NOTE: of what I’ve read
1. Hawkeye #11 – Matt Fraction, David Aja, and Matt Hollingsworth create the single best comic of 2013. Individually, they are all talented; together, they use Lucky (Pizza dog!) as the thread between all the concurrent stories in Hawkeye, and show how a dog thinks. This is about as close to perfection as I’ve read, and there’s hardly any words to even decipher, beyond the few magic words Lucky knows. More of this for 2014, please.
2. Afterlife with Archie #1 – Who knew Jughead could be a legitimately scary figure? Writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and artists Francesco Francavilla knew. And they deliver.
3. Manhattan Projects #12 – Enrico Fermi is a special kind of immigrant who brings his own special skills to the crew. Upon finding out his true mission, the reader is forced to rethink every scene with him in the previous 12 issues. Nick Pitarra brings some glorious visuals to accompany the masterwork.
4. Batman and Robin #18 – Silence rarely read as well as Peter Tomasi’s requiem piece on the death of a Robin. A bit overwrought and sappy, it works precisely because the reader is sucked into the grief of Batman.
5. Zero #2 – The issue in which we learn Agent Zero was bred from day one to be a cold-blooded killer, and how artist Tradd Moore made his pitch for being considered one of the best in the biz.
6. Batman #17 – Death of the Batman family gets real, very real. The art is beyond reproach, and the symbolism throughout is delicious. Snyder took his turn at the Batman/Joker relationship and added more to it than I thought possible. Some things are worse than physical death.
7. Daredevil #26 – Two years of a storyline are coming to a head for our fearless hero, but the backup is the reason this issue gets on the list. Foggy Nelson deals with his cancer, and learns a few things in the process. It’s a very special issue of Daredvil, but it draws the reader in without being grating or hitting one over the head with the message.
8. Saga #17 – Just as one starts rooting for formerly annoying characters, Brian K Vaughan throws a monkey wrench into the comic and completely reshuffles the pieces on the board. Months of buildup come to an action sequence that is pulled off with deft precision by Fiona Staples, and we learn the the opposite of war isn’t easy.
9. Edison Rex #9 – Playing with the concept of white space, a puppet who may be more than meets the eye, and a former ‘villain’ who was right all along, this issue delivers on every level.
10. Jupiter’s Legacy #3 – Sometimes Mark Millar hits a home run. Here, he hits a grand slam, playing with the idea of the Death of Superman…the death that all other superheroes seem to want. Drawn in gruesome fashion by the incredible Frank Quitely, it’s a feast for the eyes, and a tug on the heart.