Man you know I love me them comic books and I could talk about them all day, but sadly we don’t really have all day and I read like a lot of fucking books so let’s just get down to the absolute top 10 of my personal favorites.
10. The Wicked + The Divine
Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie have created a wild ride of a comic with this one about 12 gods who resurrect every 90 years as full pop stars and are treated as such in their young and attractive bodies. Some worship them, others fear and hate them and its taken off into some exceptionally well done social commentary as to celebrity culture, the pursuit of fame, idolization, even alpha and beta roles among genders, and a look at religion in of itself.
The book is finely woven with all it hits upon and Gillen makes sure to fully flesh out all those involved be they us humans are the gods that make up the majority of the cast. This book snuck up on me and I’m really glad that it did because its such a dynamic read whenever its out. McKelvie’s art is crisply done and smooth with expertly done lines and edges and further helps to add to the personalities of everyone involved, how they carry themselves, their expressions, and how well done all the weirdness of this book is presented and it is an inherently weird book.
The Wicked + The Divine is a book that covers many layers within one premise, but even with its wide and expansive scope, each issue feels so nicely contained and builds towards one larger part of the story as it goes. This book is just so damn good.
With more advancements and experiments being done with artificial intelligence, its no wonder more stories revolving around it are coming. Ex Machina in 2015 was one of the year’s absolute best films and Descender was one of its best comics.
It tells the story of an advanced future where we’re all good together, humans and aliens and androids and robots and the like until mysterious robots appear and wreck unspeakable havoc on us and years later we are severely anti-robot anything, but a young robot, Tim-21 awakens years later on an abandoned moon base and goes on a wild adventure. The exploration of humanity across the various species is done with such care and honesty as to who these characters are deep down from backgrounds and motivations. Its one of the best characterized books done in 2015 and speaks to how Jeff Lemire’s strongest suit as a creator might be his care for those that he writes, be it his original creations or say characters like Green Arrow and Hawkeye. Dustin Nguyen’s beautiful watercolor painted look helps to breathe humanity into the book. Its some of the most stunning art out on the market today and his designs really make the world come alive. It gives us the scope needed to tell such a story.
Descender is great sci-fi that should be read right now. Its simply fantastic.
8. Southern Bastards
Still as dirty and grimy when it started, Southern Bastards really stepped its game up in year two of publishing. Jason Aaron and Jason Latour really expand on the cesspool that is Craw County by getting into the roots of its overlord, Coach Boss in a great arc of examining what made him who he is today and how he’s lead the town to where it is now. Its absolutely exceptional in that regard, but then got even better by examining the town itself with the story set around the big homecoming game against its biggest rival after its leaped off from the end of the Coach Boss arc. Following different people through the town and how their story plays into who they are and where they are is some of the best stuff I’ve read all year. Its making great self contained stories all the while adding a little but more of life to the setting.
Aaron’s writing and Latour’s art is a perfect match for creating the book we have and I’m excited by the news that the book has been optioned by FX because this would make for such an exceptional crime drama on TV. Also because this fills the Justified sized hole in my heart.
Read Southern Bastards. That’s really all I got to say about that.
7. Deadly Class
The insane 80s punk rock flavored madness that is Deadly Class is one of the most interesting books out there on the market today. A high school for young assassins is instantly familiar, but Rick Remender isn’t one to be familiar and goes all in with the concept and complicated relationships of several of the students. I think maybe its because there is a highly insane amount of violence and some honesty about what dickholes teenagers can be is what makes me enjoy the setting of this book. Teenagers are pretty bad, but when you let them in an environment where killing is a means of getting ahead of the class, well shit gets insane.
Thankfully Remender creates a diverse cast that cover so many character motivations and interesting situations they all find themselves in be they bad acid trips, going up against on friend’s insane family, a drug fueled depression, or the fact that for your final at this school, its murder free for all to find out who a rat is. Deadly Class is certainly exciting and it actually does benefit from its late 1980s setting with following our youthful characters and how they navigate through the world in and out of school.
Though for me I think one big reason I love Deadly Class is the art of Wes Craig. This kind of insanity could only feature his pencils. He’s perfectly made for this book. He makes this book so dynamic and adds to the frantic craziness that perfectly captures the spirit and tone of the writing and helps to really benefits all its characters.
Deadly Class makes high school interesting again, but in the weirdest way possible.
Alright yes Batman is my reason for loving comics and in many ways my favorite character, but man I too am sick of BatGod. By BatGod I mean how DC loves to promote him thanks to Grant Morrison’s run where he was an über being and a walking deus ex machina even. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty to enjoy about Morrison’s run, but I hate the image of Batman it created and that’s what DC loves to present despite that fact that Scott Snyder is doing the opposite of that. Be it when he’s written Dick Grayson, Bruce Wayne, and Jim Gordon in the role he always made sure that Batman, while he did plan ahead, was a man. Snyder writes a humanity to Batman that DC seems to be really forgetting right now and I even kinda resent putting it on the list here again, but I can’t deny that its still one of the best comic books out on the market today and the most consistent book that DC puts out regularly. There are a better number of books with DC Comics than there were last year, but they are still kinda really struggling to me and also Image still continues to kick a whole lot of ass as you can tell by this list.
With this Snyder shows that while Batman wins, he also loses in a way, particularly with the New 52 book ever since the Court of Owls storyline. From the supposed final conflict with The Joker to a new mech suit Batman, Snyder and Greg Capullo really shine with their insights on all the characters involved. The book keeps getting wilder and yet somewhat grounded too. Its balance is essential to the book and all the interactions make it grow, make the characters grow, and brings along for a great ride. Artist Greg Capullo continues to pull off amazing feats of action and nicely done character pacing with whatever Snyder throws at him. They are a pairing that just keeps getting better and better.
