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CBR’s Top 100 Comics of 2014: #50-26

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Each year, CBR takes stock of the comic book industry’s multitude of offerings and polls the site’s passionate and thoughtful staff — including editors, reporters, reviewers, columnists and bloggers — for their picks of the top comics of the year. Every publisher putting out new comics material, regardless of genre or format, is fair game; and each individual list is then factored in (thank you, spreadsheets!) to determine the overall Top 100 that’s being unveiled on CBR this week.

2014 was another record year for the Top 100, with more than 50 contributors to the list, and more than 200 comics nominated. The end result is as diverse of a list as you’d expect, with superhero mainstays standing along creator-owned favorites; publishing giants sharing space with self-published digital works. While no list can be an exhaustive collection of every noteworthy piece of work released in a year, the end result of the CBR Top 100 is a wide smattering of eclectic choices worthy of attention.

Last Friday, we started unveiling the list with entries #100 to 76; things continued Monday with #75 to 51. Here’s the next chunk of our staff-selected ranking: 50-26. Keep in mind, there were quite a few high-quality comics that just barely missed the cutoff of the Top 100, but Team CBR is confident that the books ranked on the list represent some of the very best comics on the market today. Also, a caveat: Seeing as how writer Jason Aaron’s story in “Thor: God of Thunder” continued directly into the relaunched “Thor,” votes for both series were counted together for the purpose of this list. (The same logic was used for another series in a similar situation that’ll be in the next rollout of the countdown — go ahead and speculate!)

Start perusing the latest quarter of the list below, and why not take to Twitter and discuss your thoughts using the hashtag #cbrtop100.Check back early Wednesday for #25-11 of the CBR Top 100 Comics of 2014, and later that day for the big reveal of the Top 10. While you’re in the mood, feel free to revisit our Top 100 lists from previous years:

CBR’s Top 100 Comics of 2014: 100 -> 76 | 75 -> 51 | 50 -> 26 | 25 -> 11 | 10 -> 1


50. Through the Woods

Written & Drawn by Emily Carroll

Published by Margaret McElderry Books

“Carroll is an absolute master when it comes to bending the limitations of webcomics to her advantage — using the way people read to maximize her horror impact. However, she’s equally skilled when it comes to translating those same stories to print. Negative space and the flow of text are particularly well handled and will up your terror level significantly. For any fan of dark fairy tales, Carroll’s stories will take your breath away with a taste of sweet and a whole lot darkness. Carroll’s sensibility has always trended to the macabre, and her execution — the colors she chooses, the poetry of her words, how she structures her panels and her text — is nothing short of masterful.”

— Comics Should Be Good writer Kelly Thompson

“No matter the medium, Emily Carroll’s short horror tales and dark fables are masterfully crafted but effortless to read. Her first print collection is no exception, as her previous webcomic ‘Face All Red,’ and the new stories included in this collection, all translate just as effectively to the page. Carroll’s stories creep out of the shadows and get right under your skin.”

— CBR Contributing Writer Ryan Ingram


49. Bitch Planet

Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick

Art by Valentine De Landro

Published by Image Comics

“The first issue of this new series by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro was one of the most exciting and evocative moments of 2014. Not only did it have the classic earmarks of a great comic — awesome art, unique story, captivating characters — but after a year of such hostility in the comics and gaming industry, this story was exactly what I needed to remind me why I’m part of nerd culture. Fresh, stylish and achingly sharp-witted, ‘Bitch Planet’ was my favorite comic of 2014.”

— CBR Staff Writer Casey Gilly

“Never would I have imagined putting a single issue on my best of the year list, but this was not only the best single comic book I read all year, but maybe the best I’ve read in years. A perfect fusion of tone, style, voice, politics and the comics medium, DeConnick and De Landro have not only delivered a perfect first issue — which is always a huge challenge — but they’ve delivered a damn masterpiece. A boldly feminist book that cares not for your wimpy protests, the book somehow manages to be political and important and yet never feels preachy, subverting all of expectations at every turn. In fact, though I won’t spoil it, the storytelling is some of the deftest and most surprising I’ve ever encountered in a single comic.”

