The Best Comic Book Runs of the 2010s

As we near the end of the 2010s, for my final look back at the decade in comics, I’m going to be looking at the best comic runs of the 2010s. This decade had some of the best and worst comic series, but I’m here to celebrate the best runs. The 2010s had a lot of good runs that were somewhat unappreciated, that I feel deserve acknowledgement. This is the decade that I got into comics, so I followed a lot of these when they were ongoing. Yet, there is enough distance from most of these runs — most of which are complete — that I feel comfortable judging them as a whole.

For comic runs, the amount of creators and issues varies, but the general idea should be obvious — a bunch of comics where at least one creator has a big presence in the creative process. To qualify for this list, the run needs to have had most of its issues released in the 2010s. That means Grant Morrison’s Batman and Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern, both of which started in the mid-2000s but ended in the 2010s, are out, but Jonathan Hickman’s Fantastic Four, which started in 2009 and ended in the 2010s, is allowed on. Essentially, the runs will have started in the 2010s, with a small handful of exceptions that had very few issues in the previous decade. The key part of it is that this is “runs” as opposed to a series — I’ll be copying a bit of CBR’s rules and say that miniseries do not count as “runs”, unless it’s a group of miniseries in some way; this is for the the best runs on a comic, not sprints. But it can be one ongoing series, something that had multiple series, or just a specific chunk of a series for whatever reason (maybe the creative team lost the artist or something). To keep things manageable, I’ll be focusing on writers and pencillers — not that inkers, colourists and letterers aren’t important, but it’s hard enough to get every artist down for some runs, and I’ll probably miss some, that this is just the compromise I have to make.

Anyway, with all the rules out of the way, let’s get on with it. Here, arbitrarily ranked, are the best comic runs of the 2010s!

(That I read).

Continue reading “The Best Comic Book Runs of the 2010s”

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!

Continue reading “The Best Comic Book Story Arcs of the 2010s”

The Best Comic Book Shake-Ups of the 2010s

Superhero comics are said to be cyclical, stagnant, unchanging, and all manner of things meant to imply that they love their status quos. But the 2010s gave us a bunch of new ideas and shake-ups that ended up becoming some of the landmark moments for the superhero genre. Sure, the superhero genre loves its status quos, because that’s a part of the brands, but sometimes people shake things up in ways that open the door for great storytelling, adding to the gargantuan mythos of the genre.

I’ve decided I’m going to draw attention to these status quo shifts. This is very broad, obviously, but I think it’s a good way to look back at what the 2010s did to shake things up a bit and innovate. Later, I’ll probably look at best moments, single issues story arcs and maybe even runs. But for now, here are the best comic book shake-ups of the 2010s. Continue reading “The Best Comic Book Shake-Ups of the 2010s”

Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #1 Review — Disjointed, Unengaging and Uninteresting

Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils by Jim Lee, Dustin Nguyen, Andrea Sorrentino and Andre Lima Araujo
Inks by Scott Williams, Dustin Nguyen, Andrea Sorrentino and Andre Lima Araujo
Colours by Alex Sinclair, John Kalisz, Dave Stewart and Jordie Bellaire
Letters by Dave Sharpe
Published by DC Comics

Cover price: $4.99 USD

The return of the Legion of Super-Heroes has been a rocky road. After a lacklustre series in the New 52, the team vanished, only making sporadic guest appearances every now and then. DC Rebirth promised the return of the team, who would be given a degree of importance in Geoff Johns’ still ongoing Doomsday Clock miniseries, with promises that the team’s return would be set up in Tom King’s Batman run and even hints at who the writer of their ongoing series would be. Instead, Brian Michael Bendis recently reintroduced the team over in his Superman title and will be writing their ongoing. If Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #1 is any indication, DC would have been better off sticking to whatever their original plan was, because this is a disjointed and boring mess of a comic only held up by its art. Continue reading “Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #1 Review — Disjointed, Unengaging and Uninteresting”

Superdads — Fatherhood in Superhero Comics

The 1st of September is Father’s Day in Australia. While I find it weird that we placed it so far away from the rest of the world’s usual date, it is what it is. So, in honour of Father’s Day, I want to take a look at fatherhood in superhero comics.

The idea of characters being “aged” by younger characters around them is a concern of the comics industry. Indeed, a lot has been done to ensure that characters like Spider-Man and Batman remain at a vague age where they can be considered at least somewhat young. Many in the industry have spoken out against allowing characters to grow and age, in fear that this would also age their paternal figures — the most recent example I can recall would be X-Men editor Jordan D. White mentioning that the younger X-Men cannot be allowed to age, as this would make the core group of Cyclops, Wolverine, Rogue and the like older. I think this fundamentally misunderstands superhero comics and their appeal, the stories they can tell and some of the best works in the superhero genre, and how children are vehicles for further development of characters. While comics like Saga and Birthright have excellent portrayals of parenthood, superhero comics lend a greater weight to everyday struggles, to everyday emotions and relationships.

For the purposes of this post, I’ll be looking at specific characters and specific runs on those characters (to a degree). This is just meant to look at the different kinds of fatherhood presented in superhero comics, while focusing on specific works where possible. Anyway, let’s have a look at our superdads. Continue reading “Superdads — Fatherhood in Superhero Comics”

Gateway Comics — Superman

Gateway Comics is a recommendation thing I do where I list works in a franchise that are good for new readers, that hopefully make them want to check out more of the franchise or character. It features franchises/characters that I am personally familiar with, although I will be using others’ opinions at times. The key point is that these are recommendations for new readers.

