Better late than never, eh? This is my list for the top ten stories of 2009! Woo hoo! Now, before we get to all the fun of me voicing my opinions and you disagreeing with them, I have to get a few rules out of the way.
1. These are the top ten stories/arcs/whatever. Not comic in general, not trade, but best stories (What can I say, I’m trying to be somewhat unique).
2. These are stories that ended in 2009. They could begin at any time, but as long as they concluded in 2009, they’re eligible.
3. I tried to keep the list as diverse and reader-friendly as possible. I love certain writers, but it would be boring if it was three Morrison books, two Kirkman books, etc. So, a writer/artist will only appear once on the list. I tried to spread the love evenly. You will see Marvel, DC, and even indies on this list.
Wow, with all those rules, how did I come up with a great top ten? Well, I hope I did. Anyway, let’s begin the fun!
I do my best to review all of the comics I read each month. But what I never write about, unless they end up on some list, are the comics I read in trade. So, I thought I’d recommend a few of the better ones. You care about my recommendations, right? Of course you do!
Do you like David Mazzucchelli? Name doesn’t sound familiar? You read Batman: Year One and Daredevil: Born Again, right? Yeah, David drew those. Now, he’s flying solo, writing and drawing his masterpiece, Asterios Polyp. I don’t want to oversell it or anything, but you REALLY should give this book a chance. The art alone is worth the price of admission, and the book isn’t that cheap. Still, even if this is your first foray into the world of comics without spandex, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Ghost Rider: The Last Stand
Though it wasn’t quite the great, Grindhouse fun that comprised the first Aaron-penned Ghost Rider trade, there’s still plenty to enjoy here. It’s a bunch of guys with flaming skulls duking it out, and the fate of heaven it at stake! You’ll get that refreshing Aaron flavor too. His creative spark elevates this somewhat conventional material.
Northlanders: The Cross + The Hammer
The first Northlanders trade, Sven the Returned, made my top ten list last year, but the beauty and downfall of Brian Wood’s Northlanders is that it’s a series of stories, and just because one is good, doesn’t mean another will be. But Brian Wood is a good writer. So, it’s no surprise that this second story is excellent too. Like Sven’s tale, The Cross + The Hammer is deceptively simple. Think “Road to Perdition” meets “Baveheart” and you’ll have a good idea of what you’ll find. It’s the twist that comes near the end that really makes this arc something special.
Parker: The Hunter
I’ve never read Richard Stark’s books. I’m illiterate. Heh. That joke never gets old. Anyway, I’m here for Darwyn Cooke, and you should be too. It’s not Marvel or DC; so it may not have come up on your radar. If you need more than Darwyn Cooke to buy a book, rest assured, this is a good Darwyn Cooke comic. I don’t have to tell you that it looks amazing, but Cooke also has an ear for noir; real noir, not the crap that Hollywood tries to pass off as noir. We’re not really sure if we like any of the characters, even by the end. Still, Cooke delivers the goods, and a sequel is scheduled for next year.
Seaguy: Slaves of Mickey Eye
This hasn’t been released in trade yet. I’m not sure if it ever will. Sales were embarrassingly low, especially considering Morrison’s name was attached at a time when Final Crisis and Batman: RIP were selling like hotcakes. Morrison fans, you’ll like this too! Yes, it’s weird, but it’s not as esoteric as Final Crisis or Batman: RIP. Morrison and Stewart are on the top of their game. This sequel is every bit as great as the first installment, and that was pretty great! So, please, just buy the floppies. Give Vertigo a reason to print the third part and complete the trilogy!