The Ninjabot

The Comic Corner – Ten Best Comics of 2013

Posted on December 30, 2013 at 8:06 pm by Tyler Waterman

2013 was a great year for comics. Whether it was the massive events like Infinity or Zero Year, watching DC attempt the first post-New 52 crossover event or the Marvel NOW movement become a huge success, or the seemingly weekly introduction of incredible new books from Image, there was a lot to love about comics this year.

That being said, even in a year with so much to love, there were several titles that rose about the rest, and both myself and Comic Corner cohost Jeff “The Mighty Jerd” Mueller  would be remiss if we didn’t take some time to rave about them. Of course, in true Comic Corner fashion, we couldn’t agree on which titles deserved to fill our top ten list…

So without further ado, here are the Comic Corner’s Ten Best Comics of 2013. They’re in no particular order, but can only be presented as two lists: the titles we couldn’t agree on, and the books that were so undeniably good that we actually did.

Part 1 – Where Our Lists Agreed

TGOT1coverThor God of Thunder It doesn’t matter what genre you like best, Thor God of Thunder has something for you. Jason Aaron takes the best parts of science fiction and high fantasy and mixes them together into two epic storylines that can hang with any Image title you love. Every page features Thor at his very best, capturing both the hammer-smashing hero as well as the human side of the Thunder God. Esad Ribic brings the Godkiller to life, while Ron Garney brings us fantasy art that makes you wonder why there aren’t many fantasy comics to begin with. If you’re a fan of Thor, this book will feel like a gift; if you aren’t a fan of Thor, by the start of Godbomb you will be. Either way, Thor God of Thunder is a book you should be reading.

 

EoW1coverEast of West Jonathan Hickman got a lot of attention this year for his outstanding work on two Avengers titles, and for spearheading the Infinity event that took over Marvel this summer, but those weren’t his only masterpieces this year. While he was turning the Marvel Universe upside-down, over at Image Hickman’s was quietly combining the Four Horsemen, the Wild West and a bleak near future into the magic that is East of West. A book that is truly unlike anything else, East of West is one of those comics that is so good you re-read all the previous issues each time a new one hits stands. Nick Dragotta’s art is the perfect compliment to the tale, dark and gorgeous and as sweeping in style as the story itself. There’s nothing not to like about this book.

 

SFOSM1coverSuperior Foes of Spider-Man I have no idea why this book exists. That being said, I hope it never goes away. Superior Foes is like the bastard child of Breaking Bad and Eastbound and Down, so stupid it’s brilliant. This candid look at the very bottom of the B-list gets better with every panel, and induces more facepalms than any comic you’ll ever read. Make no mistake; Nick Spencer is making comic magic happen here. Go read this comic, and find out why Boomerang is your favorite villain in the Marvel Universe.

 

Hawkeyecover1Hawkeye If Superior Foes is the book that makes Boomerang your favorite villain, this is the book that makes Hawkeye your favorite hero. Hawkeye is Matt Fraction at his very best: witty, brilliant, hilarious and heartbreaking all at once. This is the book that made an imaginary dog into a pop culture icon without using any words, which is also a testament to the simple yet powerful art coming from David Aja. What has always made Clint Barton interesting was the fact that he’s a regular guy among gods and legends. Go read Hawkeye and find out why regular is anything but.

 

UXM1coverUncanny X-Men While every X-Man’s life was dramatically altered by the events of AvX, none were more affected by the team covered in Uncanny X-Men. A motley crew of fugitive mutant revolutionaries and the new mutants who’ve been caught up with them, this X-team is unlike any that has come before it. Hunted by villains, their government, bigots and other heroes themselves, Cyclops’ team pursues Xavier’s dream more aggressively than we’ve ever seen, but with an Odd Couple charm that makes it even better. When you read an issue of Uncanny X-Men, you can feel the fun Brian Michael Bendis is having writing this book, and Chris Bachalo’s pencils convey the same thing. Start reading Uncanny X-Men and come have as much fun as the rest of us.

 

NA1coverNew Avengers Remember when I mentioned Hickman’s outstanding work on Avengers titles? His Avengers is indeed great, but New Avengers is the stuff of legends. This book is so good, the Wednesdays it releases I tend to save it for last, because any book you read after it can’t help but feel less substantial. The story Hickman tells in New Avengers makes every other conflict seem tiny, because the secret machinations of the Illuminati impact every soul in the Marvel Universe, even though none of them know it’s going on. Hickman weaves the most tangled of webs, and the art from either Mike Deodato or Jock is always the right kind of heavy to match the tone. I love comics because they grow up with us; New Avengers might be the first comic that’s maturing faster than we are.

 

BM1coverBatman – The current run of Batman is nothing short of pure comic book magic. This is one of those rare titles where the stars aligned, the universe sighed, the gods shined down, and all these forces combined to make sure everything came together to make the perfect book. Scott Snyder continues to deliver Batman stories that become instant legends, while Greg Capullo’s incomparable talent and drive gives us a comic where every page is suitable for framing. With this year’s Zero Year event, they’ve been tasked with the perilous mission of reinventing one of the most sacred origin stories, and they’ve done that and more. It doesn’t matter if you consider yourself a fan of Batman or not; come watch comic history being made in the pages of Batman.

