CBR's Top 10 Comics of 2013

Tue, December 31st, 2013 at 11:58am PST | Updated: December 31st, 2013 at 1:58pm

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CBR News Team, Editor

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As we do every year, CBR is wrapping up the past 12 months with our Top 100 Comics of the Year countdown, with the Top 10 sending us off on New Year's Eve! To make our rankings, every CBR staffer -- from the homepage news hounds to the pontificating columnists and from the up-to-the-minute bloggers to our intelligent reviewers -- chips in their list of favorite comic books, web comics and graphic novels for an all-out cage match to determine the Top 100.

2013 saw a record number of participants in this experiment with just over 40 staffers nominating over 200 comics for consideration. While the comics industry continued its strong swing of sales and critical love this year, the prevailing sentiment amongst the staff was that there were few undeniable breakout comics published of late. That's not to say there weren't many amazing and entertaining books written, drawn and released in 2013 -- check out #100-76 here, #75-51 here, #50-26 here. and #25-11 here -- but while past years have had obvious hot ticket favorites amongst readers, this year was more of a wide open field. Who took the #1 slot? Find out below!

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CBR's Top 100 Comics of 2013: 100 -> 76 | 75 -> 51 | 50 -> 26 | 25 -> 11 | 10 -> 1

10. Boxers & Saints
Written & drawn by Gene Luen Yang
Published by First Second Books

"Gene Luen Yang's two-volume graphic novel, tackling the Boxer Rebellion in China, is a great way to make use of the publishing medium's physical structure. One book ('Boxers') tells the story entirely from the perspective of a Chinese man on the side of the Boxers, the other ('Saints') about an outcast Chinese women who is drawn into the world of the Christian missionaries and fights on their side. Each story is fascinating and gripping, but when you read both books side by side and see how the two perspectives merge... well, there's a reason why "Boxers & Saints" is meant to be consumed as a whole, single unit. Brilliant AND enjoyable."

-- CBR Reviewer Greg McElhatton

"Gene Luen Yang's two-volume set is about more than just the Boxer Rebellion. It's about all war, all the things that cause people to make it, and how there's never just one point-of-view in any conflict. That's something that humans desperately need to learn about themselves and Yang's work does a wonderful job of teaching it."

-- Robot 6 Writer Michael May

"Gene Yang delivered something ambitious, intellectual and lovely with none of the dryness some historical graphic novels can suffer from. 'Boxers and Saints' is elegant and simple, with accurate details about a grizzly piece of history, and yet it has a thriving sense of humor."

-- CBR Staff Writer Casey Gilly

"While Yang produced two books, they're inextricably linked and I wouldn't like to choose between them. Using each book to depict the different perspectives of each side of the battling people in the Chinese Boxer Rebellion, Yang uses his deceptively simple line work to convey complex ideas about freedom, religion, love, family, and loss. Within each book are the seeds for the other, just as the characters' lives intertwine. With the culmination of each book the heartbreaking, transformative cost of war is mourned."

-- Comics Should Be Good Columnist Sonia Harris

"History is written by the winners. It’s rare when someone has the objective interest and skill to bring both perspectives of a conflict to bear. 'Boxers & Saints' is a slipcase of the simultaneous release of two graphic novels from 'American Born Chinese' creator Gene Luen Yang that strive to accomplish this ambitious goal. Boxers follows a Chinese peasant boy who joins the uprising after his village is plundered by Western missionaries, while Saints follows a girl who finds a life for herself in the missionaries when her village has no place for her. The former is crafted as a war epic with the aesthetic of a superhero comic; the latter is more intimate with the feel of a personal journal or autobiographical comic. Which side is right? As always, it’s not about right or wrong, but the human journeys within the historic event."

-- Robot 6 Writer Corey Blake

9. Daredevil
Written by Mark Waid
Drawn by Chris Samnee, Javier Rodriguez
Published by Marvel Comics

"While the buzz around 'Daredevil' moved on to rightful heirs like 'Hawkeye' in 2013, the original Must-Read Marvel Book of the new decade kept on upping its game with every issue. With Daredevil squaring off against Bullseye's most elaborate murder plot ever while Foggy fought cancer, Waid and Samnee provided a string of issues filled with heart-wrenching drama alongside some of the most innovative action sequences published this year. With Waid and Samnee's man without fear getting a fresh start in 2014, it looks like this masterpiece's brilliant run isn't over yet."

