We’re back with another “Top 10” from a ComicSpectrum contributor, this time from senior reviewer and cornerstone contributor to the site, Shawn Hoklas! As with Al’s picks, they’re not in explicit order from 1 to 10, but are 10 things Shawn thought were outstanding from 2015. Check any of them out if you haven’t seen them yet.
Invisible Republic (Image) – It’s hard not to write a review of Invisible Republic each month when it comes out because I just want to continually sing the praises of the creative team of Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko. Their story is a look back on the secret history of on an empire that is so grand in scale, yet focuses on seemingly small events that have changed the course of an entire planet’s history. Invisible Republic is the book I’d recommend to anyone, not only because it shows the potential of almost perfect comic book storytelling, but also because it’s just so accessible. Invisible Republic is my favorite “ongoing series” of 2015.
Secret Wars (Marvel) – It’s tough putting this one on the Top 10 list for 2105 since delays and questionable editorial decisions like adding an additional issue have halted some of the series’ momentum, but it’s still such a successful event that gave us so many enjoyable titles like Weirdworld, Planet Hulk and more. The main event also put the Fantastic Four at the forefront and had Marvel’s biggest baddie take center stage. The art was gorgeous with each issue, and seeing things like Dr. Doom taking on Thanos and Black Panther leading an army of Marvel Zombies is just pure comic book fun. Though I’m looking forward to the main series wrapping up, I enjoyed the ride immensely.
Weirdworld (Marvel) – Spinning out of Secret Wars, this was my favorite of all the mini series, probably my favorite part of Marvel’s line wide event. Not only did it have jaw dropping art by Mike Del Mundo, but a fantastic story by Jason Aaron that brought back some obscure Marvel characters like Arkon, Skull the Slayer, and even more surprisingly, the Crystal Warriors!
Star Wars (Marvel) – It was tough to pick just one title from Marvel’s relaunch of the Star Wars books, so I chose the whole line as one of my favorites in 2015. Star Wars at Marvel kicked off with a first issue by Jason Aaron and John Cassaday that sold over 1 million copies and deservedly so. From there, Marvel editorial kept tight control over the quality of each book. Darth Vader’s solo title is just as strong as the main book, and mini-series like Princess Leia, Lando and Chewbacca. All had big name writers and artists to flesh out their stories. Kudos and thanks to Marvel in handling this franchise with love and care, fans have been responding!
Justice League (DC) – Since artist Jason Fabok came onto Justice League, this book has been at the top of my reading stack each and every week. Fabok’s art along with the consistently strong Geoff Johns has been a wonderful pairing. In the latter part of this year, Justice League has been a “quiet” event where we’ve seen Darkseid going up against the Anti-Monitor! This is just one of the things I love about DC…larger than life battles where the fate of the entire Universe rides on the shoulders of DC’s most iconic characters. Also Johns has brought back the New Gods so there’s that too :).
Multiversity Guidebook (DC) – The Multiversity Guidebook walked us through DC’s current multiverse. One of the other things I love about DC Comics is their rich, compelling and admittedly complicated universe. The Guidebook simplified all that by showing us all of the “52” Earths and who resided on each. It hints at such possibility, and although I don’t think we’ll see the possibilities come to fruition any time soon, the worlds are all there just waiting to be explored. This can remind fans of why DC is great.
Convergence #8 (DC) – Another stand alone issue that ranks in my top 10, not because of the story or art, but because it accomplishes what I’ve wanted since DC launched the New 52. Convergence number eight essentially wiped out the Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline to make it so that all DC continuity exists, even everything pre-Flashpoint. Again, DC has made the complicated even more complicated and although I somewhat hate that the Crisis never really happened since it’s one of my favorite stories of all time, I love the fact that all DC continuity “matters” again. Now, what DC does with this remains to be seen, but we’ve gotten the return of the original Clark Kent in Lois and Clark so there’s hope for even more!
Black Science (Image) – While it didn’t have the most consistent of schedules, Black Sciencewas one of my favorites of 2015. It’s the Fantastic Four done right. It’s a family that explores multiple dimensions in the hopes of eventually returning home. Rick Remender and Matteo Scalera continue to show us strange, dangerous yet beautiful worlds all while playing with the simple concept of family. Did the Fantastic Four movie get you down? Read Black Science, it will pick you back up!
Vertigo’s Relaunch – Much like Star Wars, it was tough to pick just one of Vertigo’s new titles coming out of the relaunch at the end of 2015. With titles like Twilight Children, Art Ops and the Survivor’s Club, and with talents like Darwyn Cook, Mike Allred and more, I haven’t been this excited about Vertigo in years. 2016 looks to be an amazing year for Vertigo and I can’t wait to read more. Will they be my favorite Publisher in 2016? I think they have a good chance!
Superman American Alien #1 – I’m not a fan of Superman in the New 52, but this story reminds me just why Superman is so great. It’s a story about a young Clark Kent learning how to use his new powers and relying on his parents to help him through it. Max Landis and artist Nick Dragotta have told one of the most memorable and touching tales about Clark’s youth I’ve ever read, and has an unforgettable moment that I wish everyone had the chance to read. DC should give this story out on Free Comic Book Day since it’s a stand alone tale showcasing all that’s right with the most iconic of superheroes.
Shawn Hoklas (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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