In 2012 and, by extension, 2013 we had the greatest surprise in comics in recent years. Or so I believe. Doctor Otto Octavious essentially killed Peter Parker and transferred his consciousness to his body. Now, for more than a year, the “new” Peter Parker has been the Superior Spider-Man, marking a new age in comics where a villain became a hero in an attempt to genuinely do some good. I’ve certainly never read a story like this. Dan Slott and Ryan Stegman’s Superior Spider-Man Volume 1 proved to be an eye-opener in many ways for me, and through all his appearances in other comics, I’ve definitely come to enjoy Superior Spider-Man.
With Marvel’s latest event, Inhumanity, things are gearing up for the launch of the event’s premier series Inhumans in April and in the lead-up we are getting several titles each month which lay down the groundwork. Inhumanity: Superior Spider-Man #1 is one such title that, while it has only a passing connection to the event for now, helps to flesh out the ordinary lives of New Yorkers as they deal with the fallout of the Infinity event and the Terrigen Mists causing widespread mutations all over the world. One of my favourite writers by far, Christos Gage tells a really personal story in this issue and he is assisted most handsomely by Stephanie Hans who turns out one of the most gorgeous comics I’ve seen in a long time.
A few days ago I did my best of 2013 list for the books I had read in the second half of the year. In a departure from previous such lists I divided the books and the comics into separate posts so that I didn’t have one massive post up. Massive posts are a bit tough to handle, especially when you are promoting them on social media. And with the split posts, the directions are different and there’s no unnecessary crossover.
So, with the books already having been covered, I now delve into my favourite graphic novels of the year. A post with the best single issues will follow on later.
You can check out my top-of-the-month lists on my Reading Awards page and this list is both an extension, and a continuation of what goes on there.
Let’s see what makes the cut and which comes close then!
If you’ve been reading your Marvel comics this year then you know that this was Marvel’s biggest year in quite a while, what with all the different events and major crossovers going on. I touched on this last night in my review of Jonathan Hickman’s 6-issue Infinity event. The next big phase for the Marvel universe involves the Inhumanity event, which is jumping off the events that happened in Infinity with the Terrigen bomb exploding at the moment that the Inhumans’ city Attilan was destroyed. The fallout of the bomb has spread all over the world, awakening powers and mutations in people everywhere. And that’s what the next big event is going to be about, all these newly-minted super-powered people adjusting and adapting to their powers.
Last week Marvel released a one-shot called Inhumanity which is a big tease leading up to the main event itself. There are going to be a lot of such one-shots until the event kicks off and Matt Fraction and Olivier Coipel have been given charge of leading the brigade and getting the Marvel fanbase interested in what’s happening next. Since this event is a spin-off of Infinity, we see a fair bit of recap here, as well as some big truths are offered up about the Marvel universe, truths that have been kept a secret all this time. It was a fairly decent issue, definitely among Fraction and Coipel’s better issues, and I have to say that I’m very curious about it all.
This was a really busy comics reading week, primarily because I read two graphic novels this time around, both of them for Marvel no less. I have finally dipped my toes in full in Dan Slott’s Superior Spider-Man and the first taste has been quite interesting and fun. On the flip side, the somewhat older Immortal Iron Fist proved to be a bit of a mediocre book, but no less intriguing for that fact and I’m quite interested in the character now. Other than, a lot of the DC comics this week were really good and this is quite pleasing in fact. And Zero Year tie-ins are finally over so I look forward to a month of no such tie-ins.
I still have a big backlog of graphic novels to burn through, so I have that to keep me busy further I suppose. More on that as it happens.
Coming right on the heels of Marvel’s biggest and grandest event of the year, Infinity, is a tie-in issue for one of its longest-running series at present, Wolverine and the X-Men, which I started reading thanks to another event and am kind of liking thus far. I haven’t read Infinity till now, aside from the first couple issues which I found really confusing and laborious reading, but I do plan to go through it soon since all the issues are now out and I can read them back-to-back without any gaps. Seeing the Infinity logo on this issue made me think that this would be a direct tie-in, but its a side-story at best and focused on a single character.
With Battle of the Atom over now, I’m seeing that Wolverine and the X-Men is quite an ensemble book of various X-Men characters, young and old, inexperienced and experienced. That seems to be at the heart of this book, so its a bit strange to get an issue like this, which is focused exclusively on Kid Gladiator. But all the same, as an “extra” issue, it kind of does make sense in the end, particularly when by all accounts writer Jason Aaron is bringing the character back after a long absence. In the end, this issue has my thumbs-up.
Zero Year has finally kicked off for the non-Batman titles for DC and its been pretty good so far. Lots of interesting stories to say the least and this coming week promises to be even better with Batman #25 and Batgirl #25 hitting the stands as well, so good times to be had. Didn’t read too much outside of DC this time around, which is fine with me since I like my superheroes a particular way and other comics don’t interest me all that much really.
Read another graphic novel this week, mostly to catch up with a series I’m following right now, so that’s a bonus for the most part. I’d say I have a good thing going here if I can scrape in a graphic novel a week. Could be more, depending on certain things, but I’m fine I suppose.
As the larger cosmic event Infinity begins winding down, so do the various tie-ins and current arcs going on in the related books. Mighty Avengers, a book which launched in synchronicity with the event in September, ended its first arc this week, and it has been doing quite decently from what I’ve heard of the sales for the first two issues. Of course, there’s also the matter of the exact make-up of the team, which has generated no small amount of buzz itself.
This is a book that showcases the minority characters, and characters that are seemingly overlooked by the rest of the Marvel universe considering that most of the books the publisher is putting out right now are X-Men books with largely similar teams, and Avengers books that are all about the high-profile heroes. Al Ewing has done great in bringing together all these characters and telling a really fun story involving them, partnered up with some decent artwork,
This week was a bit heavy on DC reading, mostly because a lot of top titles were released, titles I’d been looking forward to all month and so I went all-out for the most part. Some bit of Marvel and Image mixed in as well, which is always great to break up the monotony of reading just the DC-stuff. Read a bit more this week than I usually do, which was a surprise since this week was also marred by reading a really huge science fiction novel, which proved to be a long, long slog, so that’s something I guess.
Also, I finally managed to read a graphic novel, which was great. It wasn’t one that I was really planning to read, but it was on the list for a long time, so it all balances out in the end, which is what matters most. And now I’m pumped on to read more, and this week should be good on that front. Fingers crossed!