Since switching to digital comics, I've been more ambitious in trying out new titles. If somebody even hints that they've discovered a great new comic, I'm all over it.
That being said, my list has a lot of the same titles as last year because I'm still digging the same stuff the most.
THE TWELVE BEST...
Matt Fraction and David Aja continue to crank out brilliant issue after brilliant issue of my favorite comic book. Not only do the stories and art continue to be compelling in a way that other comics can only dream of obtaining, there were some genuine surprises along the way that kept me interested. Truly super-heroics at their best.
Just when you think that Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have peaked with their Batman run... the blow past your expectations. Endgame is shaping up to be even more amazing than Court of Owls and Zero Year, and I couldn't be more thrilled that my favorite super-hero is in such great hands. All the reasons I love Batman so much are right here.
#3 Black Science.
I alternatively love everything about this book... and am frustrated for all the things the book is not... but still enjoy it enough to have the title jump to No. 3 on my list. If you're looking for high adventure in the darkest reaches of the universe on bizarre alien worlds, then Black Science is what you've been waiting for. I was hooked with issue No. 1, then completely obsessed by issue No. 5. My enthusiasm has wavered a bit after that, but we're at issue No. 11 now, and I'm as big a fan as ever. Worth your valuable time to check out.
#4 Sex Criminals.
I would have bypassed this book without even looking at it if it weren't for the fact that Matt Fraction (writer of Hawkeye, may favorite book two years running) was behind it. So funny. So wrong. So worth picking up.
#5 Ms. Marvel.
This comic was solicited thusly: "Kamala Khan is just an ordinary girl from Jersey City—until she is suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the all-new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm, and prepare for an epic tale that will be remembered by generations to come." Needless to say, I was completely indifferent, as it seemed an obvious attempt at creating something new from something old in the most contrived, forced way possible ("I know! Let's make her a teenage Muslim!"). That never goes well. Right? Well, in this case it not only went very, very well... it quickly became one of the best books on the shelf month after month. A fantastic comic in most every way, It would not surprise me if Ms. Marvel climbs even higher on my list next year (fingers crossed).
#6 The Multiversity.
DC Comics ended up with a comic book universe that was such a huge mess they unleashed Crisis on Infinite Earths to gut everything and make sense of it all. After streamlining everything to a single, coherent universe, they've subsequently devoted a lot of time to screwing it up with needless complexity all over again. Sometimes for the better... most times for the worst. One of the better moments was Grant Morrison's series of one-shot comics that started this year, collectively known as The Multiversity. Here we're meeting comic characters of alternate earths who only exist to the other earths as comic book stories (Holy Flash of Two Worlds, Batman!). In lesser hands, this concept could have floundered badly, but Morrison has given us 52 parallel universes worth exploring, and it's been a joy to read. I can't wait for the finale come April.
#7 Moon Knight.
Warren Ellis took a character I've enjoyed for decades and revitalized him for modern comic book audiences in a way that made me love the character all over again. And, for the first half-dozen issues, it was vying for my favorite comic book month after month. Alas, Ellis left after six issues, and the book (while still pretty darn good) never recovered for me. Still, it's gritty, delicious fun... and as close as Marvel's got to Batman in their corner of the comic book world.
#8 Adventure Time.
I expected that my rabid love of the cartoon show would damn the comic book version to the trash pile, but that's absolutely not the case. If anything, the comic book just makes me love the cartoon even more, and that's about as high praise as I can offer. If you are even a small fan of the TV show, here's the book for you.
The fact that this title has dropped two spots from 2013 is no reflection on the quality of the book... only that there was a lot of good material released this year. Because, I'm here to tell you, the past couple issues (No. 44 in particular), John Layman and Rob Guillory have churned out some of the best issues in the history of the book. Cibopath Tony Chu is having adventures even more bizarre and surreal than ever, and if you're not reading this book (and have the stomach for it) you need to get onboard.
#10 Wonder Woman.
This book has ranked very high on my list since it first debuted, and it was all thanks to the imaginative new take on an old standard by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang. They put a heavy mythological slant on Princess Diana that I never liked as well as George Pérez's take, but it all worked well. Very well. Until Azzarello and Chiang's run came to an end this year... not with a bang, but with a "meh." And then they bailed on the title. Leaving us with newcomer writer Meredith Finch, who seems determined to drag the title back to disjointed mediocrity after only two issues. Something tells me that Wonder Woman isn't going to make my list next year, and nobody is sadder about that than me.
Robert Kirkman never seems content with the status quo when it comes to his signature comic book super-hero. Just when you think things are going to calm down, Kirkman takes a hard right into some bizarre new territory that shouldn't be unexpected... but always is. 2014 ended with a bigger bang than usual, which should lead to an even more interesting 2015. For anybody who thought the book had nowhere to go but down after issue #100, the creative team of Invincible spent all year proving you wrong.
DAMMIT! I spent all year enjoying each new issue of Shulkie only to find out that it's being canceled with issue No. 12 (which comes out next month). This book truly had it all... not only a fun, smart take on super-heroics, but also terrific courtroom wrangling via She-Hulk's alter-ego Jen Walters (including a face-off with Matt Murdock, AKA Daredevil!). How in the heck this book never caught on is just beyond me. It's everything you read comics for.
ALSO WORTH LOOKING AT...
I snapped up this title on opening day because Mark Millar has a track record of books I enjoy... and was hooked immediately. A larger than life pulp sci-fi hit, this galaxy-spanning tale of Duke McQueen is well worth your time.
My #3 book from last year dropped completely out of my top twelve because of endless delays. Instead of six bi-monthly issues, we were lucky to get two, and there's no telling when/if any more books are even coming. Still, an awesome take on super-heroics by Mark Millar and Frank Quitely.
A very smart take on a timeless sci-fi hero, this book is a joy to read from cover to cover. It kind of took a dip during the summer months, but the last couple of issues for 2014 were fantastic, and things are looking great for 2015. Flash! Ah Aaahhhhh! He'll save every one of us!
Wicked + The Divine.
Every ninety years, twelve of the old gods are reincarnated as teenagers for two short years. The result is pop stars for a new era, and the story takes that concept to strange places.
Batman scribe Scott Snyder's tale of survival horror is still a mind-bogglingly good read.
East of West.
This excellent series has stumbled a bit as of late, but is still a really good read. Jonathan Hickman knows how to create great comic books, and this ultimate battle of Death vs. Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is a great example of his talent.
AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT...
Holy crap. Robots vs. aliens has never been like this. A digital comic so good that it's being turned into a printed book as well. No explanation I could give would do the title justice, so I recommend you check it out for yourself.
Alex + Ada.
A sci-fi drama that is surprisingly human... considering it's about androids. This series is very slow and deliberate, so it's not going to appeal to everyone, but if you enjoy your comics with a bit of soul-searching it's worth a look.
A critical and fan favorite, Saga is the best book I can't seem to get into. Yes, it's imaginative and very well-written, but it's more fantasy than fiction, which is just not my thing. Still, I continue to enjoy it enough to keep reading, so here we are.