Squirrel Girl (Marvel Comics)
Quite possibly the most fun comic currently published, Squirrel Girl is aware of how ridiculous its titular heroine’s powers are and fully embraces it. North’s fantastic sense of humor and stellar character work have only improved, with each issue being a sheer joy from start to finish.
In spite of how light and funny the book is, North squeezes in some fantastic character development as well as the occasional moment of pathos to give the book some gravity. Henderson’s art is still a great fit with North’s writing, with the overly exaggerated comical style fitting perfectly with the tone of the book. It’s very difficult to overstate just how much fun this book is other than that it’s the most “comic book” of all the books I’ve read this year, and that’s absolutely to its benefit – it, more than any other book, is aware that comics are supposed to be fun to read.
Superman (DC Comics)
One of the biggest criticisms for DC’s comic line post-Flashpoint is that it tried too hard to make everything too dark; certain characters benefited from a darker and grittier approach to their stories – Batman mostly – while others simply did not work out. Perhaps as a way to address the criticism that Superman is “unrelatable”, “too powerful” and “too perfect”, the bulk of Superman’s stories post-Flashpoint had his power levels stripped down and dealing with a significant amount of angst. Screw that! Tomasi and Gleason have, in only six months, have quickly shown that “too perfect” and “too powerful” weren’t Superman’s problems but a lack of imagination on the part of the previous creative teams.
The longtime creative partners have delivered one of the best takes on Superman and Lois, and have introduced a fantastic new Superboy, all without reducing his power levels or giving him more angst – if anything, Kal-El is more angst-free. Tomasi and Gleason have tapped into what really makes Superman work – his humanity and optimism – and have centered the entire book on how being a father and a husband have only made him an even better superhero. Tomasi and Gleason’s deep understanding of the characters is what makes the book work, and it’s about time that a Superman book feel like a Superman book again.
The Vision (Marvel Comics)
The last of King’s solo books, The Vision focuses on the titular character and his decision to create a family of his own; of course, this goes horribly wrong. The most frequent compliment thrown towards the book is that it doesn’t feel like a superhero book – and it isn’t; the book’s a thriller. And yet, the book could not have been told with any other set of characters. King mines The Vision’s rich history to tap into an untapped pain, which ultimately results in the titular character doing whatever it takes to protect what he’s made for himself.
Each issue, much like The Omega Men and The Sheriff of Babylon, builds on the previous – not one page, panel or line is wasted – ultimately climaxing into one of the most heartbreaking works that Marvel has ever published. Walta’s carefully rendered art is powerful on each panel, capturing the subtle body language required, as well as perfectly establishing the contemplative and ominous mood required for the book. This could easily be the single strongest book Marvel’s published in recent memory; it’s simply perfect.
These are just some of the amazing stuff out this year and is a testament of how the comics industry is thriving!
- Archie Comics – Jughead
- DC – Batman, Batman Rebirth, Green Arrow, Future Quest, Harley Quinn, Midnighter/Midnighter and Apollo, Wonder Woman Rebirth
- Dark Horse – Black Hammer, Dept. H, Hellboy In Hell
- Image – Chew, The Goddamned, Kill or Be Killed, Paper Girls, Southern Bastards
- Marvel – Black Widow, Mighty Thor, Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel, Old Man Logan
- Valiant – Bloodshot Reborn/USA, XO Manowar
- Vertigo – Clean Room
Do you have a different Top 10 Comics of 2016 list? Tell us in the comments! Tweet us and tell us if we missed anything too!