2. Ms. Marvel (Marvel).
The first five issues of this comic were a masterpiece—the absolute best origin story since Amazing Fantasy #15 (which is the best origin comic of all time). Writer G. Willow Wilson seemed to understand the need to overcome suspicion that the world’s first Muslim female superhero was nothing more than a gimmick, and did so by emphasizing her humanity, her naiveté, and, yes, her culture. Most superhero origin stories are a variation of the “fish out of water” scenario: A nerd who doesn’t fit in suddenly gets the power craved by everyone who was ever bullied, ignored, or had their parents shot. Wilson, though, extends the narrative: Kamala’s parents are the true fish here—devout Muslims in a culture that doesn’t understand their faith and that, in fact, strongly discourages Kamala from practicing. And as for the art: Adrian Alphona, best known for his work on Runaways, is perfect at drawing kids, capturing the awkwardness of adolescence, and at inserting messages into the background that are often hilarious as well as timely (in particular, the messages on cereal boxes about GMOs). This book is smart, touching, crisp, and wholly innovative—it is not something you usually get from the corporate superhero market, and yet it is right at home in the Marvel family. Last Year: N/A
1. Saga (Image).
At this point, there’s probably no reason to even give out the top award anymore. This has been the best comic of the year—maybe even the best of all time—ever since issue #1. Last Year: #1
So that’s my list. What did I leave out? What do you disagree with?
Next: The Biggest Let Downs of 2014.