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She Has No Head! – Best Of 2013!

As always, I like to put my BEST OF lists up before the year actually ends, in part because it drives Greg Burgas crazy. Probably since the last Monday of the year is quite close to the end of the year it will drive him less crazy, but we’ll just have to be okay with that. As always, my feeling is that if I haven’t read it by the end of December (and there are MANY I have not read) then I’m not going to be able to get to it in time for it to make my bests and worsts lists anyway so it’s all the same in the end.

Best of List 2013 Header

Also as always, I didn’t read nearly enough books this year. I especially failed on the graphic novel front, reading far too few on the whole and not getting to a bunch that I’m really interested in. Additionally, this year I got sent a ton of digital comics, mostly from up and coming indie creators, and I’m sitting on a depressingly large stack that I just haven’t had a chance to get to yet. It’s going to make for some great reading when I finally get there though.

So what’s on this year’s list? Well you can bet it’s going to be another Hawkeye-Saga-rific year! That’s of course not in an effort to piss off Burgas, but you know…BONUS! These two titles are continuing to dominate when it comes to my reading. I know it’s become almost unfashionable to keep praising them, but I’m not writing this to be fashionable, so expect them to do well. I didn’t have it in me this year to do any worsts…call it optimism, call it fatigue, readers choice!

Let’s get to it, shall we? And sound off in the comments about some of your favorites for the year.

Hawkeye 13

BEST SINGLE ISSUE: HAWKEYE #13

Hawkeye #13 by Matt Fraction and David Aja. Marvel Comics.

What a depressing book to pick for a #1, right? Well, I can’t help it. It was simply incredibly well done, and with material that far too often gets bungled in comics by being too broad, too cliché, or all of the above. What Fraction and Aja did here instead was subtle and beautiful and oh so sad. If you want an alternate that’s less sad, then go with Hawkeye #11 which is almost as sad, but told entirely from Pizza Dog’s point of view, and deserves its own category thanks to the exceptionally creative storytelling Aja did in that book alone.

RUNNERS UP: Saga #11, Young Avengers #4 &#8, X-Men #1, Young Avengers #1, The Wake #5, Optic Nerve #13, Lazarus #4, Uncanny X-Men #4 and #7.

BEST COVER (S):  

As usual this is a brutal category and this year I found it absolutely impossible to choose just one. I’ve opted for a best four covers – each one bringing something different to the table. As a bizarre side note…what a great year for pink. Who knew?!?

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Hawkeye #9 by David Aja

Sometimes simple is best, kids. Black and white with one bold color. Absolute perfection.

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Sex Criminals #1 by Chip Zdarsky

Again, simple but in a different way. Highly stylized and with exceptional graphic design elements and an unexpected and bold color choice.

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Uncanny X-Force #9 by Kris Anka

Then again, sometimes details are the best thing ever. The attention to detail and magnificent choices here, not to mention the creativity in the content and perfect are second to none.

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Collider #1 (formerly Collider now FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics) by Nathan Fox

Bold color choices again make this stand out, but the best thing about it is the negative space and unusual composition.

Gorgeous stuff all around.

RUNNERS UP: Uncanny X-Men #4 (Chris Bachalo), East of West #4 (Nick Dragotta), Batman & Robin #22 (Patrick Gleason), Mara #6 (Ming Doyle), X-Men #1 and X-Men #2 (Olivier Coipel), Uncanny X-Force #1 (Coipel), Rocket Girl #1 (Amy Reeder), and Mind Mgmt #13 (Matt Kindt),

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BEST MINI-SERIES: THE WAKE

The Wake by Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy. Vertigo.

This mini-series was strong from issue #1, but issue #5 really turned everything on its ear, raising the bar (and the stakes) in dramatic and unexpected ways. A book that has spanned millions of years, and yet tells an intimate and personal story, is no small feat and The Wake delivers in spades. The first half of this series was epic, but the second half is poised to be beyond epic. I could not be more excited to see how this book plays out.

A+X 2

BEST SHORT STORY: “BLACK WIDOW & ROGUE”

“Black Widow & Rogue” from A+X #2 by Chris Bachalo. Marvel Comics.

We suffered from a serious lack of Strange Tales, Girl Comics, and Wednesday Comics-like books and stories this year, and generally I’d say A+X is a poor substitute, despite some standouts, but Chris Bachalo’s charming and adorable Black Widow and Rogue team up was everything I look for in a short story – engaging and funny, smart but not overly ambitious, and with stunning artwork. If you missed this one in your reading, head on back and pick up A+X #2, it’s worth it.

godofcake

BEST WEBCOMIC – HYPERBOLE & A HALF

Hyperbole & A Half by Allie Brosh. Self-Published (and now collected by Touchstone as Hyperbole & A Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened).

