15. SOUTHERN BASTARDS by Jason Aaron and Jason Latour (Image)
Jason Aaron is doing some of his best, most novelistic writing of his career on this book. And Latour’s art, especially his ruddy, creased faces, perfectly reflect the sense of tired age and a life lived hard and for too long. If you read Aaron’s Men of Wrath and thought it was good, it’s time for you to pick up this book and see what that book (which was good, but not great) could have been.
14. SHAFT by David Walker and Bilquis Evely (Dynamite)
I really thought this would be just another stupid tie-in book, but it turns out: It’s great. It’s everything I love about the Shaft movies and the blacksloitation genre, but without being self-referential or ironic. It feels honest, not stereotypical. And the story itself is great, too—it’s a mystery. It’s not just there to propel forward a character or an idea, the story itself matters. Great stuff.
13. ALEX AND ADA by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn (Image)
Who would have thought that one of the most emotionally moving books of the year would come from the well-worn boy-meets-robogirl trope? Exciting, thought-provoking, and sweet as hell. I don’t think Jonathan Luna has ever made a bad comic.
12. DAREDEVIL by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee (Marvel)
Starting with the first issue of his first volume, Mark Waid has taken Daredevil to places he’s never been before. For one thing, he made him happy. For the first time since the 1980s, someone wrote a Daredevil comic that looked nothing like Frank Miller’s vision. And perhaps what was most remarkable about this distinction was that, simultaneously, the Netflix show borrowed heavily from Miller. Most Marvel comics look increasingly like their Marvel Cinematic Universe counterparts, but not this one.
This book had heart. So much it poured out and touched me as a reader. Most Marvel books don’t make me feel. This one did.
Next: The Final Countdown!