The time has come to say goodbye to 2014. The year saw some terrific comic series, some new, some long running. Everyone had some amazing books, from the biggest publishers to the smaller ones, even indie based books. With so much on the market, it can be hard for us to cover everything week after week, not to mention trying to narrow down what were the best series of the year.
The entire staff brainstormed together and we are proud to present you the First Appearance: Best Comic Series of 2014. There were some we really enjoyed throughout the year that sadly didn’t make the cut, but we have narrowed down what we believed were the top ten series of the year. As always, please let us know your thoughts in the comments below, including what your top ten comic series of the year were!
10. The Delinquents
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment / Writer: James Asmus and Fred Van Lente / Artist: Kano
Every year there are always more than enough superhero team-ups to spare, including in the Valiant universe. Quantum and Woody meeting Archer and Armstrong, however, was a match made in heaven. Both coming from the action packed, buddy comedy style side of Valiant, them teaming up is something that should have happened long ago. Throw in a dash of hobo’s, a butt skin treasure map, artificially grown meat men, along with the four and more hilarity than you could ever dream is born. It was only four issues, short and sweet, but we loved every second of it. We can only hope that perhaps the day will come when the four will cross paths once again.
9. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1o
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics / Writers: Christos Gage and Nicholas Brendon / Artist: Rebekah Isaacs, Karl Moline, Cliff Richards, and Richard Corben
Last year Buffy the Vampire Slayer changed the rules, literally. The rules of magic were erased and it is now left to team Buffy to figure them out themselves. Wielding that much power of course has attracted plenty of attention. It doesn’t help that Giles is going through puberty after his resurrection as an adolescence, Dawn is trying to sort our her feelings, and vampires have become much stronger with special need powers. There has been plenty of action, plenty of banter, plenty of emotional drama that we know and love from the series. One of the best things about it though? The writing and art have been so spot on, it doesn’t matter if you followed Buffy before, it will still be on the top of your list every month. Things have been on fire since it began this year and we cannot wait to see what happens in 2015!
Publisher: Image Comics / Writers: J. Michael Straczynski / Artist: Tom Mandrake
While Sidekick started off last year, it has really started to get going in 2014. Continually trying to get away from the shadow cast by his former mentor the Red Cowl, Flyboy finds there is no getting away from being a former sidekick. He is a joke, but has finally got tired of being a laughing-stock. With the help of villain Julia Moonglow, and a bit of her manipulation, he finds that if he cannot become a full-blown superhero in his own right, he can become the world’s greatest super villain. This is especially bad for the Red Cowl who faked his death and has his old sidekick ready to kill him once and for all. There can be no denying the pure pleasure of watching Flyboy slowly lose his mind as he becomes bent on revenge. His tactics have become more brutal and we can’t wait to watch him put his rage to good use on Red Cowl very soon.
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics / Writers: Duane Swierczynski / Artist: Eric Nguyen
If you are a glutton for watching your heroes put through hell, X is the absolute best book for you. Over the year he has been taken captive by the mob and tortured, come back only to have the Archon beat him to a bloody pulp, and then get captured again and flayed over and over by a sadistic plastic surgeon. He gets the crap beat out of him repeatedly, but it never breaks his spirit and he keeps on going. In fact, typically his enemies get it in return much worse than they gave. It is one of the most brutal, gritty series on the market, making it month after month one of our most anticipated titles. The extreme violence may not be for everyone, but we lap it up.
6. X-O Manowar
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment / Writers: Robert Venditti / Artist: Cary Nord
This year was an exciting time for Aric of Dacia, and he wasn’t even featured in his own book for a portion of it. To start things off, he started the year by continuing to battle with his soon to be allies, Unity as they were manipulated by Toyo Harada. He proved himself to be a hero in the eyes of others, but this didn’t mean it was time for him to rest as the Armor Hunters came to Earth to kill him and everyone on the planet along the way. The series cut out its title character for several issues while we received much-needed back story on the Armor Hunters themselves, as we found why they felt just in their cause. Issue #25 and #0 brought a great jumping on points to the series while leading up to the return of another Valiant property, the Armorines, for him to face. X-O Manowar is the crown jewel of the Valiant universe and all year-long the title proved why.