Hyperbole & A Half is a webcomic I first encountered years ago and then in the vastness of the web, somehow forgot I knew about. I rediscovered it again in 2013, spent an entire afternoon laughing my head off, bought the collected print version and vowed to never again forget the brilliance that is Allie Brosh. You should do the same, you’ll thank me.

RUNNERS UP: As always I have to give shout outs to the always excellent Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton, Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona (last year’s winner), Meredith McClaren’s Hinges (2011’s winner), and the always delightfully naughty and completely NSFW Oglaf. I also discovered just this past month, thanks to io9, Mother Ship Blues which is totally worth the read.

WEBCOMIC THAT MOST EXCITES ME FOR 2014: Just last week I stumbled upon Jake Wyatt’s stunning Necropolis. Cannot wait to see how it will unfold!

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BEST NEW NON-SUPERHERO ONGOING: LAZARUS

Lazarus by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark. Image Comics.

Lazarus impressed me from issue #1, but it just never let up, in fact, issues #4 and #5 were perhaps the best yet of the series, deepening the world building, upping the stakes, and cementing lead character Forever Carlyle as a potential all time great. I wrote about Lazarus and Forever in more detail for a CBR Review you can read here.

RUNNERS UP: Pretty Deadly, Velvet, Sex Criminals, Collider/FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics, so many good books this year, really!

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BEST NEW SUPERHERO ONGOING: X-MEN

X-Men by Brian Wood, Olivier Coipel, David Lopez, and Terry Dodson. Marvel Comics.

Though Wood’s new X-Men had an immediate stumbling block as it got drawn into a needless crossover (Battle of the Atom) almost immediately. The book had no business in that event and its initial run suffered greatly for it, but even with that stumbling block the first three issues were fantastic, and exactly what I look for in a superhero comic. Though rotating artists have not done the book any favors either, the character roster and Wood’s fine character work and unconventional approach to superheroes pleases me to no end month to month and it’s one of the books I’m most excited to read in 2014. I’m primed to settle into a whole new year of fantastic X-Men stories.

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BEST NON-SUPERHERO ONGOING: SAGA

Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. Image.

I just like the way Vaughan and Staples are doing things over there. The built in breaks mean that we never get an issue not illustrated by Staples and that means we’re getting the most beautiful and consistent book possible. It doesn’t hurt that Staples are is utter perfection. One of Saga’s most exciting and impressive aspects beyond the art, is the way that Vaughan has managed to build his characters up. The book is filled with “protagonists” and “antagonists” and yet really, the way they’re written they are all protagonists, and aren’t we all protagonists in our own stories? And no matter how terrible we may actually be? I love that aspect of this book. Though Staples sublime character designs and world building help all things in life to be more awesome.

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BEST SUPERHERO ONGOING: HAWKEYE

Hawkeye by Matt Fraction and David Aja, Annie Wu, Javier Pulido, and Francesco Francavilla. Marvel Comics.

I read a lot of really great superhero comics this year, but time and again, Hawkeye still climbed to the top of the pile. Smart, savvy, aware of itself in a way that always makes me laugh (and think), and with exceptional artwork that pushes on the boundaries month after month – demanding more of its artist and its readers with every new issue. This is as good as superhero comics get as far as I’m concerned. Perhaps Hawkeye wouldn’t be as special if there were more superhero books like it out there, but it’s hard as a reader not to wish that everything was as good as Hawkeye is.

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BEST ORIGINAL GRAPHIC NOVEL:  THE PROPERTY

The Property by Rutu Modan. Drawn & Quarterly

I’m a longtime fan of Modan’s work (look! A piece from the She Has No Head archives!) and so I love that her graphic novel The Property feels both like everything she’s done before and also different from anything we’ve seen from her. Chronicling the journey of young television producer and her grandmother as they return to Warsaw in an attempt to reclaim property that her grandmother’s family was forced to abandon in the war, Modan tells the tale without any cloying sentimentality and yet it is rife with emotion and poignancy. There is nothing loud or demanding about Modan’s visuals, in fact they are all the more beautiful for their subdued simplicity. The characters here are complex, their motivations layered and their humanity evident for all to behold, they feel wonderfully real and as a result alternately tragic and joyous, not unlike life.

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BEST NEW CHARACTER:  FOREVER CARLYLE

From Lazarus by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark, Image.

