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4Bitch Planet

dc-universe-rebirth

Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick

Art by Valentine De Landro, Taki Soma

Publisher: Image Comics

Well, now that this doesn't seem like such an implausible future, "Bitch Planet" means more than ever. The fact that there were only four issues this year matters not one whit. It's triumphant, defiant, and a whole lot

of fun. A "safe space" this isn't, but it sure does feel empowering -- and the fact that the backmatter will prove legitimately educational to many readers doesn't hurt.

-- CBR Staff Writer Allison Shoemaker

This used to be a book I enjoyed because it challenged convention with verve and urgency. Now, as the bootheel of the patriarchy looms larger than ever before, it has become essential. With its still far-flung speculative fiction, this title might not be an exact guidebook to how to topple real-life oppressors, but it does something no less important: It sets the tone for noncompliance in the face of an unjust world.

-- CBR Staff Writer Brendan McGuirk

I love the rage, and I love the satire, but most of all I love the sheer humanity at the core of this increasingly all-too-real dystopia.

-- CBR Staff Writer Marykate Jasper

9. Monstress

Written by Marjorie Liu

Art by Sana Takeda

Publisher: Image Comics

Liu and Takeda expertly craft an intricate new fantasy world in "Monstress," rich in mythology and intrigue and brought to life with extraordinary, finely detailed art. The alternate turn-of-the-20th-century world is rich with menace, but also adorable, magical multi-tailed cats and other charming creatures. The teenage heroine of "Monstress" is compelling in her struggles against both the warring ethnic factions and the ravenous entity living within her.

-- CBR Staff Writer Shaun Manning

Marjorie Liu builds an entire universe in one issue, her dialogue and characters brought to life by her utterly magical collaboration with Sana Takeda. It's a dark fairy tale infused with Asian and steampunk influence that draws you in further with every issue.

-- CBR Contributing Writer Leia Calderon

Beautifully drawn, heartbreakingly violent, Liu and Takeda's fantasy tale is a graphic novel for the ages.

-- CBR Staff Writer Brigid Alverson

8. DC Universe: Rebirth

Written by Geoff Johns

Art by Gary Frank, Ivan Reis, Ethan Van Sciver, Phil Jimenez

Publisher: DC Comics

In the age of rampant leaks and non-stop speculation, it's nearly impossible to legitimately surprise someone in a comic book these days. Though details slipped out a few days before release date (and the issue itself was full of clever foreshadowing), no one predicted that DC Comics' line-wide refresh of its superhero line could have had something to do with Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' "Watchmen" characters, and whether or not you're comfortable with the use of that property, it was a genuinely bold move with repercussions that are far from fully explored. But that's only part of what the "DC Universe: Rebirth" one-shot accomplished: For all of its metatextual continuity shifting, it somehow told a very grounded story of the long-anticipated return of Wally West, providing actual emotion along with setting the table for what was to come in the "Rebirth" era.

-- CBR Managing Editor Albert Ching

Facing a crisis with multiple reboots, DC Comics has finally seemed to get it right with "DC Comics: Rebirth." Rather than try to wish previous continuity away to the cornfield or tiptoe around it as though navigating a minefield, Geoff Johns helmed a creative team in this 80-page giant that came closer to embracing it, and in fact making it even more expansive than previously believed. This issue, and the subsequent relaunch of the titles that followed it, was a reintroduction to the DC Universe that didn't try to choose between their old fanbase and their new; instead, it reached out to all and welcomed them in, welcomed them back, and simply welcomed them to stay.

-- CBR Staff Writer Jim Johnson

"DC Universe: Rebirth" had an impossible task. It needed to re-engage lapsed readers, hold on to fans who came to the DC Universe in the New 52, and serve as a line-wide introduction to a potential new fan base. Somehow, the all-star creative team pulled it off. While the repercussions of this special are still playing out, DC successfully reinvigorated its entire line, filling readers with an excitement and a passion that’s been absent for years.      

-- CBR Contributing Writer Tim Webber

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