Brandon Borzelli's Geek Goggle Reviews
Star Wars. 2015 was about Star Wars crushing sales records and sitting on top of the sales charts with multiple titles for the entire year.
However, 2015 also saw Secret Wars. Jonathan Hickman's final story in the Marvel Universe that wrapped up about 10 years of stories. It also marked the apparent end of the Ultimate Universe.
DC moved their offices to the west coast and put their entire line on hold for two months. In its place was a crossover called Convergence. When it was over they resumed their publishing line with a few very interesting new books under the DC You line.
Marvel dominated the fall with a slew of new titles that seemed to provide something for everyone. Despite the fact that several comics saw two number ones for the same title in 2015 with the same creative team. The Fantastic Four ended. Seemingly for a long, long break. Based on how the movie was ripped, this may be a wise move. In other news, Wolverine is still dead.
All this considered and Image published more titles per month than ever. They have had a number of smash hits along the way to go along nicely with the backbone of their line, juggernauts like The Walking Dead and Saga.
Meanwhile, you found great stuff from Boom!, a relaunch of Archie, great comics from IDW and a ton of new creator owned books from Dark Horse.
It sounds like a great year. And it was.
The cutoff for this list is 12/30/2015. Books that shipped last 12/31/2014 also count. I won't consider a comic a new series until I've read three issues. Mini-series need to have wrapped up in 2015 but not necessarily started in 2015. The guidelines are extremely loose and I seem to change them a lot.
Favorite Mini-Series: Big Man Plans
Four issues of some of the dirtiest and most heartbreaking stuff I've ever read. We Can Never Go Home is a similar book that is also a "must read" but the back issues are very expensive. Both are out in trade.
2014: King Conan: The Conqueror
2013: Punk Rock Jesus
2012: Star Wars Darth Vader Ghost Prison
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: Wolverines
Okay, so twenty issues hardly counts as a mini-series. It was a weekly book though so it felt like a mini-series. This comic had two creative teams and an editor that just didn't hold them together. Characters floated in and out of books with no explanation. Volumes in trade left off in the middle of a storyline. This whole thing was a mess with what started out as a race to get Wolverine's body but ended with something completely different as the focus. I have no idea where this went wrong. I'm not even sure where the body ended up.
2014: Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir
2013: Before Watchmen: Nite Owl
2012: Avengers: X-Sanction
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: Andre The Giant: Closer To Heaven
This is the second graphic novel about Andre the Giant and both were excellent. This one painted a more rounded perspective of the man outside the ring. I simply couldn't put it down. I realize this it probably aimed at wrestling fans or folks that remember the 1980s fondly. As a second choice I offer up the Scalped Deluxe Edition Volume 2. 320+ pages for thirty bucks. Gritty and hard-hitting, this series doesn't disappoint. Sandman Overture Deluxe Edition is also a must have, but your page count is 224 for $25. All are fantastic reads in their own ways. Multiversity is another collected edition to pick up (see below).
2014: Punk Rock Jesus Hardcover
2013: Fear Agent Library Volume 1
2012: Fairy Quest
2011: We3 Deluxe Edition
2010: Richard Stark's Parker: The Outfit
2009: X-Men Magneto's Testament
Favorite Crossover: Multiversity
Grant Morrison at his best. I suppose this could fit into the Mini-Series category but it is technically a book made up of other books. Each is a one-shot that fits in with the two-issue book end issues called Multiversity. The comic takes characters from all kinds of parallel dimensions and takes a look at how they interact with each other and how they view themselves against the mosaic of everyone else. Morrison even takes a shot at how readers look at his work. It's a brilliant series and some of the individual issues channel Jack Kirby in ways that would make you think the man was alive and ghost writing this thing.
2014: Transformers: Dark Cybertron
2010: Blackest Night
2009: What Ever Happened to the Caped Crusader?
2008: Messiah Complex
2007: Green Lantern Sinestro Corps War
Most Disappointing Crossover: Convergence
DC should have swapped this out with Multiversity and used the tie-ins as they were used for this crossover. Unfortunately, this series required too much knowledge from other comics from previous stories (and years). There was so much potential here to tell stories that really picked up threads from characters that are long gone and their continuity forgotten. DC played it too safe and it felt too much like filler.