As mentioned above, Forever is a phenomenal character and she was from the first issue, but developments in both Lazarus #4 and perhaps even more subtly in Lazarus #5 prove her to be an early contender for one of the elite comic book greats. She made my “25 Favorite Fictional Females” List last week, and you can read more about why here in my CBR review of Lazarus #5.

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BEST YA WORK: BATMAN: LI’L GOTHAM

Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs. DC Comics

I’ve written a lot about the digital first series Batman: Li’L Gotham over the last year and if you’ve read the book you already know why. It’s simply the most fun you can have in comics right now. It’s doubly weird since DC was a pretty grim place in 2013, to have the most fun book to be basically an out of continuity Bat title that prizes characters, good storytelling, and stunning visuals over anything else. In disappointing news, it looks like the book has been canceled going forward, but buy up those trades as they come out and maybe we can see its triumphant return eventually?

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BEST SELF-PUBLISHED STAND ALONE WORK: DEMETER

Demeter by Becky Cloonan. Self-Published (Ink and Thunder)

Demeter marks the third book in Cloonan’s absolutely stunning self-published “unofficial trilogy” which also includes The Mire and Wolves. Perhaps my favorite of three books (though they are all exceptional) Demeter is layered and fascinating and reveals new things on every read. It doesn’t hurt that Cloonan’s artwork has never been more beautiful and her passion is evident in every page.

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BEST SELF-PUBLISHED SERIES WORK: TERRY MOORE’S RACHEL RISING

Rachel Rising by Terry Moore. Self-Published (Abstract Studios).

It’s a crime to hear that Rachel Rising is not doing better from a sales perspective because it is not only Moore’s best work to date (in my not so humble opinion) but also just a damn fine comic book. RR has more of a horror than his other books, but shares exceptional black and white visuals and fantastic character work with its Moore predecessors. If you’re looking for a scary cool book with beautiful artwork and fascinating female characters look no further than Rachel Rising. Fun side note: RR’s Jet made my “25 Favorite Fictional Females” last week.

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SERIES I’M GOING TO MISS THE MOST: YOUNG AVENGERS

Young Avengers by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie. Marvel Comics.

Tough category this year, as I’m also going to miss the hell out of Journey Into Mystery and I want to miss Fearless Defenders, though it never quite gelled for me. I’m happy to report that I don’t have to miss Captain Marvel since it will return shortly and with a phenomenal artist in David Lopez.  But Young Avengers tops them all. I like the way it ended – on Gillen and McKelvie’s own terms and finishing up as they intended, but it’s still sad to see it go as it was some of the boldest and most enjoyable superhero reading I had this year.

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BEST PUBLISHER: IMAGE

Image Comics

Marvel gave Image a serious run for its money this year, delivering interesting and surprising content including some epic highs, some serious risks, and a stable of fantastic creators – all that to say that I like the cut of Marvel’s jib, lately. But it still can’t compete with the sheer number of bold risk-taking books that Image is putting out, and the entrepreneurial feeling of Image right now. Image has been an impressive publisher for a long time but they have seriously upped their game in the last year +. They also don’t have the biggest downside that DC and Marvel have to face – the inevitable (and massive) crossover events that swallow up their books and generally deliver months of less interesting content. Image, when you get even bigger, please don’t bring on the crossovers. Stay weird. Stay bold. Keep doing exactly what you’re doing.

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BEST COMIC BOOK MOVIE: Um…Catching Fire? Okay, fine. Not a comic book movie. But SO GODDAMN GOOD, both as a movie and as an adaptation. For me, a pick for comic book movie is easy — Iron Man 3. I know a lot of people have problems with it, and I certainly agree that it’s not a perfect movie, but I really enjoyed it. A lot of that rests squarely on the shoulders of Robert Downey Jr. being an absolutely perfect Tony Stark, but that’s always the case with superhero movies, right? Also, I know it’s apparently controversial, but I found the reversal in the end with Pepper Potts undoing her damsel in distress status to be fantastic. I also find that moment when Potts actually defeats the big bad guy to be extremely progressive and feminist and I’m kind of shocked anyone let Shane Black do it, and I love it all the more for those facts. I don’t think anyone can doubt the big hero is Iron Man. It’s his movie and nobody survives the day without him, but it takes a pretty small man to need to do ALL the work and always be the biggest hero around, whereas it takes a progressive confident dude to be delighted that his tortured girlfriend just showed up and saved his ass. Faults be damned I enjoyed the hell out of Iron Man 3 and the ending delighted me.

