What single comic or story arc was your favorite of the year? What moved you, made you think, or was just a thrill to read? Share your 2019 Fave with us here or on our Facebook page. Here are the year's best according to the POP staff:
MACK: I am hopelessly old school and a lifelong Superman fan, so my favorite issue was Superman #11, Brian Michael Bendis' conclusion of "The Unity Saga": a wide-ranging story that included Zod, the return of Jor-El (!!!), and introduced a new villain in Rogol Zaar, a vicious behemoth who claimed to be responsible for the destruction of Krypton. Widescreen deep space battles with those mentioned above as well as three alien armies, all the Els together as a team (including Krypto!), dynamically drawn by the amazing Ivan Reis...Wow. It's been a long time since I have had reason to be this enthusiastic about Superman, and the creative team of Bendis and Reis on this title, and this issue in particular, gave me more geek-outs than any other this year. RUNNER-UP: Batman: Damned...IMO the most beautifully illustrated book of the year.
RUTH: Having read through various comic series this past year, I would have to say that Blade Runner 2019 Vol. 1 has been my favorite book in 2019. I've seen the Director's Cut of the original Blade Runner film as well as Denis Villeneuve's Blade Runner 2049, and I am a major fan of the latter. Writers Michael Green and Mike Johnson bring back the aura and vibe of 2049 in this comic book series. The story is well crafted, the protagonist, Ash, is a true ass kicker, and the art is truly spectacular— gritty when need be, but beautiful even in dark moments. I look forward to reading the 2019 series as it continues to unfold in 2020.
TAHEG: It really should have been quite difficult for me, to pick a BEST issue of the year. There were some amazing releases, in 2019. From the shocks and heartbreak of Sean Murphy’s Batman: Curse of the White Knight, to the deep lore and literary nerdiness of Kieron Gillen’s DIE... but, when all is said and done, it was actually very easy to pick my winner.
Because 2019 saw the end of one of the greatest runs in comic book history. And, in my humble opinion, the greatest run any humble scribe has ever penned, for his holiness, the God of Thunder, Thor Odinson. From his first earth-shattering clashes with Gorr the God Butcher, through his Unworthy years, to his great victory, saving all of existence in the War of the Realms...it’s been a pretty eventful decade for old Odinson.
But, to quote a mediocre end to a great series, "Everything that has a beginning, has an end, Neo." And 2019 saw the final issue of Jason Aaron’s King Thor, the post-apocalyptic prologue to Aaron’s time crafting tales of Norse-inspired insanity... and WHAT an end he gave us. Deeply satisfying, wonderfully written, tying together all the threads he’s been weaving these past seven wonderful years. Capping all this off, was the return of legendary artist Esad Ribic, to put his perfect pictures alongside Aaron’s awesome actions.
I’ve rambled on for far too long. So, to quote the perfect ending to a perfect series:
"Gorr was right. But Thor is Thor!"
CHRISTIAN: My Pick of 2019 was an incredibly difficult choice, with 2019 being such a strong year for independent titles, it is almost bittersweet to say that my top pick was from the Big 2 companies.
DC's Black Label has put out some top notch stories, but my favorite, hands down, has to have been Harleen by Stjepan Sejic. When a creator can take the reins almost entirely on a title in regards to story, script and art, magical things can happen, and such is the case with 2019's Harleen.
I would like to believe that going forward, even though DC's Black Label stories have so far been Elseworlds tales, that this is the definitive Harley Quinn Origin Story.
In three magazine-sized issues, Sejic along with Gabriela Downie's letters (The Harvey Dent bit is excellent) managed to bring about a beautiful and coherent origin that doesn't pull any punches as Dr. Quinzel descends into the Joker's madness during her tenure at Arkham.
MICHAEL: I actually have two Picks for 2019, but since one is a single issue and one is a series, can we say that counts?
Single issue: Doomsday Clock #10. This single issue story, part of the larger 12 issue maxi-series, just blew me away. I'd been enjoying the series thus far, treating each single issue almost like a panel on a page: to be absorbed on its own, fitting into the bigger picture later on. Then BAM! issue 10 hits and it's the culmination. Not in the penultimate issue 11, or the final issue 12 (which itself was excellent) but in the third to last issue. I don't want to spoil anything but I'll say, though this book is a sort of simultaneous extension of and homage to Watchmen, this issue singlehandedly reinforced something about the DC universe that we all know (hint: it has to do with who its cornerstone is) while showing the true power of Dr. Manhattan.
Series: Though it started previous to 2019, I just got into Gideon Falls and I am hooked. It's a horror noir, where every piece of art, every word matters. The covers, the way panels are laid out, everything, just like the barn its characters are building and searching for (read to find out what I'm talking about!). I don't think I've been this engrossed by a series in a long time. Lemire and Sorrentino are an absolute dream-team (see Joker: Killer Smile for their latest foray in comics.) 10/10 recommended.
ARITRA: Choosing the best read of the year is a tough job! I have read some amazing comic books, graphic novels, webcomics and self-published comics, and picking one sounds very restricting! What are the criteria, and who decides what is little better than the rest?
So after pondering a lot, my favourite read from 2019 was a webcomic published on Webtoon App: Lavender Jack Season One, by Dan Schkade and Jenn Manly Lee. It is built on an extremely intriguing old school murder mystery, set in an alternate universe, and beautifully illustrated and gorgeously coloured. There are layers to this storytelling; fueled by revenge, the hero embarks on Batman-esque vigilantism. There is a once-famous, now old detective who still happens to kick asses in her gown, an honest police inspector stuck between choices and the hero’s stoic-face, sarcasm-spouting sidekick, and a pair of antagonists you can’t stop cheering for!
Lavender Jack is a dream come true mash-up of genres and it could go so wrong in so many ways, but never loses its grip over the narrative, beautifully tying up the main plot with the sub-plots. It was politically correct without being preachy, it’s a love story for every possible couple out there, a societal critique, and it ended on cliffhanger that drives one nuts with questions! And it’s free to read!