ComicsAlliance’s Best Of 2016: The Best Superhero Comic of 2016
While 2016 was a tough year in many regards, it produced some amazing comics, including a lot of great superhero comics. Our writers and editors have made their picks of the best comics of the past year, and you, the readers of ComicsAlliance, have voted for your favorites.
Now check out the best superhero comics in 2016, including our critics' picks, listed in alphabetical order, and the comics you voted the runners up and winner in this category! This is the very best of 2016!
While Black Widow is the protagonist of her own series, she's not really a hero. Mark Waid and Chris Samnee, co-scripting Black Widow’s latest solo series, remind readers of this fact at least once an issue, and the duo have amazingly made readers root for her despite this fact — but the Widow seemingly thrives on no one believing in her anyway. As one of the most gorgeous spy comics ever printed — thanks to Samnee's stark pages, brought to brilliant life by Matt Wilson’s colors — readers don’t want the adventures to end, even if Natasha Romanova isn't exactly a noble character. [Luke Brown]
In DC Bombshells, almost every single big-name hero and villain fighting against the backdrop of a Lovecraftian Horror-tinged World War II is a woman. Using a cast primarily made up of dozens of comics' best and biggest female characters, DC Bombshells writer Marguerite Bennett works with a team of talented artists, including Marguerite Sauvage, Mirka Andolfo, and Ant Lucia, to reinvent comic book history, centering diverse female characters who are here, queer, and out to save the world from certain destruction. [Zina H.]
Doom Patrol accomplishes that rare feat of reviving something from the past while still being its own thing. Obviously it owes a debt to Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol, and unlike most Doom Patrol runs that have come since, it's even a direct sequel to it, but you don't need to have ready Morrison's run to enjoy Gerard Way and Nick Derington's approach. It's weird and meta and a little bit psychedelic, but it also builds characters you can care about, and puts them in a story you can follow. [Elle Collins]
I'll readily admit that Midnighter being an openly gay superhero is a big part of what makes these comics important. But it's only a small part of what makes these comics great. Midnighter, once known as "the gay Batman," has become a complicated and fascinating character thanks to Steve Orlando. Meanwhile ACO, Fernando Blanco, and the other artists involved bring perfectly paced action and just the right amount of grit. This is everything I want out of a superhero comic, gay or not (but being gay makes it even better). [Elle Collins]
The most resonant cape comics never undersell the "human" in their superhuman heroics; they embrace what makes characters whole, flawed, and even a bit odd. Hannah Blumenreich's Spidey Zine, a collection of her Peter Parker fan comics, trades operatic fight scenes and hyperbolic stakes for community basketball games, on-brand sweaters, and the Gilmore Girls. The collection synthesizes the humorous, heartfelt, and heartbreaking, and it never once shies from Peter's underdog nature — he'll happily escort you home from street harassers, but he may babble your ear off about Cowboy Bebop. [Jon Erik Christianson]
You don't need to have a feminist agenda to recognize great comics, and Mockingbird is brilliant from stem to stern. Chelsea Cain, Kate Niemczyk, and Rachelle Rosenberg excavated new depths in Bobbi Morse, quickly transforming her from an afterthought to one of the most compelling and real characters in superhero comics today. Superbly-crafted by a creative team that hit their stride almost instantaneously, Mockingbird is quick, condensed, ridiculously smart, and uproariously funny. Any time a legion of angry idiots tells you something is bad, just assume that's it's amazing. Mockingbird certainly was. [John R. Parker]
All-Star Batman is like On the Road, with Two-Face as Dean Moriarty, liquor and speed replaced by human growth hormone, and absolute mayhem. A high-velocity road trip into comic book violence from Scott Snyder, John Romita Jr., Declan Shalvey, et al, All-Star Batman is one protracted battle between Batman and his deadliest foes, and this ultraviolent royal rumble is one of the most thrilling titles on the racks. The most brutal aspects of Batman featured in a blood-caked symphony of action that shows no signs of slowing down. [John R. Parker]
If the stated goal of the Rebirth event was to re-establish the connections that had been lost in the New 52, no book has done that better than Detective Comics, from writer James Tynion IV and artist Eddy Barrows. Shifting the focus away from Batman himself and onto his family of sidekicks and associates has not only put those connections back into the spotlight, it's built a new web of relationships that works beautifully, and set the stage for character-driven action that's made DC's flagship title work better than it has in years. [Chris Sims]
Two Big Two titles really seem to have taken Ms. Marvel's "modern superhero book that puts kid readers first" ethos to heart in the years since that book's launch. One was the Burnside era of Batgirl; the other is Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by Ryan North and Erica Henderson, which, month in and month out, delivers a brilliant blend of action, jokes and heart that's so consistently good that it's easy to take for granted. Doreen Green, with both her mighty strength and limitless capacity for empathy and understanding, is the superhero that today's kids need. [Tom Speelman]
Vision is a great superhero book precisely because it doesn't feel like one. After opening with the most unsettling trip to the suburbs since Blue Velvet, the book mostly eschewed fight scenes in favor of philosophical debates. Tom King, Gabriel Hernandez Walta, and Jordie Bellaire told a quiet story, with deep repercussions for its cast — at least, the ones who survived — and got off the stage after just twelve issues. An absolute tour de force. [Alex Spencer]