The following are my favorite superhero comics published this year, the top titles of which will also fall into my forthcoming best comics of 2009 list. There are some titles I didn't get around to checking out this year, unfortunately, such as Gail Simone's Wonder Woman, Jonathan Hickman's Fantastic Four, and Robert Kirkman's Invincible (still)...but other than those few stray series, I was pretty immersed in the various universes of superheroes throughout the year. I like to do a separate list for superheroes (and manga) because literary comics tend to overshadow genre works, even though I really, really love superhero books too. I feel I need to highlight the best the year had to offer, so here are my personal favorites...
10. Dark Avengers (Brian Michael Bendis & Mike Deodato) - Norman Osborn's team of Avengers are mostly villains, much like the Thunderbolts (many of them were Thunderbolts, in fact), but are dressed up like classic and current Avengers, taking on their codenames and being endorsed by Osborn as the "official" team. Hawkeye is actually Bullseye, Ms. Marvel is actually Moonstone, etc. It's great to watch the team bickering and doing villainous things when nobody's looking, and I love Osborn's right-hand girl, the steely, capable Miss Victoria Hand, whom I hope to get to know more of in future issues. I particularly enjoyed the most recent storyline surrounding Molecule Man, and as always, Deodato's art is a treat to behold.
Irredeemable (Mark Waid & Peter Krause)
Dark Reign: Elektra (Zeb Wells & Clay Mann)
Echo (Terry Moore)
The Sword (Luna Brothers)
Green Lantern Corps (Peter J. Tomasi & Patrick Gleason)