As this decade comes to a close I thought it would be a great time to reflect on comic book culture over the past ten years. In this article I’ll be covering the most epic runs on superhero comics.
Fantastic Four By Jonathan Hickman
If your only exposure to The Fantastic Four has been the underwhelming films, do yourself a favor and read Jonathan Hickman’s run on the FF. In this story Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic) attempts to solve all of humanities’ problems by communicating with versions from himself from parallel realties.
It’s a premise worthy of Rick and Morty. So much so, that the “Council of Ricks” appears to be a parody of the “Council of Reeds” from FF. When the council’s Machiavellian sense of justice threatens earth, the Fantastic Four must team up with their former villains to fight the smartest men in the multi-verse.
This is only the start of Hickman’s run on Fantastic Four, which also includes the death of the Human Torch, Spider-Man joining the FF, and the children of Reed and Sue Richards. Few writers have been able to re-invent Marvel’s super-family as well as Jonathan Hickman.
Amazing Spider-Man By Dan Slott
Dan Slott delivered the longest run in Spider-Man’s history that completely evolved the character while also being true to Peter Parker’s roots. Slott also had a hand in creating the Spider-Verse, Mr. Negative, and fan-favorite heroine Spider-Gwen.
What’s so great about Slott’s writing is his ability to sow the seeds of future stories in early issues. A great example of this is Slott’s dark and controversial storyline of the Superior Spider-Man. Doc Ock gets the last laugh and swaps minds with Peter Parker leaving our hero to die in Doc Ock’s failing body while taking over Spider-Man’s young and healthy form. Slott had hinted at Spider-Man’s death early on, and managed to create a fantastic “death and return” arc for Spider-Man that readers talk about to this day.
Daredevil By Mark Wade
Mark Wade proved that you don’t need to be writing an A-list character to create an A-list story. Wade’s take on Daredevil is more down to earth and focuses on the character’s “day to day” life in addition to the superheroics.
That’s not to say the series skimps on action. On the contrary, Wade does an excellent job at turning B-list bad guys into credible threats. Who’d have guessed that a villain like the Spot could be terrifying? Funny, tragic, and truly unique, Daredevil’s charm has to be seen to be believed.
Wonder Woman By Brian Azzarello And Cliff Chiang
Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang re-invigorated Wonder Woman like no other creative team had done prior. By avoiding messy crossovers and temporary costume changes Azzarello and Chiang maintained a singular vision throughout the entire run. Their interpretation of Wonder Woman stands on it’s own and can be read by anyone. Bloody action, sexual subtext, and an urban fantasy esthetic make Wonder Woman feel contemporary and more subversive than other superheroes.
Batman Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo
For many the collaboration between Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo on Batman is their favorite interpretation of the character in comics form, and for good reason. It’s no easy task to re-invent a classic character for a new generation but this creative team did so with creativity and class. This creative team manages to capture the cartoony fun of Batman without loosing the darkness of depth of the character. This mixture of darkness and light is unique to Snyder and Capullo’s collaboration and it’s something that could only be done in the medium of comics.