Yes, everyone loves lists, and Our Former Dread Lord and Master at CBR, Brian Cronin, loves putting them together! So he recently counted down the readers’ choices for “best comics of the 2010s,” and we’re going to take a look at it and I’m going to expound on it where I can. Such fun!
First of all, Here’s the master list. I haven’t read them all, but when one come up that I have, I’ll write a bit about them! So let’s get to it!
100. Deathstroke by Christopher Priest. I haven’t read this, but I’m confident it will be at least decent. I run hot and cold on Priest, occasionally within pages of each other, but he does tend to know what he’s doing. I can’t offer much more commentary than that.
99. Underwater Welder by Jeff Lemire. I thought this wasn’t as good as a lot of Lemire’s output, but because it’s Lemire, it’s still pretty good. It’s kind of become the “go-to” Lemire book, though, which is weird, as he’s done better stuff both before and since. But I don’t have a big problem with it being here.
98. Deadpool by Gerry Duggan (and Brian Posehn for a good amount of time). This is by far the best Deadpool comics I’ve ever read, and the first 15 issues or so are ridiculously brilliant. The arc that Brian spotlights, “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” is actually (in my mind) where the book started to slide a little, not because it’s a bad arc, but Duggan and Posehn went too far to the serious, and lost some of the sheer COMICS! craziness of the first part of the run. However, it’s still a terrific series, and it’s fine that it’s on this list.
97. Bingo Love by Tee Franklin. I’ve never read this. Jenn St-Onge’s art is very nice, though.
96. Wonder Woman by Greg Rucka. This is fine, I guess. Liam Sharp and Nicola Scott alternating art (while Rucka told two different stories) was interesting, and they’re both great artists, but the story was just okay, nothing special. Rucka’s earlier Wonder Woman was better.
95. Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro. I’ve never read this, and I have no interest in it, because whenever I see any samples of it (including the ones Brian shows) or hear anyone talking about this series, it sounds like something I would hate. I don’t know why. It just does. So I doubt I’ll ever read this.
94. Patience by Daniel Clowes. I’ve never read anything by Daniel Clowes and I don’t really have much of an interest in it. It all just seems so boring.
93. Jem and the Holograms by Kelly Thompson. This is a terrific series, and I’m not just saying that because I consider Kelly a friend (I’ve never met her in person, but in the on-line world, that doesn’t matter as much anymore!). Some of her work hasn’t been as good, but this is just an excellent comic. It probably deserves to be higher!
92. The Manhattan Projects by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra. I really like this comic, but it still feels like Hickman abandoned it before he could get all he could out of it. This seems to be a problem with him, and I’m not sure if it’s him or if he picks artists that can’t keep up the pace and so he gives up (from what little I know about Pitarra, he’s not very fast). Anyway, this is a good comic but not a great one, so it’s probably good this low on the list.
91. Thor the Mighty Avenger by Roger Langridge and Chris Samnee. This is one of the most fun Thor books ever, and Marvel had no idea how to promote it, so it died pretty quickly. It’s out of continuity, which Marvel always struggles with, and it was all-ages at a time when Marvel definitely struggled with that, so everyone reading it knew it would get canceled, but what we got was excellent. It’s just really good.
90. Dark Night: A True Batman Story by Paul Dini and Eduardo Risso. This is a graphic novel about Dini getting assaulted and recovering from that while working on Batman: The Animated Series. I own it, and it looks terrific, but I haven’t read it yet. So sad!
89. Animal Man by Jeff Lemire. This is the “new 52” version, and I read the first trade and thought it was fine, but nothing to make me get more. I guess I don’t have a problem with it here. Of the 52 initial offerings during the “new 52” launch, it was one of the better ones, which isn’t a very high bar to cross, but it’s not nothing.
88. Habibi by Craig Thompson. Back in 2011, I wrote a massive review of Habibi because I was so conflicted about it. I’d link to it, but it was caught up in the CBR churn and the images are gone, so it’s a mess. Anyway, it’s a complicated book and I had complicated reactions to it. I’m still not sure how I really feel about, despite putting it on my “Best Comics of 2011” list (man, I wish I still had time to do those – they were fun). Anyway, it’s certainly something, and I don’t have a big problem with it being on this list.
