It may be a new decade, but I am not yet done with looking back on some of the greatest superhero comic book stories to have come out of the 2010's. So, without further ado, let's continue our traversal of my personal favorite comic book sagas to come out of the last decade.
Batman: White Knight by Sean Murphy & Matt Hollingsworth (2017 - 2018)
When I first stumbled upon Batman: White Knight, I was concerned that the story's premise would be far too bold to pull off. Without giving too much away, that premise comprises a reformed Joker, going by the name Jack Napier, attempting to redefine himself as Gotham's guardian by reforming the city in a way Batman cannot.
I initially thought this premise would be too cliché and uninspired. Fortunately, I was proven wrong as soon as I started reading the work.
Ultimately, writer Sean Murphy does not shy away from focusing on Batman's flaws as a crimefighter and shortcomings that come with his own personal biases. Murphy also challenges our own perspectives as readers on whether or not the lowest of the low are truly capable of personal reformation.
With this, Murphy establishes an "Elseworlds"-esque story that challenges the Batman mythos and provides us with an unforgettable, poignant story. Accompanied by Hollingsworth's gritty art, Batman: White Knight is one legend of The Dark Knight you do not want to miss out on.
Mister Miracle by Tom King & Mitch Gerards (2017 - 2019)
Tom King may certainly be a divisive writer on certain stories (e.g. Batman, Heroes in Crisis), but one cannot deny his incredible work on certain series such as that of Mister Miracle.
Mister Miracle made his debut in 1971 and, has thus, been around for quite some time. However, King's take on the New Gods character is something completely unprecedented as he takes readers on an existential journey with the man behind the red and yellow mask.
Mister Miracle poses questions to the perception of reality itself and how one responds to the continuous changes their respective reality imposes upon them. As a result, one should not read this work lightly.
At times, the story may be hard to read. At other times, you may find yourself relishing in Mister Miracle's sense of humor.
Ultimately though, this story is one that analyzes the very nature of humanity and the joys that derive from that state. As a result, Mister Miracle holds a special spot on this list and likely my list of all-time favorite comic book works.
Black Bolt by Saladin Ahmed & Christian Ward (2017 - 2018)
To be honest, I knew very little about Black Bolt and the Inhumans going into this series. Thus, my motivation in picking this run up was to learn more about that sector of the Marvel Universe.
I am so glad I made that decision as Black Bolt proved to become one of the most impactful comic book stories I have ever read.
Firstly, the artwork is just incredible. Christian Ward's encompasses a psychedelic beauty that perfectly captures the setting and tone of the saga. With this, writer Saladin Ahmed manages to convey a beautiful, powerful narrative through a character who maintains an inability to speak.
I often find myself revisiting Black Bolt because it conveys an authentically human story. Ahmed focuses on the evolution of human relationships throughout the saga, both positive and negative, and how they impact one's characterization and respective perception of their life's journey.
Ultimately, Black Bolt was truly an unexpected delight for me, one that I urge others to read as it deserves all the recognition it can get.
Batman: The Black Mirror by Scott Snyder & Jock (2011)
When it comes to genre bending, Batman: The Black Mirror succeeds in doing so as Scott Snyder and Jock exemplify one powerful collaboration by producing an incredible, albeit terrifying, Batman story.
Batman: The Black Mirror traverses the beginnings of Dick Grayson's arc as Batman. As he comes into his own as Gotham City's newest Dark Knight, he stumbles into the darkest crevices of Gotham City, discovering evil he has never faced before.
As a result, The Black Mirror proves itself to be one of the most disturbing Batman works available. It reads like a work of horror and does not shy away from violence and gore. With this though, The Black Mirror is also one of the most dynamic Batman works in recent years.
I assure you, once you start reading this story, you will not be able to put it down until you have read it all cover to cover. It is certainly thought-provoking as much as it is entertaining. So, if you are looking for an innovative Batman story that is full of action but also showcases The Dark Knight's detective skills, this is the story for you.
House of X / Powers of X by Jonathan Hickman (2019)
The stories of the X-Men are undoubtedly among my favorite comic book adventures. I grew up reading X-Men, with Dark Phoenix Saga serving as my introduction to the world.
So, it was disappointing for me at times to read the stories of the X-Men throughout the 2010's. At times, their titles were engaging and quite memorable. Most of the time though, I felt uninspired, particularly throughout the latter half of the decade.
Writer Jonathan Hickman's work on House of X and Powers of X may be a controversial saga for some X-Men fans. For me though, the bold take bestowed a breath of fresh air into the X-Men universe.
In the context of the arc itself, mutants finally have a sense of sovereignty amongst themselves and have distinguished their world from that of humankind. As a result, us readers are able to get acquainted with the nuances of mutant culture and politics.
Of course, despite this newfound independence, mutantkind still finds itself as a target of evil. So, it will be interesting to see how this relatively harmonious period endures in future arcs.
Overall though, I believe this this series and overarching relaunch has truly kickstarted a new age for the X-Men that will endure and provide us with unforgettable tales.
It also forces readers to ponder some difficult questions that we may not like the answers to, including that of, will humans and mutants ever be able to truly coexist?
To a New Decade
Condensing this overarching list to just ten works was an incredibly difficult task for me to take on.
I read comics, particularly those of DC and Marvel if that was not already obvious, quite frequently. I read the latest installments from my favorite runs every New Comic Book Day, and I continuously visit my local comic book shop to scan their selection.
What I am ultimately trying to say is that there was a plethora of incredible comic book works to choose from this last decade. This list and its predecessor highlight some of my favorites, but there are so many amazing sagas out there that also deserve recognition.
I look forward to what lies beyond this last decade when it comes to the imaginative capacity of so many talented writers, artists, and creators.
I look forward to the worlds I will explore so that I may embark on many more adventures with the characters I admire.