There is no superhero more iconic than Superman. The flagship character of not only DC Comics, but of an entire genre, Superman is a storied character that is almost as old as the superhero genre itself. But with so many stories behind him, that can make him a bit intimidating to read. Especially with the various reboots the character has undergone. But I think Superman, when written well, can be one of the most rewarding characters to read. I personally have mostly stuck to more modern works for Superman, but I think these works to a good job balancing what I like about the franchise. I’m not too big a fan of the franchise, but these comics got me interested in it; I can safely say that they’re good for new readers.

Anyway, the people of Krypton has been written badly very often, but here are some stories that I think will do a good job of introducing new readers to the world of Superman. Continue reading “Gateway Comics — Superman”

Worst Comics of 2018

I wasn’t going to do this. I like to celebrate the good in comics, not lampoon the bad. Comic readers already have an image of being overly negative and I don’t want to be that guy. But… some of the comics this year truly did it for me. They managed to take my goodwill and optimism and grind it into the dirt. Yes, some of these series may recover, or may even have already. But that doesn’t take away from how terrible these particular comics are. With that in mind, here are the worst comics of 2018. Continue reading “Worst Comics of 2018”

The Death of the New 52, One Year Later — A Look Back

In 2016, DC’s Rebirth relaunch promised a return to the spirit of the pre-Flashpoint DC Universe while keeping the New 52 universe. Rebirth has proven to be an unmitigated success, both critically and financially, and has clearly reinvigorated the company. But while it promised to keep the New 52 canon, this didn’t turn out to be the case, with series like Wonder Woman and Superman almost entirely doing away with New 52 canon. Although the New 52 branding itself was removed with the DC YOU initiative, DC Rebirth can be considered a much truer shunting of the ideas and themes of the New 52 era. Gone is the unnecessary darkening of characters, government paranoia and notion of continuity and history being obstacles and not tools so prevalent at DC for so long.

While there were some good elements here and there, the overall New 52 reboot fell flat on its face. And with DC Rebirth now a year old, incorporating many elements of Pre-Flashpoint elements that fans have been missing, I think it’s a good time to look back on the New 52. As it’s said, “I come here to bury Caesar, not honour him.” This will be a broad look at the problems with the New 52, and why it never quite worked for (the majority) of readers. So join me as I take a look back on the New 52, one year after its official death. Continue reading “The Death of the New 52, One Year Later — A Look Back”

Super Sons #1 Review

Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Jorge Jimenez
Colours by Alejandro Sanchez
Published by DC Comics
Cover price: $2.99 USD

Peter J. Tomasi is a writer who has always excelled at sentiment. From the restless Kyle Rayner and Guy Gardner in Green Lantern Corps to the father-son dynamic in Batman and Robin, to the more recent, and different, father-son dynamic in Superman, it’s clear Tomasi has an affinity for pulling at the heart strings in the superhero genre. Super Sons is Tomasi taking a stab at writing boyhood adventures, and, to nobody’s surprise, he knocks it out of the park. Super Sons #1 is a really fun comic about two boys and their budding friendship doing what boys their age do, only with more capes and fighting and less parental supervision. Continue reading “Super Sons #1 Review”

My Future Comic Projects for Geoff Johns (Rantings)

I don’t think it’s out of line to say that Geoff Johns is one of DC’s biggest name creators. He, along with David S. Goyer, brought the Justice Society of America to a new generation of readers. He had a run on The Flash that many consider second only to the beloved Mark Waid run. He reinvigorated and redefined the Green Lantern franchise. He updated Aquaman for modern audiences (though Peter David sort-of did that before him). But he also has blatant preference for the Silver Age. Infinite Crisis was, although an enjoyable story, a way for him to restore quite a few Silver Age things to canon. He made Legion of Super-Heroes lore confusing with the “Retroboot” Legion (basically the original Legion but with a time-skip). He sort-of ruined the Flash franchise with The Flash: Rebirth (it’s only slightly recovered with the return of Wally West). Then killed off beloved new characters with Blackest Night, an event that seemed to exist partly to kill off modern characters. Then he screwed up the entire DC Universe with Flashpoint… though that was editorially mandated, and he then proceeded to sort-of fix with DC Universe: Rebirth #1. So Johns has a shaky history, despite being DC’s “big gun”.

But he vanished for a while. After finishing his Justice League run (about half of which I haven’t read), Johns moved on. He was focusing more on TV shows and movies. It seemed like he came back just to fix what he was forced to break, and that would be the last we’d hear from him… or not.

Yes, Geoff Johns is returning to comics, and while I’m cautiously optimistic about this, given the mixed results of his writing, I can’t say I’m not at least somewhat looking forward to Johns’ return. For all his faults (Silver Age boner, excessive violence, unsubtle leaning on the fourth wall), Johns loves superhero comics, big scope stories and using continuity in (mostly) respectful ways. He’s the kind of writer the DC Rebirth initiative is perfect for. And while I’m sure his comics work will in some way involve the Watchmen plotline from the Rebirth line, I have little doubt he will also be taking on another project. And here are what I hope or predict they will be. Continue reading “My Future Comic Projects for Geoff Johns (Rantings)”