Monthly archives: January, 2008

Most Underrated Creator of 2007

Doominator says: Jeffrey Brown!

“Clumsy” is absolute garbage, but everything he’s written since then has been good in a way that makes me feel uncomfortably emo. Feeble Attempts may be one of my favorite finds of the year. His interpretation of Jesus almost makes me a prayin’ man again.

Fin Fang Doom says: Salvador LaRocca!

Uncanny X-Men 491I honestly couldn’t think of someone that was really under-rater in 2007 I until I read Jim Doom’s entry below. Ivan Reis is a great artist, but I’m not going to write about him again. But pretty much all of Jim’s entry reminded me a lot of another artist: Salvador LaRocca.

LaRocca’s been one of the utility players at Marvel for about a decade now, always churning out above average work at an above average rate. In 2007, despite not having a regular gig, LaRocca really took his game to the next level. He has begun to make each and every character he draws look unique and realistic. LaRocca’s work on Uncanny X-Men last year really stood out to me. His Storm stands out to me as probably the best representation of the character in the dozen or so years I’ve been reading X-Men comics.

LaRocca’s spent most of his career jumping between high profile books like Fantastic Four, Uncanny X-Men, X-Men and Amazing Spider-Man, but I don’t think he’s ever been considered part of that elite group of artists that for some reason are allowed to get by just drawing a few dozen covers or three issues a year. Maybe that’s a good thing, though.


Most Overrated Creator of 2007

Jim Doom says: I guess I’ll have to say Michael Turner!

Somebody thinks he’s good because he litters the front cover of comic books constantly and he really, really sucks. I can’t think of any other examples of such mediocre-to-awful output being so heavily rewarded.

Doominator says: Jeph Loeb!

Jeph Loeb

Wolverine vs. Sabretooth made me hate comics and the fanboys who read them with an unnecessary fight and unnecessary death. He was a second issue of Ultimates 3 away from my worst writer vote.

Fin Fang Doom says: Jeph Loeb!

I don’t think the man has done anything good since Superman/Batman. Surely everything he’s done at Marvel has been pure drivel. Wolverine, Fallen Son, Ultimates 3, and probably some other stuff I’m forgetting because it was so bad, was not good at all. Yet he’s still hailed as one of the best writers in the business, and gets to destroy the Ultimate Universe and Hulk in 2008. Go figure.

Doom DeLuise says: Paul Dini!

Everybody treats him like he’s God’s chosen one with all the stroke, but his name appears on every single damned issue of Countdown, so, like, he’s not. Oh, Alex Ross sucks, too.

Hey! Check out what we had to so about over-rated writers and artists in 2006!

Worst Single Issue of 2007

Doom Deluise says: Amazing Spider-Man #545!

Amazing 545Coming in just under the wire, let’s turn to the judges. Does it count? It counts! Amazing Spider-Man #545, you’re not only the single worst issue of a comic book in the year 2007, but you might be the single worst issue of a comic book ever written. Congratulations! You FUCKING suck! You’re so bad, you ruined twenty years of stuff that was better than you. That’s a lot of issues that you completely ruined. Way to go, you must be proud of yourself. Welcome back, Harry Osborne, webshooters, and teenage angst. Good-bye, twenty years of character development and continuity. It’s like a gay dad accidentally raping his son.

Honorable Mention: Civil War: The Return. I can’t think of a single more ineffectual, unnecessary issue than this one. They brought back Captain Marvel in this much-hyped stand-alone tie-in, yet, within the pages of Civil War, he only showed up for a single panel, in the background, to no fanfare. Remember, Captain Marvel’s death was the first giant event in Marvel Comics’ history. And then they slipped him back in, fully alive, at the 11th hour of Civil War. Seemed annoying and pointless at the time; strikes me as desperate and pathetic in hindsight.

Jim Doom says: Marvel Zombies: Dead Days!

Marvel Zombies: Dead Days was probably the worst comic book I’ve ever read. I can’t even think of anything that comes remotely close.

