2013. A great year for comic books, especially the capes. The Dark Knight had his origin retooled; the Avengers faced their greatest threat since they were disassembled, and Hawkeye emerged as one of the best series Marvel’s produced in years. With so many heroes tooling about, it’s hard to find the ten best. We here at Crave Online are all about challenges, so myself (Iann Robinson) and my intrepid editor Andy Hunsaker dug deep into our emotional bags and yanked out what we thought were the Ten Best Superhero Comics of 2013.
The layout may seem a little weird at first, but it stems from the fact that we didn’t always agree on where certain books should be placed (i.e. Iann rated Batman higher than Andy did), so here are our lists, presented side by side with commentary from the person who chose it.
Writer: Tom Katz, Kevin Eastman, Artist: Various
IANN ROBINSON: It’s an uphill battle trying to change the world’s perception of TMNT. Originally, the idea of four teenage mutated turtles, instructed in martial arts via their equally mutated rat master/father Splinter, avoided the raised eyebrow reaction by being violent, funny, and gorgeously penciled. Then money stepped in, and the once-dark sewer story was mutated into a colorful and largely stupid cartoon. Equally insipid were the movies, and the original idea faded into the shadows. Over the last two years at IDW, original creator Kevin Eastman has worked diligently with writer Tom Katz to bring the old spirit back. This new reboot of the TMNT is a glorious nut-punch to the saccharine kids meal it had become. Eastman kept part of the dynamic between the turtles established in the TV series, but everything else is grounded in a violent, dark realism. This series continues to be something special among the hero set.
Writer: Jai Nitz, Artist: Greg Smallwood
ANDY HUNSAKER: This Dark Horse comic came out of nowhere and managed to survive a week where it was not the only #1 with the word “dream” in its name by being relentlessly cool. Smallwood’s first ever comic book work shows that he’s the real deal with very imaginative layouts and a really damn snazzy sense of style. The story follows John Lincoln, a go-nowhere douche who steals a mask from an art exhibit to discover that it has some sort of supernatural quality that keeps him blacking out, then waking up days later with a whole slew of new memories and often a couple of new dead bodies. It seems ghosts possess him and make him avenge their own deaths, and Lincoln takes it in such stride that it manages to bypass all the origin malarkey and get right along with the story. It’s like Quantum Leap, but for murder. It’s also a really slick comic book.