I read 24 comics in May, and these were the best.
I read 24 comics in May, and these were the best.
I’m actually getting this thing out on time? It’s a Kwanzaa miracle! This is my list for the top ten stories of 2010! 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 2010. They could begin at any time, but as long as they concluded in 2010, 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 Ennis 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 read 19 comics in December, and these were the best.
I read 20 comics in November, and these were the best.
I read 25 comics this month, and these were the best.
I read 17 comics in March, and these were the best.
June was a quick month, but July? July took forever, in a good way. Extremely eventful month for me. Hope you all had fun. Anyway, I read 22 comics in July, and these were the best. Oh, and, sorry, I haven’t written proper reviews for some of these because I was at Comic Con.
5. Secret Warriors #6
This ended a little more conventionally than I would’ve hoped, but it’s still a fitting conclusion to Hickman’s first arc. The characters are clearly defined, and, so, we actually care how this big battle plays out. Throughout this arc, this issue included, we’ve been treated to several twists & turns that really elevates this material. This is Hickman’s first foray into the world of super-heroics and he’s already delivered the Nick Fury series we’ve all been waiting for.
4. Detective Comics #855
Only two issues in and Rucka & Williams are collaborating brilliantly. The art services the story and vice versa. What we’re left with is one gorgeous, kick-ass comic! The only problem is that we still don’t have much connection with Kate, but, with this issue and the last, we’re getting glimpses of Kate’s origins. So, until that story is eventually told, we might as well enjoy the beautiful ride.
3. Invincible #64
Well, essentially, this was just a gory, knock-down-drag-out fight to the death. However, since we’ve had over sixty issues with Mark & friends, there was a large amount of emotion in this fight, both for the characters and the reader. And, credit to Kirkman, this was a pretty fun fight.
2. Ultimatum #5
I probably have a “Why Ultimatum Works” article in me somewhere, but I won’t write it. There’s no point. People are extremely prejudiced when it comes to Loeb’s recent work, and if I were to write such an article, it would be met with outcries about how stupid I am. Ultimatum was a necessary evil. The Ultimate Universe had grown too dull, too watered down, too similar to 616. If you aren’t going to give the Universe a proper reboot, presenting an Ultimate Universe in the style of Morrison’s Marvel Boy, isn’t this the next best thing? Oh, sure, it reminds us of the issue of Radioactive Man when he and Fallout Boy get killed on every page, but have we ever seen anything like this before? The tragedy is quick and brutal. The genuine shocks are plentiful. And, really, this comic is packed with the imaginative stunts that couldn’t be seen in a movie. Whether you love it or hate it, Ultimatum #5 one of the most memorable comics in years.
1. Batman and Robin #2
In two issues, Morrison has established a new Batman, a new Robin, new villains, even a new, more colorful Gotham, and he’s done so with professional ease. You’ll find no lengthy exposition here, just fresh and exciting adventure. And, of course, Morrison’s longtime collaborator, Frank Quitely, has helped tremendously in breathing new life into this franchise. His style is already radically different from what you saw in All Star Superman. It’s looser and more energetic, which has helped in rendering some incredible fight scenes in this second issue. This is one of the most likable comics on the stands, and the best comic in July.
That’s my list. What’s yours? Oh, and let’s keep that Ultimatum feedback to a minimum, shall we?
Story: After four issues of boring talking, we get action, Jackson! Hickman throws in a few flashbacks, but it’s pretty much all “Krak!” and “Pow!”
Art: Well, this was Caselli’s issue to shine, and he did! Caselli is a capable artist. I’m not sure if his art is right for this series, since he struggles with many of the quieter moments, but on an all-action bonanza? He’s gold.
Final Word: Though this issue may seem as short as this review, I enjoyed every second of it. Hickman proved that he can write a good action scene, and he sold me on the characters and premise in the first four issues.
I want to talk about a crackpot theory, so let me get the issue out of the way, quick.
