Best Comics of 2016
By Tony Guerrero | @GManFromHeck and Mat Elfring | @ImMatElfring on
Superhero characters aren't just seen on TV and at the movies. Comic books are where it all began for most of them. We've seen a lot of big comic events, some deaths and resurrections, and even some new volumes that immediately grabbed our attention.
Check out our list of the best comics from 2016.
10. Superman: American Alien
Stop me if you've heard this one...actually don't stop me. Pretty much everyone knows Superman's origin. There have been several amazing stories told by various creators over the years. What Max Landis does here is a little different. Teaming up with different artists such as Joëlle Jones, Francis Manapul, Jae Lee, and others in each of the eight issues, Superman: American Alien looked at different moments in Clark Kent/Superman's life.
What made this look back at Clark's life stand out were the tweaks made to Superman's story. Landis had some freedom to some moments a little differently. This resulted in a fresh take on the iconic character. Mixed in with the superb art, this is a great Superman story anyone can pick up.
9. Old Man Logan
Wolverine may have died back in October of 2014, but a book about an older version of the character--from an alternate timeline--is one of the best series of the year. The comic by writer Jeff Lemire, artist Andrea Sorrentino, and colorist Marcelo Maiolo debuted back in January, and it's one of the most interesting takes on the character in years. The story follows the character from the 2008 Old Man Logan arc, featuring a more passive version of Wolverine who was tricked into killing all the X-Men. Now that he’s in current continuity, he's trying to prevent the actions that led to the murder of his friends.
The story has been great, as Logan's journey is captivating and enthralling. What really raises the bar for this series is the art team of Sorrentino and Maiolo. Their work may be a tad non-traditional, but it is incredibly innovative and they're one of the best artist teams currently working in comics. Old Man Logan is one of the few good things to spin out of the exceptionally long Secret Wars event.
If you haven't been reading Nailbiter the past year, you're really missing out on something wonderful and completely twisted. The book explores the people of Buckaroo, a small town that produces more serial killers than anywhere else in the world. Writer Joshua Williamson, artist Mike Henderson, and colorist Adam Guzowski continue to deliver a consistently brilliant series that intrigues as well as horrifies.
Over the past year, there were lots of reasons why this series shined; however, the storyline "Bound by Blood" turned everything we know about the world of Buckaroo--and the characters that inhabit it--on its head. It turned out that a familiar face from the series is a direct descendant of the Nailbiter himself. If that’s not crazy enough, issue #27 ended on a shocking note which will have huge consequences in 2017.
7. Batman (New 52 Series)
Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo were a killer team on Batman for the past five years. Despite the volume ending in May to make way for the new DC Rebirth volume, Snyder and Capullo gave a great sendoff to the character and series.
Snyder took big risks with DC's flagship character. The way we looked at the Dark Knight changed and we even saw him reinvented. Capullo's art, along with Danny Miki's inks and FCO Plascencia's colors made each issue a visual feast. Snyder has continued to push the boundaries with the character in All Star Batman and he'll team up with Capullo once again on a new title in 2017.
The series about a social media tycoon leaving his money to 140 random people on a social media site got incredibly brutal this year. The inheritance is split between the 140 people, and every time one of them dies, their inheritance goes to everyone else. As you may have guess, the 140 have been dropping like flies, and now, there are only 86 left. The series has been intense and provocative.
While the focus is on the main group, we did get a couple issues delving into the history of certain minor characters. We learned how Akira lost his legs, and it was incredibly unexpected.
Writer Rob Williams, artist Michael Dowling, and colorist Quinton Winter have put together a series that combines social media with Battle Royale. It continues to be one of the best books being published by DC Comics/Vertigo.
5. Manifest Destiny
Manifest Destiny got very ambitious this year by incorporating the legend of Bigfoot into their six-part story, "Sasquatch." It was also a slow year for the series, as only six issues came out, but it continues to be a standout as the classic, real-life adventurers Lewis and Clark continued their journey to the west, with a little bit of help from Sacagawea. What made this storyline so incredible was the way it incorporated the legendary mythology of Bigfoot, while building on the group's journey across the country, including the growing tension between the Americans and Black Buffalo's tribe. Then, there’s the whole side story involving Captain Helm talking to a severed head.
Writer Chris Dingess, penciller Matthew Roberts, and colorist Owen Gieni deliver an intriguing and fun series that takes the incredible true story of Lewis and Clark and adds huge twists and turns to it. Also, there are tons of inventive looking monsters that embellish the scariest parts of creatures in the animal kingdom.
Monstress is a beautiful and captivating comic that stands out amidst the vast number of comics on sale each month. Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda have created an amazing world with brutal situations occurring around our main characters. Set in an alternate 1900s Asia, the world has survived a harsh war and a young girl finds herself with a psychic link to a horrific monster.
Despite the innocent-looking characters and gorgeous art by Takeda, the characters and situations get pretty hardcore. This isn't a book for the kids. This is the type of series that completely sucks you in and almost requires time for you to decompress after each chapter.
3. Moon Knight
For most superheroes, juggling a costumed life with a civilian identity can be a little chaotic. Now imagine having three separate civilian identities. It can take a toll on a person's psyche. That's an aspect of Moon Knight that has been touched on over the years. Jeff Lemire dived right into things by starting off with Marc Spector waking up in an asylum and being told everything he believes was in his mind. Greg Smallwood's art blows you away and impossibly gets better and better with each issue. Jordie Bellaire's colors are phenomenal.
The second arc takes the bizarre adventure further. With different realities clashing, the art was handled by Francesco Francavilla, Wilfredo Torres, and James Stokoe. Lemire keeps us on our toes with the different twists and shake-ups. You can't help but wonder what will happen to Moon Knight next.
2. Deadly Class
Imagine a secret high school set in San Francisco during the '80s. You might expect your typical drama, romance, and petty squabbles. Now throw in the fact that the school is one for assassins in training. The drama and fighting get taken to a whole new level.
You can't have a comic with the word "Deadly" in the title if characters are always safe. We saw Rick Remender take some big risks as the first year of the school ended, and we were introduced to some new students when the book returned a few months later. Remender and Wes Craig have consistently delivered amazing issue after issue.
Vision was introduced to the Marvel Universe back in 1968. When characters exist for decades, it's difficult to reinvent them without making radical changes. Tom King managed to breathe new life into the character when the synthoid decided to create a family and live in the suburbs. Things soon got extremely creepy and not just because they were living in the 'burbs.
With art by Gabriel Hernandez Walta (and Michael Walsh on one issue) and colors by Jordie Bellaire, this 12-issue series pulled at your heartstrings or punched you in the gut with each chapter. Comics rarely tap into your emotions as much as this series did. It's unfortunate the series was set to end at issue #12. It remains one we will continue to revisit and enjoy all over again.