Yesterday we took a look at what you, the readers, voted as the best current DC Comics offerings. Today, we turn our attention to Marvel Comics. <p>Once again, the top spot is one that lines up pretty well with sales, and is kind of funny when you consider the initial reaction to the book (that's enough clues there). Beyond #1, however, the top ten are just plain full of surprises. <p>Thirty-five different Marvel titles were nominated by our readers. People that read Marvel Comics seem to be much more linked to one family of titles or one writer than in the DC poll, with a lot of people posting three titles from the Spider-Man office as their top three, or three Avengers titles, or three Bendis-written titles. <p>Without further ado, here are the top ten comic books Marvel Comics currently publishes, according to you, the readers.
Brian Bendis, after years on the <i>Avengers</i> titles, decided to take a fresh start, moving into the X-Office, hoping for a reinvigorated sense of creativity. Apparently, it worked for readers as well as it did for him (see more later on the countdown). <p><b>Uncanny X-Men</b>'s team Cyclops features a group that has taken the "hates and fears us" part of being a mutant to heart - and may actually use it to their advantage. With a combination of well-known characters like Cyclops, Emma Frost, and Magneto plus new mutants and some lesser-known X-Men, Bendis is re-exploring what it is to be a mutant in the modern world, with a team leader on the run, a couple of former terrorists, and someone who is literally the ruler of a demon dimension. Yup, this is a different X-Men, and readers seem to like that.
Meanwhile, Jonathan Hickman took control of the two primary <b>Avengers</b> titles, and while there were multiple votes for the adjective-less title, it's <b>New Avengers</b> that charts out of the two. <p>While Bendis's "New" title was all about street level heroes battling in a world of cosmic threats, Hickman took things in a completely new direction. Using the concept of the Illuminati, Hickman established a hidden "team" comprised of leaders of the various groups across the Marvel Universe. While the rest of the heroes (with these guys often alongside them) fight all the big, flashy, external threats, this squad is behind-the-scenes trying to save the entire <i>multiverse</i>. The high-concept science fiction that Hickman is known for fits right in with the heroes of the Marvel Universe, and makes this fans' #9 book from the publisher.
The Best Shots team doesn't universally like many books - but if there's one our reviewers are just batty about, it's <b>Superior Foes of Spider-Man</b>. Apparently, so are you, the readers. <p>The concept, and even the execution, takes a very Image/Creator-owned sensibility to things. It's about humor, it's about personality, and honestly, it's about treating villains like they're real people. Readers respond to it <i>because</i> it's so different from most super powered books, especially most from Marvel Comics. It's also reflective of a bit of a trend you'll see further in the countdown: both that Spider-Man and an "indie sensibility" seem to be working for Marvel Comics right now.
And here's Bendis, and here's his X-Men again. <p>This title, when the concept was first introduced, sent minds (and the internet) reeling. How would the original X-Men be brought into the present day? Doesn't that completely break time? Why are they necessary? <p>Beast's blunder, yuuuuup (and there were even real consequences), and because it makes for some of the most interesting dynamics amongst the X-Men in 50 years, that's why. <p>The All-New X-Men are just getting better, with a massive crossover that also introduced the far <i>future</i> X-Men into the mix in the rearview mirror, now these young, classic versions of the jaded "heroes" we know and love are fighting alongside the elder Cyclops's unit, having left Wolverine and the Jean Grey school. This despite the fact that this Cyclops was the one they were brought to the future to teach a lesson, and the fact that Jean Grey herself is one of those students. Next up, a crossover with another Bendis title, <i>Guardians of the Galaxy</i>, as we get to see these young X-Men have a first space adventure all over again.
Well, hate to be a downer, dear readers, but <b>Scarlet Spider</b> is ending. The fact that a title about a mostly-failed clone of Peter Parker is currently the sixth favorite amongst our readers is amazing, spectacular, and maybe even web of. <p>The story of Kaine as he tries to be a hero to honor both Ben Reilly and Peter Parker has been anchored by a change of venue (Houston, instead of the over-crowded New York), a tremendous brand-new supporting cast (Come on, Aracely is awesome), and, in the face of Peter not really being in control over in <i>Superior Spider-Man</i>, a slightly more relatable man under a spider mask than Otto Octavius. <p>Who doesn't have at least that one big regret that they're always fighting to erase? That's the very real, very human motivation behind everything that Kaine does. He may be a product of that craziest of Spider-Man time periods, but <b>Scarlet Spider</b> won hearts the old-fashioned way: being relatable, being fun, and having action that meant something to the characters involved. <p>Luckily, it's not all bad news, as Kaine, along with writer Chris Yost, are moving into the all-new <b>New Warriors</b> book, where he may take on a new role as mentor to some younger heroes.
