I haven’t made it a secret that 2014-2015 was probably the time period I was the least compelled with buying comics. There was a long period that I actually stop reading comic books during that time. Looking back I’m glad I took that break as 2016 has been one of the most enjoyable years I’ve had reading comics. This has been a year filled with wonderful comic book releases. And with today being Thanksgiving I wanted to thank all the creators for a wonderful year.
While 2016 is not over yet here are some comics I want to give a special thank you, in no particular order, on this Thanksgiving holiday.
GRAYSON AND NIGHTWING
When it comes to thinking back to the comic book series that I’ve enjoyed the most Tom King and Tim Seeley’s Grayson and Nightwing series are at the very top. Even though Tom King didn’t return to write Nightwing alongside Tim Seeley these two series are connected to me even if the name changed. Dick Grayson is by far my favorite overall DC Comics character. And with this in mind I was not sure how I would like the character not in the role of Nightwing or Batman. But to King and Seeley’s immense talents they made me a believer that Dick Grayson, costume or not, is strong enough to strike out on his own in new ways I wouldn’t think of. By the time Grayson ended I was a bit sad that I wouldn’t get more James Bond-style adventures from the former Boy Wonder.
Thankfully Seeley has continued the spirit of what he started with Nightwing since DC Rebirth started. The series has been a joy to read as Dick Grayson has mixed in his spy experience into his returning role of Nightwing. The first two arcs were great in establishing how Nightwing will manage the characters relationships in and outside the Batman Family. And now that Seeley is returning Nightwing to his most well-known setting, Bludhaven, I couldn’t be more excited for what comes next. That continued excitement makes me so thankful for what King and Seeley have done for Nightwing’s character.
It’s no secret that I am a big fan of All-New Wolverine. Tom Taylor has successfully transitioned Laura Kinney from the killing machine known as X-23 to full blown hero taking over the mantle of Wolverine. This transition has been wonderfully handled by keeping everything that happens in the series about Laura and not just about her being Wolverine. The use of Laura’s history as X-23 and everything around that time has opened my eyes to a character I’ve always liked but never really read an ongoing of. Taylor also does possibly the best job in using clones to enhance his story that I’ve read.
All-New Wolverine is also a fine example of how to handle an iconic character having their mantle taken over by one of their protégés. Taylor has done all of this in a way that respects everything Logan has done for Laura and the Wolverine name while still making it about how that role can evolve. The story involving Old Man Logan has been a great highlight of this and gives me even greater hope that Laura can stick around as Wolverine for a long time.
If you told my teenage-self that in 2016 I would be reading a comic book starring Archie Andrews, Jughead Jones, Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge I probably would’ve laughed you out of the room. But here we are in 2016 and I couldn’t be happier that I am reading Mark Waid’s Archie comic book series. The main Archie series has been a refreshing change of pace as it is all about character relationships and how they evolve over time. Overall, Archie hits all the right notes to scratch that itch of consuming comedy-drama stories.
SUPERMAN: AMERICAN ALIEN
Hands down one of the greatest Superman stories I’ve ever read, American Alien is the perfect example of the strength in DC’s Elseworld tales. In American Alien we get to relive all of the most important periods of this new version Clark Kent’s life over the course of six issues as he becomes the Superman we know. The early issues were also a different look at Clark as he went on a path of self-discovery that included posing as a young playboy Bruce Wayne while partying on a boat with beautiful women. Having some of the best artistic talents to draw each issue doesn’t hurt this style of storytelling either.
One thing I especially appreciated about American Alien is the fact that this Superman isn’t all powerful. Max Landis built clear rules for Superman’s powers, such as losing control depending on how quickly he flies, that helps ground the character and makes it more believable that he can be defeated. It all led to one of the best Superman fights we have had in recent history as we got to see the Man of Steel have to dig down deep to defeat Lobo, even playing dirty at times, to save the day. These are rules help keep everything grounded so that as readers we can get behind both Clark Kent and Superman.
Mark Waid and Chris Samnee’s Daredevil run is easily ranks among one of my favorite creative team comic books runs. The two created magic throughout the course of their reinvention of Daredevil and his world. So when it was announced that Waid and Samnee would be returning as the creative team on a new Black Widow series I was instantly on board.
And just like their work on Daredevil, Waid and Samnee have not let me down at all. They have taken the Black Widow’s character and dug deeper into her history to finally establish a world around her. While we have seen various comic books explore Natasha’s history Waid and Samnee’s comic feels like the first time an entire franchise is being created around her.
The artwork is also absolutely gorgeous. Chris Samnee is one of the most talented artists working at Marvel and Black Widow is a perfect showcase for his talents. Samnee is able to transition from intense talking head scenes to high impact action sequences in a seamless manner. What’s more amazing is that you can get the full story by just looking through the artwork and not reading any of the dialogue. It’s a true testament to Samnee’s work and Waid’s trust in him to do this as well.
BATMAN/TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES
When I think of crossovers that I never thought would actually happen is a Batman and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic would be at the top of my list. Believing that I understood how the comic book industry works in the modern era I never thought one of the Big Two would collaborate with another company for a big crossover story. But here we are in 2016 and we had two of the biggest comic book franchises in Batman and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles meeting one another. Amazing!
What made Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles such a special read is the version of the Turtles that was used. While I grew up with the 80s and 90s campy Turtles I’ve always gravitated to the gritty take on the franchise when it comes to the comics. And to see Batman training with Leonardo, Michalangelo fanboying out over the Batcave and Batman and Raphael having a heart-to-heart were just a few phenomenal moments. That’s not even speaking to how enjoyable it was to see Shredder teaming up with all Batman’s villains was. It all came together in one great read delivered by the wonderful talents of James Tynion IV and Freedie Williams II.
These are just a few comic books that I am incredibly thankful to have read and continue to read in 2016. What comics have you enjoyed this year as of November? Let us know in the comment section below.