87. Daredevil by Charles Soule. I’ve read some of this, and it’s pretty good. Not quite as good as what immediately preceded it (Waid/Samnee), but still pretty good.
86. Wolverine and the X-Men by Jason Aaron. This is a surprisingly fun series, and one of the better X-Men titles of the past … two decades, maybe? It might deserve to be higher on this list, to be frank!
85. Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour by Bryan Lee O’Malley. I read the first Scott Pilgrim book and did not like it (“not one bit,” as my daughter is currently fond of saying), so I haven’t read this and don’t want to. So there.
84. Here by Richard McGuire. The only person I’ve ever heard mention or talk/write about this book is Brian himself, so I don’t think it really exists.
83. Kim & Kim by Magdalene Visaggio. This isn’t bad, but it’s not that great, either. I probably wouldn’t have it on this list, but what do I know? It’s fine, I guess.
82. God Country by Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw. This didn’t sound too interesting – a regular dude gets a weapon that turns him into a god – and Cates isn’t a writer I inherently trust, so I skipped this. Maybe it’s good, maybe it’s not?
81. Batmam: White Knight by Sean Murphy. I will never say no to anything Murphy draws, and this is not bad. It’s about the Joker becoming sane and Batman questioning his mission, and it works pretty well. Of course, it’s absolutely gorgeous, too. I don’t have any issue with it being here.
80. My Friend Dahmer by Derf. I’ve never read it and I don’t really have much interest in it, but doesn’t this seem like it’s been around forever? How was this only published in the 2010s? Weird. Is that just me?
79. Lumberjanes. I eventually gave up on this title because it seemed to be losing steam, but the first 1-2 years or so are really, really good.
78. This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki. This is a wildly overrated comic. It’s fine, but nothing great. Jillian Tamaki’s art is great, but the story is nothing special – a tween discovers that things change in life, oh no! Alert the media.
77. Fatale by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. Anything Brubillips do is great, and this story of a seemingly immortal woman who drives men of different eras crazy is quite good. It’s not as good as Criminal – few things are – but it’s still an interesting mix of noir and horror. And it looks great, of course!
76. “Black Mirror” in Detective Comics by Scott Snyder, Jock, and Francesco Francavilla. This is an excellent story, one of the best Snyder has done, helped immensely by the amazing art (he’s telling two different stories, so each artist handles one). In true Snyder fashion, he doesn’t quite stick the landing, but man, the James Gordon stuff especially in this arc is terrifying and excellent.
75. Descender by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen. I read the first … arc? of this (I think it was only the first arc), and it didn’t really grab me. Nice art, fine story, but nothing special.
74. Southern Bastards by Jason Aaron and Jason Latour. Despite liking the creators, this didn’t sound like my bag. It just sounded like a fairly dull crime comic. Maybe it’s not?
73. Kill Or Be Killed by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. Another Brubillips tale, and another that probably belongs on the list, because it’s quite good. A dude believes a demon is telling him to kill one person a month, and things spiral from there. The protagonist becomes a vigilante, killing bad guys, but it’s not that easy, of course. Good stuff!
72. Wilson by Daniel Clowes. More Clowes, more interest I do not have.
71. Scalped by Jason Aaron and R.M. Guera. Well, I wrote about these in Comics You Should Own, so I imagine I think it’s a good series! Obviously, I don’t have a problem with it being here. It’s very good.
70. The Sculptor by Scott McCloud. I don’t have an issue with this being on the list, because it’s a gorgeous piece of work and McCloud does a lot of great things in it. Parts of it were dumb, and despite its massive length (over 500 pages!), I didn’t think he delved deeply enough into some aspects of it, but it’s still worth your time!
69. The Fade Out by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. All of the Brubillips collaborations have been terrific, but I think this one is not quite as good as Fatale and Kill Or Be Killed, but not by much, so it’s fine here. I assume Criminal will show up at some point!
