Lvenger's Top 5 Comics of 2013

For my last blog of 2013, I’ve decided to jump on the bandwagon of writing about what my 5 favourite series of 2013 have been. I’ve been much more experimental with indie and alternative comics but the Big Two still dominate my list for the most part. I’ve also stolen Deranged_Midget’s format so in exchange, I heavily recommend you check out his excellently written and engaging blog on his 5 favourite series of 2013. Now there will be SPOILERS for the series I’ve chosen so you’ve been warned here and now.

5. Indestructible Hulk

Despite a recent nosedive in quality in the disappointing conclusion to the Agent of TIME arc and lacklustre start to its new storyline, Mark Waid’s Indestructible Hulk series started off the year as one of the freshest, engaging and fun series of 2013 with only 3 issues underway. After Jason Aaron’s disgraceful run on the Green Giant, Waid took a new approach with the Hulk which was just what Doctor Banner ordered. Waid made Banner into an Agent of SHIELD in exchange for laboratory funding so that Banner can restore his scientific reputation and better the world with his own scientific invention. There’s also an intriguing ongoing mystery as to how Banner has blackmailed SHIELD into letting him work for them. Under Waid’s pen, Banner has become a brilliantly fleshed out character once more. He’s confident, outgoing, pragmatic and willing to take a direct approach in applying his intellect and using the Hulk to solve problems both scientifically and in the world threatening way. So far, Waid’s taken Hulk to the undersea city of Lemuria, to Jotunheim of the past and across the bounds of time and space itself ranging from the Wild West to ye olden Camelot. The wackiness of the stories embraces the old Silver Age fun that writers put into their comics and Waid captures that with modern sensibilities.

Although the artistic teams have been inconsistent (and not mostly liked by me) on this series, Lenil Yu started off as a damn near perfect fit as a Hulk artist. His kinetic style worked wonderfully for the action sequences of the series and the detail Yu puts into his facial expressions encapsulates a certain uniqueness with each person he draws. Hopefully Clay Mann’s gorgeous art will make for a suitable replacement in the next arc on this series

Favourite Issue: Indestructible Hulk #7

I was tempted to choose something from the Agent of TIME arc but its disappointing conclusion put me off that. Thus, this leaves the second part of Gods and Monsters as my favourite issue from Indestructible Hulk to date. Waid knocks his quality story telling out of the park with hilarious interactions between a Thor of the past and Hulk, particularly with Hulk seemingly controlling Mjolnir only for it to be revealed that Mjolnir was just dragging him along. This is complemented by a great fight between Thor and Hulk versus a band of Frost Giants, solid characterisations of all of Banner’s lab assistants and an emotionally charged cliffhanger when it is revealed that Patricia Wolman is suffering from Creutzfeld-Jakob disease, a form of brain cancer. And the best thing is that Waid treats this serious illness as realistically as possible. In a world where gods and aliens battle on a daily basis, cancer is not undermined at the expense of this mythological world and Waid shines on making this point apparent. I’m not a huge fan of Simonson’s current work but it was nostalgic seeing him draw Thor and Jotunheim again and it was OK to look at. Above all, Indestructible Hulk is a fun series to read and Waid makes it so in this issue.

4. Superman Unchained

Yeah, yeah, a Superman series has made it into my top 5 comics of 2013. Feel free to roll your eyes and groan etc, etc. Morrison’s concluding issues on Action Comics were good but his better writing came in 2012 IMO. Between Diggle’s departure leaving Daniels to hash out a contrived and mediocre story coupled with Lobdell writing two Superman titles until recently, being a Superman fan seemed to be a disappointing affair. Add in my despair with how I felt about Man of Steel and that made me feel even worse. Then along came Scott Snyder and Jim Lee with their new Superman Unchained series to rectify my doubts and remind me of why I am a Superman fan with an intriguing, classical feeling Superman story. Despite his lacklustre Batman writing, Snyder has crafted a tale that involves a Superman we’re more familiar with and love rather than the brash and angsty Superman that has come across in the New 52 so far. Once again, Superman is kind, compassionate and friendly yet also tough and authoritative and I love seeing these mixed characteristics in him again. Another great thing about this story is that Snyder looks set to take many aspects of Superman that make him an enduring character and turn them upside down to challenge Superman’s place in the world via General Lane’s secret military organisation, a new alien called Wraith with similar powers to Superman only on a greater scale with more experience along with a cyber-terrorist group known as Ascension causing world-wide problems. To its credit, this series has given Superman creative and unique challenges to test his powers and brains in how to prevent tragedy from occurring. Whether stopping a falling space station or the tallest building in the world from collapsing, Snyder and Lee have made tense disasters for Superman to overcome.

