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Top 10 Favorite Company-Owned Comics of 2014

Well, another year gone. Everyone is spending their time with family, preparing dinners, and wrapping presents, and here I am, writing about the ten best comics not owned by the writers and artists that create them. Now, that’s just me being factious. I decided to split what would have been my favorite ten comics into corporate books and creator-owned because, in this day and age of making profit no matter what and, what some would call, overzealous multimedia synergy from certain companies, there are still books created by work-for-hire creators that do deserve their recognition.

 

Yes, I’ll get to the creator-owned books soon!

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NOTE: This is all opinion based. Tell me your favorite books in the comments!

 

Nova #16 Cover
Nova #16 Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. Nova

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Writer: Gerry Duggan

Artists: Paco Medina & David Baldeon

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Publisher: Marvel Comics

 

Yes, I loved what Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning did with Rich Rider, from Annihilation to The Thanos Imperative. That being said, Sam Alexander is great and his book is great. Yes, it’s playing up more of the coming-of-age story of a teenager trying to grasp the legacy he has and using the cosmic world of Marvel as the backdrop. You know what? That’s not a bad thing. Sam’s a novice and he’s got a lot to learn, but the kid has insane determination (especially shown in the very recent AXIS tie-ins) and the willingness to do good, growing pains be damned. Duggan, Medina and Baldeon have created a fun book that can be read by kids and adults. We may be revisiting this “fun” factor by the end of this list, hmmmmm!

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The Eleventh Doctor #1 Cover
The Eleventh Doctor #1 Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor

Writers: Al Ewing & Rob Williams

Artists: Simon Fraser & Boo Cook

Publisher: Titan Comics

 

Let’s talk empathy. It’s the ability to be able to recognize share ones feelings with one another. It’s something heroes need to have. Empathy is a big aspect of Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor, especially issue #1. Ewing and Williams simply get the Eleventh Doctor and introduced a fun new companion in Alice.

 

Hawkeye #19 Cover
Hawkeye #19 Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Hawkeye

Writer: Matt Fraction

Artists: David Aja & Annie Wu

Publisher: Marvel Comics

 

Bro, seriously, besides the painful delays (still not convinced Hawekeye #22 will come out before All-New Hawkeye #1), Fraction, Aja and Wu flipped the comic world on its side with this book and now it’s in the final stretch. Which is especially good because, considering most people focus on the humor with this book but, it’s a pretty dark story. My joking at the beginning aside, the villains are highly vicious Russian gangsters that have nearly murdered Clint several times and Kate has only succeeded against Madame Masque out of pure dumb luck. Still, maybe it’s because both Clint and Kate are incredibly flawed people that made this book so appealing…or maybe it was the humor and Pizza Dog, I don’t know.

 

Batman #33 Cover
Batman #33 Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Batman

Writer: Scott Snyder

Artists: Greg Capullo, Danny Miki & FCO Plascencia

Publisher: DC Comics

 

Oh yes, surprise surprise, this book is on the list. For good reason; Snyder and Capullo have been creating one of the most consistently great books at DC since September 2011. But the unsung hero of this book, especially for all of his insane work in Zero Year, is colorist FCO Plasencia. His color work created an awesome, vibrant, near psychedelic Gotham where Bruce Wayne’s origin as Batman took place.

 

Gotham Academy #1 Cover
Gotham Academy #1 Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Gotham Academy

Writers: Becky Cloonan & Brenden Fletcher

Artists: Karl Keschl & Geyser

Publisher: DC Comics

 

A newcomer to class, but a welcome one. Cloonan, Fletcher, Keschl and Geyser have hit a niche not often seen in the Big 2 cape comics: High School. But it does it in a smart way. Each character has a distinct look and personality and mesh very well together. The teenage drama is just as effective as the spooky supernatural things happening around the school and some of the superhero stuff seeping in. Plus, this book gave us Maps, and Maps is amazing.

 

Moon Knight #5 Cover
Moon Knight #5 Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Moon Knight

Writer: Warren Ellis

Artists: Declan Shalvey & Jordie Bellaire

Publisher: Marvel Comics

 

As I said in my review of Moon Knight #1, Ellis, Shalvey and Bellaire got me to care about a character I really had little interest in prior. However, the six issues they were on provided bizarre, high-octane, and bone crunching adventures with Mr. Knight and made me want to go back and read other books with the character. Ellis and Shalvey have since left and Marvel has adopted a kind of “season rotation” of creators for the book, which I think is an idea that has some merit.

 

Avengers #35 Cover (L), New Avengers #24 Cover (R)
Avengers #35 Cover (L), New Avengers #24 Cover (R)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Avengers/New Avengers

Writer: Jonathan Hickman

Artists: Lenil Yu, Kev Walker, Valerio Schiti, Jim Cheung, Stefano Caselli & Mike Deodato Jr.

