Brandon Borzelli's Geek Goggle Reviews
2012 saw more rebooting, this time from Marvel, it had Before Watchmen and the crossover, Avengers vs X-Men. Away from the big two, we had some fantastic series begin, such as Saga, and Walking Dead tore it up with its 100th issue.
Overall it was another solid year for stories from the comics industry. I can always tell the market has a large amount of quality when there is a high amount of books I would love to pick up and simply can't find the time allocation to read them.
The guidelines are that I try not to include arcs or series that haven't completed by the end of the calendar year. While the event of Before Watchmen would not qualify, the mini-series, Nite Owl would. As far as ongoing series goes, the book should have shipped more than six issues during the year to qualify. These are loose rules, subject to change of course.
Favorite Mini-Series: Star Wars Darth Vader Ghost Prison
This mini-series took a look at the fallout when a coup was executed on the Emperor. It's fantastic because it ties in the likes of the original trilogy (such as Grand Moff Tarkin), The Clone Wars (though no familiar villains) and the prequels, specifically Vader's inside knowledge from when he was a Jedi. Other books like Luther Strode, Star Wars Dawn of the Jedi, No Place Like Home and Godzilla legends where all fantastic reads as well. If Punk Rock Jesus had shipped its final issue a week earlier it would be in the mix too.
2011: Star Wars Legacy War
2010: Punisher Versus The Marvel Universe
2009: Back To Brooklyn
2008: Final Crisis Rogues' Revenge
2007: World War Hulk
Most Disappointing Mini-Series: Avengers: X-Sanction
The return of Cable. The lead-in to the Avengers versus X-Men crossover. Super star creative team. All that added up to a throwaway, massively disappointing mini-series. Luckily it was only four issues.
2011: X-Men: Prelude to Schism
2010: Captain America Reborn
2009: Tales of Blackest Night
2008: World War Hulk Aftersmash: Warbound
Favorite Collected Mini-Series or Original Graphic Novel: Fairy Quest
Jenkins and Ramos original work released as a hardcover first, coming out in singles from IDW in 2013 is a terrific read. Richard Stark's Parker: The Score is an amazing adaptation. Flex Mentallo Deluxe edition is also a fantastic collection, though there are some grumbling about the re-coloring. Batman Earth One was another book to take a look at.
2011: We3 Deluxe Edition
2010: Richard Stark's The Outfit
2009: X-Men Magneto's Testament
Favorite Crossover: Spider-Men
An impossible category because nothing seemed on par with Sinestro Corps War or Messiah Complex. Ultimately I picked Spider-Island because I found it entertaining and well crafted. However, this is not a storyline I would universally recommend.
2010: Blackest Night
2009: What Ever Happened to the Caped Crusader?
2008: Messiah Complex
2007: Green Lantern Sinestro Corps War
Most Disappointing Crossover: Avengers versus X-Men
This was an easy pick. The story just didn't connect together very well. The odd use of Wanda and Hope were also perplexing. However, the kicker was how the book ignoring much of what had come before with regards to Hope and made it seem like she's been training her entire life to receive the Phoenix, which is laughable.
2010: World War Hulks
2009: Messiah War
2008: She-Hulk/X-Factor Secret Invasion
2007: Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul
Favorite One-Shot: Chew Special Agent Poyo
A category that always contains a lot of books to pick from. The Poyo book provided the most fun though. An impressive showing from the Independent circuit as Ian Brill's Dracula World Order and Brad Abraham's MixTape also provide fantastic reads. Mars Attacks had a Christmas special that was $8 but a fun read nonetheless.
2011: Hellboy: Being Human
2010: Sea Bear and Grizzly Shark #1
2009: Elephantmen: Yvette War Toys
2008: Final Crisis Rage of the Red Lanterns
2007: What If: Planet Hulk
Most Disappointing One-Shot: Thanos Quest One Shot
Eight bucks for two reprinted issues from 1990. Think about that. You can buy the originals on ebay for about fifteen combined. Marvel loves to over price stuff.
2011: Marvel Point One
2010: Wolverine Road to Hell #1
2009: Transformers Spotlight: Cliffhanger
2008: What If: Wolverine versus Spider-Man
2007: Captain America Fallen Son: Spider-Man
The Marvel NOW! books just haven't shipped enough to qualify here.
Favorite Ongoing: Uncanny X-Force
The series wrapped up with a tremendous storyline. This is one of the better runs from the big two in the last ten years. The runner-ups are Chew, Walking Dead, Hawkeye and Batman. You simply can't go wrong with any of these series.
