The best comics of 2010

Best ongoing series: After winning this category in 2008 and then taking a dizzying fall to the gulag of total crapulence in 2009, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 is back on top. Though issues 30 through 39 didn’t quite hit the stratospheric height of issues 10 through 19 (odd how precisely these groupings map to their numbers, and years), Brad Meltzer brought some truly amazing writing in his arc, while Whedon proved why this series mattered as he brought things to a close. This was a rousing conclusion to the 40-issue storyline, and a big, emotional payoff to eight seasons of Buffy. Can’t wait for Season 9.

Best single issue: Powers Vol. 3, issue #5 is so deft, so understated, so unbelievably magnificent in scope and courage, that it might be my favourite issue of anything, all-time. It made me cheer. It crests a perfect hill of everything this series has drawn towards up until this point, and shines a beacon to a future for this world and these characters that is nearly unimaginable in its reach. It does so by observing tiny beats in all these peoples’ lives - Walker, Enki, Heather, even the bouncer at Johnny Royalle’s - and it ends with a war-whoop as the prodigal (daughter) returns. Oeming’s art, too - which never sucks - is operating on a whole other level here. Bravo.

Best graphic novel: Ex Machina, Vol. 10, concluded the series with a grand finale so transformative of the content that had gone before that it sorta made me wish Vaughan had stuck around and written the final episode of Lost.

Other stuff what was great:

Per usual, I will gladly heap praise on Bendis’ Ultimate Comics Spider-Man. It has never not been enjoyable. Never. Not once. Likewise Fraction’s Invincible Iron Man, likewise Johns’ Green Lantern.

Wonder Woman #600 reminded me in every single frame and page why this character is iconic, what she means culturally, and why I’ve loved her since I was four years old. And I do love that new costume.

"Float Out," Patton Oswalt’s one-shot tome to Hoban "Wash" Washburn, was lovely, and has the only panel of any issue this year that brought tears to my eyes.

Additionally, Scott Pilgrim Vol. 6 did two things well: it improved my opinion of Vol. 5, and it closed a monumentally satisfying series.

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