Whilst his delays have kept the book from being released, Jim Lee brings his incredibly detailed and unique art to another Superman story and the epic scale and feel of this series has only been helped by the expansive set pieces and iconic character models that Lee brings to the table. Hopefully, his art will keep getting better and better as he challenges himself even more on this series.

Favourite Issue: Superman Unchained #4

Although I have high hopes for Superman Unchained #5 coming out next week, so far it’s been issue 4 which has impressed me the most. I loved how Snyder provided vital roles and introspections of Superman’s supporting cast. Lex is given a mysterious and malevolent insight thanks to an amazingly well written paper folding dialogue, Lois winds up with the key to solving the story’s mystery and shedding light on the truth hidden from sight and Jimmy is made into the harbringer of Superman’s doom. Plus Lee’s sublime art illustrates an extremely dynamic fight of Superman and Wraith taking on some Russian drones designed to kill Superman should he ever turn rogue. Overall, these pieces of the puzzle made for a highly satisfying issue demonstrating how Superman stories should be written.

3. Thor: God of Thunder

Remember how I said Jason Aaron’s Hulk run was disgraceful? Yeah somehow he turned it all around for his Thor: God of Thunder series and has given fans one of the best Thor runs to date as well as my favourite Marvel NOW! series. Aaron utilises a distinct story telling mechanism involving 3 Thors telling Aaron’s story from different periods in Thor’s history. Not only does it allow the reader to see Thor’s character development over time, Aaron has been able to juggle multiple plot threads from different periods and weave them into one glorious Godbomb arc. The addition of the murderous Gorr into into Thor’s cosmic and mythological expansive place in the Marvel Universe has provided Thor with a serious challenge that places all the gods of the universe in peril.

The spectacular action is all made possible thanks to Esad Ribic’s sprawling art. His action sequences jump off the page with his amazing layouts and broad pencils and whenever he draws a splash page, one cannot help but be awed by the splendour Ribic can produce. Although his faces can be ridiculous and his hair can be more stuck in place than a rock, these are minor when compared to the grandour of Ribic’s art on the series.

Favourite Issue: Thor: God of Thunder #9

A well written story, important character development and essential plot expositions are what make the best stories. But when an issue has all that and a jaw dropping fight sequence between 3 Thors and Gorr, what’s not to like? All the tension and conflict that has been built up by Aaron explodes in this dynamic fight for the fate of all the gods in creation. Planets are cracked by the mere blows thrown, Gorr is blasted light years away and an entire sun is turned black. Such a fight worthy of the power at these 3 Thors’ command makes the inner child within us all squeal in delight at such a battle. Aaron crafts a blockbuster action sequence and Ribic makes it as dynamic as possible thanks to his amazing art style. With introspection into Gorr and the scales set for what’s at stake, this made for a truly epic issue and a series everyone could do themselves a favour by checking out.

2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

If any series is underrated and underappreciated on my list, it is definitely this one. IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series is unquestionably one of the most vibrant and entertaining comics out today. The story is amazingly well written with characters feeling as life like and engrossing as possible, the plot threads have been expertly balanced and lore from all corners of the TMNT universe has been brought together by Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz, blended together in a gritty environment and enriched by fresh new characters such as Alopex and stunningly refreshing stories like City Fall. This comic can juggle peaceful character exploration and humorous interactions with bombastic action and dark moments on a whim. I’ve been constantly engaged with what this new take on the TMNT universe will do next and what’s even more amazing is that it manages to appeal to older fans with its mature storytelling including many things from different cartoons and TMNT series whilst crafting them seamlessly in a manner where new readers can instantly jump on board and get a grip of what’s going on

The series has also benefitted from some talented artists but chief among them has been Mateus Santoloucho. His subtle distinctions between each Turtle even without their masks shows how unique his art style is. And more evidence for his distinctive style can be found in his glorious action sequences that flow seamlessly with every punch, kick and shot fired thanks to his exquisite positioning of each action sequence.

Favourite Issues: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #27-28

Yeah, yeah I’m cheating here but really these two issues have been some of the best TMNT and overall stories I’ve read all year. City Fall has been an incredibly ambitious gambit from the creative team and it’s paid off in a wonderful fashion. This is a storyline that I have truly cared about, from whether Leonardo will break the shackles of Kitsune’s mind control to the morally ambiguous actions Splinter has performed showing how his fatherly instincts have made him willing to do anything to save his son. In these final two acts, everything comes to a head as the Shredder makes his play for power in the New York underworld, the Turtles and their allies instigate a head on clash with the Foot and fan favourite mutants Bebop and Rocksteady make a triumphant and brutal return to TMNT comics. Shredder is made into the menacing and sadistic antagonist that even with some minor defeats is still able to gain considerable ground in his new empire and that’s what made City Fall so awesome. If ever there was a series more in need of support and praise, it has to be this series.