— Comics Should Be Good writer Kelly Thompson

“How does a single issue launch a series into a year’s Best Of list? By kicking a door down and demanding a spot, which is what writer Kelly Sue DeConnick and artist Valentine De Landro did. In this single issue, DeConnick tackled feminism, inequality, police brutality, corporate corruption and multiple types of diversity against a frighteningly plausible, futuristic backdrop and does not shrink from any of it. And De Landro draws some of the best afros in comics.”

— CBR Contributor Tamara Brooks


48. Over Easy

Written & Drawn by Mimi Pond

Published by Drawn & Quarterly

“This graphic novel captures perfectly the era just after the 1960s, when, as Mimi Pond puts it, ‘Watergate had turned political ideals into a joke, and everyone was just treading bong water.’ She uses that transitional era as the setting for her own story of breaking away from life as an art student to take a job as a waitress in a diner filled with crazy, quirky characters — and eventually being accepted as one of their own.”

— CBR Contributing Writer Brigid Alverson

“It seems like every year, comics reaches into its overlooked past and offers up a personal work from a creator who’s been holding on to a story only he or she can tell. In 2014, the honor went to Mimi Pond, and boy, did she deserve the spotlight. Joining the ranks of Allison Bechdel, Lynda Barry, David Mazzucchelli and other cartooning veterans ready to tackle an ambitious graphic novel, Pond turns a lifetime of storytelling into a project both personal and historically significant. ‘Over Easy’ hums with strange characters too true to be fictional and tackles the cultural malaise of the 1970s with a keen eye. We’re lucky to have her in our ranks and should be eagerly awaiting book two.”

— CBR Staff Writer Kiel Phegley


47. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

Art by Robert Hack

Published by Archie Comics

“It’s tough for any horror comic to compete with ‘Afterlife With Archie’ — so when ‘The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ was announced, it was a pretty neat trick for Archie to compete with itself. That said, ‘Sabrina’ evokes all the best aspects of classic EC horror comics while having an unquestionably modern approach to the format. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has a fresh — if terrifying — take on the character, and Robert Hack’s depiction of the character and world is just as essential to ‘Sabrina’ as Francesco Francavilla’s is to ‘Afterlife.’ A fantastic debut in 2014, easily one of the best of the year.”

— CBR Staff Writer/Reviews Editor Steve Sunu


46. The Mercenary Sea

Written by Kel Symons

Art by Mathew Reynolds

Published by Image Comics

“Imagine ‘Firefly’ if it was set in a submarine during the days leading up to World War II. Yes, Symons and Reynolds’ ‘The Mercenary Sea’ is that cool. The creators have packed their series with fascinating, roguish characters and routinely embroil their cast in beautifully drawn and insanely fun high adventure tales. Making the series even more fascinating is an Indiana Jones-style reoccurring plot line involving the hunt for a mysterious and fabled island.”

— CBR Staff Writer Dave Richards

“The spiritual successor to ‘Corto Maltese’ and a welcome ‘Johnny Quest’-esque cousin, ‘The Mercenary Sea’ brings adventure back to comics.”

— CBR Contributing Writer Erik Amaya


45. Black Widow

Written by Nathan Edmondson

Art by Phil Noto

Published by Marvel Comics

“Phil. Noto. Your favorite innovative and fashion-forward pin-up artist quickly evolved into one of the best storytellers and action choreographers working in comics today. Noto’s evocative artwork and Nathan Edmondson’s engaging unfolding narrative combined to form a book that is smart, efficient and goes right in for the kill. This is the series that Black Widow was created to star in.”

— CBR Assistant Editor/Columnist Brett White

“Natasha Romanoff has always been a woman of few words, so it’s an impeccable choice on Edmondson and Noto’s part that they let her actions to the speaking. ‘Black Widow’ is a stealthy series with its clipped dialogue and understated artwork, often taking place apart from the larger events of the Marvel Universe. As a spy book, the series thrives on its own, painting a deliciously gray world through which Natasha navigates. Deft and subtle, ‘Black Widow’ is a comic after the character’s own heart.”

