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Secondary Book List: Superhero

All the books in this list have been read by either Jenn (proprietor of Comics in the Classroom), or one of her staff. They are certified to be appropriate for the elementary age group and have been chosen for their benefit to classrooms and libraries.

Some books on the Intermediate List are also available on the Elementary and Secondary Lists. This is because we feel these books have a wide-ranging appeal.

All books will be reduced by 25% at time of ordering.



image not available Astonishing X-Men

Volumes: 4, complete
Written by: Joss Whedon
Illustrated by: John Cassaday
Genre: Superhero
Colour, Softcover
SRP: Vol.1-3 16.00, 4 21.00

Synopsis: Astonishing X-Men is a fresh new X-Men book that has a place alongside the movies. Readers familiar with the movies will recognize the characters of Wolverine, Cyclops, Beast, and Kitty Pryde, and will be intrigued by the addition of telepath Emma Frost. While some aspects of the book do point back to earlier events in X-Men continuity, it is not necessary to read earlier comics to understand the action. The events begin when Cyclops and Emma Frost re-form the X-Men with the express purpose of "astonishing" the world. However, plans go slightly awry when a 'cure' for the mutant gene is announced. With inventive stories and beautiful art, this is an extremely successful series with new and old X-Men fans.
Also by Joss Whedon: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 and Runaways

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image not available Batman Arkham Asylum 15th Anniversary Edition

Volumes: 1, complete
Written by: Grant Morrison
Illustrated by: Dave McKean
Genre: Superhero
Colour, Softcover
SRP: 22.99

Synopsis: Arkham Asylum is an extraordinary work of art, and the best-selling original graphic novel in the comics industry. The plot is dual-layered. One layer deals with Batman, who is forced to go into Arkham Asylum, the insane asylum for his most deadly villains, including Joker, Two-Face, the Mad Hatter, and others, after they seize control of the asylum and demand Batman in exchange for the hostages. Once inside the asylum, Batman is faced with his own sanity, and questioning whether he himself belongs in the asylum himself. The second layer takes place in the past, and deals with Jeremiah Arkham, the founder of the asylum, detailing his reasons for its founding, discussing the nature and point of psychiatry, and showing his own slide into insanity. The art style is extremely unique, mixing painting with mixed media. The text is written in different fonts for different characters, for example, the Joker's dialogue is red and messy. Various themes work their way through the book, such as Alice in Wonderland, and pearls. This edition includes the script given by the writer to the artist to work from. This is a unique opportunity to examine the development of a graphic novel, and see how the artist can interpret the writer.
Also by Dave McKean: Signal to Noise

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image not available Batman Dark Knight Returns

Volumes: 1, complete
Written and Illustrated by: Frank Miller
Genre: Superhero
Colour, Softcover
SRP: 18.99

Synopsis: This graphic novel stands next to Watchmen as responsible for the deconstruction of comics and superheroes that occurred in 1986-1987. In a post-apocalyptic dark future, superheroes are nowhere to be found, and criminals run wild. Batman has been retired for ten years, ever since the death of the second Robin, Jason Todd. Now a supposedly rehabilitated Harvey Dent (Two-Face) returns to crime, and Batman feels compelled to don his old costume and stop him. 13-year-old Carrie Kelley, rescued by Batman, buys a Robin costume, and becomes Batman's crime-fighting partner, bringing lightness to his grim-and-gritty outlook. Ten years has changed Batman, who now realizes the only way to stop some criminals is to kill them, and nearly does kill the Joker. He and Carrie also train an army of crime-fighters, the Sons of Batman, to help Gotham become the safest city in America. Somewhat embarrassed by a vigilante's success where they had failed, the government sends Superman to stop him. The story culminates in a fight between Batman and Superman and the apparent death of both. A tale of overcoming adversity, and of Machiavellian principles, this is a dark view of the pros and cons of superheroes.
Also by Frank Miller: Batman Year One

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image not available Batman Killing Joke

Volumes: 1, complete
Written by: Alan Moore
Illustrated by: Brian Bolland
Genre: Superhero
Colour, Hardcover
SRP: 21.99

