The Best Comic Book Story Arcs of the 2010s

As I’ve made clear in previous posts, the 2010s were a good time for comics. I’ve looked at the best comic runs, but now I’m taking it a step down and going into the best comic arcs. These aren’t entire series — unless it’s a miniseries or an ongoing that was cut short — or runs, but arcs. Naming these is a bit weird because some writers don’t really name their arcs, but luckily trades exist, and you can usually tell when something is an arc.

To qualify, the first issue of the arc needs to have been released in the 2010s. That limits my options enough while setting strict rules. Hopefully this makes it fair. Also, this is more of a superhero comic thing, so be warned if that bugs you.

Anyway, get your six (most likely) bag and boards ready, because we’re going to be looking at the best comic book story arcs of the 2010s!

Honourable Mentions

extremity-1-cover“Artist”, Extremity #1-6

Extremity is a series that, by the time it concluded, I’d fallen out of love with. Daniel Warren Johnson’s art was fantastic throughout, but the second half of this series was predictable and preachy, whereas the first half, collected in trade as “Artist”, is excellent. Presenting an interesting world defined by division and war, the story of two siblings in a world in conflict was some of the freshest storytelling I’d gotten from comics when it came out. The art style was fresh and new, and the world felt visually distinct, with different factions being easily identifiable and the visceral moments of violence really selling the anti-war message of this story, even if the writing let the art down a bit.

old-man-logan-1-cover“Berzerker”, Old Man Logan (2016) #1-5

Transporting Old Man Logan to the main Marvel Universe was, at the time, a great decision. Jeff Lemire’s “Berzerker” arc shows why: a bitter, wiser and confused Wolverine struggling in a world he doesn’t understand, trying his best to make sense of things the only way he knows how — through violence. With the phenomenal art by Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Maiolo is perfect for this dark, character-driven, violent story, truly elevating Lemire’s script. Ignoring what happened — or rather, what didn’t happen — with the character afterwards, this is a great introduction and starting point for Old Man Logan as a character… now if only they did anything else with him.

extermination-1-coverExtermination (2018) #1-5

X-events have a reputation for being somewhat impenetrable, and Extermination isn’t exactly innocent of this, essentially acting as the conclusion to the story that began in Brian Michael Bendis’ All-New X-Men. However, whereas most 2010s X-events were overtly cynical and filled with needless conflict, Extermination feels like a modernisation of classic X-Men event tropes. There’s time-travel and continuity weirdness, but there’s also moments of genuine character growth, a clever resolution and writer Ed Brisson’s usual mastery of continuity use. While the All-New X-Men era is of… varied quality, Extermination sent it out with a bang

daredevil-6-cover“Original Sin”, Daredevil (2014) #6-7

The Original Sin event, written by Jason Aaron, was a bit… strange. A murder mystery, it largely served as an excuse to shuffle off the original Nick Fury for whatever reason (probably because of the MCU) and did so in a way that kind of… ruined him… also Thor is unworthy too. But, one of the interesting moments in the story came when Nick Fury used the eye of Uatu the Watcher to reveal long-hidden secrets in the lives of Marvel’s heroes, which allowed storytellers to delve into the past of some heroes. One of those heroes was Daredevil, who is given a glimpse of his parents… and Matt Murdock’s father, Jack, striking Matt’s mother, Grace/Maggie. What followed was a nice defying of expectations — especially in the decade where Steve Rogers’ father was retconned to be abusive — a heart-warming talk about mental health and just an overall really touching story. Kudos, Mark Waid.

deathstroke-1-cover“The Professional”, Deathstroke: Rebirth #1 and Deathstroke (2016) #1-8

Christopher Priest’s Deathstroke run was an unexpected delight, and it all began with “The Professional”. This arc reboots the Wilson family, modernising their pre-Flashpoint history and creating a dysfunctional family, while presenting the best version of Deathstroke: a villain through and through who is a toxic influence on his family, but who has his own code. With its embrace of Slade as a villain, clever writing and a fleshed out supporting cast, this arc reinvigorated Deathstroke as a character.