— CBR Reviewer Meagan Damore


44. Mind MGMT

Written & Drawn by Matt Kindt

Published by Dark Horse Comics

“Imagine if Umberto Eco wrote comics. And he could paint with water colors, too. That’s Matt Kindt’s ‘MIND MGMT.’ Kindt swings the artistic pendulum of his mind-bending thriller in one direction for a time but just as quickly, inertia (and his mastery) launches the drama in another direction and we all hang on for dear life. At least, that’s what Kindt is making us think is happening.”

— CBR Staff Writer Jeffrey Renaud

“Matt Kindt’s masterpiece just continues to get more and more complicated as we follow him down the rabbit hole of Mind Management, as the cast of characters continues to grow and the story keeps on building on itself. It is hard to believe there’s only one year left of this amazing series.”

— Comics Should Be Good editor Brian Cronin


43. Zero

Written by Ales Kot

Art by Will Tempest, Vanesa R. Del Rey, Matthew Taylor, Jorge Coelho, Tonci Zonjic, Michael Gaydos, Ricardo Lopez Ortiz, Adam Gorham, Alberto Ponticelli

Published by Image Comics

“My feelings on ‘Zero’ are complicated. It’s a comic that I don’t necessarily enjoy reading, because it’s hard to take sometimes. It’s hard to wallow in this world, especially when Ales Kot and an amazing array of artists seem intent on making it as horrible and disturbing as possible. But, there are also moments of beauty and joy that make it easier. Nonetheless, every issue is a surprise and so engaging that rarely do I stop thinking about it after I put it down. It’s a haunting work — and I like it.”

— Comics Should Be Good writer Chad Nevett

“Gut-wrenching and ever-evolving, ‘Zero’ is a testament to the power of the medium. Its spare scripts and incredible artists invariably leave me blasted and speechless. I once lent it to a friend, explaining it was a series about spies, and when he brought it back, he complained, ‘Spy books aren’t supposed to make you cry!’ (And then asked for the next volume.)”

— CBR Reviewer Marykate Jasper


42. Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man

Written by Brian Michael Bendis

Art by David Marquez

Published by Marvel Comics

“The constant attempts at reinvigorating the Ultimate line have left the franchise a shell of its former self, but this book has quietly continued apace, creating issue after issue of rich character work. Bendis finds ways to continually surprise us, as he brought back Peter and Norman in a way that didn’t lessen their deaths and gave Pete the happy ending he’s never been able to have before now. Miles came out of the situation a stronger hero for it, and what more can you ask for than that?”

— CBR Reviewer Matt Little

“”Bendis never disappoints. So much so that ‘Bendis Never Disappoints’ should be on a t-shirt, one that’s black, extra large, and sent to my home address for safe keeping. What he’s been doing lately with Miles and Spider-Man has been inspired, and Marquez has matched him step-for-step with his art. Not a dull page in these books.”

— CBR Contributor Paul Semel


41. Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir

Written & Drawn by Liz Prince

Published by Zest Books

“Liz Prince’s memoir about gender identity is charming, funny, heartbreaking and relatable. Prince relates the experience of rebelling against the ‘girly girl’ stereotype from the ground level, but she also seamlessly incorporates more philosophical discussions of the concept of gender identity and societal expectations.”

— CBR Contributor Cardner Clark

“Since her slice-of-life debut, ‘Will You Still Love Me If I Wet The Bed?’ I’ve been waiting for Liz Prince to deliver a longer-form comic. After almost a decade, ‘Tomboy’ delivers on the promise of her talent in more ways than one. With a finer line that still fits with her recognizable sketchbook style and a moments that are at turns funny and bittersweet, this memoir has the hallmarks of her indie roots. But what really makes the comic work is the way it approaches gender pressure (still one of the most misunderstood and overlooked social issues for young people) with a light hand. ‘Tomboy’ never makes demands of its reader but instead tells a difficult story with empathy and heart — the surest way to connect its message with readers.”

— CBR Staff Writer Kiel Phegley

“Liz Prince’s autobiographical comic about feeling different while growing up appeals to every outsider, not just girls who associated more with a more boy-coded lifestyle growing up in the ’80s and ’90s. ‘Tomboy’ drew me in with ‘Battle Beast’ and ‘Ghostbusters’ references and then took me on an emotional rollercoaster ride that ended on a positive note.”

