Top 10 Comic Book Events of 2014

Last Updated on August 5, 2021

While the comic book film genre is ruling the box office, the source medium is still alive and well with a flurry of awesome titles hitting news stands weekly. There are a ton of great books to read out there and it would be impossible to cover them all in any semblance of a Top 10, so we’ve chosen some of the notable comic events that helped shape the year or stood out as exceptionally interesting due to the characters themselves, the market, or the ramifications that the event in question has had on the medium. You’ll notice a lot of life and death events, as is commonly the case with comics, and it’s interesting to note how these go back and forth, especially when compared to last year’s list (you’ll note that two of the “deaths” from last year are now “resurrections” this year. So it goes).

If nothing else, this list may serve as a jumping on point for those of you looking to get into the medium. Who knows, some of these titles and/or events may well make it onto the big screen in the near future. Regardless of that, though, this is just a reminder of some of the great art and storytelling that’s going on in the world of comics and why you shouldn’t be missing out.

SPOILERS for those concerned about knowing the full details of these tales (especially for those doing the “trade binge.” You’ve been warned.

Check out 2013’s Events HERE!

#1 The Falcon becomes the new Captain America

Rick Remender’s run on Captain America has been an interesting one. It’s a far cry from the mystery and intrigue of Ed Brubaker’s seminal run, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been fun. After being trapped in Arnim Zola’s upside down world known as Dimension Z, Steve Rogers befriends Zola’s son, Ian, and daughter, Jet Black, eventually beating their father and returning to his own time and place with them in tow. Feeling worn down from the Dimension Z escapade (which lasted 12 years), Steve squares off against fan favorite villain Nuke before facing the mysterious threat known as The Iron Nail, a former SHIELD agent who has many strange abilities, chief among them the ability to drain Steve Rogers’ Super Soldier Serum, which he does, leaving Rogers to age rapidly to a decrepit state.

Although Rogers is of sound mind (mostly), his role shifts to more of a patriarch and tactician to his family of Avengers, leaving someone to pick up the shield. His longtime partner, Sam Wilson aka The Falcon, having proven himself in a ferocious battle against Zola, is given the task of carrying on the name and standard that is Captain America. Thus far, he’s acclimated nicely to the role and carried the torch well, but like most shifts of this kind, we’re all waiting for Steve Rogers to embody the stars and stripes again. The mantle of Captain America isn’t about race or gender, but about character, and Steve Rogers is and always will be the embodiment of Cap. However, it’s cool if Sam Wilson takes it for a spin around the block.

#2 The Resurrection of Damian Wayne

Last year Grant Morrison closed out his run on the Bat-books by killing off the character that seemed to have the most favor and adoration; Damian Wayne aka Robin aka the son of Bruce Wayne. Morrison admittedly killed off Damian for psuedo-metaphoric reasons (i.e. to symbolize the effect of divorce on kids and the struggle of “parent” nations fighting one another) and although it took some readers a good while to warm up to the character, by the time he met his ultimate fate he was well-regarded with some calling him the best Robin to date. The sentiment resonated particularly with Peter Tomasi, writer of Batman & Robin, as well as series artist Pat Gleason, who both decided they wanted the character back and with the blessing of DC, began the journey to resurrection.

Batman & Robin teased the return of “a” Robin, but never stated it would be Damian. In fact, they left many clues that indicated it could’ve been any number of characters, but in the end, a final confrontation with Damian’s grandfather, Ra’s Al Guhl, and a trip to the hells of Apokalips to confront Darkseid and reclaim Damian’s body led Batman (armored up in his most sophisticated and deadly batsuit) back to his son, who was resurrected thanks to the Chaos Shard. This leaves Damian with some residual powers that will likely play out in the year to come. With Batman & Son reunited and Tomasi and Gleason absolutely KILLING it each issue, I couldn’t be happier to see the tenacious brat back in action.

#3 The Death of Wolverine

Since Logan lost his healing factor back in 2013, the inevitable was on the horizon and this year Marvel put an end to their favorite mutant with the Death of Wolverine. Indeed, Wolverine had gotten a bit stale in recent years, as his character struggled to find footing when most of his long-running secret origins had finally been revealed. Wearing many hats, including that of an X-Man, an Avenger, and even a teacher at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, Logan was having a bit of an identity crisis. What better time to put him on ice, eh?