Honorable mention: The Goon #19

As I wrote in July, “This comic has just gotten downright sad…Good looking art, really stupid story. It’s like the guy had a finite number of ideas that were fresh and exciting for the first dozen or so issues, but since then, is cluelessly cursed to reviving them and firing scattershot at the page, hoping that Frankie’s vulgarity and occasional visual non sequiturs would somehow fall conveniently into a humorous and intriguing combination. It just doesn’t work, and it’s so mind-boggling that something so incredibly good has devolved into something this bad.”


Best Single Issue of 2007

Fin Fang Doom says: Sensational Spider-Man Annual #1!

Sensational Annual 1Back in May, Marvel published a pretty decent annual to their worst Spider-Man series. Written by Matt Fraction with art by Salvador LaRocca, the stand-alone story was a love story to Peter and Mary Jane. Not a love story about Peter and MJ, mind you. It was a celebration of the love the two have shared throughout the years. Coming on the heels of the recent Spider-retcon, the mere fact that anyone would have been allowed to say anything so positive about Peter and MJ’s relationship is baffling. What’s even more baffling is how anyone, aftger having read this issue, could think the marriage has been an negative thing for Spider-Man.

The story was set post Civil War, where Spidey is a wanted fugitive and everyone knows Mary Jane Watson is his wife. MJ is visited in a cafe by an old boyfriend, who asks her what it’s like to be married to a superhero. Simultaneously, Peter is meeting with a police detective that he’s recently come to have a semi-trusting relationship. Peter and MJ each start to tell their guests about the history of their lives, specfically the history of their lives together. At the end, it’s revealed that MJ’s ex is now a SHIELD agent, and he’s there to force MJ into telling him where Peter is. Peter, thanks to a tip from the cop he’s meeting with, is able to rescue MJ right in the nick of time.

There usually aren’t a whole lot of feel good moments in comics these days. Stories rarely end on a postive note. I guess there’s not a whole lot of excitement in everyone being happy. Which is why, when one of those rare feel good moments does come along, it’s even more special. Sensational Spider-Man Annual #1 was one of those.

Doom DeLuise says: Criminal #5!

The conclusion to the first arc in Criminal was absolutely pitch perfect. Ed Brubaker wrote a lot of really great stuff in 2007, but this issue is his best.


Worst Ongoing Series of 2007

Doominator says: Justice League of America!

You know when there’s supposed to be this awesome thing that happened awesomely and it was awesome? Brad Meltzer’s plodding JLA missed the mark by lengths that are staggering. Was it the worst thing to happen to comics this year? Well, probably not. But to determine worst, you have to temper the hype surrounding everything. Weighing hype with delivery, JLA was like that semester when you told your parents you were going to make honor roll and instead spent “homework time” beating off to Christina Aguilera videos. Not that I would know.

Fin Fang Doom says: Exiles!

Exiles 100Exiles used to be one of my favorite series in comics. It was one of those rare circumstances where I picked up the first issue on a whim and was immediately hooked. I’d say that throughout the years, it had it’s up and downs, but that’s not really true. It’s pretty much always been up. Judd Winick’s run was great, Tony Bedard’s run was great…hell, even Chuck Austen’s run was great. That’s right, Chuck freaking Austen. Exiles seemed like it would join Amazing Spider-Man, Uncanny and adjective-less X-Men as one of the titles where if they’re still publishing it, I’d still be buying it.

Then along came 2007, and along came the worst villain to ever plague the Exiles. Worse than the Phalanx, worse than Hyperion, even worse than Proteus. That dastardly villain was none other then fabled X-scribe extraordinaire, Chris Claremont. Claremont jumped on the book in January band proceeded to clean house. Power Princess left with to make room for Claremont’s pet project Psylocke. Heather Hudson was taken out and replaced by Ultimate-esque Shadowcat. The Timebreaker bugs were taken out so the new higher power could be Roma or whoever from the Captain Britain Corps. Spider-Man 2099 and Longshot left to bring in a non-blue, non-female Mystique and a Rogue. By late 2007, Exiles was looking less and less like the book I’d loved for six years and more and more lie Chris Claremont’s personal playground. Then Claremont did the unthinkable…he replaced Blink with Sage.


