If You Loved ‘Captain America: Civil War’, Read These Comics Next
Captain America: Civil War is in cinemas now, and everyone’s raving about its impressive set-pieces, complex themes and snappy banter. Marvel Studios and the Russo Brothers not only managed to make possibly the best Captain America film (and the best Avengers film) so far, but they told an awesome, tightly-plotted story that never felt bloated despite the number of characters demanding the spotlight.
The Captain America franchise has always skewed somewhat more toward espionage thrillers than your average superhero series, similar in tone to the Jason Bourne series or the modern day James Bond films. If you loved Civil War and want to try some comics in a similar vein --- but you’ve already read Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting’s Captain America run --- we’ve compiled a list of five of the best independent comics to try next.
Lazarus is the tale of the not-too distant future where countries no longer exist and the world is ruled by corporations and the families that run them. Each family controls vast swathes of territory, and the only thing keeping them in a perpetual state of uneasy peace is that each family has its own Lazarus, a super-warrior bred to protect the family’s interest at all costs.
The series follows Forever “Eve” Carlyle, an enhanced soldier capable of surviving intense trauma and seemingly able to rise from the dead. A member of the Carlyle family, she doesn’t know that her siblings and parents see her as nothing more than a tool to keep their family strong. As alliances break down and the world teeters on the brink, Forever questions everything she thought she knew about family.
Edward Zero was bred to be one of the greatest assassins in the world, but when an operation in Israel goes wrong, it tugs on a thread that continues to unravel until the world will never be the same again. Flashing back and forth through time with each issue, the story of Zero’s life is slowly pieced together as the culmination of his choices and mistakes begin to paint a larger picture.
Zero’s biggest selling point is the variety and quality of its art, as each issue is a done-in-one story by the likes of Michael Walsh and Tradd Moore, with colorist extraordinaire Jordie Bellaire holding everything together seamlessly. Reminiscent in many ways of the independent work of Warren Ellis, Zero is science-fiction espionage of the type where you feel like all of this could be happening, and they’re just not telling us.
Mind MGMT is a complex mystery comic with elements of spy drama and subtle science fiction, as a true crime author tries to piece her life back together and investigate how and why a plane landed and every single person that disembarked somehow developed amnesia on the way to their destination.
Her investigation leads her to the discovery of a covert government organization of psychics, their best agent who left it all behind, and a city-wide riot where average citizens turned on each other with murderous intent. The series twists and turns every time you think you have a handle on what exactly it is, and every satisfying answer only leads to three more questions that compel you to keep reading.
The Infinite Horizon is based on Homer’s The Odyssey, but instead of Odysseus journeying home to Ithaca following the Trojan War, the series is set in the near future, and transplants the structure of Homer’s epic into a more contemporary setting. It follows a soldier working and fighting to return home to America following a war in the Middle East, doing everything he can to make it home to his family.
Over the course of the series, he faces re-imaginings of classic Odyssey moments and antagonists, including The Cyclops, presented as a Russian soldier wearing high-tech military equipment that gives him the appearance of one big green eye. Thoughtful, clever and self-contained, The Infinite Horizon is a thrilling and touching story that doesn’t require as much investment as other multi-part epics on this list.
Honestly, Bloodshot has no right being as good as it is. If you couldn’t already tell by his name, Bloodshot was a product of the '90s, when Valiant was at its peak, and when the publisher returned several years ago, he was one of the first characters picked for a relaunch. The character is a super-soldier injected with nanites that improve his strength, speed, stamina and recovery, but he doesn’t realize the extent to which his government has been messing with him.
Depending on the mission his handlers need him to embark on, Bloodshot is implanted with fake memories of a wife, children, friends, colleagues; whatever motivation he needs to in order to succeed at his mission. However, when he discovers the lie, he decides to get revenge on those who stole his life, and uncover the truth about who he really is.