Seth’s Favorite Comics of 2022

2022 was the year I dropped reading monthlies. After decades of reading them, whether buying them myself, reading my college roommate’s copies, or consuming them digitally, I decided it was time to get off the ride. This happens to all comic fans when they reach a certain age. It comes from frustration with the cyclical nature of superhero books. Most of the best stories for a character have already been told, so everything between now and the next great authorial genius coming along is just spinning wheels.

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Comic Book Review – Batman: Killing Time

Batman: Killing Time (2022)
Reprints Batman: Killing Time #1-6
Written by Tom King
Art by David Marquez

I don’t think this is a controversial opinion, but here goes: The most interesting thing about the Batman mythos is his villains. If you had to compare Batman to another superhero based on everything surrounding the character, Spider-Man is your best bet. Yet, Spider-Man is a character often more interesting than many of his rogues while still having some fascinating baddies in the mix. Batman, on the other hand, is a one-note character for me; of course, it all depends on who is writing. I’m always eager to see what the villains are up to, though, and this mini-series by Tom King focuses mainly on two of them, a pair we don’t see too often: The Riddler and Catwoman.

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Comic Book Review – Catwoman: Lonely City

Catwoman: Lonely City (2022)
Reprints Catwoman: Lonely City #1-4
Written & Illustrated by Cliff Chiang

In 1986, Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns mini-series reconceptualized Batman by telling an out-of-canon story. An aging Bruce Wayne retired from being Batman years earlier, but now Gotham City is falling into a deeper cesspool than ever before. Mutant gangs run rampant, and The Joker has resurfaced. Wayne must become Batman again, this time with Carrie Kelly by his side as Robin. The Dark Knight Returns, while ground-breaking & compelling, is a politically questionable book. Miller has always been reactionary to one degree or another, and TDKR is very much indicative of this mindset to not examine but react with emotion. Miller is a passionate guy, and that fervor has gotten him into much-deserved praise and trouble. He’s apologized, but the man is so entrenched in his mindset that it would be hard to pull him out. But 2022 is not 1986, and the reactionary Death Wish-driven media of that era just doesn’t fly these days (unless you’re a big Daily Wire fan, I suppose). Cliff Chiang is here to tell us another story of a future Gotham, which is far more coherent and sets up a conflict between the criminal and the authority leading us to question if those labels are being accurately applied.

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Comic Book Review – Aquaman by Geoff Johns Omnibus

Aquaman by Geoff Johns Omnibus (2017)
Reprints Aquaman #0-19, 21-25, 23.1, 23.2 & Justice League #15-17
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Ivan Reis and Paul Pelletier

In 2011, DC Comics took a bold move by relaunching its entire comics line under the banner of the New 52. Geoff Johns was already one of the people creatively at the company’s helm, so he could keep his Green Lantern run going pretty much intact. In addition, he was given the prized title of Justice League to revamp and then took it upon himself to also try and reignite enthusiasm over Aquaman. Over the preceding decade or more, Aquaman had been relegated to a joke character. In shows like Family Guy or Adult Swim’s Robot Chicken, if the character was referenced, it would be to state how useless his power set was compared to the more “impressive” heroes in DC’s catalog.

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Comic Book Review – Rogues

Rogues (2022)
Reprints Rogues #1-4
Written by Joshua Williamson
Art by Leomacs

Heist stories are always entertaining. It’s endlessly fun to watch as a group of scoundrels plans out a big theft, implements the plan, and then deals with all the ways things didn’t go as expected. It may appeal to a sense of karmic balance. No matter how much we think we know what we are doing, the randomness of the universe and the actions of other individuals can topple us in a second. The Flash comics have always had an interesting cadre of gimmicky rivals, outmatched only by Batman and Spider-Man. Joshua Williamson, who is no stranger to The Flash, having penned an okay run a few years back, returns sans the Scarlet Speedster in favor of his rogues’ gallery.

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Movie Review – Black Adam

Black Adam (2022)
Written by Adam Sztykiel, Rory Haines, and Sohrab Noshirvani
Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra

Certain pieces of film feel like monumental shifts in the culture, or at the very least, that suddenly reflect horrible truths about the current dominant ideologies. Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will was hailed as a masterpiece in Germany, but it found traction outside the boundaries of that country. The Nazi filmmaker’s propaganda piece was awarded in Paris and Venice and lured many people outside of Germany to see fascism favorably. Movies did not start as overt propaganda, but it’s hard to argue now that the productions released by major American film studios are not produced with some sort of establishment normalizing ideology embedded within them. Be it Nolan’s Patriot Act apologia in The Dark Knight or the military glorification found in Michael Bay’s work and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Americanism as a worldview is ever present in our “entertainment.”

