My Top 10 New Comics of 2022 by Luke Simkins
2022 had a lot of interesting comics come out. Sadly, no one can read them all. I know as a comic shop manager I should read every book that comes out each week, but unfortunately, I have other managerial duties to attend to. However, I did read some fantastic comics that came out this year. So as a little Christmas present, here are my top 10 comics of 2022 (in no particular order).
10) Superman Space Age by Mark Russel and Michael & Laura Allred
I might be a little biased on this one since my favorite creators the Allreds are taking care of the art in this book, but it is still a fantastic story nonetheless. The first two oversized issues of this three-issue mini-series were some of the best Superman comics I’ve ever read. The setting, characterization, and story were all fantastic! Starting Superman and the rest of the Justice League in the 60s makes for a lot of fun new takes on the characters. Sadly we have to wait for 2023 for the conclusion, but that just gives you all plenty of time to catch up!
9) Absolution by Peter Milligan and Mike Deodato
Live-streaming has become a hugely popular form of entertainment in recent years. People stream all kinds of things, from video games to cooking. But what if we took the worst of the worst, killers and sociopaths, and made them stream for their lives? I know it sounds a bit like a cheesy 80s action movie, but the characters are really what make this story amazing. Nina is an ex-enforcer for a mob boss and is arrested for her many, many murders. In this world, criminals of a particular caliber are able to be “fixed” with a little bit of brain surgery. This effectively gives them a conscious, as well as a bomb planted in their brain if they don’t go along with the Absolution program. Participants in this program are constantly streaming what they’re doing, and are set on a path to take out criminals for the entertainment of an online audience. If you garner enough fan support, you gain Absolution and are acquitted of all of your crimes. The entire series is out now, so what’re you waiting for!
8) Grim by Stephanie Phillips and Flaviano
Jessica Harrow is a grim reaper. One of many that help usher the souls of the dead to the afterlife. The only problem is that unlike her fellow reapers, she doesn’t remember anything about her life before dying. Stranger still, while trying to get a lost soul back to the afterlife, she actually interacts with a member of the living. This causes a string of events to unfold, uprooting everything Jessica thought she knew about herself. The story instantly sucks you in, and the art makes everything flow together perfectly. The first volume of this book is out with more still in the works, so jump on now!
7) Dark Knights of Steel by Tom Taylor, Yasmin Putri, and Bengal
I’m going to cheat a little on this one, since issue 1 technically came out in December 2021, BUT volume one collecting the first 6 issues came out in 2022 so I’m going to count it! This is essentially the DC universe set in medieval times. I’ve always been a huge fan of alternate reality stories, and this one ticks all of the boxes for me. Superman and his family crash land in medieval times, interacting with fellow medieval kingdoms run by Black Lightning and Hippolyta. War is brewing and the El’s are right in the middle of it. I don’t want to say too much about the story as each issue just ends with bombshell after bombshell so go ahead and check it out for yourselves!
6) Twig by Skottie Young and Kyle Strahm
If you want a self contained fantasy adventure with beautiful backgrounds and well crafted characters, look no further! Twig is about a little creature named Twig with a slug-like companion named Splat who set out on an adventure to save everything! Or, at least, to get the object that will save everything to the right place at the right time. Twig is a Placeling, someone who puts an object in a spot so that someone else can get that object and save the world. Have you ever wondered how the ring of power or mystical sword got to the spot where the hero picks it up? That’s thanks to the Placelings. Twig is a fun misadventure full of twists, turns, and magnificent art to bring it all together. Plus, it’s only 5 issues, so it’s a great little read.
5) Spider-Punk by Cody Ziglar and Justin Mason
The Spider-Verse is an interesting and expansive collection of different takes on Spider-Man, and Spider-Punk is one of my favorites. On Earth-138, Hobie Brown is the Anarchic Spider-Punk. In earlier adventures, Hobie and his crew took out President Norman Osborn and his fascist regime. Unfortunately for the Spider-Band, there are still plenty of followers of Osborn to keep them busy. And when they find out that Osborn had hidden bunkers used to spread propaganda across the US, the Spider-Band set out on a cross country tour to take them all out. Perfect for fans of alternate universes, punk rock, and new takes on classic characters.
4) The Legend of Korra: Patterns in Time by Various
If you’re a fan of Avatar the Last Airbender or the Legend of Korra and want something to tide you over until the next tv or movie installment, look no further than the world of comics! ATLA and LOK already have various series that pick up right where the shows left off, but if you just want to get a little taste before jumping all the way in, you can check out this collection of short stories set in the world of Korra! There are a few stories in here reprinted from previous Free Comic Book Day specials, but the overwhelming majority of stories are all original. And for $12.99 you can’t go wrong!
3) Look Back by Tatsuki Fujimoto
Look Back is one of my favorite one-shot manga of all time, and it was created by one of my new favorite mangaka(manga writer/artist). Tatsuki Fujimoto is the critically acclaimed mangaka behind the smash-hit manga/anime Chainsaw Man (which I also highly recommend). If you’ve read or watched Chainsaw Man you know Fujimoto is a master of fluid motions, ridiculous fight scenes, and deeply emotional moments that come out of nowhere. Look Back is more of a slice of life manga following two childhood best friends who decide to work together on a manga that ends up becoming one of the most popular in Japan. There isn’t much else I can say without spoiling the ending, but if you like manga or comics in general, I highly recommend you read Look Back.
2) Ghost Cage by Nick Dragotta and Caleb Goellner
If any of the comics on this list get an animated adaptation, I hope it’s this one. In the dystopian future of this world, a mega corporation has harnessed various forms of power production and personified them as giant kaiju-like monsters housed in a massive tower in order to harvest their energy. Unfortunately, someone has freed some of the energy monsters, so the CEO decides it’s time to unleash his final plan in the form of a robot named Sam. Sam is designed to be able to absorb different forms of energy, effectively being able to kill the other energy kaiju. With the help of average IT employee Doyle, Sam embarks on a journey up the tower to defeat and absorb all of the “nightmares”. The art in this book is immaculate, fluid, and feels as big as the monsters it illustrates. Taking inspiration from anime and manga, Dragotta gives Ghost Cage so much life and action that would be perfect in an animated adaptation.
1) Star Wars Obi-Wan by Christopher Cantwell and various
Being named after Luke Skywalker (sorry mom, dad’s right on this one) I feel like it’s my duty to include at least one Star Wars title on this list. Obi-Wan is one of my favorite characters in all of Star Wars and I have always been fascinated with the things we don’t know about him. This five issue mini-series is an anthology of stories spanning Obi-Wan’s long life as he reminisces while waiting out a sand storm on Tatooine. From his time as a youngling, to his apprenticeship with Qui-Gon Jinn, to training Anakin Skywalker, this series just makes me want to learn even more about Obi-Wan and his long and eventful life. If you watched the Obi-Wan series on Disney+ and want to know a little more about the legendary Jedi-Master, look no further than this series.
Like I said, there were many more books that came out 2022 that I either couldn’t fit on this list or simply didn’t have time to read, but I hope this helped guide you in the right direction of what to read before the year wraps up!