Once derided, the space opera subgenre is making a comeback,
thanks to novelists like John Scalzi, Peter F. Hamilton, Alastair Reynolds,
Iain M. Banks, and others who are taking the romantic and melodramatic
narratives down more sophisticated routes, focusing on character development
and literary leanings. The same is true
of comics, and the medium is full of great examples both new and old. We’ve culled a few of our favorites below,
using a very loose definition of outer space settings and advanced technologies;
feel free to add your own!
Annihilation by Keith Giffen, Andy Lanning, Dan Abnett,
Ariel Olivetti and more (Marvel): While the Avengers typically battle
Earth-threatening villains, the stars are full of menaces like Ronan the
Accuser, Thanos, the Super-Skrulls—all of whom appear in this epic space opera
that also plants the seeds for the new Guardians of the Galaxy team.
Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 1: Cosmic
Avengers by Brian Michael Bendis and Steve McNiven (Marvel):
And here they
are, the revamped crew of heroes and anti-heroes, including Drax the Destroyer,
Rocket Raccoon, Groot (“I am Groot!”), Gamora (Thanos’ estranged daughter),
Star-Lord and…Iron Man?
Mass Effect by John Jackson Miller, Mac Walters, and more
(Dark Horse): Just in case the successful video game franchise didn’t sate enough
appetites, the universe expands in comics--and this “library edition” collects
over 400 pages of space battles, alien races, and character backstories.
Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War by Geoff Johns, Dave Gibbons, and Peter Tomasi
(DC): Arguably Johns’ finest hour in his long-running stint as Green Lantern
writer, this nearly 350-page arc showcases major villain Sinestro as he leads
his own group of Yellow Lanterns.
Ender’s Game (Graphic Novel) by Chris Yost and Pasqual Ferry
(Marvel): Just in time for the cinematic adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s
legendary series, Marvel repackages the comics version of Andrew
"Ender" Wiggin’s ascent to outer space fame.
Vol. 1: In the Shadow of Yavin by
Brian Wood and Carlos D’Anda (Dark Horse): What would any space opera list be
without the greatest of all time? Brian
Wood takes all the beloved characters from the original trilogy (Luke, Leia,
Han, etc.), and picks up their story immediately after the events of Episode
IV: A New Hope. The action and nostalgia
both run high here, as fans will read an all-new adventure set in the Rebellion
This booklist is by Kindle's Alex Carr. Interested in comics and graphic novels? Sign up for Comics Delivers, a weekly email featuring the best in comics each week - from weekly booklists to deals and exclusive content from creators.