venom-1-cover“Rex”, Venom (2018) #1-6

Donny Cates’ inaugural Venom arc is a visceral love letter to the 90s, revelling in excess, violence and spectacle, but also containing some great world-building, reinventing the symbiote mythos and delving into the history of the Marvel Universe. But what Cates really excels at is character work, and his work with a struggling Eddie Brock and new character Rex Strickland is excellent and makes the gigantic action scenes all the better and more impactful. Cates’ Venom run is a phenomenal odyssey of violence, dark gods, drama and betrayal, and “Rex” set the stage for all of it.

transformers-last-stand-of-the-wreckers-1-coverTransformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers #1-5

Just making it in with a January 2010 release date for its first issue is this Transformers miniseries. Last Stand of the Wreckers is essentially the Transformers equivalent of a Suicide Squad comic, but unlike most of the 2010s’ Suicide Squad comics, Nich Roche’s emphasis on disposable characters and the horrors of war is pitch perfect. Emphasising an anti-theme war, strong character work and taking advantage of its robot characters and the sci-fi setting, these disposable robots, many of whose names I’ve already forgotten, were made more interesting than you’d think for a comic like this. While I may have dropped off IDW’s current Transformers comics, some of the older work is great, and Last Stand of the Wreckers is up there as one of the best.

the-vision-1-coverThe Vision (2016) #1-12

I’ve never found the Vision that interesting as a character. He just lacked any charisma or powerful moments, at least in more modern comics which is what my Avengers reading is generally limited to — it doesn’t help that he died at the start of Brian Michael Bendis’ run on the franchise. However, Tom King managed to tell an intriguing tale about Vision’s quest for a family and protecting said family, with a well-planned story that includes secrets, murders and time-travel that not only makes the Vision interesting, but also makes his family interesting — certainly enough that his daughter Viv would go on to be used by other writers. Stories about robots trying to understand humanity are a dime a dozen, but the great ones are always well worth a read.


Now, with the latecomers and honourable mentions out of the way, here, arbitrarily ranked, are the best comic arcs of the 2010s.

15. “Avengers World”, Avengers (2012) #1-3

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The first arc of Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers run had a lot to live up to. It was coming off the hype of the cinematic event that was The Avengers, it was Hickman’s next big run following Secret Warriors and Fantastic Four and it was the start of a new era for the Avengers after the Brian Michael Bendis era. Hickman absolutely knocked it out of the park, with an epic story that truly felt like the start of a new saga.

With Captain America and Iron Man forming a new Avengers team in combat possible threats, Hickman threw in some unlikely additions, expanding from the core movie cast with long-time characters like Sunspot and Cannonball, but also throwing in some interesting new takes on characters like Smasher and Hyperion. The weight and gravitas of Hickman’s narration lent an epic tone to every little action, and the team coming together is one of the best instances of a superhero team assembling ever written, and that epic tone would carry throughout his run.

Hickman’s Avengers title is a shaky series, existing mostly as a companion piece to his much more important New Avengers title. However, this first arc is a wonderful, punchy story in its own right, and playing off of the first arc of New Avengers, feels that much more impactful as a thematic opposite.

uncanny-x-force-1-cover14. “The Apocalypse Solution”, Uncanny X-Force (2010) #1-4

X-Force as a concept sounds like it should be ripe for storytelling. A paramilitary team of mutants who kill sounds like it should have some great stories in its history. But more often than not, X-Force comics devolve into 90s excess, revelling in wanton violence for the sake of violence, gritty imagery taken to parodic levels and characters who become flat and one-dimensional. Rick Remender’s Uncanny X-Force avoids all of that, focusing on character development, asking whether or not necessary evils are truly necessary and never losing site of its core idea that X-Force is not a good team that should exist. Nowhere is that demonstrated better than in its first arc, “The Apocalypse Solution”.

