iFanboy’s Best of 2012: The Best Single Issues


Behold! The Best Single Issues of 2012:


Before Watchmen_Minutemen_4_Full

15. Before Watchmen: Minutemen #4

Darwyn Cooke is very possibly one of the best creators in the industry, and by signing up for Before Watchmen, he knew what he was in for. But he didn’t walk into the room empty handed. He had a story in his back pocket that he felt entirely confident about; one that would shut up any critics, and this was the issue where he, after slow reveals, starting dropping his hammer, and created a comic book story that will definitely be remembered.

Read the Pick of the Week review.

Fury MAX_6

14. Fury MAX #6

In truth, almost any issue of Fury MAX could be on this list. It’s one of the most consistently well made comic books coming out from the big 2. It’s one that everyone on the staff agrees is simply as good as it gets, and is as close to the perfect project for Garth Ennis to be working on, and Goran Parlov is his perfect partner. This one in particular takes Fury to the fascinating landscape of revolutionary Cuba in the 60s, and crosses that with the great treatise on men in war, at which Ennis is just so good.

Read the Pick of the Week review.

The Sixth Gun_21

13. Sixth Gun #21

Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt took up the silent issue challenge on this one, just like the famous silent G.I. Joe #21. In this one, Becky Montcrief sets out to rescue Drake Sinclair from the stronghold of the Knights of Solomon, much like Snake Eyes before her. These guys know what they’re doing, and taking the words out only served to showcase it even more so. Brian Hurtt really got a chance to shine on this one, with beautiful design and world building, on top of dynamic, but crystal clear storytelling.

Wolverine and the X-Men_17

12. Wolverine and the X-Men #17

This is the first Jason Aaron book on this list. That says something in and of itself, but none are like the others. In this issue, Aaron teamed with fan favorites Mike and Laura Allred to explore a character who has never uttered a single word: Doop. We find out, with hilarious detail, just what that little boogers deal is, and it’s much more imaginative than anyone even imagined.


11. Chew #30

A good storyteller knows that the audience needs to get jerked around. If you’re made to love something, you must be also made to feel that loss. In this issue, Layman and Guillory jerk us around big time, just because we had the temerity to really enjoy reading about Toni Chu. You’ll have to read it to what happened, but if you did read it, you’ll never trust this creative team with your heart again.


10. Spider-Men #4

When it started, no one thought Spider-Men would end up being one of the most emotional and cathartic series of the year. While it sounded like a gimmick that they said they’d never do, it ended up being a great collection of moments with two characters who we know very well, and are related, but who have never met. Bendis has the Spider-Men’s numbers, and Sara Pichelli has never done a bit of wrong.

Read the Pick of the Week review.

The Rocketeer_Cargo of Doom_2_Full

9. Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom #2

Mark Waid, Chris Samnee, and dinosaurs with jetpacks.

Read the Pick of the Week review.


8. Hawkeye #6

These pages are as impressive as pages get. Matt Fraction and David Aja have taken the superhero comic book formula, and broken it, with the absolute best results. All the issues have been exemplary, but with Hawkeye #6, they took it even a step further. It was gorgeous, charming, and utterly unique. How this is a Marvel comic book, I couldn’t tell you, but I’m very happy it is.

Read the Pick of the Week review.


7. Stumptown #4

This series already has an Eisner, but that didn’t stop them from pushing the envelope a bit further. This one is all about the car chase. It feels like a car chase in a way that few comic books ever have. Greg Rucka laid the groundwork, and Matt Southworth ran with the ball, working together to turn in an issue that was an experience. From great storytelling, to fresh layouts, and even a bit of page twisting, it was a straight up triumph.

Fantastic Four_604

6. Fantastic Four #604

The “great long run” is one of the crown jewels for comic creators, and with this issue, Jonathan Hickman ended his first big one. Over three years, Hickman and a fabulous team of artists restored the first family to their righteous place. He changed almost everything except the core values of what make the Fantastic Four so important to Marvel Comics. Then, to top it all off, and perhaps most importantly, he stuck the landing, delivering a heartfelt conclusion to the massive tapestry he had woven.

Thor_God of Thunder_1

5. Thor: God of Thunder #1

This is how you start a new era of Thor. Once more Jason Aaron showcases his incredible talent to flit between genres, at the same time teaming up on the book that Esad Ribic and Dean White were born to render. We’re instantly sucked in by a tale of three Thors in three different times, threatened by an actual new, and get this, threatening villain, the God Butcher. It hooked us on multiple levels, and left everyone at iFanboy clamoring for more.

Read the Pick of the Week review.

