Monthly archives: February, 2010

Best Storyline in an Ongoing Series of 2009

Jim Doom: “Return of the King,” Daredevil!

This was Ed Brubaker at his best, and by extension, Daredevil as well. It was a fantastic collision of longtime adversaries on a collision course with each other, bringing together events that had been laid out for years. I hated seeing Brubaker leave the title, but it was an amazing way to go out.

Honorable Mentions: “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader,” Batman and “Old Man Logan,” Wolverine. I loved “…Caped Crusader,” but it was only two issues, and much of “Old Man Logan” was in 2008. Still, both were fantastic.

Here were our favorite storylines in ongoing series from previous years: (more…)

Worst Storyline in an Ongoing Series of 2009

Jim Doom: Mon-El in Charge!

I’ve slowly learned to respect James Robinson, but almost everything he’s done in Superman has just been downright clumsy. To start with, Superman is able to save Mon-El thanks to some mystery potion that just magically appears. But the basic premise behind leaving Mon-El in charge of Metropolis is inherently flawed.

The whole idea is that Earthlings don’t trust Kryptonians, so the Kryptonians are all banished to New Krypton. There is one exception – Earthlings trust Superman, so it’s okay for him to stay.

So what happens? Superman needs to keep an eye on General Zod, so he renounces Earth (for pretend!) to gain admission to New Krypton. And then he leaves Mon-El to take his place. As I wrote at the time,

“How would this work? The whole functional premise behind this is that Earthlings only trust Superman when it comes to Kryptonians. If I’m an Earthling, I’m not so sure that the distinction between Kryptonians and Daxamites would effectively be anything more than a semantic argument — they’re still super-powered flying people that I don’t know and I don’t trust. Superman could very easily say ‘Hey, it’s cool, Mon-El is someone you can depend on,’ except for the fact that Superman just publicly defected from Earth to join the people that the Earthlings don’t trust.”

Add to this mess that Superman #686 climaxed with “Mon-El debuts his new haircut” and I give you this year’s winner.

Here’s what dumb things we kept reading in previous years: (more…)

Best Moment of 2009

Jim Doom: Ultimatum ended!ultimatum blob wasp

Dear God this was an awful, awful series. It was like Marvel paid someone to illustrate awful fan fiction. Here’s what I said at the time:

What a terrible mess. It’s like somebody made a bet on how many exploding heads they could fit into a mainstream comic book. Remember when the Ultimate line was for kids?

And “exploding” was the most realistic thing that any of those characters did in that issue. Magneto’s immediate 180 upon learning the truth of his origins (trying to write vaguely enough that any of you who are dumb enough to buy this won’t have it spoiled) was almost insultingly unbelievable. “Aw shoot, I got that one wrong? Ok … so how can I help?” What a redemption!

I loved that it ended with a shout-out to the gang that started the Ultimate line. It’s like “Oh, hey, thanks for leaving your doors unlocked while you went on vacation. I took all your valuables and pooped on your couch.”

The day Ultimatum ended was a glorious day indeed.

That was kind of a cop-out. Maybe instead I should continue my streak of awarding this to Geoff Johns and go for Hal and Barry’s graveyard conversation in Blackest Night #0.

Here are some moments that made us jump for joy in previous years: (more…)

Worst Moment of 2009

Jim Doom: Batman’s death!

As I wrote at the time, “The Flashes (I can’t tell Wally and Barry apart) are discussing what they need to do to stop Darkseid. Ok, so Darkseid needs to be stopped. He is ‘…sitting at the center of a personal singularity beyond the reach of light,’ this Flash says. ‘To get to him we’ll have to run faster than we ever have before.’ Gosh, it sounds virtually impossible to find Darkseid … and if you found him, you wouldn’t even be able to see him!

Then on the next page, Batman wanders into Darkseid’s room from a hallway. Not only did he find Darkseid … not only is he looking right at Darkseid … but he clearly states that he’s discovered Darkseid is ‘wounded … beyond repair.’ So Darkseid is already dying. He doesn’t need to be stopped. So what does Batman do? He decides he needs to shoot Darkseid with a god bullet to kill him. So he does that, but as he fires the bullet, Darkseid also shoots some zig-zaggy eye beams, a.k.a. ‘The Omega Sanction,’ which he thinks is fast enough that Batman might not be able to outrace it, yet it’s so slow that Batman can say ‘Hh’ and ‘Gotcha’ before it kills him.”

I fully submit that there may one day come a time where this scene is revealed to be much cooler and more logical than it appears. But I will stand by the assertion that when I see one of the coolest characters ever getting killed, I don’t want to have to say “Good Lord, that whole thing was moronic. Maybe he’ll seem like less of a buffoon after I read a miniseries two years in the future.”

The biggest insult in all of this was that Final Crisis had its happy ending because Superman used the God machine to wish for everything to go back to how it was. Except for, you know, Batman. Superman made sure to salvage his day job by fixing up the Daily Planet offices with his happy thoughts, but he was apparently totally cool with Batman staying dead.

Here’s what made our jaws drop in a bad way from previous years: (more…)

Best Ongoing Series of 2009

Fin Fang Doom: Invincible!

