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Top 15 DC and Marvel Comics of 2022


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Quick disclosure, I have not read every comic of 2022. There were a lot that came out in the year, but I can confidently say that I at least read more than 75% of the books that the big two had put out.

Let’s also acknowledge the fact that the comics that will I have listed are ones that resonate most with me, so if a book that you like is not on here that does not make it any less worthy of being on such a list.

Now that we have gotten all that out of the way let’s recognize some titles that couldn’t quite make it into the top 15. (Mostly because the other books were just more preferred.)

Honourable Mentions:

Captain America: Symbol of Truth: Seeing as this is Sam’s triumphant return into a solo series with him as Captain America again it had quite the high bar to meet. With 8 issues released in 2022 it sets up a very intriguing overall conflict that Sam must deal with, but what is the biggest standout from this series is the narrative of being a POC born in America in comparison to being someone born from the continent of one’s origin. Tochi Onlyebuchi creates a very hard hitting story that I couldn’t help but fall in love with.

Batman: the Knight: The story of Bruce’s journey after his parent’s death has honestly been explored almost as times as we have seen the Waynes get murdered in all forms of media, but Chip Zdarsky has written a version of this story that makes his journey seem a lot less one dimensional as it has been seen in some previous iterations. A big component as to why I think this iteration of Bruce’s journey is so much more compelling is due to the fact that Zdarsky was not afraid to have Bruce fail and to have him express his vulnerabilities. Just right off the bat (he he) I could tell this story was going to be different and by the end it created such an enticing story that this has become my personal head canon of what took place after the Wayne murder.

Robin: Damian Wayne can honestly be such a little unlikeable shit, and I was originally very hesitant about this series considering the events that had occurred prior in Damian’s publication, but Joshua Williamson not only dealt with those issues, but he has helped add even more depth to Damian’s character. The main reason why I could not put this series in the top 15 though is because of the few issues that tied into the Shadow War crossover. While those tie-in issues did salty my taste for this series it did have a good come back and it did end on an excellent high note that not only has me looking forward to the future of Damian in DC Comics, but the supporting characters from this series. Mostly Flatline.

#15 Iron Fist (2022) by: W:Alyssa Wong A:Michael Yg

As someone who was mildly intrigued by Lin Lie as a character in the Sword Master series I have to commend Alyssa Wong for being able to make me so invested in Lin Lie’s character in this series. But she also adds in a new component to the Iron Fist lore which helped make this series a must read for me. Because the lore that surrounds the Iron Fist has not been as touched upon since Matt Fraction’s 2006 Iron Fist run. In this run Wong gives Shao Lao the Undying a lot of personality and to a certain extent some agency. Whereas in the past Shao Lao has merely been used as a device to merely provide Iron Fists with their chi manipulation abilities. This series always made its way to the top of my reading pile whenever a new issue came out and has now caused me to pick-up the Sword Master series and give it another go.

#14 Thunderbolts (2022) by W: Jim Zub A: Sean Izaakse

This is Zub’s second go at writing the Thunderbolts but this time it’s with a completely different ensemble. Last time he wrote the series it was with Winter Soldier and villains who may or may not have been trying to reform. This time around he has been given to a variety of superheroes and has made the very wise decision of primarily focusing on Hawkeye (Clint Barton.) The easiest way I can surmise this 5 issue mini-series is that it’s Ted Lasso with Clint. It should be said that I am someone who has always loved Jim Zub’s writing so for him to tackle a story involving such a fan favourite character in a way that resembled one of the best shows currently available to audiences is phenomenal. The voice he has given Hawkeye is on point, but the team is just as entertaining and compelling for Clint to work with.

#13 Batman: Failsafe (2022) by W: Chip Zdarsky A: Jorge Jiménez

I carry the controversial opinion that Batman is not as interesting as many make him and his stories out to be, but leave it to Chip Zdarksy to make me start picking up the mainline Batman title again and to start loving it as much as I do. Mainly looking at just the first arc of this new Batman run it does everything that I personally like and need in a Batman story. Zdarsky is capable of keeping to the core of Batman that at times can be easily over inflated by other writers, though that does not mean that he is incapable of showing the fallacies and mistakes of this character. The core off this story is very much Batman’s paranoia putting all those whom he loves and holds close in danger and while at it showing how unconventionally resourceful he can be in the most desire of situations.

#12 The Variants (2022-2023) by W: Gail Simone A: Phil Noto

You can never go wrong when Gail Simone decides to write anything honestly. What starts out as a very intriguing mystery that somewhat brings readers back to the original ALIAS series quickly turns into an inter-dimensional conflict with variants of Jessica Jones that go far and beyond to do an amazing character study of Jessica Jones and allows her character to grow a fair bit when it comes to self acceptance and love. The series acts as a means of self-reflection for Jessica and helps show just how important parts of the Marvel universe is to a character who can honestly go unnoticed at times.

