So in addition to all the great graphic novels I read this year, I also read a huge amount of individual comics, buying more this year than I ever have before (I mostly blame DC Rebirth—it got me excited about comics again (not that I ever dropped off completely, but there was a point I was only buying a couple a month or so), to the point where I wanted to buy 90% of DC’s titles, not to mention all of the amazing Indie comics that have come out this year). And so many of the ones I bought were amazing, but, I did finally narrow it down to an extent that I’m fairly happy with.
Caveat: Things mentioned here are what weren’t mentioned in my Top Graphic Novels (and vice versa), even if they were limited series that finished, just because I have so many I wanted to feature.
Top Ten Comics of 2016
- DC Universe Rebirth #1, by Geoff Johns and Others. This probably wasn’t the actual “best” comic that came out this year, but it was by far my favorite and the most meaningful to me. Geoff Johns managed to do so much with just this issue, nearly completely fixing the DC Universe and allowing so, so many amazing series come out of it. I wrote a long review here, as well as another long post about why I was excited about it, but to put it simply, I loved it. It completely overhauled the DC Universe for the better (which I hope Johns can do for the film universe, too), hit a huge emotional cord, and just delivered so much more than I was even expecting—and I had incredibly high expectations. So you know what, I take it back—I think this was the greatest comic of the year, because of everything it had to do and everything it did.
- A.D. After Death, by Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire. I’ve actually only read the first issue so far (though I have the second), but I really, really enjoyed it. I loved the more “illustrated prose” format, which I thought went extremely well with Lemire’s art. I’m not completely sure yet if I’m a fan of his art in general, because this was my introduction to it, but it was fantastic here (I’m just not sure it’d fit in a more classically-formatted comic) and really just lifted the prose. Which, I’ve always been a fan of Snyder’s writing, but I think he really shines in this half-prose, half-comic way of writing (I’m also a huge fan of his book of short stories, Voodoo Heart). I can’t wait to read books 2 and 3, and I hope Snyder (and others) use this format more.
- Wonder Woman, by Greg Rucka and Liam Sharp, Nicola Scott. This is definitely my favorite Rebirth series so far. I think Rucka perfectly controls the twice-monthly format by working with two artists and telling two stories (Wonder Woman “Year One” and an arc set in her current continuity, “The Lies”). Both artists are absolutely fantastic, and I’ve been enjoying both series. I think I’d have to say I like The Lies slightly better, if only because there have been origin stories for WW before (though I still enjoy this one). Both, however, work extremely well, and I’m really excited to see what Rucka and the artists do in the future.
- All-Star Batman, by Scott Snyder and John Romita Jr. Not surprisingly, Snyder’s other comic this year makes the list, and this time, he’s back to Batman. I’ve never been a fan of Romita’s art, but I thought he did a fantastic job here. There was something that just really worked here, and I loved the story and the idea of the story in general. I’m also really excited that each arc will feature a new artist, and can’t wait to see what Snyder & Co. come up with.
- Superman: American Alien, by Max Landis and Others. Somewhat similar to Rucka with Wonder Woman (in that different stories get different artists), I love Landis’ choice to have each issue illustrated by a different artist, as each takes place at a different point in Clark’s life. Sure, this makes you like some more than others, but the writing really held it all together as Landis expertly controlled each moment of Clark’s life. Jock’s issue was my favorite, but he’s also one of my all-time favorite artists, so take that for what you will. Every single issue was fantastic, though.
- Green Valley, by Max Landis and Giuseppe Camuncoli. It’s only a few issues in, and that’s the only reason it’s below Landis’ other series. After reading American Alien I knew I was a fan of Landis’ writing, and Green Valley hasn’t disappointed so far.
- Batman, by Tom King, David Finch, and Mikel Janin. King is just exploding in the world of comics right now. Somewhat of Snyder’s protégé, I’m definitely glad he was the one that picked up the mantle. The first storyline was really good though not amazing, but with the succeeding issues there were some utterly amazing stories, and I’m incredibly excited to see where it goes from here.
- Black Widow, by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee. This is such a beautiful book, and I love how it heavily leans toward visual storytelling over dialogue/text boxes. I feel like this could easily go poorly, but Samnee does an incredibly amazing job, creating a comic that’s just such a joy to read. And the dialogue, when it is there, is completely on point. Definitely one of the best comics of the year, and should be higher (it’s only my bias towards Batman/Wonder Woman/Fantasy/Scott Snyder that I had to put some of those above).
- Reborn, by Mark Millar and Greg Capullo. This is just starting out but I loved the first two issues. Capullo is one of my favorite artists, and seeing him go wild in this fantasy setting is so, so amazing. The story isn’t quite up to what I expected yet, but hopefully it’ll get there. The main character is interesting, too, which helps elevates the story.
- Detective Comics, by James Tynion IV and Eddy Barrows. Another of Snyder’s protégés, and I wasn’t completely on board with this choice at first. I haven’t really liked Tynion’s writing, as it always seemed like he was trying to emulate Snyder but couldn’t reach his level. After reading the first issue, though, I had no need to worry—Tynion is fantastic, and expertly handles Batman (and the whole cast of characters—definitely one of the best-written ensemble casts) having full reign of the material.
Honorable Mentions: The Black Monday Murders, Monstress, I Hate Fairyland, Action Comics, Superman, Hal Jordan & the Green Lantern Corps, The Flash, Red Hood and the Outlaws, Green Lanterns, and Green Arrow. Like I said, I’ve enjoyed most of the DC Rebirth Comics, and the ones here are just some of my favorites (the only one that’s disappointed me so far that I’ve read is Aquaman).