Yeah, I know I said in my Best Artist choice that The Walking Dead was the best series currently on the stands, but Robert Kirkman also writes the best superhero comic on the stands, and this was really a great year for that series.

For starters, Kirkman was able to stick with his “on time in ’09” pledge and deliver twelve issues last year, including a giant-sized #60. And while regular artist Ryan Ottley was only able to do ten of those issues, series co-creator Cory Walker was able to return to the series for a great two-issue stint that was a prelude to this year’s Viltrumite War.

The stories were also massive in 2009. The giant-sized 60th issue was a “summer crossover in one issue” that featured nearly every character in the Image Universe (yes, there’s an Image Universe) battling an army of evil alternate dimension Invincibles led by Angstrom Levy, which featured the death of beloved character Rex Splode. That transitioned into one of the most brutal battles in comic book history between Invincible and a Viltrumite soldier which featured the death of beloved character Atom Eve. Eve ended up getting better, but the sheer fact that she died and I believed she was actually dead is a testament to the awesomeness of the book. Then there was the great two-part adventure with Omni-Man and Allen the Alien, and Atom Eve finding out she was pregnant in a truly heart-breaking scene.

And then there was all the sub-plots that are the trademark of the series. The Martian slug storyline that began when I started reading around #20 finally came to fruition recently. Mark and Eve really get a chance to explore their romantic relationship (aw!) while they attempt to become Heroes-for-Hire. Also, the Viltrumite that nearly killed Invincible for most of the year broke out of government custody and is on his way back to tell the empire it’s time to go to war.

With the Viltrumite War coming later this year, 2010 is looking to be another great year for Invincible. That story has been the backbone of the series since Day 1, and I’m excited to see what direction the book goes in without it afterwards.

Jim Doom: X-Factor!

X-Factor. I’ve gotten to a point in my comics fandom that I pretty much only read books anymore that are consistently pleasing, so honestly it’s kind of hard to pick a favorite. But X-Factor is just a solidly enjoyable read, and I highly recommend it.

Honorable Mentions: Captain America has been good, but it was very much derailed by Captain America Reborn. Guardians of the Galaxy had a rough patch in early 2009, but overall it’s quality. I hopped on the Fantastic Four bandwagon in the latter part of the year and fully expect it to be a contender for this spot in 2010. I’d liked to have included Iron Fist, but they went and canceled it.

Here are the series we kept buying and liking it from previous years: (more…)

Worst Ongoing Series of 2009

Jim Doom: Justice League of America!

While I am optimistic about 2010, 2009 was a dismal year from this book. Every time I checked in on it to see if it had gotten better, it seemed like it had gotten even worse. If I never read another comic book with Vixen and Red Tornado, it will be too soon.

This seems like a relatively simple premise. You get a bunch of super-powered good guys together and you have them fight big baddies. Ta da.

Here are books that we consistently hated for an entire year in previous years: (more…)

Best New Series of 2009

Jim Doom: Spider-Woman!

Tone-wise, this book reminds me a lot of Alias, the Bendis book from years back. It’s this first-person series revolving around a strong female lead with a definite “Woe-is-me” quality to the narration. But this has super-powers and more action, and it features a character whose value in a solo book has been slowly building over the years.

It’s great to read Bendis and Maleev together again, even if I’m starting to think that “Alex Maleev” is just a codename given to a Photoshop filter. It sports typical Bendis decompression, which is frustrating at times, but you can really see the creators’ admiration for the character in this book.

I bought the first issue figuring I’d give it a shot, fully expecting that to last for one issue. But at $2.99, I continued to pick it up, and now it’s become something I look forward to.

Honorable Mention: Unwritten I love the premise and the execution has been pretty good as well. I try to push this book off onto Harry Potter readers. It’s one of the best candidates for gateway book I can think of. I initially had this as my winner in this category, but then I remembered that I stopped reading it around #6 even though I kept buying it. So I went back and read those issues that had just piled up. The bloom is a little off the rose, but it’s still a solid series.

I think my main nitpick is that the profanity sometimes seems forced and unnatural, as if to constantly remind the reader that these aren’t children’s stories anymore. It’s actually too bad, as I think this could be a great story for younger Harry Potter readers as well.

Doom DeLuise: Adventure Comics! Just kidding. Batman and Robin!

I think that, technically, Batman and Robin probably counts as a mini-series, but I couldn’t think of anything else that I’ve enjoyed quite as much as this new series, so I’m giving the award to it anyway.

After months and months of poorly handled Bat-stories (from RIP to Final Crisis through Battle for the Cowl), it was nice to finally see somebody reestablish the characters and start telling compelling stories again. The first few issues of this, penned by Grant Morrison and drawn by Frank Quitely, were among some of the best Batman stories I’ve ever read. It was incredibly satisfying to see somebody actually handle Dick Grayson with the maturity and respect that I’ve always wanted to see him handled with.

For a second, I actually believed he might be the Batman for quite awhile. Like I said, though: It was only for a second.