Synopsis: This 20th Anniversary Edition re-introduces this groundbreaking and long out-of-print graphic novel to a new generation of readers. This dark tale depicts the ultimate struggle in Batman's career: is there ever a condition in which he should kill a villain? The Joker is on the loose, and his first stop is the house of Jim Gordon, Gotham police commissioner. There, without thought, he shoots Jim's daughter Barbara, otherwise known as Batgirl, in the spine. The Joker kidnaps Jim, and subjects him to a series of sensory experiences designed to drive him insane. The story delves into ideas of sanity, morality, and justice. Features new colouring and the story "An Innocent Guy," previously featured in "Batman: Black and White".
Also by Alan Moore: From Hell, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, V for Vendetta, and Watchmen.

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image not available Batman Year One

Volumes: 1, complete
Written by: Frank Miller
Illustrated by: David Mazzuchelli
Genre: Superhero
Colour, Softcover
SRP: 16.99

Synopsis: Batman Year One was one of the graphic novels that came out in the 1986-87 comic "revolution" in which heroes were deconstructed, and given the feelings and flaws of ordinary people. This book details the events of Batman's first year on the job, clearly explaining how he came to be the way he is, focusing on questions of morality and vigilantism. Paralleling Batman's first year, is Jim Gordon's first year in the Gotham City Police Department. Also present is Selina Kyle, who is inspired by seeing Batman into becoming Catwoman, and Harvey Dent, before the accident which made him Two-Face. Due to the "year one" nature of the story, readers do not have to know the background of the character. Included in this edition are sample pages of the script and rough layouts to show the reader some of the process involved in creating comics.
Also by Frank Miller: Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. Also by David Mazzuchelli: Asterios Polyp.

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image not available Daredevil:

Volumes: 19, ongoing
Written and Illustrated by: Various
Genre: Superhero
Colour, Softcover
SRP: 12.00-23.00, please inquire for individual pricing

Synopsis: Daredevil is the superhero identity of Matt Murdock, a blind attorney, living in Hell's Kitchen. Matt constantly goes through tremendous struggles keeping his dual identity, and dealing with his blindness, despite the heightened senses he gained when he lost his sight. In these volumes, Matt deals with love, ex-girlfriends, having his secret identity exposed, dealing with mob-boss Kingpin, taking over as boss of Hell's Kitchen, and going to jail. The stories deal with fighting for justice against unbelievable odds. With a recent movie, the character will be familiar, and students will be drawn to the action-packed stories.

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image not available Fantastic Four Unstable Molecules

Volumes: 1, complete
Written by: James Sturm
Illustrated by: Guy Davis and R. Sikoryak
Genre: Superhero
colour, Softcover
SRP: 18.00

Synopsis: This is the story of the "real" Fantastic Four, that is, it is the story of four individuals who happen to meet the founders of Marvel Comics. The founders are so inspired by them, that they create a new superhero team based on them, the Fantastic Four. Set in the 50s, complete with a backdrop of Cold War tension and the suburban boom, the story follows Reed Richards, a physicist, Johnny Sturm, a teenager obsessed with cars, Sue Sturm, his sister and fiancee of Reed, and Ben Grimm, a boxing trainer. Not all is happy in these characters' lives, Sue feels stifled by the role of housewife, Ben is mourning lost love, Johnny is having a sexual identity crisis, and Reed suffers betrayal at the hands of Sue. Interspersed in the book is a faux comic book called Vapor Girl, read by Johnny, and further contributing to the realism of the book by contrasting it with fiction.

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image not available Invincible

Volumes: 6; (ongoing)
Written by: Robert Kirkman
Illustrated by: Cory Walker and Ryan Ottley
Genre: Superhero
Colour, Softcover
Softcover
SRP: Vol.1-3 15.00, 5-6 16.00

Synopsis: Mark Grayson seems to be just like any other teenager. However, his father is the most powerful superhero on the planet. As if it wasn't hard enough to keep that secret, Mark starts developing powers of his own, and takes on the superhero persona of Invincible. Now he has to conceal his own superhero identity from his classmates, his friends, even his girlfriend. Things get even more complicated when his father suddenly reveals he is a super-villain, Mark finds himself working for the government, and a girl on his superhero team reveals feelings for him. This is a refreshing addition to the superhero genre, with real characters, with problems, that although fantastical, seem real nonetheless.
Note: due to subject matter, we do not recommend beyond vol.6.

