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2022 Year in Review: Best Limited Series

By | December 22nd, 2022
Posted in Columns | % Comments

Welcome to the Multiversity Year in Review for 2022! We’ve got over 25 categories to get through, so make sure you’re checking out all of the articles by using our 2022 Year in Review tag.

There are lots of comics that roll on and on indefinitely. Then there is the miniseries. Generally defined as a series planned to be fewer than 12 issues long, these are comic stories planned with a definitive beginning, middle, and end. 2021 made fools out of anyone with a plan, but there were nevertheless a great number of series that met our criteria. Well we got together and debated and negotiated and compromised, and we came up with a solid list of stories that make up our top limited series of 2022.

3. Catwoman: Lonely City

So much of what makes a story timeless is revealed over time. It is exceedingly rare to be reading a comic and think “this is going to go down in history.” But, if you were reading “Catwoman: Lonely City over the past year or so, that might very well have been what you were thinking. Cliff Chiang, who handles every aspect of this book’s creation, drew from disparate inspirations, both in and out of comics, to make a Catwoman story that is like no other in her history. Perhaps the comic to be most inspired by New York street fashion and the trauma that comes with grief to ever exist, “Lonely City” tells a story that is huge and bombastic, but that’s just the cover for the real story, which is happening inside of Selina Kyle’s head and heart.

This story, released in four slightly oversized chapters, reinvents not just the classic Gotham villains as older characters, but allows Chiang to use their advanced ages to tell some damn near definitive stories for characters that we’ve been reading our entire lives. Never before has Killer Croc been as important and emotionally relevant as he is in these pages. The Riddler is given, perhaps, his least obnoxious characterization in nearly 20 years with the way Chiang writes him here.

But the star of the show is Chiang’s art, which shows an aged Selina as still cat-like, but maybe not as lithe and perfect as she used to be. This meditation on love, grief, aging, and legacy doesn’t ever feel forced or cliched, and most of that is due to the fact that Chiang is never beating you over the head with any themes or story beats. The focus of this book is the art, and the art is so transfixing that the themes just wash over the reader, penetrating the pores almost covertly.

2. Eight Billion Genies

There’s only one comic I can’t stop gushing about to my friends, co-workers, and little cousins, and that is of course, “Eight Billion Genies.” It’s just such an enticing premise. What if every single person on Earth got a personal genie offering to grant them one wish? What would happen? If you shook your head and said, “Oh damn, the world wouldn’t last eight seconds,” you’d be right. Because the other genius part of “Eight Billion Genies” is the scale. The first issue (of eight, natch) covers the first eight seconds. Issue two is about the first eight minutes. Then hours. Then days. Then weeks and months and years. The story plays out as a goofy, stupid, massive epic. You are never allowed to forget how many people are left alive (fewer in every issue), or how many still have their unused wishes (more than you would think).

It’s the kind of high concept Charles Soule loves to write, just look at his prose novels. But here he is partnered with perhaps his greatest collaborator, Ryan Browne. The two of them previously wrote the also excellent “Curse Words” together. Browne, also famous for the webcomic “God Hates Astronauts,” brings out the best in Soule. The two of them become exponentially more unhinged as they work together, almost as if they are daring each other to come up with zanier images. Santa Clause indeed battles aliens in this comic, before his Reindeer are eaten by the moon. And that’s probably one of the more explicable things to happen after wish armageddon. With more than the obligatory serving of humor and heart, “Eight Billion Genies” will blow your mind and maybe teach you a lesson or two about humanity along the way. – Jaina Hill

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1. Do a Powerbomb!

It’s no surprise that wrestling makes for a spectacular comic; they share so much DNA. From colorful costumes to bombastic action, melodramatic betrayals, and mistaken identities, wrestling is almost tailor-made for comic pages. If a once-in-a-generation talent like Daniel Warren Johnson is in charge, you get something transcendent. So it’s probably not a surprise to see “Do A Powerbomb!” as our top miniseries of 2022. “Do A Powerbomb!” continues Johnson’s exceptional track record of making epic and sentimental comics, entertaining and tragic, all while living in a world that often relies on over-the-top machismo. “Do a Powerbomb!” is Johnson playing the hits but in a way that continues to feel fresh and original.

It’s a comic that captures all of the melodrama of a wrestling promotion while delivering the extremely bombastic athleticism of professional wrestling. “Do A Powerbomb!” captures the energy of attending a live wrestling event, from the crowd’s roar to the in-ring sounds that sell the intensity and danger of a match. Unsurprisingly, Johnson is well-suited to tell a story like this. The man loves wrestling and is not afraid to show that. The teams he develops show the variety of storytelling and characters that don the spandex and jump in the ring. Plus, he’s having a delight reveling in the weird, wild teams that can exist in a multiverse of wrestling. From giant apes to hardcore parents, “Do A Powerbomb!” has one of the most colorful rosters of characters I can think of in 2022. Every issue is a delight to read, even as Johnson expertly turns the heat up on the father/daughter drama of the story at large.

For a comic that has over-the-top action, the drama is every bit as entertaining. It’s a story of proving your worth, healing, and kicking some ass. It is also one of the most visually stunning comics of the year. Johnson’s art has become instantly recognizable. Like his other work, it wouldn’t be out of place airbrushed on the side of a van or a poster for your local indie show at everyone’s favorite dive bar. But Mike Spicer and Rus Wooton deserve credit for bringing his vision to life. Spicer’s colors help to make the interdimensional invitational feel lived in and unique. Each team has their own color palette. As the matches progress, the backgrounds become almost abstract, showcasing the cacophony of light and sound as the wrestlers push themselves to the limit. Wooston’s lettering also captures the different worlds these combatants hail from and captures the evocative feeling of hearing the wrestler hit the mat or hit a move. Each team member fires all cylinders and ensures that all of the action has a visceral quality. “Do A Powerbomb!” shows that Daniel Warren Johnson gets it. You can have the most intense in-ring action in the world, but if you don’t have a solid story, it doesn’t really matter. Not only is the story solid, but it’s also the best of 2022. -Joe Skonce

//TAGS | 2022 Year in Review

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