This is a breather issue. Daisy and Sebastian try to recruit a new member because of Yo-Yo’s tragedy last issue. Fury gets his Howling Commandos back in order, with plenty of “old friends” talk. J.T. and Alex invade Fury’s privacy. The “Hydra Cabal” (Has this group been named yet? Oh well, it’s a Dark Reign comic, so “Hydra Cabal” it is) plots their villainous deeds. Even though that may sound boring, it isn’t. I’m thoroughly onboard this series. It’s nice to see Hickman and Caselli improve every issue. I’m excited for the next issue because, literally, at the end of this, we get: “You’ve been patient, you’ve been kind. Next month, all hell breaks loose! It’s the Howling Commandos vs. Hydra vs. H.A.M.M.E.R.”
Ok, now onto something that piqued my interest. I knew that Fury and Strucker were parallels. Besides the whole nemesis business, you have their eyes as well. Fury lost his left eye, and Strucker lost his right. Also, they both view things in black and white terms. They’re willing to get the job done, no matter the cost. Already, in this series alone, one blew up their own base, population in the thousands, just to get rid of the Skrull problem. The other is using children to do his dirty work, a decision that has already crippled one of the kids. Again, heroes and villains have this thing going on all the time, but in this issue, we have some religious ties. The book that Stonewall is reading Yo-Yo is “Angels With Monster Feet. Monsters With Angel Wings.” Dum Dum tells Fury they’re doing “the lord’s work.” When Madame Hydra speaks of Nick Fury, Gorgon comments, “You speak of him as if he were something other than a man.” Also, one of Hydra’s ancient headquarters is Gehenna. Lastly, Fury and Strucker both used the same codes (In issue #1 and #2). Fury is a Gemini and Strucker is a Sagittarius. I’m no expert on the Zodiac, but I do know that Gemini is a symbol of duality, and that Fury’s birthday could be on June sixth.
So, what does all of this nonsense mean? Well, some of it could be Apophenia, some of it could be Hickman’s intention, but only to be seen symbolically. Or, is it possible that Fury and Strucker are God and the Devil? Maybe I’m thinking of this because the Devil just popped up in Batman, but certainly there’s something big going on here, right? Anyway, this is quite possibly the Marvel title I’m currently most excited about.
But first, let’s kick things off with the worst book of the month:
Batman: Battle for the Cowl #2
Written by Tony Daniel
Illustrated by Tony Daniel
Published by DC Comics
No, this wasn’t actually the worst book of the month, but it was the worst I read. And the fact that it’s so high-profile, gives me all the more reason to bash it. But, to be fair, this isn’t a terrible comic. In fact, I wish it were a terrible comic, because then, at least, it’d be a bit interesting. What we have here, is forgettable, generic hogwash. I suppose, if you were a huge fan of Tony Daniel, you might have a bit of a good time. I’m not that fan. Again, Tony Daniel isn’t terrible. In fact, if we were ranking mediocre 90’s, Post-Jim Lee artists, Daniel is near the top of the list. However, that’s still not nearly enough to keep me entertained while reading a story completely written for the art. Why the hell did DC let Daniel write this? “Hmm, what writer should we get to follow Grant Morrison? I know! Tony Daniel!” I could write more, but I’ve bashed this comic more than enough. This book isn’t even that fun to hate.
5. Secret Warriors #3
Written by Jonathan Hickman & Brian Michael Bendis
Illustrated by Stefano Caselli
Published by Marvel Comics
Wow! Who knew I was craving a book like this? Oh wait, I did! I’m awesome! Only three issues in, and Secret Warriors is arguably the best comic that Marvel is currently publishing. It’s definitely the most exciting. First, we got that kick in the pants about Hydra. Then, we got the return of the freakin’ Gorgon. This issue’s Dum Dum reveal really wasn’t that exciting, but who knew that some of Phobos’ prophecies from the second issue would already come to pass? Oh, and Gorgon said something like, “Someday, I will kill a god.” Yeah, whenever a badass talks about killing gods, it’s always pretty cool.