— CBR Staff Writer TJ Dietsch


40. Gotham Academy

Written by Becky Cloonan & Brenden Fletcher

Art by Karl Kerschl

Published by DC Comics

“‘Gotham Academy’ arrived in readers’ hands a fully formed and beautifully conceived thing — a book needed and wanted by so many of us. One part Batman, one part Harry Potter, one part something entirely new, this is a perfect merging of the best comics has to offer; for both new and old fans alike. The YA sensibility, the sense of fun even in the dark world that is Gotham, and the smooth gorgeous visuals are all as close to perfection as I would ever dare to dream. DC has found a dream team in Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher and Karl Kerschl, and I hope they don’t let them get away anytime soon.”

— Comics Should Be Good writer Kelly Thompson

“When ‘Gotham Academy’ was announced, my first reaction was something along the lines of, ‘Ugh, not another Bat-book!’ Cloonan, Fletcher and Kerschl could not have proved me more wrong with this adorable boarding school tale set in the heart of the DC Universe. As DC moves away from its gritty house theme, this creative team works wonders to give us a vivid, Hogwarts-like setting, complete with ancient architecture and haunted halls. ‘Gotham Academy’ introduces a slew of fun new characters and brings them together under an intriguing core mystery. Cloonan, Fletcher and Kerschl craft an approachable new story that welcomes all ages into DC’s fold with this wonderful jumping on point.”

— CBR Reviewer Meagan Damore


39. The Wake

Written by Scott Snyder

Art by Sean Murphy

Published by Vertigo

“Scott Snyder’s frighteningly delicious ‘Batman’ is arguably the most critically-acclaimed series of the entire New 52, but it’s his horror projects like ‘Wytches’ and ‘America Vampire’ that you can really sink your teeth into. No surprise, then, that his Vertigo series ‘The Wake’ was equally popular. Diving headfirst into the deep abyss, Snyder and uber-talented artist Sean Gordon Murphy re-imagined major (and mythic) cataclysmic floods of the past 2,000-plus years by way of a blood-curdling sea monster invasion. Stay out of the water.”

— CBR Staff Writer Jeffrey Renaud


38. New Avengers

Written by Jonathan Hickman

Art by Simone Bianchi, Rags Morales, Valerio Schiti, Kev Walker, Szymon Kudranski, Mike Deodato Jr.

Published by Marvel Comics

“I love a long game, the type of thing where events are set in motion that don’t pay off till you forget they were set in motion in the first place. That’s been the pleasure of Jonathan Hickman’s run on the Avengers titles. Now that we’re getting to the big play, it’s become apparent how important each action of this ‘heroic’ secret society really was. Watching the good-est of the good guys question their own actions was a fascinating take on the superhero team, and now watching the fallout feels like a new ‘Civil War’ with an epic espionage feel. Hickman’s set up a story that most would see as some sort of major crossover event; he’s doing it in just a few books, and really, that’s the scope Avengers should have.”

— CBR Contributor Ben Kaye


37. Revival

Written by Tim Seeley

Art by Mike Norton

Published by Image Comics

“‘Revival’ is a comfort blanket. Or maybe it’s more accurate to call it a pillar. My point is, you can count on it to always, always deliver. While other titles, even the great ones, have an off month here and there, ‘Revival’ maintains its impeccable quality throughout. With Tim Seeley writing and Mike Norton drawing every issue, it’s also one of the most cohesive and consistent books being published today. The story burns slowly but is still white-hot, a horror tale but also a small-town soap opera of the highest caliber. There isn’t a single character in the expansive cast who comes across as shallow or underdeveloped; they are all full, complex, flawed, engaging people, meaning no matter who we’re watching or what the situation is, our full attention is always demanded.”

— Comics Should Be Good writer Matt Derman

“This far into the run, few series are as page-turning and perfectly paced as ‘Revival.’ The creative team continues to juggle its many storylines with depth and active character development, and they always manage to creep me out, too. As an East Coast snob, I never thought I’d be so invested in rural central Wisconsin, but here I am.”

