A mix of 2016 and prior releases, here are my favorite comic book reads of this past year in no particular order…
MY FAVORITE GRAPHIC NOVELS OF 2016…
Replica (vol. 1) written by Paul Jenkins, art by Andy Clarke – Aftershock Comics
Meet Trevor Churchill, an Earth-born peacekeeping agent on the intergalactic hub known as The Transfer. When Trevor’s already near impossible assignment becomes a bit too much for the errant detective, he turns to the only logical approach, REPLICATION. More of a good thing can’t hurt, right? A single clone could be helpful; unfortunately the replication process doesn’t go as planned!
The Fix (vol. 1) written by Nick Spencer, art by Steve Lieber – Image Comics
THE FIX is a story of the crooked cops, scheming mobsters, and corrupt politicians that run Los Angeles-and the sex toy that can bring them all down. Oh, and the hero is a drug-sniffing beagle named Pretzels.
Jupiter’s Circle (vol. 2) written by Mark Millar, art by Bill Sienkiewicz and Alfredo Torres – Image Comics
In mid-century America, the world’s greatest superheroes triumph in their public battles, while struggling with private ones. Social and political unrest take a personal toll as suspicion and betrayal cast a shadow over the most trusted friendships.
Teen Titans: The Judas Contract written by Marv Wolfman, art by George Perez – DC Comics
They were Earth’s teenage defenders–unbeatable and unstoppable. Riding high, they took an eighth member–a young girl–into their ranks. She was their downfall. From the retirement of Robin and Kid Flash, to the birth of Nightwing and the introduction of Jericho, to the ultimate betrayal of a Titan–“The Judas Contract” still has fans talking today!
Wrinkles written and illustrated by Paco Roca – Fantagraphics
Retired bank manager Emilio, suffering from Alzheimer’s, is taken to an assisted living home by his son. He befriends his roommate Miguel, an overconfident ladies’ man. Together, they employ clever tricks to keep the doctors from noticing Emilio’s ongoing deterioration ― and keep him from being transferred to the dreaded confinement of the top floor of the facility. (“Better to die than to end up there.” Their determination to stay active as individuals and maintain their dignity culminates in an adventurous escape.
Bitch Planet (vol. 1) written by Kelly Sue DeConnick, art by Valentine De Landro – Image Comics
In a future just a few years down the road in the wrong direction, a woman’s failure to comply with her patriarchal overlords will result in exile to the meanest penal planet in the galaxy. When the newest crop of fresh femmes arrive, can they work together to stay alive or will hidden agendas, crooked guards, and the deadliest sport on (or off!) Earth take them to their maker?
Jupiter’s Legacy (vol. 1) written by Mark Millar, art by Frank Quitely – Image Comics
The children of the world’s greatest superheroes may never be able to fill their parents’ shoes. When the family becomes embattled by infighting, one branch stages an uprising and another goes into hiding. How long can the world survive when one family’s super-powered problems explode onto the global stage?
Dark Knight: A True Batman Story written by Paul Dini, art by Eduardo Risso –Vertigo
This is a Batman story like no other-the harrowing and eloquent autobiographical tale of writer Paul Dini’s courageous struggle to overcome a desperate situation.
The Caped Crusader has been the all-abiding icon of justice and authority for generations. But in this surprising original graphic novel, we see Batman in a new light-as the savior who helps a discouraged man recover from a brutal attack that left him unable to face the world.
Divinity written by Matt Kindt, art by Trevor Hairsine – Valiant Comics
At the height of the Cold War, the Soviet Union – determined to win the Space Race at any cost – green lit a dangerously advanced mission. They sent a man farther into the cosmos than anyone has gone before or since. Lost in the stars, he encountered something unknown. Something that…changed him.
Long thought lost and erased from the history books, he has suddenly returned, crash-landing in the Australian Outback. The few that have been able to reach him believe him to be a deity – one who turned the scorched desert into a lush oasis. They say he can bend matter, space, and even time to his will. Now the rest of the world’s powers must decide for themselves – will the enigmatic Divinity offer his hand in friendship, or will Earth’s heroes find themselves helpless against the wrath of the divine?
Daredevil: Born Again written by Frank Miller, art by David Mazzucchelli – Marvel Comics
“And I — I have shown him… that a man without hope is a man without fear.” The definitive Daredevil tale! Karen Page, Matt Murdock’s former lover, has traded away the Man Without Fear’s secret identity for a drug fix. Now, Daredevil must find strength as the Kingpin of Crime wastes no time taking him down as low as a human can get.
Roche Limit (vol. 3) written by Michael Moreci, art by Kyle Charles – Image Comics
Earth is in ruins after the Black Sun’s annihilation of the planet. Now, in the last remaining human city, its inhabitants fight for survival, while a chosen few realize that their world may not be what it seems.
MY FAVORITE COMIC BOOK SERIES OF 2016…
4 Kids Walk Into A Bank written by Matthew Rosenberg, art by Tyler Boss – Black Mask Studios
A FUN(ISH) CRIME CAPER ABOUT CHILDREN! 11 year old Paige and her weirdo friends have a problem: a gang of ex-cons need her dad’s help on a heist… the problem is those ex-cons are morons. If Paige wants to keep her dad out of trouble, she’s going to have to pull off the heist herself. Like Wes Anderson remaking RESERVOIR DOGS, 4KWIAB is a very dark & moderately humorous story about friendship, growing up, d & d, puking, skinheads, grand larceny, & family.
