The 5 Best and 5 Worst Comics of 2010

By Jay Barish in Comics, Daily Lists
Wednesday, December 29, 2010 at 8:01 am
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Another year finally begins to draw to a close, and you know what that means. Countless best and worst of lists from just about everyone on just about everything. Whether television or movies or like in this case comic books, website after website floods the interwebs with their personal takes on the year's most foam-at-the-mouth awesome and most slam-your-head-against-the-wall-to-forget awful.

So, here you go faithful readers. The Top 5 Best and Worst Comics from 2010, with the Top 5 Best first because let's face it, no matter how much we love gushing about a comic, we love bashing the crap out of them more. One last thing before we get started though because we know it'll come up: Grant Morrison is NOT on either list. Any mainstream title by him from this past year could end up in either section, depending on your comic book preferences. And while it would be incredibly meta to have the same comic at the top spot on both lists, representing the supremely subject nature inherit in all lists, we decided to just skip all that because it involves way too much philosophizing. With that out of the way -- to those not already writing a "passionately voiced" comment -- let's get this started.

THE 5 BEST COMICS OF 2010:

5) Batgirl #15
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I never used to like Stephanie Brown. When DC revealed her as the new Batgirl, I wanted to hate it so much I prepped myself for receiving a Red Lantern ring. Thankfully, I gave newcomer writer Bryan Q. Miller a shot and holy unfair biased, Batman, I am glad I did. When a writer manages to take a character reviled by many fans and turns her into a favorite, that takes some serious skill. Miller writes an extremely affable Stephanie whose self-deprecating humor and realistic personality instantly wins you over. The choice for best issue came down to issue #14 -- a standalone story featuring Supergirl and an army of black-and-white-movie Draculas -- and issue #15, which ended up winning simply because of Miller and the amazing Dustin Nguyen's three-page opener explaining the history of the Bat Family in the most hilariously adorable way possible.

4) Chew #11
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I'll be honest here, I only picked issue #11 because it was the first opening issue of an arc for the year, so theoretically a good jumping on point for new readers. But seriously, pick up any single issue of this book and I dare you not to enjoy it. Easily the single greatest new series of 2009, Chew continues to provide brilliant and original storytelling every single month by way of writer John Layman and artist Rob Guillory. It's funny. It's deep. It's wholly unique. And it's ongoing narrative and revelations build in a way that consistently delivers in the most satisfying way possible. It's the Arrested Development of the comic book world. Yes, it's that good. Chew on that, peoples.

3) Morning Glories #1
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With every issue of Morning Glories, writer Nick Spencer (remember that name for later) weaves a story so deeply complex and interesting you get pissed when you reach the last page because you want more now. You know, like every goddamn episode of Lost during the first season. And the engaging plot only falls secondary to the fascinating cast of characters. Each one of the new students attending the series' Prep School of the Damned feels like someone you probably know, and the beautiful art by Joe Eisma just makes them feel that more real. If Chew was the unexpected, breakout success for 2009, Morning Glories without a doubt takes home the trophy for 2010, uppercutting the shit of any competition.

2) Avengers: Children's Crusade #1
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If you never read Allan Heinberg's original twelve-issue Young Avengers title, you need to get on that shit right the fuck now. I remember reflecting on that original run a few months ago, prior to the release of the first issue of this new bi-monthly series, and fondly recalled thoroughly enjoying the book in that, "Yeah, that was good," way. Then I read the first issue of Children's Crusade and it was like a lost love coming back into your life. You never realized just how much greatness was truly missing. Brilliantly written characters, beautiful art by Jim Cheung and a tone that reflects the great, classic, superhero stories of days past, Children's Crusade represents Marvel Comics at its finest this year.

1) Action Comics #893
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Paul Cornell you magnificent British bastard. Look at the cover to this issue: Gorilla Grodd attacking Lex Luthor with a giant spoon! That screams awesome right there. Cornell writes an absolutely amazing Lex Luthor. Many writers approach villains with the notion of making them sympathetic, so readers might understand their motivation and realize that maybe they're not so bad after all. Not the case here. Cornell's Lex is very much a terrible and evil person -- one with no qualms about using and killing others to obtain his own personal goals or about banging a robotic double of Lois Lane on a regular basis. Add to the fact the insanely unpredictable nature of the series and Cornell's "Action" makes for the best and most interesting comic writing of the year. But why this issue when Cornell started his run with issue #890? Simple -- because this issue began the Jimmy Olsen backups by Nick Spencer (told you to remember him). Spencer's Jimmy Olsen tale is so crazy and funny and all around entertaining that you completely forget about the fact that you're reading a story about Jimmy frickin' Olsen -- a character whose existence led to some of the most ridiculously stupid comics ever during the Silver Age. A character whose main point of note at best was being "Superman's Pal" and at worst was wearing a bowtie. And yet, Spencer actually makes you enjoy reading about him.

The worst of '10 is on the next page.

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