By Peter Bloch
Sometime last year, shortly after my internship with Dark Horse Comics, I began indulging in one of my boyish hobbies once again.
During May of last year, DC (Detective Comics) published Rebirth, an 80 page graphic novel detailing the current state of the DC universe, and since then, I have been gorging on every comic that I can get my hands on. In addition, it reset story arcs, helped spark new ideas for characters, and corrected some issues in the chronology (namely Batman having five Robins within six months).
Since then, I have picked up a few of Marvel and DC’s latest works and found them thoroughly enjoying, but these are the top ten comic series that I have read in the last year:
*WARNING: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS*
#10 – Superman (Rebirth)
A few years ago, Superman died. Shortly thereafter, he was resurrected by recharging from the sun’s solar radiation. To protect his family, Superman then jumps to a parallel universe, taking his wife, Lois Lane, and his son, Jon Kent, to the current earth in DC’s Rebirth in order to seek protection from another Superman (it’s totally cool if you can’t follow). However, when the younger Superman dies, Superman must leave behind his anonymity and announce that there is a new sheriff in town. Because of his actions, he must carefully juggle his life as Clark Kent, and Superman, as well as protect his son Jon from being discovered by the world as a half-Kryptonian Superboy.
#9 – Black Panther (2016)
As a fan of the character, I was ecstatic when he was included in the Civil War movie. In the newest series, writer Ta-Nehisi Coates depicts Black Panther as the “orphan king” struggling to find the balance as both the hero and king that he needs to be. Coates says it best when he writes “I know what I love to see in comics–great art, great characters, beautiful dialogue, and people punching other people.” Coates certainly delivers in Black Panther.
#8 – Green Arrow (Rebirth)
Currently, I can’t wait for Arrow to return to the CW, and until then, I have to get my fix the comics. For those who don’t know, this superhero is a mixture between Batman and Robin Hood. In this story arc, Oliver Queen, billionaire, has recently united with his long-lost sister, and struggles to combat both his step-mom, and the evil that is “The Yakuza.”
#7 – Batman (Rebirth)
In this story arc, Batman begins by falling to his death before two new superheroes, “Gotham Man” and “Gotham Girl” come to his rescue. As Batman becomes sick of his crime-fighting life, he slowly gives more responsibility to this new duo. However, as things go haywire (as they always do) the world’s greatest detective must discover their secret and save Gotham before it’s too late!
#6 – Civil War II
Many of you may know that the first Civil War story arc was recently made into a movie, detailing how the Avengers disagree on how superheroes should conduct themselves publicly (well, that’s a huge generalization). However, the second story not only begins to deal with the wreckage they have caused the many teams (Defenders, Inhumans, X-Men, Avengers, Ultimates, and more), but begins by killing off one of the most important people in the Marvel universe. As per usual, Tony Stark starts a fight, and things escalate fast. If you pick this one up, you’re in for one hell of a ride.
#5 – Nightwing (Rebirth)
Nightwing was Batman’s first Robin, Dick Grayson, and this story arc serves as a stepping stone for Dick as he transitions into his adulthood and assumes his role as his own superhero. In addition, he struggles to keep his long-time romance between himself and Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) alive. As he remains a sleeper agent in the Court of Owls, he must fight to survive, making Nightwing one of the most intense comics I have read to date.
#4 – Flash (Rebirth)
As the fastest man alive, it is hard for Barry Allen to transition to one of an exponentially growing number of fast men. As lightning all across Central City strikes individuals, they gain access to the speed force, an alternate dimension giving them super speed. Not only must Barry train them, but he must also track down Godspeed, a new villian who is stealing the speed force from the newly-powered-up speedsters.
#3 – DC’s Rebirth
As I move into my top three, I must begin with DC’s Rebirth, as it re-introduced me to all of the different series’ stories, as it serves as an introduction to DC’s new wave of comics. It begins with Wally West, another Flash, and tells about how he is falling through time, watching as his friends age before his eyes in a montage of panels from the DC universe. Finally before Wally disappears forever, Barry Allen, the current Flash, pulls Wally after the speed force. Wally must then find his old friends, the Titans, and explain to everyone what lies ahead in the universe.
#2 – Spiderman (2016)
Yes, I am incredibly biased to be in love with Peter Parker as we share a first name. However, in the most recent series, the mantle of Spiderman is taken by Miles Morales, a high school webslinger who struggles to keep his family life and superhero life apart. In addition, he is one of Marvel’s first A-list, multiracial superheroes. As he is sucked into Marvel’s Civil War II, Miles must learn cope with Ganke, his best friend, and an ex-X-Man (I’ve always wanted to say that), “Goldballs.” I have found this one of the most intriguing reads of this year, and highly encourage new and old fans to pick it up.
#1 – Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps
When the entirety of guardians go missing, and the Green Lantern Corps, the intergalactic police force, goes into hiding, there is only one man who can save the universe. The series opens as Hal Jordan, the last known green lantern is stranded on a moon in the corner of the universe. After freeing himself from his shackles, he forges himself a weapon of pure willpower: the green lantern ring. After saying his famous oath to keep the peace, he flies off into the distance to search for his lost friends.
Thank you for reading. I hope that you all pick up one or more of these titles at your local comic shop, and can find your inner strength to help those in need. For more info, make sure to tune in next week, same ‘vark time, same ‘vark channel. Until then, up, up and away…