Tumor written by Joshua Hale Fialkov, art by Noel Tuazon – Oni Press
Private investigator Frank Armstrong barely scrapes by in the Los Angeles underbelly until “the big one” hits his desk. Locate and retrieve the daughter of a drug kingpin, and he can finally afford more than the one-dollar meatloaf. Unfortunately, the job offer arrives just as the symptoms of his fatal, late-stage brain tumor intensify. Frank must find the target and keep her safe while time collapses, family turns into foe, and the specter of his murdered wife resurfaces in the eyes of a mobster’s daughter.
The Omega Men written by Tom King, art by Barnaby Bagenda – DC Comics
Kyle Rayner, the White Lantern, is dead. And the Omega Men killed him. On live TV. They’re a criminal gang, a terrorist organization, a fanatical cult.
And they’re the only hope for freedom this godforsaken sector of the universe has.
No matter what the citizens of the Vega System think they saw, the White Lantern lives…as the Omega Men’s prisoner. What they really want him to be is their latest recruit in their relentless war against the all-powerful Citadel and its tyrannical Viceroy.
As Kyle gets to know this motley crew of outlaws, he’ll question everything he knows about being a hero. In this strange system where the Green Lanterns are forbidden, will he break his oath and join their revolution? Or will he discover that the Omega Men are monsters in the end?
Afterlife With Archie written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, art by Francesco Francavilla and Jack Morelli – Archie Horror Comics
When Jughead’s beloved pet Hot Dog is killed in a hit and run, Jughead turns to the only person he knows who can help bring back his furry best friend — Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Using dark, forbidden magic, Sabrina is successful and Hot Dog returns to the land of the living. But he’s not the same… and soon, the darkness he brings back with him from beyond the grave begins to spread, forcing Archie, Betty, Veronica and the gang to try to escape from Riverdale!
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, art by Robert Hack and Jack Morelli – Archie Horror Comics
On the eve of her sixteenth birthday, the young sorceress Sabrina Spellman finds herself at a crossroads, having to choose between an unearthly destiny and her mortal boyfriend, Harvey. But a foe from her family’s past has arrived in Greendale, Madame Satan, and she has her own deadly agenda.
Civil War II: Kingpin written by Matthew Rosenberg, art by Ricardo López Ortiz – Marvel Comics
When Earth’s heroes go to war, that only spells opportunity for the villains! And few have the knowhow to take advantage like the Kingpin! For while an Inhuman with the ability to predict the future has inspired a clampdown on crime before it can even happen, Wilson Fisk has managed to stay one step ahead of the good guys — and his business is booming! But what’s his secret? One thing’s for sure — his competitors are jealous and that’s bad news for Fisk’s men. Worse still, Fisk has reason to believe that one of his own is plotting against him. But enemies inside and out are nothing compared to the ultimate threat to his empire — the Punisher! As conflict rages all around him, can Wilson Fisk stay the Kingpin of a world without crime?
Vision written by Tom King, art by Gabriel Hernandez Walta – Marvel Comics
The Vision wants to be human, and what’s more human than family? So he heads back to the beginning, to the laboratory where Ultron created him and molded him into a weapon. The place where he first rebelled against his given destiny, and imagined he could be more — that he could be a man. There, he builds them. A wife, Virginia. Two teenage twins, Viv and Vin. They look like him. They have his powers. They share his grandest ambition (or is that obsession?): the unrelenting need to be ordinary. Behold the Visions! They’re the family next door, and they have the power to kill us all. What could possibly go wrong? Artificial hearts will be broken, bodies will not stay buried, the truth will not remain hidden, and the Vision will never be the same.
Kill or be Killed written by Ed Brubaker, art by Elizabeth Breitweiser and Sean Phillips – Image Comics
The darkly twisted story of a young man forced to kill bad people, and how he struggles to keep his secret as it slowly begins to ruin his life and the lives of his friends and loved ones.
Saga written by Brian K. Vaughan, art by Fiona Staples – Image Comics
SAGA is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in a sexy, subversive drama for adults.
Black Hammer written Jeff Lemire, art by Dean Ormston – Dark Horse Comics
HEROES NEVER DIE…THEY JUST GET RETCONNED! Once they were heroes, but the age of heroes has long since passed. Banished from existence by a multiversal crisis, the old champions of Spiral City…Abraham Slam, Golden Gail, Colonel Weird, Madame Dragonfly, and Barbalien…now lead simple lives in a timeless farming town. Even as they try to find their way home, trouble has a unique way of finding heroes wherever they are!
Turncoat written by Alex Paknadel, art by Artyom Trakhanov – BOOM! Studios
300 years since humanity was brutally subjugated by the alien race known simply as the Management. Two years since these invaders abandoned Earth to return to their home world. Following her participation in the brutal massacre of human-alien hybrids left behind by the Management, resistance fighter Marta Gonzalez declines to join the new human government and starts her own private detective agency instead. Gonzalez is forced to confront her own bloody past and acknowledge the fact that the transition from oppression to emancipation is anything but clean.