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image not available It's a Bird

Volumes: 1, complete
Written by: Steven T. Seagle
Illustrated by: Teddy Kristiansen
Genre: Superhero, Autobiography
Colour, Softcover
SRP: 21.99

Synopsis: This autobiographical graphic novel has the author talking about being a comic writer, given the writing project of a lifetime, the chance to write Superman. However, he struggles to get past the illogical facets of Superman. The story is about learning to accept flaws within and with-out oneself. Other themes include high school and later ostracism, fear of hospitals and doctors, communication failure, and family conflict. The author talks about how hard it is for him to open up, making the book an exposure of his deepest fears. As a subplot, there is the death of his grandmother from Huntington's, which becomes the family secret, and source of family conflict. The author worries he will inherit this disease, and is comforted by meeting a college friend and playwright, who also has Huntington's in his family. The story ends with hope and a restoration of faith. The art covers a variety of visual techniques and style, with a series of off-style interjections of one to two pages on the themes of Superman, such as being an outsider, kryptonite, power, the costume, Nietzsche, justice, and courage.
Also by Steven T. Seagle: Amazon

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image not available JLA

Volumes: 17, ongoing
Written and illustrated by: Various
Genre: Superhero
Colour, Softcover
SRP: 10.99-23.99, please inquire for individual pricing

Synopsis: JLA is a superhero team comprised of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, and others. They vow to protect the planet, and often come face to face with world-wide crises, while trying to deal with getting along as a team. Set in the DC Universe, the stories deal with fighting enemies, alien invasions, and injustice to create a better world.

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image not available Marvels

Volumes: 1, complete
Written by: Kurt Busiek
Illustrated by: Alex Ross
Genre: Superhero
Colour, Softcover
SRP: 27.00

Synopsis: Marvels is the tale of the beginning of superheroes. It tells the story of an average newspaper reporter, Phil Sheldon, for whom the world changes in 1939, when the Human Torch, Namor, and Captain America are revealed to the world. Sheldon finds himself at the centre of a suddenly changing world, as the superhero is unleashed onto regular society. This realistically painted work tells the story of the origin of the Marvel universe from the inside, from the perspective of an ordinary man who just happened to be there. The book addresses what the ordinary person would think and feel in a world populated by superheroes. The story takes place over several decades, from the 40s to the 70s, showing the changing views that ordinary people would have if superheroes suddenly shared their world. It is an interesting meditation on what it means to be human and superhuman.
Also by Kurt Busiek: Superman: Secret Identity

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image not available New Avengers

Volumes: 12, ongoing
Written by: Brian Michael Bendis
Illustrated by: David Finch Canadian! and Steve McNiven Canadian! Genre: Superhero
Colour, Softcover
SRP: 16.00-21.00, please inquire for individual pricing

Synopsis: This is a superhero book, but a very well-written one. This is a revitalization of the Avengers team, with fresh stories and new team members: Wolverine, Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, Luke Cage, and the Sentry. While the team must learn to work together under the watchful eye of Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, they must also face a number of world-threatening challenges, including the superhero registration act, and even the threat of one of their own members.
Also by Brian Michael Bendis: Ultimate Spider-Man

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image not available New Mutants Classics

Volumes: 3, complete
Written by: Chris Claremont
Illustrated by: Various
Genre: Superhero
Colour, Softcover
SRP: Vol.1-2 35.00, Vol.3 26.50
Synopsis: This series, originally published in the 80s, follows the adventures of five teenagers, Cannonball, Sunspot, Moonstar, Karma, Rahne. They are brought together by Professor Xavier, who runs a school for gifted youngsters. There they learn about their powers, and themselves, while simultaneously fighting against the forces of evil and discrimination. Also by Chris Claremont: X-Men: Dark Phoenix Saga

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image not available NYX

Volumes: 1, complete
Written by: Joe Quesada
Illustrated by: Josh Middleton
Genre: Superhero
Colour, Softcover
SRP: 21.00
Synopsis: Kiden is a typical teenager who gets along with no one in her family, and believes she is completely misunderstood. But all is not so typical for Kiden, as her X-Factor gene suddenly kicks in during school one day, and she becomes responsible for one of her teachers getting shot. Now she's on the run, afraid to own up to what she has done, and what she has become. She joins up with other teens in her same position, including X-23, Wolverine's daughter, and trained assassin. Instead of fighting against world-threatening evils, these mutants must merely fight to survive on the streets of New York City.

