While we are still a few days away from Thanksgiving day it is never to early to look at the things you are thankful in life. One of the things that personally brings me joy is reading comic books. 2021 has been filled with a lot of great comic books that I’m thankful for all the creative and editorial teams that have worked on those titles. In thinking of those comic books that I’m really thankful to have or currently reading. These are in alphabetical order since I am thankful for all these comics that I can’t put them above one another in normal ranking format.
DEMON DAYS BY PEACH MOMOKO
Part of Marvel’s Stormbreaker class there is no doubt that Peach Momoko has been a breakout talent. She has artist I’ve followed for a long time on Instagram. Throughout the last few years we’ve seen Momoko deliver some breathtaking comic book covers. So I was incredibly happy to see Marvel identify her talents as a creator as part of their latest Stormbreaker class.
This year Momoko took things to the next level with her work as writer and artist for the Demon Days series for Marvel. This series has given Momoko her own unique Marvel Universe to craft around Japanese and other forms of mythology. Primarily focused on X-Men characters as it features Mariko Yashida as the lead character there are still other Marvel characters like Black Widow and Thor that have been adapted into the Demon Days Marvel Universe.
What makes Demon Days cool beyond its concept is how Momoko balances the storytelling between the dialogue she writes and her artwork. Momoko having control of both sides of the creative allows her to make choices where she can freely let the artwork tell the story. That makes the world stand out even more as you get engrossed by the world Mariko and others exist in. It also makes the dialogue have even greater meaning as when characters do talk or have long conversations they have strong meaning behind each word. It is such a unique reading experience that not many comic books can match.
FAR SECTOR BY N.K. JEMISON & JAMAL CAMPBELL
Sojourner “Jo” Mullein is one of the breakout stars of the last few years for DC Comics. Her character has been elevated thanks to her key role in the Future State comics and current Green Lantern series. Jo Mullein’s rise all started with N.K. Jemison and Jamal Campbell’s Far Sector maxi-series that concluded earlier this year.
What worked so well in the final issues that we got in 2021 for Far Sector was how it all wrapped up a journey that did feel like we learned all we need to know about Jo Mullein before her profile is further elevated. Far Sector really is a great example of how you can tell a character’s origin story within the DC Universe that both connects her to a larger legacy while letting her stand on her own.
And Green Lantern is one of those franchise that I’m surprised we don’t see this more often. There is no sidekick status for characters like Jo Mullein when she is recruited as a Green Lantern. She gets the ring and is allowed to grow on her own into being a key Green Lantern throughout Far Sector. Which makes her transition to working alongside other Green Lanterns in the main series work in a natural way. If you haven’t read Far Sector yet you are in luck because DC Comics recently released a trade paperback collecting all the issues of the series. I highly recommend picking it or having it on your holiday wish list because it is a can’t miss comic book.
NIGHTWING BY TOM TAYLOR, BRUNO REDONDO, & ROBBI RODRIGUEZ
It hasn’t been easy being a Nightwing fan before 2021. We had several years were a lot of editorial mandates, including the one that gave us the entire Ric Grayson Saga, that made it tough to keep reading the Nightwing series. Thankfully everything turned around in 2021 starting with Future State: Nightwing by Andrew Constant and Nicola Scott. That momentum has been carried on by Tom Taylor, Bruno Redondo, and Robbi Rodriguez work on the current Nightwing ongoing series.
What is so great about Taylor and Redondo’s work on Nightwing is how it really does finally look like Dick Grayson is stopping his wandering ways and moving forward towards his future. Dick Grayson is actually doing the one thing that Bruce Wayne hasn’t done because of his focus on being Batman. And that is using his newly gained fortune, thanks to the inheritance left to him by Alfred Pennyworth, to improve the living conditions of Bludhaven and the people that live there. It is a true progression of Dick Grayson’s character that, as Superman told him in Nightwing #83, sets a strong, positive example for the current and next generation of the DC Universe.
And as someone that is a big fan of the Batman Family as a whole it is great to see how Taylor and Redondo have worked in Barbara Gordon and Tim Drake as major supporting characters. The dynamic within the Batman Family is one rich with unlimited potential to explore and its great to see it tapped into the current Nightwing run. A great example of this is how Taylor and Rodriguez had Nightwing, Oracle, Red Robin, and the Batgirls work together in the most recent story arc that tied into the Fear State event.
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: THE LAST RONIN
When you think of dream projects you think about as a fan in your head Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin is that comic book. The creative team alone is one that fans have been hoping to see together as The Last Ronin has reunited the creators of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird along with long time writer of the IDW TMNT series Tom Waltz. Then there is all the great artwork by Kevin Eastman, Esau & Isaac Escorza, Ben Bishop, and Samuel Planta that brings this dream project to life.
The story of The Last Ronin also lives up to expectations as it is not just letting the hype of Eastman and Laird’s reunion to keep up sales numbers. This is the Old Man Logan and Dark Knight Returns story of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. And I’m glad that the mystery of who was the last surviving Turtle that is now going by the moniker of Last Ronin isn’t the driving force of the story. We quickly learn that Michelangelo is the Las Ronin, which allows the story to unfold in both the present and flashback in a way that makes all the revelations all hit. And with just one issue left I just cannot wait to see how the creative team of The Last Ronin end this epic story.
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