Here’s what we latched on to in previous years: (more…)

Worst New Series of 2009

Jim Doom: Ultimate Comics: Avengers!

This series was so bad, I honestly thought Jeph Loeb was writing it. Seriously. I had started this entry complaining about Jeph Loeb some more when I went on wikipedia to do some fact checking and was reminded that Mark Millar was back to writing this series. My mind was blown. How could Ultimates 1 and Ultimates 2 be so good and this be so bad? It’s as if Loeb’s stink has permeated everything with an Ultimate adjective and now it won’t wash off my olfactory lobe.

Maybe the idea of having the Red Skull be Captain America’s illegitimate son was just too soap-operaish for me, or maybe it just reminded me too much of the awkward sexual undertones of Ultimates 3. The more I write about it, the more I’m starting to think that Mark Millar is just a new pen name for Ultimate Jeph Loeb.

Also, it’s $3.99.

Honorable mention: Adventure Comics. I thought this was supposed to be a Conor Kent story with LoSH backups. So far, it’s been some Conor stories, some accursed Superboy Prime stories (that were seriously among the worst crap I’ve read in years), maybe a Legion cameo and a whole lot of inconsistency. And it’s $3.99.

Doom DeLuise: Red Robin!

Man alive, this series stinks. It’s as if they took every interesting thing about Tim Drake, along with every interesting relationship he’s built over the course of the past twenty years of continuity that he’s been involved in, and threw it all into the toilet. What we were left with is this mopey, boring chump, who won’t give up on the idea that Bruce Wayne might still be alive, in spite of the fact that they found and buried a body. That’s some ace detective work there!

I mean, think about it. This entire series has been wrapped around Tim’s idea that Bruce is still alive out there somewhere, but he’s going off absolutely zero proof. Sure, Bruce is still alive, as they’re bringing him back in April in some mini-series, and Tim might eventually find him or something, but what’s motivating the fictional character of Tim Drake to ignore all the evidence and irrationally think that Bruce might still be out there somewhere? Nothing, because it’s stupid.

Here are the endless streams of yuck we don’t like to think about from previous years: (more…)

Best Crossover of 2009

Jim Doom: Blackest Night!

In my old age, I’m learning to enjoy crossovers more that don’t actually cross over very much, so that I can enjoy a story without having to buy a billion other books (whereas long ago, with things like The Infinity Gauntlet and Ghost Rider and X-Men and Spider-Man and X-Force, I thought that stuff was fun). Blackest Night’s crossovers seem to be pretty justifiable – Green Lantern books being obvious – and I’ve also enjoyed the Superman and Batman miniseries much more than I thought I would. I picked up the #1 issues on slow weeks, but I ended up sticking with them. I think all of the resurrected series ended up in 2010, but I love the idea.

Doom DeLuise: War of Kings!

Any time that a series can make a blue guy with a giant mohawk into the ultimate badass, you know that you have a winner on your hands.

This past year, I gave up on nearly everything Marvel’s published because of my distaste for overpriced comic books, but the one thing I’ve stuck with has been the cosmic Marvel universe. And when you take Nova and the Guardians of the Galaxy, two amazing series in their own right, and throw them together with a bunch of Inhumans, Kree, and Shi’ar, well, you get some fantastic results.

My favorite aspect of this crossover is that I genuinely don’t know what I’ve enjoyed more, the actual event itself or the fall-out from the event. It all feels like it’s still leading to something huge, and I’m on board for the duration.

Here are the series that got all over everywhere that we enjoyed in previous years: (more…)

Worst Crossover of 2009

Jim Doom: Dark Reign!

Marvel made the critical error of pissing me off with $3.99 cover prices as they unveiled this new era in their universe, and as a result, they sold ONE FEWER COPY OF A LOT OF BOOKS.

No lie – I was genuinely interested in what was going to happen. Leave the books at $2.99 and I would’ve kept buying New Avengers while also picking up Dark Avengers.

Instead, they charged $3.99, I didn’t buy them, and now I’m taking out my frustration with this prize. So there. Pbbbbt.

Fin Fang Doom: Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Utopia!

Overheard at the House of Ideas earlier this year: “I’ve got a great idea. Let’s crossover our new mega-title Dark Avengers with the old, reliable Uncanny X-Men for two issues. And then let’s make special one-shots at the beginning and end of this four issue story so we can really milk it. And hey, why don’t we raise the cost of Uncanny X-Men while we’re at it just to piss off readers of that comic even more! Those suckers that only read Uncanny will have to shell out like twenty extra bucks to get this story!”

Or, I could just stop reading Uncanny for a few months while this completely unnecessary story plays out, which is what I did. First issues of Uncanny X-Men I didn’t buy in about 16 years. Good job, Marvel

Doom DeLuise: Dark Reign!

I had a pretty easy rule of thumb for 2009. If a comic book added the adjective “Dark” in front of the title, it got dropped from my reading pile. This resulted in me dropping quite a few titles and not taking a chance on even more.

The funniest part? I don’t think I missed out on anything that can’t be summed up in one paragraph worth of recap.

Here are the stories we hated to read across multiple titles in previous years: (more…)