Category: year in review – 2009

Best Publisher of 2009

marvel vs dc
Jim Doom: DC!

Some of this is because of good work by DC, including the flawed but still very good Blackest Night and the fantastic new Batman & Robin. But a lot of this is because of Marvel’s insistence on charging $3.99 for so many of its books. When a publisher chooses a path that knowingly shuts out a large number of its readers and succeeds based on the ability to squeeze another dollar out of the most loyal, I say “Bad.”

Looking at past years, I can’t help but notice a pretty consistent pro-DC list of results. The ironic thing is that I think all of us here at Doomkopf were reading only Marvel books until the buildup to Infinite Crisis. It was a great gateway into DC’s universe, and I think the enthusiasm around it fed our desire to start this site.

Here were our favorite publishers from previous years: (more…)

Best Hero of 2009

Jim Doom: Batman!

Excluding things written by Tony Daniel, I have to say Batman. In Grant Morrison’s Batman & Robin and Judd Winick’s Batman, Dick was believable and fun to watch as his own man. Both writers were able to cast him in the character of Batman while maintaining his own defined Dick Grayson personality. Given the limited run of Batman & Robin and the upcoming Batman-in-time series, I’m inclined to believe that DC let Tony Daniel write Batman because they knew he was devoid of ambition and incapable of thinking too big, therefore presenting no danger of causing any irreparable damage. Let him mark time while Morrison does the hard work elsewhere. Batman: Unseen was great too. The big blemish on his year — getting killed in a really stupid way — is only as big of a mess as it is because of how great the character is. You take a dump on Geo-Force’s death and it’s not a problem.

Honorable Mention: Captain America. Bucky had a great year as Captain America, but he was overshadowed by the far-too-early return of Steve Rogers.

Here are the heroes we dug in previous years: (more…)

Worst Hero of 2009

Jim Doom: Cyclops!

Cyclops is such a huge douchebag. I seriously can’t even stand X-Men books anymore because of this prick, and I used to read ALL OF THEM. I don’t mind unbearable characters when they appear to serve a greater purpose in the big story, but every time I dip back in to the X-world, I fail to see anything other than “God, this guy has such big balls!”

Honorable mention: Super Young Team. Just stupid piled on top of stupid. I held out hope that Morrison spent so much time on them in Final Crisis because they would eventually have some big important role to play. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me about five hundred times, and that’s how I describe the experience of reading Final Crisis.

Here were the worst of the supposed best from previous years: (more…)

Best Villain of 2009

Jim Doom: Norman Osborn!

The Dark Reign era certainly has its flaws (some of them by design), but I have no problems whatsoever with the greater experiment Marvel attempted – putting the military branch of its universe under the control of a power-hungry opportunist. It was a fun attempt at art-imitates-life, giving Marvel its very own Dick Cheney, and I don’t think there’s anyone better suited for that role than Norman Osborn. Most importantly, Osborn gave the heroes someone to rally against so they could stop fighting each other, and Marvel was in desperate need of putting a stop to Hero vs Hero.

Bonus points for creating the Dark Avengers – I very much enjoyed the exploration of the idea of Avengers being interchangeable behind the masks. That idea has obviously been addressed over the past few decades, but never to the degree of putting villains in those roles.

Here were the bad guys we loved to hate in previous years: (more…)

Worst Villain of 2009

Jim Doom: Mandrakk the Vampire Monitor!

The biggest villain of Final Crisis makes his debut in a god-awful two-issue 3D miniseries and then decides to show up in the last issue of the main series. It’s probably worth mentioning that he was defeated by Superman in Superman Beyond 3D #2, so that miniseries was relevant in that it introduced the main villain and irrelevant in that its conclusion was completely ignored. Did I mention the same guy wrote both?

Honorable Mention: Libra. I picked Libra last year thinking that I was going to be soooooo wrong this year. Much like with the Super Young Team, I was convinced there was no way Libra would end up being as lame and useless as he seemed – there had to be some greater purpose for him. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Here were the lamest baddies from previous years: (more…)

Best Single Issue of 2009

Jim Doom: Blackest Night #0!

Geoff Johns has written quite a few comics this year that I completely disliked, moreso than in any other year I can recall. But when he’s been good, he’s been great, and Blackest Night #0 was a perfect example. This issue was a fantastic combination of a big-picture scene-setters for the upcoming mega-event with small-scale, touching moments between friends.

I wrote at the time, “He packs so much power into so few words when he needs to, like “It’s not my fault hiding in the shadows is your only ’super power’” and “…If there’s an escape [from death], you can bet Batman’s already planning it.” Then there was that fantastic bit of dialogue in which Hal reveals the new Robin to Barry:

HAL: “…And Robin’s insisting that Bruce isn’t really gone.”
BARRY: “He’s holding onto hope. That’s what Dick always gave Batman.”
HAL: “I meant Tim Drake, Barry. You haven’t met him yet. He’s the current Robin.”
BARRY: “Right. Tim Drake. I like him already.”

I mean how sweet is that? Barry learns a little about the new Robin, but the readers learn a ton about Barry, and count me among the readers who needed to learn about Barry, particularly after not liking him much post-Flash: Rebirth #1. But what is so cool about this is that these two guys who have returned from the dead are having the luxury of reminiscing on their deaths as part of a conversation, all the while the threat of the Black Lanterns is looming overhead.

Honorable Mention: Giant Size Old Man Logan. This took forever but it was so worth it, even if it had Wolverine in yet another Men in Black ending. This has been one of my favorite comic stories of all time.

Here were our favorite single issues in previous years: (more…)

Worst Single Issue of 2009

Jim Doom: (tie) Superman Beyond 3D #2; Final Crisis #6; Final Crisis #7; Final Crisis: Secret Files #1; Final Crisis: Revelations #5!

The extreme disappointment with Final Crisis has been well documented on this site, but I’m not sure I have ever been so consistently punched in the face and then kicked in the gut while on the ground with so many different issues in such a short span of time. In the early part of 2009, there was a flood of Final Crisis books that came to wrap up the event and start answering the big questions.

It ended up being little more than a shaggy dog story with sequential art. It felt less like a story than a con, as several crossover minis and the main series ended with slight variations on “…and then everything went back to how it was.”

Honorable Mention: Daredevil: Dark Reign: The List #1. It may be unfair to single out this book, but I felt like this was a perfect representation of the evolution of Marvel’s greediness. Much of this issue had already been given away in Daredevil #500. This issue also included a lengthy preview of Daredevil #501. There were approximately 10 pages of unique content. It cost $3.99.

Here were our biggest wastes of $3 (or $4) in previous years: (more…)

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…)