#11 Star Wars: Doctor Aphra The Spark Eternal by W: Alyssa Wong A: Minkyu Jung

Doctor Aphra for many might be unheard of amongst some Star Wars fans, but she is an amazing character with some of the most enticing stories from this era in Star Wars. While this entire run of Doctor Aphra from Wong is fantastic, the highlight of this run so from comes from this year’s story about an AI artifact called the Spark Eternal. In short imagine a cult in the Star Wars universe that wants to replicate the abilities of the dark side so they create something that can be on par with it through technology and it almost corrupts anyone who is unlucky enough to be possessed by it. For an imitation of the dark side it definitely captures what it is like to be consumed by the dark side.

#10 Action Comics: Warworld Saga by W: Phillip Kennedy Johnson A: Ricardo Federici

The story of Superman is very much that of an immigrants’ so for the remainder of the Warworld Arc and the Return of Kal-El arc, Phillip Kennedy Johnson is able to capture a portion of that immigrant experience. What is most commendable about this though is the fact that Johnson finds a way to not only capture what it is like to want to do right when you’re someone from a different background but to give others like you the same love and opportunity that you have received from others at time. That is what this Superman story is capable of capturing and it is was just phenomenal to read. 

#9 Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty by W: Jackson Lanzing & Collin Kelly A: Carmen Carnero

The last time I recall being very invested in a Captain America run was during the Nick Spencer days. Every time I went into my comic shop and the newest issue of Sentinel of Liberty wasn’t there I felt actual sadness over the fact that I couldn’t witness what was revealed involving the Inner Circle. Which is a testament to how well this series has been written by Lanzing and Kelly. The most compelling part of this series is showing the true inspirational power of Captain America and just how much he means to his community. Cause the real power of Steve isn’t the super soldier serum that runs through him but his capacity to empathize and influence others to be their best selves.

#8 A.X.E. Judgement Day by W: Kieron Gillen A: Valerio Schiti

I’m still baffled that a massive company wide event was able to make its way onto the list considering the fact that most big events like these are more often than not quite lacklustre. However, Gillen absolutely impressed me with how well the event flowed from issue to issue. Then add in the fact that none of the main issues saw any delays and also add in the fact that the tie-ins were amazingly written. The premise of the story really allowed the random tie-ins from other series to not only stand well on their own but to also offer an opportunity for readers to see what other characters in the Marvel universe were experiencing. Judgement Day has honestly set a new precedent for how company wide comic events should be done. Cause the last time I found an event to allow other books to to do their own thing without having random issues be must reads was Civil War. The event as a whole though not only added on top of the magnificent two volume Eternals run that Gillen had done but it also added new lore and dynamics into the Marvel universe between the Avengers and X-Men. To describe the events that transpire in this series in this little review is severely difficult but just know that it is an event that deserves your attention if you are a fan of the Avengers, Eternals or X-Men. 

#7 Batman: Beyond the White Knight by W/A: Sean Gordon Murphy

As a huge fan of the White Knight universe that Murphy has created, Beyond the White Knight has not disappointed. It has in fact only raised the bar and made this world even more interesting with the changes that it has made to the dynamics and status quo that has been seen in the main DC continuity. In the prior books in this series they have explored Bruce’s vulnerabilities as hero, how human he actually is, as opposed to other interpretations of him that view him to be so prepared for everything and how shin family’s legacy is more tainted than he would like to actually acknowledge. In this run though it truly explores Batman’s relationships with other characters in his life. The likes of which being Harley Quinn, Jason Todd, Dick Grayson and Jack Napier. But beyond Bruce’s story we see an interesting new interpretation of Terry McGinnis. There have been few iterations of Terry’s origins into becoming Batman but besides the original animated series this iteration is becoming my favourite go at this story. 

#6 Batgirls by W: Becky Cloonan & Michael Conrad A: Robbi Rodriguez

I can’t remember the last time we have gotten a bad Batgirl series, but none had personally stood out besides Gail Simone’s run on Batgirl during the New 52, until now. Cloonan and Conrad have not only created a fun and enticing story involving Spoiler, Orphan and Oracle but personally the best part of the stories that they’re telling is how wonderfully written the team dynamic is. Prior to reading this the only exposure I had ever really gotten with Spoiler and Orphan was in Tynion’s Detective Comics run, but that series was usually more serious and it did not have the same opportunities to see into the personal life of these characters usually. In the Batgirls series though we are able to see how what the girls do when they hangout and destress, which is very important to show for some characters, especially when writing an ongoing series.

