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Since 2014 has ended the comic book section of Entertainment Fuse is here to tell you what the best comics of 2014 were. In the last part we talked about the best publisher, writer, artist, colorist and cover artist. This time we’re covering the best series, mini-series, character, new character, underdog and couple.
Nailbiter, an ongoing horror series from the creative mind of Joshua Williams, is so much more than your average horror title. There isn’t mindless gore, big breasted cheerleaders written in just to be killed or a depthless story. The story in this series is intriguing and will throw in curve balls every other issue. It’s about the town of Buckaroo, Oregon—the birthplace of 16 serial killers. Nicholas Finch goes to the town after getting a tip from his friend who goes missing. Will Finch discover the terrifying mystery of Buckaroo?
The characters are all interesting, from the numerous deranged killers in the town to the protagonist and supporting cast. Our main character, Finch, is introduced brilliantly into the series. Sheriff Crane is a pretty empowering female character with a captivating relationship with Warren, aka the Nailbiter, another fascinating character. Then there’s Alice, a young girl who isn’t just your average serial killer groupie. The series even gets away with a gimmicky storyline that brings Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis into the story. Then there’s Mike Henderson’s artwork. His art adds to the creepy factor of the series.
Nailbiter reminds me why I love horror so much and I recommend it to anyone looking for some chills. Just make sure you don’t bite your nails while reading it!
Elvis’s Pick—Life with Archie
No, not the one about the zombies (which is good as well), the one about the slice of life occurrences in Riverdale with a grown up version of the gang that countless across the nation love. Mixing together good old fashioned soap opera drama with even handed wit and a fraction of that old school Archie charm, Life With Archie was a roller coaster of emotion from start to finish. While it ended earlier this year, with a rather middling (if controversial) finale, it will no doubt go down as an amazing accomplishment from the publishing house that could.
Kat’s Pick—Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man
This was an easy pick for me. Miles Morales has hit it out of the ballpark almost every issue. This series has some great emotional beats and Brian Michael Bendis is always keeping you on your toes. There have been some wonderful twists throughout the year like Peter Parker still being alive and Kate’s connection to Hydra. Can’t wait to see where this series goes!
Mark Waid has put his own stamp on Daredevil, a series with a history of great writers. Many of the series former great stories were quite dark, but Waid has opted for a somewhat lighter note, emphasizing adventure over “grittiness.” However, Waid hasn’t sacrificed any of the complexity in his characters or storytelling. He’s managed to write stories about mental illness, post-partum depression, cancer, parenting, and international politics – all within a comic book about a superhero who dresses up like a devil.
Nicole’s Pick—Edge of Spider-Verse
Each issue of this five issue mini-series features an alternate dimension with a unique and creative Spider-related character. First up is Spider-Man Noir. A sleek character and setting, this segways well into Spider-Verse. However, the mini-series went uphill from there. Introduced in the second issue, Spider-Woman (aka Gwen Stacy) was so popularly received it inspired a new series. While the flashback in the story was more interesting than the actual story, the ending of this issue still gives the read a shock. Next up is the Spider-Man of Japan with a mechanical suit. The villain in this issue is a compelling and more than apt foe that makes up for our semi-silent protagonist. Issue four has some great nightmare imagery that makes Spider-Man into a terrifying creature. If you like horror, you will enjoy this issue. To round out the series, welcome Sp//dr, a robot spider suit that still stands apart from the Spider-Man of Japan because it is piloted by a teenage girl who may be my favorite Spider yet.
Nicole’s Pick—Colder: Bad Seed
Creative team Paul Tobin (Bandette) and Juan Ferreyra (Kiss Me Satan) sequalized their acclaimed mini-series Colder and the result is a fantastic follow-up that new readers like me can jump into just fine. It has nightmarish imagery thanks to a terrifying character by the name of Swivel.
Much has been said about writer Mark Millar, about his ethics, his personality, and his talent. Yet none can diminish the light shining from Starlight – a 5 issue miniseries from Millar and the esteemed Goran Parlov. It is able to bring back in just a handful of issues what I had thought was something of a lost art: the idea that a normal man with a ray gun on another planet is an amazing conceit for a story. The original Alex Raymond Flash Gordon series knew this, and Starlight valiantly follows in its footsteps. Clearly one of Millar’s best works in years.
