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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. :)

Date: 2012-01-01 12:16 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] darkknightjrk
Totally agreed on Snyder. :D

"Runner-Up : Batman Inc."

Yeah, I think if it had kept to a more consistent schedule, it would have totally beaten Batgirl and probably most of the other Big Two books on the market.

"Most Disappointing Event Comic - Flashpoint"

Completely disagree. If anything, I felt it was the runner-up for best event.

My vote for most disappointing event comic would be Fear Itself. Decompressed to the infinite degree, boring, pandering, nonsensical. This felt more like something being spat out by the mouth of a mad homeless person than Incorporated.

"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..."

I still haven't seen any good evidence that is actually the case. They're just not using him, which probably means he's not superheroing at the moment--which is actually consistent to where he was in the 80s before COIE.

"Catwoman raping Batman"

I never could understand this. It can be argued whether it should have been as explicit, most definitely, but I don't see how that was in any way out of character for either of them.

"Cassandra Cain (Black Bat) and Tim Drake/Wayne (Red Robin) at the end of Gates of Gotham."

...I didn't think of it that way when I read it, that you mention it...:O

"I really hope that IF he is returned, it is by people who'd dumb down his protrayal into something more akin to Zsasz or something."

Wait. Do you mean if he returns you do want them to dumb down his portrayal?

Also, I believe Gail's hinted that he will return in Batgirl.

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Date: 2012-01-01 12:26 am (UTC)
lascoden: Anarky (Default)
From: [personal profile] lascoden
I think Flashpoint's biggest issue was that it wasn't supposed to be an event. I always got the feeling that connecting it to the reboot was a somewhat last minute decision.

Date: 2012-01-01 05:27 am (UTC)
q99: (Default)
From: [personal profile] q99
Or rather, it wasn't supposed to be a *huge* event. It'd be a mid-sized Flash centric affair that'd end like most minor events, back to the status quo. It'd be reasonable if it was that (though still lacking in resolution to the other world's status quo).

Date: 2012-01-01 12:27 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] jlbarnett
biggest issue with Flashpoint, supervillains can change history but trying to change it back ruins reality. Because all that stuff that Reverse Flash did was presented as him altering history when it was revealed.

And the thing with Clark and Lois, I'm not even sure if that guys even her boyfriend. At least the way he was treated in the next issue.

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Date: 2012-01-01 12:35 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] darkknightjrk
"And the thing with Clark and Lois, I'm not even sure if that guys even her boyfriend"

Yeah, I read that as a sorta FWB kinda situation.

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Date: 2012-01-01 06:03 am (UTC)
jaybee3: Nguyen Lil Cass (Default)
From: [personal profile] jaybee3
"And the thing with Clark and Lois, I'm not even sure if that guys even her boyfriend. At least the way he was treated in the next issue."

I have to wonder if at some point Editorial decided to drop "Jonathan Carroll" (at least as a vital contender for Lois's affections). When DC released those panels (along with a press release!) to the major media they announced him as Lois's "hunky new co-worker" which we have seen no evidence of since he's hasn't been seen since and his "creator" George Perez is leaving the book.

Date: 2012-01-01 02:22 am (UTC)
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
I'm sorry, I didn't get this the first time either. Where are Black Bat and Red Robin becoming a couple in that scene?

Date: 2012-01-01 05:10 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] darkknightjrk
I think the thinking is that considering the mood, lighting, and dialogue in the scene, one could add in the two getting together between panels. It's definitely not official, but I can see where someone could create that possible next scene.

Date: 2012-01-01 05:29 am (UTC)
q99: (Default)
From: [personal profile] q99
"We're not talking about the bat boat anymore are we?" "I think I've always liked it in Gotham."

Plus the expressions.

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Date: 2012-01-01 02:38 am (UTC)
big_daddy_d: (Default)
From: [personal profile] big_daddy_d
I do hope Jim Jr. shows up in Batgirl and becomes an archnemesis. Also totally agree with most of what you have up there. I feel that the Guardians shouldn't be runner ups...they should just be named as full on villains Also I like the Dollmaker. lol

Date: 2012-01-01 05:11 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] darkknightjrk
I believe Gail has hinted that he will appear--and Babs does mention him in #4, which could very well be a sort-of Chekov's gun.

Date: 2012-01-01 04:16 am (UTC)
auggie18: (Default)
From: [personal profile] auggie18
I think Steph might be my favorite Batgirl just based on how much fun her run was. It kinda reminded me of Gravity and X-men: First Class, which kept the fun going without losing track of the seriousness.

Date: 2012-01-01 05:29 am (UTC)
q99: (Default)
From: [personal profile] q99
Steph was a great Batgirl.

Date: 2012-01-01 08:16 pm (UTC)
leikomgwtfbbq: (Default)
From: [personal profile] leikomgwtfbbq
Agreed! Steph's my favorite Batgirl ever, with Cass a close second, and Babs third. (I always MUCH preferred Babs as Oracle. She seemed to have much more of a strong personality and individual identity as Oracle.)

