As anyone who knows me knows, I’m a huge fan of comics! Marvel, DC, Indie, etc. and there was a lot to like this year. Over the course of two articles, I’ll be breaking down my favorite comics of the previous year,
First up on this list is an oddity- An Archie Horror miniseries called Vampironica written and illustrated by the Smallwoods where Veronica is bitten by a vampire and forced to singlehandedly take down the vampire scourge of Riverdale before it gets to her friends. The art, last seen in Jeff Lemire’s Moon Knight, is stark, gorgeous, and gritty, even once Greg Smallwood lets Greg Scott take over art duties.
The story is brief but intensely personal, allowing great growth for Veronica as she finds her place in Riverdale rewritten. It was heartfelt and a ton of fun (not to mention it sported a killer mythology) and I’m bummed it ended after only 6 issues.
9. Black Bolt
I’ve always been interested in the character of Black Bolt (even with Marvel’s misguided recent attempt to push the Inhumans) and with the gorgeous art of Christian Ward, I just knew I had to check out Saladin Ahmed’s take on the character. Black Bolt ran for 12 issues through 2018, and while it lost some steam near the end it consistently remained a tense, emotional thriller from its start in a terrifying intergalactic prison to its end in the post-Secret Empire Marvel Universe.
This book started out as an Absorbing Man comic pitch, and one can tell, but the character of the Absorbing Man adds so much that it’s hard to fault Ahmed for this. The story and art are both so kinetic and unique that every issue was worth every cent and I sincerely wish it had continued.
8. The Wild Storm
We momentarily move on from ongoings that were canceled to a maxi-series that was designed from the start to cover 24 issues of comics. The Wild Storm by Warren Ellis, a bold reinterpretation of the WildStorm mythos that is so boring that it’s intriguing. Even now, as the story nears its end, superhuman battles have taken a backseat to a dense sociopolitical conflict between two organizations– I.O. and Skywatch– and the characters this conflict effects.
Out of the Wild Storm characters, Grifter is my favorite by far, but even with him in the background of the book it’s such a good time, whether we’re spending an issue on exposition, violence, or more negotiations, one never knows what to expect from this comic except the unexpected.
7. Rogue & Gambit / Mr. & Mrs. X
I’m a big Gambit fan, and more or less a Rogue fan, and so I was thrilled when a Rogue & Gambit miniseries launched and offered me the chance to atone for the egregious way I missed Gambit’s last ongoing series. Despite being skeptical about the romantic marketing of the book and the fact that I’m not super invested in the Rogue/Gambit relationship, this book surpassed all my expectations and delivered a character-centric, classicly fun superhero adventure.
I was pleasantly surprised, of course, when Kelly Thompson subsequently returned for an ongoing Rogue & Gambit comic following the characters’ shocking marriage in X-Men: Gold, a series which (while a little wilder than its predecessor) carries just as much heart and fun and is one of my favorites to read every month.
6. Aquaman / Mera: Queen of Atlantis
I’ve read every issue of Aquaman since 2011, but 2018 marked a special year for the series as Dan Abnett’s two-year epic came to an emotional conclusion, the Aquaman movie came out, and Mera (who I liked arguably more than Arthur) received her own breathtaking miniseries Mera: Queen of Atlantis. 2018 marked the culmination of all the plots Abnett had been seeding since he came onto the title in February 2016, and it was all very emotional and very much worth the wait (although I still miss clean-shaved Aquaman).
It’s difficult to describe just how much I’m going to miss Abnett’s flair for mythology and pitch-perfect interpretations of Arthur and Mera, but I had a ton of fun during his run and can’t wait to see what he does next.
Keep a look out for #5-1 in May!