Forming during mutantkind’s near-extinction, the team is filled with characters who all are not only okay with killing, but who can’t help themselves from killing. Deciding to at least focus it in a way that helps mutantkind, they take it upon themselves to eliminate threats before they can hurt what little mutants still exist. Their first mission is to hunt down the reincarnated Apocalypse, and the ensuing conflict within the team is what makes this story so great. The revelation that Apocalypse has been reincarnated as a child divides the team, and only accentuates the conflict within the team and the creativity on display with the villains and locales shows Remender’s mastery of X-Men lore that was sadly underutilised in his last few years at Marvel. However, the play on morality, the questions of nature vs nurture and the romance between Betsy and Warren is all given just enough time to be enticing and built upon later.

“The Apocalypse Solution” is the perfect introduction to the X-Force concept, and to one of the best X-runs. It respects what came before but reinvents or repurposes it, provides gripping plot threads that are teased just enough, and ends with a bang. Any X-Force run that comes after it should be compared to Remender’s, because it’s an example how to do X-Force right.

the-wild-storm-1-cover13. The Wild Storm #1-24

It didn’t say it was a limited series… but neither did Tom King’s Vision! And the cover made it clear, so it counts! Warren Ellis’ reboot of the WildStorm characters into their own universe managed to bring new life into an imprint that seemed like it was past the point of relevancy, crafting a rich world full of intrigue, interesting characters and craziness.

With the New 52 trying to be WildStorm and failing, Ellis showed everyone how to really do shady organisations and government superheroes. His Skywatch/IO war is thought out, interesting and visceral. This is reflected in The Wild Storm‘s action scenes, where Jon Davis-Hunt shows off some impressive use of blocking and layouts to deliver some truly enjoyable and creative action scenes. And none of this would mean anything without interesting characters, and The Wild Storm has that in spades, all while setting up several possible spin-offs.

While the new WildStorm universe hasn’t been expanded upon too much, Ellis’ wonderfully paced story and interesting characters have crafted a world I can’t wait to see explored. For someone who never had much interest in WildStorm, aside from an occasional series here and there, this story made me a fan.

12. Supergirl: Being Super #1-4

beingsuper1

Mariko Tamaki’s Supergirl: Being Super miniseries is an underrated gem. Tamaki perfectly captures the sense of waywardness that comes from finishing high school, presenting the most human version of a kryptonian I’ve ever seen — this series should’ve been called Supergirl: Being a Girl, because that’s its biggest strength.

Being Super presents an alternate universe where Kara Danvers was raised in a small farm town. But rather than the nostalgic Smallville, this story is more modern, with hip parents and identity issues. It’s much better than it sounds, in no small part due to Tamaki breathing life into these characters, creating a fully-realised supporting cast for Kara as she becomes Supergirl. Kara herself is just an everyday teenage girl, worried about what she’ll do after school and worrying about her friends — the powers aren’t that big a deal at all, for the most part, and that’s what makes this story so great: the superpowers give it scale, but at its score, Being Super is about Kara finding her place in the world and leaving her old world behind.

Being Super came out of nowhere and managed to make Supergirl — a character who has almost never actually interested me — engaging and interesting. Tamaki’s keen eye for relatable teenage drama and coming of age angst is wonderfully executed. Joelle Jones’ beautiful art works for this series, knowing just when to let the dialogue breathe. Hopefully we’ll be seeing more of this version of Supergirl in the future.

cover11. “Resurrection”, Nova (2016) #1-7

Taken from us too soon, this brief Nova series was everything a Nova fan could have wanted… and only got a single arc before being cancelled. Teaming up Richard Rider and Sam Alexander, Jeff Loveness and Ramon Perez knew exactly what to do with the two Novas and what made them great but different, and his fundamental understanding of these characters is what carries this story.

