We continue our review of the year that was 2014, and I wanted to cap off my series of articles covering the awesome of 2014 by highlighting this year’s comics that will persist into 2015 and beyond. Ongoing comics are one of my favorite aspects of the medium because they are there each and every month, provide an opportunity to tell elaborate stories with epic scope, and there’s nothing quite like a 50 issue investment paying off in spades. But, being a comic Nowist (coined term; trademark pending) I’m all about the new comics, and the freshness and excitement that comes along with them. Here’s my top new ongoing comic books of 2014.
10: Batman Eternal
While the rules for this Best of List aren’t very concrete, any qualifiers must have debuted in 2014 according to the date on its first issue, and they must persist throughout the calendar year from that launch, and continue into 2015. There is, however, no rule about how often the title came out, and weekly book or not, Batman Eternal was a huge part of 2014, and I enjoyed all of it. Sure it seemed a bit slow from time to time, but there were some great moments, and I can’t wait to see what we get as the title wraps in 2015. And, as Scott Snyder as alluded to, we could be seeing a volume 2 of this sooner rather than later.
9. The Wicked + The Divine
A recurring theme throughout this Year in Review list will be comics that are not only new but also quite different than anything else on comic book shop shelves today. The Wicked + Divine is a wildly different take on a story about gods visiting the Earth in human form, all with subtle music backdrop. Everything is expertly crafted by the creators, and the hype associated with this title is for real. Great things in 2015 from this book are promised.
The fantasy/adventure comic Birthright grabbed me from the very first page as a title that could quickly move to the forefront of my current favs, and as the next two issues dropped, to the top it moved. It’s high fantasy, with a childhood imagination tilt, but, at its heart, Birthright is all about family. If only there had been more issues released in 2014 it may have moved up the list a bit, but, again, 2015 is going to rock.
Of all of the horror comics I read in 2014, Wytches was by far the most scary. The most horrifying aspect of this comic, however, is the way it’s scary. While most horror comic rely on blood and gore, Wytches utilizes cerebral and emotional tones to drive high-concept horror with a familial aspect to it. We sincerely care about the characters, and their plight is that much more important to readers for it. We cared, so we’re more scared. More than a few issues, again, would have moved this up the list.
6. Superior Iron Man
Out of all the Marvel books that debuted in 2014, Superior Iron Man was the book that I was looking forward to the most, and it was worth the wait. AXIS may have been temporary, but Tony Stark isn’t looking back, and it’s been a car wreck that you just can’t look away from in this title. He’s drinking, he’s selling Etremis as a drug, he’s healing blind superheroes, and it’s nothing but fun. Again, we’re just getting ramped up here, and 2015 is going to be wild!
A book that also had very few issues this year was Wayward, but the engrossing supernatural story being woven in this title was so amazingly well-done that there was no way it was missing my top 5 of new ongoings. This book was solicited as a modern day Buffy, and it’s delivered on that tall order of a promise in spades. Fun characters, interesting setting, and a use of mythology not seen in years, Wayward is a book that I’m overly thankful is on my pull-list.
4. Black Widow
Rounding out my top five are 4 books that have expert creators telling stories that are uniquely different from anything else on comic shelves. The first of these is a Marvel title from Phil Noto and Nathan Edmondson, and this team is combining a compelling secret agent story that has a ton of heart with some of the best artwork coming out of Marvel Comics. This is THE Natasha that readers deserve, and each and every issue this year was an outstanding example of Marvel’s diverse line.
Cracking the top 3 despite having only a handful of issues come out in 2014, Copperhead by Jay Faerber and Scott Godlewski is the best take on the sci-fi western since Firefly, and I don’t say that lightly. An interesting setting, a lovably compelling corps of characters who are impossible to hate, and a creative team with a perfect synergy all come together to build a comic book that is uniquely special. I can’t say enough good things about this comic, and if we’d only gotten more issues this year it would have easily moved up this list.
Of all the Marvel books debuting this year, She-Hulk from Charles Soule and Javier Pulido is the most defining. The She-Hulk being portrayed in this comic will be THE She-Hulk that Marvel publishes for the foreseeable future. This un-super superhero title puts a focus on the law side of the character’s life, and the professional slice-of-life story was as different as it was entertaining. Pulido’s unique art style was the perfect fit for this nontraditional comic book tale, and despite the book going away in January, they can never take 2014 away from us. Will we see a second volume from this creative team? I sure hope so.
1. The Fuse
Out of all of the new ongoings that came out in 2014, Anthony Johnston and Justin Greenwood on the sci-fi cops on a space station crime drama The Fuse was the most enjoyable comic book experience I had. The massive orbiting space station that is the book’s setting is fantastic, the characters are intriguing, and there’s an edge to the cop drama here that just can’t be found in other titles. The main characters play off one another perfectly as the fresh, young newcomer partners with the hardened veteran, and the criminal cases thus far are purely science-fiction-centric, yet remain true crime stories.