Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that currently resides at The Artsy Reader Girl and features bloggers sharing lists on various book topics. For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday participants get a freebie when they get to do any topic of their choice. While there were a few interesting topics that I was tempted to write about, I decided to write a list about my favourite comic book series.
We are currently in a golden age of comics and creativity and there are some truly amazing comics coming from all the various publishers. Over the years I have had the great pleasure of reading or collecting quite a few different series, including quite a few superhero comics. While I tend to easily enjoy most comics that I come across, there are several great series that I would consider my absolute favourites, either because they are exceptionally written and drawn, or because something about that series draws me back in time and time again for a reread. So I thought that this freebie week would be a good opportunity to highlight these epic and addictive comics, especially as there are some real gems that all comic fans should really try out.
To pull this list together, I went through some of the best of most entertaining series that I have read and picked out my 10 absolute favourite comics, with a generous honourable mentions section. For this list, I chose to focus purely on ongoing series rather than one-offs or limited series, although I will probably feature a different list for them in the future. I also avoided several great long-running series, mainly because I have not read all the entries in them. I think that I came up with a rather good list in the end, containing an interesting collection of comics from several different publishers and universes. I quite like how this list turned out and I think it encapsulates what my favourite comic series are.
Batman (Volume 3)
One of the series I have most recently gotten into was this recent Batman series. Starting in 2016, this great comic follows Batman as he faces off against some of his most iconic foes, while really getting to the heart of the Dark Knight and his relationship with his rogues’ gallery. I have not finished this series off yet, but I have deeply enjoyed several key storylines within it, including the exceptional The War of Jokes and Riddles, and it will be interesting to see where this series lies once I finish all the main volumes in it.
Star Wars: Doctor Aphra
I had to include the excellent and amazing Doctor Aphra series in this article somewhere as it is one of the most impressive Star Wars comics in recent years. Featuring the outstanding adventures of original character, Doctor Aphra, this series contains a huge number of heists, betrayals, and deep introspection from the titular character as she spreads chaos across the galaxy. I loved this outstanding series, and it has some amazing volumes in it, such as Unspeakable Rebel Superweapon and A Rogue’s End.
Y: The Last Man
Anyone who has read this iconic series from Brian K. Vaughan will appreciate why I had to feature it in this article. Following the last man left alive after a disease kills every male on the planet, Y: The Last Man is an intense and powerful comic with an amazing story to it. This was one of the first non-DC or Marvel comics I ever read and it has definitely stuck with me over the years as one of the best comics out there. If they ever manage to get around to adapting this series into a television show, it is going to be the next big hit.
A brilliant and self-contained series that follows one of my favourite comic characters, X-23, as she claims her place as the new Wolverine after her father’s death. This was an amazing series with a unique feel, fantastic emotional edge and outrageous humour, which I loved it so much I kind of wished that Wolverine would stay dead for just a little bit longer.
Top Ten List:
So I very much doubt that anyone is going to be surprised that the first entry on my list is Stan Sakai’s masterpiece series, Usagi Yojimbo. Following a rabbit samurai as he adventures through an alternate version of Feudal Japan, the Usagi Yojimbo series is easily one of the best comics I have ever read, and I am currently reviewing every single volume of it (for example check out my reviews of the 11th volume Seasons or the 34th volume, Bunraku and Other Stories). I absolutely love this simple but powerful and exciting comic, especially as Sakai pours all his love for Japan and Japanese culture into it and produces some epic adventures.
There is no way I could do a list about my favourite series without talking about one of the earliest comics I ever got into, the third volume of the outstanding Teen Titans series. Staring in 2003 and helmed by Geoff Johns, this series featured former members of Young Justice, Robin, Superboy, Wonder Girl and Impulse, as they step up and join long-term members Starfire, Cyborg, Beast Boy, and Raven in a whole new incarnation of the team. This was an exceptional series which revitalised a lot of interest in the team, especially as they ended up playing key roles in the Infinite Crisis crossover. While the series did dip a bit in quality after Geoff Johns left, this was an overall epic series, and it is one that I have read an insane number of times.
The Punisher (2004)
While there are many great Punisher series out there, the best one in my opinion is the dark and violent 2004 series, also known as The Punisher MAX. Primarily helmed by Garth Ennis, of Preacher and The Boys fame, this was an epic series that followed a grizzled Frank Castle as he pursues his bloody, never-ending war on crime. Released under the adult MAX imprint, this Punisher series was particularly over-the-top and gruesome in places, but it is so much fun to read, especially as Ennis comes up with some insane and utterly compelling storylines. This is the definitive series for all fans of The Punisher, and you will not regret checking this comic out.
