THE BEST COMIC BOOKS OF 2018

30.  Old Man Logan by Ed Brisson and Ibraim Roberson/Old Man Hawkeye by Ethan Sacks and Marco Checchetto (Marvel) 

Yes, it’s crap comics.  Junk food.  Popcorn.  But in a year where everything was serious and heavy, having a couple books dig heavily into the Mark Millar world of Old Man Logan was quite needed.

29.  X-Men: Grand Design by Ed Piskor (Marvel)

The creator of the seminal comic book history title, “Hip Hop Family Tree,” took on the entire, long history of Marvel’s mutants.  It’s heavy on detail, and it’s really best for heavy X-fans.

28. Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang (Image)

The book is showing its wear a bit, but it’s still very good.  After all, with creators like Vaughan and Chiang it’s almost impossible for it to suck.

27. Cemetery Beach by Warren Ellis and Jason Howard (Image)

A lone soldier ventures into an alternate Earth to gain intelligence and resources from a group of humans from his own Earth, who colonized it decades before. It’s basically just a long chase, but it’s fun.

26. The Wild Storm: Michael Cray, and WildStorm by Warren Ellis, Bryan Hill, Dexter Vines (DC)

I know a lot of us were looking forward to Warren Ellis reviving WildStorm, but his own book has been a very, very slow burn. It’s good, it just haven’t moved at the pace I expected. Michael Cray, on the other hand, is a rollercoaster. Whether it’s Aquaman as a violent force of nature, Flash as a speed freak, or Wonder Woman as a corporate Goddess, this book has been an exercise in constant reinvention.

Rather than meld WildStorm into the DCU, this book flips it: DCU heroes are the villains, terrible, misshapen representations of familiar characters, and are taken down, one by one, by Michael Cray, whose job is to protect us all from them. A wonderful way to defy expectations. A great comic. I keep waiting for more WildStorm books to come out, but none arrive. In the meantime, these fit the bill.

25. The Dead Hand by Kyle Higgins and Stephen Mooney (Image)

A secret Russian village, hidden away in the mountains, that used to give birth to superspies, now houses a child-like AI with the ability to launch a devastating nuclear attack. It’s a more paranoid, post-cold-war version of Wargames.

Terrific.

24.  The Earth One Books: Wonder Woman by Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette, Green Lantern by Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman (DC)

I did really enjoy this book, but I did expect a little more from Grant Morrison.  I think, in fact, my expectations were simply too high.  This was, after all, a very good story.

But liking the Green Lantern book was completely unexpected for me.  This has been a good year for the character–and he needed one.  He really hasn’t been good since Geoff Johns rebirthed him a decade ago.

23. Infamous and Invincible Iron Man by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev, Stefano Caselli, (Marvel)

Brian Michael Bendis did a lot for Marvel.  He created Ultimate Spider-Man, and wrote it for the entire life of the character.  Then he created Miles Morales.  He rebooted The Avengers at a time when the franchise was running on fumes, and it made it possible for Marvel to publish more monthly A-books than X-books.  He created Jessica Jones.  So who would have thought his last Marvel comic would have been the best thing he wrote for them in years?

Issue #600—Bendis’ goodbye to the characters he created and twisted throughout his run, including a new, young black female Iron Man and a version of Dr. Doom out to do good—was phenomenal.  He brought back James Rhodes, who had been (stupidly and unnecessarily) killed just to make a Marvel event feel like it “mattered.”  After having introduced Tony Stark’s biological mother, he introduced his biological father as a Hydra agent.  He brought back Leonardo da Vinci, last seen as a SHIELD founder in Jonathan Hickman’s mind-bending SHIELD series.  And he also turned Tony into the Sorceror Supreme—at some future date, perhaps soon perhaps not.  And in so doing, resurrected and re-powered the X-Man Tempus, who last appeared in a 2014 X-Men annual where it seemed her story ended with her de-powered and lost in time.

It was a marvelously generous way to conclude a series and leave a publisher.  Dan Slott will be taking over writing Iron Man, which is ironic (no pun intended—get it, “iron”-ic?) given that Bendis borrowed from Slott the concept of Dr. Doom as “Infamous Iron Man” after Slott’s controversial and unexpectedly fantastic experiment with Doc Ock being Spider-Man.  We can only hope Slott is up to the challenge!

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22. Shanghai Red by Christopher Sebela and Joshua Hixson (Image)

A woman is kidnapped to work on a ship in the 1800s, as so many people were, only she “becomes” a man and, in that role, exacts revenge on her attackers. It’s a simple story that begs for a film adaptation, but it’s well-told, well-drawn, and well-crafted.

21. Bloodshot: Salvation by Jeff Lemire and Various Artists (Valiant)

Lemire has been writing the adventures of Bloodshot for Valiant Entertainment for several years now–and it’s still good comics!  This year, the character zipped through time to save his son.

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