29. Doom Patrol by Gerard Way and Nick Derington (DC/Young Animal)
I read a comment online about this comic, where the person basically said “I like to understand my comics.” In other words, the Doom Patrol reboot is strange, nonlinear, and seemingly random—just like the Grant Morrison run that inspired it. It’s still fewer than six issues in, so it’s a little hard to judge how good this book is. But I’m pretty sure the answer is that it’s much better than average and may end up being great. I can say one thing with certainty: Nick Derington is an amazing artist.
SPECIAL AWARD: Best Major Publisher Innovation of the Year! DC describes Gerard Way’s “Young Animal” comics as a “pop up” imprint; a place where new creators can create an entire universe, when they have time, and I’m assuming that after about a year or so Young Animal will go away—but hopefully there will be other imprints popping up, with fresh voices and different ways of telling stories. Way’s other comic, Cave Carson’s Cybernetic Eye, is just a couple issues in, but so far, it’s pretty damn good as well.
Kudos as well to DC for waiting to launch Young Animal until it was really ready. Other titles like Mother Panic and Shade the Changing Girl are coming steady, and so far not a single production delay. Marvel, take note.
28. Old Man Logan by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino (Marvel)
During Secret Wars 2, Brian Michael Bendis did a good job at what I thought we be impossible: Reviving one of Mark Millar’s best books. (Incidentally, Bendis later did a terrible job at another Millar revival I knew would be impossible: Civil War.) But the real star of the CW2 spin-off was artist Andrea Sorrentino. This year, Old Man Logan got his own
series with a new writer, Jeff Lemire, who is doing a fine job but, again, the real star is Sorrentino. The art in this book is out of this world—some of the best in the industry.
SPECIAL AWARD: Best Looking Major Comic of the Year!
SPECIAL AWARD: Best Wolverine Comic of the Year!
Runner up: All-New Wolverine by Tom Taylor, art by Marcio Takara and David Lopez (Marvel)
Issue #7 of All-New Wolverine was a team up with Squirrel Girl. Personally, I find all the SG stuff a bit much. It’s too cute, and the humor is getting drowned by the desperation to make this character matter. She was never supposed tomatter. That was the whole point of the Great Lakes Avengers. They were ridiculous and irrelevant. But I have to admit, this was a great issue in a solid superhero series that I never, ever expected to like.
27. How to Talk to Girls at Parties by Neil Gaiman, Fábio Moon & Gabriel Bá (Dark Horse)
In a lovely adaptation of Gaiman’s book, Moon and Ba prove again that they are two of the best storytellers in the industry. How did this book not get more attention?
26. The Fix by N.S. and Steve Lieber (Image)
Nick Spencer writes heist books. With or without superheroes. This year, I can’t say he did his did his greatest work, but The Fix is a fun book, and definitely a good choice for fans of the genre.
25. Southern Bastards by Jason Aaron and Jason Latour (Image)
Another book that took a long break in 2016, which made it hard to keep on loving it. But I do still find it a strong comic, and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next.
24. Brik by Adam Glass, Michael Benson, and Hardwinder Singh (Oni)
The story, written by writers of the TV shows Entourage and Supernatural, is fairly simple—a bullied kid gets revenge by magically conjuring a Golem for protection. But the allegory for the history of Jews as an oppressed people fighting for their homeland is unmistakable. It’s a great way to tell the story of how a struggle for safety can tear a family apart and force people to make choices they otherwise would not have made.
23. Exodus: The Life After by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Gabo (Oni)
I put “The Life After” as #17 on my best of 2015 list. The sequel started out just as good, but an uneven publication schedule has made this complex, multiple-story-line book a little harder to follow. But it’s still so much better than most of the other books around these days. Where else can you see a complex explanation of the meaning of life (above), Ernest Hemmingway talking to God who has taken the form of a potato, angels using closed circuit surveillance, a foul-mouthed little girl with a sword, and touching meditations on faith, like this one:
22. Klaus by Grant Morrison and Dan Mora (BOOM!)
Morrison never fails to be interesting, particularly when he’s retconning, and here he takes perhaps the most beloved fictional figure of all time, Santa Claus, and gives him a true origin story. It’s a grown-up tale, by which I mean it plays with the Santa mythology (see above panel, where he’s compared to Jesus), but there’s nothing here that will scare or upset pre-teens. It’s been optioned for a movie adaptation, and that could be great.
Another win for Grant!
21. Flash by Joshua Williamson and Carmine Di Giandomenico (DC)
If you don’t know how much I am enjoying this comic by now, you just aren’t paying attention. Read up on it here.