The Top 10 Best New Books of 2010

Let’s be honest, this was a tough year for new books. The faltering economy and rising comics prices meant that readers and retailers were getting more conservative, and publishers were more likely to push out more of the same than try the road less travelled. Yet even in that climate, there were those that tried to break the mold, and give us the new. This list is a celebration of those intrepid souls.


 

#10 – American Vampire

Although this series was initially sold on the strength of Stephen King’s involvement, the big surprise is that Scott Snyder is a strong writer in his own right. The concept of the series is deceptively simple, but allows Snyder to tell a wide-ranging story, and leaves open plenty of room to continue the series indefinitely.

 

#9 – Birds Of Prey

This is technically a relaunch of an old series, but it has a completely different dynamic than the original. Yet crucially, it retains the humor and character interaction that defined Gail Simone’s first run. Ed Benes art has improved by leaps and bounds, and exhibits a lot more subtlety and nuance. One of the best things to come out of Brightest Day.

 

#8 – Justice League: Generation Lost

This series has a much darker tone than the original Justice League International series it’s inspired by, but that’s in keeping with the overall DC Universe these days. I had my doubts initially as to whether this book could work without DeMatteis alongside Giffen (you can catch their act on Booster Gold) but Judd Winick is holding up his end of the bargain, and there’s plenty of suspense and intrigue here.

#7 – Thor: The Mighty Avenger

A great comic by Roger Langridge and Chris Samnee that was far too short-lived. People were outraged when this book got cancelled, but where were they when it needed the readers? There’s going to be another issue out for Free Comic Book Day, and Joe Quesada says they’ve heard the fan response, so perhaps it will return someday. Here’s hoping.

 

#6 – Legion of Super-Heroes

Most people these days know Paul Levitz as the former Publisher of DC Comics; indeed, he’d been on the editorial side for decades. But in the ’70s and ’80s he was known for his writing on several classic DC series, the first and foremost being the teen team from the future, the Legion of Super-Heroes. He’s now returned to the book, and surprisingly is showing no signs of rust. A lot of times when people come back to a series they once were famous for, they can seem tired and outdated, but Levitz’s dialogue and characterization is as sharp as the best of today’s writers. He’s fortunate also to be paired with artist Yildiray Cinar whose illustration is clean, dynamic, and easy to follow. It might not be the book at the heart of the latest DCU events, but it’s still well worth following.

 

#5 – Hawkeye & Mockingbird

I know Hawkeye isn’t Spider-Man or Wolverine; I know you don’t have a 20-year Hawkeye collection that you need to keep going. But Jim McCann is writing some great comics here! Don’t you want more great comics? Ok, you still have a chance; there’s a Widowmaker limited series going on right now where McCann is continuing Hawkeye’s story, and that’ll be followed by the Hawkeye: Blindspot limited series. Vote with your wallet!

 

#4 – S.H.I.E.L.D.

Ok, so it might not be what you were expecting from a Marvel comic called S.H.I.E.L.D., but from my POV, that’s a plus; one of the things I like most about Jonathan Hickman’s writing is that I never know what to expect. And any comic that can make Sir Isaac Newton into a supervillain is doing something right. An intriguing read each month.

 

#3 – Morning Glories

There aren’t many comics where you can say “I’m not really sure what this is about” even after the first arc is done, and yet still want more. Morning Glories has done that. On its surface, it bears a superficial resemblance to Cartoon Network’s new Tower Prep series, but Nick Spencer is able to put across in each issue the feeling that there is a lot more going on here than meets the eye. What is this school, and why do they want these kids? Let’s find out.

 

#2 – Batman Incorporated

I know only a couple of issues are out so far, but it’s a great start with a great concept that only Grant Morrison could pull off. I mean, let’s face it, in anybody else’s hands, the idea of Batman becoming an international franchise within the comics themselves would come off at best as a parody. The fact that Morrison was able to convince the Powers That Be to let him do this, let alone actually make it the thrust of Batman’s direction going forward, is nothing short of amazing. Definitely the Bat-book to watch going forward.

 

#1 – Avengers Academy

I’ve heard the complaints; “The Avengers books are too much alike these days! Oh, for the days of classic Avengers dynamics!” Well, stop your complaining, and look no further than Avengers Academy. In addition to having a cast that’s made up of a number of classic Avengers, the dialogue and story developments are top-notch in the hands of writer Christos Gage. If the rest of the Avengers line isn’t doing it for you, this is the book that will.

 


Matt Adler hopes for more great new books this year.

Comments

  1. Zeppo Zeppo says:

    Great list. Defintatly agree with you one some of these. American Vampire blew me away, and Morning Glories and JL: Generation Lost are on my list to check out when the trades come. I read the first few issues, but times being what they are I had to stop there.

    Not sure I would have put Avengers Academy on there, but to each their own. I think I’ve just no interest in Avengers in general. I would have to have mentioned the Flash though. The first six issues were beautiful drawn, and a great introduction to Barry Allen as I’ve never read any Flash before.

  2. SirCox SirCox says:

    I would have had a similar list. Hell yes to putting Academy at number one. My favorite superhero book going right now.

  3. JesTr JesTr says:

    Finally someone giving Avengers Academy so recognition!

  4. ActualButt ActualButt says:

    Unfortunately, a number of these books have already been canceled, turned into a miniseries, or have cancellation in their future.

  5. Barnabas Barnabas says:

    I think im the only one who didnt enjoy avengers academy, and certainly i could neevr rate it above american vampire!

