Welcome back to the terrible burden of anybody who reviews stuff, the top ten list. This is stuff that I read in 2015, not stuff necessarily stuff that came out in 2015, because I’m not a professional and don’t have the money to keep up with bunches of new comics and also college. Once again, all based on my thoughts and nothing else because its my list. So starting at the bottom…
#10: Wayward vol. 1: String Theory created by Jim Zub and Steve Cummings
I kinda loathe calling anything “x for those that don’t like x”, but I can’t not describe Wayward as “anime for those who don’t like anime”. To be totally clear that’s only a complement, because clearly the creators themselves like anime and Japanese mythology and folktales, but they’re also Westerners. So thus its anime filtered through Western creators, and honestly I think it works in Wayward‘s favor. We end up getting art that’s clearly anime influenced, but isn’t quite that and a story centered about Japanese mythical creatures, along with some familiar settings and tropes if you’re an anime fan, without some of the more let’s say uncomfortable bits. Then there’s just the story which is about a half Irish girl coming to Japan to live with her mother and finds out she has some sort of powers and then her life promptly blows up around her (basically literally). Phrasing it like that doesn’t make it sound too impressive, but trust me when I say that while its well trod ground, it feels new and fresh.
#9: Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Oh hey, its a book that actually came out this year! Kidding aside Nimona is delightful yet tragic, and I worry that I may have spoiled too much already. But its about villains in a quasi futuristic fantasy kingdom, it was bound to have a sad moment or two no matter how cute it is. And that’s why its on the list. Nimona does a great job of balancing emotions and being fun at its core while at the same time being a kind of tragedy. Which isn’t to say it ends all sad and depressing, just that some bad things happen to some otherwise good people and there are people who should be heroes but aren’t and villains playing the role of hero and its all very personal while whole nations are at stake. There’s great personal conflicts between great characters, especially a hero and a villain who used to be super close but now are on opposing ends, and I just love that. Cute and fun yet personal and bittersweet, Nimona comes highly recommended. Also Stevenson is getting to write for Marvel now, so that’s just great.
#8: Young Avengers by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie
More specifically the last two volumes of Gillen and McKelvie’s amazing run on Young Avengers. But wasn’t this on the list last year? Why yes dear reader, volume one was on the list last year, and believe me I didn’t want to put it on this list, but damn it if Gillen and McKelvie aren’t just so freaking good at doing what they do. The last two volumes are just so, wonderfully good and do more and it all comes together to just be so utterly amazing I couldn’t leave it off the list. Once again, not too much to add.
#7: Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona
This was almost certainly going to happen, so I won’t apologize for it. And honestly the only reason its on the list is because G. Willow Wilson is just such an astounding writer who’s able to pull off Kamala’s own end of the world and follow it up with a new beginning while keeping what we love about Kamala as she also now faces being an Avenger and, well, an actual, big time superhero.
#6: Loki: Agent of Asgard by Al Ewing and Lee Garbett
Once again, specifically the last two volumes, and once again I didn’t want it on the list; at least until I read volume three, then it all changed. Agent of Asgard has been nothing short of amazing and I’m rather sad to see go, and then I remember that an actual theme in the book is how important endings are and how things always and must end, especially stories. That’s also why I ended up loving AoA so much, at its core its about the power of stories themselves and how hard it is to create your own. Also norse gods fighting off Ragnarök with machine guns. Can’t beat that.
And that’s it for Part 1. Onto the second half.