1. Wonder Woman

For some of you, this may be a strange choice for my number 1 comic of 2013. But for me, it’s been a naturally easy choice. Brian Azzarello’s Wonder Woman has been consistently amazing month after month after month. And I mean that seriously. I can hardly think of any minor problems with the series let alone major drawbacks. Every issue leaves me surprised, extremely satisfied and hungering for the next part of the story. From my perspective on the series, Azzarello’s amazing storytelling hinges on numerous aspects. He has incorporated the dark and twisted nature of the original Greek mythology, mixed it in with almost a Vertigo esque horror tone to the story and presented sweeping plot points played out by wonderfully rich characters with crafty ambitions and motivations of their own. The Greek Gods are given a crucial role within the story and hinging Wonder Woman’s mythology to that of the Greek Gods has given readers shocking twists such as making Wonder Woman a demi god and daughter of Zeus and overarching themes such as family within this brilliantly written tale. Including the expansion of Wonder Woman’s universe with new demigods and even tying in New God Orion into the story has made Wonder Woman into the most unique and refreshing comic on the shelves. Chiang’s art is exceptionally smooth and captures the bloodiness of the action within the series as well as very realistic facial expressions and contrasting backgrounds smoothly rendered.

Favourite Issue: Wonder Woman #23

This series and this issue may have its naysayers but for me, this was not only my favourite Wonder Woman comic of the series but the best comic of the year. Azzarello brings together the tense conflict between the First Born and Wonder Woman’s family, ramps up the threat the First Born poses to the entire world and produces wonderful character moments such as Ares bringing an army of his own to the battle and Zola and Hera’s changed attitudes towards each other. The issue progressed with a worrying despair as the First Born shrugged off all attempts to stop him only for the unexpected and surprising moment when Wonder Woman kills Ares to stop the First Born from taking his power as God of War, thus becoming the God of War herself. It’s an alarming and daring change in Wonder Woman’s status quo which sets the scene for some truly amazing stories to come. But for now, this issue remains the best issue out of the best series in DC’s New 52 to date thanks to Azzarello’s masterful and engaging writing.

Well those make up my list for my 5 favourite series of 2013. Hope you enjoyed reading it and my reasoning for each choice and feel free to include your thoughts and top series below! Have a Happy New Year to you all!

39 Comments
39 Comments
Edited by Fallschirmjager

needs more Saga and Aquaman ;)

Posted by Lvenger

needs more Saga and Aquaman ;)

I'm getting onto those, money and time are what's needed for those two :P

Edited by Fallschirmjager

@lvenger said:

@fallschirmjager said:

needs more Saga and Aquaman ;)

I'm getting onto those, money and time are what's needed for those two :P

Tell me about it.

Have you checked out Green Arrow since Lemire took over either?

Posted by Lvenger

@lvenger said:

@fallschirmjager said:

needs more Saga and Aquaman ;)

I'm getting onto those, money and time are what's needed for those two :P

Tell me about it.

Have you checked out Green Arrow since Lemire took over either?

Once again I'm ashamed to admit I haven't. Otherwise it'd probably be up here in 3rd or 4th place.

Posted by Deranged Midget

Very wicked list! I decided against including any Superman titles as Unchained lacks volume to compete against all titles on my list, Action has been largely inconsistent and the others share a similar problem to Unchained. I'm surprised to see how well Wonder Woman placed on your list! Must've really landed quite an impact. Definitely have to check that out.

Brilliant list dude and I lol'd at the link :P

Moderator
Posted by Lvenger

@deranged_midget: Fair enough, that totally makes sense but I've been too giddy about Unchained's high points not to include it on my list. Even though it lacks a long term impact, it's still been good enough for me. And yeah Wonder Woman has been incredible mate, an absolute blast of a read. I know you dropped it for very legitimate reasons but I couldn't recommend it more. It's an amazing series with some of the best writing and story telling in the industry.

And glad to help a buddy out ;)

Edited by Xwraith

Every time I see TMNT on a list like this, it makes me happy.

Posted by AllStarSuperman

Tmnt rocks and I haven't even read city fall yet. Green Arrow is great now, definitely read it. Unchained is getting better but issue 2 was my favorite. They way he stopped the building was amazing.

Posted by EnigmaLantern

Very interesting list and great explanations for why you choose who you choose. Nice list! Especially agree with Thor GOT, Unchained and Indestructable Hulk. Just annoyed at the constant delays of Unchained but apart from that it has been a stellar title. Good job once again

Posted by TDK_1997

Good list with some good titles.I am surprised by your first place pick but apart from that interesting entries and good picks for favorite single issues.

Posted by New_World_Order

Good choices !!

Edited by Jonny_Anonymous

TMNT!

Posted by Wolverine08

Nice list mate!

