Sunday, January 6, 2008

If 2007 Had A Face, I'd Kick It In The Balls

Kind of late, I know, but I wanted to talk about what I enjoyed the most about 2007 before the year glazed over in my mind.

10. Green Arrow and Black Canary - From the start Judd Winick pretty much redeemed his less than stellar end runs of Outsiders and Green Arrow with just a few issues of this series. It's well-paced, hilarious, and made me really interested in this GA/BC Family. Throw in Cliff Chiang fresh from Doctor 13 & Bonesaw Batman and you have a winning series.

09. Best Miniseries of 2007: Wisdom (Yes, it started in 2006, but it was mainly 2007)
Let me make this clear, I didn't like Pete Wisdom at all before this miniseries was released. A mutant, cynical version of James Bond, he struck me as a really inane character and completely wrong as the guy Kitty Pryde would choose over Colossus. He sucked. But in this miniseries by Paul Cornell and Trevor Hairsine, Wisdom is now the head of MI-13, the supernatural division of British Intelligence. Now handling every extraordinary threat to the British Isles, Wisdom has his own crew of misfits, which include a fairy, Captain Midlands, and a Skrull who looks (and acts) like John Lennon. Their foes are weird, their methods trippy and their relationships are dysfunctional. It's a great story and it gives Pete Wisdom more real personality than he's ever had. Enough to make me want to read another series, if Cornell is handling it.

08. Best Character 180: Prince Ambrose, formerly known as Flycatcher in Fables
Ambrose was the janitor of the Mayor's office since Fables began, a sweet natured man who needed constant busy work in order to keep from turning back into a frog. But destiny would lead this simple man into becoming the greatest threat to the Emperor of the Fablelands ever. Guided by the spirit of Sir Lancelot, clad in golden armor, and wielding the great Excalibur, Ambrose would travel through the Witching Well gathering an army of spirits to claim a piece of the Homelands as his own.

07. Biggest Letdown: DC Comics
For all the good titles DC has brought out this year(Booster Gold, Jonah Hex, Black Adam), they also churned out some of the lamest crap of the year. Countdown, no matter how much fixing they're trying to do now, sucked 26 issues straight and its spin-offs pretty much sucked en masse. Amazons Attack!, every issue of Wonder Woman to come out not written by Gail Simone, and disappointing runs from Dwayne McDuffie on Justice League of America and Sean McKeever on Teen Titans pretty much round out what was just a poorly managed year for DC.

That being said, 2008 may just be Marvel's year to really screw up now that One More Day is over and completely freaked up the continuity of the last twenty years of Spider-Man history and the last four years of Marvel stories.

06. Most Surprising Good: Avengers:The Initiative
After Civil War, I had low expectations for the series that would directly handle the fallout of the Superhuman Registration. I regard Dan Slott as a talented writer, but then again, I regarded Mark Millar as one as well. But whereas Millar seemed to lack a real understanding of the characters he was tossing around, Slott displays a true grasp of the characters he's writing and can really play the characters off of each other. He also handles the pros and cons of Registration deftly, at once giving readers a look at how beneficial training is to young and new heroes, but also the drawbacks of involving politics in superheroics.

05. Best Metaphor goes to Jon Carey for Marvel is like a high school lunch room, with Avengers at the jock table and the X-Men in the drama club, getting mono from each other.

04. Best Character of 2007: MVP of Avengers:The Initiative
Despite being killed during a training session in the first issue of the series, the most interesting character to come out of Avengers:The Initiative is Michael van Patrick, the peak of human perfection(via diet and exercise) whose clones are known as the Scarlet Spiders. Despite mental commands, the Scarlet Spiders begin to act independently, as the corpse of MVP is seen smiling. Now, a new clone is shown menacing a battle ravaged Yellowjacket with an extraterrestrial gun arm. Slott is building his first storyarc around this character and its one interesting ride.

03. Best Batman Story of 2007: Batman #667-669 featuring The Club of Heroes
"Be assured. The Black Glove is a seal of absolute quality and ruthlessness."

Anything you could possibly love about Batman is thrown into this storyline of reunion and murder where the Club of Heroes, a group of crimefighters inspired by the Batman are systematically executed one by one on the night Batman returns after the Club was founded. Emotions are running high as these heroes come to terms with not achieving the level of notoriety as Batman, deal with old rivalries and try to avoid being killed by a killer who gives old school villainy a 21st century makeover. Brilliantly illustrated by J.H. Williams III, this three part storyline is Grant Morrison at his best, taking what was dismissed as Silver Age absurdity and making it one of the coolest stories of the year. Just a observation, trying to beat Batman at a mystery, not smart.

02. Best Crossover of the past ten years: The Sinestro Corps War
From the start Geoff Johns threw his whole cinematic storytelling expertise into this series, putting together an all-star team of black hats that made you slightly uncertain whether the white hats had enough chops to win this war. Sinestro, an army of yellow ring sadists, Cyborg Superman, an army of yellow energy Manhunters, Parallax inhabiting Torchbearer Kyle Rayner's body, the Anti-Monitor, and everyone's favorite psychotic teenager Superboy-Prime. It was daunting to say the least, and the story would not let up. Green Lanterns fell, littering space with rings searching for new bearers, and even the new lethal force law seemed to be of little consequence with the Sinestro Corps assault on the center of the multiverse taking the Guardians by surprise. And in the midst of this, you get just a bit of what fuels Superboy-Prime and realize he may be the most dangerous of them all.

The series was so well done, it needs it's own list. Top Ten of the Sinestro Corps War:
10. What killed Kyle Rayner's mother
09. What saved Guy Gardner
08. The new Ion and his homeworld
07. The City Without Fear
06. The Bizarro Lantern
05. Cyborg Superman gets what he wants, for awhile
04. Superboy-Prime vs. Every Superhero There Is
03. Handicap Match: Sinestro vs. Hal Jordan & Kyle Rayner
02. Sinestro wins
01. This was only the beginning

01. Best single issue of a series: Astonishing X-Men #23
No one throws a curve like Joss Whedon. After the previous issue's sacrifice, Cyclops is resurrected by Kruun of Breakworld and Kruun wants information. Withstanding immense torture, a powerless Cyclops shows that he is the rock of the X-Men because he will not break. Concerned about "Leviathan," the X-Men's backup plan, Kruun interrogates Cyclops harshly and only gets the truth after threatening to dice up Armor, currently imprisoned with Wolverine. There is no "Leviathan," and last issue's end conversation was just to throw off the listening enemy, while the X-Men put their real plan into place, which included Wolverine and Armor being captured. Sick of lies, Kruun strangles Cyclops and asks, "What other lies have you told!?!" The answer was the first, honest to God time I ever cheered for a comic book character.

1 comment:

Gyuss Baaltar said...

Hooray for Bonesaw Batman! Best panel of 2007.