Top ten or five or whatever lists are strange things as they only represent the personal preference of the one making the list. So there will be no top list here, but merely one of favourites.
East of West
A superbly crafted book having been written by the talented Jonathan Hickman and penciled by the equally adept Nick Dragotta, East of West chronicles the tale of the coming of the end times and the Four Horsemen who are to bring it about. It just so happens that some people do not want it to happen and are seeking to stop it however they can. Also, Death has left his brethren to strike out on his own for he has fallen in love and now searches for his bride and unknowingly, his child. Excellent science-fiction from Image comics and done so by one of the best creative teams in the business at the moment. There are not enough good things to say about how wonderful this title truly is, so check it out if you have the chance.
Kieron Gillen, the now prolific writer of many titles both mainstream and independent, broke out the creative guns when he decided to craft a tale about genetically enhanced beings in World War II. Not exactly the newest subject on the block, but Gillen went against the grain by having Germany reach the end goal first and by doing so, created a compelling and intriguing read that hits all the right buttons. Blending historical fact with speculative fiction, Uber is one of the most diverse books being published today. Featuring gorgeous pencils by the very talented Caanan White, it is not only very well written, but a story that is great to look at too. Well worth a person’s hard-earned money.
A no-brainer having this title on any sort of list as it is just that damned good and consistently so, month in and month out. It’s a science fiction tale with a Romeo and Juliet twist and takes place in space with aliens. With the freedom that Image allows, Brian K. Vaughn has let loose and has been producing perhaps his greatest epic to date. Having Fiona Staples on art was a genius move as her images give the book an edge it might not have had otherwise as well as an energy that jumps from the page. Featuring a highly original cast of characters sporting everything from a cat that can tell you are lying to a prince that has a television for a head and situations that are extremely fantastical in nature, and it is hard to beat this book on a pure storytelling level.
Unlike the Walking Dead, Lazarus is a post-apocalyptic epic where there is at least a shred of hope left in the populace. And there are no zombies to be found within the book’s pages either. In this book, the United States has been broken up into territories with a caste system in place to differentiate between those that rule and those that do not. And each ruling family that is in power also has a Lazarus, a personal bodyguard that is almost superhuman in nature and can be brought back from the dead if need be. With political intrigue and family drama in abundance, this title is riding the science-fiction renaissance and one of the most dramatic to be found.
Another Hickman book, the Avengers titles have been exceptionally strong this year, most especially the two in which he heads up. Under his pen, they seem to actually have a mission and a purpose and one that the teams seem serious about. The squads have been shaken up as well with some great characters that have not had too much of the spotlight recently such as Captain Universe, Hyperion and the New Universe heroes to name a few. His concepts leading up to and culminating in Infinity have been fresh in their originality and execution, much of what we see in his own independent books. If the majority of Marvel’s books, or any of DC’s books could be half as good, the Big Two would be in a much better place.
Mysticism, magic, monsters, and adventure – the list goes on as to just how many good things this book can contain. It is so much fun and there is literally nothing else like it on the stands today. The artwork is expressive and bursting with energy like it could explode any second should the story call for it. Chris Mooneyham, the artist on the title, is an amazing talent and his pages hammer your skull with the sheer visceral power they portray. Likewise, Frank J. Barbiere knows how to pack a script with some of the best concepts one can think of. However they came up with the idea of a man haunted by five ghosts, which in turn can lend him their skills seems just as awesome as it sounds. Creative, inventive and fun, Five Ghosts is a title that needs to be on everyone’s shelf.
Jason Aaron’s tale of three Thor’s, battling the same enemy through three different eras was nothing short of masterful. It is exciting, more exciting than the title has been in years and has breathed new life into the character. Aided on art by Esad Ribic and later by Steve Epting, the book feels epic when reading it. The two artists make Thor look like a god and Aaron writes and makes Thor sound like a god, something some of the previous writers and artists have failed to do. When reading a book about gods and monsters and the realms exotic, it needs to be grandiose in nature and that is exactly what we received this past year.
There were a lot of comics that were simply fantastic in 2013. The above only represents a small faction of favourites. Here are some other recommendations:
Hawkeye, Daredevil, Locke and Key, Miss Fury, The Shadow, everything Valiant, Fables, Fearless Defenders, Morning Glories, American Vampire, Thief of Thieves, The X-Files Season 10, Aquaman, Sex, Ferals, Fatale, Nowhere Men, Justice League Dark, The Walking Dead, All-Star Western, Suicide Risk, Indestructible Hulk, Conan, Sheltered, Ghosted