Top 100 – 25 to 1

Top 100 Series

ALFRED scores 0% to 100%, average of 50%

December 1, 2020

Our comic scoring system ALFRED aggregates critic reviews and scores them 0% to 100%. Here’s your monthly update!

What’s Included
– Series with a minimum of two issues and qualify for ALFRED

Key Creators
Ed Brubaker
Sean Phillips

Analysis
Masters of crime-noir Brubaker and Phillips make their second of three appearances in the 100. Touted as an instant-classic from the moment it was published, The Fade Out boasts three-dimensional characters, intrigue, and a unique setting. After the maxi-series ended, the creative team moved on to an even higher-scoring series.

Official Description
Hollywood – 1948. A noir film stuck in endless reshoots. A writer plagued with nightmares from the war and a dangerous secret. An up-and-coming starlet’s suspicious death. And a maniacal Studio Mogul and his Security Chief who will do anything to keep the cameras rolling before the Post-War boom days come crashing down. THE FADE OUT is the most ambitious series yet from the award-winning Noir Masters.

Crime
2014

Key Creators
Scott Snyder
Greg Capullo
Danny Miki

Analysis
DC values long-run series, so the decision to re-launch its entire line, including Batman, in 2011 was controversial. Snyder and Capullo’s Batman remains as the highlight of that era. Challenging Bruce’s knowledge of the Gotham is both believable and consistently shocking. What’s evident from the start is the introduction of new characters, plus new interpretations of old characters, as well as an appreciation for the history of DC’s most popular hero. It’s difficult to overstate how popular this series became the moment it launched, and it continues to thrive in collections. Death of the Family and Endgame boast the strongest ALFRED scores, and solidified this depiction of the Joker as a memorable version. The main creative team’s finale in issue #51 is incredibly moving and a testament to Bruce’s vow.

Official Description
A series of brutal killings hints at an ancient conspiracy, and Batman learns that Gotham City is deadlier than he knew.

Superhero – Crime
2011

Key Creators
Matt Fraction
Steve Lieber
Nathan Fairbairn

Analysis
Jimmy Olsen’s own series is complete, and it’s a classic. With multiple vignettes in each issue as well as an overarching plot. the Fraction/Lieber/Fairbairn team’s tale provides memorable social commentary coated in joke after joke.

Official Description
Jimmy Olsen must die! Wait, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Jimmy Olsen lives! Superman’s best friend and Daily Planet photographer Jimmy Olsen tours the bizarre underbelly of the DC Universe in this new miniseries featuring death, destruction, giant turtles and more! It’s a centuries-spanning whirlwind of weird that starts in Metropolis and ends in Gotham City. And then we kill Jimmy.

Superhero – Adventure
2019

Key Creators
Tee Franklin
Alitha E. Martinez
Shari Chankhamma

Analysis
Though the issue only rate for two issues of its planned run, this horror-revenge tale from Franklin and Martinez still achieved such high reviews that it lands in the 100. Ambitious yet grounded, beautiful yet terrifying, Jook Joint is worth reading, even if you’ll wonder what could have been.

Official Description
Mahalia runs the hottest spot in all of 1950s New Orleans. The Jook Joint keeps the jazz popping, people bopping… and the women? The women are to die for. There’s only one rule: “Keep your hands to yourself.” But some men think rules don’t apply to them, and Mahalia and her coven of slain women enjoy reminding them that they most certainly do.

Horror
2018

Key Creators
Kelly Sue DeConnick
Emma Rios
Jordie Bellaire

Analysis
While the Pretty Deadly original run was enjoyable and earned an above-average 72% ALFRED, The Rat clearly illustrates creators working together in harmony. Rios shines with striking layouts, and the framing device in each issue of the series always leaves you wanting more.

Official Description
In the sun-soaked strips of ‘30s-era Hollywood, the best and brightest are dimmed and broken and the granddaughter of Sara Fields is found dead. Desperate to solve her murder, her heartbroken uncle calls on the Reaper of Vengeance to aid him.

