Comics Alliance Best of 2015: Best Superhero Comic of 2015
Our judges have adjudicated; our readers have voted. We’re proud to present to you the best superhero comic of 2015 — and four great runners up.
Runner Up: Unbeatable Squirrel Girl
Given the name of, y'know, the entire medium, straight-up comedy is surprisingly rare in comics. Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is the exception to that rule. And what an exception. Ryan North and Erica Henderson take every possible opportunity they can to make you laugh, and then invent a few new ones just for good measure — like the 'Deadpool's Guide to Super Villains' trading cards, illustrated by Maris Wicks, and the one-liners at the bottom of each page.
It's the Airplane approach to comedy. If the jokes in the dialogue don't get you, a little pun on a sign in the background might, or the loose slapstick way that Henderson's characters move, or the way that Squirrel Girl maintains her secret identity by simply tucking that gigantic tail down the back of her outfit. If you're looking for a great superhero book that is also genuinely funny, Squirrel Girl really is unbeatable. [Alex Spencer]
Runner Up: Grayson
Dick Grayson's been around for just a hair over 75 years now, and in that time, he's been a lot of things. Sidekick, team leader, solo vigilante; the dude even took a spin as Batman a couple times. And with all of that — and believe me when I say that I know there's a long history at work here — I'm still not sure he's ever been more entertaining than in as the world-traveling super-spy in the pages of Grayson.
This year, the stories kept the wild, over-the-top Spyral action — and featured plenty of scenes based entirely on just how dang hot Dick Grayson is, something that has become his defining characteristic to pretty amazing effect — but reunited him with the rest of the Batman Family. Seeing their reactions to his return provided the series with an emotional strength that paid off beautifully. Here's hoping for more! [Chris Sims]
Runner Up: Multiversity
Grant Morrison has been breaching the threshold between fiction and reality since the late eighties, but The Multiversity is his most intense superhero metafiction yet. A nine-issue series illustrated by a who's-who of stars, The Multiversity essentially sums up everything wonderful and terrible about superhero comics: their inventive madness, the structural and stylistic possibilities of the form; the distraction from reality, the giant commercial machine feeding off of them and us. No other writer understands the metaphorical potential of superheroes like Morrison, and he and the artists explore the power of ideas and their misuse with an equal mix of subtext and spectacle in each wildly different issue.
A lot of people don't get Morrison, and I'm sure they didn't get The Multiversity, but it's really very simple: For years, creators have been asking the question, "What if superheroes were real?" Morrison has the most interesting answer, and in The Multiversity he practically shouts it from the rooftops. They already are! [John Parker]
Runner Up: Loki: Agent of Asgard
Reboots are as much a part of superhero comics as the nigh-inevitable and eventual return to the status quo. In Loki: Agent of Asgard, Al Ewing and Lee Garbett featured a newly-minted heroic Loki struggling to change against the weight of his own evil history that was constantly lurking in the background. Loki: Agent of Asgard was just as much a commentary on the nature of superhero comics and the possibility of redemption as it was a genuinely fun and clever, genre-bending comic. After all, this is a comic that brought in a human lie detector named Verity (“truth” in Latin, because sometimes on-the-nose names are amazing), and then used her ability to see through Loki’s lies as another way to trick the reader, while simultaneously getting to the inherent truth of the God of Lies.
Ewing’s plotting is maddeningly clever, while Garbett’s clear storytelling belied the complexity of the title, and no matter whether the series gets rebooted or not, the creative team’s work on the title will stand the test of time. [Ziah Grace]
Winner: Ms Marvel
It’s hard not to immediately associate the word “superhero” with Ms Marvel nowadays, perhaps because she sometimes feels like one of the only remaining characters to ever practice the word properly. As everybody else wanders off into muted stories about in-fighting and metaphor, Ms Marvel continues to notice a problem, run straight towards it, and work on solving it until things are working again.
This year the character was cast into her first event storyline, and came out no less optimistic and positive than when she entered. Maybe in a few years’ time we’ll be forced to see her mope like Peter Parker, but for the time being we’re in an age of “Kamala Khan: Because She Can” and it’s terrific.
People wonder why this series by G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona and friends continues, while similar ones have fallen to the wayside. It’s because Kamala is genuinely enjoyable to hang out with. You revel in your time reading her. [Steve Morris]