Two words could be used to describe comics in 2015: scandal and rebirth. The scandals happened off the pages at both companies large and small, and the rebirth happened in the comics themselves.
G Willow Wilson
Ms. Marvel #1 is a delightful smorgasbord of superhero action, sweet romance, bright art, and has a strong, yet fantastical connection to real world issues. G. Willow Wilson, Takeshi Miyazwa, and Adrian Alphona craft a first issue that is both exciting and heart wrenching as Kamala Khan starts to take steps into being a more responsible and mature superhero and human being in both her actions and interpersonal relationships.
2015 has been quite the eclectic year for comics, and this fact is reflected in our top ten list. Image Comics continues to be the true house of ideas with books ranging from a feminist twist on exploitation films to a murder mystery set in 1940s Hollywood and even a LGBTQ-friendly parody of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Even though they are in the middle of big events (Convergence and Secret Wars), DC and Marvel respectively still have room for offbeat takes on their iconic or not so iconic characters and are represented on this list along with Valiant, which has attracted a veritable Murderer’s Row of creator to shape and develop their shared universe.
Since its release last year, Ms. Marvel has stood as one of the most subversive and earnest teenage superhero books coming out of either of the big two. It’s drawn in fans both old and new who never dreamed to see a teenage Pakistani-American girl don superhero tights and stand up against injustice in her own home city. The book has been charged with the fury of Millennials sick of being told they’re the social rot that marks the downfall of society. Even when conveying to traditional cynical comic book marketing like a Wolverine team-up, the title kept its identity and worked something that editorially mandated into a natural extend of Kamala Khan’s development. As Ms. Marvel has done its best to ignore typical female superhero tropes, this month risks all of that when Kamala realizes she’s developed a crush on a handsome new boy who’s come to town.
This month, Ms. Marvel, ships twice as issue number twelve comes as a Valentine’s Day special where Jersey City’s latest and greatest superhero must contend with the mischievous Loki. While not the most perfect of issues and all around skippable, it’s a humorous romp for Kamala Khan and what is hands down one of the strangest team ups in recent memory.
This week G. Willow Wilson concludes her inaugural arc on the excellent Ms. Marvel. For the last year, Kamala Khan has been slowly unraveling the manic plot of the Thinker, a humanoid parakeet with a massive intellect and equally large ego. These latest issues especially have launched Ms. Marvel from being a diverse yet small curiosity into a prideful rallying point for millennial angst as the Thinker’s true goal is to use young people as a cheap source of energy. It’s now up to Kamala Khan and her improvised team of Jersey City kids to stop the Thinker once and for all.
Cullen Bunn is unique. If nothing else can be said about him, he is certainly unique. The Empty Man shows the full extent of Bunn’s ability. The series focuses on two detectives as they struggle to sort out the mystery surrounding a series of suspicious deaths and murders. The deaths are connected by the strange hallucinations experienced by the perpetrators, as well as their last words “The Empty Man made me do it”. The Empty Man is unpredictable because it follows so very few tropes. Nothing like this series has been seen before, and readers will be asking themselves the same question over and over: Who is the Empty Man? (Or “What the F*ck?”).