40. Criminal-Tenth Anniversary Special by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (Image)
I can’t believe they keep turning out such great comics, and I can’t believe it’s been a decade since Criminal #1. Bravo to the best creative team in comics.
39. The Omega Men by Tom King and Barnaby Bagenda (DC)
Cancelled. Because there’s not room for good comics at DC? This would have rated higher if there had been more issues. So sad to see it go.
38. James Bond by Warren Ellis and Jason Masters (Dynamite).
I never thought I’d enjoy reading a comic about Bond, but Dynamite and Ellis did the impossible, and he did it with his usual dark humor.
37. Someone Please Have Sex With Meby Gina Wynbrandt (2dcloud)
An autobiographical (I’m assuming) story of an overweight woman who just really wants to get laid.
36. The Astonishing Ant-Man by Nick and Ramon Rosanas (Marvel).
His work on Ant-Man continued to be solid superheist work, even if this year it wasn’t as fresh or surprising as it used to be.
35. Worst X-Man Ever by Max Bemis and Michael Walsh (Marvel)
Novelty books are usually the worst. They don’t advance storylines, and the jokes are usually g-rated and stupid. Not so with this book, about a kid with the worst superpower ever who tries to join the X-Men. It’s reminiscent of the old self-contained arcs of the 1980s, when comics were something you could buy at a newsstand and get hooked on right away—without needing to have read every issue ever written just to understand basic storylines.
34. American Alien by Max Landis and various artists (DC)
In 2016, we got the final issue of this Superman miniseries by Max Landis (son of one of the greatest film directors of all time, John Landis). The book wasn’t without controversy. Every issue cut a slice of Superman from a different time period, beginning with his childhood and up through his life as an adult hero. A lot of people hated the way he reinterpreted famous events in the history of the world’s first superhero, and with all the DC reboots happening every few years I’m sure it’s not canon, but don’t let the critics scare you away. There’s lots of reasons to like this book, not the least of which is that every issue is drawn by a different (and amazing) artist, like Steve Dillon, Jock, Evan Doc Shaner, and Jae Lee. But it’s also got a great perspective: It’s not so much about the superhero as it is about the man, Clark Kent. There are some great moments with Clark explaining his life as Superman to his childhood friends (includingJimmy Olsen, who comes off great in this book), and a really great issue focusing on Lex Luthor and the source of his hatred of Kent. No, it won’t answer the difficult and annoying questions of DC’s continuity. It’s not an attempt to sew together Superman’s long, scattered, and conflicting histories. It’s just a celebration of the hero, and I loved it.
33. Doctor Fate by Paul Levitz and Sonny Lew/Ibrahim Moustafa (DC)
Yeah, it’s basically DC trying to duplicate Marvel’s success on Ms. Marvel by bringing in an authentically Muslim character, this time to play a dark arts master from the Middle East. The stories were good, but the art. The art! What a wonderful looking book.
32. Batman by Tom King and David Finch/Matt Banning (DC)
Tom King is certainly the best writer to emerge over the past five years, and with art by Finch and variant covers by Tim Sale, this easily should have been the best “rebirthed” comic in DC’s library. But it wasn’t. However, there was enough here to keep me coming back each month, waiting for it finally to become great—and it definitely had some terrific moments. I’m eager to see what they do next year, as King really begins to hit his groove.
31. Civil War II: Kingpin by Matthew Rosenberg and Dalibor Talajic (Marvel)
Funny, wild and crazy, it did the only thing it could do in the face of an underwhelming event that nobody really liked: It basically ignored it, and told its own story. They even brought back lowlife informant and Frank Miller punching bag Turk!
SPECIAL AWARD: Best Event Tie-In!
Runner Up: Captain America is an agent of Hydra! In Steve Rogers: Captain America by Nick Spencer and Jesus Saiz (Marvel)
Captain America is retconned as an agent of Hydra by a little girl who is the essence of the Cosmic Cube. Lots of people hated it, others (like me) totally got what Nick Spencer was doing. Many complained that using the cosmic cube like this was a huge cop out, but it makes total sense: Red Skull did a similar thing in Ed Brubaker’s classic Cap run, too, using the cube to completely change reality. Best thing to come out of a minor Marvel event in years (it was part of the Avengers: Standoff event).
30. Silver Surfer by Dan Slott and Mike Allred (Marvel)
Who would have guessed that the most heart in a Marvel book would come from Surfer—a character who is usually as self-indulgent as Adam Duritz, moping and whining about his lot in life. Instead, Slott and Allred have made this a book that revels and celebrates in Sci Fi tropes and, at bottom, is really about a guy with awesome power who is infatuated by a pretty normal girl-next door.
Yeah, the jokes can be corny (“Norrin Rude!”) but they land. They work. Every time.
Plus, there was issue #11, which did things Marvel Comics rarely do, both in story and in art. Check out the Moebius loop, above.
And the fun wasn’t just on the interior! Check out the cover to issue #4, which pays tribute to one of the most fun issues of Marvel Two-In-One ever!