The annual CBR tradition returns for another year, as Captain Marvel, DC vs. Vampires and more are in the spotlight in the first installment.
We're back with our longtime annual CBR tradition. At the end of the year, we polled the many members of the CBR staff that make this site so great and asked them for their rankings of the top comics of the year. Every publisher putting out new comics material in English, regardless of genre or format, was fair game; each individual list was then factored in to determine the overall Top 100 that will be unveiled on CBR over the course of this week.
Today, we start unveiling the list with entries No. 100 to 76, with the countdown continuing each day this week. Here's the schedule (all times Eastern): Wednesday, 12/28, 3 p.m.: Top 75-51; Thursday, 12/29, 3 p.m.: Top 50-26; Friday, 12/30, 3 p.m.: Top 25-11; Saturday, 12/31, 3 p.m.: Top 10; Sunday, 1/1, 9 a.m.: Master list.
Start perusing the list below, and if you feel so moved, take to Twitter and (politely) discuss your thoughts using the hashtag #CBRTop100.
Written by: Purpah
Art by: Purpah
Letters by: Purpah
Purpah's story of a lady-in-waiting who meets a mysterious knight who turns out to be simpy a magically animated suit of armor, moved well beyond a charming love story a long time ago, as Purpah has evolved her world in a compelling, almost Game of Thrones-esque style of detailed fantasy intrigue, only, of course, with a much different approach. Purpah's character work is phenomenal, as you really get to know these characters so well.
Written by: Chris Condon
Art by: Jacob Phillips
Letters by: Jacob Phillips
Jacob Phillips, the son of the genius comic book artist, Sean Phillips, has been working on his father's comics for a while now as a colorist, but as we saw last year, he has branched out to also do his own art and he has that same Phillips-genius that his father has in telling brilliantly compelling crime stories. Chris Condon is an excellent partner for Phillips on this series, which started its third arc in 2022 with a serial killer story arc set in 1992. It's really well done.
Written by: Nao Fuji
Art by: Nao Fuji
Letters by: Nao Fuji
Originally done as a recurring bit on Marvel's Instagram, Nao Fuji's examination of the Marvel Universe through the eyes of its most famous cat (well, cat-like creature), Captain Marvel's "cat," Chewie, is an adorable look at our beloved superheroes, and seeing them all interact with a cat is very cute.
Written by: Fred Van Lente
Art by: Joseph Cooper and Dearbhla Kell
Letters by: Jeff Eckleberry
The original Ninjettes were essentially a joke, college girls who faked their way into the assassin community before being slaughtered by Jennifer Blood. With the freedom of just using the name only, Fred Van Lente was able to come up with a brand-new approach that saw a group of young women whose personality tests suggested that they were set to become violent sociopaths, and instead trapped together, told that three of them will become the new Ninjettes, but they have to kill the other girls in their group in the next week to get there. It's a riff on Battle Royale that delights in the absurdity of the situation.
Written by: Garth Ennis
Art by: Garry Brown and Lee Loughridge
Letters by: Rob Steen
Coinciding with Peacemaker's excellent HBO Max series, DC's Black Label imprint saw Garth Ennis provide a new origin for the anti-hero, freeing him from the Nazi background of his most recent origin (which was a bit stuck in a particular period of time). Paired with the dark and moody artwork of Garry Brown and Lee Loughridge, Ennis uses the motif of Peacemaker explaining his past to a psychiatrist to explain both his origins and his dark new path for "justice." It's a haunting work, but one that re-centers the character of Peacemaker within the DC Universe, seting him up nicely for any future writer to pick the character up again.
Written by: Kelly Thompson
Art by: Sergio Davila, Julius Ohta, Juan Frigeri, Alvaro Lopez, Andrea Di Vito, Sean Parsons, Jesus Aburtov, Ruth Redmond, Jordie Bellaire, Nolan Woodard and Arif Prianto
Letters by: VC's Clayton Cowles
In 2022, Captain Marvel saw the conclusion of the storyline, The Last of the Marvels, which introduced a new power for Captain Marvel that saw the introduction of a new energy being known as Binary. Much of the year, then, dealt with Binary's adjustment to her new life as, you know, a living entity. At the end of the year, Binary got Captain Marvel and the X-Men caught up in a new storyline involving the Brood. For a series that has so many artists, it is impressive how the storylines work in such a way that it all still feels fairly seamless.