#5 She-Hulk by W: Rainbow Rowell A: Rogê Antônio

Ever since the events that took place as a byproduct of Civil War II, She-Hulk has not been the same. Because of the events that took place She-Hulk has not been the comedic, intelligent lawyer character who many readers were familiar with. While I was not someone who hated the more savage iteration of She-Hulk I did miss the comedy and court room drama that would take place like in older runs by Dan Slott or John Byrne. So my appreciation and love for this She-Hulk series by Rainbow Rowell is immense due to the nice return to the status quo. Rowell has not only been able to capture what made the prior She-Hulk books so fantastic but she is able to inject some new aspects and dynamics that I personally really enjoy and have been asking why such changes have not been made in prior runs.

#4 Shang-Chi by W: Gene Luen Yang A: Marcus To & Dike Ruan

This placement does count Shang-Chi, Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings and Shang-Chi: Master of the Ten Rings. Now yes I am the Shang-Chi guy, but just remember the fact that up until 2020 I had never cared for or even liked the character. Also let it be noted that I personally find the movie and comic version of the character to be very different. All that being said I think the issues that Gene Luen Yang has written for the character are extraordinary. I have an entire article dedicated to my adoration for this series but to quickly explain why it makes its way so high is due to the character exploration of Shang-Chi, but the lengths Yang has gone through to redefine the relationship Shang-Chi has with his father. He also goes on to make Zheng Zu a much more complicated and admirable character, which is shocking for me to say since he started out as such a problematic stereotype for Chinese people. It should also be known that I was originally against the idea of Shang-Chi in the comics getting a set of 10 Rings that resembled his film counterpart, but the lore that surrounds them now is very interesting and my mind has been turned thanks to Yang’s fantastic writing.  

#3 Superman: Son of Kal-El by W: Tom Taylor A: Cian Torrey

Since Jonathan Kent started getting more development in Peter J. Tomashi’s Superman run I started loving the character, but when Bendis took over I did feel robbed when he came back aged up. This book however has not only brought Jonathan back into my line of site but has now put Jonathan Kent in my top 3 favourite superheroes in DC Comics. Since becoming more mature I have discovered that Superman for me is meant to be a character with all the physical power in the world who’s biggest goal is to achieve social change for those who are not as fortunate and that is what the Son of Kal-El series is. Not only do we see Superman fight giant super villains and monsters we see him trying to achieve change for everyone around him, because he sees the greatness in humanity when they are given hope and someone powerful to stand with them to show that they are not alone. The Son of Kal-El series is definitely more political and not meant for everyone but I am someone who loves this book and I love that it exists. I just hope that the upcoming Adventures of Superman: Jon Kent series can keep up with how wonderfully written this series was.

#2 Daredevil/Devil’s Reign

Chip Zdarsky has been writing Daredevil since 2019 and Devil’s Reign marks Zdarksy’s end on this testament of Matt Murdock’s story and in 2022 it also marked the beginning of a new arc. The end of Devil’s Reign did not only mark a new beginning for a part of Matt’s story though, it also marked an end for Wilson Fisk being the Kingpin of crime in New York. As a whole Devil’s Regin was an amazing story that really shows off Zdarky’s capabilities at being a writer because it is not easy to write a large scale comic book event that has such an emotional pay off and such big twists for the characters from issue to issue. Then looking at the current ongoing Daredevil series, it has set a new status quo for Daredevil and Elektra with many unforeseen turnouts. Where in Zdarsky’s prior Daredevil run it was very grounded, the new run deals with more so the supernatural aspect of the Daredevil lore but in new ways that really gets me very invested. Then throw in the fact that it sets up not only a confrontation between Daredevil and Punisher but with the Hand and Daredevil’s new group training to fight the hand, it makes this series even more enticing.

#1 Nightwing

Are we at all surprised that first place goes to a Tom Taylor series? Am I a die hard Nightwing fan? Yes, but that does not at all ruin the validity of having this series in first place though. 2022 saw Dick Grayson take some big steps to better Bludhaven and with that came a huge target on his back. While having a superhero piss off the bad guys is not an unusual form of story in the genre, it is rare to see when the hero’s civilian identity is the one being targeted. With that comes some of the most tense moments where Dick Grayson is consistently in the line of danger and seeing how the he gets around revealing his hero identity is just an absolute blast to read. Personally, the most entertaining parts of this Nightwing run is when Dick is out of costume and is just doing good, then pulling out Nightwing primarily in more extreme and dire situations. That if any should be a sign of how excellently written this series is and if I were to only pick-up one DC title to have in my pull box it would be Nightwing by Tom Taylor.

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