-- CBR Columnist Brett White

"Mark Waid has been building to this year's worth of Daredevil stories from the beginning of the series and the conclusion was more than worth the wait. Waid and artist extraordinaire Chris Samnee delivered the best superhero storyline of the year as Daredevil encounters a new villain who has Daredevil's powers...with a significant twist (a twist revealed in one of the best sequences that I saw in a superhero comic book all year long). The reveal of the big bad was handled well as was the final showdown. This was already a great comic book but 2013 saw a leap forward in quality, making it one of (if not THE) best superhero comic out there."

-- Comics Should Be Good Editor Brian Cronin

"Three years into his run on the title, Mark Waid is as strong as ever, keeping the character of Daredevil fun and accessible despite some pretty grim circumstances like a plot against him by his arch-foe Bullseye and his best friend and law partner Foggy Nelson developing cancer. Only Waid could come up with ideas like DD teaming up with The Silver Surfer, and then actually pull it off successfully. Chris Samnee's light touch is a pleasant look for the book and for a character who was in the shadows and darkness for so long. This title was consistently one of the most enjoyable ongoing series this past year."

-- CBR Reviewer Jim Johnson

"I have several books from Steve Wacker and Tom Brennan’s office on this list because they really seem to know how to get creators to open up and do their best work. Mark Waid, Chris Samnee, and Javier Rodriguez work so well together and keep finding new ways to challenge not just Daredevil but Matt Murdock and poor Foggy Nelson. Waid lets Murdock be an adult and try to do better with his life instead of dragging him into the gutter and letting him gnash like a teenager. This book also contains the 616 debut of my partner-in-crime Brett White! How does a moment like that NOT make your list?"

-- CBR Reviewer Matt Little 

"Samnee and Waid deliver a book that is comfort food for the soul. A character study through the tropes of cape comics."

-- CBR Contributor Ryan K. Lindsey

8. The Wake
Written by Scott Snyder
Drawn by Sean Murphy
Published by Vertigo/DC Comics

"Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy explore the depths of earth's last frontier in a way that's as exciting and mysterious as it is horrifying. We need more genre comics set beneath the ocean's surface, and 'The Wake' sets a high standard for any that follow it."

-- Robot 6 Writer Michael May

"Talk about bold, Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy’s 'The Wake' is the definition of bold. Even without the stunning cliffhanger at the end of issue #5 -- that turns everything on its head and points the series in an entirely new direction and yet one that was somehow promised all along -- this was a bold, inventive, and even groundbreaking way to make comics -- but the end of the first half of this series promises so much more. Spanning millions of years and now landing us in a distant future in which the world is raw and fantastic, Snyder and Murphy have created an epic that still feels human. Characters in the form of Lee and Meeks are hard to let go of -- and yet, the second part we’re rocketing toward is so exciting that it’s impossible not to let go of them to make room for that exciting future. Murphy’s art is a pitch perfect choice for this dark, detailed, monstrous, deadly world that’s also beautiful and somehow even hopeful. This is another example of a perfectly paired creative team, and of a publisher being smart about schedule. Who can mind a few months delay for part two of this mini-series when we know the quality we’ll be getting when it arrives? I hope we see a whole lot more from Snyder and Murphy if this is what they can do."

-- CBR Reviewer Kelly Thompson

"Flat out action spectacular horror underwater fu where the tone is somewhere around the tense mastery of Aliens. Snyder makes us care while Murphy makes us fear."

-- CBR Contributor Ryan K. Lindsey

"It's not easy to do effective horror in comics, but Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy make this story of ancient underwater creatures attacking a science outpost into something genuinely unsettling and creepy. And the first volume concludes with a mind-blowing cliffhanger setting up the next chapter."

-- CBR Contributor Josh Bell

"Scott Snyder and Sean Gordon Murphy’s deep sea frightener 'The Wake' is an absolutely unnerving and claustrophobic tale with truly epic ambitions that are starting to come to light."

