Comixology keeps a small collection of comics for free! Did you know this? Perhaps you did. Sensibly most of them are #1 issues, just in case you were looking for another series to sink your teeth, and money, into. Maybe you don’t have time to go reading all 56 free comics, so I did that for you (aren’t I kind?) and found 9 selections that aren’t just enjoyable on their own, but should lead you into wallet slimming obsessions. Enjoy!
1. Atomic Robo Vol. 1, #1
It turns out Tesla, benevolent mad scientist, created an autonomous atomic robot during WWII. The government would like to use him as a kind of super soldier to fight Nazi, malevolent mad scientist, Helsingard. It’s written by 8-bit Theater writer Brian Clevinger and arted by artist Scott Wegener.
The art style is somewhere between high quality Saturday morning cartoon and traditional American comic books. The whole endeavor is driven by humor, but the hilarious inability of the average minion to kill or even subdue Atomic Robo eventually gives way to real threats and heroics. I love this comic, and this is a great entry point into the universe.
Best Line: I did not bring ruin to an underground utopia pre-dating the dawn of agriculture for the purpose of not gaining power over the fabric of reality.
2. Bone #1
This perennial favorite from Jeff Smith (also targeted by the occasional ban) is about a group of mostly lovable cousins who are thrown out of their hometown of Boneville and into a vast and frightening wasteland. It’s a witty adventure tale full of bickering monsters, cigar chomping dragons and locusts. And that’s just the first issue. This is one of those comics that you just want to curl up with and pour through for hours.
Best Line: They can’t do this to me! You can’t do anything to a rich person that he doesn’t want!
3. Complex #1
Something’s happening here, but what it is ain’t exactly clear. This collection of vignettes (54 pages!) is an introduction to a world of shadowy experiments and secrets. It’s something like if Eureka had been written by the guys who wrote The Prisoner were in charge. It’s moody and full of mystery. The art is very well composed, if occasionally slightly lacking execution. Definitely an indie to check out.
Best Line: I don’t know how or why, but you’ve done something to me to make me forget. Enjoy tonight… because tomorrow things are going to change.
4. Deadpool: Merc With A Mouth #1
Why miss out on free Deadpool comics? There is literally no reason to miss out on a free Deadpool comic. Savage Lands, atmospheric insertions, suspiciously attractive AIM agents and zombie heads are all perfectly good reasons to pick this up for absolutely nothing.
Best Line: We come in peace. I mean, not before when I was shooting everybody, but now.
5. Detective Honeybear #2
What if the best detective on the police force was an adorable, stuffed bear? Well, he’d be Detective Honeybear, wouldn’t he? He’s a bear who solves crimes and recounts the facts in an endearing, if sometimes hard to parse, lisp. There’s a little bit of fourth wall breaking and the art is strong and simple. It’s a familiar story told in a brand new world, and I can see a lot of potential here.
Best Line: Yes, I get that it’s a visual joke. Now can you clean up my rug??
6. Planetary #1
This is another one there’s no reason to pass up for free. The beginning of Warren Ellis’ stunning Planetary series is a little heavy on exposition and setting up the world, but there’s enough action to get you hooked. A mysterious, presumably heroic, man is welcomed into an even more mysterious, presumably heroic, organization, and his first task involves the exploration of mysterious hideaway in the Adirondack mountains. I’m not always a fan of John Cassaday’s framing, but overall the art pops with good use of strong blacks and bold colors that acts as a link between the technicolor of superheroes and our own.
Best Line: It’s a strange world. Let’s keep it that way.
7. Middle Man #1
This falls near the intersection of Men In Black, Daria and classic pulp adventures. There’s plenty of action and humor as cranky temp worker/art school graduate Wendy Watson gets sucked into the world of supernatural problem solving and monster slaying with chiseled jaw slinging hero Middle Man and his secretive organization. If angst, nuclear vomit and a guy who says ma’am unironically are your thing then I’d sign up for this one. The expressive black and white artwork is also a treat.
Best Line: No, he’s not a “homosexual.” He’s a film student.
8. Moth City #1
This comic was specifically designed for digital distribution and it uses the medium very well. Small actions can all be contained within one frame. Faces can change as a conversation is revealed, sentence by sentence. It’s still very much a comic though. It isn’t animated or a “motion comic.” It just uses the flexibility of a digital platform to get more done within a “page” than one normally could. Set during the Chinese Civil War it follows the plight of a fictional island ruled by a ruthless war profiteer with a beautiful daughter. Political intrigue and super weapons are sure to follow.
Best Line: Men are naturally carnivorous products, Major. A man without vices is difficult to trust.
9. War of the Woods #1
This is just a setup issue. The art is gorgeous and the idea of talking animals dealing with an alien invasion is fun, so this is getting a mention because of a potentially exciting concept. There are also some studies and thumbnails in the back, which I happen to appreciate, but you may not care about. It’s really just a taster. The writing is fairly basic, but there are clever touches that say this might be the beginning of a very good thing.
Best Line:Word through the wood is that he’s going to turn on the television set!