The Omega Men by Tom King (2015) The latter half of 2015 could be considered the Tom King period for me. I’ve consistently enjoyed almost everything he’s put out, even the stuff that seems to have a significant fan backlash. This 12 issue series for DC Comics takes the Omega Men concept (aliens united as the result of an oppressive force) and revamped it thirty years after its original conception. The Omega Men fight against The Citadel, an interplanetary corporation that uses the destruction of Krypton as a means to sell their services, stabilizing the cores of worlds. The rare metal needed to fix these planetary cores is only found in planets within the Vega System; thus, the inhabitants of those worlds have been enslaved, and in some circumstances, wiped out by genocide to ensure the resources can be harvested. The Omega Men kidnaps former Green Lantern Kyle Rayner so that they might have a witness to the atrocities done to their people and to see their retribution.
These are the comic books that I enjoyed reading the most that were published in the last decade. You’ll definitely see some recurring authors and characters, signifying my personal bias. I know there are a ton of great books I haven’t read from this period and as time goes on I plan on reading some (look for a huge Image Comics read-through in early 2020). Please let me know of any titles not on my list as I may have not read them and always appreciate recommendations.
Fantastic Four by Jonathan Hickman (2010) Jonathan Hickman came onboard Fantastic Four at the start of the decade with big plans for not just this series but Marvel as well. He adhered to that original Stan Lee/Jack Kirby of exploring the unknown and created an optimistic, diverse possible future. The best thing Hickman gave us, and what has been criminally underused since, is the Future Foundation. The Future Foundation was Reed Richards’ effort to cultivate the next generation of scientists, and it played with reader expectations. Of course, Franklin and Valeria Richards are part of the team, but Hickman also includes some adolescent Moloids, the android Dragon Man, and a clone of Reed’s foil The Wizard. Not only is this a great read, one of the best Fantastic Four runs we’ve ever gotten, but it’s also almost essential reading to understand this last decade of Marvel comics.
Hail Hydra! (2015) Written by Rick Remender Art by Roland Boschi
Avengers: Rage of Ultron (2015) Written by Rick Remender Art by Jerome Opena
The Marvel Universe has collapsed at the hands of Doctor Doom and been reconstructed as Battleworld. This mosaic planet features alternate pasts, presents, and futures. One such region is Manhattan if Hydra and the Nazis had won World War II. Captain America is a symbol of fascism, and Arnim Zola rules over all in his most expansive consciousness to date. The presumed dead Nomad finds himself alive in this bizarre reality thanks to SHIELD’s Infinite Elevator. He’s faced with his duplicate in this world as well as a Steve Rogers who never raised him. Once Secret Wars is resolved, a new Avengers team is formed and find themselves reliving the sins of Hank Pym’s past. Ultron returns from deep space and wants to punish his “father” in profound and horrific ways. The conclusion of this story will change the lives of Pym and Ultron forever.
All-New Captain America: Hydra Ascendant (2015) Written by Rick Remender Art by Stuart Immonen
Uncanny Avengers: Counter-Evolutionary (2015) Written by Rick Remender (with Gerry Duggan) Art by Daniel Acuna
Sam Wilson is Captain America. And he has teamed with the new Nomad to take down a resurgence of Hydra. This involves facing down EVERY rogue in Cap’s gallery, from Batroc to Armadillo to Baron Zemo to Baron Blood. Over the course of this all-out assault, Sam learns of a Hydra conspiracy that has infected every superhero team on Earth. The Uncanny Avengers have reformed, adding Sabretooth, The Vision, and Brother Voodoo to their ranks. Their first mission is to travel to the bizarre Counter-Earth. Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver have gone there to uncover their roots after learning the truth about their parentage during the events of AXIS. The team is fractured and is forced to face the near god-like power of the demented High Evolutionary.
Uncanny Avengers: AXIS Prelude (2015) Written by Rick Remender (with Cullen Bunn) Art by Sanford Greene, Gabriel Hernandez Walta, Javier Fernandez, Salvador Larroca, Daniel Acuna, and Paul Renaud
Avengers – X-Men: AXIS (2015) Written by Rick Remender Art by Adam Kubert, Leinil Francis Yu, Terry Dodson, and Jim Cheung
The Red Skull has been building his internment camps on the ruins of Genosha, once a mutant paradise. He plans to use the power of the deceased Professor X’s brain to turn man and mutantkind against each other. Havok, Scarlet Witch, and Rogue, the last remnants of the fallen Avengers Unity Squad have journeyed across the world to Genosha to stop the villain. Magneto has also made his way to the devastated island to settle his grudge as both a mutant and Holocaust survivor, remembering the Red Skull from the camp where he was a prisoner. The scope of the battle grows until Red Skull unleashes a deeper, darker power within Xavier’s mind and the heroes of Earth gather on Genosha to stop him.