Adventure
2019

Key Creators
Jason Aaron
Jason LaTour

Analysis
The highest-rated of Aaron’s three titles in the 100, Southern Bastards represents his most knowing work. Working with frequent collaborator LaTour helps bring a confidence and focus to the story throughout. Even if you aren’t interested in sports, the deep dive into a specific microculture is engrossing. All four graphic novels earned a ★★★★★ rating, with the first volume scoring in the Top 20 of the Graphic Novel rankings.

Official Description
Welcome to Craw County, Alabama, home of Boss BBQ, the state champion Runnin’ Rebs football team…and more bastards than you’ve ever seen. When you’re an angry old man like Earl Tubb, the only way to survive a place like this…is to carry a really big stick.

Crime
2014

#19 Once and Future

Key Creators
Kieron Gillen
Dan Mora
Tamra Bonvillain

Analysis
While ALFRED focuses on DC, Image, and Marvel, it also recognizes this strong entry from Boom. Gillen’s now-ongoing tale of British history and family connection serves as a successor to his long run on WicDiv by tackling iconography in this exciting tale.

Official Description
When a group of Nationalists use an ancient artifact to bring a villain from Arthurian myth back from the dead to gain power, ex-monster hunter Bridgette McGuire escapes her retirement home and pulls her unsuspecting grandson Duncan, a museum curator, into a world of magic and mysticism to defeat a legendary threat.

Fantasy
2019

Key Creators
Matt Fraction
David Aja
Matt Hollingsworth

Analysis
The single issue Pizza Is My Business stands out as a unique way to present a comic book, utilizing signs and symbols throughout. Hawkeye represents Fraction’s highest entry via ALFRED, and Aja’s award-winning cover art make an instant impression.

Official Description
Self-made hero Hawkeye fights for justice! He’s out to prove himself as one of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes!

Superhero – Crime
2012

Key Creators
Darcy Van Poelgeest
Ian Bertram
Matt Hollingsworth

Analysis
Combine the detail of Saga and the focus of a five-issue series, and you have Little Bird. Previously known for film work, writer Van Poelgeest’s future work is sure to garner exponentially more attention after this impressive debut comic. Full of life, action, personality, and parallels to our modern struggles, Little Bird invites us to a bold and complex world, worthy of re-reading.

Official Description
With the same limitless scope as a new EAST OF WEST or SAGA and the drama and surrealism of Akira, LITTLE BIRD follows a young resistance fighter who battles against an oppressive American Empire and searches for her own identity in a world on fire.

Adventure
2019

Key Creator
Stjepan Šejić

Analysis
Šejić is a talented writer-artist, and his Image work earned him a place within big-name DC titles. However, Death Vigil stands as his high point, according to ALFRED. While it is high-concept, once the story allows the individual characters to shine, you see how it earned its stellar ALFRED score.

Official Description
Join the Death Vigil in their ongoing war against the ever-growing power of the Primordial Enemy! The only catch is you have to die first. Become a corporeal immortal Death Knight and obtain reality-altering weaponry in the never-ending battle between good and evil.

Horror
2014

Key Creators
Ed Brubaker
Sean Phillips

Analysis
Much like Sandman Overture, Criminal returns with a new, fresh angle on current problems – and serves as a perfect jumping-on point. Brubaker and Phillips continued their fantastic teamwork in this, their highest-scoring book per ALFRED.

Official Description
Teeg Lawless is back in town. But he finds himself in more trouble than ever, thanks to his delinquent teenage son — and this time, fists and bullets may not be enough to solve his problems.

Crime
2019

Key Creators
Chip Zdarsky
Kris Anka
Matt Wilson

Analysis
The highest-ranking of three Zdarsky series accomplished an incredible amount of world-building in this sensual epic housed within a limited series. Here’s hoping for more stories set in this world.

Official Description
In the fantastical world of Blacksand, peace was hard-won, and three unbending warriors carry the scars to prove it. Now, almost twenty years later, their children are missing and war is on the horizon. Can they put aside their memories of the war—and each other—for one last adventure?