The Shade_Full_4

4. The Shade #4

The “Times Past” issues of Starman were always showcases for exceptional talent, and James Robinson kept that going by bringing on Darwyn Cooke to draw this tale of the past in his Shade series. But while it obviously looks great, the issue was also just a lot of fun, teaming Shade with Vigilante, an often forgotten DC hero, who Robinson had written in the past. If there are two guys who know superhero period pieces and reviving characters thought past their prime, Cooke and Robinson are they. Plus they had the stellar support team of J. Bone and Dave Stewart to finish things up pretty. It was a highlight of a series that was a highlight in itself.

Read the Pick of Week review.

3. Batman #5

The easy thing about this one is that I remember reading it, and instantly thinking I’d found my first addition to this list, almost 12 months ago. Scott Snyder came close to breaking both the reader and Batman in this inventive issue. The further Batman went into the labyrinth, the more we twisted the actual book around, and around and around we went until we figured out the trick. It was a great character piece, but it was also an ingenious way of using the comic book form to do something new.

Read the Pick of the Week review.


2. Scalped #60

Closing out five years of a series with a solid ending is not an easy thing, especially when it’s a series so beloved by its readers. Both Jason Aaron (third appearance) and RM Guera took this task very seriously, and found the perfect note to end things on. With the bulk of the action concluded in #59, this functioned as a “where are they now” and “where are they going”, and even then there are no easy answers. Like the ending of the series as a whole, it was a little bittersweet, but by the time they got to it, the creators knew exactly what the issues needed, and they delivered.

Read the Pick of the Week review.

1. Saga #1

If it wasn’t so unbelievably good, I’d be tired of talking about it. Brian K. Vaughan returned to comics, and he did it with a verve and gusto that we expected and then some. Saga is unmistakably born from the mind of Vaughan, in that it’s completely new and also completely familiar. He’s working in a genre that we haven’t seen in his past work, at least not like this, but the characters are all instantly knowable, and the world we don’t know is a complete joy to discover. In introducing us to Alanna and Marko, nearly everyone who read this first issue signed up for the long haul, due in no small part to Fiona Staples’ expansive artwork, and sublime characterizations. It could have gone any possible way, but it went the best possible way. Plus the first issue was only the start. Every issue has been ask interesting, as vibrant, and as wonderful, but this was the one that started it all.

Read the Pick of the Week review.



  1. Ive only read Saga. Batman and The Rocketeer off this list but they were all fantastic. Best of those three would be Saga, The Rocketeer and then Batman in that order.

  2. I put down that issue of Chew and said, “Layman, you son of a bitch…”

    but that’s not necessarily a bad thing

    • The first thing I thought after reading this issue was “Layman pulled a Kirkman”, that’s a good thing by the way.

    • I was actually pissed off for about an hour after I read it, I read Chew in TB and always read it in one sitting. I had a real strong connection to the character and was gutted. Makes me excited to see what’ll happen next.

  3. I’m shocked I’ve read most of these. Usually my tastes are a little different from the majority. So glad Chew made it. It’s been great discovering that series this year. So, so good. Hawkeye (Hawkguy, tee hee) of course made this list, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen artwork this great. I’m not talking just comics, I’m talking in life. Not shocked to see Saga at number one. I have to be honest and say I’m not into the whole space, future, sorcery, weird, thing that Saga is all about. My pull list looks more like Punisher, Deathstroke, Deadpool, Batman etc but holy crap Saga has me begging for more after every single issue. That isn’t common regardless the genre. That is talent and every issue is just sopping wet with it. Very good list. Very good indeed.

  4. DOOP!!

  5. An exemplary list, sir.

    Man, this was a hell of a year for comics, wasn’t it?

  6. A lot of Jason Aaron books on that list and I couldn’t agree more that his books have been ones to watch for. That issue of Wolverine and the xmen featuring Doop was just brilliant and hilarious at the same time. Great list as well!

  7. Of tie list I only read Fantastic four, Batman and Saga. Batman would have made my top five, Saga would have been my numbe 1 as well, I would have rounded out my top 5 with the issue of X-Factor about Pip the Troll, Min th Gap #1 and the “Run Layla Run” issue of X-Factor

  8. Excellent list! Hawkeye #6 was so good. I really enjoy every time the Russian mob arrive on scene with their sweatsuit’s. Them “Bro’s” are some tough dudes!

  9. Great series/issues there from Fantastic Four, Saga, The Shade, Scalped & Hawkeye, this has been an excellent year & I’m sure there will be many other titles not listed but as a general choice these are all very good!

  10. Batman 13 for me not only the greatest single issue of the year but the best issue of any book I have ever read. But it did love Doop vs the world that was by far the funniest and most enjoyable issue I’ve ever read. Thor God of Thunder#1 blew me away finally after 20+ years of waiting I enjoyed a Thor story once again, it was the most nostalgic issue of the year.