Date: 2012-01-01 05:49 am (UTC)
zechs80: (Mayuri)
From: [personal profile] zechs80
Barry Allen didn't cause the New DCU. It was Gotham City rebooting the universe so it could get another crack at Tim Drake after Cassandra Cain took it away from him.

Date: 2012-01-01 05:54 am (UTC)
jaybee3: Nguyen Lil Cass (Default)
From: [personal profile] jaybee3
Having Jim Jr. be such a clear psychopath was the one misstep in Snyder's writing for me. I would have much preferred it had he left it at Cary Grant/Suspicion level with Babs and Jim Sr. playing the Joan Fontaine role of always wondering/agonizing if their suspicions are right or maybe they're seeing it wrong (Hitchcock had to kowtow to the studios not to make Cary Grant's a murderer in the movie but you can still watch it and imagine otherwise).

A lot of the the other things mentioned fall under the "Unfortunate Implications" trope where it seems that the people at DC are either unaware of what they're doing (such as replacing bi-racial and their most successful woman of color ever solo title wise Cass Cain as Batgirl in the most tasteless way with yet another blue eyed blonde girl to go with already blue-eyed blondes Wonder Girl and Supergirl) or they ARE aware of what they are doing and have that much contempt for their audience (which is what I consider the Lois Lane/Clark Superman #1 isssue - they released those particular pages - the last in the actual issue itself - to the national media while Lois/Clark were STILL married in the comics and had commentary from Jim Lee himself that we are supposed to feel "sorry" for Clark in this circumstance even though L/C have never been a couple in this continuity but don't even seem particularly close friends after 5 years - even John Byrne gave us better character development than that).

The Flashpoint thing is something I don't think DC or Johns did knowingly but is true nonetheless. Hal Jordan (who wanted to bring back the entire multiverse in Zero Hour) was villifed for less than what Barry Allen did. And either Zoom (who set all this in motion) becomes the greatest super-villain in DC history since the Anti-Monitor or Barry himself did but literally wiping out not only marriages but entire LIVES just for his own purposes. And the fact that no one seems to remember it was done (no Psycho Pirate seemingly) makes it all the more worse.

Date: 2012-01-01 11:35 am (UTC)
mrstatham: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mrstatham
To just pass off Steph based on her hair and eye colour is pretty dismissive, frankly. She isn't exactly the same as Supergirl or Wonder Girl just because she looks vaguely similar. It ignores how great her book was. Given the book wasn't even meant to be Steph's to begin with, either, would you have been so bitter about it if it were Babs in the role?

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Date: 2012-01-01 09:17 am (UTC)
superfangirl1: (Default)
From: [personal profile] superfangirl1
Is the guy in the scan her boyfriend? I think the next issue,she explain to Clark as he tried to apologize. The man was just a friend that stays the night because he travels alot or something.

Nice scans and I like the first batman image. :)

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Date: 2012-01-01 10:18 pm (UTC)
starwolf_oakley: (Default)
From: [personal profile] starwolf_oakley
My problem with FLAHSPOINT is this: I wanted to see how Batman (after returning from the Omega Sanction) would react to what happened in CRY FOR JUSTICE. I had a sort of running joke about how he would react to nobody remembering Max Lord and Wonder Woman. But how he would react to Lian (and 90,000 people in Star City) dying, Roy getting his arm cut off, Green Arrow killing Prometheus, and Roy getting hooked on heroin again... Well, that would be quite a story. Even just a few pages of a story. And now we won't know.

Date: 2012-01-02 02:02 am (UTC)
jaybee3: Nguyen Lil Cass (Default)
From: [personal profile] jaybee3
I was looking forward to that as well, not only to Bruce's reaction at the League's incompetence regarding Prometheus (you just know Bruce had contingency plans for that guy somewhere) but Ollie's follow-up murder, the League and other hero's treatment of Roy (i.e. Dick and Canary locking him in a detox center used for super-villains) and the new Grayson-led JLA which did things like invading Khandaq and facing off against not only super-villains but Isis and Osiris (two Superman level beings) with seemingly no plan and no right (when did the JLA invade countries?). Minus the reboot I was definitely picturing a Bruce Wayne planning on creating his own counter-league or something (perhaps with Roy or J'onn).

But then I think a ton of stories following Bruce's "return" were wasted i.e. no follow-up on the heroes who really mourned him - which included Ollie, no follow-up on Dick/Alfred enlisting the Outsiders/JLA in having Hush masquerade as Bruce and giving away his money seemingly indefinitely, no follow up on Dick of all people trying to use a Lazarus Pit to bring Bruce back, no follow up to Cassandra and her adoption which is in the works pre-Final Crisis, no follow up on Wonder Woman's "feelings" for Bruce in light of her Blackest Day one-shot (thanks to JMS' Odyssey), no follow-up on Lucius Fox's attack in Red Robin which would have necessitated Bruce - not Tim - taking action, and no follow up (so far) to something even Morrison explicitly mentioned and thats the rest of the super-hero world's reaction to the creation of Batman Inc.

All of these possible repercussions seems to have to fallen by the wayside even before the reboot. What was the point of the "Return of Bruce Wayne" then if everybody reacts as if he was never "dead"?

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