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espanolbot ([personal profile] espanolbot) wrote in [community profile] scans_daily2011-12-31 09:12 pm

EspanolBot's Opinionated Bests and Worsts in Comics of 2011

Due to moving house, I unfortunately have been unable to make any Casstoons to cover this, so here is a prose semi-list of things I thought were good and bad about comics (mainly DC) that happened in the year 2011.

Break-Out Writer of the Year - Scott Snyder

Although I'd already read his work in the kind of meh series Iron Man: Noir and in the excellent American Vampire (of which Stephen King managed to hog most of the credit), this year I was really surprised by the quality of his runs on the Batman related titles, such as the backup storyline that became the Black Mirror, the Gates of Gotham and his current run on Batman. All of them were excellent, and word is that his work on Swamp Thing is really good as well, though due to budget concerns I sadly am having to wait for the trade.

Runner Up - Paul Cornell

Continuing his winning streak from his work on Marvel, Cornell has managed to write consistently entertaining work with his Black Ring storyline in Action Comics, as well as Batman and Robin, Stormwatch and Demon Knights runs. Kind of like a British Gail Simone in some respects, only without the Joss Whedon-ish tone that seeps in occasionally to her work. Definitely looking forward to his Saucer Country series for Vertigo next year.

Consistently Best Superhero Comic - Batgirl (2010 - 2011)

A fun book about the one character in the Bat Family that doesn't seem to be overwhelmed by depressed navel gazing. A lot of fun, with mostly consistent good art and interesting characters, Stephanie Brown's journey from being seen as merely a nuisance or hazard by the other members of the Bat Family to being accepted for her own merits was really an interesting journey. Not really the most deep of books, but sometimes we just want to read a book where a plucky young woman teams up with Supergirl to fight a horde of overacting, angsty Draculas. Or maybe that's just me.

Runner-Up : Batman Inc.

Although it showed a lot of promise in the start, as well as having a lot of new and exciting ideas being introduced into the Bat Universe, this series seemed to be to sadly not hold up to muster, at least at up until it hastily being semi-concluded in Leviathan Strikes!. Maybe it warrants multiple reads like the majority of Morrison's Batman work, but there's a difference between having a complex story and having plot elements thrown at you as if from the mouth of a crazy homeless person. There are definitely good moments to it, the opening few issues introducing the Japanese branch of Batman Inc. were VERY good in terms of art, story and in the interaction between the characters. With the relationship between Selina and Batman being a particular highlight. The issue with the CG art was inexcusable though. Blarg.

Most Disappointing Event Comic - Flashpoint

Probably only brought about as an internal means of justifying the reboot, the series didn't really gel with me as some of DC's other event storylines. The spin-off titles were ironically more interesting than the main title, with the Batman tie-in where Bruce Wayne died and his parents are now Batman and the Joker evidently was really good. The Traci 13 centric one was also really good, though problematic in parts. The fact that the main series was based around one of the more bland of DC's "iconic" cast probably didn't help matters, and leads us to our next segment...

Biggest Unintentional Villain of 2011 - Barry Allen

Although it was highly unlikely that the creators intended it that way, Barry Allen's decision to try and change the past to suit his own means managed to come across as being kind of selfish, and the fact that it ended up destroying time and creating the dystopian world of the Flashpoint Universe made it even worse. Maybe they were going for the irony factor, but wasn't trying to change the past to right some tragedies that happened to him the origin of the Flash villain Zoom? And Wally West, the Flash at the time (who seems to have been erased in the reboot by the by) refused to let him do it as it would break the timestream? Hell, Hal Jordan tried to do the same thing, and that caused even Superman to decry him as a crazy supervillain. And then you get into the fact that Barry wouldn't fix things the way they used to be, erasing people like Wally West (his wife's nephew) and his family... Yeah, accidental or no, I can't really find myself rooting for the guy at this point.