  6. ctrosejr ctrosejr says:

    I agree with most of this list, but my ordering would be different.  In addition, I would drop from the list Birds of Prey, Hawkeye & Mockingbird, Legion of Super-heroes, and Avengers Academy.  I would add Flash, Uncanny X-Force, Astonishing Spider-man & Wolverine and Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors, a which were somehow left off the list?!? 

    My list would look like this:
     
    10. S.H.I.E.L.D.
    9. Uncanny X-Force
    8. Green Lantern: Emerald Warrior 
    7. Batman Inc.
    6. Flash
    5. Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine (technically, a mini-series but so is JL:GL) 
    4. Morning Glories
    3. American Vampire
    2. Thor: The Mighty Avenger
    1. Justice League: Generation Lost

  7. stuclach stuclach says:

    I’m only reading one of these.  I think I’m part of the problem…

  8. ohcaroline ohcaroline says:

    Oh, I am/was reading 4 of these, and I just bought the American Vampire HC.  Apparently I like new titles! 

  9. KickAss KickAss says:

    American Vampire #10 even though it was picked about 9 times?  Thor MA #7 even though it was hailed as the 2nd coming?!  What’s with this list?!  It makes no ifanboy sense!

  10. Matt Adler MattAdler says:

    I figured there would be a lot of debate about the order, but I’m glad there seems to be consensus that these are all worthy books.

  11. JNewcomb JNewcomb says:

    I too love S.H.I.E.L.D.

  12. bansidhewail bansidhewail says:

    Avengers Academy at the top of the list just makes me happy.  Mr. Adler, I dig your list-making skills. 

  13. epicwee epicwee says:

    Well, I’m reading Morning Glories, Avengers Academy, and JL: Generation Lost (which, in my opinion, kicks the holy-heck-balls out of the messy Brightest Day, which I stopped collecting). 

    Then there’s S.H.I.E.L.D., which is my favorite comic right now.  Just crazy-non-linear-uber-imaginitive-crazy-good.  Too bad it’s bi-monthly, but worth the wait. 

    I’ll have to pick up the TPB of Thor.  Any adivce on good points to jump on some of the other comics?  And is Batman: Incorporated Good Grant Morrison or Bad Grant Morrison.  You know what I’m talking about.

  14. Diabhol Diabhol says:

    @KickAss I feel as if you don’t pay close enough attention to this site and this podcast. :)

    Another list I can’t argue with. I may pick up the first trade of American Vampire…

  15. Conor Kilpatrick conor (@cskilpatrick) says:

    @Diabhol  More importantly, this is Matt’s list. Not mine or Josh’s or Ron’s or Paul’ or Jim’s or etc etc

  16. BoyBlue BoyBlue says:

    Reading 4/10… American Vampire, Thor, Morning Glories, Batman Inc… of the lot American Vampires would probably be my favourite.

    May need to go back for JL:GL

  17. r3v r3v says:

    I wanted to start reading American Vampires the other day, but went to try to get it in Comixology or Graphic.ly and neither had it. I did just grab Morning Glories after this reminder though.

    (I’m trying to get more comics digitally.  This is how I started with Irredeemable and got hooked. The instant gratification was nice while catching up.  Unfortunately, I appear to be stuck 2 issues behind the store shelves now. But at least it’s there.)

  18. I love this.

    American Vampire, JLA: Generation Lost, Thor: Mighty Avenger, and Morning Glories have been talked about to death on this site. Yet only 1 is in the top three; and conor has to defend the choices saying it isn’t a ‘regular contributor who made the list.

    Classic 

  19. Are we seriously going to make that silly popularity = quality argument? Haven’t we evolved as a race?

    Glad to see Birds Of Prey getting some love. A great series that is moving the character’s stories forward yet has the right amount of nostalgia. Alotta fun.

  20. Diabhol Diabhol says:

    @conor Which only serves to prove my point. :)

    @TheNextChampion: Meanwhile…I’ve no clue what *your* point is. :)

    @comicBOOKchris: No, we haven’t evolved as a race at all. :)

  21. Heh, point taken.

    All the primordial beings in the house say HO!!!

  22. Conor Kilpatrick conor (@cskilpatrick) says:

    @TheNextChampion  I don’t understand either. I’m not defending it, just pointing out how KickAss is not making any sense. Again.

  23. Jesse1125 Jesse1125 says:

    wait..where’s Nemesis at?      =] (sorry couldn’t resist)

  24. I’m enjoying American Vampire too. I’ve also been enjoying Orc Stain and iZombie.

  25. Matt Adler MattAdler says:

    @TheNextChampion  Don’t know how you define “regular contributor” but I have something on the site pretty much every week. But I don’t think opinions in the form of lists as subjective like these need defending. There’s no right or wrong, and I’d easily accept arguments that any of these books should be at any other spot on the list.

  26. i don’t get the hostility towards this list. I seem to recall all of these books getting good talk ups on the podcasts at various points, so it would make sense that they appear on a best of the year list. 

    I would add Mystery Society and The Flash as well, but like Matt says…its subjective. There is no wrong or right to personal preference. =) 

  27. dkbrain dkbrain says:

    Great list.

  28. Mangaman Mangaman says:

    I disagree, Avengers Academy was garbage.

    They took what could have been a really good book and turned it into a mess by getting a static artist and unnecessary characters when they had a roster of Initiative kids the writers built up over the course of Stark’s reign as SHIELD director up until Secret Invasion.

    What about Komodo, Trauma, Ultra-Girl, Rage, Slapstick, and Cloud-9 (who got SUPER developed)? What about Hardball the Hydra turncoat? MAN would I have liked to see a developed rogue’s gallery stem from that.

    *Sigh*…