My Top 10 Favorite Comics I Read in 2016
The Vision by Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez-Walta – Without a doubt the best take on The Vision since his creation and arguably one of the best comic runs we’ve ever had. From the first issue to the twelfth the story was tightly plotted and centered around characters. It ended up reading more like a wonderful HBO drama than a traditional superhero comic. Check out my review of the first trade here.
The Ultimates by Al Ewing and Kenneth Rocafort – Taking the name of a superhero team from the erased Ultimate Universe, Ewing develops a whole new take on the Avengers with a team tackling cosmic, multi-dimensional problems. The first arc leaves us with a completely reinvigorated concept of the formerly tired villain Galactus. From there it ramps things up and it becomes apparent we can’t quite predict where the series will go. Check out my review of the first trade here.
Secret Wars #9 – A comic that was supposed to come out in 2015 and was delayed for months. While Secret Wars as a whole never truly lived up to the crazy potential it had this conclusion was a perfect final note from Jonathan Hickman. I’d followed him from Secret Warriors to Fantastic Four to Avengers and this brought together all the huge ideas he’d played with along the way. It also serves as a great ending to the story of the Fantastic Four, so good I really hope they don’t try to reboot them…but they will.
Omega Men by Tom King and Various Artists – When this series first came out I completely passed it by. But after discovering Tom King through The Vision I revisited it as a whole. Omega Men is a sympathetic story about alien terrorists. The series uses the former Green Lantern Kyle Rayner as the central figure trying to balance his personal sense of morality with the tactics of his captors/comrades. It has a definitive ending that leaves a lot for the reader to contemplate. Read my review of the first trade here.
The Flintstones by Mark Russell and Steve Pugh – The first of two comics I never expected to have on my favorites list. The Flintstones was just one of DC Comics’ radical reinventions of Hanna-Barbara cartoon properties. This was definitely the stand out by figuring out how to be silly yet still make commentary about contemporary society and politics. Issues focused on gay marriage, political elections, and PTSD all being respectful yet fun to read.
Superman: American Alien by Max Landis and Various Artists – Growing up I loved Superman but as I got older I struggled to maintain that love. Max Landis feels the same way as I do and wrote this not necessarily canon take on the early years of Superman’s life. The mini-series provided some fresh, interesting takes on the Man of Steel but frustratingly it won’t be acknowledged outside this title.
Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda – From the first pages, this is a fully realized world and it’s up to the reader to decipher what is going. The artwork adds to the baroque complexity of the war between humans and demons. The cast is almost entirely female and the violence is brutal. It definitely reads like a first chapter and I’m excited to find out what happens next. Read my review of the first trade here.
Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang – Brian K. Vaughan is just one of those writers that can’t disappoint me. He can take an unlikely premise: four paper girls in 1988 hanging out the morning after Halloween and turn it into an epic time and dimension-spanning tale. And even within this crazy story, there are honest, deep human moments confronting mortality and growing up. Read my review of the first trade here.
Archie by Mark Waid, Fiona Staples, and Others – Even more unexpected than The Flintstones is that Archie was one of my favorite comics of the year. Since Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa took over at the company he has refreshed these formerly bland concepts. Not just the Archie title, there is Jughead, Betty & Veronica, Sabrina, Josie and the Pussycats, Reggie and Me, and the zombie title Afterlife with Archie. All with excellent creative teams and engaging stories.
DC Rebirth by Various Writers and Artists – Since the 2011 New 52 reboot my patience with DC Comics had me waning. While Rebirth has not totally sold me on DC Comics again (Bryan Hitch’s run on Justice League could not be duller IMO). However, the current creative teams on Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, and Green Lanterns are good enough to keep me reading with glee every month.