Published Dec 01, 2005The Best of Comics 2005
Best Ongoing Series
Astonishing X-Men (Whedon/Cassaday)
Astonishing X-Men, written by Joss Whedon and illustrated by John Cassaday, has breathed new life into the famed heroes. With the plethora of X-titles hitting the shelves monthly, what makes this so desirable is that Whedon understands that conflict and drama make for good character development. From the outset, Whedon hasn't pulled any punches nor softened up his approach to the heroes and what he's put them through.
Best Single Issue
Wonder Woman #219 (Rucka/Morales/Lopez/Derenick/Jeanty/Kerschl)
In my years of reading comics, I may have gasped out loud once or twice. Add Wonder Woman #219 to that list. This comic, written by Greg Rucka and penciled by an amazing team (Rags Morales, David Lopez, Tom Derenick, Georges Jeanty and Karl Kerschl) is the single best comic I've read all year. Not only because of the phenomenal fight between Wonder Woman and Superman but because of the final three panels. Rucka knows how to grab the reader's attention and right at the time when you're thinking about going for a snack, he gives you what you want. Destroying a hero's character is essential for any kind of growth, and Rucka scored big time with this visceral scene of DC's good girl.
Seth Fisher (Green Lantern: Willword; Fantastic Four; Iron Man)
Seth Fisher has managed the unusual: maintaining his own style and making it work with any writer's story. Fisher's work on Green Lantern: Willworld (written by J. M. DeMatteis) was not only Fisher's first published work for DC, it was also the perfect showcase for his style of art. Part Japanese punk, part fluid abstract, Fisher's unique approach to layout, use of bright colours and overly exaggerated facial expressions complements his latest work for Marvel: Fantastic Four and Iron Man "Big In Japan." The perfect backdrop for Fisher's blend of colour and pop cultural references, "Big In Japan" is full of the kind of mind-altering-substance type visuals that don't leave you feeling paranoid after reading it.
Brian K. Vaughn (Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina)
If anyone deserves this title, it's Brian K. Vaughn. Not because he's written every single major DC character currently in action (including Batman) but because he knows when to stop. Two of my favourite series written by him, Y: The Last Man and Ex Machina, are both finite, which is refreshing in the world of "drag it out for as long as you can before you get moved to another book." His storytelling abilities are multi-directional, and each new title he puts his name on is guaranteed to be a trip. His ideas are fresh and new and as long as he keeps them coming, I'll keep buying them.
Best Artist/Writer Team
Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev (Daredevil)
The amount of work that Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev have done together on Daredevil isn't much when compared to other great team-ups. What they share is a complete understanding of the other's craft; how well they work together is apparent in the work they produce. Bendis's dark story arcs are perfectly complemented by the strong lines and subdued colouring of Maleev's art. There is nothing these two could collaborate on that wouldn't read well and look good.
Best New Title
Seven Soldiers of Victory (Grant Morrison)
Seven Soldiers of Victory, while a lengthy and expensive read, is worth the digging you may have to do in order to find all the issues. Sprung from the twisted and never-slumbering mind of Grant Morrison, Seven Soldiers revisions an older DC team of the same name, with some updates along the way. Consisting of the seven main mini-series of four issues each and two bookend issues, this is the first mega series published by DC. One of the best for its bold, all-or-nothing approach to storytelling.
Hal Jordan as Green Lantern (Geoff Johns)
We all knew it would happen, what we didn't know was who would get to write it. Geoff Johns masterfully brought back to life one of the most beloved characters in the DC universe, despite some rumblings in the comic world about the little details. It doesn't matter that it wasn't the best miniseries. All I care about is that the character is back, and just in time to help out with the mess that's happening in DC's Infinite Crisis.
Best Trade Paperback
DC: the New Frontier
Both volumes by Darwyn Cooke are among the best things I've read, ever. Not just for the way he gets to the soul of the character, but also because each issue is dedicated to the artists and writers who originally crafted the heroes. Spanning the time in between the Golden Age and the Silver Age of comics (roughly 1940 to 1950), Cooke has delivered a tale that not only focuses on the heroes of that era, but allows the reader inside his vision of the classic American ideal of what a hero should be.
Best Independent Comic
You Deserved It by Bob Fingerman
Bordering on offensive, You Deserved It sums up why karma is a bitch. Comprised of four short stories that vary from homicidal meat packers in Hollywood to a man that loves his bologna, Fingerman has delivered another one of his famous up-yours to society, this time in full colour. Not for the faint of heart, You Deserved It is a perfect read for those days when you think your life sucks. It reminds you that there is always someone out there who's worse off than you. And that will make you smile.
Best Kid-Friendly Comic
Teen Titans Go! / Arana: Heart of the Spider
Whether your child already has an interest in comics, two titles stand out and make reading time fun. Teen Titans Go! is based on the television show, and since each issue is a self-contained story, there's no danger of missing out if you don't pick up the next issue. As well, Arana: Heart of the Spider is a great read for kids who like Spider-Man but wish he was a girl. I don't believe in choosing comics based on gender, but it is empowering to see a girl kicking butt in a kid-friendly comic.