Writer Charles Soule and “Old Man Logan” artist Steve McNiven tackled the eventual demise of Wolverine in the four-part miniseries, aptly titled “The Death of Wolverine” which had a powerless Logan tying up loose ends, while being hunted by his former enemies looking to be the one to take the runt down, eventually leading to the place where he was “born” so to speak; A Weapon X lab. Confronting his “creator,” Dr. Cornelius, Logan sees that they are trying to replicate the success of Wolverine by creating more super soldiers with healing factors and adamantium skeletons. Logan stops the good doctor by slashing the pipes carrying adamantium to the willing subjects, essentially entombing himself in the very thing that covered his bones for so long. Now an adamantium statue with a flock of Wolvie posers carrying on his work, Logan’s “corpse” lies in wait for someone to bring him back. I’m sure he’ll be back in time for next year’s list.

#4 Thor switches gender

Much controversy was made over writer Jason Aaron’s decision to give Thor a sex change, although the actually story involved in making it happen is a bit more complex. Having become unworthy as a result of something whispered to him by Nick Fury during the Original Sin mini-series, the Son of Odin is now without his powers of flight and unable to wield his once-trusty Mjolnir, but no less involved in the troubles of the Marvel Universe (see the currently running Axis mini-series). Cue the mysterious female character who finds herself able to lift Mjolnir in the Son of Odin’s absence of faith, transforming her into the first XX chromosome Asgardian to hold the mantle of Thor.

While the new female Thor comes to grips with her new power, her predecessor continues to get into trouble, particularly with Malekith the Accursed (who you’ll remember from Thor: The Dark World), leaving her an open window to prove her worth. While the true identity of the new Thor is still a mystery, the shift appears to be paying off for now, despite those against it. While it’s very likely that Odinson will reclaim Mjolnir once again in the future, it’s an interesting journey for the new “worthy” stranger.

#5 Star Wars returns to Marvel

Dark Horse Comics has held the rights to publish Star Wars comics since 1991, when they published Dark Empire, a continuation of Return of the Jedi. Since that time they’ve published a massive catalog of titles, from Star Wars Tales to Splinter of the Mind’s Eye to Dark Empire II to Star Wars: Legacy to the recent The Star Wars (also included in this list), and many more. They’ve built an “empire” so to speak. Sadly (or gladly, depending on how you see it), the recent purchase of Marvel by Disney has led to the transfer of rights back to Marvel, who will begin publishing their own smorgasbord of Star Wars comics starting in January of 2015.

While Dark Horse has done a tremendous job in representing the Star Wars brand, the acquisition of the property back to Marvel opens up the universe to be explored by some of the top creative teams in the industry today (not that the Dark Horse teams were slouches by any means), filtering in some new ideas and directions that may not have been examined otherwise. Starting with Star Wars #1 in January, the titles expand with Star Wars: Darth Vader and Star Wars: Princess Leia (all of which take place after Episode IV), with many more to follow, I’m sure. With the creative reins in the hands of the biggest comics publisher in the market and the upcoming STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS hitting theaters by the end of the year, you can expect the Star Wars Universe to be in your face with a vengeance in 2015.

#6 The Return of Peter Parker

After succumbing to a mind-swap death last year, Peter Parker was left in a sort of spirit void with his infamous adversary Dr. Otto Octavius AKA Doctor Octopus, taking over his body, becoming a very questionable superhero in the form of the “Superior” Spider-Man. While the novelty of a bad guy’s mind inside a good guy superhero’s body was a fun run, the return of the original was inevitable.

With Otto slowly unraveling in his attempts to actually BE the “Superior” Spider-Man, he eventually realizes that it was Peter Parker’s moral stance and values as Spidey that made him the REAL Superior (or, ahem, Amazing) Spider-Man. Otto decides to essentially “delete” himself from Peter’s body, allowing Peter to take back over completely, bringing back the wisecracking web-slinger we all know and love. It’s the perfect example of the whole death and resurrection formula that isn’t going away anytime soon and seems to continue the standard of keeping a character dead for roughly a year before he or she is back in form. Now, if we could just get Peter Parker back to some good movies, eh?

