The best comics of 2021
Speaking of going back to an already established story, by TMNT: The Last Ronin Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird have finally released one of the most anticipated comics of the year, and the colorful but dark dystopian story definitely lives up to it. The last ronin works both as a jumping off point for new readers and a deep dive into nostalgia for fans of the original comics or the cartoons they spawned. In a futuristic New York which is clearly inspired by the universe of 2000AD – and even includes a cute visual nod to former Eastman collaborator and British comic book icon Simon Bisley – a turtle is alone. There is no team, no three other loving brothers, just a single survivor who is on a brutal mission for revenge. And he will stop at nothing to bring down those who hurt him.
Tense and serious, but with a sincere side, The last ronin feels both like a throwback to the 80s and very much in line with current comics from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to IDW. The artistic team of Escorza, Plata and Bishop bring Eastman’s instantly recognizable layouts to life in dynamic ways. Following the only surviving turtle through the fantastically loaded landscape is a roller coaster ride, with fan-favorite characters cast in entirely new roles. There is a lot to like here. Even if you haven’t started it yet, this is the perfect TPB pickup. – RK
11. Once and future (BOOM! Studios)
Kieron Gillen (F), Dan Mora (A), Tamra Bonvillain (CA)
If it was 1991, people would line up outside comic book stores to pick up copies of Once and future save for their children’s college funds. It sounds like a slam, but it isn’t: This book is a blast, and Dan Mora, an arts wizard who perfected the magic of McFarlane, Lee, and Liefeld is an integral part of it.
Mora spent this year of Once and future the design of new versions of the Knights of the Round Table, and the stylistic similarities to the guys from Image Revolution are undeniable. The main differences here are two in number: instead of the infrequent nonsense that was often presented as stories in old Image Revolution books, we get an incredibly crisp story from one of the masters of tape scripting. comics, Kieron Gillen. And the second is that the comic book coloring technology has gone light years beyond what was possible in 1991, and that has led to a team of totally brilliant comedic colorists in the game right now, a group that includes Tamra Bonvillain as one of the best. Once and future is one of the prettiest books every month, and it’s a ton of fun to read. – JD
10. The Other DC Universe Story (DC Comics)
John Ridley (W), Giuseppe Camuncoli (A)