Spoiler Warning right off the bat
This felt lethargic, like it barely had the energy to get to its last panel, and even that was sort of an abrupt and rhythmically poor conclusion.
PROBABLY CONTAINS SPOILERS
Though I always enjoyed Bill Willingham’s surprise smash-hit Fables (by far Vertigo’s most financially successful property in many, many years), I never really looked forward to it. For me, the series peaked with its fourth trade, “March of the Wooden Soldiers“, which was the perfect combination of soapy plotting and military fantasy for which the series had always (in my opinion) been aiming. It remained solid for years after that, but with so many excellent books coming out, and such an enormous back-catalog to catch up on, I fell behind. But I always noticed its spin-offs, from the winning Cinderella books to the occasionally enjoyable Jack of Fables, and I was interested when I saw the new spin-0ff, Fairest, on the shelves. With a gorgeous Adam Hughes cover, pencils by the immensely respected Phil Jimenez, not to mention Willingham writing in his element, it seemed like a must-read.
A few months back, I reviewed another anthology of short stories by Vertigo: Strange Adventures. And while I found the book to be something of a failure, it had nothing to do with the format, but with the stories. Only Peter Milligan and Sylvain Savoia’s “Partners” was a truly great short story, while most other creators seemed to be grappling with some difficulty in telling a coherent story using such a small page count. I’m happy to say, The Unexpected #1 has solved that problem thoroughly, introducing a series of fun, memorable short stories from a variety of star creators.
The Unwritten #5, “How the Whale Became”
Mike Carey broke in a big way with Lucifer, his spin-off from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman – a spin-off that managed to build into one of the most satisfying fantasies in the medium, turning an already well-drawn character into one of comics’ best. Afterwards, he crafted and contributed to a few fascinating Vertigo books – including one that I firmly believe deserves more discussion, Crossing Midnight – and some noble failures, but none took off the way Lucifer had… and he was busy becoming one of Marvel’s superstars, as well as a successful novelist. His big creator-owned-comics success story would have to wait.
I read 24 comics in May, and these were the best.
I read 20 comics in February, and these were the best.
Bill Willingham’s Fables had a lot of break-out characters, but few were as fascinating as the book’s take on Cinderella. Care-free bon-vivant by day, fairy tale princess Cinderella was Fabletown’s sexiest super spy by night. Last year, Cinderella got her own miniseries, Cinderella: From Fabletown With Love, a book that was successful enough to warrant a follow-up from the same creative team. I was excited for From Fabletown With Love – there aren’t many good spy books on the shelves, and there are even fewer with a strong female protagonist – but it came at a time when I simply couldn’t afford comics on a monthly basis. Cinderella is an interesting character, and one well-suited to carrying her own very distinct book, so I was eager to give her a shot when I discovered a second mini was forthcoming.
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.
When I initially reviewed The Unwritten #1, I said that “Carey and Gross bring a compelling first issue to a series with a great deal of promise,” and then questioned whether the series could live up to such a fantastic opener. Twenty issues in, I think it’s safe to say that the promise has been fulfilled and then some; in fact, it’s probably fair to say that The Unwritten has spent the last two years becoming not just the best Vertigo comic going on today and not just the best fantasy comic on the shelves, but consistently one of the best comics currently being published, period.