Essential Reading List: Greg Rucka
Greg Rucka has long been one of my favorite writers. First discovering his work on the Batman titles during the "No Man's Land" storyline and WONDER WOMAN. Shortly after, I graduated to Gotham Central which at a young age blew my mind. From there I followed him to his creator owned work. Over the years he has consistently held a spot on my short list of writers I will follow to any project. To coincide with the interview I did with Rucka recently, I thought it was the perfect time to put down a list of, what I deem, essential reading of his work. While there are sure to be some books that you may feel deserve a spot on this list, I had to trim it down otherwise I could go on for days.
In my opinion this might be Rucka's best work. All of his skills are out on display in this title. From amazing characterization to exceptional world building, this book has it all.
Set in a dystopian-future, where resources are coveted, and possession is 100% of the law. People are divided into separate classes (Family, Serfs, Waste) the world has been divided among sixteen rival families, who run their territories in a feudal system. The main character, Forever Carlyle, is the military leader of the Carlyle family aka Lazarus. Each family has their own Lazarus and are somet of the best trained fighters in the world, meting out justice and protection
One of the major themes of LAZARUS that has been often discussed, is the meaning of "family" and nature versus nurture. With backstabbing, espionage and a society eerily reminiscent of our world could be, makes this one of the best books being published.
This series, in my eyes, is one of the best series that DC has ever published, in their 80+ years of existence. Rucka, along with co-writer Ed Brubaker and artist Michael Lark, take us to the grimy streets of Gotham and somewhat corrupt police department of GCPD. This series shows a different side of Gotham than you may be used to, but no less interesting. Batman is rarely seen in this book and mostly just in shadow. Instead we see the cops that deal with the repercussions of having a vigilante in their town.
Renee Montoya & Crispus Allen, of the Special Crimes Unit, are the two standout characters to me. Rucka's work with Montoya is what made her one of the most complex and interesting character at DC. You get to witness the gritty side of the GCPD from their perspective, which had never been done before, as they solve crimes their own way.
If there's one book I can recommend to any of you non-DC readers, it would be this one. This book is flawless.
Originally presented in DETECTIVE COMICS #854-863, these tales of Batwoman once again showcase Rucka's superb writing skills. After introducing her in 52, Kate Kane became one of the most prominent lesbian characters I and garnered critical acclaim. Along with artist J.H. Williams, this story is yet another seminal story that Rucka had a part in creating.
After her military career was cut short by bigotry, Kate Kane has taken up the identity of Batwoman, leading a one-woman war on Gotham City’s evil underbelly. And at the heart of her investigation is the Religion of Crime, a criminal cult led by a madwoman known only as Alice. Speaking in riddles and storybook rhymes, the Lewis Carroll-inspired Alice aims to transform Gotham into her own twisted wonderland. But is everything Alice says truly mad? Underneath her deranged theatrics, she may hold the key to understanding Batwoman’s past…
BATWOMAN BY GREG RUCKA AND J.H. WILLIAMS III is both visually stunning and widely considered essential reading for all DC fans. Again this is another DC book that is easily accessible and anyone can pick up and enjoy.
This was the first Wonder Woman series that I followed and really started my love for the character. Rucka has a way of writing some of the best female characters in comics and what better way to flex those muscles than on the most famous feamle heroes in comics. HIs take on Diana is probably my favorite versions and has even had 2 significat runs both preNew52 and in the Rebirth era.
Throughout his tenure writing the character Diana went through many changes (multiple retcons) and various challenges (crises galore). The way he weaved both Greek mythology and various versions into one cohesive vision, is no easy task, but Rucka does so in a way that makes sense of Wonder Woman's long and convoluted past..
While it's easy to list off a slew of recommendations when it comes to characters such as Batman or Superman, Wonder Woman doesn't have as many seminal runs/stories. But when someone asks me about a great Wonder Woman comic, Rucka's run is always my first answer.
While only 1 volume of this series has been collected, it made a huge impact and will instantly grab your attention. Once again Rucka, with artist Leandro Feranadez, brings an awesome concept to the world full of interesting characters and themes.
the story of old soldiers who never die…and yet cannot seem to fade away. Trapped in an immortality without explanation, Andromache of Scythia - 'Andy' - and her comrades ply their trade for those who can find-and afford-their services. But in the 21st century, immortality is a hard secret to keep, and when you live long enough, you learn that there are many fates worse than death.
These immortal soldiers have seen all manner of battle, not to mention the changes that have swept over society in general. While the sci-fi/adventure premise is fun and exciting, it's really the relationships between characters that makes this one of Rucka's best works. With the movie coming on Netflix soon, I highly recommend picking up the first volume before watching it, and stay tuned for the next collected volume coming soon.