68. Die by Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans. Look, the first arc of Die was superb, and the second wasn’t too far behind. But it’s only 10 issues in, and while it certainly has potential, I’m not sure if I’d rank it this high yet. It’s the same thing I have when Brian solicits votes for the “best runs of all-time” – if it ain’t finished, it don’t count, because a bad ending can really ruin a good comic. But this is quite good so far!
67. Aquaman by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis. Ugh, the “Cool Aquaman” saga. I only bought the first issue, but Johns was trying sooooo hard to make Aquaman cool that it just rubbed me the wrong way. I have no idea how good this is, but considering my thoughts about every Johns comic I’ve ever read (with one exception), I’m going to give it a hard pass.
66. Gideon Falls by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino. This is okay. It’s interesting, and I’ve bought the entire series, but it doesn’t make such an impression on my mind that I think of it when I think of great comics. It’s pretty creepy, and I don’t mind Sorrentino’s art here as I do on superhero comics, but like Die, it’s not done, so who knows if it will keep being entertaining?
65. Fables by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham. This deserves to be on a best-of lists of the 2000s, but not the 2010s. The best issues are #1-75, and by issue #100 it was slowly spiraling, and I dropped it around then. I don’t think the rest of the series recovered, but I guess I could be wrong.
64. Transformers comics by James Roberts. I have read about three Transformers comics in my life, and none from this run, so I have nothing to say about it.
63. All-New Wolverine. Beats me. I didn’t read it and no inclination to. I don’t read “real” Wolverine comics all that much, so why would I read a knock-off? (Oh, I kid. But I still haven’t read it, not because it stars icky girls, but because I have no interest in it whatsoever. Could be good, though. Maybe?)
62. Black Panther by Ta-Nehisi Coates. I was planning on reading this, and then I read several reviews by people I trust who just didn’t like it, saying it was boring. So I never did get into it, but I did read the first arc of Coates’s Captain America, and boy howdy, was that a bad comic book. So I doubt if I’ll try this, but never say never!
61. Venom by Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman. I’ve never read it, but I’m going to take a flying leap and say it doesn’t really deserve to be this high. I mean, it’s Venom. But what the heck do I know?
60. Dark Nights Metal by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. Well, it sounds stupid, but that’s mainly because I don’t trust DC these days, but I haven’t read it, so it could be amazing.
59. Exit, Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles by Mark Russell and Mark Feehan. This was decent enough, but it wasn’t as good as Russell’s work on The Flintstones. I haven’t looked ahead on this list, so if that doesn’t make it but this does, it will be sad. Anyway, this is fine. I’m not sure if it should be this high on the list, but it’s fine.
58. Wonder Woman by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang. Of the New 52 books, this probably got the best reception, and it was not bad. Again, it feels a bit overrated, but I didn’t read the entire thing (I read one arc), so it could be superb. The first arc was just okay, though, and didn’t make me want to read more of it.
57. Runaways by Rainbow Russell and Kris Anka. I’ve never read it, and I don’t have much inclination to do so.
56. Injection by Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey. I really like Injection. I wish there were more of it.
55. Black Science by Rick Remender and Matteo Scalera. I wanted so much to like Black Science, because Scalera’s art on it is stunning. But there ought to be a Remender Rule in comics: Every issue gets progressively worse, no matter what, even if it starts with a really high point. Remender seems like a good idea man, and his first issues are usually excellent, but everything I’ve ever read by him gets progressively worse, so I eventually dropped Black Science. Maybe he bucked the trend with it?
54. Darth Vader by Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca. I’ve heard this was good, and I really dig Gillen, but it’s still just a licensed property and I’ve really gotten to dislike Larroca’s art over the years, so I’ll pass.
53. The Sheriff of Babylon by Tom King and Mitch Gerads. This is a really good series. That is all.
52. Hellboy in Hell by Mike Mignola. This is a really good series. That is all.
51. Deadly Class by Rick Remender and Wes Craig. Here’s another Remender series, and while I really like Wes Craig, I haven’t read it because I’m now so wary of the “Remender Rule.” It looks nice, but it’s set in the 1980s, something I’m thoroughly done with, and it sounds kind of … well, not great. The television show is pretty good, I guess, although I’m not sure if “criminal” is the way to describe its cancellation, as Brian does!
