2016 is almost over, and like me, you might have some plans for the last couple of weeks of the year. So this is as good a time as any to start my Best of 2016 lists. First up is my list of best comic books.
In many ways, 2016 has been a remarkable year for the comic book industry: DC relaunched their entire universe (again); in a money grab, Marvel went through another Civil War; and circulation at comics stores has continued to rise, and after taking a long break from buying new comics, I went back to collecting multiple series. I even liked a comic by Brian Michael Bendis!
This was a remarkable year in comics indeed. But let’s get to the point of this post, shall we? Below are the ten series I considered the best comics of the year. These are series that launched in 2016 and ones I have read at least three issues of. and here they are:
10. Suicide Squad
When I heard that Jim Lee was drawing the new Suicide Squad book, I had to get it. I just had to see him draw another team book. I knew Jim Lee would deliver the goods, what I wasn’t expecting was that the story would also deliver.
This series stars, Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, Katana and Killer Croc. Criminals sent on the most dangerous missions possible by a government that doesn’t care if they live or die. This book is funny, action packed, and features the strangest romance in comics.
Whether you liked the movie or not, this Suicide Squad book is worth checking out.
In Alters, writer Paul Jenkins and artist Leila Leiz introduce us to a world where a war between heroes and villains is being fought to a stalemate, with humanity becoming the collateral damage part of the equation…The heroes know they are losing the war. And in the middle of this world-changing conflict, a new threat seems to be emerging: the Alters.
They are mutants, possibly – or perhaps they are some kind of ultimate end to our genetic road map. Whatever the case, Alters seem to be emerging all around the country… and they are met with fear, distrust, and prejudice. They manifest new, dangerous powers that emerge without warning.
Alters stars the first-ever superhero with a central transgender protagonist calling herself Chalice. This book surprised the hell out of me by how good it is. And regardless of where you stand on the issue, there is no denying that Atlers is a groundbreaking comic book and in my opinion, one of the best of the year.
8. Paper Girls
Oka,y to technically Paper Girls came out in late 2015. But I read the first trade this year, so I’m still counting this series as one of the best of 2016.
Anywho, if you liked Stranger Things on Netflix, then give Brian K. Vaughn and Cliff Chiang’s Paper Girls a try. This series has all the drama of the 1980s, mixed with time travel. The story is one of the best coming of age tales in years, and the art is the best stuff Chiang has done yet.
Mooncop by British cartoonist Tom Gauld, was recommended to me by my comic store guy. The graphic novel sounded interesting, and I liked the cover, so I decided to give it a chance.
Here, Gauld tells the story of a lunar donut lover who can’t get transferred off the moon. The story starts a little slow, but it’s filled with wit and it even had a bit of nostalgia for the golden age of space exploration.
6. Rough Riders
Led by a young Theodore Roosevelt, a motley crew of soon-to-be American legends must work together to solve a mystery that threatens life itself. Harry Houdini — street magician and master of misdirection. Annie Oakley — a washed-up entertainer, eager for a chance to prove herself in a real war. Jack Johnson — an undefeated brawler and the son of ex-slaves, determined to get his shot at the heavyweight championship…When a terrifying alien technology destroys the USS Maine, these unlikely allies set sail for bloody Cuba, into the heart of a brewing conflict, to wage a shadow war against the greatest threat mankind has ever known. Before they were famous, they were…ROUGH RIDERS.
Come on, what’s not to love about this book? It has something for history fans, for sci-fi fans, and something for fans of just plain good comics!
5. All Star Batman
All Star Batman finds the caped crusader outside of Gotham City, on a road trip of sorts with his nemesis Two-Face. Once again, Scott Snyder proves that he is one of the best Batman writers ever with one of the craziest Batman stories you’ll ever read. Meanwhile John Romita Jr is doing his best work in at least fifteen years.
4. Doom Patrol
If you enjoyed Grant Morrison’s run on Doom Patrol, you must give Gerard Way’s new Doom Patrol series a chance. Every issue of this book has been good, but Doom Patrol #3 was when it became clear that Way’s take on the team was going to be something special.
In issue #3, Way (with an assist from Flex Mentallo) introduces us to “Danny World”, which acts as a reintroduction to Danny the Street, and an origin story for our lead character paramedic, Casey Brinke.
This issue also allows Nick Derrington to unleash his art. Derrington crafts Danny World as a vibrant Disney-esque theme park, packed to the gills with details and easter eggs that you’ll go over, and over again to take it all in.
I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: Animosity #1 started like any other comic book, but by page two my jaw was on floor. I had absolutely no idea what was going on, but I also couldn’t put the issue down.
The main idea of this series is that something called The Wake has occurred arounf the globe, and this has given all animals the ability to think and talk. And many of them don’t care too much about humans.
Aftershock Comics may be the best publisher today, and anything by them is worth checking out. However, make sure Animosity by writer Marguerite Bennett and artist Rafael de Latorre makes your list.
Where do you go when you die?
Maybe it’s not heaven or hell, maybe it’s somewhere else. Somewhere where you’re only choice is to fight for survival. Somewhere, where the people from your past are waiting for you-the good and the bad.
Reborn by Mark Millar and Greg Capullo is a rollercoaster ride with lots of action, plenty of twists, and character that may or may not be what they seem. This book is a bit “Dungeons and Dragons” meets ”Lord of the Rings,” but at the heart of all of it is a character named Bonnie, who is just as confused as we are. Se reacts the way most of us would probably react, and she asks the questions I know for sure I would ask.
1. Wonder Woman
The current saga being told in Wonder Woman by writer Greg Rucka and artist Nicola Scott is an origin story. In “Year One,” fans got to see how Diana of Themyscira, daughter of Queen Hippolyta gained the powers that helped her become the superhero known as Wonder Woman. The story also follows Diana’s first encounter with Steve Trevor and what happened afterwards.
Meanwhile alternating issues tell the story of “The Lies,” as Diana seeks to find Themyscira, so she can get answers from her mother about her origin. Here, Greg Rucka teams up with artist Liam Sharp to honor and protect Wonder Woman’s past, while also building towards the future.
Two very different stories at the same time by two different artists should not work. But Rick, Scott, and Sharp have delivered a modern-day masterpiece. This is by far, the best Wonder Woman saga I have read.