Written by: Jude Ellison Doyle
Art by: A.L. Kaplan, Fabiana Mascalo and Federica Mascalo
Letters by: Cardinal Rae
Most of Maw was released in 2021, but the final issue was released this year, and it was an extremely powerful, both visually and also in its commentary about the nature of violence and anger. It's striking in how it was personified in the monstrous transformation of the story, which speaks to the fact that there is great power in the energy created with the anger of victims countlessly being ignored. It's really a stunning finale.
Written by: David Pepose
Art by: Carlo Magno, Espen Grundetjern
Letters by: VC's Travis Lanham
Marvel's Savage Avengers was based around Marvel having the lincense to Conan the Barbarian, but the company announced it was giving up the license soon after this series, starring Conan and a ragtag team of Marvel superheroes, launched. Writer David Pepose had to deal with his lead character being torn from the series very early on, but he adjusted with grace and aplomb, turning this into a delightful journey throughout the weirdest parts of the Marvel Universe, establishing that just becuase characters have been "abandoned" doesn't mean that they are not still good characters. It's a wonderful celebraton of the very idea of a shared comic book unvierse.
Written by: Tom Siddell
Art by: Tom Siddell
Letters by: Tom Siddell
Gunnerkrigg Court launched almost twenty years ago, and Tom Siddell has managed to keep things going in new and interesting ways in this story of Antimony “Annie” Carver and her being sent to the selt-titled Gunnerkrigg Court, a sort of boarding school mixed with a whole large campus of labs and stuff like that. There is also a magical woods nearby called the Gillitie Wood. Obviously, with a narrative of almost twenty years long, Siddell has taken things in various directions over the years, but in 2022, he really leaned into the character drama of the acclaimed webseries in a big way that worked well.
Written by: Jason Aaron
Art by: Aaron Kuder, Carlos Magno, Jim Towe, Scott Hanna, Roberto Poggi, Cam Smith, Mark Farmer, Guru-eFX and Frank Martin
Letters by: VC's Cory Petit
A series of What If…? style one-shots, dedicated to exploring the core of Marvel's signature heroes by way of throwing them into wildly different genres — we get Martial Arts film Thor and Superman Black Panther as often as we get deep-dives into Iron Man's inherent flaws and Captain Marvel's ingrained strengths. A consistently fun and creative deconstruction and subsequent reconstruction of Earth’s Mightest Heroes. – CBR Senior Writer, Brandon Zachary
Written by: Christopher Cantwell
Art by: Ario Anindito, Luke Ross, Allesandro Miracolo, Madibek Musabekov, Adriana Melo, Wayne Faucher, Carlos Lopez, Nolan Woodard, Frank William, Sebastian Cheng and Dono Sanchez-Almara
Letters by: VC's Joe Caramagna
This series written by the great Christopher Cantwell, is one of those classic "While stuck in place X, character Y remembers past adventures." Think of it as a clip episode, only the clips are all new, and they are each drawn by a different artist as Cantwell sees Obi-Wan revisit a number of fascinating adventures from his past.
Written by: Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly
Art by: Carmen Carnero and Nolan Woodard
Letters by: VC's Joe Caramagna
In 2022, Marvel launched two Captain America titles, one starring Sam Wilson as Captain America and one starring Steve Rogers as Captain America. Sentinel of Liberty is the one featuring Steve Rogers, and the series has dealt with a shocking revelation that Cap's iconic shield was actually tied to a mysterious organization that has been controlling the world from behind the scenes. Steve and his old friend, James "Bucky/Winter Soldier" Barnes, tried to take them down, only to find that Bucky had inadvertently been one of their operatives. Bucky then chose to join the organization to take it down from within, but Steve, of course, is intent on taking them down his way. It's an interesting conflict in a series filled with awesome action and great art from a reliable art team that has drawn every issue of the series so far.
