1. Batman (DC Entertainment)
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artists: Greg Capullo, Becky Cloonan
We’re staunch advocates for independent and creator-owned comic books here at Complex, but whenever DC or Marvel puts out a mainstream title that's a genuine work of art, props are due. That’s why Batman lands at the top spot on this list. What writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo have done on this book is nothing short of incredible, with each new issue somehow trumping the one that came before it.
The beginning of the year saw the continuation of the “Court of the Owls,” and, later, “Night of the Owls” storylines, which featured the Caped Crusader and the rest of the Bat Family taking on an organized cult that had been working in Gotham City’s shadows for decades. The story was a twisting, tense thriller with unexpected plot twists and great character exploration.
In each issue, Snyder continued to pull back layer after layer of Batman’s mind until his entire psyche was put on display as we watched like spectators in an operating theater. Also, Greg Capullo's nightmarish art helped set the tone and atmosphere for each issue as every pencil line added further depth to Batman’s struggles.
Snyder then moved onto the “Death of the Family” storyline, focusing on the Joker's return. With his face having been cut off in last year’s Detective Comics #1, the Clown Prince of Crime now walks around with belts and straps holding his Cheshire grin in place, and thanks to Capullo’s gruesome penciling, it’s damn disturbing to look at. Only halfway complete so far, it’s like a blending of The Dark Knight and Se7en that sees the Joker seemingly in possession of the entire Bat Family’s identities.
True story: Batman easily trumps every other superhero book on shelves, as well as the character’s appearance in the hit summer blockbuster The Dark Knight Rises. Snyder and Capullo are working in perfect synchronicity to bring what has become the quintessential version of Batman to life every month.