Countdown to Final Crisis: Seventeen through Fifteen

countdown 17-15
Well, it was bound to happen again, so I’m not even going to apologize. The fact that I’ve kept up this much for this series so far speaks volumes, so sue me if I slip behind a few weeks every once in awhile. Just try to see things from my perspective: Not only am I buying and reading one of the stupidest, boringest comic books ever written, but then I have the duty of writing a recap/review for you blood-thirsty animals. This is Victorian freakshow, folks, so enjoy the spectacle of a tortured man’s ramblings. Sure, I could quit at any time, and nobody would fault me for it (hell, some of you would probably prefer it), but I told myself, back when this series started, that I would review it through to the end. I believe my words were, “I have money to burn.” Anyway, let’s get down to it; we’ve got three weeks worth of “stuff” to “cover,” and we’re running out of daylight. (more…)

Best Ongoing Series of 2007

Jim Doom says: New Avengers!

New Avengers 35Going back through my weekly reviews, it is clear that no comic was more exciting for me to read each month than New Avengers. And as I managed to explain nearly every month, the irony of this is that I was really close to dropping it a little more than a year ago. But when Civil War came, the New Avengers were split, and the book became a series of solo stories about how the Civil War was affecting the team’s heroes. Another change that happened at that time was the addition of Leinil Yu as regular artist. I have absolutely loved that guy’s work since he developed his own style, and it was a huge treat to have him start on a book that I was already reading.

So the big story of 2007 involved the New Avengers becoming an underground team of renegades and it was also the launching point for some of the first pieces of the Skrull invasion. Bendis employed several different storytelling styles – for example, one issue was entirely structured around a posthumous letter from Echo to Matt Murdock, and another issue was structured within a conversation between the increasingly-paranoid Luke Cage and his increasingly-frustrated wife Jessica Jones. Doing things other than “fight for 22 pages” seems to rub some readers the wrong way, but each week, something internal or external was developing and the story was advancing in an exciting way that made me eager to come back.

There are few comics that can effectively encompass a wide spectrum of emotions while still managing to tell superhero comics stories. New Avengers nails it each month. Other comic books are pleasant surprises when I see they came out that week; New Avengers actually makes me look forward to sitting down and reading.

I wrote this back in May: “It reminds me of the experience of watching Lost – it doesn’t matter if certain things are obviously coming; theres not a lot of point in anticipating other things because some are going to be completely out of the blue; the joy is in how we’re going to get there.”

The only asterisk to this selection is the awareness that Leinil Yu is leaving the book in 2008, but at least it’s to move on to the Skrull invasion series.


Worst New Series of 2007

Doom DeLuise says: Mighty Avengers!

Mighty Avengers 1I think this is new this year. Either way, I hate it. I got tired of the thought bubbles right away, and the way the characters interact bores the hell out of me. I think I lasted all of three issues before I got tired of that hot naked Ultron villain (forgive me if I forgot all of the details) and super giant sized goo monsters. Yawn. I’m not sure how Ultron ties into Annihilation: Conquest, if it does at all, but if you want to see how to make Ultron a fairly badass villain, look no furthr than that expertly crafted miniseries. Putting him in charge of the Phallanx operation is just super cool and damn scary. Oh, and before I forget, I also really hated the Avengers: Initiative series. So much so that I gave up on anything with the word “Avengers” in the title. I knew that was gonna happen! I even gave up reading New Avengers, which I was enjoying, since it had a couple boring issues, and I didn’t have any motivation to get onboard with all that silly symbiote overrunning New York nonsense.

Jim Doom says: Avengers Classic!

