Sunday, December 28, 2014

A year of Comics I read in 2014

Same rules as before and this year I'm adding action figures to the list because I reviewed so many of them in 2014. That being the case let's get that out of the way first.

Best Action Figure:

There were some stand outs this year in creativity, sculpt, paint and articulation. The Designer series gave us the Capullo Batman that's the best comic Batman figure I've seen--so far. Even so the head is pretty small compared to other DCC figures including the line it came from. Starfire is a beautiful figure with the most amazing hair I've seen on an action figure. Happily the paint job was better than some other female figures but it also took away some of the comic likeness the promo shot captured. The Best figure actually surprised me because I didn't expect to love it as much as I do. That would be Arsenal who has good paint apps etc. (including the tattoo details), decent enough articulation, good sculpting and is just plain fun. Although the baseball hat has gotten some disses since the uniform saw print and I adore how DCC embraced it to make it movable. There needs to be more ideas like this that add to the figure and don't hinder it.

Worst Action Figure:

When you get down to it there were a lot of problems this year but what was worse? The scale problems? The bad paint application on some figures? Bad sculpting? Breakage? All of these bugged the hell out of me and can ruin a figure. In terms of production I think all of these need to be worked on as the problems happen far too often. I'm not sure which would rank lowest. DCC needs to work on these problems. Bad paint jobs changed the Worlds Finest figures faces to a more anime style. Nightwing had his foot snap off and other figures felt like they'd lose something if you moved a joint. Red Robin and other teens are WAY too tall. Red Hood that was hard to move with the unneeded arm blade getting in the way. I'll say Nightwing who was too big/bulky compared to Batman and broke way too easily. 


Biggest Surprise:

The Batman/Superman Annual which I went into expecting the worst. There were plenty of problems that should have at least made me annoyed with the issue. Yet I found it rather enjoyable because it gave plenty of focus to Jason and Kara. They added something to the leads story so even if Steel and Batgirl were pointless (I explained why in my review) it was worth it because of the others. I'd honestly like to see these interactions explored more in future team ups. I just loved having the Clark/Kara/Krypto and Bruce/Jason work together. 

Most Pointless/Worst Tie In:

Batwoman Futures End. Sure there weren't any rules per se about the content in these issues but this one was just insulting. The lead is a raging killer with zero motivation for her behavior. I won't buy "she's a vampire" as an explanation because I read I, Vampire and they don't work like that. There's no emotion over her love ones or trying to turn them. Nope Kate just wants to kill and Alice is a good guy that will kill her twin. Sure this hints at Kate's current team but really the lack of depth makes this uninteresting. The other three tie ins I read to this event had character development, building to something bigger and they were all written better! This issue made me realize I'll have to wait until the next writer comes along before getting this series again.

Biggest Disappointment:

I have two choices for this one: Booster Gold Futures End and Batman Eternal. The reason that I'm listing Booster here and not above is because the one shot served a purpose. I was disappointed because his long awaited return (*1)--one connected with a big event--had him giving into the villain. I know there will be more to this story and it doesn't mean the character is destroyed, I just wanted more for the return. I picked Batman Eternal mainly because of the long awaited interaction between Jason Todd and Barbara Gordon. It always seemed odd that these two barely spoke to or of each other given their history with the Joker. What we got in this series was rather lackluster and not nearly as engaging as I wanted. It made Barbara freaking Gordon look like a spoiled brat and that ticks me off greatly. Granted I haven't cared for the changes in the character since new 52 started but this was the worst yet.

The Funniest Thing I Read:

New Warriors had several and would have been my pick. At least until I read Red Hood and the Outlaws Annual #2. I was laughing and smiling throughout most of it. The trio are little kids, weird things seem to happen for no reason, the kid logic and silliness was so much fun. There's a lot of things that made this one stand out. And while it does have a dash of seriousness at the end the rest is wacky and cute. 

Most Annoying Disregard for Canon:

Once again Tynion gets this spot for his run of RHATO. While Lobdell has retconned some of Tynions' run it feels like he knows it will be hard to ignore all of it despite how much it damaged the series. 

Best Supporting Character:

Jake Waffles from New Warriors, the humanoid dog that helps the team after his creator slaughters his other creations. I didn't like the redesign and the later issues lost a lot of his charm but I loved the intro. The loyal dog that insists he's friends with Mr. Whiskers the cat who in turn insists their not friends. Then Jake deciding to land their mountain base in New York because he didn't know another location and not understanding why the team is upset.

