Before we say goodbye to 2014 it would only be right to share a short list of my top reads for 2014.
Once again, 2014 had many surprises when it came to comics. We got to see a new Deathstroke, and the Lobo we hated in 2013 got his own comic run in 2014. Superior Iron Man looks like an Apple product, Captain America is Captain African America and Thor…is a woman. Spider-Woman struck poses that left readers…uncomfortable…for lack of a better term, Batgirl was…a man. 2014 held a load of surprises, some of which were great reads, and made it to my list of favourite comics for this year.
10. Nail Biter
Nailbiter is a chilling tale of cannibals, mutilators, mass murderers and all forms of serial killers. In the small town of Buckaroo lies a chilling reality that sixteen of the world’s top serial killers have all been hailed from this small town, is this coincidence or is there something the authorities are unaware of?The issue opens with the apprehension of the most sick of the “Buckaroo Butchers” the Nailbiter himself Edward Charles Warren. Edward would target individuals that had the bad habit of biting their nails. Now three years later, Edward’s arresting officer may have figured out the reason as to why all these Butchers exist in Buckaroo, only problem is that he goes missing. The art in this book is dark and chilling much like the subject matter on offer.
9. The Ninja Turtles Ongoing Series
The Ninja Turtles Ongoing Series proved to be a great offering this year, new enemies were made, but so were new allies. This TMNT title has a lot on offer as it presents our heroes in a new light. We also got to see the threat that the Krang presents, they are so dangerous that Shredder has teamed up with one of his foes in order to defeat the Krang. Whilst Splinter is solely focused on the destruction of the Foot Clan, he has become blinded to the alien threat, leading Donatello to abandon his brothers in order to defeat the Krang. But Donatello cannot do this alone, he needs an army and the Shredder has one for him. The art in this ongoing is great and it lives up to its expectations. The quality of the colouring and character design is spectacular; you get to see a wealth of characters in the issues of this ongoing comic, be they mutant, alien or one of the handful of humans that feature in this title.
Archer and Armstrong meet Quantum and Woody in “Delinquents”. Two dysfunctional tags in one title has resulted in a memorable action packed comedy cross-over that will make these unlikely duos appreciate their tag-team partners a little more…or so you would think, but knowing these characters, this will not happen.
Both of these Valiant groups are about to bump into each other as they decide to take part in a treasure hunt, one in which they will need to follow a map that looks like a butt in order to find some booty. Yes, this is essentially the plot as Quantum and Woody are hired in order to find a cheek of the map, but that cheek is in the hands of Armstrong as he was asked to protect the map at the beginning of the issue. Delinquents is comedic genius at its best and it will have you laughing on just about each and every page. The illustrations are great and well suited to the comic, anf it is not a work of art nor is it too cartoony. Kano uses light colours in order to keep things comical and set the correct tone. This is an action comedy title so do not expect any dark and gritty colours in this title at all…this title cannot and should not be taken seriously…at all.
7. TMNT Ghostbusters
Let me start off by saying, this is a genuine title and not some marketing ploy. This story is set around the events that are currently taking place in the TMNT universe. So an effort has been made to tie in this unlikely team up into the actual continuity of the successful TMNT ongoing comic. How do these franchises meet? It involves Krang and dimensional teleportation once again; only this time the Krang made ties with a spiritual entity in Feudal Japan as they team up with an evil and powerful demon. The Turtles are also busy tinkering with their own teleportation device when they are beamed to a version of New York; a version that stars the Ghostbusters! The art is great. There are plenty of artists contributing to the pages within this debut issue, however, they managed to keep the images flowing so well that you will only notice the changes during a re-read.
6. Ms Marvel
Marvel Comics has made MS. MARVEL a house-hold name with an all new ground breaking version of this heroine. Kamala Khan is just an ordinary Muslim girl from Jersey City who is suddenly empowered with new “Talents,” abilities beyond her wildest dreams. Who is Kamala? She is a global success as Marvel reached out to a marginalised readership by creating a strong female Muslim superhero. This title has crossed boundaries and within a year, Ms Marvel new or old has become a strong and popular character in the Marvel Universe. This title has it all, a great story matched with great art, yet it is the character that holds it all together. This is definitely Marvel’s strongest offering in 2014.
This was on my list of what to read this year, and I am glad that I read it. Saga is a perfect blend of strong writing combined with exceptional art. It tells the tale of a couple that would do anything to protect their child. Sounds like a simple premise, but this story is told with several liberties that earned it a well-deserved mature rating. The main characters are aliens of a different race that have given birth to a hybrid baby. Problem is they deserted the army in order to live their family lifestyle and neither race is happy about that. This leads to trained killers being sent to destroy their family and the abomination they have birthed. It has everything you could want and more. After reading such beautifully presented writing you might end up feeling that you will never get a comic better than this…it is that good.
4. Swamp Thing
Swamp Thing continues to prove its worth with each issue released. The amount of work put into this title is simply astounding. The art is always of the highest quality: Characters are highly detailed; the frames and panels are unique and well thought out. The Swamp Thing series is gritty, yet you cannot help but appreciate the tortured and twisted art on display. The Future’s End Special Edition of Swamp Thing was a great treat given to the readers in 2014. It also gave birth to a new kingdom, The Machines and now Swamp Thing is tackling an enemy he never knew existed, The Machine Queen. If the artist changes, it does not matter, as it would seem that DC makes sure they follow the guidelines that make Swamp Thing work, and with Charles Soule’s writing, this title is a proven success even without Scott Snyder.
3. Batman Zero Year
Batman Zero Year proved to be a great read this year. Snyder gave us a new version of the classic tale, which had not been re-told since the New 52 re-launch. The Zero Year showcased some great art thanks to Greg Capullo and now, following the Zero Year, we have End Game, a brand new arc featuring a new Joker. Yes, he no longer has the Leather-face look.
2. X-O Manowar
X-O Manowar continues to impress me in 2014. This title had it all this year. A great Zero Issue, two cross-over events, Unity and Armour Hunters, Valiant knows how to please readers with this title as it blends flawless art with great story telling.
1. Armour Hunters
Armour Hunters proved to be one of, if not the best event series of 2014. It was successful from the very first issue as it introduced villains that not only posed a threat to Dacia, but to the entire planet. Readers got to see a great 18 issue event that crossed over into many of Valiant’s big titles. Finally the X-O Armour was put to the ultimate test by the Armour Hunters.
The Walking Dead
Prometheus: Fire and Stone
Most Impressive Debut: Rai #1
Most Impressive Art: Wynter
Most Original Concept: Chew
My Most Anticipated Read for 2015: Justice League 3000
Most Promising New Title: Gotham Academy
Best Origin Story: Ms Marvel
Most Promising ongoing: X-O Manowar
Most Satisfying Conclusion: Armour Hunters
Best Event Series: Armor Hunters
Worst Art: The Flash Futures End (Ironically everything looked rushed)
Most Cliché Comic: Death of Wolverine (We all saw that ending coming)
Most Disappointing Debut: 13 Coins
Most Anti-Climatic Conclusion: Death of Wolverine
Worst Origin Story: Deathstroke (New 52 Revamp)
Most Disappointing Ongoing: Spiderverse
Most Disappointing Event Series: Avengers vs X-men AXIS