Review by Shaun Noel

What would a book site for wild and adventurous readers be if we didn’t cover the exciting world of Comics and Graphic Novels! But where to start? Shaun Noel, our new editor for Comics at Yaroos, suggested we start with the ten best comic books of all times. Yes. The ten best; set in stone that you don’t have a chisel for, unarguably, feet buried in the ground stubbornly, the Comics at Yaroos! Ten Best Comics Of All Time. Look. We’re aware that you may disagree with us, that if you could you’d break out a can of fire engine red Krylon, and defile the very stone we’ve struck our own opinions in. We welcome your thoughts in the comments below. The more metaphorical Krylon the better! Now let us present to you the Comics at Yaroos! Ten Best Comics of All Time!

#10. SUPERMAN FOR ALL SEASONS Writer: Jeph Loeb Artist: Tim Sale

Superman For All SeasonsWho do you see when you look at Superman? A farm boy destined for greatness? A symbol of perfection? An alien? Or a lonely man trying to do the right thing? These questions are exactly what Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale try to answer in the fantastically compelling Superman For All Seasons.

There is no question that everyone loves Superman, he is the original superhero. However, many people have a hard time creating a compelling story about an invulnerable super God. I mean besides Kryptonite, how can he be hurt?Superman For All Seasons by Jef Loeb and Tim Sale How can we identify with him? Loeb and Sale take some of the most important people in the Man of Steel’s life-Pa Kent,Lois Lane, Lana Lang and even Lex Luthor and show us how they see him. In the opening chapter “Spring”, Pa Kent sees his son trying to cope with an emerging destiny and Clark’s haunting thought “I could have done more…”
Lois Lane the cynical reporter, born doubting everything, is at a loss now that the real Prince Charming actually Superman For All Seasons by Jef Loeb and Tim Saleexists. Lex Luther, displaced as the favorite son of Metropolis, can think of nothing but revenge and finding the true vulnerability of his rival. And in the final chapter Lana Lang shows that underneath it all he is the same old Clark Kent trying to do right by everyone and keep us safe.
Tim Sale’s simple artwork is gorgeous and each chapter, divided by seasons, is given its own tone and artistic temperature inspired by Norman Rockwell. We can feel the summer haze and the winter frost in every image. By contrasting the Last Son of Krypton’s life with how others see him Loeb and Sale perform a feat few creators can; they humanize the Superman.

#9. SCOTT PILGRIM VOL. 6: FINEST HOUR Writer: Bryan Lee O’Malley Art: Bryan Lee O’Malley

Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O'MalleyI was first exposed to the magic of Scott Pilgrim through Edgar Wright’s whimsical film. I had heard of it before, but the thought of the comic book didn’t appeal to me. But I enjoyed the film so much, I figured I’d give it a try. And I’m glad I did. Scott Pilgrim: Finest Hour, my favorite book of the series, shows exactly how a character should mature and evolve in a well written literary work.

Don’t be fooled; Bryan Lee O’Malley is a smart man. When you first look at Scott Pilgrim it seems like a simple story of an immature man child, with simplistic “anime-like” art. There are visual gags, reader asides, and an absurdScott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O'Malley amount of pop culture references. In fact, some people may not even like Scott Pilgrim as a protagonist. He is funny and naive, but he is also selfish and irresponsible.

But as we go on Scott Pilgrim’s journey to defeat Ramona’s evil exes, we learn that he, like us, has to learn his lessons in life as he goes along. He cannot move forward and get to his goal until he stops living life passively and steps up; he cannot see the world how it truly is until he takes a hard look at himself and faces facts that he doesn’t want to face. In other words, he evolves.

It is in this book that Scott steps up and grows up. He takes the hard steps and risks it all. Finest Hour is where we see what Scott Pilgrim is truly about.

#8. LONE WOLF AND CUB VOL. 1: THE ASSASSIN’S ROAD Writer: Kazuo Koike Art: Goseki Kojima

A man with a baby carriage crosses a bridge; in his path are four killers with swords looking for trouble. A sense of fear creeps up your spine, only it isn’t fear for the man and his child, it is fear for the four men. They have just met Death, and as his sign says his sword and his son are for hire.

It is in this way that we meet Ogami Itto in Volume One of Lone Wolf. Betrayed by the Yagyu clan this Shogun’s executioner has no choice but to choose a new path-‘the way of the assassin’, a path of blood and steel. Though his wife has died he doesn’t walk this path alone; his three year old son Daigoro goes with him. Through this series we see the ingenious ways our Lone Wolf uses son and sword to exact his bloody revenge.

This influential series originating in Japan has had a massive effect on American comics as we know it. Frank Miller (Sin City), Max Allan Collins (Road to Perdition) and even Quentin Tarantino all quote this operatic masterpiece with religious fervor. After reading Kazuo Koike’s story combined with Goseki Kojima’s haunting imagery one cannot help but follow their story through all twenty-eight volumes of death.

#7. SANDMAN VOL. IX: THE KINDLY ONES Writer: Neil Gaiman Art: Marc Hempel,Richard Case, D’Israeli, Teddy Kristiansen, Charles Vess, Dean Ormston, Kevin Nowlan

Sandman Vol 9 The Kindly Ones by Neil GaimanIn the penultimate issue Gaiman and his army of artists bring Sandman’s Dream to his ultimate fate. Bringing all the pieces together Gaiman crafts a surprising yet inevitable end that brings both sadness and wonder to the reader.

Have you ever read a book or seen a movie where every moment is beautiful and is brought to an epic level by its ending? Reading this book you realize that no word, no character, no action in the entire run of Sandman was done in vain. Everything had a purpose, each choice lead Dream, or the Sandman as he is known in our world, to the exact point, this precise end.

And when I say end, I mean end. He has angered the one group of women he should have never crossed, the Furies. But never call them that, they prefer the Kindly Ones! We finally see where Neil Gaiman was taking his world spanning story, and it is a gorgeous swan song for Sandman, unlike any you have read before.

While my favorite art in this book belongs to the sharp style of Richard Case, each artist reflects the different moods in Dream’s story. Each sad goodbye is given its own feel, until the last moment where Dream has a moving conversation with his sister, Death.

#6. Y: THE LAST MAN VOL. 2: CYCLES Writer: Brian K. Vaughan Art: Pia Gurerra, Jose Marzan Jr.

The Last Man Vol 2. by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, Jose Marzan Jr.The fantasy of being the last man on earth can turn into a nightmare and Yorick Brown, leading male in Vaughan and Gurerra’s hit sci-fi story, can attest to that fact.
Take the story of a young man and his monkey; add a plague that wipes out everyone with a Y chromosome except him. Mix in a quest to find his girlfriend who lives on the other side of the world, a brainwashed amazon sister, a mother who is president and a dash of military intrigue and you have the recipe for the perfect saga. While the first collection is great, it is in this story “Cycles” where Y: The Last Man comes together. This book does so much . It educates us about the chain of command in that world, that the country has the most female soldiers, which industries survived, and which ones were devastated. It entertains us; I mean what can a slacker magician who likes comics really contribute to the world? It even questions our morality, what would you do if your sister killed an innocent woman? But what it does best is show the most multifaceted personality seen so far in comics today. Yorick is the ultimate every-man. He is as lost and confused and reacts the way we would in this disaster. Pia Gurerra ‘s realistic art style compliments Vaughan’cinematic style. You could not imagine a better fit. Pick up Y: The Last Man. You’ll enjoy the trip but be sad when it ends. Not because of the tragedy, but because you’ll want more.
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