-- CBR Contributor Jason Tabrys

"'The Wake' is as deep as it is impressive. With an incredible blend of mythology and scientific fact, Scott Snyder's meticulous research informs a horror story that relies on classics like 'Jaws' and 'Alien' for influence. Sean Murphy only improves an already fascinating story with a poetic style that creates emotionally-charged scenes and foreshadows through carefully-wrought details. Together, they capture a true horror movie atmosphere with inventiveness and profundity."

-- CBR Reviewer Meagan Damore

7. East of West
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Drawn by Nick Dragotta
Published by Image Comics

"Hickman's post-apocalyptic Western hasn't let up since it began, with several characters playing power politics, Death wandering the land looking for his child, the other Three Horsemen working behind the scenes, and Dragotta illustrating it all beautifully. Hickman's Marvel work might pay the bills, but his Image work lets us see the brilliance of the artist."

-- Comics Should Be Good Writer Greg Burgas

"Nick Dragotta and Jonathan Hickman did some amazing world-building for this sci-fi epic. While the adventures of Death had me mesmerized, it was the amazing culture and society they created that keeps me coming back for more."

-- CBR Staff Writer Karl Keily

"Many folks may praise this series for Hickman’s writing. For me, the main appeal of the series is the visual worldbuilding that Dragotta is pursuing."

-- Robot 6 Columnist Tim O'Shea

"High literature masquerading behind the funny pages, who would've thunk it? Dragotta and Hickman are crafting a tale so raw and smart that you'll need to take a weekend to digest it and realise, yes, it is that good."

-- CBR Contributor Ryan K Lindsey

"'You have earned what is coming to you.' Glorious sentence. Frightening sentence. Here it is -- 'East of West' is Jonathan Hickman, Nick Dragotta, Frank Martin, and Russ Wooton at their very best. And maybe, just maybe that quote may not be for the book’s story, but for us, the readers. We deserve a book like this, we’ve earned it, by God. Between the horrible characters—anti-heroes and pure villains, each and every one of them—and the juxtaposed landscapes of cold, hard science and desolate wasteland, rides Death, a sci-fi cowboy with a score to settle like none other. His son may very well be the Beast of the Apocalypse, and the other Horseman want him dead, but Death isn’t stopping until he gets what he wants. And his tale, his quest, is engaging and brutal and heart wrenching. You know it’s going to end only one way, but you’ll be riding along with Death for as long as he’ll allow just to witness his tale play out."

-- CBR Contributor Ryan Burton

6. Battling Boy
Written & Drawn by Paul Pope
Published by First Second Books

"If you’ve ever asked yourself what would happen if Thor’s preadolescent son was sent to save a steam-punk mega-city from a cabal of kid-stealing monsters, then you need to read Paul Pope’s outrageously original comic ASAP. Entertaining from start to finish, Pope is putting the fun back in superhero stories by reinventing them, creating a world like nothing you’ve seen before. An absolute page-turner, the only disappointment is that we’ll have to wait until next year for more of Battling Boy’s adventures."

-- CBR Staff Writer Josie Campbell

"Paul Pope's new all-age series of graphic novels is a visual treat for your eyes. The amount of detail he delivers on each page of this first volume is staggering. He is one of the most clever and dynamic artists of this generation, especially when it comes to action, which 'Battling Boy' has plenty of. The concept is that a young hero is thrust into taking over from a legendary hero who has been killed. The new hero is not really ready yet, and that is the thrust of this volume, which sets up the second volume well. But really, while the story is interesting, this book is really sold by the spectacular Pope artwork."

-- Comics Should Be Good Editor Brian Cronin

"Paul Pope’s epic story of a monster-fighting warrior boy made me feel like a kid playing with his action figures again. It was over-the-top action, fun and weirdness. I can’t wait for volume two of this book, and I can’t wait to give the whole series to my own kids in ten or 20 years (and watch them become inspired to write their own stories.)"

-- CBR Staff Writer Karl Keily

"Epic, sweet and not at all familiar. Paul Pope takes on age old concepts and spins them and creates something new. Visually intoxicating and never lets up until the very last page."