— CBR Reviewer Marykate Jasper


36. Velvet

Written by Ed Brubaker

Art by Steve Epting

Published by Image Comics

“This past year was a great one for comics with a strong female protagonist, and Velvet Templeton, a dangerous, sexy woman that oozes DGAF while approaching middle age, is near the top of that category. Brubaker, Epting and Breitweiser are doing transcendent work with this title, pushing her to the limit as she attempts to find out the whos and whys of the frame job being put on her. The rabbit hole keeps going deeper for Velvet and the worse it gets for her, the better it gets for readers.”

— CBR Reviewer Matt Little

“A spy story made exceptional by the main character’s voice. Brubaker and Epting broke several norms by making their main character a middle-aged woman who is a lot more kick-ass than the usual damsels of the genre.”

— CBR Reviewer Jennifer Cheng


35. Ant Colony

Written & Drawn by Michael DeForge

Published by Drawn & Quarterly

“There’s a page in ‘Ant Colony’ where two armies of ants are battling, when the tip of a monolithic yellow triangle — a magnified sunbeam — violently blows open the head of a single soldier ant. It’s a stunning image, and ‘Ant Colony’ is loaded with them, even if they’re not all as epic or violent as that. From the electric colors used, to the bizarre, alien character designs (the limo centipede!), ‘Ant Colony’ is set in the insect world, but it might as well be a surreal alien planet. What takes the story to the next level is the sad, funny and recognizable humanity in each of the weird little characters as they struggle and adapt to find their place in an even weirder society.”

— CBR Contributing Writer Ryan Ingram

“If I brought a rock back from Mars, and cracked it open, ‘Ant Colony’ would be inside.”

— CBR Contributing Writer Ryan Burton


34. Batgirl

Written by Cameron Stewart & Brenden Fletcher

Art by Babs Tarr

Published by DC Comics

“The new creative team only has a few issues out, but those issues transformed ‘Batgirl’ into a wonderful and authentic story about being a young superhero. Barbara is me and my friends: At home with social media while scared of privacy loss, confident in our views yet shaky in our abilities, leaning on irony while searching for something meaningful. Hipster geeks rejoice — the #BatgirlofBurnside has your back!”

— CBR Staff Writer Josie Campbell

“Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr’s ‘Batgirl’ is perhaps most representative of a new direction from the Bat-books in 2014. ‘Batgirl of Burnside’ brought a new sensibility and artistic style to the character that visually evoked ‘Sherlock,’ making use of Barbara Gordon’s photographic memory, and focused as much on the character’s personal life as it did her superheroics. It’s a fascinating lens into a long-loved DC character crafted by Stewart and Fletcher, and lovingly rendered by newcomer Tarr. It’s the freshest take Batgirl has seen in years, and a welcome breath of fresh air to superhero comics.”

— CBR Staff Writer/Reviews Editor Steve Sunu


33. The Transformers vs. G.I. Joe

Written by John Barber & Tom Scioli

Art by Tom Scioli

Published by IDW Publishing

“Writer/artist Tom Scioli and co-writer John Barber proved that licensed titles can still be brilliant with this insane, ’70s throwback mash-up. Each issue is like a love letter on LSD sent from Jack Kirby’s brain in 1971, filtered through the tacked-up bedroom wall posters of every six year-old in 1988.”

— CBR Staff Writer Karl Keily

“This literally does for a toy line crossover what Jack Kirby did for ‘Jimmy Olsen.’ Before this, I hadn’t read a page of a Transformers or G.I. Joe comic, seen more than a few minutes of either cartoon, or played with any of the toys (not counting a random little Autobot from 1986 or so), and I still love this miniseries.”

— Robot 6 Columnist Tom Bondurant


32. Here

Written & Drawn by Richard McGuire

Published by Pantheon

“Richard McGuire’s short story ‘Here’ is one of the greatest short comics ever made, and in his new book (an expanded version of the 1989 original) he tries to capture the history of his hometown Perth-Amboy, New Jersey, his family, human history and the planet Earth as it takes place in the corner of a single room. In this structurally and formally inventive book he crafts a work of art that points to the many possibilities of the comics medium that people will be grappling with and utilizing for years to come.”

— CBR Staff Writer Alex Dueben

“McGuire shows us the tiniest corner of the world, and in that space, reminds us how we’re all tied together and how beautiful the tapestry of human existence is. A masterpiece.”