Best Character Development:

I may not like the idea of Jason Todd having to go through a drug addiction arc but I'm still impressed by how well it's being written. Some have complained about the thought boxes with the trio (although mainly Jason uses them) revealing their thoughts. Personally I love it especially since Jason isn't one to leave his emotions on his sleeve. Little tidbits are slowly being revealed that other writers haven't even thought of exploring. The Futures End tie in showed why he needs his friends but also shines some light on how traumatic his death and rebirth were. (Which makes the hint that he may be immortal all the more horrific.) This gives insight into why he made his desperate choice of taking venom to survive rather than going through a painful death again. Even more so if he suspects he may return from the dead again. I think this part might be implied since Jason says he's aware of all changes to his body.

Best Female Character:

While Senenity Leaves on the Wind wasn't as good as it could have been there was one thing that was never in question. Zoe was badass and no one else this year could touch her. Why? After losing her husband Zoe goes on the run with the crew, has her baby, urges Mal to leave her so they could get away...Zoe goes to prison and never doubts she's getting out of there. Her faith and loyalty to Senenity is unbreakable. To kill time in jail Zoe beats up bullies until she's rescued. Once she is out she confronts the man she holds responsible for Washs' death. And she's the only one we see walk away from that. Despite all the madness she doesn't take her daughter to somewhere safe because the crew of Senenity is their family.

Best Male Character:

While he wasn't as front and center as he was in his series I'll say Kaine Parker/Scarlet Spider. New Warriors starts where his series ended with Kaine not wanting to be a hero anymore. Trouble finds him again and he ends up saving the day. Kaine struggles between doing the heroic thing and doing what he thinks is best--leaving before everything falls apart again. He does end up respecting the team although some members annoy him and he keeps pushing back when Justice tries to keep him there. Add the fact that he discovers he's on a team Ben Reilly worked with. Despite everything Kaine does open up to Vance and even discovers their not as different as he assumed. He ends up going from the guy who was ready to bolt and disliked Justice--to the first one to fight back once their leader is gone and furious when he thinks Vance is dead.

Worst Character:

It pains me to say this because I once loved this character dearly. At one point prior to DCnU I even thought it'd be cool if she dated Booster for awhile. But this is clearly not the same character anymore. I couldn't stand new 52 Barbara Gordon before but Batman Eternal made me hate her. Barbara certainly didn't act like this pre-Flashpoint and while she had her flaws they never made me this pissed off. I might review the trade at some point but really just thinking about it makes me furious. I know the situation with her dad, I know she had/has PTS but that shouldn't excuse her because others weren't excused when they acted like this. I'll get into it more at some point it just frustrates me to no end. 

Worst Book/Run:

Tynion wins this hands down for RHATO, the last two issues where more of the series mythos is burned to the ground along with the characters being developed for it. The bad guys being built up from the start were insultingly easy to take down leaving Batman villain Ra's Al Ghul behind. Jason uses a method so ridiculous to defeat him even Roy seems to be mocking it. Isabel, Jason's love interest is brought back just to have her dump Jason. Worse it acts like he never understood the dangers when he was the one who was the most reluctant to start a relationship because of the perils involved. It was an awful run that long overstayed it's welcome and regrettably damaged the series. The book is better off if the entire run is just ignored.

Most Boring:

Is there any doubt ? Forever Evil may of been the dullest series I ever read. I haven't been too fond of Johns work since the relaunch but this was barely worthy noting. I know what happened should be important it just feels very blah when all is said and done. There were issues that were better than others and some good bits they just didn't outweighs the bad. The big reveal of Nightwing being unmasked somehow becomes unimportant despite changing the characters' entire MO. Most of the characters felt unneeded, bits like the TT getting defeated are glanced over making it entirely pointless and it was just hard to get through. It was hard to even care and I can barely remember what happened in that series until I reread my entries.

*1 I know Booster was in All Star Western but he hardly had more of a role than helping Hex get from point A to B. I'm also not sure how this fits into canon.


  1. Egad, there were some pretty crappy comics this year! Batwoman went from being quite awesome to horrible awfully quickly.

    The occasional appearances of Booster have all been nice...but have left me wanting more of course. Let's hope that things improve next year!

  2. That was pretty shocking. I hope Batwoman and the cast either relaunch under a new writer or end up in other books. The situation with Booster feels pretty odd. It's like they want to do somwthing big, maybe even launch a third series, but plans keep getting shifted. I hope for big things this year.