Comic Book Highs, Lows, Misses and More for 2009!
Get out the champagne, party horns and confetti! The new year is soon upon us, and like most other people who are out there reflecting on the year that was, we're taking stock of the triumphs, the tragedies, the highs and the lows. Of course there are those "did that just happen" moments as well, just to keep things interesting. Let's take a trip back over the past twelve months, shall we, to see the highs, lows and wth's over this year in comics, using our own unique system of categories, labels and examples!
Most overused character in comic book appearances: President Barack Obama Don't get us wrong, we're not knocking the president in this category, but rather looking at the use of him as a supporting character! When he first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man, it was a clever way to weave the president into a medium he confessed to being a fan of! Now with him appearing in more and more comics, such as being saved by Ash from Army of Darkness no less, the trend became a little tired, with the bet of the president's appearance garnering an increase in sales! There were some hits though with it, which brings us to...
Best use of President Obama in a comic book: Barack the Barbarian Devil's Due Publishing pulled off perhaps the best use of President Obama, by creating a clever and overall witty send-up of the presidential election and the characters involved in it (Red Sarah anyone?). The series doesn't take itself too seriously, and that helps to make the mini such a success, as opposed to the stunt feel that many other companies had while using the president's likeness.
Comic book movie that I liked that everyone else hated: Whiteout Well, at least Greg Rucka's long-delayed story of murder and redemption in the Antarctic finally made it to the big screen. That's something right? Despite Rucka's enthusiasm for and appreciation of the adaptation of his project, and a cast that included Kate Beckinsale and Tom Skerrit, the movie ended up being a commercial and critical failure. I went to see it opening weekend, and I knew the signs weren't good when I was one of SEVEN people to see a Saturday matinee! I, though, thought it was well-done and interesting. Oh well!
Most unnecessarily prolonged death: Batman/Bruce Wayne Yes, we know, the story line "Batman R.I.P." was the build-up to one of the more surprising deaths of the year, but come on already! How many times did Bruce Wayne have to die for us all to get the message? While the majority of the groundwork was laid in 2008, 2009 saw Batman die at the hands of Darkseid in Final Crisis #6. After seeing him supposedly blown up with a helicopter in the conclusion to "Batman R.I.P.", his death in FC #6 seemed more like, pardon the expression, overkill. The excellent story "Whatever happened to the Caped Crusader" helped a bit though.
Most joyful series return of the year: Mickey Mouse and Friends Boom! Studios certainly brought back one of the most dynamic comic book series of recent memory that's great for kids of all ages and remains timeless with Mickey Mouse and Friends. While it has received a bit of a modern update with character references and stories that are similar to current popular trends, the characters and their personalities are instantly, and blissfully, recognizable. It's good to know that some things, despite age and cosmetic touches, never change.
Series that continues to disappoint, no matter who's writing it: The Fantastic Four Marvel's first family just can't seem to find traction. Ever since the departure of Black Panther and Storm and the reforming of the core members of the team, the various stories and incarnations of the team have struggled to find relevance and meaning in the current state of the Marvel universe, and this year proved no different. Even their Dark Reign story lacked any sort of punch or relevance. Here's hoping that 2010 will find better stories and direction for the team.
Series that continues to impress with every issue thus far: Detective Comics Greg Rucka may have had a bust with Whiteout, but his spin on Batwoman in the pages of Detective Comics has proven to be inspired. With art by JH Williams III and some stunning colors by Dave Stewart, Batwoman flew out of the gate in August with a cracking story focusing on new villain Alice and the Religion of Crime. Add a back-up feature with the Question and this Bat-book has not disappointed.
Boldest new series: Chew One of the most interesting heroes to emerge on the scene this year doesn't wear a cape, come from outer space or carry an intergalactic weapon. He does carry a badge though! Agent Tony Chu of Image Comics' Chew carries the power to tell the origin and history of anything he puts in his mouth and, well, chews. Battling crime and chicken speakeasies in the future, Chu's stories are smart, intriguing and as fresh as the beets he eats. 2010 promises to keep the surprises and turns coming for this slight, brash detective. Honorable mention: Bendis' wonderful Spider-Woman
Company-Wide event that actually feels like a company-wide event: Image United No disrespect to DC's Blackest Night, but the title of best event that's currently underway goes to Image and their Image United story. Not only does it go to them because of the unifying of the flagship characters such as Spawn, Savage Dragon, Witchblade and Badrock, but because of the talent that came together in order to make it happen. The original founders of Image came together with their characters to shape a colossal roster of heroes to combat a threat to the Image universe unlike any other.
Already looking forward to in the new year: Angelus and Siege Top Cow has been producing some of the more cutting edge comics in the past couple of years, with titles such as The Darkness becoming cult hits. Recently with the resolution of the "Battle of the Witchblades" storyline in the pages of Witchblade, a new limited series focusing on the bearer of the Angelus begins in January with Angelus #1! In Marvel, prepare for Loki's alliance with Osborn to ramp up when the Iron Patriot takes on the Norse home world this spring when Siege takes full flight! The buildup of Dark Reign's events happens here!!!!
Best mini/limited series: Poe and B.P.R.D. 1947 Both of these limited series were able to capture something interesting and smart with already existing and well-known properties. In the case of Boom! Studios' four-issue Poe, the well-known American author found new life in a smart mystery that pulled from references to Poe's more well-known poems and stories. Dark Horse's B.P.R.D. 1947 picked up with a story that had the feel of a good campfire tale, with vampires and post-WWII monsters set against a European backdrop!
Characters to watch in 2010: Batgirl and Supergirl DC has quite a stake in this one, as two of their characters are burgeoning in very different ways. Supergirl has found herself front and center in the latest happenings with New Krypton and coupled with Superman's lack of presence makes her one to watch for 2010! Batgirl is back, this time with former Spoiler Stephanie Brown wearing the cowl, all under the guidance of Barbara Gordon. Both of these heroines have a promising year ahead!
WTH moment in reanimation: The Punisher Well, stranger things have certainly happened! With both the events of Dark Reign The List: Punisher and Punisher #11, Marvel has given their most ardent vigilante a new "life". His apparent death at the hands of Daken, Frank Castle's one-man war on crime appeared to end, but whoever said in life there are no second acts obviously never read comics! Frankencastle has risen, and what 2010 holds in store is sure to surprise all in Marvel!
Who had the best year? Norman Osborn There's no question that 2009 was Norman Osborn's year. His reach affected almost every Marvel title at some point this year, and his plans and schemes have shaped stories and character development. What's most interesting about Osborn is the way he has forced the heroes of the Marvel universe to react to him, a very big shift. It could all come crashing down in 2010 however, so he should enjoy it while he can!
Add your opinions to this list. Who do you think had the best year? The worst year? What was the best story? What sucked and what didn't? Stay safe in 2010! Thanks for being our readers!!!!