— CBR Contributing Writer Michael C Lorah


31. Flash Gordon

Written by Jeff Parker

Art by Evan Shaner

Published by Dynamite Entertainment

“Jeff Parker and Evan Shaner’s ‘Flash Gordon’ has so, so many things going for it, but above all else, it’s fun. And it has fun being fun, the characters and creators all enjoying themselves unabashedly. There’s not nearly enough of that in comics, and what’s so wonderful about this series is that it manages to have its fun without in any way detracting from the stakes of the stories it’s telling. We care deeply about all three of our heroes, even as we laugh at their antics. Flash Gordon is an old-school character, and both Parker and Shaner respect that, giving the book a retro feel, yet simultaneously making it undeniably modern. It’s the kind of series that makes you remember why you fell in love with comics in the first place, and at the same time gives you hope for the future of the medium. Hands down, I get more pure, unfiltered enjoyment and pleasure from reading ‘Flash Gordon’ than anything else coming out right now.”

— Comics Should Be Good Writer Matt Derman

“Dynamite Entertainment packed a sneaky good hit with this one. Readers unfamiliar with Flash Gordon only need to grab the first issue to be hooked, regardless of the character’s lavish 80-year history. Only seven issues deep (with a couple of specials alongside) this series packs the covers so full of comic book awesomeness that every issue demands an immediate re-read.”

— CBR Reviewer Doug Zawisza


30. Thor: God of Thunder/Thor

Written by Jason Aaron

Art by Esad Ribic, Russell Dauterman, Ron Garney, Emanuela Lupacchino, Das Pastoras

Published by Marvel Comics

“No matter the gender of the title character, Jason Aaron’s ‘Thor’ continues to kick ass. Every issue is like a Slayer concert, with Jack Kirby on bass.”

— CBR Contributing Writer Marc Buxton

“Jason Aaron. Thor vs. Galactus. If there’s anything better, we don’t wanna know about it.

Aaron delivers a single issue [‘Thor: God of Thunder’ #21] full of spectacle and kick-punching, as a greying Thor battles the Destroyer of Worlds. Even though the Earth they’re fighting over is in its death throes, Aaron’s script justifies why that is a war worth waging — especially as our Asgardian hero nears the end of his battered-but-still-swinging existence. All of Aaron’s strengths are on display here in a issue that demands at least two readings. “

— CBR Contributing Writer Phil Pirrello

“There are creators who handle a character correctly, or find a new spin on an old favorite. Then there are creators who handle the character as though they were meant to be paired. Such is the case with Jason Aaron’s work on ‘Thor: God of Thunder.’ The Odinson may not be hefting mighty Mjolnir right now, but Aaron gave readers plenty of good stories, many of which were drawn by Esad Ribic. This year put Thor against an environment-ravaging corporation and also shared a vision of King Thor battling Galactus in the far-flung future.”

— CBR Reviewer Doug Zawisza


29. How to be Happy

Written & Drawn by Eleanor Davis

Published by Fantagraphics Books

“There’s a haunting and almost disturbing quality to Davis’ work — in both idea and execution — that cuts to the heart of very serious subjects with a hypnotic ruthlessness. Most comic collections have obvious strengths and weaknesses, but ‘How To Be Happy’ is universally strong. Davis’ work has a take-no-prisoners approach to storytelling that will generally leave you gasping for more, or for mercy. At the same time her work is blissfully free of judgment. In ‘How To Be Happy,’ Davis doesn’t seek to teach a cliche lesson or shame anyone, she’s simply grasping for the truth, and reading her work will leave you grasping for it too.”

— Comics Should Be Good writer Kelly Thompson

“When reading this collection of Davis stories, I found myself reminded of Stuart Immonen’s ‘Centifolia’ books, where he experimented with a variety of art styles and mediums in various stories. Davis does much the same here, to great success, experimenting with color, or use of white space — any number of ambitious elements in a collection of tales partially inspired in some way by her life. When I spoke to her about the collection earlier in 2014, I was drawn by her comment that many of the stories in the latter part of the book tackle “how hard it is to be fully alive — the pain of it, and the bravery of it”. Books in that vein should always be treasured.”