-- CBR Contributor Dave Scheidt

"One of my two favorite science fiction comic books of 2013, 'Battling Boy' represents Paul Pope's marvelous introduction to the world of a new, all-ages superhero comic book. With bold, flat color a simpler, more rudimentary world is evoked, and gives Pope's insane inking that much more punch in contrast. Here we meet our hero and watch as Battling Boy is thrown in at the deep end to defend a world filling up with monsters. Surrounded by helpless adults and indifferent (but kindly) parents, Battling Boy is joined by a Aurora West, (daughter of the last guy who tried to fight monsters), and the scene is set for a future filled with adventure."

-- Comics Should Be Good Columnist Sonia Harris

"Paul Pope has done something that should be impossible, he’s made a book that’s for everybody. 'Battling Boy'—totem animal-infused t-shirts, glimmering cities in the starscape, Humbaba eating cars—has magic in each page. I love that there’s a city for the gods, a city for the monsters; I love that there’s sprawling action; I love how super-charged this book is. In a medium immensely oversaturated with adult superheroes, it’s incredibly refreshing to have a battling boy save the day."

-- CBR Contributor Ryan Burton

5.Young Avengers
Written by Kieron Gillen
Drawn by Jamie McKelvie, Mike Norton, Kate Brown
Published by Marvel Comics

"Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie's 'Young Avengers' is easily the best title to come from the initial Marvel NOW! launch, bringing a unique perspective to the potential of a teenage superhero series. With incredible scripts and some of the finest visual storytelling around, 'Young Avengers' will go down as one of the most impressive Marvel runs of all time; the bar by which all other iterations of the series will be measured."

-- CBR Reviews Editor Steve Sunu

"'Young Avengers' isn't a real superhero comic so much as a big, age appropriate middle finger to the way superhero comics have been done for the last few decades. Nothing about this book was by the book, as Gillen, McKelvie, and their gang took comic book conventions -- everything from double page spreads and title pages -- and remade them for 2013. 'Young Avengers' depicts the future of superhero comics."

-- CBR Columnist Brett White

"Considering how strongly 'Young Avengers' was connected to Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung, it's all the more impressive at how well Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Mike Norton's take on the series has become. Mixing old and new characters together, this series (sadly coming to a conclusion early next year) has let the kids grow, mixing the needs of superheroes alongside the family dramas that exist in most teenagers' lives. Shockingly clever in its usage of the comics medium, this is going to be a comic that people will talk about for years to come in how to bring a focused, unique voice to a work-for-hire comic."

-- CBR Reviewer Greg McElhatton

"A teen superhero book that conveys all the joy, hope, and terror of being a teenager, 'Young Avengers' is a brilliantly wild ride and stylish as hell. Gillen and McKelvie, who rose to fame with music-as-magic series 'Phonogram,' have reunited here for a comic that is unique in the genre, with a tone, energy, and design that sets it far apart from anything else at the Big Two."

-- Shaun Manning

"In 'Young Avengers' writer Kieron Gillen and artist Jamie McKelvie (who were occasionally assisted by some other brilliant creators) set out to give readers their year long vision of what super hero comics could be. It proved to be an especially thrilling vision that remixed classic super hero action with modern day youth culture and provided humor, heart, and some insane visuals that had to be seen to be believed."

-- CBR Staff Writer Dave Richards

"Between Mother's insatiable desire for power and Loki's lies, the Young Avengers have had it rough this year. Fortunately for us, however, that teen angst and soul-searching has translated into one of the most bombastic, meta runs of the year. If anything, this run proves that Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie are nigh unstoppable as a team. 'Young Avengers' absolutely steals the show with many a sly wink and tons of fun. This book will be sorely missed when it concludes next year."

-- CBR Reviewer Meagan Damore

"Gillen gives us the anti-group, as the team never really coalesces and doesn't really have much to do. They fight the same antagonist over the course of the series, and usually do it poorly. But Gillen doesn't care about that - he cares about the characters and how they deal with growing up and all the problems that come with it. With McKelvie doing the best work of his career, 'Young Avengers' became a strange, coming-of-age book in the middle of the Marvel Empire. That's pretty impressive."

-- Comics Should Be Good Writer Greg Burgas

"Call it my affinity for rebellion-soaked YA fiction, but Kieron's Young Avengers was one of the funnest titles I read all year. He managed to recreate a relevant voice for a cast of petulant, moody teenagers without feeling like a bad version of Baby Muppets--they're just like grown ups, only little! Gag. 'Young Avengers' made me feel like I finally had a seat at the cool kids table with Loki, Kate and Wiccan."