Richard struggles to adjust to life after his return from the Cancerverse, with yet another superhero civil war being waged, Earth’s ignorance of the wider state of the universe and his father’s death. Meanwhile, Sam is struggling with typical teen problems, and finds a father figure in Richard. The juxtaposition of the two Novas is understated but enjoyable, especially since it’s highlighted through both drama and humour, and provides more than enough heart-warming moments to tug at the heart strings.

Like I said, sadly this series ended after only one arc. But the expert way that this series played Richard and Sam off each other, the way it integrated each character into the other’s world and the fundamental understanding of their characters makes it a series that every future Nova writer should check out.

thor-god-of-thunder-1-cover10. “The God Butcher”, Thor: God of Thunder #1-12

Jason Aaron’s Thor run is a very uneven thing. For every great moment, there’s a moment of pure deus ex machina or strawmen. But before any of that became a problem, there was the first twelve issues, divided into “The God Butcher” and “The God Bomb”, but honestly, they’re one story (and have an oversized hardcover collecting them that way), the first arc of Aaron’s Thor run, and what an arc it is.

Taking place across three time periods, we follow a younger, still unworthy Thor, the modern day superhero Thor and the future-based King Thor. The trio come into conflict with Gorr the God Butcher, who aims to destroy all gods in the universe. What follows is a story that can most adequately be described as epic, with dark messiahs, armies of gods, betrayals and a meaningful, thought out ending that foreshadows the themes of Aaron’s Thor run.

Thor is a character that, prior to Jason Aaron’s run, I did not care about. But the thoughtful examination of worthiness and godhood, and the epic tone and visceral, fantastic art by Esad Ribic got me to care about the character. So much so that I went back to read J. Michael Straczynski’s run and the subsequent Kieron Gillen run, because “The God Butcher” is just that good and unique a use of the character.

superman-lois-and-clark-1-cover9. Superman: Lois and Clark #1-8

Superman was in a bad place for the first half of the 2010s. DC had lost sight of what defined him as a character, turning him from an optimistic symbol of truth, justice and the American way into a cynical, distrustful and violent asshole who punches first and asks questions later. However, Convergence brought the pre-Flashpoint Superman into the main DCU, and Superman: Lois and Clark explored what they got up to, in a way that captures the spirit of the best Superman stories, and Dan Jurgens ended up reinvigorating the Superman line for the decade.

While New 52 Superman (NuSupes) was off pucnhing people and keeping his identity secret from almost everyone and just being generally unpleasant, pre-Flashpoint Superman (Superdad) was doing heroics thanklessly, in secret, while trying to care for his family and raise his son — all while trying to stop certain events that happened in his world from coming to past, like the creation of the villainous Cyborg Superman. Like the best Superman stories, this story revolves around things he can’t punch away. Superdad’s son’s curiosity about his father’s secret isn’t something that can be solved with superpowers, nor is Clark’s own inherent desire to be a superhero even if it may risk his family’s safety.

The Superman presented in Superman: Lois and Clark, and by extension his wife and son, were just infinitely more interesting than their New 52 counterparts and a very refreshing read that reminded me of why I like Superman. This story is not exactly tightly plotted, but the characters are great and I’m glad they stuck around. The current Superman is basically this one, he just has some of the New 52 Superman’s outfits and bad guys. Even in Superman Reborn, which featured both Supermen and posited that Superdad was the electric blue Superman to NuSupes’ electric red… yeah, electric blue Superman was the “real” Superman back in the day. The reintroduction of Superdad just did wonders for Superman as a whole, and this story showed why he was just the more interesting Superman.

8. “She is Staggering”, The Li’l Depressed Boy #1-6

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I used to be an extremely awkward and introverted person. Not that I’m Gambit right now or anything, but I used to suffer with anxiety a lot more than I currently do. Very rarely did I find media that approached this well, or in a non-patronising way. However, “She is Staggering”, the first arc of The Li’l Depressed Boy manages to give a good presentation of someone coping with anxiety, in an interesting way at that. Telling a great slice of life story at the same time, while playing with some of the common tropes for this type of story, “She is Staggering” is a genuinely refreshing read.

