Adam Shaw’s Top Ten of 2014
2014 was quite a different year for me and my comic reading experience. This had much to do with events in my life. I started graduate school and working on my master’s degree, so time and money both became huge factors. There are a lot of books I wanted to read, but just did not get to them for one reason or another.
I also started the Talking Valiant podcast, so keeping up with Valiant comics became another factor in what I read. Valiant is no doubt my favorite publisher right now (Marvel was my publisher of the year in 2013), so I am going to separate Valiant related choices and instead of one giant top 10 list of the year, I am going to break it into two “Top Five” lists: one for Valiant, and one for the rest.
Valiant Top Five
- Mini-series: The Valiant
Maybe I’m jumping the gun a little bit, but I loved the first issue. Personally, it lived up to the hype, and I feel it is a good entry point for new readers to the Valiant Universe as a whole. If you want everything Valiant has to offer then you will get that fix here. I feel it is not bogged down with an excessive amount of exposition, and any questions new readers may have are probably ones us veterans readers have as well. This is the first time we are getting to see Kay McHenry take a lead role, and our first big exposure with the Immortal Enemy. It was everything I was wanting from this issue, and I am super excited for the rest of the series.
Honorable Mentions: Death Defying Dr. Mirage, and Armor Hunters: Harbinger
- Character: Faith
Faith is one character that is extremely easy to like, as she is one of the most relatable characters for many comic book readers. She has grown into her role as a “superhero” and has become one of Valiant’s deepest and strongest characters. Her zero issue showcased how much she has matured, but first mission with Unity shows just how much she still has to learn about the world. I am excited to continue to watch Faith grow.
- Story Arcs: Archer & Armstrong “American Wasteland”
Fred Van Lente’s Archer & Armstrong is a comic full of humor, story, and depth, and “American Wasteland” was no exception to this. What I really loved about this story was the depth. It was a story that was worth several re-reads. It built off and tied back to many of the threads that had been woven throughout the series. It was complex, and a little confusing, but after peeling back the layers and letting the story marinate in my mind, I found myself loving it and wanting to go back and read not just this arc, but the whole series again.
Clayton Crain’s unique style of digital painting is gorgeous and fit so well with Matt Kindt’s story. It was a style that was unique among all of Valiant’s titles, and even the titles of other publishers. The vivid colors brought the world of Rai to life. Crain was able to teleport us directly to this future world through his art. I am incredibly happy to wait a few months before story arcs to give Crain the time he needs to give us more.
- Single Issue: Armor Hunters #3
This is without a doubt the best single issue put out by Valiant in 2014. It was packed with action and the dials were turned up to 11. It was the boiling point of the mini-series, and truly showcased what an event comic should be. Pick up the whole mini-series if you have not already. The tie-in issues aren’t bad, but Armor Hunters proper was an amazing rise, and issue #3 made it all worth it.
Everything Else Top 5
Honorable Mentions: Saga, Figment, Wayward
- Archie & Sabrina
These titles snuck up on me, and if it was not for a 99 cent sale on The Afterlife with Archie on Comixology, I would have missed out on it. I was taken back and surprised by the quality of story telling that was being told here. I’m looking forward to the continuations of these series and other new series from Archie comics in 2015.
- Swamp Thing
Swamp Thing was my top comic for 2013, and it was still at the top of my read pile every time it was released. I have really enjoyed Soule’s development of the character and the mythos these past two years. It is going to be a sad day when he is off the book later this year.
Made my list last year, and I speculated it might be on the list again. I’m a sucker for espionage and conspiracies. My only complaint with Velvet is I wish it came out a little more regularly. It’s not a super hero book, and it is heavy. I like that it balances out my often “light and fun” heavy pull list.
- Harley Quinn
This book is so much fun. Harley Quinn is weird, whacky, meta, clever, and unrelenting. Conner and Palmiotti have nailed the character in their writing. I’m glad that this is one of DC’s top sellers. It gives me the reassurance that it will not be disappearing anytime soon!
No particular Spider title takes my number one spot. I have just loved everything Spider-Man related that came out in 2014. Superior Spider-Man was a title I enjoyed immensely, and I loved how things picked up in Amazing Spider-Man. The Spider-Verse event has been a blast so far, and I am having a lot of fun with it. Despite growing up a DC kid, Spider-Man is one of my favorite heroes. The sheer volume of awesome that we got is why I am putting Spider-Man as my number one for 2014.