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WHAT I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO MOST IN 2014:

There’s a whole lot to look forward to, and a lot of it coming from Marvel.  But I confess that part II of Scott Snyder’s The Wake in February is REALLY high on my radar. Cannot wait to get back to that series, especially with the cliffhanger. Like last year I’ll be having a post in January about 10 Comics To Read in 2014, so look for that for some more detailed thoughts on 2014.

Alright, kids. Happy New Year to you all and thanks as always for reading!

 

 

22 Comments

In the cover category, I’d like to add Rocket Girl #1 (Amy Reeder), about half the covers of Fearless Defenders (Mark Brooks), and Jenny Frison’s variants on the new Red Sonja series. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Speaking of Red Sonja, I’m really enjoying Gail Simone’s take on the character. It’s just so friggin’ FUN.

Great list! I’m strongly looking forward to more Wake, Hawkeye, Pretty Deadly, and some new Marvel titles. I’ve been meaning to get Rachel Rising for months now…maybe it’s time for a post-xmas present to myself.

I really liked the art in Lazarus but I couldn’t really get into the first two issues. But maybe all come back to it (your recommendations tend to work out well for me!).

Happy new year Kelly, and keep up the good work!

So … much … Hawkguy … and .. Saga!!!! Oh, I kid – I know you love them, and while I don’t agree they’re the best things ever, you do make compelling cases for them!

Pretty good picks all around – with some end-of-the-year stuff, I find new stuff, but with yours, since I pay attention to you throughout the year, it’s just things that I need to be reminded about. I really need to get Demeter!!!

And since there’s no new comics this year (Tuesday’s don’t count, since technically those are 2014 releases), I don’t have a problem with best-of lists right now. You cannot drive me crazy this year!!!!

Hmmm, I’m a DC fan and it’s kind of hard to narrow much down this year with Trinity War and Forever Evil kind of mucking up things.

Most Tragic Death and aftermath: Damian Wayne, the way the writers handled his death was done well but the effect it had on Batman and company was excellently done.

Best ongoing series: Batman- Zero Year has been the shining gem of the DC universe for me. The classic scene where Bruce is talking to the bust of his father being tweeked up for the modern reader was done flawlessly.

Best Splash page: Sandman Overture #1- near the end there is a splash page that features Dream…so many of him too. Love it.

Series I’m Going To Miss The Most: Doctor Who- I’m a late comer to the comic, just started reading it the second to last story arc, and was horrified to see that they were closing up shop. With all the months and months of inbetween time for the tv show…this was my way of getting my Dr. Who fix.

The best “You sadistic bas**ard Award”- Adam Warren- he squeaked in at the very last moment for this year with Empowered Vol 8. I don’t want to give away any spoilers but trust me…as a writer he earned this um…”honor”.

I always enjoy your reviews of the year and I find myself agreeing with a lot of your choices. I do agree about Brian Wood’s “X-Men” being really good but it doesn’t feel like it’s there yet – mainly because all the momentum was lost with the crossover. I’m also with you on “Fearless Defenders”. I really wanted to like it and the ideas were good but between the art and the rocky first three issues (the very forced “shock moment” of the kiss, the over-the-top Hippiolyta re-introduction) it never got off the ground.

Best single issue: Hawkeye #11 – I have four dogs and two cats and I’m a sucker for books that really try to present things from an animal point of view. This one was excellent and a brilliant use of the medium.

Series with the best covers: It’s a tie between “Rachel Rising” and “Hawkeye”. Terry Moore’s been doing some stunning covers that just leap out at me and the “Hawkeye” hasn’t had a dud cover yet.

Best webcomics: “Nimona” and “Order of the Stick” both delivered an incredible balance of comedy, drama, and character development this year. I can’t choose between them.

Best short story: Noelle Stevenson’s December 25 Christmas special for “Nimona”.

Best ongoing: “Rachel Rising” – I can’t praise this book enough and I was stunned to hear about the sales problems. I think it may be falling into the trap that people have started trade waiting because it does read better in chunks – like most of Moore’s work.

Best YA book: The Archie “Kevin Keller” books have really surprised me. They’re doing some good work.

Best publisher: Image is certainly putting out a fantastic range of books and a lot of great mini-series and specials, but Dark Horse pips them to the post (see what I did there?) with “Dark Horse Presents”, the best value anthology I’ve ever seen, and a variety of great books like “Resident Alien”, “Catalyst Comics”, “Brain Boy”, and the Hellboy books. They also reprinted “Nexus” in omnibus format – how could I not give them first place?

