Superhero comics are what make comic books epic, mythic even. While it’s nice to see someone reveal their life to us in their own art and words, it’s still pretty cool to see Superman uppercut Darkseid into space! With that said, here are our 5 favorite superhero books right now!
We’ve been a fan of Ultimate Spider-Man for a few years now, but Brian Michael Bendis killing off Ultimate Peter Parker is probably the biggest thing he’s done on that book. Killing off your protagonist??? PERMANENTLY??? (So far). While most comic book fans are jaded towards death in comics, we think Ultimate Peter’s death has unfolded into something that may surpass the original run. A lot of hype has surrounded the book with new half-black, half-Hispanic protagonist Miles Morales, but the story itself has been terrific, and we’ve long been a fan of Sara Pichelli’s Ultimate Spidey work. This series has the potential to really fulfill the Ultimate line’s original mission statement: to tell stories with familiar characters in totally unexpected ways.
Writer Jason Aaron may have created the most fun and entertaining new X-Title of the year! Wolverine has split with Cyclops over the use of kids in the battlefield, and he’s decided to open up a school for all young mutants! It’s like a mad science experiment: one super lethal samurai warrior, a bunch of mutant kids with powers and a world that hates and fears them??? Okay… so maybe it doesn’t SOUND that light, but Jason Aaron has really got a hold of how crazy a school of super powered kids can be. Chris Bachalo’s art isn’t hard on the eyes either. It’s arguably the best new book Marvel has put out all year.
Robert Kirkman isn’t being hyperbolic when he stamps every cover of Invincible with “The Best Superhero Comic Book In The Universe!”… it’s arguably THE best. Why is it the best? Because Kirkman doesn’t pull any punches, much like Walking Dead. Mark Grayson (the eponymous Invincible) regularly gets into crazy fights that make the cast of Dragon Ball Z jealous. The book can be morally ambiguous and Mark makes mistakes and decisions he doesn’t like, but he’s a younger guy, and his flaws make him all the more heroic, not to mention Ryan Ottley’s AMAZING art. Ottley sure draws a pretty, visceral fight scene!
One of the best books not a lot of people are talking, Mark Waid’s Irredeemable has been one of our favorites since issue one. Superman usually holds back. If he chose to, he could obliterate the heroes of the DC Universe. In Irredeemable, Superman analogue Plutonian does just that. He’s had enough of the jabs and insults thrown at him, even the tiniest whispers, so he devastates the planet Earth and attacks and kills those who oppose him or pose a threat to him. This year alone has been intense, with Plutonian recently discovering his origin! Mark Waid is one of the best in the business, and Irredeemable is a really compelling story. This books is fun, but it gets really dark. You no longer have to imagine Superman really cutting loose, it’s all in the pages of Irredeemable.
Speaking of Superman, how could we NOT mention Action Comics?!? This series is purely inspired by 1930’s Golden Age Superman, with all of its tenets of social justice and futurism. Superman not only goes after corrupt corporate officials, but faces the likes of a scientific genius in Lex Luthor and a powerful alien menace in Brainiac! Superman is fun and relevant in this series, and it makes sense. Superman was created in America during a Depression and a War… the new Action Comics was relaunched during a time of Recession and War. This world doesn’t cry out for a defender of the status quo, the status quo stinks! The revamped Superman is what he was back then: a powerful man who fights for the little guy. You could totally see this Superman talking at Occupy rallies and bringing corrupt company heads to the doorsteps of prisons tied up. That’s the spirit in which Superman was created, and Superman is the character which begat all of the superheroes we know today. Grant Morrison understood this, and he’s really executed this really well!
So that’s our list of Superhero books YOU NEED TO READ! There’s a Best of 2011 coming your way soon, and a look at what’s to come in 2012! Until then—
Stay bloggy my friends!