Now that we’re safely underway into 2012 (and I’ve remembered to post this), it’s a good time to post just one more “Best of List.” These were my favorite comic books, though not every actual issue came out during last year. If you don’t read comics or don’t think they’re a legitimate art form, just skip this post. The rest of you, read on!
Ex Machina series by Brian K. Vaughan. A "superhero" who talks to machines and becomes the mayor of New York City.
Treasure Island / writer, Roy Thomas ; based on a beloved childhood adventure story by Robert Louis Stevenson. It's a new Marvel Classics Illustrated!
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight (yes, even with the change in Joss Whedon’s original ending, which I’d really like to know what it was before he changed his mind.)
Individual ongoing titles
From Dark Horse Comics:
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season Nine. Not quite sure I like the new situation, but I like the characters, so I’m still reading.
Angel & Faith (starring, well, who do you think?)
From DC Comics:
I, Vampire. By Joshua Fialkov. The long oppressed vampires of the DC Universe decide to take their rightful place on the Earth and rise up against the mortals, including the superhumans! The two main characters alternate points of view. Formerly lovers, one is a “good guy” vamp trying to stop the revolutionaries, while the other is a “I enjoy being a monster” type who starts the revolution.
Justice League Dark by Peter Milligan. Various supernatural-based people who are very rarely called “heroes” come together to stop the end of the world. Among others, the roster includes Zatanna, John Constantine, Deadman, and Shade the Changing Man. Weird, screwed-up characters try to keep their various psychoses and problems under control long enough to form something resembling a team.
When Superman can’t do the job, who do you call? That’s right – these people. Reading the minseries Flashpoint: Secret Seven may help understand what’s going on here, but if you’ve run across these characters in any previous incarnation, you should know what to expect.
Demon Knights by Paul Cornell. Someone on the Internet called this a comic to read by heavy metal music, and they were right. Set in the Dark Ages of the DC Universe (and stop me if you've heard this plot before), seven mystical heroes and villains (including Etrigan/Jason Blood, Madame Xanadu, and Vandal Savage!) show up at a small town looking for a good beer at the local pub.
Unfortunately, the evil magician Mordru (and we know he's evil because of what he does to a baby -- ick!) sends his rampaging horde to the same village to pillage it for supplies. Yes, it's the plot from Akira Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai," but sometimes you can't beat the classics. Guess what the seven thirsty people do when their beer is threatened? That's right -- time for a major brawl to defend the place! I laughed repeatedly throughout reading this
Honorable mention: the Greek mythology-based fantasy horror reboot of Wonder Woman, as written by Brian Azzarello.
From Marvel Comics:
Generation Hope (X-Men Spin-off), but stop reading when Kieron Gillen finishes his run, which he’s done, and turns it over to another writer.
Uncanny X-men, the reboot starting with issue 1. Kieron Gillen’s work on the series of the same name before the reboot is also very good.
Wolverine and the X-Men. This is actually...hilarious. Logan becomes a teacher and starts up the Jean Grey School For Higher Learning to teach new mutants again. Bizarreness happens.
Most of what Brian Bendis wrote this year. If he left, Marvel would probably go under. Take a look at The Avengers, The New Avengers, etc.
The Invincible Iron Man. Ongoing series written by Matt Fraction.
Honorable Mention: Warren Ellis’s short (but ongoing) run on The Secret Avengers.