Green Arrow (Volume 3)
Another incredible DC comic that I really love is this Green Arrow series. Starting back in 2001 with Quiver, this series resurrected classic comic character Green Arrow, taking him back to his roots and providing him with an epic and captivating series. Featuring an array of great writers, including Kevin Smith, Brad Meltzer and Judd Winick, this was an outstanding series that really revitalised the Oliver Queen Green Arrow, brought in some great new characters and contained some impressive and powerful storylines. I have so much love for this series and one of the storylines, The Archer’s Quest by Meltzer, is one of the best comics I have ever read.
X-Factor (Volume 3)
X-Factor is a long-running X-Men title that has had many incarnations with varying success. However, one run on the comic ended up becoming an amazing and powerful series that I was lucky enough to stumble across some years ago. Running between 2005 and 2013, this X-Factor series followed X-Factor Investigations, a combined mutant superhero team and private investigation firm, as they become embroiled in some weird conflicts and adventures around New York. Primarily written by Peter David, this was a very unusual and clever series that was overshadowed by the major Marvel titles but ended up lasting longer than most and producing some exceptional storylines. Featuring fantastic, if underused mutant characters, including Multiple Man, Strong Guy, Wolfsbane, M, Rictor, Siryn and the mysterious Layla Miller, this was a great, character driven comic that really dived into the hearts of its diverse and unique cast. I loved this comic so much, and it is one of the best X-Men comics that has ever been written.
I had no choice but to feature the outstanding Darth Vader series by Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca on this list due to how impressive and amazing it is. This series follows one of the greatest villains of all-time right after the events of A New Hope as he fights against rivals and old enemies to secure his place within the Empire. This was easily one of the most consistent and epic Star Wars series out there, especially as it also includes the spectacular Vader Down crossover. There are so many cool elements to this series, such as the introduction of Doctor Aphra or the intense scene where Vader finds out Luke’s true identity and realises that the Emperor has been lying to him for years. I love this great series and it is the reason I am currently so in to Star Wars comics.
I have long been a major fan of the iconic Runaways series by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona. Following a group of teens who find out their parents are supervillains, this series, which mostly avoids the main events and characters of the Marvel universe, is a fantastic and powerful comic with some real heart to it. Introducing a colourful team of teenage heroes with some great powers, this is one of the most distinctive comics to come out of Marvel and is always going to remain a huge favourite of mine.
Robin (Volume 4)
One of my favourite Batman associated comics is the long-running fourth series of Robin comics that followed my favourite version of the character, Tim Drake. Set shortly after the death of Jason Todd in the infamous A Death in the Family, this comic introduced a whole new Robin, who swiftly won fans over. Tim Drake, who relied more on his intelligence than his fighting ability, was an outstanding hero, and the creative team came up with some great stories for him which ensured he kept his spot at Batman’s primary sidekick for 20 years. This entire comic is pretty epic, and while I deeply enjoy the post-Infinite Crisis Robin comics (all the way up to the really good Red Robin sequel series), his earlier stories are also pretty good and are very much worth checking out. A great series that will appeal to comic fans young and old, I love this take on the classic sidekick.
Over the years there have been an immense and wide-reaching collection of Avengers comics, from the classic storylines to weird and short-lived spin-offs, all of which I have tended to buy and read. So for an Avengers comic to really stick out to me, it would have to be pretty damn exceptional, and that is exactly what the New Avengers was. Created by Brian Michael Bendis and David Finch, this series brought back a cooler and more modern version of the iconic team after the Avengers Disassembled storyline. Bringing in beloved characters such as Spiderman, Wolverine and Luke Cage, this series helped to redefine the Avengers. There are several amazing phases to this comic over the years, especially as it ran through some of the key crossovers like Civil War, Secret Invasion and Dark Reign, and it was an absolute joy to read from start to finish.
Secret Six (Volume 3)
The final comic on my list is the often overlooked but incredibly fun Secret Six series. Following on from the Villains United limited series, Secret Six follows a dysfunctional team of supervillains, including Deadshot, Bane, Scandal Savage, Ragdoll and Catman, as they engage in several morally grey mercenary jobs around the world. Helmed by Gail Simone and featuring some rather insane, if touching, storylines, this was an amazing series that is near and dear to my heart, especially as Simon manages to turn eternal joke character, Catman, into the biggest badass ever.
Well, that is the end of my latest Top Ten List. I think that I came up with an interesting list of comics, especially as it features such a wide range of titles. I will admit that I did stick heavily to the Marvel and DC titles, and I also seemed to have primarily featured comics from the early 2000s. Despite this obvious preference form me, I think this turned out to be a great and diverse list, and it definitely represents the comics I enjoy the most. I think this might be a list I come back to in the future, especially as I will read some additional comics in the next year, and it will be interesting to see how this list changes. In the meantime, let me know what your favourite series are in the comments below.