The fact that we don’t frequently review the big two does not necessarily mean that we don’t read their titles. Over the last couple of years, the emergence of the likes of Image, BOOM! Studios, and Oni Press have caused us to focus our attention to the incredible creator-owned work that these smaller independent publishers are producing. Nevertheless, there are plenty of titles from Marvel Comics have an indie feel to them and are well worth the read.
5. X-Force – This series undoubtedly flew under the radar of most comic readers, but Si Spurrier gave readers one of the most intriguing and complex group of characters this year with X-Force. Unfortunately, like other great Marvel titles, the series will soon be coming to an end.
4. Silver Surfer – What do you get when you cross one of the heralds of Galactus with a one of the biggest Doctor Who fans out there? You get Dan Slott’s Silver Surfer, a fantastic cosmic adventure that features out-of-this-world illustrations from Mike and Laura Allred.
3. Hawkeye – Hawkeye has been my favorite Avenger and my second favorite Marvel character since the early eighties. Just over two years ago, Marvel Comics brought back the series with Matt Fraction and David Aja, and there has been very few titles that can match the combined quality of writing and art that this collaborative team has produced. Like last year’s Pizza Dog issue, Hawkeye may have given us one of the best single issues of 2014 with #19, which attempts to portray to readers what life may be like to the hearing impaired. Absolutely brilliant! Fraction and Aja (who are leaving the series next year) will truly be missed.
2. Ms. Marvel – Quite possibly one of the most important titles Marvel has put out in years, Khamala Kahn/Ms. Marvel excelled thanks to G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona. Says Stephen Porferl, “Beyond just the re-imagining of the character and the bravery on Marvel’s part to take a chance on a Muslim main character, was this really fun book full of adventure and humor.”
1. Superior Foes of Spider-Man – Funny and smart, this series that featured relatively unknown Spidey villains, was the best written (Nick Spencer) Marvel title of 2014. The art (Steve Lieber) gave this series a distinct identity that was unrivaled, making it the best Marvel comic of 2014. It’s a shame that we won’t be seeing this title in 2015.