50. Batman, Incorporated by Grant Morrison. This is a terrific series, but Brian speaks of the problems with having it stand alone, as it’s a natural continuation of Morrison’s Batman run, which is in the previous decade, plus it was interrupted by the “New 52,” so it went wonky a bit. Still, I don’t have a problem with it being here.
49. The Flintstones by Mark Russell and Steve Pugh. Hey, here it is! This is a superb series, and it probably should be higher. If you’re avoiding it because it’s, you know, the Flintstones, you should get over yourself. It’s a savage yet amazingly humanistic story, extremely funny but incredibly pointed, and Pugh’s art is great. Check it out!
48. Ultimate Spider-Man/Spider-Man by Brian Michael Bendis. I dropped the book when Bendis killed Peter Parker off (in a different book, no less), so I don’t know if this is good or not. Probably, but I dropped it because it seemed Bendis was getting bored with the book. Maybe a new character revitalized him?
47. Multiversity by Grant Morrison. I have no problem with this being on the list. Yes, I’m a Whorrison, but this is still a damned fine comic book series.
46. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson. I didn’t like this quite as much as some of the gushing that accompanied it, but it’s still a terrific comic, and a worthy addition to this list.
45. Journey into Mystery by Kieron Gillen. This is quite good. I have no issue with it being on the list.
44. “Secret Wars” by Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic. I haven’t read this, but man, it sounds unnecessarily complicated. For Hickman, there’s a fine line between “awesomely complicated” and “unnecessarily complicated.” I haven’t read this, so I don’t know where it falls!
43. Chew by John Layman and Rob Guillory. Of course this deserves to be on this list! It might even be underrated here!
42. Harrow County by Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook. For instance, Chew is better than Harrow County! But Harrow County is good, so sure, it can stay!
41. Moon Knight by Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey. Most Moon Knight stories are good, but Ellis and Shalvey’s six-issue arc really stands out. Ellis really leans into Moon Knight’s insanity, and it set the stage for the terrific stories that came right after, while Shalvey’s art is, not surprisingly, great.
40. Injustice: Gods Among Us by Tom Taylor. I’ve heard that this is pretty good, but the art looks not great, and I just never really got into it. So sad!
39. The Omega Men by Tom King and Barnaby Bagenda. This was a good comic, although it didn’t seem to get much press when it came out, so I’m a bit surprised it’s this high on the list. Still good stuff!
38. Richard Stark’s Parker by Darwyn Cooke. Dang, these are great comics – occasionally, Cooke’s writing isn’t up to snuff, but generally, it’s good, while the art more than makes up for it. Man, it sucks that Cooke died, doesn’t it?
37. Justice League by Geoff Johns. I only read issue #1, and it wasn’t very good, and I’m not a fan of Johns, so I would probably not rank this very high. But that’s just me.
36. “The Love Bunglers” by the Hernandez Bros. As you might recall, I’ve never been a big fan of the Brothers Hernandez. I don’t find their writing all that great, and their art is boring. So I’ve never really gotten into their stuff (and I have tried, more than once!), so I can’t really say anything about this, as I haven’t read it.
35. Lazarus by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark. I read several issues of this, and it just didn’t grab me. It’s not a bad comic, but I wouldn’t have it this high.
34. Young Avengers by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie. This is a terrific series, and I don’t have a problem with it being this high on this list. The story does meander just a little, but Gillen is so good with character work it almost doesn’t matter, and I don’t think McKelvie gets enough credit for the way he designs the pages of the comic, which is inventive and clever and just danged cool.
33. Hark! a Vagrant by Kate Beaton. This is in the running for funniest comic ever, so yeah, I have no problem with it being here. You should read it – it’s so freakin’ funny.
32. Silver Surfer by Dan Slott and Mike Allred. I’ve read some of this, but then I got behind, and then it started over again, and I just ended up getting the big ol’ omnibus that Marvel put out … and I never finished it. What I read was pretty good, though, so sure, here’s fine.
31. Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda. I read the first arc and wasn’t all that impressed. Takeda’s art is excellent, but the story was just kind of standard fantasy fare, and it just wasn’t that interesting. Oh well.