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image not available Runaways

Volumes: 11; on hiatus
Written by: Brian K. Vaughan, Joss Whedon, Terry Moore, Kathryn Immonen Canadian!
Illustrated by: Adrian Alphona Canadian!, Takeshi Miyazawa Canadian!, Michael Ryan, Humberto Ramos, and Sara Pichelli
Genre: Superhero
Colour
Softcover, digest-sized
SRP: 10.00 each
Synopsis: Runaways is about a group of teenagers who suddenly, and very accidentally, found out that their parents are actually a team of super-villains called The Pride. With newly-discovered powers, and a dinosaur sidekick, they decide to escape their parents' evil influence, and go on the road, as runaways. Each character is well-developed, with complexities that make working as a team sometimes difficult. Characters deal with their own baggage, the fact that their parents are super-villains, and learning to work as a team. As the series develops, so do the characters; they mature, develop new interests and issues, and develop relationships like real teenagers.
Also by Brian K. Vaughn: Pride of Baghdad and Y the Last Man. Also by Joss Whedon: Astonishing X-Men and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Also by Terry Moore: Strangers in Paradise. Also by Kathryn Immonen: Moving Pictures. Also by Takeshi Miyazawa: Sidekicks: The Transfer Student

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image not available Sidekicks: The Transfer Student

Volumes: 1; complete
Written by: J. Torres Canadian!
Illustrated by: Takeshi Miyazawa Canadian!
Genre: Superhero
Black-and-white
Softcover, digest-sized
SRP: 14.00

Synopsis: Terry Highland, daughter of an ex-superhero sidekick, has her own powers, and attends the Shuster Academy, a school for superhero sidekicks. However, to do well at the school, the students are not allowed to use their powers. This becomes difficult when three new vigilantes appear.
Also by J.Torres: Love as a Foreign Language and Complete Copybook Tales. Also by Takeshi Miyazawa: Runaways and Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane

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image not available Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane

Volumes: 5; complete
Written by: Sean McKeever and Terry Moore
Illustrated by: Takeshi Miyazawa Canadian!, David Hahn, and Craig Rousseau
Genre: Superhero, Fiction
Colour, Softcover, digest-sized
SRP: 10.00

Synopsis: Unlike the better part of the super hero comic genre this book is aimed towards girls. Though at first glance it may seem to be about Spider-Man, the main character of the story is actually Mary Jane Watson during her high school years. Unbeknownst to Mary Jane, Spider-Man is really her Algebra tutor Peter Parker who tries many times to get Mary Jane to notice him instead of his alter ego. By the time Mary Jane starts to figure out her true feelings, it may be too late as both Peter and Spider-Man can be found with other girls. This is a great high school romantic drama with a little bit of super hero action thrown in. The best part of the action sequences is that they are most often from Mary Jane's perspective instead of Spider-Man's.
Also by Terry Moore: Runaways and Strangers in Paradise. Also by Takeshi Miyazawa Runaways and Sidekicks: The Transfer Student

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image not available Superman For All Seasons

Volumes: 1, complete
Written by: Jeph Loeb
Illustrated by: Tim Sale Genre: Superhero
Colour, softcover
SRP: 23.99