4. The Boys #29
Written by Garth Ennis
Illustrated by Darick Robertson
Published by Dynamite Entertainment
This was the conclusion of “We Gotta Go Now,” an arc that spent a little too much time on masturbation jokes. But man, did this issue blow the damn doors down. First, we get the chilling truth about the G-Men. Then, Hughie gets his badass moment. And…well, the shit pretty much hits the fan after that.
3. The Walking Dead #60
Written by Robert Kirkman
Illustrated by Charlie Adlard
Published by Image Comics
It’s always hard to rate The Walking Dead on an issue to issue basis. That’s probably the reason why most people read it in trade. However, with this issue featuring the conclusion of that horde business, the ever-growing madness of Morgan, and the feeling that Dale may finally turn on Rick, this was a terrific installment.
Read my full review here.
2. Secret Six #8
Written by Gail Simone
Illustrated by Carlos Rodriguez
Published by DC Comics
Ah, Secret Six, a title that never fails to put a big, stupid grin on my face. Actually, I wasn’t too impressed with the last issue. It wasn’t bad, but for the conclusion of the first arc, which was pretty awesome, it just wasn’t completely satisfying. This issue, however, was sweet and charming, while still managing to provide all that sick, twisted humor that the book continues to deliver. Oh, and Tiny Secret Six? Classic.
1. Detective Comics #853
Written by Neil Gaiman
Illustrated by Andy Kubert
Published by DC Comics
So, I guess this arc wasn’t nearly as well-recieved as people hoped, huh? Then again, a lot of people don’t care for Morrison’s run, either. So what the hell do people know? Gaiman managed to pack everything he could about Batman into just two issues. He does a good job expressing the appeal of Batman, touching on everything from his love to his mortality. However, the undisputed star here is Andy Kubert. He produces possibly the best work of his career. Well, I don’t know if it’s better than Batman #666. I love that issue.
Read my full review here.
Pretty even between Marvel, DC, and Indies, but DC did snag the top two. Then again, DC was also responsible for the worst book of the month. Overall, I’d say that April was a pretty good month for comics. All five of these books were a hell of a read.
This was a last minute addition. I couldn’t help but be enticed by this CBR review. A huge reveal was promised. Well, it’s not all that. In fact, SPOILERS! These guys have always been controlled by these guys END SPOILERS! Is it shocking? Yes. Do I care? Kind of. Does it make sense? Not really. Does it make me want to purchase the next issue? Absolutely. Even if the reveal doesn’t impress you or if you’re enraged, this comic undeniably succeeds as a first issue. You are eager for more.
Honestly, I had absolutely no idea how much I missed Nick Fury until I read this issue. I’m completely on board for a S.H.I.E.L.D./HYDRA spy comic right now. This series is cowritten by Bendis, but it’s mostly Jonathan Hickman. Not familiar with the name? That’s because this is his Marvel debut. He’s already made a name for himself on Image books like The Nightly News, but this is his first foray into the mainstream. This is my first Hickman experience and I’m quite impressed. He seems to be a dedicated writer that is not corrupted by an overexposure to the medium. I’d wager you can expect some pretty fresh ideas from the man. In fact, if you’ve followed the NYCC news this weekend (Or if you’re there, you lucky bastard), you’ll know that he is Millar’s replacement on Fantastic Four.
Stefano Caselli is an interesting artistic choice. It’s not a common espionage look. I am fond of it though. It gives the spy genre a vibrant, almost manga-esque qaulity. Although the manga style may be due to the colorist, Daniele Rudoni. This looks like an UDON comic. An odd look for sure, but Secret Warriors is pretty.
As I said earlier, this is a fine first outing. I read an interview where Hickman said something like “If you try the first issue, we have you for the arc. If we have you for the first arc, we have you for a very long time.” That statement is true so far. And hey, this issue also features shadowy Obama! Catch the Obama fever! Because Marvel demands it!