Written by: Tom King
Art by: Bilques Evely and Mattheus Lopes
Letters by: Clayton Cowles
The bulk of this gorgeous travelogue took place in 2021, and that was reflected with a much higher placement in that countdown, but CBR's staff still enjoyed the striking ending to this beautiful series that turned out to be a bit of a meditation on the notion of whether you can ever really get past the trauma that you experience when you are young.
Written by: Reimena Yee
Art by: Reimena Yee
Letters by: Reimena Yee
Publisher: Penguin Random House
As you can see from the cast of characters from Reimena Yee's brilliantly creative graphic novel, My Aunt Is a Monster, Yee has put loads of thought and detail into everyone in the story, and the end result is a wonderfully complex universe filled with compelling characters in a heartwarming tale of a young blind girl who moves in with her aunt after the death of her parents. The aunt, of course, happens to be a famous explorer who was turned into a monster via a curse. But that is only the start of this adorable adventure.
Written by: James Tynion IV and Matthew Rosenberg
Art by: Otto Schmidt
Letters by: Tom Napolitano
The start of 2022 saw the conclusion of the original arc of DC vs. Vampires, which saw the whole adventure thrown into disarray when Batman died. This led to the remaining heroes having to pick up the pieces and try to maintain the fight against the vampires without Batman's help, and naturally, things are difficult to say the least. The series has expanded to a series of tie-in miniseries that expand this universe in intriguing ways, while leading the whole thing to a compelling conclusion.
Written by: Satoru Noda
Art by: Satoru Noda
Letters by: Satoru Noda
The epic historical drama by Satoru Noda has come to a conclusion in Japan, and 2022 saw it near the end in the States, as well, with its expansive cast and massively complex stories. As we hit the 20th century in the story, we see Japan transition into a modern society, with all of the warts that that entails.
Written by: Deniz Camp
Art by: Jon Davis-Hunt, Eric Zawadski and Jordie Bellaire
Letters by: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Bloodshot is, essentially, an immortal being with the mind of a human soldier, and in Bloodshot Unleashed, Deniz Camp examines just how dark such a setup can be for a person's mind. Think about the trauma that many soldiers deal with, but now imagine that same trauma but in someone who can be "killed" over and over again without actually dying. It would mess you up, right? And that's what Camp explores in this fascinating series, which is paired with stunning artwork by Jon Davis-Hunt (and then Eric Zawadaski when Davis-Hunt left the series after issue #3).
Written by: Mary Cagle
Art by: Mary Cagle
Letters by: Mary Cagle
The world of Sleepless Domain is one where a group of magical girls are the only ones standing in the way of nightly attacks on the city, but when the main team of girls known as Team Alchemical, goes down, the only remaining powered member of the team begins to investigate what went wrong. Meanwhile, the next generation is being trained, and in the 2022 chapters, we see more of the relationship between the survivor, Undine, and her new "team-up" partner (and romantic partner), Kokoro. Meanwhile, one of the other surviving members of Undine's team has been posssesed by a monster, and its sinister plot is beginning to take shape. It's strong character work with nice art by Cagle in this charming series.
Written by: Colleen AF Venable
Art by: Stephanie Yue and Branden Lamb
Letters by: Stephanie Yue
Publisher: Penguin Random House
At the end of the first book in the series, Katie saved her friend, the anti-hero, The Moustress, who has been falsely accused to be a supervillain, from imprisonment. This sequel picks up from the ending of the first series, but cleverly shows how the trauma of her first time being actually caught has made the Moustress gunshy. Meanwhile, Katie is dealing with her best friend making other friends and Katie feeling like she is on the outs with the friendship, but don't worry, this isn't about turning on anyone, it's about showing how people CAN get past difficulties through communication. Yue's art is fantastic in the series, especially her unique take on superhero costumes.