Fantasy
2019

Key Creators
Scott Snyder
Greg Capullo
Jonathan Glapion

Analysis
Billed as Snyder and Capullo’s final Batman story (sequentially), the three-issue series scored high marks with critics and was one of the most popular comics of 2019. Free from a monthly schedule and page number limitations, the iconic creative team presented an ambitious but ultimately emotional tale of Bruce confronting his worst fears. The image of Batman with a Joker head in a jar is impossible to ignore, but the story itself is what will stay with you. DC Black Label quickly delivered an all-time classic.

Official Description
Bruce Wayne wakes up in Arkham Asylum. Young. Sane. And…he was never Batman. So begins this sprawling tale of the Dark Knight as he embarks on a quest through a devastated DC landscape featuring a massive cast of familiar faces from the DC Universe. As he tries to piece together the mystery of his past, he must unravel the cause of this terrible future and track down the unspeakable force that destroyed the world as he knew it…

Superhero – Adventure 
2019

Key Creators
Kurt Busiek
John Paul Leon

Analysis
A decade before Creature of the Night, Busiek’s take on the Man of Steel in Superman: Secret Identity left a lasting impression on fans and critics. This spiritual sequel featuring the Dark Knight did the same. One issue released per year for four consecutive years culminated in a November 2019 release that proved well worth the wait. Clever and heartfelt, the series also examined psychosis and the greater mental health impact of life as Bruce Wainwright. The epitome of the self-aware, post-modern Batman story, Busiek and Leon’s story results in a master class worthy of re-reading.

Official Description
Young Bruce Wainwright lost his parents in a violent crime…and in the real world, no superheroes exist to save the day. But as grief and rage builds inside Bruce until he feels he can’t keep it inside anymore, something strange starts taking wing in the Gotham night! Perhaps Bruce’s grief isn’t inside him after all?

Superhero – Crime
2017

Key Creators
Donny Cates
Geoff Shaw
Jason Wordie

Analysis
After multiple appearances on the 100, Cates peaks with God Country, a Must-Read short series with worlds of potential, yet ended as one coherent tale of creatures, conflict and family.

Official Description
Emmet Quinlan, an old widower rattled by dementia, isn’t just a problem for his children—his violent outbursts are more than the local cops can handle. When a tornado levels his home—as well as the surrounding West Texas town—a restored Quinlan rises from the wreckage. The enchanted sword at the eye of the storm gives him more than a sound mind and body, however. He’s now the only man who can face the otherworldly creatures the sword has drawn down to the Lone Star State…

Adventure
2017

Key Creators
Brian K. Vaughan
Fiona Staples

Analysis
This space epic has won awards, sold well, and earned rave reviews for more than a half decade. But let’s take a moment to reflect on the impact of this stellar series while it is on hiatus. Out of 54 issues, the reception for the series has reflected a staggering 32 ★★★★★ issues, most of any series in the ALFRED database. The first two volumes are in the Top 10 of our Graphic Novel rankings of about 1700 ranked by ALFRED, and all nine volumes rate at a score of 73% or higher. Some issues are so devastating that, if not read at the right time in your day, you’ll be shaken for your next activity. Vaughan and Staples are masters of their craft. Marko, Alana, Hazel, Prince Robot, and more become fixtures of your world when you invest in this series, and you’ll miss them between publications – quite possibly the highest praise a series can earn.

Official Description
Star Wars-style action collides with Game of Thrones-esque drama in this original sci-fi/fantasy epic for mature readers, as new parents Marko and Alana risk everything to raise their child amidst a never-ending galactic war.

Fantasy
2012

Key Creators
Jonathan Hickman
Pepe Larraz
Marte Gracia

Analysis
In recent years, Marvel has produced safe, entertaining stories. However, Marvel gave Hickman full reign of its X line with the twin titles Powers of X and House of X, effectively rebooting the convoluted franchise. The result? House of X stands as a modern masterclass – and THE standalone series of 2019. Larraz and Gracia brought to life dozens of characters, with graphic design by Tom Muller changing what’s possible within a big name comic series. The second issue, focused on Moira McTaggert, forever changed the Marvel Universe – and it can be picked up by anyone with even a basic knowledge of X-Men. There is an awe in observing what mutants can construct when Professor X and Magneto (joined by Apocalypse and…nearly everyone else) work together. As a result of this reset, several quality titles have emerged in its wake, including X-Men 2019 and X-Force 2019. Maybe more importantly, it serves as what might be Hickman’s high-water mark as a creator.

