January 5, 2016

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James' 2015 Favorites

I didn't have time this year to do as comprehensive of a review of my favorite books for 2015 as I had done in 2014 (two lists, individual issues and series) but I still wanted to share the comics I loved this year.  As always, these are my *favorites*.  I wouldn't presume to call any list a "best of" list since I haven't read everything and I think that's hard to do with something as subjective as art.

Favorite Ongoing Series of 2015

This category includes both returning favorites and some series that really came on for me.  Some highlights for me included the "Last Days" arc on Ms. Marvel where you really got to see Kamala Khan put together all that she had learned about being a superhero in an incredibly emotional, satisfying story, and the second arc of Southern Bastards which focused on Coach Boss really helped raise this book to a whole other level of complexity.  Books such as Deadly Class, Lazarus and East of West remained strong, compelling reads on a consistent basis, and Low and Copperhead really grew on me as some of my favorite series.



 Copperhead
Written by Jay Faerber
Illustrated by Scott Godlewski
Colored by Ron Riley
Letters by Thomas Mauer
Published by Image Comics




Deadly Class
Written by Rick Remender
Illustrated by Wes Craig
Colored by Lee Loughridge and Jordan Boyd
Letters by Rus Wooton
Published by Image Comics 




East of West
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Illustrated by Nick Dragotta
Colored by Frank Martin
Letters by Rus Wooton
Published by Image Comics




Lazarus
Written by Greg Rucka
Illustrated and Lettered by Michael Lark
Colored by Santi Arcas
Published by Image Comics



Low
Written by Rick Remender
Drawn by Greg Tocchini
Colored by Greg Tocchini and Dave McCaig
Lettered by Rus Wooton
Published by Image Comics



Ms. Marvel
Written by G. Willow Wilson
Illustrated by Adrian Alphona and Takeshi Miyazawa
Colored by Ian Herring
Letters by Joe Caramagna
Published by Marvel Comics




Saga
Written by Brian K. Vaughan
Illustrated by Fiona Staples
Published by Image Comics




Silver Surfer
Written by Dan Slott
Illustrated by Michael Allred
Colored by Laura Allred
Letters by Joe Sabino
Published by Marvel Comics



Southern Bastards
Written by Jason Aaron
Illustrated and Colored by Jason Latour
Letters by Jared K. Fletcher
Published by Image Comics

Favorite new (ongoing) series of 2015

It's hard to say a book is one of my favorites for a year when only a few issues have come out, but there are some very strong new series that really grabbed by attention in the latter part of this year (such as Paper Girls and The Vision).  Descender and Injection were both spectacular science fiction series that began earlier in the year, and both provided intelligent, compelling, gorgeously illustrated stories where all sorts of terrible things happen.




Written by Jeff Lemire
Illustrated and Colored by Dustin Nguyen
Letters and Design by Steve Wands
Published by Image Comics 


Written by Warren Ellis
Illustrated by Declan Shalvey
Colored by Jordie Bellaire
Letters by Fonografiks
Published by Image Comics



Written by Brian K. Vaughan
Illustrated by Cliff Chiang
Colors by Matt Wilson
Letters and Design by Jared K. Fletcher
Published by Image Comics





The Vision
Written by Tom King
Illustrated by Gabriel Hernandez Walta
Colored by Jordie Bellaire
Letters by Clayton Cowles
Published by Marvel Comics 


Favorite books that ended in 2015 (either miniseries or ongoing series)

A number of series I loved ended this year.  Alex + Ada, Supreme: Blue Rose and The Private Eye were only intended to be limited series so that was by design; Alex + Ada in particular I will miss reading with my wife, as it's such a sweet, romantic story.  2015 also saw the end of Mark Waid, Chris Samnee and Matt Wilson's extended run on Daredevil (which included earlier work from incrediblly talented artists Paolo Rivera, Marcos Martin, Javier Rodriguez and others), and Matt Kindt brought his epic Mind MGMT to a very satisfying conclusion. 