5. Moon Knight
Publisher: Marvel Comics / Writers: Warren Ellis and Brian Wood / Artist: Declan Shalvey and Greg Smallwood
In the last volume of Moon Knight, Brian Bendis made Marc Spector even more crazy than he has ever been before. While we wouldn’t say Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey made him sane, it did make his just a little less crazy. It also gave him a new purpose that brought his wrath down once again on more street level criminals. Each issue served as a contained one shot that showed he knows how to take care of business with ease. It went against the current state at Marvel of long drawn out stories spanning several issues. No doubt about it, this was easily the best Moon Knight run ever. This latest volume hasn’t stopped there, however, as Brian Wood and Greg Smallwood took over in November. There run has just got out of the gate, but we love what they’re doing already and remain hopeful this is going to remain a must read series throughout next year.
Publisher: Image Comics / Writers: Ed Brubaker / Artist: Steve Epting
Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting’s run on Captain America was the best run of the series ever. When it ended we may have cried just a little bit. We had been hoping the pair would reunite for another project one day, and here it is, Velvet. It began last year with two issues that blew us away and has continued into 2014 becoming a must read book. It takes the best parts of their Captain America run and puts them into a somewhat retired super spy who has been framed. Her journey to uncover who is behind the plot has taken her around the world and put all of her espionage skills to good use. We have seen her inch closer to uncovering everything, but it will take us into next year to see the resolution. We can’t imagine our life without Velvet, but when her journey does end, we know it is going to be epic.
3. The Goon: Occasion of Revenge
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics / Writers: Eric Powell / Artist: Eric Powell
The Goon had not been a title that was previously on any of the staff’s reading list. We all agreed we had great things about the title before, but never had actually picked it up. Perhaps that is why The Goon: Occasion of Revenge took us such by storm. An evil force had its eyes set on the Goon’s city and war broke out. We knew it was a tough battle being fought from many sides, but this enemy attacked him closer than he ever knew until it was too late. The series was like a great Shakespearian play, tragic till the very end. It ended with our star broken, so we cannot help but wonder what will become of him next year. Hopefully it won’t be long until we find out.
2. Green Arrow
Publisher: DC Comics / Writers: Jeff Lemire, Brian Kreisberg, and Ben Sokolowski / Artist: Andrea Sorrentino and Daniel Sampere
We’ve been Green Arrow fans for quite some time, but we have never seen the Green Arrow as good as he has been this year. When Oliver was introduced in the New 52, things didn’t start on the right footing. Unfortunately it only got worse from there. It is always darkest before the dawn, as Jeff Lemire and Andre Sorrentino took over the title. The start of their run during 2013 was already amazing, but 2014 truly was the best Green Arrow has ever seen. The Outsider War took everything we thought we knew about Oliver and flipped it on its head. His father was alive and had secretly stranded Oliver on the island to prepare him for what was to come. Not only that, but Emiko was his half-sister. We lost Robert Queen almost as soon as we got him back, but taking a page out of the television series Arrow, they brought in Diggle. The Outsider War was epic, but it wasn’t over there. While Oliver was away, a new threat started taking over his city that he had to deal with upon his return. The end of the year saw the pair depart, but in their stead Brian Kreisberg and Ben Sokolowski from Arrow took the reigns with Daniel Sampere. In their first act of business, they brought in Felicity Smoak from Arrow and the long-awaited return of Mia Dearden. We’re pretty sure Green Arrow is right on track to land on our Best of the Year 2015 list.
The First Appearance Comic Series of the Year Is:
1. Death Sentence
Publisher: Titan Comics / Writers: Monty Nero / Artist: Mike Dowling
Before we rave about this series, we do want to mention that it just barely was allowed on our list. Originally released in Clint Magazine in 2012, the series found new life at Titan Comics as they picked up the publishing rights and began its new release in issue form in 2013, it finished this year along with a beautiful hardcover. Once we decided we would allow it, we knew it was going to be our pick of the year. The series was fresh, an idea that we had never seen before and loved. It was sick and twisted at times, but a fantastic ride from start to finish. Ever since we read Death Sentence we have been telling people all year this is the book to read. Once more in 2014, go out and buy this book! With that said, this is still going to be what we recommend to anyone looking for an adventure that is like nothing else they’ll find on the stands.