As the year comes to an end it would only be right to compile a short list of my top reads for 2013. During the course of this year I managed to read a vast array of comics and graphic novels. Out of the large amount of titles released in 2013 I have been given the difficult task of narrowing my list of reads down to a Top 10 of worthy contenders.
Here is my list of Top Reads for 2013 followed by a few noticeable mentions for you to enjoy!
This comic has so much potential. Read the first issue and you will find yourself gobsmacked at its conclusion. Sheltered has a way of keeping the reader on edge, hanging onto the words of both the protagonists and antagonist alike. It has one great story to tell and it plays out as though you are reading a script for a great television show. Filled with powerful and violent imagery, Sheltered is a title to keep following as it could be Image’s next big success.
9. The Walking Dead
Still the flagship of Image Comics, the Walking Dead is one read that is able to draw readers into the trials and tribulations of its protagonists. Although #118 was a rather average issue, The Walking Dead continues to be one of the most followed ongoing comic series despite its flaws of being repetitive at times. The majority of the issues have writing as a major strength, whilst the black and white art leaves nothing hidden. In order for the black and white title to be so successful, its art has to be of the highest quality as it leaves no room for error and majority of the issues have been easy on the eye this year. Even with the switch to Bi-weekly, The Walking Dead has proven that it is more than capable of adapting to situations, much like the characters in the book. The Walking Dead will have you on the edge of your seat and questioning who you are rooting for.
What I like most about Hawkeye is that it is grounded. This comic focuses on real issues as Hawkeye deals with personal conflicts and the complications of relationships. He is not a God amongst menH he is not a Hulking hero. Instead, he is a normal guy equipped with his tools of the trade; a bow and its arrows. Matt Fraction gives us some great writing about a real life hero dealing with real life problems, whilst Aja and Hollingsworth give this comic a Pulp Fiction feel as we see an Avenger doing some good old detective work rather than battling overpowered space aliens.
7. IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ongoing
The Ninja Turtles Ongoing Series is truly amazing as it retells the tale of our favourite pizza loving heroes in a way that remains true to the classic story whilst bringing in a whole new attitude to The Turtles. It is closer to what the original comic gave us and it is not a series about having fun filled adventures. This series is far more serious and deals with intense issues that our heroes have to overcome. Issues such as broken family bonds, sibling rivalry, gang mentality and ghosts of the past fill these emotional action-packed issues. No matter if the art changes or origins are altered slightly, IDW’s Ninja Turtles Ongoing is one of the best comics on the market today.
6. Superior Spider-Man
Everybody loves the new take on Doc Oc as being Spider-man. Octavius finally managed to defeat Peter Parker by warping his mind into Peter’s body and trapping Peter in his own body, the body of a dying villain. Bent on becoming a better Spider-man than Peter Parker was and could ever be, this premise sets the stage for many a fun filled, action packed adventures that leaves our villain questioning himself as he fights for the greater good. Having been a bit skeptical about this title at first, it has become one of Marvel’s greatest successes without a doubt, leading to some interesting and entertaining spin-offs.
5. Quantum and Woody
Another successful Valiant re-launch, the dysfunctional duo known as Quantum and Woody are extremely entertaining whilst having a great story to tell and sell. These half-brothers are foils of one another, in fact they are polar opposites that cannot stand one another, but are forced to work together in order to survive. This comic is contemporary and packs some of the greatest humour on offer. Great writing and visuals add to the great story, but the protagonists truly make this comic successful.
Batman is definitely one of the best that DC has to offer. It seems as though all the great arcs fill this title. The characters are complex and the reader gets to delve into the psychotic mind of the protagonist. This year saw Batman dealing with many personal issues, the aftermath of his son’s death, the conclusion of events that came as a result of the return of a madman and the introduction of Joker’s daughter. The art in each issue remains of the highest calibre and really adds to the universe of The Batman. 2013 was a packed year for the Bat we can only wait to see what 2014 has in store for this consistent title.
3. Swamp Thing
When it comes to consistency Swamp Thing is definitely high amongst the ranks. Each issue boasts spectacular art and writing with unique frames and panels. Swamp Thing’s villain month issue was possibly the strongest comic book released during DC’s Villain Month. From Abigail, Anton to Swamp Thing himself, each character brings their own to this impressive story. I look forward to seeing this coming grow much like its photosynthesizing protagonist as it would seem that the former Avatar of the rot Anton Arcane is not down and out as our protagonists are led to believe.
2. Buzz Kill
Buzz Kill has a story that seems to have the plot of a gag comic but instead it deals with the harsh reality of addiction. The world of a Ruben/Francis, who needs alcohol and drugs in order to become the superhero known as Brutal Juice, is a harsh one filled with self-remorse, regret and abuse. This tells the story of a boy that was destined to be a villain but chose to be the hero even if it meant that he would have to sacrifice his own well-being. Buzz Kill is tactfully written whilst boasting some of the most detailed art released this year.
1. X-O Manowar
This re-launched titled has proved to be the most consistently impressive comic released this year. The entire Valiant Universe has this title at its core. X-O Manowar is a mixture of flawless writing combined with pure artistic talent. No matter who is handling the art, the story and its images always remain of the highest quality. X-O Manowar is everything a comic should be; it offers action whilst telling a story that empowers Aric. The reader gets to know Aric on a personal level as you delve into the very makings of this superhero. He is arrogant, he is determined, he is powerful…he is X-O Manowar!
Hellboy in Hell
BPRD in Hell
Most Impressive Debut: Velvet #1
Most Impressive Art: Bushido
Most Original Concept: Sex Criminals
My Most Anticipated Read for 2014: Saga
Most Promising New Title: Ehmm Theory
Best Origin Story: Bloodshot #0
Most Promising ongoing: X-O Manowar
Most Satifying Conclusion: BuzzKill #4
Best Event Series: Unity
Worst Art: Solid State Tank Girl
Most Cliché’ Comic: Never Ending
Most Disappointing Debut: Fantomex MAX
Most Anti-Climatic Conclusion: Age of Ultron Book Ten
Worst Origin Story: Earth 2 #15.2 Solomon Grundy
Most Disappointing Ongoing: Teen Titans
Most Disappointing Event Series: Age of Ultron