30. Invincible by Robert Kirkman and Ryan Ottley. I got sick of Invincible after a while – the violence just seemed pointless and cruel, and the fun of the early issues seemed to be gone, so what’s the point? So I wouldn’t have it on this list, because for me, the good issues came in the previous decade.
29. Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang. This is a perfectly fine series, although it feels a little high. It’s better than the other series of Vaughan’s that I’m sure will be in the top 2-3 of the decade, I’ll tell you that much!
28. Daytripper by Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon. This comic is amazing. It’s probably too low!
27. Building Stories by Chris Ware. I’ve never gotten into Ware, and while I own this, I’ve never read it – like I have time to “assemble” the stories myself! Come on, Ware! Anyway, Chris Ware is a genius blah blah blah. Maybe it belongs here, but I might never know!
26. Spider-Man by Dan Slott. This is another comic I just didn’t feel like diving into, and it’s kind of a convoluted mess, so I’ve never gotten into it. Marvel needs streamlining, yo!
25. Smile by Raina Telgemeier. I’m not an 11-year-old girl, so Telgemeier’s charms don’t work on me, but my daughter has dug her stuff, including this, and millions of other 11-year-old girls can’t be wrong, right? I’m sure this deserves to be here!
24. Giant Days by John Allison. Travis probably thinks this is too low, but I’ve never been all that interested in this series, so it might be great, but I can’t speak to its placement here.
23. The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard. Nope. Not even a little bit. Let’s move on!
22. Immortal Hulk by Al Ewing and Joe Bennett. Look, this is a superb comic, one of the best Marvel’s published this decade, sure, but it’s also not done yet, so I’m not sure if we can count it. Moving on!
21. Locke and Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez. Eh, this is fine. I read one trade and didn’t think it really warranted any more, but I guess a lot of people like it. Number 21? Probably not, but such is life.
20. Uncanny X-Force by Rick Remender. This is the perfect example of a Rick Remender comic, so I’m not surprised it ranks this high. Remender had a superb idea – some X-Men kill off a boy Apocalypse so he doesn’t turn into Mutant Hitler – and then … nothing. The rest of the series was about the team either feeling bad about killing Boy Mutant Hitler or not feeling bad about killing Boy Mutant Hitler. Remender had one good idea, shot his shot by issue #4, then spent 20+ issues spinning his wheels. I’m not surprised it’s this high, but I am disappointed.
19. Fantastic Four by Jonathan Hickman. I got the first giant omnibus of this run, so I read quite a lot of it, and it’s trash. Hickman dresses it up all pretty, but it’s basically a rehash of the two great runs in FF history – the first one and Byrne’s – with, if possible, extra Reed douchiness. Hickman tries (and fails) to make Reed less douchey, and compared to the other dimensional Reeds he meets, he is, but he’s still a dick. We also get boring retreads of FF villains through the ages. Again, I’m not surprised this is this high, but I am disappointed.
18. Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky. I read a few issues of this book and hated it. It was just so stupid, yet a lot of people love it. I have heard that it’s gotten better, but I’m still not interested in it!
17. House of X/Powers of X by Jonathan Hickman. This is extremely recent, as it came out this year (probably while Brian was conducting at least part of this poll!), so recency bias is in play here, but people seem to really love this. I read the nice hardcover that collected the entire 12-issue launch, and boy howdy, it was bad. You might think I hate Hickman because I’m shitting on his Marvel work here, but I don’t – I really like Hickman, and I liked him before it was cool, man (#hipster)! But this is hot garbage. The Krakoa thing is stupid, the isolation of mutants is stupid (and it’s not the first time it’s been done, and it’s always been stupid), Moira MacTaggert’s power is stupid … man, this deserves an in-depth look at how stupid it is, but I don’t have the time to waste on bad comics. Oh well.
16. March by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell. Powell is a superb artist, and it kind of bums me out that the stuff he does on his own doesn’t get more recognition, but a comic by a sitting member of Congress who marched with Martin Luther King Jr. is probably going to get more press. Anyway, I still haven’t read this. I should get on it.