Following Li’l Depressed Boy (LDB) as he comes out of his shell thanks to a new girl in his life, following the genuine joy he feels as he spends more time with her before it all comes apart, it is genuinely affecting. Shawn Steven Struble perfectly captures the feelings of anxiety, awkwardness and heartbreak, while still imbuing the story with humour and fun.

When it comes to slice of life dramas, I’m a picky reader. I generally need a unique premise or excellent dialogue to make my way through a genre that generally isn’t very focused on plotting. “She is Staggering” has the latter in spades, and while the premise is relatively generic, the way it defies expectations in a clever but realistic way makes it all the more visceral an experience, a word I never thought I’d use to describe a slice of life comic.

the-flash-47-cover7. “Flash War”, The Flash (2016) #46-51

Let’s get this out of the way right now: Wally West is my favourite Flash. Anyone I’ve ever talked to about The Flash will know this, and will know that I despise his treatment by DC after the return of the second Flash, Barry Allen. After his return ushered in DC Rebirth, it seemed like he’d be a key player in the DCU once again… only to be misused so badly that he was then shipped off to The Flash so Joshua Williamson could fix him a bit and give him the spotlight in two arcs, “Perfect Storm” and this one, “Flash War”.

The story addresses the lingering point of Wally West and Linda Park’s missing kids, giving the story a real emotional core. Wally’s desire to find his kids carries much more weight than the weaker, forced divide between Barry and Wally, which thankfully doesn’t last long. Hunter Zolomon is perfectly integrated into the Flash mythos in a way that gives him ties to characters beyond Wally, Linda and their kids. Wally is given a triumphant moment that gets to the core of who he is and the epilogue is a fitting tribute to the fastest man alive.

Sure, what came after this story is… bad. Very bad. But this arc was a return to form for Wally, at least for a bit, and his return breathed new life into The Flash. While the future for Wally and his family is uncertain, “Flash War” was a gem of a story, a Flash story that felt like it was from the heyday of the franchise, but with modern sensibilities.

animosity-1-cover6. “The Wake”, Animosity #1-4

Animosity is a series that has managed to ring some great stories out of its simple premise: what if, suddenly, animals became anthropomorphic. In a world just like ours, animals become aware and the world is changed forever. That’s the core idea with Animosity, and Marguerite Bennett explores it from every angle possible, creating an amazingly fully realised world ripe for storytelling, while never losing site of the humans and animals that we follow.

The emotional core of “The Wake” is the relationship between Jesse and her dog Sandor. After his newfound intelligence, their relationship is tested by the new world, as society adapts to the change in status quo. While I have lauded Marguerite Bennett’s worldbuilding in this series, she knows that a proper narrative is needed to get readers interested in this world, and the exploration of Jesse’s relationship with Sandor, and the gradual revelations of how his intelligence has affected her and those around her, is expertly paced. During the course of the story, we learn more about why her parents are missing, we catch glimpses of genuinely troubling imagery and we’re shown how strong the bond between Jesse and Sandor is. For an introductory arc, “The Wake” knocks it absolutely out of the park.

Animosity is a series that came out of nowhere and rocked me with its intelligent, thought-provoking world and grippingly emotional stories. What started as a simple premise grew into a fully realised world with rules and factions that still feel grounded in our world — but what elevates this series from lore into a genuine narrative is the story of Jesse and Sandor, and what made it so gripping is this arc right here, that made sure to perfectly pace every aspect of its writing to hook readers on learning more about this universe, and finding out where a girl and her dog will go next.

5. “Rooftops”, Batman (2016) #14-15

batman-14-cover

Tom King’s Batman run has been a resounding disappointment to me. Coming hot off the heels of the mostly fantastic Grayson, Tom King was a new writer with a demonstrated, fundamental understanding of the Batman characters, a penchant for experimental storytelling and new ideas. And what resulted was a meandering mess of a run rehashing ideas we’d seen before. But throughout his run, there were moments of hope, and none more so than “Rooftops”, a short two-parter that broke up his “I am…” saga (the first 20 or so issues) and showed why he is a name to watch.