Kat’s Pick—Death of Wolverine
Death of Wolverine was a perfect way to end Wolverine’s story. Do I believe Wolverine is going to be dead forever? Hell no, but I am glad Marvel is retiring the character for a while. This mini-series hit every note on why we love Wolverine. My favorite issue being issue 3 with Kitty Pryde, a perfect highlight of their father and daughter relationship. Steve McNiven’s beautiful artwork was also an added plus for this mini-series.
I’m not even sure how to encapsulate the still-ongoing mini-series Multiversity by Grant Morrison, but it is so far very fascinating. It is a look back at the history of DC and its related universes – though in a totally different version. The Multiversity Pax Americana issue is an updated version of Watchmen, using the original Charlton heroes (The Question, Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, etc.) that Alan Moore wasn’t allowed to use while telling a complex and engaging story. Oh, and a big chunk of the issue is told in reverse. The issue alone would make Multiversity worth reading, but the mystery and thoughtfulness of the story of the other issues is quite intriguing as well.
Nicole’s Pick—Ms. Marvel
Kamala Khan IS Ms. Marvel. A Muslim teenager growing up in a large family, Kamala lives in New Jersey—and no, NJ is not as bad as people say! I love Kamala’s hyperactive fan-girl personality—probably because I would be hyperventilating myself if I got to team up with the likes of Wolverine and Spider-Man. Kamala has an admirable sense of justice and is a truly unique character who cannot be compared to any other.
I’ve always been a big fan of Deadpool—not just because he’s a fourth wall breaking merc with a mouth but because he can be a tragic figure sometimes. With the help of Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn, Deadpool has become even more tragic and interesting. To think giving him a wife and daughter (no relation) would make DP five dimensional.
Elvis’s Pick—Jughead Jones
Face it, Jughead was always going to come out on top in this sort of category. He’s just, well, Jughead. Who can hate Jughead? Old “burger meister” Jones was in top form in the Life with Archie series. Even though the series was split into two different continuities, with two different Jugheads, he was no doubt the continuous highlight within both of them. Always determined, always funny, and always heartwarming – nothing could stop Jughead from burrowing his way into reader’s heart. Was it any surprise that he took the spotlight in the final pages of the landmark “Death of Archie” two-parter. It’s Jughead, and it wouldn’t be Archie without him.
Kat’s Pick—Ms. Marvel
Ms. Marvel deserves all the praise that she has received in 2014. She is a Peter Parker for a new age…. scratch that I don’t want to compare her to any character because I think Kamala is unique. She is relatable and plain old fun. She is a fan of superheroes just like you and me.
Wolverine is my choice for character of the year because it’s not every year that an unkillable character dies. Now, I don’t expect Logan to be dead for long, but his death is significant because it draws to a conclusion a number of long storylines that Wolverine has involved in over the years. His death was not a cheap one either, as the creators gave him a strong exit. Considering how notable Wolverine has been throughout the Marvel Universe, his absence will be felt. As a bonus, Wolverine was also an important character in the film version of X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Best New Character
Nicole’s Pick—Peni Parker
Spider-Gwen may have gotten all the attention this year but I really enjoyed Peni Parker, a teenage girls who first appeared in Edge of Spider-Verse #5. Her life is fascinating. Her guardians are scientists who helped create SP//dr, the robot spider she is a part of. Her father, the former user of SP//dr, died will using it, forcing her to take on the mantle when she was very young. It also interests me how it appears to be common knowledge that she is a superhero. I wish she got her own series as well.
Nicole’s Pick—Spider-Woman (aka Gwen Stacy, better known as Spider-Gwen)
Known as the premier example for dying in a comic book, it was awesome to see the tables turn and have Gwen Stacy—in an alternate universe, of course—become Spider-Woman rather than Peter Parker become Spider-Man. Her first appearance in Edge of Spider-Verse #2 was enough to land the spot as the best new character of 2014. The design of her costume is great and her relationship with her father as both Gwen and Spider-Woman were enjoyable to watch and I’m looking forward to seeing more of her in 2015 when she stars in her own ongoing series.
Jason, the new kid dynamo from Mark Millar’s Jupiter’s Legacy series, with artist Frank Quitely. Jason, the heir to a famed super-heroic legacy, is first introduced to readers within Jupiter’s Legacy #4. Having to hide from the machinations of his devious uncle and great-uncle Jason, age 8, must lie a life of secrecy. Never showing off his powers, lest his family be ripped apart, and his uncles discover him. What makes him my favorite new character? He just can’t help himself. He’s Superman – as a boy. And he is one of the most innocently decent child characters since Billy Batson himself. A nice change of pace.