I wrote this when it came out: “Avengers Classic – according to the inside back cover editors’ notes – was inspired by the Classic X-Men series. You see, that series included stories from the Claremont days of Uncanny X-Men with backup stories by other creative teams that took place in roughly the same timeline. This series, however, is apparently going to have stories from the beginning of the Avengers series with backup stories that will be all ironic and sarcastic and just plain cute.

I think you can see the problem here. For every person that says Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were geniuses, there is probably at least one person who forgets how much comic books in the 1960s were really awful. Sure, they may have transformed a genre, and maybe their work is a step up from the other brands of awful that were the norm at the time, but I think comics from the 1960s are best left as fond memories and not dug up for all the kids to see just how full of crap the 50 year olds at the comic store really are.

Now, if the double-backup cutesiness was just a special thing for this first issue, I could maybe see this thing going somewhere. But it already lacks two out of the two things that Classic X-Men had going for it, and that eventually got canceled in an era when reprints weren’t readily available and the internet wasn’t really accessible. Probably not a bright future for this comic. What a bummer of a first issue.”


Best New Series of 2007

Fin Fang Doom says: Buffy the Vampire Slayer!

Buffy 1I’m not even going to pretend I’m being objective here. I love Buffy. This series could be the comic book equivalent of poop on a stick and I’d eat it up with a spoon. Having Joss Whedon write this cast of characters again is a dream come true. Having the much-missed-in-2007 Brian K. Vaughan write the second arc was incredible. So it just so happened this series I was destined to love turned out to be something incredibly worthwhile.

As far as new non-Buffy series go, I’d have to give the nod to Green Arrow & Black Canary. I’m not sure what it is about this series, but I like it. There have been times when I’ve loved Judd Winick’s writing (Exiles), and there’s been times when I’ve hated it (strangely enough, Green Arrow), but something seems to be clicking here. Cliff Chiang’s gorgeous artwork is certainly a large factor. Whoever is the colorist on the book also deserve a big thumbs up. The first arc on Paradise Island was so bright and colorful and just plain nice to look at, especially compared to the dark, gritty tones that are present in pretty much every other comic book.

Doom DeLuise says: Booster Gold!

Boy, howdy, do I love Booster Gold. His series has been super fun so far, and it has limitless potential for where it can go. He’s already traveled to a time when Sinestro was a Green Lantern, as well as to the night Barbara Gordon was paralyzed. Very cool stuff. I like it a lot.


Worst Mini-Series of 2007

Jim Doom says: GAYO!

GAYOGreen Arrow: Year One was a major part in the abuse Green Arrow took in 2007. I started out really liking this, but it ended up being just a stupid retelling-slash-update of Green Arrow’s origin that just made him look like a stupid tool. The type-shout insult of “GAYO!!!” became code for “Oh no – looks like Oliver Queen has gotten into a bad situation – how about something completely random will happen that will conveniently get him (and series writer Andy Diggle) out of this pickle!” when that started happening ALL THE TIME.

Honorable mention: For all the success of 52, there is that glaring poop smear on its record that goes by the name “World War III.”
Not only was World War III a huge disappointment in terms of the story it told, it also showed DC that they could claim “52 issues isn’t enough to hold this story – we need companion series in which we can illustrate monthly stories of nothing happening!!” and PEOPLE WOULD BUY IT. Hence the absolute fecal mess that is Countdown and its weekly irrelevant spinoffs.

Honorable mention: Endangered Species. I guess it set up the Messiah Complex, which has been really good, but I still think the whole motivation behind this miniseries is a drastic bastardization of what the X-Men represent. At least it didn’t cost any extra money to read – if you already bought all the X-books, that is.

Doominator says: Ultimates 3!

In 2007, only one issue of it dropped, but I can already tell I’m going to hate the rest of Ultimates 3. God awful is one word to describe it. That’s not one word? Well, the series is bound to make as much sense. The best thing it can do is hide behind a stack of “Heroes Reborn Get Reborner.”