Official Description
Charles Xavier reveals his master plan for mutantkind…one that will bring mutants out of the shadow of mankind and into the light once more.

Superhero – Adventure
2019

Key Creators
David Walker
Chuck Brown
Sanford Greene

Analysis
In its initial arc, Bitter Root wasted no time simultaneously addressing racism and monster hunting. The series put forth ★★★★★ installments with each publication. Walker, Brown, and Greene, have a knowledge of history combined with an imagination that brings this fantastical into the practical in this powerful series that captures the zeitgeist.

Official Description
In the 1920s, the Harlem Renaissance is in full swing, and only the Sangerye Family can save New York—and the world—from the supernatural forces threatening to destroy humanity. But the once-great family of monster hunters has been torn apart by tragedies and conflicting moral codes. The Sangerye Family must heal the wounds of the past and move beyond their differences… or sit back and watch a force of unimaginable evil ravage the human race.

Adventure
2018

Key Creators
Scott Snyder
Jeff Lemire

Analysis
Snyder and Lemire collaborate on this three-issue prestige series set in a future where death has been cured. It’s Lemire’s highest-ranking entry of four in the 100, and Snyder’s best showing of his seven series – most of any creator. The story makes use of Lemire’s eccentric art style, and Snyder’s penchant for nostalgia are pushed to their limits in this compelling journey showing that we’re all capable of change through the most difficult of times.

Official Description
Years after the discovery, one man starts to question everything, leading him on a mind-bending journey that will bring him face-to-face with his past and his own mortality.

Adventure
2016

Key Creators
Gene Luen Yang
Gurihiru

Analysis
DC and Marvel usually do not utilize backmatter as a way to supplement the context of their comics – but the final pages of each issue of Superman Smashes the Klan are educational and intimate. Harkening back to the emergence of the superhero genre yet all-too-relevant to modern times, this short series is approachable for readers of any age. Gurihiru’s art style is clean and dynamic, and serves as an approachable first comic book for new readers.

Official Description
The year is 1946, and the Lee family has moved from Metropolis’ Chinatown to the center of the bustling city. While Dr. Lee is greeted warmly in his new position at the Metropolis Health Department, his two kids, Roberta and Tommy, are more excited about being closer to their famous hero, Superman!

Superhero – Adventure
2019

Key Creators
Simon Spurrier
Aaron Campbell
Matias Bergara

Analysis
After a short period with no ongoing series, John Constantine returned with Spurrier’s 2019 Black Label incarnation. Haunting images throughout provide the backdrop for this gritty series, which lands in the Top 10 for the first time as it nears it finale.

Official Description
John Constantine is back in London, back to his old tricks-and just in time, as things have become very dark indeed in his old stomping grounds. A small-time gang lord has found himself dealing with a big-time outbreak of supernatural weirdness…and without any allies to call on and nothing left to call his own, John doesn’t have much choice about taking a paycheck from one of London’s worst, or accepting the help of one of the gang lord’s would-be foot soldiers. But what should be an open-and-shut exorcism turns out to be nothing but…and the author of this madness may just be getting started on their terrible masterpiece!

Superhero – Crime
2019

Key Creators
Tom King
Gabriel Hernandez Walta
Jordie Bellaire

Analysis
Behold – Tom King indeed finishes with three series in the Top 30 thanks to the unparalleled VISION. Drawing on many of the same themes as Mister Miracle, the series largely serves as a metaphor for being an outcast as King uses the Marvel Universe’s most famous synthezoid to reflect on suburban life. Neighbors, school bullies, supervillains, and an obsession with Shakespeare present obstacles for members of the family. Their dog Sparky, the Avengers, and nursing rhymes present solutions. King writes like a creator eager to prove himself while remaining grounded in real-life experiences. Walta and Bellaire’s images are so arresting that readers are compelled to stop and experience every panel. Ultimately, the message of our capacity for perseverance is universal, and Vision earned much-deserving universal praise.