I have a feeling Spider Gwen is going to be on my 2015 list a lot more because Edge of Spider Verse #2 was one of my favorite comics of the year. Spider Gwen is a stylish twist on everything you know about the Spider Mythos.
New Character—Saya (Deadly Class)
Saya is something of an enigma in Image Comics’ Deadly Class, written by Rick Remender and drawn by Wes Craig. She is an assassin of great beauty and great reserve. She has an original look, with both arms covered in sleeve tattoos and missing fingers from her yakuza affiliations. Still, like Marcus, the main character in Deadly Class, it’s hard to not be beguiled by Saya, in spite of the fact that not much is known about her or her intentions. While she may end up being trouble for Marcus, I believe she’ll continue being a great fascination for comic readers.
Elvis’s Pick—Q2: The Return of Quantum & Woody
Yeah, I mean this as a series. Move over James Asmus and his (frankly) mediocre and boring rendition of this premier Valiant classic series. Christopher Priest and MD Bright return once more to the world that they left so long ago for one last story. As a big Quantum & Woody fan the announcement of this series was simply great and it has not disappointed yet. I name it underdog due to Valiant being even less than it was, and that most newer Q&W fans have never read the original. It has a lot against it, but Priest has a way of not caring.
This was a really under the radar series and that’s probably one of the reasons it’s ending in 2015. The artwork fit this series perfectly and made the fighting scenes really flow. But my favorite thing about this series was that you truly went into Elektra’s mind, understood the things she did as an assassin.
In many ways, the feisty nature of Earl Tubb exemplifies Southern Bastards, the Image Comics series from Jason Aaron and Jason Latour. The two Jasons tell a story of violence, the American South, and football. Earl Tubb is a good man fighting the legacy of his dead father who gets himself mixed up in some bad business. In spite of very long odds in a town controlled by a crime lord who happens to be a beloved football coach, Tubb keeps sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong. Both Tubb and Southern Bastards are underdogs who proved the saying about the amount of fight in the dog extends to comics, too.
Nicole’s Pick—Anna Maria Marconi and Doctor Octopus (as Peter Parker… it’s complicated)
One of my favorite things about Slott’s Superior Spider-Man was the relationship that blossomed between Peter Parker (really Doc Ock in Peter’s head) and Anna Maria Marconi. Anna Maria is one of my favorite characters. Otto and her had great chemistry from the beginning and even when Otto is forced into the future, he creates a hologram of her just to get him through the day. How romantic… Anna even figured out Otto was Spider-Man because she knew his… body so well… er, Peter’s body… yeah, it’s a complicated relationship to say the least.
Elvis’s Pick—Chloe Sampson and Hutch
Chloe Sampson and Hutch, the star crossed lovers from Mark Millar and Frank Quitely’s Jupiter’s Legacy. Star crossed in that one the daughter of the world’s most famous super-hero and the other son of its most dangerous villain. Now that is a conceit that is too rich for words. The best bit of it? They sort of make it work. Thrown together by fate and a little bit of scathing random chance, they are led to build some semblance of a family. It would be cute were it not for the Shakespearean levels of dynastic intrigue going on, but still – have to root for the underdogs here.
Kat’s Pick—Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon
Honestly this was the hardest category this year. There aren’t a lot of comic book couples left, but ultimately I choose Barbara Gordon and Dick Grayson of the Earth 2 Universe. We didn’t have a chance to see a lot of scenes with them, but we really didn’t need that many. We already know their romance from the regular DC universe. Their love shined in the few panels they had and with Barbara’s supposed death Dick Grayson is really going to show his true passion for her.
Jim’s Pick—Jon and Suzie
This guy. This girl. These two are somehow adorable even when they are discussing the raunchiest stuff. It probably comes from the clear emotion and compassion that they both exhibit, even though both also make mistakes. Credit goes to Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky for adding, along with humor, story and great dialog, a real humanity to Jon and Suzie. A tip (ahem) of my hat to Matt and Chip, and by extension to Jon and Suzie, the best comic book couple of 2014.
I hope you’ve all enjoyed Entertainment Fuse’s 2014 Comic Book Awards. Happy New Year everyone!