Rather than give you all ten at once, we’ve broken the list into two parts. After the jump you will find my half of the top ten comics you should have been reading in 2009, with alphamonkey’s take coming later. Just for clarification, we’re talking about ongoing single-issue monthly titles or mini-series (not graphic novels), which hit comic shelves in 2009. Clear? Good. Enough chit-chat! Let’s get onto the list…
Batman / Captain America
It’s been awhile since I’ve used that word to describe Batman or Captain America, but the “deaths” of Bruce Wayne and Steve Rogers have allowed their proteges to breathe new life into characters who were growing stale.
Ed Brubaker has done a marvelous job with bringing back Bucky and molding him into the new Captain America. Well-planned and well-executed (well, except for Reborn), he’s taken a character I wouldn’t have give two-shits about three-years ago and consistently found a way to put out good issues starring Bucky-Cap. I also have to admit I like that the Marvel Universe is a little darker and scarier place without Steve Rogers.
The rise of Dick Grayson as the new Batman has made this title FUN again. And I don’t remember the last time I referred to a Bat-title that way (certainly not in Grant Morrison’s dreary Batman RIP). Of all the Bat-books Batman has been the most consistent. Both Red Robin and Batman and Robin have had their moments, but it’s here that Dick Grayson has blossomed into this new role in the DCU.
Brubaker’s run has been more clearly thought out, but I’ll give a slight edge to the new Bats as I personally have more invested in the character of Dick Grayson than Bucky Barnes. Both these runs have made me want the originals to stay dead awhile longer.
[I know, I told you right?]
(HEY DON”T TAKE CREDIT, I’M THE ONE WHO TOLD YOU ABOUT DEADPOOL!)
Hey, shut up! We need to talk about the comic now!!
Although some of his appearances elsewhere have been hit and miss for me (see Daredevil: Merc with a Mouth), this main title has been solid. Even if the only thing worthy to discuss was Deadpool and Bullseye’s attempt to kill each other (which was freakin’ awesome!) that would be enough to earn it a spot on my list. If you haven’t read that storyline, stop right now, and go get it (issues #10-12)!
Throw in Deadpool’s attempts at piracy and trying to earn a spot on the X-Men (oh, that costume!) and there’s simply no way I could keep him off this list. Deadpool is one of those characters that can often be taken too far at times, but when he’s done right the results a f@#%&ing insane, and often hilarious.
Oh how I love thee. Let me count the ways: Catman, Deadshot, Catman, Scandal, Ragdoll, Catman, Bane, and did I mention Catman? Written by Gail Simone with art by Nichola Scott, Secret Six hasn’t been afraid to share the funny or get down and dirty (in fact they like it that way).
Slavery, torture by brick-throwing, betrayal, and loss, are all just another day for this motley crew of villains banded together to make a quick buck and choose their own path in the world. There’s honor here, and friendship, but at the same time the book never lets you forget who and what these people are, and why none of them should be trusted any further than Bane can throw them.
Whether it’s delivering a woman who has a “Get Out of Hell Free” Card or attempting to help out Gotham in Batman’s absence (and arguing over which one of them would be a better Batman), there’s always some fun to be had.
And, did I mention, it has Catman?
I’m not a big Image Comics guy, never really have been. My favorite character of the company was put on the shelf years ago and seems unlikely (at least presently) to return any time soon. So imagine my surprise when one of the most engrossing reads from month to month was an Image title.
From the minds of the Luna Brothers comes this original tale of a paraplegic college student whose world is turned upside down when her family is brutally murdered in front of her eyes by a quartet of strangers boasting magical, mythical, abilities. The discovery of the sword which they sought, and the truth behind her father’s real identity, leads Dara, now healed, with her own supernatural abilities, and all kinds of pissed-off, after some vengeance from the four elemental gods who are responsible. As the year has worn on Dara has achieved almost all she set-out to do, but with each step she has put the most devious of her enemies, Mara, in position to play hero to the world and paint Dara as a menace who needs to be put down.
Incredibly violent, with a ton of kick ass angst The Sword has been a damn good read all year long. With only a few issues left before wrapping up this is a series you should be reading.
About F@#%&ing Time!
It’s over. The journey Warren Ellis and John Cassady started in 1998 finally wrapped with issue #27. Originally intended as a maxi-series to examine and pay homage to various aspects of super-hero comics, Planetary tells the story of super-hero archeologists who uncover a world of monsters, alien artifacts, secret organizations, dark experiments, and time travel. I recently went back and re-read the entire run, and I’ve got to say despite the numerous delays, the series holds up pretty damn well. Now that the series is finally available in its entirety, I would strongly suggest you pick up the whole run.