Monday, December 31, 2007

Comic Book Overview of 2007

Hello, it's time for my end of the year comic book wrap-up for 2007! I'll mention as many books as I feel like mentioning, and leave out whatever I feel like leaving out.

DC's 52 wrapped up nicely and turned out to be a far better series than I was expecting. Still, I got to read it free courtesy of my friend D, who buys some comic books through us, so it might've looked better from that "free" angle. WWIII, which came at the end of 52, was a jumbled bunch of plot solutions looking for a story to hang on, and as such was a terrible let-down. And Countdown was bad from the start. Even free I didn't want to read it, and D dumped it quickly as well.

Spider-Man: One More Day was a mess. Didn't like it. Glad I didn't pay for it (thank you, D).

I read some Action Comics and Superman this year, all due to D's purchasing of same. I just haven't been impressed with them overall. Certainly nothing stands out as exciting enough to mention.

I read some Batman and Detective Comics this year, all due to D's purchasing of same. As with Superman, I wasn't impressed. I'm just not a fan of the character.

I dumped Birds of Prey when Gail Simone stopped writing it, and then picked up Wonder Woman instead. I don't know how much I'll read Wonder Woman, I've never been a fan of the character, but I do like the writing. It hasn't hooked me like Birds of Prey did.

I didn't really read much Marvel, but I did pick up the Wisdom mini-series because Paul Cornell, who once wrote me into one of his books, was writing it. I didn't understand a word of it, but I think I liked it.

My friend D has always been a Marvel fan, but isn't happy with the way the Marvel books have been going lately. Marvel Adventures: Iron Man helped solve one of his dilemmas, as he wanted to read Iron Man, but couldn't stand Civil War. I don't mind the book, but it doesn't resonate with me.

I enjoyed Shadowpact this past year. A surprisingly good book, but not one that I will keep getting in 2008. Sorry, but I am trying to trim the list.

Another book D bought was Shazam: Monster Society of Evil. It had good art, but the story wasn't quite what I was hoping for.

I was interested in The Spirit, but I didn't expect to like it. Well, what do you know? I did enjoy it. And we're still getting it.

I want to like Justice League of America, but I haven't been at all impressed with the title in 2007. Needs more Aquaman, for one. Needs better writing, for another. I'm just getting jaded with the old standards, maybe. JLA Classified was up and down all over the place. Nineteen issues came out in 2007, and I remember none of the plotlines off the top of my head.

Justice Society of America has two of my favorite characters (apart from Aquaman) in it. Ma Hunkel, the original (and best) Red Tornado is now mentoring the young'uns, and I love her in this book. And the new Mr Terrific is a character that has grown on me to the point where I can't imagine the DCU without him. I like this book far more than I liked JLA over the past year. And JSA Classified has also been solid, though far inferior to its parent book. It's still better than JLA.

Because I like Mr Terrific so much, Checkmate has been a book I've enjoyed over the last year. There are times I want to throw it across the room, but the intrigue has been mostly interesting.

The last four issues of Justice came out in 2007. It was... um... very pretty.

My favorite book from the big two, after Aquaman, has been Justice League Unlimited. It's been consistently fun, consistently readable, and introduces characters I'm only partially familiar with in such good stories that it's hard to go wrong with this book. I'm looking forward to Super Friends and Tiny Titans in 2008: if they live up to the quality of this book, they'll be great.

I read the first three issues of the new Brave and the Bold, and wanted to like it. The concept is good. The execution was less so. I'll pick it up if Aquaman shows up, otherwise it's not something I'm interested in.

Oh, Aquaman. Aquaman. Aquaman. Kurt Busiek had a plan, but was hampered by deadlines and other work. Tad Williams took over and wrote some of the best, most intensely compressed comics I've read in ages, and managed to wrap up the entire series from issue 1 to 57 in a coherent and fantastic way. Which will probably be ignored by every other writer. Like the fact that, at the end of the series, the new Aquaman is going by his middle name. Or the fact that the original Aquaman isn't entirely gone. I wish more people had given Tad's run a go. Even so, I'm pleased with what he did with it.

And in other news, Aquaman got a Showcase Presents this year, which I enjoyed. And he's getting another in 2008. So I'm pleased with that, too.

Speaking of Aquaman, I read the Batman and the Outsiders/Aquaman crossover, and was all set to buy the new Batman and the Outsiders series when the writers were switched and Aquaman was dumped from the book. I tried the first issue anyway, and it was wretched.

Black Canary and Green Arrow's wedding was an event I wanted to like, but didn't.

Another event, Green Lantern's Sinestro Wars was one big slog with a tiny payoff at the end. I was not impressed. I do like Soranik Natu, but she's not enough to hold my interest in something this chaotic and boring. Tad Williams could've told the whole thing in two issues, and it would've read much better.

