Now that 2009 is officially over, its time to look back at the best that the comics industry had to offer during the year. This article is dedicated the five best graphic novels or mini-series that your local examiner read in 2009 (remember, your local examiner has a tight budget, so he, unfortunately, cannot read everything that he would like). Be sure to check out previous best of 2009 posts covering singles issues and ongoing series, and check back for a list of comics to look out for in 2010.
1. Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli
Asterios Polyp is a graphic novel full of artistic experimentation. Already there is a critical discourse debating whether or not that experimentation actually adds to the books narrative, but the book is truly a success just for sparking such a conversation. What other comic released in the past year invites so much thought or rewards so many re-readings? David Mazzucchelli has achieved an artistic feat with this graphic novel.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe
2. Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe by Bryan Lee O'Malley
There is simply no comic quite like Scott Pilgrim. The series is a brilliant blend of relatable characters that readers quickly grow attached to, energetic action scenes, and indie and geek culture. With the fifth volume, the series went from almost whimsical to nearly heartbreaking, building up to the big finale in volume 6. If you haven't been reading this series, get started now, before the last volume, movie, and video game are released in 2010.
The Umbrella Academy: Dallas
3. The Umbrella Academy: Dallas by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba
A lot of people were taken by surprise when Gerard Way's comic book creation, the Umbrella Academy, turned out to be pretty good, and understandably so. Crossover success by a musician in the realm of comics was pretty unheard of at the time. But the bigger surprise might be that, as good as Apocalypse Suite was, Dallas is so much better. Where the first mini-series felt like more style than substance - albeit wonderful, Gabriel Ba style - Dallas takes that beautiful style and wraps it around mad science fiction and jaw dropping moments worthy of comparison to the likes of, Way's comic book mentor, Grant Morrison.
4. Atomic Robo and the Shadow From Beyond Time by Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener
You'll be hard pressed to find a comic that is as much pure fun as Atomic Robo. Action, adventure, humor, monsters, Nazis, dinosaurs with doctorates. What more could you want? The cult success that Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener's creation has garnered is well deserved, as each volume continue to be as good as if not better than the last.
The Flash: Rebirth
5. The Flash: Rebirth by Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver
Ridiculous delays aside, Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver have done a truly stellar job of bringing Barry Allen back to the DC Universe in Flash: Rebirth, giving him a mythology of his own to match the one Johns built for Hal Jordan in Green Lantern. In fact, with all of the legacy Flash characters running around, he's practically got his own Flash Corps. Couple that with the return of one of the Flash's greatest enemies, and you've got as solid a superhero story as there is.