— Robot 6 Columnist Tim O’Shea


28. Edge of Spider-Verse #2

Written by Jason Latour

Art by Robbi Rodriguez

Published by Marvel Comics

“Two words: Gwen Stacy. ‘Edge of Spider-Verse’ #2 introduced Spider-Gwen, and it was nothing short of delightful to see Gwen Stacy back in action. Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez’s flip on the Spider story balanced lighthearted sass with a sharp edge. Plus, Spider-Gwen wins for the best costume of the year.”

— CBR Contributor Amy Ratcliffe

“Jason Latour and Robbie Rodriguez did something incredibly special with ‘Edge of Spider-Verse’ #2 — they told a full origin story in a two-page spread. Spider-Gwen is one of Marvel’s many female phenomenons this year, but Latour and Rodriguez’s introduction will stand the test of time as one of the year’s near-perfect issues. A self-contained story that doesn’t rely on ‘Spider-Verse’ to build character, the issue showed that readers are still hungry for new, character-based superhero stories.”

— CBR Staff Writer/Reviews Editor Steve Sunu

“An overnight Internet sensation, Spider-Gwen had a whole lot riding on her ‘Edge of Spider-Verse’ one-shot. Fortunately, Latour and Rodriguez handled the heat — no sweat! — with this smart, vivacious re-envisioning of Gwen Stacy. In the space of a single issue, Latour and Rodriguez established a bombastic, fully realized world that gave Gwen a visually stunning playground through which to move. Dynamic, youthful and poignant, Spider-Gwen hit all the right notes as she drummed her way into readers’ hearts.”

— CBR Reviewer Meagan Damore


27. Superior Foes of Spider-Man

Written by Nick Spencer, James Asmus, Tom Peyer, Elliott Kalan,

Art by Steve Lieber, Rich Ellis, Gerardo Sandoval, Will Sliney, Carmen Carnero, Nuno Plati, Siya Oum, Pepe Larraz

Published by Marvel Comics

“Or as I like to call it, ‘It’s Always Sunny in the Marvel Universe.’ This gang of lovable idiots spent the year arguing, back stabbing, cheating and playing catch with the detached head of Silvermane. This was the little book that could all year, as its order grew and buzz swelled, pushing this ‘Superior’ book’s lifespan well past that of its parent title. Also, Steve Lieber proved that he’s a master of physical comedy on the level of Dick Van Dyke just with his pencils.”

— CBR Assistant Editor/Columnist Brett White

“You just won’t find a funnier take on supervillains. The creative team of Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber took some Z-list characters and told an A-list story, with countless laugh out loud moments in each issue. This book will truly be missed. “

— CBR Contributing Writer Marc Buxton

“Kudos to the Marvel editor who put these [Spencer and Lieber] together. The combination of Spencer’s great dialogue paired with Lieber’s gift for imbuing his art with subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) comedic moments made this comic a must read every month.”

— Robot 6 Columnist Tim O’Shea


26. The Fade Out

Written by Ed Brubaker

Art by Sean Phillips

Published by Image Comics

“After the recent back-to-back triumphs of the Brubaker-Phillips creative team — the twisty, interconnected tales of ‘Criminal’ and the supernaturally charged ‘Fatale’ — the biggest asset of their latest effort is the apparent lack of high concept. Thus far, this reads as a fairly straightforward crime noir, set pulpily and juicily in the underbelly of Postwar Hollywood. And frankly, from these two clear masters of the form, that’s all the hook that’s needed. There may be a big twist ahead, but as is the book is a slice of noir nirvana.”

— CBR Contributing Writer Scott Huver

“Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ ‘The Fade Out’ is the latest in the duo’s noir comics, and their focus on early Hollywood makes for a fascinating read — as well as a great place to set a murder mystery. Hot off their success with “Fatale,” Brubaker and Phillips represent why they’re considered a master team in the format, introducing compelling characters with incredible sequential storytelling. Another strong Image debut.”

— CBR Staff Writer/Reviews Editor Steve Sunu

“I’m a sucker for Hollywood’s golden age, which Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips capture in all its glitz and grime. Brubaker and Phillips make magic every time they work together.”

— CBR Columnist Ron Marz