Serving as something of an epilogue to “I am Suicide” and following up the Catwoman subplot of that story, where she was on death row for killing 237 people, which Bruce is adamant she didn’t do. “Rooftops” follows the pair as they make the most of her final night before heading back to prison for life, rather than being executed, and is a touching, thoughtful and meta examination of their relationship that would go on to set the stage for the rest of King’s Batman run. The story is given more weight by feeling like it could apply to any versions of the characters — despite reference to King’s own take on Catwoman — thanks to the references to past versions of them. Mitch Gerads’ art is perfect, and the use of layouts and colours is what elevates this story from a good Batman/Catwoman story into a great Batman story overall, only adding to the way King pulls off his twists and turns that gives this story its twist.

I found Tom King’s Batman run to be disappointing, but “Rooftops” is an example of the best of his run. It is experimental, it takes risks and it has something interesting to say about Batman. This is the first time I’ve found Catwoman interesting in a long time, and the deft execution of this story about two orphans, their rooftop hijinks and their bickering on how they met, all to distract from the dark fate that they both know awaits Catwoman.

house-of-x-cover4. “House of X”, House of X #1-6 and Powers of X #1-6

The X-Men were in an… awkward place in the 2010s. Simultaneously iconic but underused, it seemed like Marvel didn’t know what to do with their merry mutants. Grimdark event after event, poorly thought out relaunch after relaunch, it all felt cyclical and stagnant. Enter: Jonathan Hickman, back after a long Marvel hiatus and ready to revitalise the X-Men.

Hickman’s worldbuilding is top tier, per usual, but the gradual revelations about mutant history and the way that he uses X-Men history and tropes in new and interesting ways is what sells this story. The creation of the mutant nation of Krakoa is given the gravitas it deserves, but the shadowy background of Moira X is what gives this story that extra something that makes it stand out. Instead of just a mutant nation, we are given a game of chess that Moira plays across time — and multiple lifetimes — that all feel like a single character arc. The birth of Krakoa and the world’s reaction is filled with intrigue, interesting characters and shocking revelations, and while it is somewhat hampered by a future-based subplot that barely has a point, the rest of the comic is just so well-executed and such a refreshing read that this arc single-handedly revitalised the X-Men.

The world that Hickman built in “House of X” is so ripe for storytelling that every single X-book launched in its wake has explored it in a different way. Whether that be the economics of Krakoa’s exports in Marauders, the lives of soldiers in peace time in Fallen Angels or the black ops crew in X-Force, Hickman has given the X-line a much needed shot in the arm. With this story, it wasn’t about retreading old ground, but using the past to build a better future — both in-universe and out — and that’s just what this arc managed to do for Marvel’s mutants, and that future looks very, very bright.

337633._SX640_QL80_TTD_3. “A Nation Under Our Feet”, Black Panther (2016) #1-12

In the lead-up to Black Panther’s cinematic debut in Captain America: Civil War, Marvel put acclaimed author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates on a new Black Panther title. The character hadn’t had a proper series to himself for a while but was given some good moments by Jonathan Hickman. I was extremely curious as to what Coates would bring to the table, especially since the last time I enjoyed Black Panther was during Christopher Priest’s acclaimed run. Coates absolutely nailed his first arc, weaving a complex, sprawling tale of political upheaval, love and duty, reinventing the Black Panther mythos in the process.

Whereas most writer coming into comics from other mediums would ignore prior stories, Coates clearly has a good amount of knowledge of Black Panther and uses it very well. But beyond that, he tells a story that encompasses government politics, feminism and strong character work in a way that feels like it makes the most of the Black Panther mythos, while simultaneously utilising past stories in a way that makes “A Nation Under Our Feet” feel integrated into the Marvel universe — and also lending authenticity to this story as the next stage in Black Panther’s story, rather than a reboot. Coates’ evolution of the all-women warriors of the Dora Milaje, of the move away from monarchy for Wakanda and the move towards a more sentimental and less emotionless Black Panther feel earned and like genuine advances in the story of Wakanda after its revolution here.

