendations will try to be restricted to a couple of trades, but since Daredevil is the main focus of this event I figure we can make an exception for old hornhead. If you haven’t been following Daredevil since Kevin Smith restarted the title under the Marvel Knights imprint, the main thing you need to know is that there has been one common theme since then: Matt Murdock’s life is goddamn awful. From Smith to Bendis to Brubaker things have just gotten worse and worse, and current writer Andy Diggle has brought Daredevil to and past the breaking point. If you have the time and/or money I would say to read from Bendis’ run and on (sorry Kevin Smith). That’s a lot of comics, so I can understand if you blanche at this. If it’s a problem, you should be just fine reading Diggle’s run so far (#501 and onward), and you’ll definitely want to read it if you’re interested in Shadowland at all. Just read up a bit on Wikipedia beforehand if you’re going this route. Reading the bigger chunk should also give you a good amount of exposure to Elektra and Bullseye, who will also be playing large roles.
Just as a note, the first Ultimate Collection of Bendis’ Daredevil comes out Wednesday, and you should all get it if you don’t already own the issues.
You probably already have a good idea of Spidey’s character, even if you haven’t read a single Spider-Man comic. However, if you’re curious as to what has been going on in Peter Parker’s life lately, I recommend going back the centennial Amazing Spider-Man #600 and continuing from there. Almost everything related to The Gauntlet has been great, especially the newest arc, and you’ll be just in time for the start of The Grim Hunt this Wednesday (you will be able to read all 34 issues by then, won’t you?). Granted, I doubt any of this will affect Shadowland at all other than in the Spider-Man tie-in, but it’s a great place to jump in if you dropped the title after One More Day (I promise!). I hear Mister Negative will be showing up in Shadowland as well, and this is a good place get acquainted with him, along with his Dark Reign mini.
Brian Michael Bendis has been making a major player out of Luke Cage, and I can’t say that I mind. After making some appearances in Bendis’ Daredevil, Cage became a major supporting character in the also-written-by-Bendis Alias. Bendis then really developed the character through the pages of New Avengers, making Cage into a leader type that not many were expecting. The Secret Invasion and Dark Reign tie-ins of this series are particularly good for showing off Luke, and as of the Heroic Age he is now the new leader of the Thunderbolts. Picking Thunderbolts up is also a good choice because it will be crossing over with Shadowland as well. Just start fresh with #144 by Jeff Parker.
I love Iron Fist, and the fact that he will be included in this event makes me shed tears of fanboy joy. Many first encountered him as a minor character in Bendis’ Daredevil (though he has been around far longer), and he became even more prevalent once Brubaker took over the book. Most notable, however, was his solo series The Immortal Iron Fist, co-written by Brubaker and Matt Fraction, which remains to this day one of my favorite series of all time. Everyone should definitely read those issues by Fraction and Brubaker (particularly the first two trades), but Duane Swierczynski’s follow-up run was actually quite good. This book also has some more great Luke Cage moments, and does a good job of introducing Misty Knight and Coleen Wing, both of whom will also appear in Shadowland. At least it’s a better alternative to reading that terrible Heroes For Hire ongoing they both appeared in.Continued below
I’m not as crazy about Moon Knight as some people are, but I will admit he’s a really interesting character. If you haven’t heard of him yet, think Batman with an Egyptian theme and even crazier. Sure, that’s a gross oversimplification, but it grabbed your interest, didn’t it? One way one could get into Moon Knight would be to read his previous series (collected in five trades), or you could just start at the beginning of his new series, Vengeance of the Moon Knight. As a matter of fact, seeing as his previous series kind of burned out, that’s exactly what I would suggest. He will be staring in his own three issue tie-in mini, so be sure to pick that up if you like the character.
Now, I know you might be thinking “Really? Ghost Rider?” I know I was when I heard he was going to be in this. But then I read Jason Aaron’s Ghost Rider work, and now I have faith that, yes, Ghost Rider can be good (we just love Aaron here at Multiversity, don’t we?). Jason Aaron’s work on the 2006 title can be found in trades 5, 6 and 7, along with the Heaven’s on Fire trade. I would say to approach the book as dubiously as possible, so that you can be pleasantly proved completely wrong (like I was). It’s also a great choice if you haven’t read any Jason Aaron before.
I would give Wolverine a short blurb, but he’s Wolverine. What more do you need to know? Pick up Jason Aaron’s Weapon X if you really need something, but other than that this should more than whet your appetite for Shadowland. Now, here’s hoping it’s as good as we all want it to be!