-- CBR Staff Writer Casey Gilly

"The coolest comic on the stands by the coolest creative team, 'Young Avengers' is full of ambition and posturing, beautiful teens and twenty somethings trying to figure out the world, and at least one genre-pushing sequence every issue. It’s a book that feels like being a young adult. Gillen has teen angst on speed dial and McKelvie designs and styles the characters like they’re in a Topshop ad. It’s ending soon which makes sense - hope you die before you get old. "

-- CBR Reviewer Matt Little

4. Lazarus
Written by Greg Rucka
Drawn by Michael Lark
Published by Image Comics

"In 'Lazarus' writer Greg Rucka and artist Michael Lark have done more than just create a fascinating and frightening future world where a handful of families control everything. That darkly rich dystopia is the backdrop for stories full of compelling characters that blend intense thriller style action with the family drama and intrigue of 'Game of Thrones.' The end result is an expertly crafted and highly rewarding series."

-- CBR Staff Writer Dave Richards

"It’s a banner comic book day when a new Greg Rucka book debuts and 'Lazarus' was no exception. Rucka and Lark bring us a dark and fascinating tale about families and loyalty in a future that’s not so different from where we’re headed as a society – with the ultra rich, the poor, and the so poor and broken that we aren’t even considered human, but rather 'waste.' With brilliant effortless world building, stunning artwork, evocative colors, strong character work, brutal violence, and a protagonist quickly on her way toward becoming one of the comic book greats, 'Lazarus' is a must read for anyone that gives a damn about comics."

-- CBR Reviewer Kelly Thompson

"The opening salvo of Greg Rucka and Michael Lark's sci-fi series delivered an incredibly fascinating, disturbing and all too believable world of the future ruled by massive family owned corporations. Into this world comes Forever Carlyle, a living weapon created to defend the Carlyle Corporation. Full of conspiracies, technology pulled from cutting edge papers and articles, and based upon political and economic policies of today, 'Lazarus' has quickly become one of my most anticipated reads. With a new arc kicking off focusing on Forever's relationship with the rest of the family, and the training she underwent, the next year looks to flesh out her character which can only help this already great series."

-- Comics Should Be Good Columnist Ken Haley

"Greg Rucka and Michael Lark's Lazarus posits a post financial apocalypse world where the globe is broken up into family-ruled segments. Each group has their own 'Lazarus,' a scientifically enhanced soldier who does their dirty deeds. The book focuses on Forver Carlisle a fascinating character who learns more about her true origins while readers get to see more of the fascinating world."

-- CBR Staff Writer TJ Dietsch

"Rucka and Lark's dystopian future, where a handful of wealthy families control literally everything, has pulled off the rare feat of being politically informative and an engrossing, character-driven drama. With every new issue, and every comprehensive back matter, I can't wait to learn more about this world."

-- CBR Columnist Brett White

"The corporate-controlled future of this sci-fi series is impeccably researched and detailed, and the lead character is a hyper-competent badass who's poised to challenge everything about that world."

-- CBR Contributor Josh Bell

"Rucka and Lark’s consideration of technology mixed with family political battles hooked me from the outset. Rucka’s use of Tumblr adds another layer of entertainment/information to the series."

-- Robot 6 Columnist Tim O'Shea

3. March: Book One
Written by US Congressman John Lewis and Andrew Aydin
Drawn by Nate Powell
Published by Top Shelf Productions

"Congressman John Lewis details his childhood and his earliest involvement in the civil rights movement, most notably his participation in the Nashville lunch counter sit-ins in 1959 and 1960. It is a powerful work well served by Powell’s well-formed and dynamic layouts. Lewis, Aydin and Powell really know how to make the story seem so visceral that you cannot help but become affected by the story, to feel the anguish and the dread that comes from, say, a drive through the south in the early 1950s (when Lewis goes on a trip with his Uncle to Buffalo) or the hopes of Lewis when Brown versus the Board of Education came down or the disappointment when Lewis realizes that he cannot put his family through the trauma of an attempt by him to integrate Troy State University or the severe determination it must have taken to not react when the Nasvhille police allowed angry white students come into the Woolworths to attack and degrade the protesters. This is not just a valuable teaching tool but also a stunningly well made comic book. "