Official Description
The Vision wants to be human, and what’s more human than family? He goes to the laboratory where he was created, where Ultron molded him into a weapon, where he first rebelled against his given destiny, where he first imagined that he could be more, that he could be good, that he could be a man, a normal, ordinary man. And he builds them. A wife, Virginia. Two teenage twins, Viv and Vin. They look like him. They have his powers. They share his grandest ambition or perhaps obsession: the unrelenting need to be ordinary. Behold The Visions! They’re the family next door, and they have the power to kill us all. What could possibly go wrong?

Superhero – Adventure
2015

Key Creators
Tom King
Mitch Gerads

Analysis
King and Gerads may be the most talented creative team of the current comic creator crop. Mister Miracle came into our lives nestled between two of their other collaborations:The Sheriff of Babylon and Strange Adventures. Themes of parenthood, marriage, mental health, and power were heightened as a result of utilizing nine-panel grids throughout. Gerads utilized warping effects and a kaleidoscope of colors for fantastical sequences, and familiar/muted colors when depicting home life. Scott Free and Big Barda’s dilemma in issue #11 is the best of comic writing. When characters are faced with choices that confront their past, comics reflect real life no matter the setting. We’d all like to think we’d change when challenged, but fear leads to stagnation – stagnation of emotions…of vulnerability…of purpose…of values. Maybe becoming self-actualization requires surrender to elements out of our control. Taking a character nowhere near the A-list, and making fans and critics hang on everymoment of his life, is a feat that is a credit to the two talented creators.

Official Description
Scott Free is the greatest escape artist that ever lived. So great that he escaped Granny Goodness’ gruesome orphanage and the dangers of Apokolips to travel across galaxies and set up a new life on Earth with his wife, the former female fury known as Big Barda. Using the stage alter ego of Mister Miracle, he has made a career for himself showing off his acrobatic escape techniques. He even caught the attention of the Justice League, which counted him among its ranks. You might say Scott Free has everything…so why isn’t it enough? Mister Miracle has mastered every illusion, achieved every stunt, pulled off every trick-except one. He has never escaped death. Is it even possible? Our hero is going to have to kill himself if he wants to find out.

Superhero – Adventure
2017

Key Creators
Kieron Gillen
Stephanie Hans
Clayton Cowles

Analysis
While Die did not decline in its ALFRED score, it was surpassed this month! What is Die? While it was billed as “Goth Jumanji,” it’s so much more. Think a cross between Stephen King and the best role-playing game. Except it breaks everything you know about these genres while presenting some of the most compelling characters in comic history. Hans’ art is disturbing and beautiful all at once. Its first two volumes are currently in the Top 15 of our Graphic Novel rankings.

Official Description
DIE is a pitch-black fantasy where a group of forty-something adults have to deal with the returning unearthly horror they barely survived as teenage role-players. If Kieron’s in a rush, he describes it as “Goth Jumanji.” That only captures a sliver of what you’ll find in oversized debut issue—where fantasy gets all too real.

Fantasy
2018

Key Creators
Al Ewing
Joe Bennett
Ruy Jose

Analysis
How did it stay at at #1? Immortal Hulk earned ★★★★★ status in all seven of its volumes, and its late-2020 issues put it over the top. Ewing and Bennet, alongside Jose, fully committed to the horror of actually living life as the Hulk. Despite a long history, this take on Bruce and his alter ego is long on expressiveness and introspection and filled with action, as evidenced by its pinnacle, issue #24 The Steel Throne. It also has the highest percentage of ★★★★★ issues of any series of its length. For over two years, every issue has delivered a quality read. Even the covers depicted by the iconic Alex Ross are spectacular. Take the opportunity to catch up on this all-timer.

Official Description
HORROR HAS A NAME. You’d never notice the man. He doesn’t like to be noticed. He’s quiet. Calm. Never complains. If someone were to walk up and shoot him in the head… all he’d do is die. Until night falls. And someone else gets up again. The man’s name is Banner. The horror is THE IMMORTAL HULK.

Superhero – Horror
2018

Check in next month for changes to the 100!