  11. I didn’t read enough of these time to go spend some money.

  12. Quick question, did you guys consider how the issue works as a piece of standalone storytelling or just highliht individual issues? Not saying that ony one and done’s should be considered, but a lot of these seem like culminations that lose impact if you have’nt read the preceeding issues. For instance as much as I loved the whole “Forever” arc,, I thought Fantastic Four #605 (Reid visits future Fantastic Four iterations, included a mbearded Thing), was a better single issue.Not that I’m complaining, just curious.

  13. I have always liked Allreds’s style, but after his DD issue and then his Wolverine issue, he broke through to my “must buy list” when I see his name on something.
    I then proceeded to make my biggest risk purchase. The X-Static Omnibus. Never read any of it. Not a fan of x universe stuff. I’m 6 issues in now. Brilliant! It also helps to see that Cooke and Pope are in this collection too. Can’t believe that I missed out on this when it 1st hit.

  14. I’m surprised that there wasn’t any Daredevil, , I also agree with some people saying that Batman #13 would have been the better Batman choice, but all in all a very good list, I look forward to the rest.

  15. I bought seven out of fifteen of these issues. That’s probably more than it was last year.

    Cool list, guys! Although I’m kind of sad that Wonder Woman didn’t earn a spot.

  16. Good list, fellas. I can’t think of any single issue left out of the top 15. I’m really glad that I’ve read the majority of these.

  17. Great list Josh. I think we’re going to look back at this period of time and say wow, can you believe the quality of work that some of these guys were putting out?

  18. Wow. Only one of these issues are on my personal top 10 list….Which shows how much variety of books we read (or lack of one for me since I have only one non-DC/Marvel book on my list).

    I’m still churning out my list on my tumblr so I won’t spoil the #1 spot. So far my list goes as followed:

    10) Dial H #6
    9) Amazing Spider-Man #677
    8) Batman and Robin #15
    7) Deadpool #2
    6) The Infernal Man-Thing #2

  19. My top ten:

    Manhattan Projects #4 (einstein and the doorway)
    Wonder Woman #12 (super saiyan Diana/orion)
    Batman #5 (batman in the labyrinth)
    Saga #4 (The Will on sextilion!)
    Orc Stain #7 (the issue of OS that came out this year)
    Swamp Thing #7 (Alec Holland becomes Swamp Thing)
    Conan the Barbarian #4 (amazing James Harren art)
    Action Comics #13 (krypto & the phantom zone)
    FF #16 (the better of the two endings to Forever)
    Lobster Johnson: the burning hand #3 (pulp goodness)

    • The top 4 would make my top 10 and Swampy would be my number 1. I’m shocked Swamp Thing #7 isn’t on that list. I was awestruck when I read that.

  20. Thanks for the list, I need to get into Stumptown.

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned Captain America #1 – I’ve sometimes struggled with Cap in the past but that single issue made me buy into him more than anything else I’ve read. It had real character and, you know, The Green Skull.

    Also I’d go for the final FF rather than Fantasic Four if it were up to me….I guess it is up to me in the confines of this tiny box….

  21. I do not know what happened in Hawkguy #6. #3 though had my panel of the year.

  22. The Court of the Owls story was good, and Batman #5 was impressive, but I would have gone with #13, or even #14 (the art was sooo beautiful in that issue). If Synder nails the finale I’m ready to name Death of the Family best Joker story since Killing Joke . . .

    I was mixed on Hickman’s Fantastic Four run, and think that his last FF issue would have been a better choice for this list. On the surface the story and art might have seemed pure whimsy, but they still served as a fitting emotional grace note to the whole run.

    I’d like to add X-O Manowar #1 for starting off the whole Valiant relaunch. These books have been a lot of fun, and are some of the series I look forward to the most every month . . .

    Also, agree that something from Swamp Thing (#7 is a good nominee) should be on this list.

    Now, if only I could pick a single issue of Unwritten or Mind MGMT . . .

    Finally, Nowhere Men #1 . . .

  23. Now that I think of it, I’m surprised that no one’s mentioned the conclusion to Journey into Mystery . . .

  24. Just read that Fury MAX. Man oh man.

  25. The only one in the list i have read is Minutemen#4 , which is a great storyline. I mostly regret buying all the before watchmen issues as i have a limited budget, and minutemen is the only storyline i have enjoyed so far.
    However i will stick with it as Dr Manhattan has started to improve.
    The lesson i have learned from this series is to be more selective about what i read. As i have only started reading comics again this year after an abscence of more years than i would like to mention.
    As a side issue i really enjoy listening to theI Ifanboy podcast PICK OF THE WEEK.