It’s come to my attention as of late that I tend to write mostly negative reviews. Despite the general consensus, I don’t find much in writing bad things about comics. I’d prefer to read good books over bad ones any day. It’s just that I read more things from DC Comics than other publishing companies and that’s come back to bit me. Usually there’s at least one book in the New 52 that I think keeps the entire line not deserving of complete condemnation, but now that Earth 2 has been turned into drek, that’s changed. Pretty much nothing from DC interests me anymore, save for Jeff Parker’s run on Aquaman for being one of the few books that has a sense of fun to it. But right now, I want to take a break from bad mouthing comics. I honestly want to like titles. It’s just most of them are either coming out at later points, or I’m unable to read them right now. And since it’s only a month into the 2015, meaning there’s at least a broad sense of what’s to come for the next year. I’m going to list my top ten anticipated titles of 2015. These can range from books that have been out for a while, to ones with only a few issues, to series which haven’t even hit the shelves yet. The important thing is that I’m excited to see where they’ll go this year.
Grant Morrison is one of those few talents who always manage to keep me interested. Even his weaker stuff is chucked full of so much weirdness and his excessive use of metafiction that it never feels like a drag. Most of his recent work is so loaded with genuine optimism, that it’s impossible not to be swept up in his special brand of the bizarre. Now he and longtime collaborator Chris Burnham are coming back together for a six issue miniseries that’s his first delve into full blown horror. Morrison is known for going to some dark places, but most of that is only in his earlier work back when he was doing Vertigo titles. Now, with the restraints off, Morrison is set to go nuts with his upcoming mind-bending outer space nightmare fueled title coming out this February. I have to say I am on board.
One of the things that I’ve been waiting for a long time now is for The Wicked + the Divine to click with me. Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie team up to bring a tale of gods living amongst humans as self-imposed rock stars. It’s a fantastic premise and has been used adequately. Gillen uses the book as a means to fully bridge the obvious parallels between religious fanaticism and fandoms. Add in a little of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, and there is very little reason not to pick this series up. However I don’t think it has fully resonated with me yet. Most of the book’s first and second arc have served to set up its world and characters and I’m waiting it to get into the mind bending insanity that Gillen and McKelvie delivered with their run on Young Avengers. I want to like this book, and I think I will once we get explanations for why the gods have decided to reincarnate every 90 years but for now I’m still waiting for a spark.
I thought it would only be fair to rank the as to be released titles a bit lower on the list, hence why James Robinson and Philip Tan’s Heaven is currently at number eight. Robinson has been getting the stick as of late. He’s a very good writer, but works best when he’s allowed time to slowly pace his stories out over the course of several arcs. His work on Earth 2 and All-New Invaders has been admirable but with DC ticking off their writing crew and Marvel too terrified to have any book without “Spider-Man,” “Avengers,” or “X-Men” in the title exceed twenty issues, it’s no surprise he hasn’t found a staying presence yet. Now with a creator-owned series, he might just be able to recapture his magic. Heaven is a book set in the far future where in an alliance of humans and aliens go to full scale war with God and his army of angels. Alright, that sounds cool enough. Throw in a Warhammer 40K aesthetic and you’ve got me interested. I don’t really know what to expect for this series, but you can bet when Image announces issue one’s release date, I’m going to be a happy, happy camper.
Yeah, this gets to be on the list. Why? Because despite “Brony” fandom becoming one of the most disgusting and shameful parts of the Internet, My Little Pony is one of the funniest comics coming out right now. Katie Cook is given free reign with this title and she’s been making it into one of the weirdest and most enjoyable kids’ books that I care to read. She’s can make a two-parter about finding a box of nails interesting and given full range of such a rich cast of characters that My Little Pony has, it’s clear she deserves more work. Not to mention there’s plenty meta-fun to be had at all how Hasbro allows one of their properties to get away with all sorts of references to things like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, It, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and Blazing Saddles. Of course, this book is nothing without the amazing talent of one Andy Price. This book currently rotates between creative teams every four issues or so and if it’s to give Price a break from painstakingly turning out some of the most energetic artwork in the business, it’s more than justified. Price is one of those few creators who really uses the layouts of panels to his advantage and he packs jokes upon jokes into the background of his pages. If there is anything that can justify the creepy misogynistic trend of “Bronies,” this book is it.
Remember all that stuff I said about Grant Morrison being one of the most standout and off beat writers of his generation, this “series” is a good example of it. While Multiversity has been mostly reserved for a series of one-shots highlighting various Earths across the DC multiverse, each issue is so full of story and character it’s impossible not to love it. Morrison loves juggling weird, meta takes on DC’s heroes and this series is like giving him all the toys he could want. Each issue so far has teamed him up with an excellent artist and it seems there’s no stopping it. Every one shot has been set up as a launch pad for its own series and DC really should make use of the ground work Morrison has laid out. Granted, what has made this experiment so much fun is its separation from the derivative New 52 universe, but should DC get its head on straight, this is the series they should try to expand upon.
Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis’ mystical camping adventure book was easily one of the funnest books of last year. While I feel conflicted on Stevenson’s earlier web series Nimona, it’s clear collaboration with Ellis has negated her weakened her lesser qualifies and heightened her better ones. The Lumberjanes crew is bursting with rich characters who work expertly off each other. The official coming out of Mal and Molly on screen was one of the highlights of my year. Intended as an eight issue limited series, Lumberjanes has been turned into a long running series and I for one am excited to see what direction they’ll take the series. And speaking of break out gay characters…
It’s a very sad sign when the most promising DC has been in the last three years is when they’re releasing a slew of two-part miniseries simply to fill space while moving headquarters. That being said, the good news is that for nine weeks, no one has to read the generic and dull New 52 titles. Instead there’s a bunch of stories told by many creative teams that show much more promise than the mainstream DC universe. The one that I’m the most excited for is Greg Rucka’s long awaited return to Renee Montoya as the Question. Renee’s been the one character who even now has been denied a place in DC Comics. Her short but sweet return will have hear teaming up with Two-Face and given her history with him from the excellent Gotham Central, that’s going to be interesting. I really want this miniseries to get DC to turn its thick neck and finally bring back Renee Monotya proper.
Ms. Marvel could have easily been a cynical cash grab by Marvel to launch a series featuring a new Muslim hero only to cancel it in six issues and use it as an example for how diverse books are somehow non-profitable. Instead, Ms. Marvel has taken the teen superhero story akin to John Rogers’ criminally underrated Blue Beetle run. G. Willow Wilson has handled the budding Kamala Khan expertly as she slowly integrates into the greater Marvel Universe. Heck, even her team up with Wolverine, which should read as the most by the numbers move imaginable works thematically with Kamala’s story as she discovers her own identity as a superhero. Wilson captures the voice young people perfectly, something many comic book writers often fail to do. As the series has evolved, Ms. Marvel has gone from a strong-hearted teenage story into taking a stand and speaking out against older generations speaking down to Millennials. Hopefully as this book moves into 2015, it will keep that in mind.
And here is Marvel’s other shockingly political superhero title. Let me put it this way, I hate Tony Stark. I am the last person to let his snarky demeanor cloud over his cynical and selfish endeavors. So why does this book make the number two spot? Easy. Because Superior Iron Man takes everything I dislike about Tony Stark, prints it out on paper, and say, “yep, totally agree.” It seems Tom Taylor’s amazing talent as a writer is taking ideas that should by no reason work and turning them into must-read books. Let’s face it, the plot to the Injustice: God’s Among Us video game is a weak imitation of a story from the Justice League cartoon. Yet somehow Taylor took that and not only launched one of DC’s most successful digital comics, but is the only reason they’re still making it. Barely anyone could have picked up James Robinson’s Earth 2 series, but Taylor’s takeover made it one of the greatest Superman stories of the decade. Now with Superior Iron Man, not only is Tom Taylor making me care about Iron Man, he’s making it a politically charged takedown on police monitoring, corporate data mining, drone warfare, and every other evil that’s a result of the Information Age. Taylor is just getting started with this series and I am excited beyond belief for what he has in store next.
Yeah, not really surprised that this is here on the top of my list. Tooth & Claw is one of those few books that comes around which reminds me what it’s like to be a new comic reader. For the first time in too long, waiting for the next issue to come out is painful. If there was any way to somehow increase the passage of time, I would do it. The fact that my laptop wallpaper is just the first three issues covers on a loop should say how much I like this series. Tooth & Claw is an amazing new high fantasy story form industry legend Kurt Busiek filled with a populace of anthropomorphic animal people. Rich in detail and realness, The Autumnlands reminds one of the type of fantasy that used to exist before everyone started using Middle Earth as the Mad Libs version of world building. It harkens back to when the genre was blooming with Conan and John Carter of Mars in more ways than one. The world isn’t just laid out before you, but is explored slowly through the story. Trust me when I say I am usually scared when I sign on so full heartedly to a series. I take it as a sign that I’m overlooking something or letting my lesser judgment cloud my thinking. All of that goes out the window with Tooth & Claw. The characters are all solid, in particular the conniving coyote Goodfoot and hero Steven. Benjamin Dewey has been knocking it out of the park with his creature designs as furs, tails, feathers, and scales all look amazing. He deserves an award for the fantastic work on display. Where this series will go, I have no idea, but consider me pumped up.