I've abandoned an arbitrary ranking this year, as I find the debate between what makes #10 vs. #8 fairly pointless. Just know, these are the ten (technically 12; my list, my rules) best comics I read this year both monthly and in a one-shot form.
East of West
While The Manhattan Projects has started to tail off a bit from its very hot start two years ago, and his Avengers run was a total non-starter for me. Jonathan Hickman is doing career-best work on this alt-history western. The mythology on display is lovely and deep, and Nick Dragotta's style has jumped light-years ahead of his work at Marvel.
I can't really pick one over the other, as one series was reaching its end, and the other two were producing their first arcs...so instead, just call this the Ed Brubaker spot and buy all of these books.
Hip Hop Family Tree Vol 2
Getting away from the club and courtyard scene of rap's roots gives Piskor a much bigger canvas to work with. All told, it's dope, get on it. Afrika Bambaataa was born to be in a comic book.
The Love Bunglers
I don't know if I love a set of comic book characters the way I adore Hopey, Maggie and Ray, the main three protagonists of Jaime Hernandez's "Locas" stories from Love and Rockets. With The Love Bunglers, Hernandez put a cap onto the on-going love story between Hopey and Ray and its tear-renderingly beautiful.
No one can write a great pure superhero yarn like Grant Morrison (see All Star Superman), and his take on DC's multiversal worlds and the threat they must tackle, related to the comic books in which they inhabit, is by far the best thing the moribund Big Two produced this year. "Pax Americana", which won our Rexie Award for Best Single Issue and "Thunderworld" are the big stand-outs, but its all pretty awesome.
Matt Fraction's best and most complex series that actually released regularly in 2014. Yes, Sex Criminals has the potential to overtake it, but Satellite Sam doesn't get as lost in its own cleverness, and features gorgeous Howard Chaykin art.
Supreme Blue Rose
Kind of a weirdly abstract take on the same topic that Grant Morrison is tackling in The Multiversity, Warren Ellis and Tula Lotay have teamed for arguably the densest and most beautiful series in Image's line-up. Just don't ask me to explain it in full detail yet okay?
The Wicked + The Divine
Phonogram: The Singles Club was the first great shot, Young Avengers honed their talent, and now with The Wicked + The Divine, Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie and Matt Wilson have produced their most promising work yet. Only six issues down, and its a world I just want to wallow in, each installment being better than the one previous. There's something really special here.
In 2012, I called the Wonder Woman run by Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang, and Matt Wilson the best comic being published. While its had stuff competition since, it still occupied a big place in my mind by the time it reached its end this year. Masterful throughout, this is THE Wonder Woman run for me.
Ales Kot's superspy epic is the most unpredictable title I buy monthly, both in artistic content (thanks to its rotating creative teams) and in subject matter (with a constantly shifting timeline). Action packed, high concept, and poignant, this is the best work of Kot's career so far and is a meteoric step-up from Change and Wild Children, both of which I enjoyed.
Here's to 2015!
For my previous lists, here's what I thought of 2012 and 2013.