2014: Avengers & X-Men: Axis
2013: Age of Ultron
2012: Avengers versus X-Men
2010: World War Hulks
2009: Messiah War
2008: She-Hulk/X-Factor Secret Invasion
2007: Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul
Favorite One-Shot: Criminal One-Shot
Always a fun category. The Criminal One-Shot was a great look at an old series. It also came in a magazine sized variant that was packed with extras. This was a great presentation and content. Transformers Punishment was also a great read. Multiversity: Pax Americana was also a fantastic read.
2014: The Multiversity: The Just
2013: American Vampire Anthology
2012: Chew Special Agent Poyo
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: Black Vortex Alpha
An issue that kicks off a crossover between the X-Men and the Guardians of the Galaxy. Sounds like a lot of fun. The opening issue didn't do anything to set this up in a way to want to follow the thirteen issue crossover. When the opening issue feels like filler you know the crossover could be a problem.
2014: 100th Anniversary Spider-Man
2013: Before Watchmen: Dollar Bill
2012: Thanos Quest One Shot
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
Favorite Ongoing: Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye
Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye doesn't get nominated for Eisner awards. It doesn't get a lot of buzz (except by the same small circle of fans). It just puts out a deep and meaningful read each month. Complex stories that require the book to be read several times to pick everything up. The comic has love between characters, mind blowing time travel, deceit, Megatron as an Autobot and on and on. Each comic is a solid twenty minute read. It's been my favorite for years and I am finally giving it the top nod. Saga, Ms Marvel, Batman, Walking Dead are all favorites of mine but none pack the same emotional punch that Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye always does.
2014: Ms Marvel
2012: Uncanny X-Force
2011: Uncanny X-Force
2009: Walking Dead
2008: Walking Dead
2007: GI Joe America's Elite
Most Disappointing Ongoing: Lobo
This comic ended a couple of months ago. Mercifully. When reading a comic I generally try to reverse out the elevator pitch or the vision that the creator had for the book. Lobo seems like the classic case where someone in management or editorial said, "we want a new Lobo, go make one" and the book stumbling along for twelve issues trying to bring violence in space, while distancing itself from what's been previously established as Lobo-esque. It didn't work. They should have stuck with the classic incarnation and tried to jam him in with the new version of DC. At least that would have had a fish-out-of-water aspect to it.
2013: Fantastic Four
2011: Action Comics
The favorite franchise or character that spreads across many books.
Favorite Overall: Star Wars
Was there ever a doubt? A Star Wars main title. A Darth Vader companion title. Mini-Series for Leia, Lando and Chewie. An ongoing for Kanan (the star of the Rebels TV Show), a Mini-Series that deals with the end of Return of the Jedi and a big crossover called Vader Down to end the year. A lot of comics and a lot of them are good. This franchise had a big year in 2015. Nothing came close to it.
2009: Green Lantern
Most Disappointing Overall: X-Men
The Bendis run wrapped up in a disappointing way and the finale in Uncanny X-Men #600 was a dud. The relaunched books have been very underwhelming so far. The Wolverines series was bad and without an ending. Plus, Wolverine is still dead. Does Marvel have a vision for this franchise?
2012: Justice League
2011: Justice League
2010: GI Joe
2009: GI Joe
Old Reliable: Batman
Snyder and Capullo are just putting together a great comic each and every month. GI Joe was also another comic that just chugs along putting out the same high quality each and every month. Never missing a month and always hitting the mark.
2013: Thor: God of Thunder
2012: Walking Dead
2011: Planet of the Apes
2010: Walking Dead
2009: Green Lantern Corps
2008: Green Lantern Corps
Missing In Action: Dying and the Dead
I loved the first issue. The next two were good. However, it's been a few a months and things aren't looking too promising on another issue. At least Hellboy in Hell saw two issues come out this year.
2014: Hellboy In Hell
2013: American Vampire
2012: Infinite Vacation
2011: Ultimate X Comics
Favorite New Series: Groot
Okay so the series only lasted six issues. I can't remember another comic that captured a character that doesn't speak anything except, "Groot!" so well. The six issues were fun, clever and creative. This was a tough category because you have a lot of great comics like Ant-Man, Omega Men, We Stand On Guard, Paper Girls, Star Wars, Archie, Invisible Republic, Descender and many others. I guess some of what made Groot stand out from things like Archie, Descender and Paper Girls is that I expected those series to be great and they are. Groot I didn't have any expectations and each issue was a great read.