Synopsis: Superman For All Seasons is the graphic novel upon which the hit TV series "Smallville" was based. The story is of Superman as a young man in his hometown Smallville, coming to terms with his powers, and trying to deal with his relationships, sharing his secret with some, and keeping it from others. As the story progresses, Clark Kent goes to Metropolis and becomes a reporter for the Daily Planet, gradually transforming from country boy to the world's greatest hero, trying to unlock the heroism within his humility.
Also by Tim Sale: Back to top



image not available Superman Red Son

Volumes: 1, complete
Written by: Mark Millar
Illustrated by: Dave Johnson
Genre: Superhero, Political
Colour, Softcover
SRP: 22.99

Synopsis: As the introduction says, this book is "a sharp social commentary on capitalism vs. communism and current American foreign policy." The story is a what-if tale, namely what if Superman landed, not in Smallville USA, but in communist Russia. The story takes place over several decades, through the 90s, allowing the reader to see communism in historical and fictional contexts. Superman becomes president of the USSR, and tries to deal with questions of right and wrong, and whether the end can ever justify the means. Batman also appears in this story, as a dissident, fighting to remove Superman as president, believing his rule to be corrupt. The book is a good jumping-off point for discussions of communism, and Marxism, and Superman as the opposite of Marxist philosophy in which all men are created equal. The what-if universe in which President Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe survive and are dating in 1978, give students examples of how to revision other historical events, which can be a good start for creative writing projects.

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image not available Superman Secret Identity

Volumes: 1, complete
Written by: Kurt Busiek
Illustrated by: Stuart Immonen
Genre: Superhero
Colour, Softcover
SRP: 26.99

Synopsis: Secret Identity is based in a reality more like our own than the traditional comic book un-reality. There is no one with powers, no aliens, and no super villains, until a young man, named Clark Kent as a joke by his parents, wakes up with the same powers as his comic book namesake. Author Kurt Busiek says in the introduction that he wanted this to be "...a story that takes the concept of the secret identity and uses it as a metaphor for our own inner selves..." and through the character of simple, normal Clark Kent he achieves this. This book is told from the first person perspective of Clark. The biggest villain, his own government, spends most of the book trying to capture him and figure out both how to control him and what exactly made him 'super'. He lives his life, trying to keep his private life separate from his hero persona, keeping it as protected as he can, but struggling with trying to make sense of his powers, identity, and responsibility. This book invites students to explore several social questions around what would happen if there was one person in the world with those powers, and examines the topic of personal safety, from the point of view of either Clark, or the powerless onlooker.
Also by Kurt Busiek: Marvels. Also by Stuart Immonen: Moving Pictures and Ultimate Spider-Man.

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ver with XXXHolic, though it is not mandatory to read both titles to understand the story.
Also by CLAMP: XXXHolic



image not availableUltimate Fantastic Four

Volumes: 11; complete
Written and Illustrated by: various
Genre: Superhero
Colour
Softcover
SRP: 13.75-18.00 each

Synopsis: Ultimate Fantastic Four is one of the three titles in the "Ultimate" line that we suggest in the Comics in the Classroom program. These books take familiar characters and teams from the Marvel universe and re-launch them for new readers. Each series starts at the very beginning of the team. Ultimate Fantastic Four, therefore, begins with the accident that turns the team into the Fantastic Four. By volume 2, they still haven't adopted the name "Fantastic Four", and are still trying to figure out their new powers. Fantastic Four is, in general, a science driven series. It is through science that the team is transformed, and it is through science that Reed Richards, leader of the team, views the world and tries to solve problems. The team also includes a strong female figure, a headstrong teenage character, Human Torch, and the temperamental Thing, who struggles to fit into society in his new skin. The variety within the characters will interest a wide audience, and the fact that the series starts off from the beginning means that new readers do not have to wade through decades of continuity to know what is going on.
Schools may wish to avoid volume 5, which deals wholly with zombies.