#7 Image Comics continues to innovate

2014 has been a great year for indie comics and there are tons to choose from. While the big two corner the marketplace with popular titles of decades long popular characters, the indie brands are the place to go for some new blood and fresh material and Image is leading the charge. With a diverse amount of titles that cover everything from horror (The Walking Dead, Wytches), sci-fi (East of West, Saga, Prophet), action (Dead Body Bags, Thief of Thieves, Southern Bastards), mystery (Fatale, Sex Criminals, Velvet), superhero (MPH, Spawn, Real Heroes), and more, Image has grown exponentially from the birthplace of big-name indie books in the ’90’s to a full-fledged extravaganza of awesomeness.

That’s not to discount the great books coming from other big name indies, including Valiant (who gets major kudos for creating the best new superhero universe alongside the big two), IDW, Dynamite, Boom! Studios, Dark Horse, etc., but ultimately it’s Image that has the lions share of diverse titles with top tier talent taking bold and creative risks with their unique assortment of books. It’s a great time for indie comics and a great jumping on point for new readers. Just walk into your local comic shop, walk to the Image comics section and start stacking books. You won’t be disappointed.

#8 DC’s Future’s End

DC’s event series for 2014 took a look 35 years into the future of Prime Earth, where a war across the multiverse has left a new threat headed to a now vulnerable planet. Batman Beyond is sent back in time to stop the evil events from transpiring, but arrives five years too late (which is actually five years from NOW). Essentially, this new initiative attempts to explore what the DCU will look like five years from now, giving readers a glimpse into what may be when they get to that actual point in time. Talk about high concept, right?

While these types of events can get exceptionally difficult to keep track of, the ambition of the event is both interesting and controversial, as some feel it’s more of a “what if?” game than an actual glimpse into the future. While that may be true in some ways, it’s still a fun concept and one that creates an air of mystery as stories unravel between now and the next five years. A tall order to pay off, but the ambiguity of it all is hard to turn away from. If you feel like there’s too much to follow, I’d advise just sticking to the books that have your favorite characters and roll with it. Either way, there’s fun to be had.

#9 Original Sin

The first big “event” series from Marvel in 2014 was also the more intriguing (much more so than the currently running Axis). Written by Jason Aaron (Scalped, Thor, Southern Bastards) and drawn with intense technical style by Mike Deodato Jr., Original Sin saw the assassination of The Watcher AKA Uatu, a supreme celestial being who is present to “watch” over Earth and to serve as a guide/observer, setting off a superhero murder/mystery tale that was nice departure from the usual “big” events that typically involve any and all superhero’s present. The Watcher’s eyes were removed upon his death, giving the assassins the ability to “see” all that The Watcher has seen for billions of years, revealing the secrets (and sins) of many of Earth’s “mightiest” heroes.

As the heroes begin to uncover the mystery, they find that one of the most trusted among them, Nick Fury, is behind a much larger galactic cover up than they’d ever imagined. When it’s all said and done, Original Sin gave a good status quo shake up, leaving at least one age-old hero dead, another powerless, and another with an all new space-bound mission. A fun mystery adventure that was more than just another even tale, but one that left some interesting ripples in the Marvel universe.

#10 Dark Horse adapts Lucas’ original Star Wars script

Much has been made of George Lucas’ original screenplay to Star Wars, entitled “The Star Wars,” which varied greatly from the first big-screen iteration we saw in 1977’s STAR WARS: EPISODE IV – A NEW HOPE. Adapted by J. W. Rinzler and drawn by Mike Mayhew (purposely done in the style of Ralph McQuarrie and Joe Johnston), the take is almost like an alternate reality version of Star Wars, in which the old sage character is Luke Skywalker rather than Obi-Wan Kenobi and the young Jedi in training is Annikin Starkiller.

From there, the story takes off in a very different direction that what we saw on the big screen, but with a ton of nods to familiar faces and places that leave you with a picture of what could’ve been had the films not eventually been broken down to a series of films rather than one big epic. The 8-issue series is a lot of fun and it’s great to see the alternate versions of fan favorites come to life, especially as it represents Lucas’ early vision for this universe. A must-read for serious Star Wars fans.

About the Author

3646 Articles Published