2018 was filled with a lot of fantastic comic books. Comic creators continue to turn in many memorable storylines. As hard as it is to pick a favorite there were several comic books that stood out from the pact in 2018. These are all must read comics
To make things fair for everyone I’ve set the rule that for ongoing series and mini-series they had to release either at least six issues or half their issue count during 2018. This means comics like Invincible and Dark Nights: Metal, which released two issues each in 2018, will not be part of this list.
Writer: Tom King
Artists: Travis Moore, Joelle Jones, Mikel Janin, Tony S. Daniel, Lee Weeks, Jorge Fornes and Matt Wagner
Inkers: John Livesay, Sandu Florea and Danny Miki
Colorists: Giulia Brusco, Jordie Bellaire, June Chung, Tomeu Morey and Elizabeth Breitweiser
Issues: Batman #38 – #61
In 2018 Tom King took his run on Batman to another level. Starting out with the fantastic Batman #38 that introduced a disturbing new villain King did not take his foot off the gas. From there we saw a great team-up with Wonder Woman, Poison Ivy become a more layered character and a chilling fight with Joker. It all culminated in a failed wedding between Batman and Catwoman that proved to be very divisive with the fanbase. Personally, while I did not like the bait-and-switch after all the build up to the wedding it did provide a strong chapter to Bane’s intricate plot to destroy Batman’s life.
It was Bane’s plot that was the real driving force of King’s run on Batman. From the moment that we found out how much Bane has manipulated Batman’s life when Batman #50 came to a close it added a level of tension to the rest of the series. Everything now has been building to a bigger story in which King is completely deconstructing Batman’s character as Bane continues to find ways to destroy the Dark Knights life. With how 2018 ended in Batman it is going to be tough to predict how things will end up turning out.
Adding to how great King’s run has been in 2018 was the fantastic line-up of artists that DC Comics gave him to work with. Mikel Janin was a consistent force during King’s 2018 run, providing excellent artwork for the major Bane-focused chapters. Along the way King also was able to have Travis Moore, Joelle Jones, Tony S. Daniel, Lee Weeks, Jorge Fornes and Matt Wagner to provide his writing even more excellent artwork that enhanced all of his stories.
Writer: Charles Soule and Christos Gage
Artists: Stefano Landini, Ron Garney, Mike Perkins, Mike Henderson and Phil Noto
Colorists: Matt Milla
Issues: Daredevil #597 – #612
When it comes to comics that overlooked Daredevil falls on that list. With all the things going on at Marvel that was an easy thing to happen. But much like his predecessors Charles Soule made Daredevil consistently one of the best comics that Marvel released during 2018.
What made Soule’s run work on Daredevil in 2018 standout in particular was the direction he took Matt Murdock. For a long time Daredevil was the ultimate solo hero in the Marvel Universe. He rarely ever accepted the help of others and when he did it was usually because he had no other option. Soule changed that as Daredevil actively recruited others, from his Defenders teammates to a new class of heroes, to help him.
Though positioning Daredevil in a leadership position was odd it all worked organically into the story Soule crafted around the Mayor Wilson Fisk and Hand plotlines. Both plots pushed Daredevil to make decisions that tested all of his abilities in and out of costume. It all led to an interesting ending to Soule’s run as he took things to the next level by showcasing Daredevil’s mortality. With how things ended Soule left a lot of room for Chip Zdarsky to explore the the world around Daredevil in a memorable way.
HAL JORDAN AND THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS
Writer: Robert Venditti
Artists: Jack Herbert, Jose Luis, Rafa Sandoval, Ethan Van Sciver, Brandon Peterson, Clayton Henry
Inkers: Jack Herbert, Mick Grey, Cam Smith, Jordi Tarragona
Colorists: Jason Wright, Tomeu Morey, Jason Wright, Ivan Plascencia
Issues: Hal Jordan And The Green Lantern Corps #36 – #50
Robert Venditti kicked off 2018 in a major way for Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps as Ganthet and the Guardians of the Universe returned to their positions as shepards for the universe. Considering how long the Green Lantern Corps have been functioning without the Guardians around this was a major shake-up to the status quo. Venditti used this start to the year to set the table for the remainder of his run that would end with Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #50.
What made 2018 memorable for this series was how Venditti used the four Earth Green Lanterns throughout his run. Even with the Guardians returning to their seats of power John Stewart was still the unquestioned leader of the Green Lantern Corps. Even with powerful foes such as the House of Zod and Darkstars to contend with John was the steady hand that the Green Lantern Corps needed during this period as leader.
The same goes for Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner and Guy Gardner. Obviously with his name on the title Hal Jordan had a lot of major moments as he was directly in the middle of major fights with General Zod and the Darkstars throughout the year. Kyle Rayner was right behind him as Venditti developed the partnership between Hal and Kyle during this time, something that had not been explored in depth previously.
While Guy was sort of the odd man out Venditti still was able to dedicate some development time to his character as Guy’s origin was modernized during the Darkstars conflict. Along with exploring Guy’s past Venditti also developed his relationship with Arkillo as they went from bitter enemies to best friends. All of this development culminated in a fantastic close to Venditti’s run, solidifying this series as a comic that every Green Lantern must read.