Batman keeps being the DC darling with its impressive storytelling and while it seems I both love and hate that, I really can’t deny the book is so damn well done.
Now I know there is a new Daredevil book out there on the market from Charles Soule and yeah its really good, but as its ben since 2011, this is the Mark Waid book we’re talking about and it finished its run earlier this year.
Daredevil has had a great 2015, what with the amazing TV show on Netflix and the equally amazing book. Waid and Samnee closed out their tenure on The Man Without Fear in spectacular fashion. While so much of Waid’s run can be enjoyed on its own, this truly one huge epic tale of a turning point in Matt Murdock’s life after being put through the ringer when with Brain Michael Bendis and Ed Brubaker. Matt learned to really enjoy himself, be the hero he’s suppose to be both in and outside of the legal system be it the jungle of New York City or San Francisco. Matt’s life was severely changed and Waid guided him through it with ease, taking good care and attention to who the characters truly are and what they mean to Matt, even the villains with The Owl, Shroud, Purple Man, Ikari, and the return of the Kingpain himself, they all meant something and had their roles in the tale of Matt’s life.
Chris Samnee and his pencils kept the book so full of great life and made for some exciting moments from characters simply talking or when Dardevil was off jumping about San Francisco. There was a great simplicity to how he put the book together yet made it wholly outstanding. It pulled in your eyes in and you couldn’t help but keep following it.
Daredevil ended maybe its best run ever, only time could tell, but one thing is for certain, Waid is gonna be listed with Frank Miller, Bendis, and Brubaker among the definitive Daredevil writers and Samnee as on its best artists. Thank you both for an incredible book.
4. Harrow County
Now 2015 was a great time for horror across various mediums, but I think comics is where it really took off with books like Wytches, Coffin Hill, and our number 1 pick, but then suddenly out came Harrow County and what I am giving my best new title of the year.
From the minds of Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook came a tale of a young girl who on her 18th birthday discovers she is that she might be the reincarnation of a witch hung by the townspeople a long time ago. What make Harrow County so exceptional is that its instantly engaging and grips you into the story. This book brilliantly sets itself up very quickly and smoothly. You get a sense and feel for the town and the people who inhabit it from our main characters and to all the people you meet along the way. It does the contrast of being one story and slowly seeping into the horror of the book very well. Bunn writes a very atmospheric book from his narration to how the characters speak and another reason is the art of Tyler Crook. Like Nguyen’s work on Descender, this book is watercolor painted as well, but its a lot more effective given its bit of cutesy and innocent look which make the terrifying and horrific things in the book that much more memorable. The charm of it really helps to highlight the evil that lurks in this book.
Harrow County is an exceptional read that just keeps getting better and better as it goes along.
3. Ms. Marvel
For superheroes in 2015, no one came close to the awesome that was Kamala Khan in the role of Ms. Marvel. Ms. Marvel is the best thing going on at Marvel as its maybe the most grounded book they have in terms of its setting and the character interactions that occurs. Kamala Khan’s everyday life is as every bit as fascinating as when she goes out and kicks ass.
This year really got to get into the mind of Kamala more now that we got past all the origin story and see her make her way through the Marvel Universe from teaming with her idol Captain Marvel, fighting her very first supervillain, and the world ending to personal struggles with her family, her first crush, and just being an average teen. The book also still does a great job at showing how it is growing up Muslim in the current we find ourselves in. G. Willow Wilson is a fantastic writer and shows true understanding with Kamala, true heart, compassion, and honesty. Something I adore about both women. Adrian Alphona’s art keeps get more beautiful with every issue. The team up with Captain Marvel in particular being a personal highlight and the final issue before it relaunched post Secret Wars. Alphona has a great look about his art that expresses so much in every panel.
Ms. Marvel is a book that is very much needed. Its purely great superhero fare, but also an amazing character piece that is one of the best examples of a coming of age story. Marvel’s best book, bar none.
Always a bridesmaid, never the bride seems to be the case with Saga each year for me. Every year Saga gets close to being the absolute best book I read that year, something else has to come along and upstage it. But yet I still praise Saga as being maybe the most absolute consistent book ever since its debut.
Issue after issue the world of Saga gets bigger and bigger and yet more intimate with all the characters that have become more and more developed. The scope of this book is only as impressive as the efforts of its amazing creators, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples to keep such a daunting task up for a book that’s 30+ issues in now. Things definitely have changed for our favorite characters recently and its absolutely meaningful. The emotional investment certainly gets tested with the latest arcs. Saga keeps up its unique blend of emotion and humor and even blend it well into the action often that makes for a perfect storm of a story. Its still simply amazing.
Saga is still a great example of amazing storytelling within the medium of comic books. Its themes, characters, art, amazement, it just never feels dull when reading and feels like it will never stop and that I’m incredibly excited about that.
Nailbiter since the start gripped me with its premise and never let go. No book in 2015 had me more excited month to month when it came out and pushed it high to the reading list. I wrote before on here about how amazing the book is and it still stands.
Nailbiter is an intriguing story and great examination as to society’s fascination with serial killers and their mindsets. Nailbiter deepened its mystery and raised questions as they answered them. No other book made me exclaim, “WHAT THE FUCK?!” more than Nailbiter. The character investment deepened as well with the exploration of the town and how it and this case are deeply affecting them into the decisions they make. Each decision made leads to the next and the next that honestly change the story and that is great storytelling along with the psychological exploration in the book is second to none.
Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson have crafted the finest horror book out on the market today. This book is bloody and raw. Its writing and art blended into each other so nicely and create the atmosphere that the book needs in order to be as effective as it is.
Nailbiter is without a doubt the best comic book I read throughout 2015. Its just excellent and you need to be reading it!