2014: Moon Knight
2013: Batman 66
2010: American Vampire
Least Favorite New Series: Telos
If you read Convergence and loved it, absolutely loved it then you might enjoy this. If you hoping for this to be the next big villain or potentially tie things together in the DCU then you probably won't find that at all. There's an old belief in comic book land that you can't make a decent ongoing about a villain. Perhaps that is the case here. Superior Iron-Man was another comic that fell into this category. Perhaps I just had lower expectations going in for Superior Iron-Man.
2014: Kirkman's Outcast
2013: Trinity of Sin: Pandora
2012: Avengers Assemble
2011: Justice League
2010: Green Lantern Emerald Warriors
2009: Superman (War)
Favorite Arc: GI Joe: The Death of Snake Eyes
Three issues where Larry Hama takes down the legend. It's a great story with a great sendoff for a classic character. What Hama does next is equally as creative.
2014: Life of Archie
2013: Thor: God Bomb
2012: PunisherMax: Homeless
2011: Walking Dead: No Way Out
2010: PunisherMax: Kingpin
2009: Walking Dead: The Hunters
2008: GI Joe: World War 3
Arc to Avoid: Truth (Superman)
I was hoping that the new direction for Superman would bring something new. Having his identity revealed to the world in this arc was confusing and brought nothing new to the table for the character. I was turned off from the start and it went downhill as the arc progressed. The Uncanny arc called, Revolution, was also very incomplete but I put that more on Uncanny X-Men than the entire arc (see below).
2014: Wolverine and the X-Men
2013: Green Lantern: Rise of The Third Army
2012: Amazing Spider-Man Danger Zone
2011: Action Comics: Reign of Doomsday
2010: Amazing Spider-Man: OMIT
2009: Amazing Spider-Man: Redheaded Stranger
2008: Wolverine Origins: Deadpool
Favorite Anniversary Issue: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #50
This comic book was fantastic. It tied together four years of storylines, put the turtles against Splinter and still managed to tell a contained story. The comic is packed with action, drama and suspense. If you have ever had an interest in this franchise then this is a must read.
2014: Detective Comics #27
2013: Green Lantern #20
2012: Walking Dead #100
2011: Fantastic Four #600
2010: Batman #700
2009: Amazing Spider-Man #600
Least Favorite Anniversary Issue: Uncanny X-Men #600
This was very delayed, too over-priced and missed the narrative mark by a country mile. The book didn't wrap up one plot thread from the "continued in Uncanny X-Men #600" labels found at the end of the two Bendis X-Men books. It also didn't really cap Bendis' run on the X-Men. It read like a bunch of incomplete conversations that were started elsewhere and ended off-panel. What a bad comic book.
2014: GI Joe A Real American Hero #200
2013: Invincible #100
2012: Amazing Spider-Man #700
2011: Spawn #200
2010: Superman #700
2009: Hulk #600
Annual Worth Reading: Batgirl Annual #3
I had a difficult time deciding between this one and the Thor annual. Both were outstanding and dug into the characters from different directions. The Batgirl one came as more of a surprise while I was expecting the Thor annual to simply be a continuation of the regular series. Either one is a great read.
2014: New Avengers #1
2013: Batman & Robin #1
2012: Green Lantern Annual #1
2011: New Avengers Annual #1
2008: Action Comics #11
2007: Action Comics #10
Annual Better Off Not Reading: Batwoman Annual #2
DC botched a real gem. This final issue suffered from uneven art and lost a lot of momentum that the book had built up heading into the finale. The final page was a good way to end the title, but the issue was a real let down.
2014: Future's End Batwoman
2013: Batman: Joker #23.1
2012: Batman Annual #1
2011: Amazing Spider-Man Annual #38
2008: Action Comics #11
2007: Batman Annual #18
Recommended reading from comics in 2015:
Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye
We Can Never Go Home
The Fade Out (ending)
Sandman Overture (completed)
Conan The Avenger
Slash & Burn
Archie vs Predator (completed)
Unbeatable Squirrel Girl
All New Hawkeye
I'm sure I missed a lot of books, including some of your favorites. I can't read them all. At least I was able to list out about fifty to check out.
Let's see what 2016 has in store for us loyal readers.