Meaningless Awards of the Fortnight

The Best Writer Award- Ed Brubaker

If only three Ed Brubaker books came out every week. Captain America #35, Daredevil #105 and Criminal Vol. 2 #1 all come out this week, and not surprisingly, all of them were awesome.

Daredevil 105Daredevil was the conclusion to the Mister Fear arc, and what a conclusion it was. DD finally got to go one-on-one with Mister Fear this issue, but despite kicked Fear’s ass, DD still lost. For DD, this has all been about finding a cure for the chemically-induced craziness of his wife Milla. But Brubaker through in a gut-wrenching twist, that there is no cure, and there’s not even any way to find a cure. So Milla is batsh!# insane pretty much for good. Not only did Brubaker deliver a very emotional moment for our horned hero, but he managed to write the go-nowhere wife out of the book for the foreseeable future.

Captain America continues to show why I chose it as 2007’s Best Ongoing Series. Bucky is shaping up to be a very competent replacement for Steve Rogers. I really like that Black Widow is now seemingly the second lead in the series, because something about the character has always appealed to me. And now Sharon Carter is pregnant with Cap Jr., although on the plus side, she seems to be not brainwashed anymore.

I’m glad that Criminal is back from hiatus, as the first two arcs were some of the best comics of the last few years. Criminal is certainly one of the best values on the stands today, as Doom Deluise pointed out this weekend. The first issue of this arc seems to be the setup for a revenge story, and if that’s the way Brubaker’s going, I’m looking forward to the ride.

C&D 50The Helluva Send-Off Award- Cable & Deadpool

Before I started reading Fabian Nicenza’s Cable & Deadpool, I didn’t like Cable or Deadpool. As far as I was concerned, they were cheap products of the 90s, when big shoulder pads, big guns and a history with Weapon X was all a character needed. But after 50 issues, I’d grown quite fond of these two. Okay, I still kind of hate Cable, but Deadpool’s become one of my favorite characters.

Deadpool is a funny character. Just like Spider-Man, She-Hulk, The Great Lakes Avengers, Formerly Known as the Justice League and Hero Squared, Cable & Deadpool perfectly combined humor with super-heroics. Cable was a great straight man for the over-the-top Deadpool, but when Cable toom a temporary dirtnap, the book juts got better. Agent X, Weasel and especially Bob: Agent of Hydra became part of one of the best supporting casts in comics, and hopefully Marvel has the common decency to release an Agency X series sometime in the future.

The fiftieth and final issue of C&D was about all you could hope for from a series finale. In addition to an extra-long story, there were two pages of reader mail (answered, as always, by Deadpool himself), farewell addresses from Nicenze and editor Nicole Boose, a countdown of the series best moments, and a pin-up gallery featuring art from the series’ mainstay artists. This finale even seemed to bring out the best in Rob Liefeld, whose pin-up showcased a general knowledge of human proportions and lacked most of the suckiness usually present in Liefeld’s work.

The Is That Still Coming Out? Award- Runaways

I was shocked to see the latest issue of Joss Whedon’s Runaways in my pull box a couple weeks ago. Not because I’ve been waiting forever for it to come out, but because I had just plain forgot about it. I forgot about a Joss Whedon title. Me. That is not a good sign.

Rasl 1The Helluva Start? Award- Rasl

I can’t claim any sense of objectivity regarding Jeff Smith. Bone is my favorite comic book story of all time, and it’s hard to differentiate the story from the creator. I thoroughly enjoyed Smith’s Shazam! mini-series, $6 price tage and all, if for no other reason than I was going through a few years of Bone withdrawal. I’ve been eagerly anticipating the debut of Rasl since I first heard about it a year or so ago, and was overjoyed to see it in my pull box last Wednesday.

I’m not sure what to think of the first issue, though. It introduces the main character, although it doesn’t name him. It introduces the drift, although it doesn’t quite explain what it is. It introduces the villain, although knowing Smith this is probably just some lackey that will eventually be replaced by a bigger and badder bad guy. And it introduces the fact that something goes horribly wrong for the main character, although it doesn’t even begin to explain the hows and whys od the situation.

Those ingredients might not make for a very good single issue, but it does make for a pretty good introduction to what will hopefully end up being a story just as epic and deep as Bone was. But with three months or more between issues, I hope Jeff Smith doesn’t sacrifice the quality of the individual issues for the quality of the story as a whole.

The Sequelitis Award- Marvel Zombies 2

I really liked Marvel Zombies. Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness was a definite step down, but the humor of the story still kept it entertaining. I thought Dead Days was a good origin story for the Marvel Zombies universe.

But Marvel Zombies 2 just plain sucked.

The art in MZ2 really seemed to be on a much lower level than we had seen in the original mini-series. Maybe Sean Phillips just wanted to get this thing done with so he could start back on Criminal (and who could blame him?). Even the design of the characters this time around was bad. Seeing the zombified versions of the Marvel characters was one of the great parts of the original series. Cap without the top of his head, Wolverine missing an arm, Spidey short one leg, Iron Man sans the lower half of his body…that was half of the fun of Marvel Zombies. Sure, MZ2 had zombie heads floating in jars on top of robot bodies, but the cosmic Zombies sporting new arms and legs (and stupid looking ones at that) was just a poor decision.

And so was the whole story, while I’m at it. Normally I like just about anything Robert Kirkman puts out, but maybe with The Walking Dead, Invincible, The Astounding Wolf-Man, Ultimate X-Men and Marvel Zombies 2, Kirkman was spreading himself a little too thin. I don’t read a book like Marvel Zombies because I want to see the son of Fabian Cortez argue with Forge and a bunch of old Acolytes while the Zombies eat Ego. That’s boring. I want to see hordes of Zombies fighting each other over food.

At least we an all be thankful that the Zombies craze is finally over. Wait, “The End?” “?”!?!? Dammit all to hell!

T-Bolts International IncidentThe We Interrupt Your Regular Series To Bring You This One-Shot Award- Thunderbolts: International Incident

I remember a time when Thunderbolts came out on a regular basis. Of course, that was before the all-powerful Warren Ellis took over the title a year ago and changed it into something that was virtually unrecognizable from the Thunderbolts readers had known for 100+ issues. So when Ellis doesn’t want to get one of his isues done on time, Marvel turns to Paul Jenkins of Christos Gage to put out a one-shot.

And you know what, I think I’ve liked these one-shots more than I’ve enjoyed the regular series over the past year. The Songbird/Moonstone issue fromn a few months back was quite reminiscent of the tone of the original series, and this new special was once again closer to that than Ellis’ issues. Hopefully when Ellis gets tired of playing with his new toys, Marvel will hand the title over to Gage to steer the title back towards what it had always been.