Mar 06, 2020

Best Comics of the 2010s

The Golden Age of Comics might have brought the medium to the mainstream. However, the 2010s made comics bigger and much more lucrative. Thanks to the success of comic book movies — mainly the Marvel Cinematic Universe — the audience for comics has grown substantially. More so, it’s never been easier to stay up to date with comics, thanks to digital releases. And that’s before we even mention the steady rise of webcomics. It was a banner decade for comics, which makes distilling the best ones all that more difficult. Nonetheless, we’re going to try anyway.

  • 10 years before the start of the comic, Black Hammer, along with six other heroes, saved Spiral City from annihilation. But, in the process, the heroic ensemble was trapped in Rockwood, a purgatory-like town with no hope of escape.

    Ever since its release in 2016, Black Hammer has become a mainstay of Dark Horse Comics. The outstanding 13 issue run spun off into multiple side stories, a cross-company team-up with DC’s Justice League, and a future TV show and film.

    The series certainly did well by the creators, Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston. Unique, fresh, gorgeous, and addictively page-turning, Black Hammer is without a doubt a standout.

  • In a world filled with superhero titans like Captain America, Iron Man, and the Hulk, it’s easy to forget about Hawkeye. That is, until all-star writer Matt Fraction teamed up with pen-and-paper wizard David Aja.

    Matt Fraction elevates Clint Barton’s relatively modest character arc. After all, Hawkeye is the everyman in a universe of superior beings, and Fraction makes that story compelling. Illustrator David Aja really outdid himself too. He uses a minimalist style that harkens back to the Golden Age of Comics. It’s a remarkable feat that reads both modern and timeless.

    What we’re saying is don’t write Hawkeye off. Because, believe it or not, it could be the best thing Marvel released in the 2010s.

  • Hard science fiction collides with a comic industry tent-pole in this invigoratingly fresh take on the X-Men. Building off of his success writing Avengers and Secret Wars, writer Jonathan Hickman set out to sprinkle some of his magic dust on another fan-favorite Marvel property. And boy, did he ever deliver.

    House of X and Power of X are two separate comic books that are designed to be read concurrently. These comics completely re-invent the past, present, and future of X-Men as we know it. As such, Hickman single-handedly rights the ship on a property that has been mismanaged for years on end.

    Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of House of X/Power of X. While you’re at it, go ahead and cancel your plans for the weekend too. It’s a lot to take in.

  • Former CIA agent, Tom King has made quite a name for himself in the world of comics. Bursting on the scene with Grayson, receiving critical acclaim for 2015’s The Vision, and taking Batman to new heights with his Rebirth run, King’s resume is filled with quality. So, it’s no surprise that DC Comics tapped him to bring Jack Kirby’s Mister Miracle into the modern era.

    As such, Mister Miracle sees escape artist Scott Free attempt his greatest trick to date: escaping death itself. Praised for its exceptionally unique art style by Mitch Gerads and hailed as a “comic book masterpiece,” this comic delivers a personal, hard-hitting tale that will no doubt stay with you long after you turn the final page.

  • A matriarchal, post-apocalyptic society filled with magic, monsters, and violence? Sign us up.

    From writer Marjorie Lie and artist Sana Takeda, Monstress follows a teenage girl named Maika, who shares a psychic connection with a powerful monster. Maika is struggling with her access to remarkable power while also setting out to avenge the death of her mother.

    It’s important to note that Monstress was designed in part to be a direct response to the prevalence of violence against women in popular culture. This story isn’t just driven by female characters; its male characters are few and far between.

    But don’t get it twisted. Monstress is far from a novelty. It’s a quality comic. One that’s fully deserving of its decade’s best designation.

  • Iron Man, Captain America, and Black Panther may have defined the current state of Marvel, but they have no claim to its future. The future belongs to Ms. Marvel.

    Written by G. Willow Wilson and mostly illustrated by Adrian Alphona, Ms. Marvel follows protagonist Kamala Khan, a Pakistani-American teen living in New Jersey. She enjoys everything that ordinary American teens do, up until the Terrigen Mist is unleashed on the world (see 2013’s Infinity). The mist awakens Kamala’s Inhuman genes, which dramatically changes her path in life.

    Due to its contemporary themes and how down to earth and relatable Kamala is, Wilson’s 2014 to 2019 run on Ms. Marvel is a resounding success. In fact, the debut issue of this run sold a staggering 75,280 in 2014 and the trade paperbacks have sold over 500,000 as of 2018.

    If you’re looking for a preview of the future of the MCU, Ms. Marvel is it.

  • If you want to hear a comic shop owner gush, ask them about Saga. First published in March 2012 and still releasing monthly issues to this date, Saga is often described as a mash-up between Star Wars, Game of Thrones, The Lord of the Rings, and Romeo and Juliet.

    Created by writer Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples, and published by Image Comics, Saga offers a unique perspective on intergalactic, unending war. The tale follows a husband, wife, and daughter as they flee authorities on both sides of the battle all in the name of family.

    Fresh, inventive, fun, and powerful. Saga truly is a remarkable achievement and one clearly deserving of a spot on any best of the decade list.

  • You could argue that Thor had the most to gain from the comic book craze of the 2010s. While plenty of people were fixated on the character’s big-screen adventures, many missed out Jason Aaron’s legendary run writing for Thor.

    Lasting an astonishing seven years, Aaron constructs an epic tale from 2012’s Thor: God of Thunder to 2019’s King Thor that redefines the character of Thor. From his highest highs to lowest lows, readers get an understanding of Thor Odinson as a person instead of an all-powerful hammer swinging brute.

    Although it might seem daunting to read over 100 comics, these masterful works of imagination and creativity are well worth the time investment.

  • Any time Alan Moore pens a new comic book, people take notice. But, this League of Extraordinary Gentlemen spin-off does more than coast off Moore’s popularity. It’s a fantastic work in its own right and certainly deserves to be considered one of the best of the decade.

    The Nemo Trilogy follows Queen Janni Nemo and her fellow pirates as they encounter various monsters, tyrants, and undesirables across three unique adventures. Illustrator Kevin O’Neill brings Janni to life with vibrant, stylized visuals. Plus, Alan Moore introduces some new tricks with this memorable addition to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen universe.

  • Get used to hearing all about the Young Avengers. Though official news has yet to break, rumors suggest a TV adaptation is coming.

    Young Avengers originally began in April 2005 and quickly built up a rabid fanbase. However, it’s the 2013 run that we’re going to spend some time on today.

    Written by Kieron Gillen and illustrated by Jamie McKelvie, Young Avengers returns a few notable characters from the original run like Wiccan, Hulking and Kate Bishop’s Hawkeye. At the same time, it introduces a new slate of teen and young adult superheroes including Marvel Boy, Kid Loki, and Miss America.

    The comic serves up a unique take on an old favorite and provides comic fans with a preview of what they can expect the future of the Marvel Universe to look like. And believe us when we say, the future of comics is in good hands.

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