Posted by Lvenger

@xwraith: Glad to have made you happy then, it's a really underrated series isn't it?

@allstarsuperman Superman stopping the Burj Khalifa from falling is my favourite action sequence in Unchained to date. Thanks for the comment!

@enigmalantern Thank you and I'm glad you appreciated my reasoning for my choices. The delays with Unchained are annoying but since Lee has a new child in his family, I think the delays have an acceptable reason behind them.

@tdk_1997 Heh I figured people would be but Wonder Woman has been an utterly amazing series with quality stories in every issue. A unique title and one well worth reading IMO.

@thundergodswrath Thanks! :)

Posted by laidblack

Great list

Edited by Lvenger
Posted by Ostyo

Nice read. I wanna start reading Wonder Woman but that art style in the first vol. is just....ugh....

Edited by Xwraith

@lvenger: It's criminally underrated. It's probably one of the top 5 books out there, but I've never seen it crack the top 100 in sales.

Posted by Lvenger

@ostyo said:

Nice read. I wanna start reading Wonder Woman but that art style in the first vol. is just....ugh....

You don't like Chiang's art style? It's one of the best in upcoming artists in the industry IMO.

Posted by Billy Batson

@lvenger said:

@ostyo said:

Nice read. I wanna start reading Wonder Woman but that art style in the first vol. is just....ugh....

You don't like Chiang's art style? It's one of the best in upcoming artists in the industry IMO.

Chiang's been in the industry for years - wouldn't call him upcoming.

BB

Posted by Lvenger

@lvenger said:

@ostyo said:

Nice read. I wanna start reading Wonder Woman but that art style in the first vol. is just....ugh....

You don't like Chiang's art style? It's one of the best in upcoming artists in the industry IMO.

Chiang's been in the industry for years - wouldn't call him upcoming.

BB

Ugh my bad. I still stand by best in the industry though, that much I can still claim.

Edited by Farkam

Yeah, good list.

Posted by Lvenger
Posted by Ostyo

@lvenger: Ugh, hate it. But if the Wondy comic is really this good I can get pass it.

Posted by ShadowSwordmaster

Nice list.

Posted by TDK_1997

@lvenger: Indeed Wonder WOman is a great title and deserves a lot of respect and praise and that 23rd issue was really awesome but I thought that either Thor God of Thunder or Superman Unchained would be your number 1 pick.

Posted by Squalleon

Great exposition.You writing is really good and your picks are great.
I may have to pick Indestructible Hulk up, it is Waid and it seems so fun.

Edited by Bezza

Interesting read and I seem to enjoy quite a few of the titles you do, but I am still not sold on Indestructible Hulk. Probably because I missed the first half of the series which had started before I started buying comics again in the summer...

I have only bought about 25-30 comics this year but rated TGOT # 9 as one of my top 4 and would also list WW # 23 up there too, it was absolutely superb!

Posted by TheIncredibleSuperHulk8642

Great list

Might need to check WW out

Posted by Lvenger

@bezza: Indestructible's been losing steam in the latter half but I'm hopeful the new arc will put it back on track. What does TGOT stand for BTW? And I'm also pleased you found my favourite issue to also be a superb read in your opinion.

@shadowswordmaster Thanks!

@squalleon I appreciate the high praise and I'd definitely recommend the first 8 issues of Indestructible Hulk. They're a very fun read indeed and the next arc looks set to be good.

@tdk_1997 I can see why but Thor: GOT has lost steam with The Accursed arc until the last issue and Unchained has been plagued by delays along with a lack of full story progression as a result. TMNT and Wonder Woman have been consistently brilliant month after month and always make me excited for what's next.

Posted by Lvenger
Posted by TDK_1997

@lvenger: The Accursed arc has really been a real lackluster so far.The story started out strong and ended up being just a mediocre thing so far.While Unchained has really been showing us the real Superman but the story development is at almost point zero.

I agree with you on everything.

Posted by Lvenger

@tdk_1997: Last issue and the next one do look set to develop on the story more so I have high hopes for Unchained.

Posted by PeppeyHare

Awesome list

Edited by LyraFay

I wish Esad Ribic did some art for DC. It's so beautiful.

Posted by TheIncredibleSuperHulk8642

@lvenger: ill get the trades if i ever get the chance too

Posted by RustyRoy

Nice list, I haven't read 3 out of the five titles but the Top 2 I definitely agree with, mainly Wonder Woman.

Edited by Lvenger

@peppeyhare: Thanks!

@lyrafay Aside from the occasional hair and face error, it really is gorgeous, particularly his splash pages.

@rustyroy Thanks and I'm glad you're reading and enjoying Wonder Woman! :)

Posted by Lvenger

Hey guys my blog got tweeted about by Tom Waltz himself! I can't believe he found this little old blog of mine! :D