-- Comics Should Be Good Editor Brian Cronin

"There were a lot of opportunities for this project to go off the rails. Instead Lewis and Aydin listened to their artist, trusted his talents, and created a moving record of a crucial period in American history. 'March' pulls from history in more ways than one, it is a direct descendent of Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story, an influential comic book from the late 1950s that has taught non-violent resistance to multiple generations in multiple countries. 'March' strives to continue that tradition, and it's swift proliferation to schools and even every current member of the US Congress suggests it's on its way. The first installment of the life of John Lewis and his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement is an intimately personal account in Lewis' own words. Powell realizes the world so completely, you can smell the dust kicked up on the road to Lewis' family farm. For such a lofty and ambitious book, the book is imbued with humility, sincerity and reverence. If 'March' gets into the right hands of people still striving for equality, it could end up influencing new generations for years to come."

-- Robot 6 Writer Corey Blake

"As a Georgia native, born in 1968, I know about the importance of the civil rights movement by my study of history only. I know about the lingering vestiges of racism in the South (as well as other parts of the United States) by things I have witnessed firsthand. In the late 1980s, I found myself in a fast food restaurant just outside of Atlanta. I was standing in line to place a food order when I noticed the guy next to me. He was wearing a shirt that said: 'My dream came true' and it was a graphic of MLK in a gun scope. That moment still haunts and disturbs me. My teenage son’s world fortunately sees far less discrimination and hate firsthand. But it is still out there. So it is apt to me that the first part of John Lewis’ recollection of his own civil rights history is dedicated to the past and future children of the movement."

-- Robot 6 Columnist Tim O'Shea

"Congressman John Lewis enlisted aide Andrew Aydin to chronicle his infamous civil rights march on Washington DC that took place half a century ago. Drawn by Nate Powell, the result is a brutally honest but ultimately inspirational tale that shows the beginnings of a legacy for a true American hero. Lewis is a living and still-influential piece of American history, and this graphic novel shows that history in an educational and fully-captivating manner, proving that there are real heroes with great stories that don't need superpowers and splashy costumes to do good for the people."

-- CBR Reviewer Jim Johnson

"An important book that is told in a beautiful and artful manner. Congressman John Lewis is one of the great living Americans whose life is full of drama and Nate Powell is a dynamic artist who brings the story alive. Moving and powerful. Essential reading for all Americans."

-- Alex Dueben

"There's a real power to words and pictures when they're put together, and Nate Powell's art paired with Andrew Aydin's words and John Lewis' incredible story represents one of the most important comic book works this year. This proves that comics have a place in the classroom, and also that the classroom can last well after you've graduated."

-- CBR Columnist Brett White

2. Saga
Written by Brian K. Vaughan
Drawn by Fiona Staples
Published by Image Comics

"According to the 'Oxford English Dictionary,' a saga is a long story of heroic achievement. Yep. That's what Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples are delivering in the pages and panels of 'Saga.' And as the galaxy Alana and Marko explore grows larger with each and every issue, it's the smaller moments between the star-crossed lovers that really make this Image series one for the ages. As anyone in a relationship knows, Vaughan's dialogue is spot-on and Staples brings one-eyed romance novelists and monitor-headed royalty magically to life like no one else working in the industry today."

-- CBR Staff Writer Jeffrey Renaud

"Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples' 'Saga' is just awesome. Every time it seems the series has done everything possible to surprise, it comes back and does something even more phenomenal. Many series tend to slow down and level off after their first year, but not 'Saga.' The series continues to surprise and delight in creative and visually thrilling ways."

-- CBR Reviews Editor Steve Sunu

"Easily my favorite book from the last year, 'Saga' continues to feel perfectly conceived and executed, from its stellar creative team, impressive vision, sense of humor and drama, right down to its smart schedule. Allowing Saga to maintain the integrity of its original creative team by building in a natural break and a trade releases (to bring in fans that might have missed out eventually) is a bit of genius that I wish more companies would embrace. Comics fans are demanding folk, but for a book this good, this well done, this consistent, and beautiful, we’ll endure those breaks for a superior product. Like many I was a fan of Vaughan’s 'Y: The Last Man' among other books, but Saga has pushed all of those other books right off their pedestals. Vaughan and Staples are the creative team I've been waiting for my whole life, and “Saga” is that comic book series. Long live 'Saga'!"