15. Avengers by Jonathan Hickman. I’ve never been all that able to get into the Avengers – I’ve sampled them here and there, but for some reason, I just don’t feel like diving in head first – and so I didn’t read this when it was coming out, and I don’t really have much interest in it. Given my thoughts about some of the other stuff Hickman has done for Marvel, I’m not sure I should read it.
14. The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie. I love these guys, and I don’t really have a problem with this being as high as it is, but it’s been very difficult for me to really get into the story. I like it, but for some reason, something is holding me back from loving it. I haven’t read the final arc, though, and I’m going to re-read the entire thing soon enough, so maybe I’ll change my tune. Technically, it’s a wonderful book – McKelvie’s art is staggering, and Gillen’s actual writing is quite good, but something hasn’t clicked yet. Maybe when I re-read it?
13. Black Hammer by Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston. Uh, no. I like Black Hammer, but Lemire had one good idea – a group of superheroes living on a farm who don’t remember that they’re superheroes – and stretched it out over, what, 18 issues (if we include the Justice League crossover), and it couldn’t sustain it. It’s not a bad book by any means, but 13th on this list? Not even close.
12. My Favorite Thing Is Monsters by Emil Ferris. This is still sitting on my shelf, waiting to be read. I got a lot of things to read, people, don’t judge me!
11. East of West by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta. I haven’t read the final three issues of this, but I don’t have any issues with it being here, because the previous 40+ issues were so good. See? I still like some of Hickman’s work! This is a terrific series, and I really ought to power through the final arc, oughtn’t I?
10. Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson. This might be a little high (depending on whether another Marvel comic starring a young female hero appears higher on the list, which it should), but this is still a terrific series, as Wilson gives us old-school superheroics combined with a new-school sensibility, as Kamala Khan has to deal with being a girl and a Muslim as well as being a teenager. Wilson writes it really well – very rarely does it feel preachy, but it’s so few and far between that it can be forgiven.
9. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by Ryan North, Erica Henderson, and Derek Charm (which Brian weirdly calls “Unbreakable”). I guess I should have looked down the list a bit, because if this didn’t finish ahead of Ms. Marvel, I would have been peeved. Ms. Marvel is good, but Squirrel Girl is one of the best Marvel comics of the century (so far). It’s hilarious, but it’s also exciting, and North does a superb job putting interesting spins on long-established Marvel characters (why wouldn’t Ultron be a dinosaur?) while also allowing Doreen to figure out better ways of resolving things than just by fighting (although there’s plenty of action in the book). This is definitely a fine place for this comic – in fact, it might be a bit underrated!
8. Daredevil by Mark Waid. Sure, I guess so. Squirrel Girl is better, though. Waid put some fun back into Daredevil, and he got great artists to work with (eventually Chris Samnee stayed the longest), and these are very good comics, but they feel like just really good Daredevil comics, you know? Like, great, but let’s not make them more than they are? I don’t know, but #8 seems a bit high.
7. Batman by Tom King. Gaaaah, I hate this. I have the first two trades, and man, they’re a dumpster fire. I know a lot of people like this run, but I’m not waiting around for the dumpster fire to go out so I can maybe enjoy the comics. Sorry, Tom King!
6. Thor by Jason Aaron. Here’s another book that I’m sure is pretty good, but Marvel kept renumbering it and changing names, so I haven’t even gotten the trades. In a few years there will be a “Thor by Jason Aaron Omnibus,” and I’ll probably buy that. I have no idea if it should be this high.
5. Vision by Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta. This is a wonderful series, and fully deserving of being this high on the list. It’s one of those series, along with The Sheriff of Babylon and The Omega Men, that makes me interested, at least, in everything Tom King writes. Too bad he chose to write Batman!
4. Batman by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. Well, this isn’t as bad as Tom King’s Batman, but it’s still pretty bad. I tried, guys, I really did, but Snyder’s “Death of the Family” story almost broke me and almost ruined my love of Batman, who’s my favorite comic character (I know it’s boring, but I don’t care!). That was kind of the epitome of bad Joker stories, the apotheosis of the bad Joker stories we’ve been getting since Frank Miller ruined the character in 1986. The previous issues of Snyder’s run were not good, but they weren’t all-time awful. It bums me out, because Snyder can obviously write, and he seems like a nice guy (he posts nice pictures of himself and his family on Facebook), but man, one day people will wake up and realize his Batman run was terrible, and then they will gather around me and ask me how I knew it so early in life and they will call me “Prophet” and send attractive women my way! Wait, where were we? Oh yeah, this isn’t a good comic.
