Dave’s Faves, aka ‘The Best Comics of All Time‘ has been updated, and now has 204 recommendations, and Wanted, on the list! This week I add: Wonder Woman’s new graphic novel, Wonder Woman’s best graphic novel, and the best Black Panther story you’ve never heard of!
Click here for the full list of the best comics of all time. Some new addition highlights below!
Wonder Woman: Earth One
Yanick Paquette’s Wonder Woman is gorgeous, powerful, regal, everything she should be, but these layouts feel like recycling from Paquette’s time on Swamp Thing with Scott Snyder. I still enjoy Wonder Woman’s lasso of truth as a panel’s dividing line, but there’s a definite premium on innovation with a self-contained graphic novel like this, and I didn’t see it.
You can tell that Grant Morrison is working hard to surface the sexual subtext of William Moulton Marston’s early vision for Wonder Woman, but it’s unclear if there’s much thought as to what that means. Wonder Woman pulling out a bondage mask for Steve Trevor is played for laughs, and it successfully places an emphasis on just how foreign man’s world and customs are to Diana, but it also doesn’t do much else. We get it, Wonder Woman’s creator was fascinatingly kinky – why should I read Wonder Woman: Earth One instead of Grant Morrison’s thoughts on the man in Supergods?
In true S&M fashion, there’s plenty of give and take on display, with Morrison opening with vile malegaze torture porn, only to assert the Wonder Women’s domination over men in this story. The feminist themes feel undercooked, though, and unlike a book like Kelly Sue Deconnick’s Bitch Planet, Wonder Woman: Earth One doesn’t help alter perspective in much of any way. Add to that the fact that almost nothing actually happens, and this is a disappointing entry in the Earth One series.
At its best Wonder Woman: Earth One is certainly interesting, but it’s far from the best Wonder Woman story I’ve read even recently.
JLA: A League Of One
Speaking of the best Wonder Woman story I read recently, I give you the crummily titled JLA: A League Of One. If it wasn’t for the JLA sales pitch in the title, I can’t imagine any way Wonder Woman: A League of One wouldn’t be her most frequently recommended graphic novel.
JLA: A League of One is written and beautifully painted by Christopher Moeller. The story is entirely self-contained, and finds Wonder Woman battling the Justice League head-on as a result of an ancient prophecy.
Simply put, this is highly recommended, and one of the best Wonder Woman stories I’ve read. Diana’s power, tenacity, and sense of honor are on full display in all the best ways, and then she fights a giant evil dragon!
Black Panther: Panther’s Rage (Jungle Action #6 to #24)
It’s hard today, over 40 years after publication, to look at a Black Panther story housed inside a comic entitled Jungle Action, and not cringe a bit. If this would cause you to discount the comics, though, I’d highly recommend you reconsider. Panther’s Rage, written by Don McGregor, with art from a rotating core of Rich Buckler and Billy Graham, is the most innovative, exciting, ambitious early 1970’s Marvel Comic this side of Jim Starlin’s Captain Marvel.
I can still barely wrap my head around how good Panther’s Rage truly is, especially compared to the surrounding Marvel material from the early 70’s. There’s a 3,000% chance I’m overstating this, but Panther’s Rage does more to shape the Marvel original graphic novel than any book I’ve seen, a solid decade ahead of its time. McGregor’s writing is gorgeous prose, and the most exciting, enriching, enlivening writing I’ve seen from a Marvel writer in this decade. Buckler and Graham’s layouts and panel design reshape the possibilities of Marvel Comics more than anything this side of cosmic Starlin.
The world-building and ambition of this story are off the charts, and Panther’s Rage is the best Black Panther story I’ve read since Christopher Priest’s late 90’s helped convince me comics are awesome.