Part II – Where Our Lists Differ

Tyler

ANXM1coverAll-New X-Men While Uncanny X-Men is unquestionably the best X-book of 2013, Bendis’ other X-title isn’t far behind it. When All-New X-Men was revealed to be a book following the original X-Men being brought to present day, everyone was scratching their heads as to how that could sustain a long-term series. Fast forward a year, and I can’t imagine the X-universe without this book in it. All-New X-Men often reads like X-Men fan fiction, and I mean that in the best way possible. This is written by an X-fan, for X-fans, with all the fights and drama and kissing you want from your X-books, drawn masterfully by Stuart Immonen. After the events of Battle of the Atom, this book has only gotten better, and is a great jumping on point. That being said, you’ll end up starting at issue #1 no matter where you jump on; this book is too good to not read every issue… and read them often.

 

BMInc8coverBatman Incorporated – I don’t know that I’ve ever gotten more emotionally invested in a comic series than I did in Batman Incorporated. Of course, the death of Damian Wayne, my favorite Robin and probably my favorite Bat-character of all time not named Bruce, played a major part in that. But while that’s a wound that still hasn’t healed, that isn’t the only part of this title that got me right in the feels. More than any other series, Batman Incorporated drove Batman to the very edge, to a point of desperation and rage almost never seen before. This series represented the end of an era, the great payoff to all the loose ends that remained in the Grant Morrison run, and that gravity is felt in every panel. That also has a lot to do with the iconic art style of Chris Burnham, who brings a level of detail that proves he was the perfect artist for this story. This is a book that never stops feeling important; appropriate, because it’s one of the most important comics you’ll ever read.

 

SSM1coverSuperior Spider-Man – Superior Spider-Man is on this list as much for what it represents as it is for how fun it is to read. Long-time comic fans know that the superheroes that are easiest to market are also the heroes least likely to change. Wolverine, Superman, Thor… characters like these are everywhere, which makes it pretty unlikely they’ll be dying anytime soon. However, Spider-Man is very much one of those characters, yet Marvel cut Dan Slott loose and let him rain down destruction on the entire Spider-Man brand. It was a bold move with one of their most popular characters, and as 2012 came to a close, it became one of the biggest comic controversies of the year. Now, a year later, 2013 has become the year Marvel proved the risk was absolutely worth taking. While this will surely come to an end, watching Otto strive to be the Spider-Man Peter could never be has been compelling from start to now. The art duties, primarily spread around Humberto Ramos, Ryan Stegman and Giuseppe Camuncoli, provide what is consistently on of the best looking Spider-books I’ve ever seen. Don’t miss the Superior experiment in action; it’s proof that major comic publishers can still take risks after all.

Jerd

LaK1coverLocke and Key: Omega and Alpha Here is what makes this horror tale from Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez so good; it ends. One of my biggest complaints about “hit” comics is that they stretch things out to ride the gravy train a little longer, but this team had a story to tell and once it was done they shut it down. I respect that immensely. This gruesome tale of gothic horror and family melodrama has consistently managed to deliver emotional gravitas amongst the great scares and as the story built to its dramatic crescendo it just continued to get better and better by the issue. This series was gripping, high-class storytelling at it’s absolute best.

 

WW23coverWonder Woman If you would have told me that Wonder Woman would have been one of the most consistent and impressive books in the New 52 line-up I would have thought you were sniffing glue come reboot time, but here we are two years later and Brian Azzarello and gang have defied the odds. Not only have they managed to avoid all the DC editorial nonsense, they have redefined the character and painted a very rich story of gods and goddesses; it’s almost like the rest of the DCU doesn’t exist and she is just happy being an ultra-badass in her own world. It’s one of the best “big two” comics due to unique and well thought stories, bold art and a sense of individualism in a world where so many comics feel interchangeable.

 

Saga12coverSaga  I could sum this up in one simple phrase and be done with it… “Saga is sci-fi that is f*cking awesome and f*cking real.” Since that would be a cop out though, here’s why. Brian K. Vaughan drives this book with amazing interactions between some the most compelling characters to ever grace the pages of a comic. They not only possess relatable hopes, fears and problems but despite being fantastical creatures in a galaxy of unknowns they are no different than you or I. In between avoiding planetary warfare and the bounties on their heads they also have to change diapers and deal with family drama. It’s crazy how well he balances the fantastic with the mundane! And capturing all of this perfectly is the art of Fiona Staples. Her pseudo-animation style and beautifully-colored backgrounds perfectly capture both the extraordinary and the commonplace like no other. This book is destined to be a classic for the ages.

You can hear more of Jerd and Tyler’s highly researched opinions on comics at The Comic Corner Podcast, which you can like on Facebook and follow on twitter @TheComicCorner. You can also find us on twitter, @BatmanIncVP and @TheMightyJerd, where we love to talk anything comics with folks just like yourself!

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