35. BLOODSHOT REBORN by Jeff Lemire (Valiant)
This was a big year for nostalgia at Marvel, but lots of other folks were doing the “old is new’ thing, too. Bloodshot was one of the more entertaining (albeit less imaginative) heroes of the old Valiant lineup, but the reboot takes the legend squarely on: It’s the tale of a man who used to be violent, who doesn’t want to be the way he was, being inexorably pulled back into his old life for the noblest of reasons. No, it’s not a new story, for sure, but Jeff Lemire (and the various artists he’s worked with) tell it well. In the hands of a lesser writer, this would have been about guns and revenge, but Lemire makes it about gradually becoming whole and accepting ones own character defects. Until the titular assassin embraces his true nature, he is fragmented, ineffective, and lost.
34. THE OMEGA MEN by Tom King and Barnaby Bagenda (DC)
Remember when The Omega Men burst into your New Teen Titans comics, and Marv Wolfman and George Perez made you want to read more based purely on their skill as creators, and not on any kind of truly original concept? Let’s face it, the original team was nothing new: A big brute, a smart and wiry leader, a lizard-like teammate and even a catman named Tigorr. But this reboot of the team is anything but ordinary. It’s a political comic, it makes good use of a Green Lantern (and that’s no easy feat), the art is very different from other DC books, and it’s smart as fuck.
That’s why it’s getting cancelled.
33. HARROW COUNTY by Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook (Dark Horse)
Visually, this was easily the scariest comic of the year. Storywise, it performed the miraculous act of actually making me care about witches. I’m not a fan. But Bunn and Crook’s take on the genre was fascinating—it focused on a witch’s connection to the forest and Earth, and how that has organic ties to sins of the past. I know it sounds a lot like Wytches, which appears below and which was a much better comic overall, but it’s really not. Harrow County has a very specific voice, a very individual one that I’m betting you’ve never heard before.
32. SIEGE by Kieron Gillen and Filipe Andrade (Marvel)
What if Marvel Zombies fought Marvel heroes? The S.W.O.R.D. book—lots of fun, and more of a companion to the main Secret Wars book than just about any other spin-off title. Plus: Best Cyclops in years.
Plus, the best use of Thanos in years—a wonderful character who is sadly becoming overused.
31. CROSSED: DEAD OR ALIVE by Garth Ennis and Daniel Gete (Avatar)
A digital-only comic by the creator of the Crossed franchise. Ennis still gets what makes this franchise work, even while so many Crossed books are puerile crap. It’s the people, and how living in the world of diseased sexual zombies can bring out the worst in our need to survive.
NEXT: Even more books you should be buying in trade for Christmas!