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image not available Ultimate Spiderman

Volumes: 22; ongoing
Written by: Brian Michael Bendis
Illustrated by: Marc Bagley, Stuart Immonen Canadian!, and David LaFuente
Genre: Superhero
Colour
Softcover
SRP: 14.00-26.00 per volume, inquire for individual pricing

Synopsis: Peter Parker was an ordinary teenager, picked on by bullies, in love with the most popular girl at school, and struggling to find his identity. But then, bitten by a radioactive spider, he takes on an even more challenging identity, as Spider-Man, crime-fighting superhero. This series takes the reader from the beginning of the story, from before Peter Parker became Spider-Man. It focuses heavily on the realities of being Peter, and his struggles to fit in, both as a superhero, and a teenager.
Also by Brian Michael Bendis: New Avengers. Also by Stuart Immonen: Moving Pictures and Superman: Secret Identity

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image not available Ultimate X-Men

Volumes: 19; complete
Written and Illustrated by: various
Genre: Superhero
Colour
Softcover
SRP: 10.00-20.00 each, inquire for individual pricing

Synopsis: Ultimate X-Men is another in the Ultimate series, in which the story of the X-Men starts from the beginning, presuming its readers do not know anything about the characters. The X-Men are a super-team of mutants, regular people, who through a 'mutant gene' have developed super powers. The stories of the X-Men series deal with the fact that these changes make them outsiders, and often persecuted outsiders. Professor X, a mutant with strong psychic ability, has founded a school to train youngsters with the mutant gene, and teach them how to give back to society by fighting injustice and crime. In the meantime, he works as an ambassador to convince the rest of the world that mutants are not evil, and should be accepted into society. This makes the series a good social commentary about prejudice and racism, well-hidden in dynamic plotlines, and fast-paced action.

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image not available Watchmen

Volumes: 1, complete
Written by: Alan Moore
Illustrated by: Dave Gibbons
Genre: Superhero, Alternate Future
Colour, Softcover
SRP: 22.99

Synopsis: When Watchmen came out in serialized form in 1986-1987, it completely changed the comic industry. It forced comics to grow up. Here were superheroes acting like ordinary people, exhibiting flaws, having relationships, sometimes not being very heroic at all, facing political, ethical, and personal issues, especially in grappling with the mysterious murder of another superhero. Set in 1985, in an alternative-history United States, with the country edging closer and closer to a nuclear war with the Soviet Union, the tale clearly captures the fears of the Cold War that were present in 1986-87. The book deconstructs traditional superheroes and traditional comic book style, updating the medium for a new audience, one that had grown up reading comics, and now, as adults, sought a comic that could appeal to adult sensibilities. The comic even contains its own comic, Tales of the Black Freighter, a metafiction pirate tale, the plotline of which juxtaposes and parallels that of Watchmen. The series catchphrase "Who Watches the Watchmen" reflects the story&¦8217;s examination of themes of authority, and how vigilantes fit in, with their lack of accountability. Watchmen is taught in many university courses, has won many awards, and in 2005, was placed on Time Magazine's list of the 100 Greatest English Language Novels from 1923 to the Present. It was released as a movie in 2008.
Also by Alan Moore: Batman: Killing Joke, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and V for Vendetta.

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image not available X-Men Dark Phoenix

Volumes: 1, complete
Written by: Chris Claremont
Illustrated by: Dave Cockrum and John Byrne Canadian!
Genre: superhero
Colour, Softcover
SRP: 34.00

Synopsis: This is the book that inspired the plot of the movie "X-Men 3". Jean Grey, one of the most powerful X-Men, is corrupted by a powerful universal force, called the Phoenix Force. Now, their one time friend, is bent on destroying the universe, and the X-Men are the only ones who can stop her. They must put aside their love for their former friend and partner in a heartbreaking fight for the safety of the world.
Also by Chris Claremont: New Mutants Classics and X-Men Days of Future Past. Also by John Byrne: X-Men Days of Future Past.

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image not available X-Men Days of Future Past

Volumes: 1, complete
Written by: Chris Claremont
Illustrated by: John Byrne Canadian! and Terry Austin
Genre: superhero
colour, Softcover
SRP: 32.00

Synopsis: The future is a bleak place for mutants. Kitty Pryde travels into the future, where she must team up with Wolverine and the other X-Men, even their arch-nemesis Magneto, to stop the Sentinels from committing genocide against the mutant race.
Also by Chris Claremont: New Mutants Classics and X-Men Dark Phoenix Saga. Also by John Byrne: X-Men Dark Phoenix Saga.

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We have many more books in stock. If you have a request for a title you don't see listed above, please contact us!

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