Publisher: Marvel Comics

 

“Everything dies. You. Me. Everyone on this planet. Our sun, our galaxy, and, eventually, the universe itself. This is simply how things are. It’s inevitable… and I accept it.”

 

These words from Reed Richards have haunted both of Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers titles since New Avengers #1 debuted. Since then, the writer has created one of the most complex, ambitious, and, well let’s face it, epic storylines I’ve read in comics. From the depths of space to the very framework of the multiverse of the Marvel world, it is all part of Hickman’s grand cosmic plan that will finally culminate in 2015’s Secret Wars. With the Time Runs Out time-skip that took place in September, it’s made me take a new look at characters I thought I would never do, especially Bobby da Costa a.k.a. Sunspot. I would never think to see Sunspot, Leader of the Avengers be a thing. I have no idea where this story is going to go, but I am most certainly with it to the end.

 

Harbinger #22 Cover
Harbinger #22 Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Harbinger

Writer: Joshua Dysart

Artist: Clayton Henry, Khari Evans & Robert Gill

Publisher: Valiant Comics

 

Not going to lie, I was originally going to put Archer & Armstrong on here as my favorite Valiant title until I read Harbinger vol. 5: Death of a Renegade, which is the concluding volume for this incarnation of the book. Joshua Dysart’s ability to inject humanity into these characters is nothing less than astonishing. I’ll admit, I wanted to punch Peter Stanchek at the end of Harbinger #1 for what he did to Kris. By the end of this series… I still wanted to, but I’d feel bad about it. And, of course, this is the book that brought us Faith Herbert a.k.a. Zephyr who is the breakout character of the series by being a character that believes in heroes in much darker superworld than the ones mainstream readers are used to.

 

Also, Valiant, if you ever need someone for a Generation Zero ongoing….just saying…I got ideas…

 

Grayson #5 Cover
Grayson #5 Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Grayson

Writers: Tim Seeley & Tom King

Artists: Mikel Janin & Jeromy Cox

Publisher: DC Comics

 

Yes, I was one of those that scoffed at the idea of turning Dick Grayson into a secret agent. Now, it’s my favorite book at DC right now. Each issue that Seeley, King, Janin and Cox (along with Stephen Mooney on the Futures End and Annual) have crafted an adventure comic that simply screams “Dick Grayson” with every panel. There is not a book at DC that is more in-tune with its central protagonist. Yes, even more so than Snyder on Batman. All that, plus the fun of the spy genre with a bit (okay more than a bit) of sexiness make this my DC Book of 2014.

 

Ms. Marvel #1 Cover
Ms. Marvel #1 Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Ms. Marvel

Writers: G. Willow Wilson

Artists: Adrian Alphona & Ian Herring

Publisher: Marvel Comics

 

A wise man once said that Ms. Marvel #1 would end up being the most important first issue Marvel puts out this year (It was me! On this website!) What G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona and Ian Herring (along with Jake Wyatt on fill-ins) have created has been nothing short of astonishing. Why? Because in this awful, despicable, unfair, miserable world with books that still rely on old, tired tropes in some desperate effort to placate the same audiences, thank goodness for books like Ms. Marvel to remember we’re supposed to try and have a bit of damn fun! Remember that? Hmmmm? When we weren’t insane with discussions of continuity flubs and bringing back old characters and slapping a fresh coat of “We’re Relevant, Damnit!” paint on them at the expense of the fanbases of other, younger characters? Ms. Marvel is fun, accessible, bright, honest and, once again, fun!

 

But there’s more to it than that. Kamala Khan herself is one of the most unique and interesting new characters I’ve read in a long time. She is bright, optimistic and hopeful, but is not perfect and very flawed. However, she perseveres, continuously wants to improve and is not one to shirk away from doing the right thing. You know; things a hero would do. And if you need any more proof, just read the issue #10 on what she says to a group of teenagers that have been brainwashed into thinking their generation is useless. Better yet, let me just show you:

 

Ms. Marvel 1

Ms. Marvel 2

Bottom Line: Ms. Marvel is the little book that not only could, but has. It’s a book no one saw coming and it has yet to let up on its fantastic characters, beautiful art, and absolute heart.

 

Honorable Mentions: All-New Ghost Rider, Batman & Robin, Samurai Jack, Archer & Armstrong, Thor: God of Thunder, Jeff Lemire & Andrea Sorrentino’s Green Arrow.

 

Top 10 Favorite Creator-Owned Comics Coming Soon. Tell me your Favorite Company-Owned Comics in the comments!

Trust Me, I'm a Superhero

About Kenneth

When he is not working at a library or on his Master's Degree, Ken Godberson III is usually writing comics, prose and screenplays. He tends to be an expert on absolutely nothing except on why Impulse is the greatest superhero ever. He can be found on Twitter @kengodbersoniii or on Tumblr at kengodbersoniii.tumblr.com

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