-- CBR Reviewer Kelly Thompson

"'Saga' has mostly avoided a sophomore slump by fleshing out it’s roster of secondary characters while mining goodness from splashy sci-fi visuals and exotic creations like bone bugs. But it’s things like The Will’s determination to rescue Slave Girl, and Oswald and Klara’s brief conversation about the grace and horror of war that provides this book with it’s soul."

-- CBR Contributor Jason Tabrys

"What hasn't been said about 'Saga?' So I'll be brief: It's still that great."

-- CBR Contributor Shaun Manning

"Look at the numbers this book does, everyone’s reading it. It’s incredible how much this series resonates with such a wide audience of people. I hand this book to people that have never read comics and they’re hooked. It’s a gateway drug. Vaughn has never been a guy that let success go to his head so you know he’s going to keep pushing himself to go bigger and better, a ride we’re all lucky to be on. I’d say it’s a fluke but Honest Cat would call me out."

-- CBR Reviewer Matt Little/Ryan Ingram

"'Saga' spent a lot of 2013 on the downlow, chilling with a reclusive writer in his cozy home while the characters we've come to love got closer to each other. But Vaughan and Staples capped off the year with a string of WTF moments, the most recent of which just came out in December, which leads us to think that 2014's going to be a rocky year."

-- CBR Columnist Brett White

"Always enjoyable, intensely engaging, Staples and Vaughan are crafting a world where we want to know about every corner of it and the possibilities are limitless."

-- CBR Contributor Ryan K. Lindsey

"Really, what is there to say about 'Saga' that hasn't been said already? It's wacky, it's fun, it's inventive, and it sure as hell isn't slowing down anytime soon. Brian K. Vaughn is back with a vengeance and his story makes it clear that he's pulled out all the stops. Fiona Staples effortlessly carries the weight of multiple worlds on her shoulders with her bizarre, fascinating character designs and gorgeous settings. Between the two of them, the book somehow still manages to shock in the most unexpected ways. My only complaint? It's so enjoyable that every issue is over before you know it."

-- CBR Reviewer Meagan Damore

1. Hawkeye
Written by Matt Fraction
Drawn by David Aja, Francesco Francavilla, Annie Wu, Steve Lieber, Jesse Hamm
Published by Marvel Comics

"Last year Matt Fraction and David Aja kicked off their 'Hawkeye' series that sent their protagonists on a quest to improve the lives of everyday people and chronicled how the choices of those tough, but flawed characters impacted the world around them. The result was a streak of beautiful and brilliant comics. This year, 'Hawkeye' got even better and more unique. First we got a tale of heroism and humanity, which helped raise money for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. Then the events of a turbulent several days were presented from different perspectives, which included the expertly realized P.O.V. Of Lucky, the Pizza Dog. The fall out from that lead the two Hawkeyes to launch out on their own separate and equally exciting journeys. In New York, the down and out Barton brothers reunited and in Los Angeles Kate Bishop kicked off her career as a hero for hire in a delightfully quirky crime story that included a fun homage to Robert Altman's 1973 adaptation of 'The Long Goodbye.'"

-- CBR Staff Writer Dave Richards

"If all you read was 'Hawkeye' #11 by Matt Fraction and David Aja, that alone would qualify this series for a Best of 2013 list. Told from the perspective of Hawkeye's dog Lucky (aka Pizza Dog), the way that this comic uses iconography and muffled dialogue to explain how a dog would view the world is brilliant and enthralling. Aja's art is drop-dead gorgeous, and Fraction's take on Lucky's perspective is inventive and gripping. But here's the great news: it wasn't the only issue published this year. A fantastic series from start to finish."

-- CBR Reviewer Greg McElhatton

"The best lead in comics today. This is a book aimed at adults and still cool enough to pull in a wider audience. In an industry that thinks mature means showing lots of detail when someone gets ripped in half, this is actual mature storytelling - a guy who looks like he has it all but just can’t seem to keep any of it together. Clint Barton’s a narcissist who won’t let anyone in when it’s time to put down the bow, but it doesn’t mean he’s not going to keep trying. The slow burn across the year, telling the same story from multiple angles, has been incredibly rewarding as a reader. If you don’t think 'Pizza Is My Business' is one of the best stories of 2013 I’d like to offer you some Advil; you’re gonna pull a muscle trying too hard."

