Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Looking back at 2018: my top ten comic series of the year

It's been a strange year as I mostly stopped buying comics by the first of it and have started buying a few more later in the year. But I've found several books that have proven themselves month in and month out as great material. Some of these are limited series, though most are ongoing, but none have planned runs under twelve issues. I overlooked a few limited series (Justice League: No Justice, Batman: Creature of the Night, Bloodstrike: Brutalists) for this reason.

  1. Avengers: Marvel's new team by Jason Aaron, Ed McGuinness and Paco Medina gathers the company's heavy hitters with some unique new blood (Robbie Reyes!) to spark my interest. Aaron, much like another writer on another tentpole series on this list, is really going heavy into universal mythology with this series and gives us an epic opening gambit. It will be interesting to see if he can maintain that level of quality over any length of time. 
  2. Tony Stark: Iron Man: Dan Slott probably should have been off Spider-Man and on Iron Man a few years back. His style seems a natural fit for Tony and his expanded cast of Stark employees has created for an interesting series, even if it doesn't feel as monumental as the other Marvel titles on this list. 
  3. The Silencer: Dan Abnett's post-Metal addition to the DC Universe seems to be the one with the most staying power. Connections to the Morrison-created Leviathan organization and Talia as a cast member probably doesn't hurt its chances. But it's great storytelling with a unique character in an unusual situation that makes the book stand out from the rest.
  4. Scooby-Doo Team-Up: I won't lie and say every issue is a gem, but the DC crossovers in this book may offer the most fun DC Comics in a decade. Sholly Fisch is ready and willing to dig through the DC catalog to make some fascinating tales with obscure characters, perhaps most exemplified by appearances from Swamp Thing and ever DC ape character this year.
  5. Justice League: Scott Snyder's run kicked off well with No Justice, but his ongoing series has cemented a DC Universe far more interesting than it has been since the days of 52. With a top tier art team and an editorial team ready to let him shape the path of the DCU, if DC stays the course they could have an amazing title for years to come. 
  6. Immortal Hulk: The big surprise for me was this one. Joe Bennett isn't an artist I care for often, but he's putting in great work on this new series with writer Al Ewing. The new book takes Hulk on a supernatural bent even as Bruce Banner has to deal with the fact that his changes now come with his repeated death. It's definitely a new take on the character and one that I cannot wait to see where it leads.
  7. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tom Waltz's tale of the four ninja brothers has remained one of the most consistently entertaining comics for several years. While the year seemed a bit mired in the ongoing struggle with Rat King, the series continues to do new and interesting things with the characters and creating a new legacy for them I hope to see continue for years to come. 
  8. Deathstroke: Few books have made it from Rebirth to now without a new writer hopping aboard. Of the few that have, none have remained as consistent as Priest's work on Deathstroke. But perhaps most amazingly, he does it by re-inventing the assassin's life every six months or so. It makes for one of the most unexpected series I thought I would see from DC and proves just how good Priest is as comics writer.
  9. Doomsday Clock: I won't lie. I expected to hate Geoff Johns and Gary Frank's crossover sequel to Watchmen. Instead I've been intrigued for page after page. The book's new additions to the Watchmen Earth drive the series forward, even as it also exposes the dark secrets of the origins of DC's own heroes and villains. It's a compelling read, but I remain curious exactly how it will change the DCU going forward.
  10. Venom: I liked the movie quite a bit. But I loved the new comic. Ryan Stegman is an amazing artist but I never read a Donny Cates book before this series. Now he's a name I check out, because he shows a willingness to think so far outside the box without disrupting the continuity already established. The dark secrets of the symbiotes come out as this series begins, and it only gets more wild from there. Eddie Brock versus a cosmic level threat turns out to be the most brilliant storytelling ploy I never expected. Amazing work by all involved. 

That's my list. If you told me it would be so Marvel-centric I'd probably have laughed at you. But so it goes as both Marvel and DC proved they could still do great comics in 2018.

I'd love to hear your own in the comments! What were the best and brightest series for you in the last year?

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