Runner-Up: the Guardians of the Universe

Always balancing on the edge between being godlike but benevolent beings and immortals with huge chips on their soldiers, 2011 opened whole new ways for the supposed Big Goods of the DCU, the leaders of the Green Lantern Corps (the Guardians of the Universe) to go from just being cold and distant to being overtly villainous. For example, brainwashing the more traditionally heroic of the Guardians, Ganthet, due to becoming a representive of the Blue Lanterns because him feeling hope and love was an abomination, apparently. Though these are the guys who seemed to think that turning their own people into dogmatic cyborgs (after their last attempt at robotic minions failed spectacularly with the Manhunters) would be a good idea, so I guess that shouldn't be suprising.

Greatest Internet Arguments Caused by Comics?
A tie between,
- The DC Reboot: Good or Bad?
- The Reboot and Sexism: Catwoman raping Batman and Kori the disinterested sex object.
- Wonder Woman's New Origin
- Barbara Gordan's Cured Paralysis: Does the loss of Oracle outweigh having BatgirlClassic back?

- Racists complaining about Idris Elba in Thor
- Frank Miller calling the members of the Occupy Movement rapists and whiners.
- The debate over whether the complaints about Ultimate Spider-man being replaced by Miles Morales are racist or not (most of them WERE).

Series with the Consistently Best Cover Art - Gates of Gotham

Most Bizarrely Adorable Semi-Incest Implict Pairing
Cassandra Cain (Black Bat) and Tim Drake/Wayne (Red Robin) at the end of Gates of Gotham.

Building on their relationship from Cass' own series, up through the implications of Beechen's unfortunate Robin run and into the pre-reboot Red Robin series, the attraction that was implied appeared to finally come to a head, when the adopted siblings appeared to officially become a couple at the end of Scott Snyder's excellent miniseries. Chances are that any relationship between the two has now been erased due to the reboot, same as Supergirl apparently getting some in the conclusion of her own series, but if something DID happen between Cass and Tim, it kind of makes for a weirdly sweet end to their ten or so year pseudofriendship.

The Worst Way to Show the Retconning of a Marriage
Lois and Clark
There are good ways and bad ways to reboot a relationship. A good way is to have them just be friends and build from there. The bad way would be to should them as friends and show they aren't a couple anymore by having Clark interupt her having sex with her boyfriend. Allen, this is your doing!

Worst Costume
Zatanna's outfit in Flashpoint

Best New Villain
James Gordon Jr.
The son of Commissioner Gordon, James Jr came back into the Batman universe during Scott Snyder's Black Mirror run on Detective Comics, in a story that originally was meant to be a back-up story for the main one, but DC dropped the concept of backup stories Snyder's story made its way to the forefront.

The explanation as to why Jim Jr acts the way he does is never really explained, possibly the drop from the bridge in Batman: Year One, possibly him just being born that way, he manages to come across as both genuinely disturbed as well as actually frightening, even before the extent of his illness is revealed.

Still around in the DCnU (appearing in a panel in the start of Snyder's Batman run), I really hope that IF he is returned, it is by people who'd not dumb down his protrayal into something more akin to Zsasz or something. Or the Dollmaker. Blarg.

More to come if I think of them. But what are your Bests and Worsts of the year? Let us know. :)
jaybee3: Nguyen Lil Cass (Default)

[personal profile] jaybee3 2012-01-01 06:30 pm (UTC)(link)
"Am I the only one who remembers Straczynki's announced book about a Gotham City hospital?"

I remember that. I thought it was very interesting. But it seems like another one of those ideas of JMS's that seems to have come to nothing.
mrstatham: (Default)

[personal profile] mrstatham 2012-01-01 06:36 pm (UTC)(link)
It is really annoying the only stuff he can be bothered with, these days, is the Earth One stuff. I mean, DC bringing him over was a big deal after Marvel fucked him over with Spider-Man and Thor. To some degree I don't think it's his fault, since he's also a movie and TV writer and clearly they'll pay more, but DC shot themselves in the foot for more money, when they could've had him writing other books..

Obviously not, y'know, Superman and Wonder Woman, because you don't need a big giant clusterfuck again, but still.

[personal profile] jlbarnett 2012-01-02 01:20 am (UTC)(link)
I'm most pissed about the solicited and never released Lois Lane and Adam Strange Brave & The Bold story.