And the winner is (or would be if there was a contest):
The Five Fists of Science written by Matt Fraction, art by Steven Sanders 2006
This is THE, yes the, best comic I have read this year. Strong words, I know but the concept is absolute genius. Mark Twain and Nikoli Tesla team up to fight crime. With SCIENCE! Then we throw in crime-fighting via electricity, a man with a silver prosthetic hand (hence the FIVE fists), Tesla’s quirks, Twain bombasticness, a plot to enslave the world by demons, an alternate plot to bring universal peace by enslaving the world with robots. Oh yeah and the evil magicians intent on unleashing demons? That’d be Thomas Edison, Andrew Carnegie, JP Morgan, and Guglielmo Marconi (whose out-of-his-league involvement makes him a compulsive stress-eater, naturally). I was laughing hysterically from start to finish.
Other good ‘uns I read:
Dynamo 5 vol 1: Post-Nuclear Family by Jay Faerber 2007
The widow of a superhero gets a nasty surprise when she finds her husband’s well-used “little black book.” Then she finds his illegitimate children. So she does what any scorned wife would do- activates their powers and forms them into a superteam to carry on her husband’s work. Fun new series.
The Building Opposite vol 1 by Vanyda 2006
This is the kind of apartment building in Paris where everybody knows your name. Neighbors are neighborly and involved. And there’s a whole “maiden, mother, crone” thing going on for some reason.
House of Clay by Naomi Nowak 2007
Gorgeous art that acknowledges then totally ignores traditional panel use. The scenes flow and dissolve into each other with dreamlike colors and the action moves from reality to imagination with little distinction.
Welcome to Tranquility vol 1 written by Gail Simone, art by Neil Googe 2008
Something’s rotten in the state of… well whatever superheroed land this takes place in. Tranquility is a peaceful burb where retired supers of both the hero and villain variety can live out their post-crime fighting (or causing) years in peace. Think of it like Florida. But when a television crew descends to film the community, they arrive just in time for a murder. And then another. Pretty soon powereds are dropping like flies and the sheriff smells a coverup.
Super Spy by Matt Kindt 2007
Sepia toned art highlights the atmospheric and tense vignettes of WWII spies. The inter-connected, non-linear stories tell the larger tragedies of spies from every front. Almost no one makes it out alive.
Shooting War written by Anthony Lappe, art by Dan Goldman 2007
Ambitious, and all too possible projection of our decades-long war in Iraq. A shock journalist who’s a magnet for mayhem visits Baghdad and finds more than he expects, including an entrenched military that has lost sight of not only their objectives, but their humanity.
Moomin vol 2 by Tove Jansson 2007, originally serialized 1953-59
Light-hearted good fun. The lovable Moomin family (who I believe are supposed to be trolls, but look more like hippos who walk on hind legs) bumble their way around the Finnish countryside, having mini-adventures, playing pretend, and generally enjoying life.