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Comic Book Review – Green Lantern: Rage of the Red Lanterns & Agent Orange

Green Lantern: Rage of the Red Lanterns (2009)
Reprints Green Lantern #26-28, 36-38 & Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns #1
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Mike McKone, Shane Davis, and Ivan Reis

Green Lantern: Agent Orange (2009)
Reprints Green Lantern #39-42 & Blackest Night #0
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Phillip Tan, Eddy Barrows, Ivan Reis, Rafael Albuquerque, and Doug Mahnke

In the wake of The Sinestro Corps War, Geoff Johns was fleshing out the rest of the color spectrum in a build-up to the even more significant Blackest Night event. If you notice the gap in the issues Rage of the Red Lanterns covers, it’s because those issues appeared in Green Lantern: Secret Origin. Going back to that story, you see the importance of Atrocitus and the seeds being planted for Blackest Night. Secret Origin has also done a great job establishing the more complex relationship between Hal Jordan and Sinestro. We get a great scene in Rage, where Hal talks with Sinestro. The villain was captured at the end of The Sinestro Corps War but seems completely confident he’s in no harm. It’s an ideological war between these two, with Sinestro holding a far more complex and nuanced view of the universe and justice than the rather blunt Jordan.

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Comic Book Review – Green Lantern: Wanted-Hal Jordan and The Sinestro Corps War

Green Lantern: Wanted – Hal Jordan (2007)
Reprints Green Lantern #14-20
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Ivan Reis, Oclair Albert, and Daniel Acuna

The Sinestro Corps War (2007)
Reprints Green Lantern #21-25, Green Lantern Corps #14-19, Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps Special
Written by Geoff Johns, Dave Gibbons, and Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Ethan van Sciver, Ivan Reis, Patrick Gleason, Angel Unzueta, Pascal Alixe, Dustin Nguyen, and Jamal Igle

In the wake of Infinite Crisis, all DC mainline titles leaped forward by one year. That gap year was covered in the year-long weekly series 52, which you can read my reviews for. While Johns was one of the chief architects of the whole affair, it’s clear from reading Wanted – Hal Jordan he didn’t necessarily want this for the Green Lantern. In some ways (the Sinestro Corps), it gave time for threats to reasonably build in intensity, but Johns also tells a similar story to Revenge of the Green Lanterns. While that story was about Jordan dealing with the fallout from his actions as Parallax on the Corps, Wanted keeps him on Earth against the Global Guardians and Rocket Red Brigade as he deals with the consequences of violating foreign airspace. 

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Comic Book Review – Green Lantern: Recharge & Revenge of the Green Lanterns

Green Lantern Corps: Recharge (2006)
Reprints Green Lantern Corps: Recharge #1-5
Written by Geoff Johns & Dave Gibbons
Art by Patrick Gleason, Prentis Rollins, and Christian Alamy

Green Lantern: Revenge of the Green Lanterns (2006)
Reprints Green Lantern #7-13
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Carlos Pacheco, Jesus Merino, Ethan van Sciver, Prentis Rollins, Ivan Reis, Mark Campos, Oclair Albert

The Green Lantern revival led by Geoff Johns was a smashing success. Interest in the character was at an all-time high, so all the elements before the mid-1990s were brought back. One of those was the Green Lantern Corps. They’d existed since the first appearance of Hal Jordan, but over the decades, their ranks had been built out tremendously. In the wake of Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Green Lantern title even added Corps to its name and became an ensemble book rather than just focusing on Jordan. It was a no-brainer that the Corps had to return, so it was given its own sister mini-series to Rebirth with the similar title Recharge, a reference to the power rings needing to be charged every 24 hours. 

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Comic Book Review – Green Lantern: Rebirth/Secret Origin/No Fear

Green Lantern: Rebirth (2010)
Reprints Green Lantern: Rebirth #1-6
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Ethan van Sciver

Green Lantern: Secret Origin (2010)
Reprints Green Lantern #29-35
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Ivan Reis

Green Lantern: No Fear (2006)
Reprints Green Lantern #1-6 & Green Lantern Secret Files and Origins 2005
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Darwyn Cooke, Carlos Pacheco, Ethan van Sciver, Simone Bianchi, Jesus Moreno, and Prentis Rollins

Green Lantern was created by Martin Nodell in 1940, debuting in the pages of All-American Comics #16. But that is not who this review will be talking about. That’s because Green Lantern also debuted in the pages of Showcase #22, published in 1959, where he was written by Julius Schwartz. How is that possible, you ask? That’s because of the concept of Legacy, something that is paramount to how DC Comics has differentiated itself from its marvelous competition. That first Green Lantern was a radio announcer named Alan Scott, who wore a red shirt and a green cape, and whose ring had a weakness to any object made of wood. The ring was implied to have mystical origins. In 1959, readers were introduced to Hal Jordan, a hot shot test pilot who finds a dying alien that bequeaths his power ring to the man. Hal learns this alien was a part of the Green Lantern Corps, an intergalactic police force that wields rings that focus their will. The rings can manifest what is in the bearer’s mind until they break concentration. 

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