Another event I read, thanks to D, was Witchblade: First Born. I won't pretend I understood it all, but it wasn't that bad a read. Am I gonna get beaten up for admitting I didn't hate it?

Powers was unexceptional in 2007. Part of me is wondering if it's even still coming out. I love Oeming's artwork, though. And it was fun to meet him at Emerald City Comicon. Heidi really should've been able to take him at arm wrestling.

Noble Causes has always been the ultimate of the soap opera superhero books, and it continued to live up to its rep in 2007. A good book, but I haven't seen an issue in a few months.

Action Philosophers is one of those books I'm going to really miss. Witty, intelligent, and using the comic book form to do what it does best. Truly, these are great books and I highly recommend the collections to any nutcase who wants to learn a bit more about philosophy. As an introduction to philosophy, these are fine texts.

One book I really wish I'd seen more of was Age of Bronze. There were some rumblings of Eric Shanower taking the book to the web and only publishing collections. I sincerely hoped he would. I continue to buy the hardcover collections of the series, while I eagerly anticipate the single issues.

I've been reading Girl Genius faithfully on the website, and as usual bought the collection (I actually got the hardcover for myself and the softcover for my sister, who is also a fan).

Another comic I read online is Supernatural Law, and I bought it when it came out in 2007.

I adore Castle Waiting, and hope that someday we'll find out more about Lady Jain's true history. Even though it wanders a bit much, it's still a fun book and I love it.

More books I want to see more of in 2008:

  • Amelia Rules (only two issues in 2007)
  • Dorothy (one issue in 2007)
  • Oz/Wonderland Chronicles (one issue in 2007)
  • Tony Loco (one issue in 2007)
  • Oddly Normal (one collection in 2007)
A fun series that has been solid in 2007 was Star Wars: Clone War Adventures. I've always been a Star Wars fan, and these have the feel from the original set of movies that made me a fan as a kid. And reading them makes me feel like a kid again.

A book I never intended to get into was DMZ, but Brian Wood is determined to have me as a fan, and sent me the first few issues. After reading them, I had to keep reading. Go ahead, tell me I'm weak. Doesn't matter, the book is GOOD. It stays on my reading list.

Speaking of Brian Wood, I'm also into Local. I only recorded purchasing 3 issues in 2007 (wha?) but I recall mostly enjoying them, even as I grew more uncertain of the direction the book was taking.

And the last word on Brian Wood is Northlanders. With only one issue out so far, it's too soon to call this one... but as a gal who studied Vikings and enjoys historical fiction, it's got a LOT of potential and I can't wait to see where he goes with it.

Another book I can't say much about yet is Doctor Who Classics. Ok, I could say tons about it, but only one issue has come out, so I hardly want to spoil it for everyone who hasn't already got all those stories in at least three other formats. The production values on the book are excellent, and I'm looking forward to new original Doctor Who stories, starting very soon, as well.

I also enjoyed Fallen Angel this year, but as in past years I'm not sure why I like it. It's not really my kind of book. But I'm always intrigued enough to get the next issue.

My friend D bought Lone Ranger, which I didn't like much, and The Phantom, which I did like, in 2007. The Lone Ranger has a pace slower than a snail in molasses and hardly any dialogue. The Phantom is a rip-roaring pulp adventure.

On the subject of manga, I got and enjoyed the third volume of Dramacon this year. Sadly, it's the final volume, but happily, it all held together and worked.

Two books I don't mention much are the Viz Manga anthologies Shonen Jump and Shojo Beat. Both are worth the subscription price (generally half the cover price) and both had good material in 2007. My favorite of them is, of course, Hikaru No Go, and in addition to getting the anthologies I've also bought all the collections of that particular manga, and plan to get the anime of it if I ever get rich enough to buy it all. Once I've read the anthologies, I donate them to the local library, where they are used as prizes by the Teen Librarian.

And then there was True Story, Swear to God, a wonderful romance comic in a medium with very few romance stories running. It's been a great book, and I'm glad it found a spot at Image.

Another very consistent book is Usagi Yojimbo which hit 100 issues at Dark Horse in 2007. There isn't a lot I can say about this book that I haven't already. It has always fallen in my top 5 books, and this year is no exception.

Ah, PS238. This continues to be my favorite comic book. Period. Yes, I love Aquaman (and Tad Williams did a great job on it), but this book is always wonderful. You really don't have to take my word for it, you can read it from the start if you want.

So, top book of 2007 for me is:


followed by Aquaman, Justice League Unlimited, Usagi Yojimbo, and True Story, Swear to God. Pretty much in that order.

Happy New Year. And please, feel free to disagree.