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Mark Millar's 10 Best Comic Books | Screen Rant

When it comes to the most celebrated comic-book scribes of the past 25 years, Mark Millar is near the top of the list. The Scottish writer has worked on several of the most beloved DC and Marvel superhero stories, including Superman, Spider-Man, Wolverine, and many others. In 2004, he founded Millarworld, an artist-driven publication that has released a slew of riveting independent comic books like Wanted and many others to hit the masses.

After selling Millarworld to Netflix in 2017, the streaming giant immediately put Millar’s beloved comic American Jesus into production. While the TV series continues to film, now is a great time to reflect on the highlights of Millar’s decorated comic book career.

Although the Netflix adaptation was canceled after one season, Jupiter’s Legacy remains one of Millar’s crowning comic book achievements. The splendid pencil artwork by Frank Quitely is second to none, but it’s Millar’s story about how the American dream relates to superhero mythology that really resonates among his fanbase.

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The story concerns Sheldon Sampson, the leader of an aging group of superheroes who must safely pass on his legacy to a new generation of relatives, who need to avoid their past mistakes and find their own place in the world. The mixture of political intrigue, family sacrifice, and enthralling action set the tone for the series that currently holds a stellar 8.8 score on Comic Book Roundup.

Millar penned issues #1-12 of Marvel Knights Spider-Man, a beloved spinoff comic he co-created with Terry Dodson. While the first two or three issues stand out the most, the comic remains one of the most adored by Millar fans, who wrote a year-long story arc for one of the most iconic superheroes of all time.

With excellent storylines that pit Spider-Man versus Green Goblin, Owl, Dr. Octopus, Venom, and The Scorpion, Millar jammed-packed his issues full of intense fighting that is brilliantly balanced by Peter Parker’s adolescent malaise as a vulnerable loner. With superb artwork by the late Steve Ditko, Marvel Knights Spider-Man is a more mature and less commercial Spider-Man comic that continues to teach life lessons.

Pulling from previous Marvel storylines, Civil War is a seven-issue crossover comic book Millar wrote and Steven McNiven illustrated. The story involves the government passing the Superhero Registration Act, which proposes to regulate superhero activity. The proposal causes a major rift between Captain America, who opposes the law, and Iron Man, who supports it, leaving Sider-Man stuck in the middle.

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Far ahead of its time, Civil War explores the notion of government overreach, fascism, oppression, the need for security over privacy, and other real-life issues that give the superheroes a much more relatable narrative. The storyline proved so compelling it parts of the story were weaved into the plot of Captain America: Civil War in 2016.

Also currently boasting a stellar 8.6 score on Comic Book Roundup, Huck is a highly acclaimed six-issue run Millar released through Image Comics in 2016. Set in a calm seaside hamlet, Huck goes against Millar’s trademark violence and terror to show a much softer, warmer, and uplifting side.

The story follows the heroic Huck, a gentle giant with brute strength who uses his raw power to do acts of kindness in a small coastal town. When the local news picks up his story and exposes his deeds, Huck finds himself at an existential crossroads he must navigate to unlock his cryptic past. A touching change of pace for Millar, mixed with the stunning artwork from Rafael Albuquerque, Huck is easily one of Millar’s most memorable comics to date.

Published by Marvel Comics in 2008, Marvel 1985 is a six-issue run Millar created with famed artist Tommy Lee Edwards. Aside from the eye-popping illustrations, the intriguing storyline imagines various Marvel heroes and villains trapped in the real world when a mutant boy named Toby alters the timeline with his warping powers.

Contemplative and sentimental, the story feels like a fan service written by an actual comic book fan, putting viewers in the awe-inspired mind-frame of Toby first and foremost, which is why it resonates so much. The best moment comes in issue #5 when Toby’s life is saved by Spider-Man after he has a heart-to-heart with Peter Parker.

Millar has a preternatural understanding of how to make superheroes feel as human as possible, with no better representation than Old Man Logan. In a story that inspired the hit 2017 film Logan, the comic published in 2009 envisions Wolverine at an existential crossroads while stuck in an alternate, post-apocalyptic version of Earth that forces him to confront his true nature after being tricked by Mysterio.

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Featuring some of the best comic book artwork by Steve McNiven, Old Man Logan was adapted as part of the podcast series Marvel’s Wastelanders, with Stephen Lang cast in the title role, proving how transcendent the story is beyond the written page.

Loosely adapted into a thrilling action blockbuster starring Angelina Jolie at her most badass, Wanted continues to be one of Millar’s most celebrated comics. Published by Top Cow from 2003 to 2004, the awesome six-issue run follows Wesley Gibson, a lonely office worker stuck in the rat race who learns he is the heir to a powerful supervillain assassin, and trains to live up to his ancestors with the help of Fox, a cold-blooded assassin.

Featuring spectacular illustrations by artist J.G. Jones, Wanted proves Millar is most comfortable writing tales of hyper-violent rogue vigilantism while making salient statements about everyday society. Looking back, what Wanted says about toxic masculinity as Wesley devolves into a predatory state is quite salient.

While Superman Adventures is worth a mention, Red Son is Millar at his absolute finest. Timely and topical as ever, the story finds baby Kal-El shot to Earth when Krypton explodes, landing on a Ukrainian farm during the 1950s. As he tries to find answers, Kal-El must contend with the escalating Cold War tensions between the U.S. and the Soviet Union for five long decades.

Short and sweet, the four-issue comic boasts a stellar 9.0 user rating on Comic Book Roundup, putting readers into the empathetic mind-frame of all the socialist and communist forces America fought to rid during the Cold War. The comic became so popular that it was adapted into a feature animated film in 2020.

Published by Marvel Comics from 2002 to 2004, The Ultimates is a superb 13-issue run that helped to define the visual and tonal tableau of the MCU (for example, Nick Fury was represented as Samuel L. Jackson in the comic). Between Bryan Hitch’s immersively cinematic wide panels and Millar’s snazzy pop-cultural references, the comic became an easy and accessible way for new fans to enter the Marvel Universe.

Story-wise, the Ultimates are contemporized alternate versions of the Avengers, who start out by taking on an alien incursion that threatens Earth. Team-building, snarky barbs and zingers, and pitch-perfect casting proved Millar was far ahead of the curve in terms of giving fans exactly what they want.

Most fans of Mark Millar will say that Kick-Ass is his most satisfying comic book to date. The highly amusing and viscerally violent 5-book run illustrated by John Romita Jr. was turned into two extremely popular feature films that mirror the kinetic energy, visual pizazz, and sheer anarchy of the comics. They also feature some of the best movie adaptations of comic book characters.

Kick-Ass follows Dave Lizewski, a normal teenager who decides to become a crime-fighting superhero, and the various actions he goes about to attain the title. With colorfully eccentric characters like Hit-Girl standing out, Kick-Ass proves Millar knows how to marry humanity with heroism like few others.

NEXT: 10 Best Movies If You Like Kick-Ass

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