5. DEADPOOL’S SECRET SECRET WARS by Cullen Bunn and Mateo Lolli (Marvel)
A history lesson, courtesy of Wade Wilson! The true story of the original 1985 Secret Wars, told for the first time: Deadpool was there! Much funnier than it should have been, and some of the back-up features were even better than the main event. The thing this book did best was show than Jonathan Hickman’s Secret Wars wasn’t really all that different from the original, except in Hickman’s Dr. Doom wins. Cullen Bunn has been racking up an impressive number of quality Deadpool miniseries, while all the while the main Deadpool book continues to suck.
If I gave an award for funniest book of the year, this would definitely be in the running.
4. REBELS by Brian Wood and Andrea Mutti (Dark Horse)
I seem to be the only one singing the praises of this work of historical fiction about Ethan Allen’s Green Mountain Boys’ role during the American Revolution, but I won’t stop doing it. I’ll be the one voice. I’ll be the rebel. I’ll insist this is a darn good comic books. It looks at the legends of the Mountain Boys, and other heroes of the time, and makes them human.
3. Tet by Paul Tucker and Paul Allor (IDW).
The opening shot in IDW’s attempt to establish a creator-owned imprint, “Comics Experience,” is tremendously good. It’s a murder mystery set during the Vietnam War that feels as tough and vivid as Apocalypse Now. I loved this comic, and went into it with extreme skepticism because, as the book itself says, war comics are usually pretty boring.
2. PAPER GIRLS by Brian K. Vaughn and Cliff Chiang (Image)
With the writer of Saga and the artist of Wonder Woman (the good reboot from 2012, not the David Finch reboot from this year), it was pretty clear this would be good. It’s about being a kid and having aliens invade your neighborhood—but as far as I know, all the previous tales like this have been about boys. It’s steeped in late-1980s references, so it’s perfect for old codgers like me who remember movies like ET with great fondness—hence, it’s place on my “period comics” list. It’s also very conscious that it is taking place in the past; hence, in the sequence above, the parent speaks of the old days…And wants to kill herself. This isn’t a book about how it was better before you were born, it’s a book that takes head-on the Steven Spielberg myths of 1980s childhood.
1. CAPTAIN AMERICA WHITE by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale (Marvel)
We’ve been waiting almost a decade for the first issue of this series (#0 was published as a preview in 2008), and it turns out…It was worth it. Loeb and Sale’s “color” series is a flawless collection of books that look at seminal, formative events in the lives of your favorite heroes. Hulk Gray revisited his origin, Spider Man Blue looked at Gwen Stacy’s death, and Captain America White focuses a lot on the hero’s early relationship with Bucky during World War II. Simply extraordinary.