The 2022 Golden Issue Award for Best Comic Book TV Series –

By Jenna Anderson
2022 is nearly in the books, capping another year of memorable moments and trends. For many, the world of television became even more significant over the past year, with a boom of new and returning shows to escape into. The year brought a surprising number of shows inspired by the world of comic books, ranging from long-awaited live action adaptations, to shows that audiences didn’t even know they desperately needed. That’s why this year’s’s Golden Issue Awards — which celebrate our favorites from 2022 — decided to honor the best Comic Book TV Series of the past year.
And the winner of the 2022 Golden Issue Award for Best Comic Book TV Show is…
As one memorable line of James Gunn‘s The Suicide Squad proclaims, Christopher Smith / Peacemaker (John Cena) is the kind of character who can easily be seen as “a joke.” Before Cena began portraying him, the helmet-wearing, paradoxically-pacifist vigilante was far from a household name, originating in the Charlton Comics universe in 1966, before being folded into (and largely regulated to the background of) the main DC Comics world. This made the idea of him spinning off into his own television series — the first show set in the DC Universe’s main continuity, no less — a bizarre novelty. It also made the fact that Peacemaker worked so well an absolute miracle.
Picking up where the explosive events of 2021’s The Suicide Squad left off, Peacemaker followed Cena’s antihero and a ragtag group of even more obscure characters in their efforts to fend off the latest secret alien invasion. Almost immediately, the show established an energy that felt familiar, but bafflingly specific. Its musical oeuvre consisted of lesser-known hair metal and making fun of Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks.” Its episodes began with the instantly-iconic opening dance sequence, and ended in increasingly-shocking cliffhanger twists. Its rowdy surface masked a profound take on toxic masculinity, white supremacy, and the cycle of abuse. In the hands of any other cast and crew, all of these elements could have failed — but not only did they succeed, they felt like the perfect entertaining and accessible evolution of Peacemaker’s comic status quo.
Part of that might be thanks to Peacemaker‘s ensemble cast, which helped make each episode of the show a must-see experience. Cena commanded every episode with an indescribable charm, whether his character was gleefully dropping bodies, dancing to an obscure ’80s song, or sobbing about generational trauma. Adrian Chase / Vigilante (Freddie Stroma) stole every scene he was in, The Suicide Squad veterans Emilia Harcourt (Jennifer Holland) and John Economos (Steve Agee) fleshed out their characters magnificently, and new characters Leota Adebayo (Danielle Brooks) and Clemson Murn (Chukwudi Iwuji) fit snugly into the weird tapestry of DC. Considering the fact that, outside of Vigilante, most of the show’s principal cast had little-to-no comic appearances to their name, the success of the series’ ensemble feels even more impressive. Hell, even Peacemaker’s CGI bird sidekick, Eagly, was quickly canonized into the comics.
Beyond all of that, what made Peacemaker feel so special was how comfortable it was in its weird, implausible corner of the DC Universe. The show thrived in off-the-wall references to DC canon that fans never could have imagined being acknowledged onscreen, like name-drops for Matter-Eater Lad and Bat-Mite, and jokes about the sex habits of Green Arrow and Aquaman. While the show’s comedic approach might not have been for everybody, it illuminated a reality of superhero storytelling that’s largely-unexplored — the ordinary, weird people who gossip about the gods and monsters who surround them. This all made the events of Peacemaker‘s finale, when four members of the Justice League hilariously arrived late to save the day, all the more thrilling.
From beginning to end — and far beyond that, given the potential of what’s to come in the DC Universe — Peacemaker‘s weird, violent, and deeply personal run has slyly proven what’s so great about comic storytelling. Despite premiering at the very beginning of 2022, Peacemaker has been unique and groundbreaking enough to remain in our hearts throughout the year — and get a Wig Wam song stuck in our heads in the process.
The nominees for Best Comic Book TV Series are:
Moon Knight (Disney+)
Ms. Marvel (Disney+)
Peacemaker (HBO Max) – WINNER
The Sandman (Netflix)
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (Disney+)
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