This week, we’re handing out the First Annual Comics Daily awards – one per day – between Christmas and New Year. Each award has been written up by a member of the Comics Daily team after a consensus was reached, and highlights what we feel have been the best of superhero comics this year.
Best Single Issue: All-Star Superman #10
At a time when the comics industry is forever padding out weak story ideas into meandering 6-issue arcs, Morrison and Quitely’s All-Star Superman has been an absolute beacon of hope for the single-issue format. Never was this more true than in All-Star Superman #10, which didn’t just provide a perfect single-issue story, it did so while nailing not only the character of Superman, but both the medium of comics and the very concept of Superheroes at the same time. That’s an achievement worth recognising.
The issue itself sees a dying Superman using his accelerated powers to create an Earth on which he never existed. The climax is a fourth-wall-bending piece of meta-fiction so powerful that it bypasses normal comprehension and gets you right in your heart, as in a 1930s Cleveland apartment, an artist’s hand draws… Superman. As if to make it even more poignant, the issue was released in virtually the same week that the rights to the character were jointly awarded to the estate of his original creators, partially righting one of the biggest wrongs in comics history.
All-Star Superman #10 is a virtual essay on the role of superheroes in our society’s collective imagination, and at the same time shows just how much can be done with little more than a few well-placed speech bubbles and pencil drawings. It’s the jewel in the crown of All-Star Superman, which itself signals nothing less than the end of the Watchmen-inspired era of deconstructive Superhero stories. With this issue specifically, Morrison and Quitely have defined the idea of “reconstructive” Superhero comics, and if there’s any justice or sense in the industry, it’s influence will extend years beyond its publication.
Runners Up: Batman #681, Captain Britain #4, New Avengers #48, Blue Beetle #23, Giant Size Astonishing X-Men #1, Local #12.