CBR's Comic Book TV Show Reading List: "Flash," "Jessica Jones," "Arrow" and More

'Tis the season for cliffhangers! The past few weeks have seen a number of comic-based TV shows say goodbye to 2015 with surprises, reveals and even a few deaths. That's what happens when winter finale season rolls around, and it makes the already long wait for their 2016 premieres feel even longer. But if you're still hyped up on adrenaline from all the midseason finales you just watched and need somewhere to shift your energy, then you're in luck!

Since comic book shows are based on, you know, comics, there's always source material to go back to when your favorite show goes on hiatus. In the case of the shows based on superhero franchises, there is sometimes decades of material to go through. We know wading through all that continuity to find the most pertinent picks can be daunting, especially when dealing with long-running characters like Daredevil and the Flash, so the CBR News Team has compiled a reading list packed with recommendations inspired by this television season.


If you've got a post-"Jessica Jones" hangover, look no further than Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos' "Alias" for a cure. The series -- Marvel's first mature readers title! -- has been collected into five separate trades and is now being reprinted with sweet new covers by David Mack. The story follows Jessica Jones, a short-lived superhero with connections to the Avengers who decided to become a private investigator after she suffered a trauma. Along with some occasional help from her friend Carol Danvers (yes, Captain Marvel), Jess kicks and punches her way through government coups, goes toe-to-toe with the Daily Bugle's J. Jonah Jameson and confronts the man who sent her on this path in the first place: Zebediah Killgrave. With naturalistic dialogue, a complex protagonist, a fun supporting cast and some fascinating mysteries, "Alias" will undoubtedly soothe your itch for more Jessica Jones. But take note: the series is very adult, with copious profanity and sex, so just don't buy it for your kids this holiday.

If "Alias" simply isn't enough for you, Jess also features into Bendis' "The Pulse," which boasts artwork from Gaydos, Mark Bagley, Brent Anderson and Michael Lark. As a standard Marvel series, it doesn't have quite the same bite as her initial MAX run, but it brings her personal arc to a nice close.


Fans of AMC's "The Walking Dead," even those who have never read the comics, know that Negan's arrival in the second half of Season 6 means nothing good for Rick, Michonne, Glenn and the rest of the residents of Alexandria. And with the comic's most feared villain about to arrive on television in 2016, this is the perfect time to familiarize yourself -- or re-familiarize, as the case may be -- with Vol. 17 of the paperbacks and Vol. 9 of the hardcovers. Featuring Negan's debut, the ever-present danger of the walkers takes a bit of a back-seat to the horrors the living inflict upon each other. That might seem odd for a zombie show/comic, but the result is the best story arc of the series to date, and the most shocking moment of the series, period.


DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns is one of the executive producers on "The Flash," and he also happened to write that series for many years starting in the early aughts. DC Comics has made it easy for fans of the the CW series to catch up on Johns' "Flash" comic book work with the newly released "The Flash By Geoff Johns Book One" collected edition, which includes issues #164-#176 of his run that started in 2000 (along with a few related stories), with art by Scott Kolins, Angel Unzueta, Ethan Van Sciver and more. If you're looking for the debut of Zoom -- the scary speedster plaguing two different Earths in "Flash" Season 2 -- you'll have to skip ahead to later in the Johns-written run; "The Flash" #197 and the start of the "Blitz" story arc -- the individual issues are available on comiXology, but the collected edition featuring this story, Book Two, won't be in stores until May 24, 2016.


As the popularity of "Arrow" grew, more elements of the TV series have been incorporated into DC Comics history. John Diggle, who was created for the television series, was introduced into comic book lore with a brief appearance in "Green Arrow" #24, before playing a role in "The Outsiders War" arc, which can be found in the "Green Arrow Vol. 5: The Outsiders War" collection and is part of writer Andrew Kreisberg and Ben Sokolowski, one of the show's writers. Their work can be found in "Green Arrow Vol. 7: The Kingdom," which is illustrated by artists including Daniel Sampere and Jonathan Glapion, and features what's effectively the comic book debut of Felicity Smoak (there's a character with the same name from prior DC Comics, but with little resemblance to the "Arrow" fan favorite).


After revealing Daisy Johnson's true identity, "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." has spent a lot of Season 3 transforming the hacktivist formerly known as Skye into the Inhuman superhero known to comics readers as Quake. The winter finale even gave viewers a glimpse of something the show's been teasing since before the season three premiere -- the Secret Warriors. You can check out Jonathan Hickman's epic "Secret Warriors" series, which features Daisy Johnson in the lead, in a new "Secret Warriors: Complete Collection" that reprints the intricately plotted thriller in affordable volumes. And if you know you're going to miss seeing Coulson, May, Fitz and Simmons on the small screen, then you could visit them on the printed page in "S.H.I.E.L.D.," the Marvel series from Mark Waid that introduced elements from the TV show into Marvel's comic universe.


Seeing as how there's already a teaser out there, odds are "Daredevil's" second season will debut sometime in the spring. A full-blown trailer could arrive in early 2016, possibly bringing with it more in-depth looks at Jon Bernthal's Punisher and Elodie Yung's Elektra. Those two new cast members are major additions to Netflix's corner of the Marvel Universe, as both of them are A-list headlining characters in their own right. Fortunately for "Daredevil" fans, both the skull-wearing vigilante and the crimson assassin played a major role in Frank Miller and Klaus Janson's landmark run on the series. You can pick up "Daredevil by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson: Volume 1," which collects Elektra Natchios' re-introduction into Matt Murdock's life as a sai-wielding threat, and the following "Volume 2" pits Daredevil against the Punisher as the Man Without Fear's relationship with Elektra takes a turn for the deadly.

Check back with CBR next week for even more recommendations in Part 2!

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