-- CBR Reviewer Matt Little

"For a second year in a row 'Hawkeye' was hands down the most fun I've had reading superhero comics, and nearly the most fun I had reading comics period. Like most of the books that make my 'top' lists 'Hawkeye' feels brazen and like it has a perfectly clear purpose. Fraction and Aja are two creators working in perfect sync and when reading you get that feeling that something larger is at work (like, destiny, man). Groundbreaking visuals that surprise me in every issue meld with a sense of humor and humanity that leave me alternately cracking up or tearing up. Yup, 'Hawkeye' continues to be a breath of much needed fresh air on the comics scene. It’s the kind of book you hope will go on forever, but know cannot. Breathe it in while you’ve got it, folks."

-- CBR Reviewer Kelly Thompson

"The cape comic without any costumes, Aja and Fraction, and friends, mess around with the format of sequential narrative and produce something that is educational, amazingly entertaining, herartbreaking, and fun. This is the comic that will be remembered fondly in 20 years, no doubt."

-- CBR Contributor Ryan K. Lindsey

"Pizza Dog is my top moment of the past year because it achieved something very few books have--it changed the way I read them. Comics infrequently create their own language in just 20 pages, and Fraction/Aja did just that. After twenty something years of reading comics, finding a story that can change my relationship to an established character, deepen my understanding of the plot and challenge me visually all in one issue is remarkable. And to do so without words? Even more amazing."

-- CBR Staff Writer Casey Gilly

"'Hawkeye' continues to hold as one of the best comics at Marvel, and for good reason. When Matt Fraction stepped back to include a more prominent role for fan favorite Kate Bishop (Hawkeye, not the Hawkguy), he expanded the book in the best way possible. He and David Aja spin one of the quirkiest and most fun stories that Marvel has to offer -- possibly ever. With a run that hasn't had a mediocre issue yet, this book is great and it's only getting better. If you haven't picked the book up yet, now's the time, bro."

-- CBR Reviewer Meagan Damore

"After a breakout debut, 'Hawkeye' suffered through delays and artist David Aja’s occasional absence in 2013, but while the non-linear story would have been well served by a more taut schedule, it’s hard to argue with the final product. Aided by Aja, and an impressive stable of guest artists, writer Matt Fraction delved deeper into Clint’s backstory, gave Kate more room to shine, deftly touched on Hurricane Sandy, and delivered the bold experiment that was the Pizza Dog issue. Not bad for what could be considered a down year."

-- CBR Contributor Jason Tabrys

"Matt Fraction was the first to finally develop Hawkeye into a real character in a comic without the word 'Avengers' in the title, and then made him into a neighborhood hero even when he wasn't trying to be one. Fraction also made supporting cast member Kate Bishop into a strong enough character that can occasionally support the title on her own. Meanwhile, David Aja puts a brilliantly minimalist look on the book while at the same time making the most of the sequential artform. Powerful stories combined with striking visuals have made this title the best of all of Marvel's ongoing titles in 2013."

-- CBR Reviewer Jim Johnson

"'Hawkeye' is the creator-owned approach to the mainstream superhero book. Matt Fraction's take on Clint Barton is critically acclaimed for a reason: it's damn good, and on a consistent basis. Every single issue of "Hawkeye" brings something new to the table, whether it's a quirk in Fraction's script or a new take on character design by a who's who of incredible artists -- David Aja and Francesco Francavilla, to name a few."

-- CBR Reviews Editor Steve Sunu

"It turns out that 'Hawkeye' had a stellar supporting cast in its quiver all along, just waiting to be unleashed. With issues focusing on everyone from Kate Bishop, Barney Barton, and even Pizza Dog (told from a dog's POV), this unstoppable creative team proved it's dominance in the last half of 2012 was no mere fluke. 'Hawkeye's' world is growing."

-- CBR Columnist Brett White

TAGS:  top 100 comics of 2013

 
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