3. Hawkeye by Matt Fraction and David Aja. I really like this series, I love Aja’s art, Fraction does nice work with both Clint and Kate Bishop … and it’s not the third-best comic of the decade. Part of the problem is that, ultimately, the plot is pretty weak. Now, I don’t focus on plot as much as some people, but if you’re going to be the third-best comic of a random 10-year period, your plot should be better than this. Second, because the plot is weak, the series meanders a bit. As much as we all love “Pizza Dog,” it’s part of something like six consecutive issues that tells the same story from slightly different points of view. It grinds the series to a halt, and it never really recovers the momentum in the latter half of the series. It’s very good, don’t get me wrong, and I don’t have a huge problem with it being here, but it feels slightly overrated.
2. Mister Miracle by Tom King and Mitch Gerads. Speaking of plot, while again, I don’t care about plot as much as some, if you’re going to have a complex plot in a book, you absolutely must stick the landing, and had King done that, I would have no problem with this being #2. That being said, unless I completely misread the final issue of this comic, he completely whiffed on the ending, almost invalidating the superb work he did on the previous 11 issues. Maybe I don’t know what happened in that final issue, in which case either I’m dumb (a very distinct possibility) or King isn’t as good a writer as everyone thinks, but if I’m right, this book is kind of annoying. It deserves to be on this list, but if I’m right, it definitely doesn’t deserve to be the second-best comic of the decade.
1. Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. I suffered through 18 issues of Saga before I decided it was lousy, so I don’t want to hear that I didn’t give it a chance! Saga is the comic for people who don’t like comics and want to feel clever, but it’s not really clever. Saga is the book that thinks it’s edgy, but it’s not edgy in the least. It’s Vaughan turning the universe into a hipster paradise, with characters spouting oh-so-smart dialogue that feels like it’s been run through a committee a dozen times just to get the right zing to it, and it’s a comic where a cat that only says “Lying” is the most complex character in it. As you might be able to tell, I don’t think Saga is anywhere close to the best comic of the decade. It’s certainly not as bad as I’m making it out to be – I’m having some fun with this – but if it needs to be on this list, it probably should be on the bottom half somewhere. Staples is superb, but Vaughan is indulging in his worst instincts. He’s a good writer, but this is just a fair-to-middling comic. Oh well. I am not surprised in the least that this is #1.
So what would I have on my list? Gadzooks, I don’t know – I can barely remember last week, much less comics that came out in the 2010s. Westward is a superb comic, so that would be high on my list. Most of Bryan Talbot’s Grandville graphic novels came out in the 2010s, so those should be on the list somewhere. A decent chunk of Casanova came out in the decade, and Casanova is brilliant (it’s not finished, so I might keep it off, but if everyone else makes an exception, I might too!). I will always ring the bell for Vietnamerica, a truly excellent book that was published in 2010, so it would be on there. Butcher Baker probably doesn’t make my top 10, but it definitely makes a top 20-30. Speaking of Joe Casey, Gødland finished up in the decade, so that should be on the list. Jason Lutes’s Berlin also finished in the 2010s, and that deserves to be on the list. Elephantmen definitely should be on the list somewhere. With all these Brubillips comics on the list, you’d think Criminal – which was more of a 2000s comic, but which has had plenty of stuff come out in the 2010s – would have gotten more votes. I’d have to think about it more, but those are just off the top of my head.
No matter what you think should be on the list, I love lists like this, mainly because it reminds of things I might want to check out. The omissions and inclusions make me angry, but not really in a significant way – it’s just fun to rant a little bit on the internet. This isn’t a bad cross-section of comics from the 2010s, though, so argue away why some shouldn’t be here and why your favorite comic isn’t on the list or isn’t higher on it!