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artists: Bruno Redondo, Mike S. Miller and Daniel Sampere
Inkers: Juan Albarran
Colorists: Rex Lokus and J. Nanjan
Issues: Injustice 2 Chapter #39 – #72 & Injustice 2 Annual #2
Entering into the final year of setting up the world around the Injustice 2 video game Tom Taylor was able to continue to explore the world post-Superman’s Regime. With this year’s chapters of the Injustice 2 comic Taylor set the stage for where we saw Batman’s Justice League, Wonder Woman and Supergirl at when the game began. While there were some restraints Taylor was still able to freely explore a different type of DC Universe. Without Superman around there was no one the DCU heroes could turn to that could guarantee victory. That lead to heightened danger when threats like Amazo appeared.
What made this final year of Injustice 2 even better was how deep Taylor went into exploring so many different DCU characters. Obvious characters such as Batman, Wonder Woman and Supergirl were all given big moments in various chapters of the comic. At the same time Taylor was able to dedicate time to lesser known characters and give them major spotlights. I won’t spoil what happened but the way Taylor showcased various relationships within the Injustice Universe made everything that took place have greater emotional weight. The annual issue that was a good, character focused story that properly set the stage for where Injustice 2 video game starts.
Writer: Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV
Artists: Jim Cheung, Jorge Jimenez, Doug Mahnke, Mikel Janin, Francis Manapul, Frazer Irving, Bruno Redondo, Guillem March and Stephen Segovia
Inkers: Mark Morales, Jaime Mendoza, Wil Quintana and Stephen Segovia
Colorists: Tomeu Morey, Alejandro Sanchez, Jeremy Cox, Frazer Irving and Sunny Gho
Issues: Justice League #1 – #14
After wrapping up the Dark Nights: Metal and No Justice events Scott Snyder went right into Justice League. From the get-go Snyder got across how every issue of Justice League would feel like a big event. As DC Comics premiere title that is exactly how Justice League should be. No matter what else is going on in the DCU you can read Snyder’s Justice League and have your fill of big superhero adventures.
What made things even better was that Snyder, along with long-time Batman collaborator James Tynion IV, worked on developing the Legion of Doom at the same time as the Justice League battled the threats from the Source Wall. Throughout the first 14 issues Snyder and Tynion were able to show how both the Justice League and Legion of Doom were always on the same level. As the Justice League were dealing with one major universe shattering crisis after another the Legion of Doom power continued to rise. It got to the point that now because of how Lex Luthor has decided to elevate the Legion of Doom he is now dealing with the internal drama of that hunt for power.
With all of the great developments occurring in Justice League the series also featured phenomenal artwork from Jim Cheung, Jorge Jimenez, Doug Mahnke, Mikel Janin, Francis Manapul, Frazer Irving, Bruno Redondo, Guillem March and Stephen Segovia. Having all those big name artists working on issues of Justice League further elevated the big event feel of every issue. Even with the different styles all of the artists working on Justice League have been able to maintain the tone Snyder set for the series.
MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS
Writer: Kyle Higgins and Ryan Ferrier
Artists: Jonas Scharf, Daniele Di Nicuolo, Diego Galindo and Bachan
Inkers: Jagdish Kumar and Simona Di Gianfelice
Colorists: Joana Lafuente, Walter Baiamonte, Marcelo Costa and Jeremy Lawson
Issues: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #23 – #30 and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Shattered Grid #1
2018 was one of the biggest years in the Power Rangers history. For all the stories that has been told within the franchise it may never get bigger than Shattered Grid. From the time Drakkon, the evil alternate universe version of Tommy Oliver, appeared on screen fans knew there was something big in store for the character. That all paid off with how Shattered Grid began with the death of Tommy Oliver at the hands of Drakkon.
The way Shattered Grid opened was why Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #25 was one of the best single issues of the year. From there the rest of the event was phenomenal. Even though there were many Power Ranger teams I had zero familiarity with Higgins made me a fan of many of them. The Red Samurai Ranger Lauren Shiba was a great example of that.
What made it all better was how Higgins paid off all the character development time he put into each of the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Each of the original six got a major moment in the story. The event had everything, from Jason Scott delivering a motivational speech to all of the Power Rangers in history to Kimberly Hart getting payback on Drakkon to Tommy and Drakkon’s final fight. Each moment was great and culminated in a strong end to Higgins’ run on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
ROGUE & GAMBIT
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Pere Perez
Colorist: Frank D’Armata
Issues: Rogue & Gambit #1 – #5
Rogue & Gambit was one of the pleasant surprises of 2018. Kelly Thompson, Pere Perez and Frank D’Armata delivered a mini-series that showcased why Rogue & Gambit can carry their own title. That effort paid off well as Marvel gave Thompson an ongoing series starring both characters in the form of Mr. & Mrs. X.
What was particularly fun about Rogue & Gambit is that Thompson did not run away from dealing with the history of this pairing. Instead she had Rogue and Gambit deal directly with the fact that they have been in an on-again-off-again relationship for as long as they’ve been around each other. Framing the entire mini-series around that propelled the story forward to make it much stronger even with a generic villain. By the end both Rogue and Gambit come out of things stronger together, building the foundation for their future marriage in the second half of 2018.