2011: Uncanny X-Force
2009: Walking Dead
2008: Walking Dead
2007: GI Joe America's Elite
Most Disappointing Ongoing: Superman
DC is just lost with this character and has been for several years. Go pick up a Dan Jurgens Superman issue circa 1994 (post death and resurrection) and you will read a great incarnation of Superman.
2011: Action Comics
The favorite franchise or character that spreads across many books.
Favorite Overall: Batman
Whichever book I pick up I find a great story between the covers. Whether it's the monthly books I pick up, like Batman proper, or the books I read occasionally, such as All-Star Western, I find entertainment for my money. Even, the bigger storylines that sprawl multiple books like Court of the Owls are well constructed with a central purpose. No other group of books comes close in my opinion.
2011: X-Men universe
2009: Green Lantern
Most Disappointing Overall: Justice League
Each book DC publishes with some variation of Justice League in the title I have high hopes. Each read through I realize DC has no idea what it is doing editorially with this franchise. Between this and Superman I wonder how Batman does so well.
2011: Justice League
2010: GI Joe
2009: GI Joe
Old Reliable: Walking Dead
It's a great book and it never disappoints. The book is again building towards something special. A distance second is Transformers Regeneration, but it has only published six issues so far. From what I hear the other Transformers are better, but Regeneration is Simon Furman at the top of his game.
2011: Planet of the Apes
2010: Walking Dead
2009: Green Lantern Corps
2008: Green Lantern Corps
Missing In Action: Infinite Vacation.
This mini series last shipped in January of 2012, but breaking news has its fifth issue apparently shipping on January 9th. Wow.
2011: Ultimate X Comics
Favorite New Series: Saga
The Marvel NOW! books haven't shipped enough, but it wouldn't have mattered. There are few books I look forward to more than Saga. Mars Attacks and Fatale are two more that are very good that are new, but not on par with Saga.
2010: American Vampire
Least Favorite New Series: Avengers Assemble
Looking to cash in on the movie, this book isn't quite in continuity and doesn't really provide a reason to justify its existence. This could have been a lot better. Granted, Ravengers is one of the worst books I have ever read, but I had no expectations for the book.
2011: Justice League
2010: Green Lantern Emerald Warriors
2009: Superman (War)
Favorite Arc: PunisherMax: Homeless
This is a brilliant ending to this series. Jason Aaron at his best.
2011: Walking Dead: No Way Out
2010: PunisherMax: Kingpin
2009: Walking Dead: The Hunters
2008: GI Joe: World War 3
Arc to Avoid: Amazing Spider-Man Danger Zone
Dan Slott had a very good run on Amazing Spider-Man but the quality definitely dipped with arcs towards the end, specifically this one.
2011: Action Comics: Reign of Doomsday
2010: Amazing Spider-Man: OMIT
2009: Amazing Spider-Man: Redheaded Stranger
2008: Wolverine Origins: Deadpool
Favorite Anniversary Issue: Walking Dead #100
If you only buy one comic book for the entire year, let it be this one. It's just a brutal issue visually and a gut-wrenching one altogether. Fantastic book.
2011: Fantastic Four #600
2010: Batman #700
2009: Amazing Spider-Man #600
Least Favorite Anniversary Issue: Amazing Spider-Man #700
Why? This book isn't anything an anniversary issue should be. It's the ending to a storyline, which is a bad way to hold readers. It's an ending to the series, which eliminates the curious readers (they should have ended this book with 705 to hold the readers for five more issues that were stopping in for the anniversary number). The storyline doesn't make sense and there is barely any celebration to the character. At eight bucks this is among the worst books you could spend your money on. Go back and buy Amazing Spider-Man #600.
2011: Spawn #200
2010: Superman #700
2009: Hulk #600
Annual Worth Reading: Green Lantern Annual #1
Signs that Geoff Johns can still deliver a high quality Green Lantern issue as he's done for so many years.
2011: New Avengers Annual #1
2008: Action Comics #11
2007: Action Comics #10
Annual Better Off Not Reading: Batman Annual #1
I simply didn't care for the re-invention of Mr Freeze. I think this issue highlighted the contradictions too much. Mr Freeze is just another psychopath now and that takes away from the character's history.
2011: Amazing Spider-Man Annual #38
2008: Action Comics #11
2007: Batman Annual #18
There's plenty of other great books out there that I haven't mention like Conan (Wood's run), Punisher (Rucka's run), Detective Comics, Journey Into Mystery, Swamp Thing, Wolverine and the X-Men, American Vampire (soon on hiatus), Deadpool, Green Lantern Corps, Batman and Robin, Atomic Robo, Flash Gordon from Ardden, Sweet Tooth and Locke and Key to name a few. Plus series that wrapped up like Scalped and The Boys. There's a lot of great stuff, just take a look.
Hopefully 2013 will bring even more great stuff to add to the list.