While I found the second major arc of Coates’ Black Panther to be muddled and very underwhelming and unappealing, part of that is because “A Nation Under Our Feet” is just such a well-crafted story. Wakanda is fully-realised as a setting, its revolution feels nuanced and layered and every character has interesting motivations for their actions. “A Nation Under Our Feet” is the perfect Black Panther story for the 2010s and the overtly political nature of it elevates it from a very good story to a great story.

batman-and-robin-18-cover2. “Requiem for Damian”, Batman and Robin (2011) #18-23

Peter J. Tomasi’s work on Batman and Robin is some of the best writing the Batman franchise has ever seen. Focusing on Bruce Wayne learning to be a father and Damian Wayne learning to be a boy, his run focused on sentiment but retained a dark edge to it, helped by Patrick Gleason’s wonderful art. The result is one of the best character-driven superhero comics of the decade. But what happens when one of them dies? What happens when Batman and Robin loses its Robin? Apparently one of the best Batman arcs of all time.

In the wake of Damian Wayne’s death in Batman, Incorporated, Peter J. Tomasi had Bruce deal with not only another dead Robin, but a dead son. While Grant Morrison had Bruce deal with Damian’s death by being vengeance and the night and Batman, Tomasi takes a more emotional and sentimental approach where Bruce goes through the stages of grief with a different member of the Bat-family in each issue, culminating in his making peace with Damian’s death, and comforting Alfred for his part to play in it.

Batman and Robin is a phenomenal series by an underrated writer, and this story shows why. Even without half of the regular cast, Tomasi makes the most out of it, and his expert understanding of the Batfamily is on full display as he writes what is the best arc of the series. Grippingly emotional, infinitely relatable and incredibly touching, “Requiem for Damian” is one of the best Batman stories ever written.

1. “Brick by Brick”, Doom Patrol (2016) #1-6

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Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol run is one of those timeless classics that gets better every time you read it. If you like it, anyway. I love it, but what got me to read it after a few failed tries was Gerard Way’s run on the Young Animal series. Taking the Morrison formula and adding modern writing sensibilities, a more vibrant atmosphere and a poetic spin, “Brick by Brick” managed to hook me into the Doom Patrol and make them one of my favourite superhero teams… and buy the Grant Morrison omnibus.

Way’s Doom Patrol is a follow-up to the Morrison era, with the series focusing on that incarnation of the team reuniting after… something happened. The way the story alludes to past events really makes it feel like this is a team with a storied history and combined with the already existing dynamics and new character Casey Brinke’s status as something of an audience surrogate, is a perfect introduction to an otherwise intimidating team of weirdness. But the more modern weirdness helps, like the meta origin of Casey Brinke as a living comic book character, the anti-capitalist bent with the cheap meat manufacturing corporation and the cult who oppose individuality. During all of this, Casey Brinke goes from being just a likeable audience surrogate and weirdness magnet to a genuinely interesting character that you want to follow thanks to how well she is integrated into the Doom Patrol.

The Young Animal line has had its ups and downs, and Doom Patrol was hampered by delays so frequent that it became a meme within the industry. But this first arc is the perfect representation of what Young Animal is — a stranger take on the DC universe that modernised older ideas for new readers, in an inviting and non-threatening way. It’s refreshing, it’s fun, it’s touching and it’s weird — it’s the perfect way to reintroduce the Doom Patrol.


There you have it, my best stories of the decade. I had to leave a fair amount of things off this list because even the honourable mentions got way too big, so sadly some things I really wanted to include I couldn’t. Anyway, one more decade retrospective comic thing to go, at least one that I’m definitely going to do, so I’ll see you next time for the best comic runs of the decade.

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