The 10 Best Graphic Novels of 2011

read/RANT's Top 10 Graphic Novels of 2011

When I began compiling my list of the year’s best graphic novels, I found myself including dozens of books with little rhyme or reason. To help me narrow my list down a little bit, this is the rule I created: the first English-language collected edition or original graphic novel had to be released in 2011. And while this excluded some of my favorite books from the year (Waid’s Daredevil, Rozum’s Xombi, and Lemire’s Animal Man, to name three), it was a good guideline when I was constructing the list.

Obviously, we missed some things – sometimes great things. We don’t read every graphic novel that comes out (as much fun as that would be!). I even know for sure some major releases that I missed, like The Death Ray. So feel free to tell me just how wrong I am! What were your favorite releases this year? Because these were some of ours…

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Review: Secret Six #20

If you aren’t reading Secret Six, you are missing out on a treat.  No, scratch that – if you aren’t reading Secret Six, you are missing out on one of the best comic books on the shelves. Very, very few arcs epitomize why more so than the current one, titled “Cats in the Cradle.”  Secret Six #20 still lacks art from Nicola Scott, but new artist J. Calafiore has proved an extremely able replacement, deftly building tension between the over-the-top action scenes and the moments of extraordinarily dark comedy.

Last issue ended on a brilliant cliffhanger – Catman’s son is kidnapped, and the boy will be allowed to live 1 year for every teammate Catman murders in the next 5 minutes – and the resolution of that moment this issue is one of the highlights of Simone’s run.  Catman has always been one of the more measured members of the team, likely to be taken by his temper to do stupid things, but at heart, at least, he was probably the best of the bunch.  This arc isn’t designed to destroy or reinforce that, but to highlight the side of his personality that puts him on the Secret Six, rather than making him yet another hardcore anti-hero… and it works.  Fabulously.  Secret Six #20 is a brutally violent character-driven action book like nothing else out today.  Read it.

Grade: A

– Cal Cleary