Brian Michael Bendis’s Best Comics

Over the decades, the comic book industry has spawned names that fans now consider industry legends thanks to their genre-defining series on iconic characters. Brian Michael Bendis is one such writer, with his work running the gamut from more specialized, yet no less compelling characters to icons of the medium.

Much of his best comics have come through Marvel, especially with his run on daredevil, but it also had outstanding underrated work from smaller publishers. Some of them include crime-noir series like Image Comics’ Sam and Twitch and belonging to the creator Powers.


9 Torso

Black and white art of Bendis detectives at a crime scene in Torso.

In one of Brian Bendis’ first comic book offerings, he and co-writer Marc Andreyko have teamed up under Image Comics for a true-crime limited series. Torso is based on the true story of the Cleveland Torso Murderer, who dismembered his victims.

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Bendis had many acclaimed and award-winning comics by Eisner, including Ultimate Spiderman, daredevil, A.k.aand Powers — and Torso was one of his first comics to win and put it on the mainstream map in the process. This underrated limited series has won acclaim for its deadly take on noir crime.

8 Sam and Twitch

Moody, stylized artwork by Sam and Twitch.

Back at Image Comics, Brian Bendis had a run in Tod McFarlane’s flagship Spawn universe. Taking the titular supporting characters Sam and Twitch from the main series, Bendis attempted the crime-noir/superhero hybrid genre mashup again.

Sam and Twitch follow the detective duo as they tackle some heinous supernatural cases, as you would expect from a Spawn spin off. The series turned out to have all the moving parts necessary for Bendis’ writing to shine. It features brooding character drama, gory detective work, and a dash of tasteful humor.

seven Powers

The main cast of Powers with superheroes flying in the background.

Powers was the first time Bendis dipped his pencils into the superhero genre, revolving around two detectives named Christian Walker and Deena Pilgrim. The duo are tasked with investigating cases involving people with superpowered abilities, known as “powers”. Alongside artist Michael Avon Oeming, Powers brilliantly blended Bendis’ penchant for noir crime with superheroes and police procedurals.

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This clever cocktail has earned the series three Eisner Awards with this cult classic as one of the most creative and experimental comic book series that tackles the superhero genre. Powers had a sprawling run from April 2000 to September 2020.

6 Batman: Universe

Derington's art of Batman descending on Gotham City with his billowing cape behind him.

While not as well-known given the brooding vigilante comic book pantheon, Bendis had a hidden gem of a limited series starring DC’s most beloved superhero. Batman: Universe is a refreshing side story set in an alternate canon that serves as a palette cleanser of the Dark Knight’s darker exploits – beloved as they are. The story begins with the Riddler stealing a mysterious jewel egg which turns into a globetrotting adventure.

It also features characters from the wider DC Universe in supporting roles, with Universe to be praised for being a nice change of pace for his more colorful and engrossing Batman adventure. Batman: Universe doesn’t veer into over-the-top camp like in the days of Adam West, but strikes a nice modern balance, and Nick Derington’s art is a perfect complement to that lighter tone.

5 A.k.a

Jessica Jones snuggles up in a purple watercolor style blanket.

Published under Marvel Comics’ mature MAX imprint, A.k.a was Bendis’ gritty run alongside artist Michael Gaydos on superheroine turned private eye Jessica Jones. In this series, Jessica Jones was once known as the superhero Jewel but turned away from that life. A.k.a was praised for its approach as a psychological study of the character, with the series uncovering pieces of Jessica Jones’ past and developing her character as she learns to heal from her trauma.

Fans of the Netflix series will be at home with A.k.a, as this Bendis-led series served as the foundation for Season 1’s intense character-driven story with Purple Man as the main villain. Bendis’ work was vital to Netflix’s former corner of the MCU, with Jessica Jones and daredevil due in part to their successes to his influential writing.

4 Ultimate Spider-Man

Spider-Man swinging through the air in the cover of Ultimate Spider-Man.

Given Brian Bendis’ status in the comics industry, his impressive track record, and his strong ties to the publisher, it’s expected that he’ll eventually get a feel for the superhero the most iconic Marvel Comic alongside Mark Bagley, Stuart Immonen and David Lafuente. as artists. His best run on Spider-Man happened to be with a remake of a classic story, like Ultimate Spider-Man is a retelling of its origin story from the 60s.

The 7-issue arc was well-received, giving the admittedly dated writing of that decade a much-needed modernization to suit Spider-Man for a new era. Ultimate Spider-Man is still held in high regard as a nostalgic return of a beloved character and among the best the early 2000s had to offer comics.

3 Invincible Iron Man

Iron Man hovering over New York in the cover art of David Marquez.

In a more recent series on Marvel comics, Bendis also took over the Invincible Iron Man series in 2016. The series introduced the character of Riri Williams, who would later replace Tony Stark as Iron Heart. Interestingly, it also featured Mary Jane Watson as Tony’s assistant.

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While some comic book fans are rightly wary of turning the source material into a live-action expansion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Bendis’ Invincible Iron Man was praised for his character writing. Tony has a history in comics of self-mockery and arrogance as well as brilliance, and Bendis has struck a good balance between Robert Downey Jr.’s sarcastic personality, his sense of humor, and respect for what he is. preceded.

2 Daredevil: End Times

Daredevil holding his mace in the samurai-themed cover of End of Days.

Although it was considered the canon of mainline continuity at the time, it seems to have since been quietly agreed to be an alternate timeline. Apart from Bendis’ acclaimed main series daredevil ran with artist Alex Maleev, he teamed up with David Mack for an even darker take on The Man Without Fear in end of days.

It takes place in the more distant future, revolving around the death of Daredevil and Hell’s Kitchen no longer caring. A harrowing mystery begins to unfold, especially as another Daredevil still lurks. end of days was also extremely well received, with Bendis’ atmospheric noir tone being a highlight. Likewise, it serves as a large, dark companion piece to its main series. And as dark as that sounds, it might just be one of the worst things to happen to Daredevil outside of the main comics.

1 daredevil

Daredevil standing with shadows over him in Bendis' run.

Perhaps the crowning achievement of Brian Michael Bendis, his run on the mainline daredevil The series with longtime partner Alex Maleev on pencils is on par with some of Frank Miller’s best work. He served as a major tonal influence for the equally acclaimed daredevil Television show, featuring a high-stakes story that put Matt Murdock through his paces.

Being able to write a compelling story says a lot considering Daredevil often rains hellfire on his life. This run was hailed for being a sprawling crime saga that constantly showed Bendis flexing his black muscles with one of the most raw characters in the superhero genre.

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