Saturday, 5 September 2015

The Best Comics of 2015 (So Far)

I know it’s only September but we’re 3/4s of the way through 2015 so a sizeable chunk of interesting comics have already come out. There’s still stuff I haven’t read yet but I’m going to - Nimona and Injection are top of my list - so my final end of year list might look a lil different. 

I’ve also tried to keep it to comics that have been published in 2015, not just comics I’ve read in 2015. The links throughout lead to the full review elsewhere on my blog. 

10. The October Faction by Steve Niles and Damien Worm

This is the only IDW book I’ve read this year that I’ve really liked and, like all of Steve Niles’ stuff, it’s horror-centric but with a touch of levity. A gothic family, things that want to bump them off in the night, and some deliciously creepy artwork from Damien Worm - awesome! 

9. Brian K. Vaughan

Vaughan deserves a niche of his own for two comics that came out this year: The Private Eye, Volume 2, and We Stand on Guard. Private Eye is an excellent futuristic noir whodunit that concluded in the second and final book, and We Stand on Guard is his newly launched title with Steve Skroce about a war between America and Canada. Imaginative, fast-paced and very entertaining, both titles are worth a look - Vaughan is on fire (I know lots of people love Saga but I’m not one of them)! 

The Private Eye, Volume 2: 
We Stand on Guard #1: 

8. DC

Now we’re getting into the first of the Big 2. DC Comics' good to crap ratio is way off-kilter to Marvel’s! The New 52 died a quiet death in June and the DC You line that replaced it is not doing so well. 

The one (yes, just one!) New 52 title I can honestly say I enjoyed was Sean Ryan’s New Suicide Squad Volume 1 which completely surprised me. I know it came out a couple years ago but I finally got around to reading Brian Azzarello’s Before Watchmen: Comedian/Rorschach which also was shockingly good quality. And finally, from Vertigo (DC’s “indie” branch so I’m lumping it in here), was Bodies, an experimental police procedural that was clever and compelling. 

Not a lot of great stuff from DC but a couple titles from this year that are definitely worth a look. 

New Suicide Squad, Volume 1: Pure Insanity: 
Before Watchmen: Comedian/Rorschach: 

7. Marvel

The biggest comics publisher in the world and while Marvel do publish a lot of crap, credit where it’s due, they have put out some good comics this year. 

I thought after Warren Ellis left, Brian Wood would sink the title but Moon Knight Volume 2 was surprisingly good. G. Willow Wilson’s Ms Marvel continues to impress, and Matt Fraction finally wrapped up his Hawkeye run with a brilliant finale in Rio Bravo.

Jason Aaron though has been proving why he’s earning the big bucks. There was Men of Wrath over at Icon (Marvel’s “indie” branch), his female Thor series was the business, and his first Star Wars book, the flagship title in the new launch of the franchise under Marvel’s banner, is the best of the new Star Wars bunch.

Basically if you want to read a good Marvel comic, look for one with Jason Aaron’s name on the cover! 

Moon Knight, Volume 2: Dead Will Rise: 
Ms Marvel, Volume 3: Crushed: 
Thor, Volume 1: Goddess of Thunder: 
Star Wars, Volume 1: Skywalker Strikes: 
Hawkeye, Volume 4: Rio Bravo: 
Men of Wrath: 

6. Trashed by Derf Backderf

An entertaining look at a year in the life of a small town American dustbin man that also discusses the entire issue of waste disposal. Eye-opening, a little bit depressing, but vital and terrific. From the guy who gave us My Friend Dahmer, Derf Backderf. 


5. Eric Powell

I read The Goon, Volume 13 (which I think came out last year) recently and really loved it - Eric Powell in full-on whacky mode and so glorious to see! He also put out Big Man Plans this year, a dark and violent revenge story of a little person with a mission. Gory, awful stuff but if you’re a Powell fan, you’ve gotta read it! 

The Goon, Volume 13: For Want of Whiskey and Blood: 
Big Man Plans: 

4. March, Book Two

John Lewis’ visual autobiography continues in March, Book 2, picking up with the saga of the Freedom Riders. A powerful and moving depiction of the Civil Rights struggle in the '60s, March continues to be a must-read comic for audiences everywhere, whether or not they read comics. 

March, Book Two: 

3. Fante Bukowski

I discovered Noah Van Sciver very recently but I’m so glad I took a chance on his new book, Fante Bukowski, about a hopeless, struggling, wannabe writer. It’s the funniest thing I’ve read all year and a wonderful comic to boot. 

Fante Bukowski: 

2. Image 

The third biggest comics publisher in the world also tends to put out the most interesting titles and has done for at least the last couple years now. 

Rick Remender’s Deadly Class, Kurtis Wiebe’s Rat Queens, Matt Fraction’s Sex Criminals, Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn’s Alex + Ada, are all amazing ongoings (though Alex + Ada concluded this year). 

James Robinson and Greg Hinkle’s Airboy is fresh and exciting fare and definitely the best thing of Robinson’s I’ve ever read. Also Justin Jordan and Tradd Moore began the third and final part to their Luther Strode saga with Legacy. The Walking Dead (Image’s Batman/Spider-Man) hasn’t been bad either. 

If you’re not interesting in capes and tights, Image is your go-to publisher for all good things! 

Deadly Class, Volume 1: Reagan Youth: 
Deadly Class, Volume 2: Kids of the Black Hole: 
Rat Queens, Volume 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N’rygoth: 
Sex Criminals, Volume 2: Two Worlds, One Cop: 
Alex + Ada, Volume 2: 
Alex + Ada, Volume 3: 
Airboy #1: 
Airboy #2: 
Airboy #3: 
The Legacy of Luther Strode #1: 
The Legacy of Luther Strode #2: 
The Walking Dead, Volume 23: Whispers Into Screams:

1. Ed Brubaker

Ed Brubaker’s always been a talented son of a gun but for whatever reason he’s been pulling out all the stops in his work lately. His female James Bond comic, Velvet, is a straight up masterpiece and The Fade Out is the best thing he and Sean Phillips have done to date - and they’ve done a lot! Even their Criminal One-Shot Special was amazing! 

He’s not only producing the best comics at the moment but he’s producing the best work of his career, and bringing out the best in his collaborators, Phillips and Steve Epting, too. This is a man at the top of his game - check out his work for some glorious reading! 

Velvet, Volume 2: The Secret Lives of Dead Men: 
Criminal Special Edition One-Shot: 
The Fade Out, Act One: 
The Fade Out, Act Two:

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