RICKLY Reviews - Top 10 Comic Books of 2013
This is tough as nails. Not into criticizing anyone or bashing them because putting out a comic is a lot of hard work. The drive and passion these guys exude...are mind-blowing. So here's a hearty pat on the back to every single creator trying to make our industry - video games, comics, films, TV...the whole 9 - a hell of a lot better! So guys, Beyonce huh? She's punk-rock, not so?
So many books...so little time. 365 days just isn't enough. Who ruled the world? Which books owned the market? Click the jump to find out Rickly's top comics of 2013, and leave your thoughts in the usual place.
TOP 10 Books of the Year
10. Young Avengers - Gillen and McKelvie. Could there not be a better creative force? These guys packed themes of sexuality, legacy and yearning for a place in the world into an ensemble that was a subversion from the Heinberg/Cheung days but with their own spin, as well as a visual aesthetic of panels that kicked so much ass, they really stepped this book into new territory. Whoever comes onto this after, has a tall order to surpass. It was dramatic and a fitting roller-coaster of emotions.
9. The X-Files - Joe Harris' spin on this book is remarkable. As a huge fan of the series, to see what he's done is highly satisfying. To stretch the branches of canon and lore the way he did while still holding true to Chris Carter's spine and essence story-wise is one of the most distinguished things I saw in comics in 2013. And Flukeman? C'mon? Who can't get enough of that? If they do another film, Harris does have screenplay chops so get him on this asap!
8. Animal Man - Jeff Lemire's taken Buddy Baker on a whirlwind trip in 2013 and with a team of artists that really stuck to their task, this book decimated hopes, ambitions and expectations in a good way. Even the 'Rotworld' crossover built a strong framework at a time when I wasn't keen on a mini-event from DC. That said, it's a self-contained, concise piece of genius. The art's gut-wrenching and keeps you rigged for excitement page after page. Buddy's family had a disastrous year and Lemire's to blame for putting them through the wringer. Let's hope he keeps doing this in the way he's been doing it. It works.
7. Think Tank - Matt Hawkins' take on a rebellious genius in David Loren as a literal one-man army has been topnotch since inception. He's a cross between Quentin Quire and Tony Stark and Reed Richards, minus the superpowers. Rahsan Ekedal's art is so unrefined and indie that it adds dimensions of spunk and revolt that Loren's character represents. His country hates him but the US bigwigs know he's too genius to have against them and when you have a man who can start WW3 with a cell-phone, of course you're gonna pacify him. Thought-provoking stuff here.
6. Revival - The dead are coming back to life. No it isn't The Walking Dead. Tim Seeley and Mike Norton helm one of the most nerve-wracking and cathartic books on the market. There's too much suspense and intrigue on tap for me to describe here but it keeps you guessing. When your town basically has the dead walking and not sure what's going on, bet your bottom dollar that it'll be uneasy with jangling nerves. A simple plot - which you've seen before and will see after - but these guys add a new vibe to it that strike home.
5. Aquaman - Geoff Johns has taken this guy and turned him once more into a staple at DC that's beyond interesting. Reis or Pelletier's art make no difference because they're both strong on the job and I hope Jeff Parker has the chops to follow suit because Johns took his origins and some misplaced angst and really proved why this is a pitch for the big-screen. It's a stirring take on Arthur as he delves into some deep-lying secrets in his abyss that redefine so much of what we thought we knew. One of the most consistently boss books that remind how good Johns was at 'Green Lantern' before he lost his momentum.
4. Jupiter's Legacy - Mark Millar is making his own universe sing loudly. Love him or hate him, he's assembling a pretty striking story here with the ever-talented and timeless Frank Quitely. This story about legacies and dynasty is sure to be one of his most revered works because Millar cuts loose, in a less-gory and more intellectual manner, a la Civil War. I implore anyone who's doubted his credibility to check this out. It isn't subtle but it turns each cog in our mind, as if to say 'Don't think me a chump!' - and Millar, well I think he's proven his doubters wrong again.
3. Daredevil - Mark Waid is pure class. His storytelling is sheer genius and he's a turbine of creativity when it comes to running on the stomping grounds of characters that have so much established pastures. It doesn't matter how big the character is - Waid will make it better. That's what he does. That's who he is. He's Benedict Cumberbatch's voice. Just...different...and in a league of his own. Making Murdock more interesting and so personal has never been an easy feat, and yet the more relatable he writes the character, the more of a superhero Daredevil becomes...and that's where the rub lies. Waid tows the boundaries of both the real-world and that fantasy realm with such ease and intelligence, you can't help but love his work.
2. Batman - Even in a year when he pisses me off with Harper Row, Snyder still takes a guy like the Joker and delivers a sound story. He still puts Bruce Wayne in precarious positions where the failsafe of 'I'M BATMAN!!!' doesn't work. Snyder constantly has Batfans perched with anxiety because even though we think we know what's coming, whether predictable or not, his journey mapped out is so moving. This is THE superhero comic to jump in with if you've lost track of the industry. It has everything you want and need. 'Death of the Family' was a grand trip but even with its average ending, Snyder was a locomotive of majesty before and after this. I couldn't ask for a better writer. And Capullo unleashes his best arsenal. Don't forget that!
1. Infinity - forget the zillion tie-ins. Forget that I'm not a fan of these big events that dilute the passion and acts that come before. Forget that these just make us spend unnecessary money. Well, hey, no one puts a gun to my head so I'll stop bitching. And you know why? Because at a time when I thought no one could tip the cosmic scale better that Abnett and Lanning...Hickman comes along, whistling and just mashes things up brilliantly. I'm sure he had help...and the writers and artists who worked on the core of this, I applaud. They did things as soundly as a Civil War fan would expect. The grandiose and regal stage was set with Hickman's knack for alien worlds a la his FF4 coming full-circle with Thanos. The villains, old and new, were intimidating and the threat that all heroes faced off-world and on Earth, left you nervous and worried. It was a seamless story that never got drab and with so much action, dramatics and flair in one, it's hard to be optimistic if the balance would be struck right. Well, they did. Marvel outdid themselves with a powerful story that even restructured and re-positioned the Inhumans or the new Mutants as I like to call them. Go big or go home? Marvel came enormously good. What a book!
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