The top-rated Avengers title by our readers is actually the combination of two concepts: Avengers and X-Men. From the mind of Rick Remender, this sort-of follow-up to his <i>Uncanny X-Force</i> run takes some of those deep, twisted, mutant themes and throws them right into the face of people like Captain America, Wasp, and Thor. There hasn't been much unity amongst this "Unity Squad" of Avengers, but it has finally answered a question fans have wondered for years: if people like Captain America believe many mutants are full-on superheroes, why haven't they evoked any real change for mutants in decades of activity? <p>Mix that in with the slow-burn threat of a Red Skull using Charles Xavier's brain and powers, the twin children of Archangel in a crazy time-traveling scheme, dead heroes coming back to life and others seeming to die, a multi-layered story that looks to pull in pretty much every possible future timeline ever seen in the world of Marvel - I mean, come on, even Venom (May Parker) of Earth X has made an appearance - readers like <b>Uncanny Avengers</b> because it dares to challenge mainstream heroes into looking at the world and realizing hey - it might not be as shiny, happy people as they want to think.
It's been a good year for a certain blonde-tressed Norse god, hasn't it? Not only did his second film do <i>much</i> better at the box office, but <b>Thor: God of Thunder</b> is the most beloved his comic has been in years. So what's Jason Aaron's secret on this title? <p>More Thors than you can shake a stick at. <p>We don't know whether Jason Aaron or the editors at Marvel knew <i>just</i> how good an idea it was to tell stories in multiple time periods with Thors of different ages, but they're certainly paying attention now. After the current arc that ties in Malekith of the aforementioned movie, we get another arc that deals with both present day Thor and grizzled old King Thor of the far future. There's something just <i>fun</i> when Old Thor talks with a few more millennia of experience in his belt - it almost has a <i>Doctor Who</i> feel to it when you're looking at how these different incarnations interact, with each other and the world around them.
Take a writer that, frankly, probably knows more about superhero comics than anyone else in the world, a character that has been (to great affect) mostly locked down in a noir style for the last decade or so, and an art team that injects new life into every single panel they touch, and you get Mark Waid and company's <b>Daredevil</b>, an easy-to-understand #3 on this list, and many people's first mention. <p>Waid has managed to put the super heroics back into <b>Daredevil</b> without taking out the human drama. He can just as easily put Matt Murdock on the run from a psychotic pseudo-Daredevil ninja as he can team him up with the cosmically powered Silver Surfer. Collaborator Chris Samnee (along with the other artists who have been along for the ride) makes the book feel at home to people who've been reading comics for decades and to those who pick this up as their first ever book equally. <p><b>Daredevil</b> is a special breed, and the type of comic you don't usually see get much of a chance. Marvel thinks so, too, and is relaunching the series in the Spring with a new status quo and new home - San Francisco (but the same great creative team).
Speaking of special breeds, just how on Earth does <b>Hawkeye</b> do what it does so well? Matt Fraction, along with artists like David Aja and Annie Wu, have turned Clint Barton and Kate Bishop into two of the most beloved characters in the Marvel Universe - not to mention Pizza Dog. <p>This is another one of those books that <i>feels</i> like an indie title. It's not bogged down by continuity (though that is there, just in the right portions), and most issues have a very clear beginning, middle, and end, while still managing to weave in and out of one another. It's like some kind of experimental TV mini-series, where you're only getting a portion of the story in each episode, and it works like gangbusters. <p>The book's fans, lovingly referred to as team #hawkguy in honor of the character Grills, are a passionate bunch who will take to twitter, tumblr, comic shops, and convention floors to let everyone know why they should be reading this series. It seems to be working, as the book's monthly issues stay steady on the charts, and the recent first hardcover collection was the tenth best seller in comic shops in November. <p><b>Hawkeye</b>'s multi-faceted story telling with protagonists that you sometimes love, sometimes revile, but always cheer for, is certainly the most unique Marvel Comic book on the stands today, and it's easy to see why it's the second most beloved one by our readers.
And then there's the king. It wasn't enough that Otto Octavius defeated Spider-Man, taking over Peter Parker's body and becoming the Superior version of the hero, he had to go and take number one in this reader poll, too, didn't he? <p>When Dan Slott and Marvel Comics killed Peter Parker, everyone thought it was some kind of sick joke, a trick that would be reversed within a couple of months at worst. Well, we're twenty-four issues and a full year into it, and it doesn't show signs of slowing down. <p>And thank goodness for that. <p><b>Superior Spider-Man</b> has been more clearly a deconstruction of superheroes, a new evaluation of what it is to be good and how success is measured, than perhaps any book in the modern age. In Peter's death, Otto has brought new life to the character of Spider-Man with an outlook that makes you care - we want to cheer for Spider-Man, but can't decide whether we want to cheer for or against Otto. We see him making some of his old Doc Ock mistakes, but then see him genuinely pulling things off as Spidey that Peter never could. Ultimately, yes, most readers want to see a Peter Parker comeback, and the prospect of Peter coming into this new version of his life and having to figure it out all over again is exciting, but in the meantime, we're getting some of the most-loved (and best-selling - both issues are consistently in the top 10-15 every month, with sales actually going <i>up</i> issue-over-issue in November as they both charted in the top 10) Spider-Man stories in years. <p>They said the idea was crazy (they were right, too). They said it would never last (wrong about that one). They also read it in droves, and voted it the best Marvel Comic of the day. Congrats, Otto, guess you're Superior after all.