Captain America Volume 4: The Iron Nail (2014) Written by Rick Remender Art by Nic Klein & Pascal Alixe Captain America Volume 5: The Tomorrow Soldier (2015) Written by Rick Remender Art by Carlos Pacheco
The Iron Nail has toppled SHIELD and unleashed the secrets of Weapon Minus. More specifically he’s let loose the trippy Doctor Mindbubble. Steve Rogers must face the allure of a fantasy whipped up by the manipulative villain while learning that SHIELD abused the secret soldier serum for decades. Meanwhile, Jet Black newly arrived in the Marvel Universe is adjusting to life as a superhero, fighting the instincts implanted inside her by Arnim Zola. She is targeted by Red Skull who wants to use her as one of his S-Men (as seen in Uncanny Avengers). Little does everyone know, Zola still preparing to invade from Dimension Z and does just that in the concluding volume of Remender’s Steve Rogers run.
Winter Soldier: The Bitter March (2014) Written by Rick Remender Art by Roland Boschi
Captain America Volume 3: Loose Nuke(2014) Written by Rick Remender Art by Carlos Pacheco
It’s 1966, and the Cold War is at its zenith. Europe has become a labyrinth of spies and counter-spies, agents and double agents. SHIELD Agent Ran Shen has been sent to intercept a pair of former Nazi scientists before the Soviets can get them in their clutches. This means Agent Shen is put up against The Winter Soldier, the presumed dead partner of Captain America Bucky who has been turned into a mindless assassin by the Russians. Hydra becomes involved, acting as the stand-in for Spectre in this James Bond homage. The Hydra killer Drain is dispatched to lead a squad of hitmen to take out Shen and Bucky while bringing the Nazi scientists into their fold.
Captain America Volume 1: Castaway in Dimension Z Book One (2014) Captain America Volume 2: Castaway in Dimension Z Book Two (2014) Written by Rick Remender Art by John Romita, Jr.
Captain America is pulled into a pocket universe where his nemesis Arnim Zola is genetically engineering an army with plans to conquer the Earth. Cap discovers Zola has created two children, Ian and Jet and after a scuffle in the villain’s tower, Cap and Ian end up cast out into the inhospitable wilderness of Dimension. Rick Remender pens a truly epic Captain America tale that spans twelve years and puts the hero in the shoes of being a father. Flashbacks to Steve Rogers’ childhood with an alcoholic father and ailing mother are paralleled with his struggles to adhere to his beliefs in the face of seeming oblivion. He must fight to instill a sense of goodness in young Ian who was being bred as a killer by Zola, trying to prove not only that he can save this young boy but that he can also save himself.
Uncanny Avengers Volume 4: Ragnarok Now Written by Rick Remender Art by Steve McNiven, Salvador Larocca, and Daniel Acuna Uncanny Avengers Volume 5: Avenge the Earth Written by Rick Remender Art by Daniel Acuna
The Apocalypse Twins hold Earth in a massive crisis. They have slaughtered a Celestial using a weapon Thor was tricked into forging centuries earlier. They have resurrected fallen heroes and villains to create their Horsemen of Death. They are holding Scarlet Witch hostage to use in their effort to destroy the Earth and create a new world for mutantkind. Havok, the brother of the mutant terrorist Cyclops, uses his role as team leader to try and redeem the family name as well as stop the impending end of the world. Kang the Conqueror, the man who shaped the Apocalypse Twins into the beings of evil they became, is now a target of their wrath and uses his time travel abilities to visit and recruit various figures from possible futures.
Uncanny Avengers Volume 1: The Red Shadow (2014) Uncanny Avengers Volume 2: The Apocalypse Twins (2014)
Written by Rick Remender (with Gerry Duggan)
Art by John Cassaday, Olivier Coipel, Daniel Acuna, and Adam Kubert
In the devastating wake of Cyclops’ insurrection, the public perception of mutantkind has plummeted. To remedy this a joint group bringing together the Avengers and the X-Men has been formed. This Unity Squad is composed of Captain America, Wolverine, Rogue, Thor, Scarlet Witch, and led by Havok. They are thrown right into the fire when The Red Skull rears his head, having spliced the newly deceased Charles Xavier’s brain tissue with his own. Possessing the mental abilities of Xavier, Red Skull can force the population to descend into violence and brutality to further his supremacist agenda. However, the Skull is only one danger, with something even worse looming on the horizon. The Skull’s actions ripple into the future bringing the arrival of the Apocalypse Twins and the potential end of Earth.