Written by: Anthony Falcone, Michael Cho, Dan Slott, Armando Ianucci, Rainbow Rowell, Ho Che Anderson, Kurt Busiek, Jonathan Hickman, Neil Gaiman and Mike Pasciullo
Art by: Michael Cho, Jim Cheung, Ryan Stegman, JP Mayer, Olivier Coipel, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Klaus Janson, Terry Dodson, Rachel Dodson, Marco Checchetto, Steve McNiven, Todd Nauck, Jay David Ramos, Sonia Oback, Matt Wilson, Jordie Bellaire, Frank Martin,, Richard Isanove and Rachelle Rosenberg
Letters by: VC's Joe Sabino, VC's Clayton Cowles, VC's Ariana Maher and Todd Klein
This collection of short stories celebrates the 60th anniversary of Spider-Man, and it is a wonderful mixture of spotlights on the webhead, from learning how Spider-Man impacted the criminal world, to how he impacted Neil Gaiman's whole career and, in a very charming Dan Slott story, showing how much of an impact Spider-Man had on New York City as a whole, much to his own surprise when he hits 60 years old.
Written by: Darryl Cunningham
Art by: Darryl Cunningham
Letters by: Darryl Cunningham
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly
Cunningham previously did an excellent graphic novel spotlighting the history of some of the world's most infamous billionaires, and in Putin's Russia, he turns his eye on Vladimir Putin, for an unflinching but fascinating look at not just Putin's history, but placing it against the backgrop of world history.
Written by: Joshua Williamson
Art by: Roger Cruz, Gleb Melkinov, Norm Rapmund and Luis Guerrero
Letters by: ALW's Troy Peteri
The final year of the Robin solo series saw writer Joshua Willimason bring things ot a close by having the ideas introduced in the series culiminate into a crossover event called the Shadow War. Damian Wayne had retreated to the world of fighting tournamenents following the death of Alfred Pennyworth, and he found himself drawn into a conspiracy that involved Deathstrok the Teriminator taking on Ra's al Ghul, Damian's grandfather. After that story was resolved, Damian reconciled with his father, Bruce Wayne, as well as his mother, Talia al Ghul, and the series came to a close (some of the plots, though, carried over into Williamson's major crossover event, Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths). Of course, the Damian/Bruce relationship was quickly strained again.
Written by: Donny Cates and Daniel Warren Johnson
Art by: Martin Coccolo, Matthew Wilson and Frank Martin
Letters by: VC's Joe Sabino and Cory Petit
2022 was the 60th anniversary of both the Hulk and Thor, and since Donny Cates was writing both books starring those two characters, it only made sense to work them together into an over-the-top crossover blockbuster, and the result was Banners of War, a cinematic event that was what it feels like when you throw everything and the kitchen sink into the storyline. It was a wild ride, with fantastic artwork from Martin Coccolo, who luckily was able to draw the entire crossover.
Written by: Charles Soule
Art by: Steven Cummings, Victor Olazaba and Guru-eFX
Letters by: VC's Travis Lanham
This miniseries is sort of the mid-point of Charles Soule's Crimson Dawn trilogy, which he started with the War of the Bounty Hunters. where Qi'ra (from the Solo movie) brought the Crimson Dawn back in a big way, and now, in this miniseries, she cleverly began to work against the Empire through the use of the Crimson Dawn criminal organization and a mysterious expert in the history of the Force known as the Archivist. This clever series set up the finale of this trilogy, Hidden Empire, really well. Charles Soule really sees the various moving pieces of the Star Wars universe really well.
Written by: Ed Brubkaer
Art by: Sean Phillips and Jacob Phillips
Letters by: Sean Phillips
Brubaker and Phillips' Reckless graphic novels, spotlighting the noir stories of Ethan Reckless, have all been great, but this one took things to a whole new level, with Ethan getting caught up in a woman's righteous quest for vengeance in a story that literally lasts decades. It's such a stunning work.
CBR Senior Writer Brian Cronin has been writing professionally about comic books for over fifteen years now at CBR (primarily with his “Comics Should Be Good” series of columns, including Comic Book Legends Revealed). He has written two books about comics for Penguin-Random House – Was Superman a Spy? And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed and Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? And Other Amazing Comic Book Trivia! and one book, 100 Things X-Men Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, from Triumph Books. His writing has been featured at ESPN.com, the Los Angeles Times, About.com, the Huffington Post and Gizmodo. He features legends about entertainment and sports at his website, Legends Revealed and other pop culture features at Pop Culture References. Follow him on Twitter at @Brian_Cronin and feel free to e-mail him suggestions for stories about comic books that you’d like to see featured at email@example.com!