Alex + Ada
Written by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn
Illustrated, Colored and Lettered by Jonathan Luna
Published by Image Comics



Daredevil
Written by Mark Waid
Illustrated by Chris Samnee
Colored by Matt Wilson
Letters by Joe Caramagna
Published by Marvel Comics


MindMGMT
Written and Illustrated by Matt Kindt
Published by Dark Horse



The Private Eye
Written by Brian K. Vaughan
Illustrated by Marcos Martin
Colored by Muntsa Vicente
Published by Panel Syndicate (electronically) and Image Comics (hardcover)



Supreme: Blue Rose
Written by Warren Ellis
Illustrated and Colored by Tula Lotay
Letters by Richard Starkings
Published by Image Comics



Favorite Miniseries of 2015

I love a good miniseries; if you can tell a great, concise story in 4-5 issues, I'm in.  This year saw some very satisfying miniseries such as two really strong ones from Black Mask (We Can Never Go Home and Space Riders) and two different time travel themed miniseries involving two incredibly talented artists (Sean Murphy on Chrononauts, Rafael Albuquerque on EI8HT).  These stories couldn't have been more different, but both are worth your time (get it, time).  Brian K. Vaughan and Steve Skroce also told an action packed tale of future war in We Stand on Guard (which was a great allegory for current events, as most good science fiction is).  Lastly, it's a bit of a cheat to call Secret Wars a miniseries.  It is a miniseries (that's not quite done yet) and an amazing, epic one at that with terrific art from Esad Ribic, but it's also the culmination of five years of storytelling and a few hundred issues from Jonathan Hickman's time at Marvel (Avengers, New Avengers, Fantastic Four, FF, Secret Warriors, SHIELD), where he's been telling one huge story that is among the favorite stories I've ever read. 




Chrononauts 
Written by Mark Millar
Illustrated by Sean Murphy
Colored by Matt Hollingsworth
Letters by Chris Eliopoulos
Published by Image Comics




EI8HT
Written by Rafael Albuquerque and Mike Johnson
Illustrated and Colored by Rafael Albuquerque
Letters by Nate Piekos
Published by Dark Horse



Nameless
Written by Grant Morrison
Illustrated by Chris Burnham
Colored by Nathan Fairbairn
Letters by Simon Bowland
Published by Image Comics



Secret Wars
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Illustrated by Esad Ribic
Colored by Ive Svorcina
Letters by Chris Eliopoulos
Published by Marvel Comics



 Space Riders
Written by Fabian Rangel, Jr.
Illustrated by Alxis Ziritt
Letters by Ryan Ferrier
Black Mask Studios



We Can Never Go Home
Written by Patrick Kindlon and Matthew Rosenberg
Illustrated by Josh Hood
Colored by Tyler Boss
Lettered by Jim Campbell
Black Mask Studios


We Stand on Guard
Written by Brian K. Vaughan
Illustrated by Steve Skroce
Colored by Matt Hollingsworth
Lettered by Fonografiks
Image Comics


Favorite OGN of 2015

This was a big year for Andrew MacLean (with the release of ApocalyptiGirl and the launch of Head Lopper at Image Comics) and he deserves the accolades he's getting.  I really loved ApocalyptiGirl as I thought it created an instantly memorable, life-affirming character in a weird, dark world. I highly recommend it. 



ApocalyptiGirl
Written and Illustrated by Andrew MacLean
Published by Dark Horse



Favorite Random Single Issue of 2015

When Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips work on a project, you sit up and take notice. The Fade Out, which is a terrific miniseries will be coming to a close soon. They also worked this year on a one-shot tying into their Criminal stories. This was a terrific issue, going back and forth between the story of one of the characters doing time, and the Conan-esque comic that he read while he was in jail.  A terrific, gorgeous read.



Criminal: Special Edition
Written by Ed Brubaker
Illustrated and Lettered by Sean Philipps
Colored by Elizabeth Breitweiser
Published by Image Comics