Looking forward to: “Sandman: Overture” which started well and promises to be a beautiful book; “Silver Surfer” by Slott and Allred; a new “She-Hulk” book (fingers tightly crossed!); what Image and Dark Horse do next.

Thanks for sharing your list and giving people space to share too.

Seems like you need to expand your comic focus. Lots of Marvel, which did have a much better year than DC, but IDW, Boom, and Dark Horse are catching on to what Image is selling. Here’s some of the books I loved that I didn’t see you list:

The Crow: Curare (You really have to read this, everyone should)
Fury MAX
Parker: Slayground,
Lobster Johnson: Scent of Lotus
Six-Gun Gorilla (Boom)
Sixth Gun (Oni)
Next Testament (Boom)
Dream Thief
Shaolin Cowboy
Empowered
Zero (image)
Superior Foes of Spider-Man
Afterlife With Archie

@Stephen:

I’m pretty well covered when it comes to “focus”:

http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2013/10/28/she-has-no-head-the-pull/

Marvel did just happen to be hitting my sweet spot this year, and that’s not a bad thing.

@Kelly- off topic a little, but I was wondering if you were going to be featuring your drunk comic solicits again in the future. I always liked reading your views and chuckle a little to your humor on them.

[…] CBR – She Has No Head! – Best Of 2013! […]

Thank you for reminding me about Demeter. I saw a pre-release promo, and the cover alone interested me, but of course since I couldn’t mark it in an Amazon wish list, I promptly forgot about it.

On Iron Man III, that scene where Pepper saved her own (as well as Tony’s) bacon bumped the movie from ‘Good Iron Man flick,’ to ‘Favorite of the three.’ Like you, I was very impressed they gave her that moment.

This was an interesting year in comics for me. My first brush with burnout since getting back into the medium. My first attempt to get into the DC universe. My resulting disappointment therein. My first efforts at branching out beyond the Big Two. The resulting joys thereof. This year introduced me to Terry Moore and Julie Martin. To Greg Rucka and Dex Parios and Forever Carlyle. In fact it was Parios, with a helping hand from Rucka and Southworth (how is this guy not more of a thing?) who kicked the burnout right out of me. My favorite character, Kitty, had a full and impactful year. My co-favorite character, Gambit, got a solo shot, and while it wasn’t quite the cat’s meow, he got a push, which is really all a fan of a non-A-lister can ask. Oh, and there was the X-Men/Wood thing, over which my head’s still spinning, but here’s not the place to get into that.

My downers: Learning Rebekah Isaacs is leaving Faith & Angel, Bait-and-switch Helena Bertinelli, Amazon antics, Birds of Prey, Fearless Defenders, The point where everything on my reading list was either cancelled or announced soon-to-be

Uppers: Stumptown, Lazarus, Kitty (special shout out to her ‘Mutant and Proud’ speech), Echo, Captain Marvel (Danvers), Gambit going solo, Discovering new writers, e.g. Rucka, Moore, DeConnick

Sad to see you giving year-end accolades to Brian Wood after everything that has come out about his predatory/harassing/blackmailing behavior towards women this year.

It was CBR that introduced me to Lazarus (and The Wake, inf act), which I’m immensely grateful for.

IM3 grew on me over time (it was a great film up til that Mandarin “reveal”, which kind of soured things the first time round). The second viewing was much better.

Though I do wish that Pepper’s saving the day at the end had involved more of her using the suit (playing Tony’s game, as it were, and saving him with his own toys, would have had some nice poetry to it) rather than her becoming ninja-extremis woman. That didn’t sit right with me, for some reason (the way, not the what, to be clear).

Also it would have helped the movie’s message that it’s Tony, not the suits, who IS Iron Man, but also that the Iron Man suits are themselves just a tool which can be used by anyone to be heroic.

When it comes to my favourite single characters, for some reason I am really loving what’s been going on with Domino over in X-Force. Always been a fan of hers and really enjoy her “voice” and manner.

I’m sorry, but I have to disagree with your assessment of Pepper Potts in Iron Man 3. Her “rescuing herself” was entirely coincidental, that the Extremis formula she was given allowed her to God Mode her way out of Killian’s clutches. For the rest of the movie she remained in her uncomfortably co-dependent position, taking care of all the adult responsibilities for a narcissitic man-child that frequently neglects her and doesn’t think about how the consequences of his actions might hurt Pepper. Like Andy Synn said, Pepper didn’t do anything using her own skills and abilities.

Coincidentally, I just wrote a Facebook status the other night gushing about “Young Avengers” (I was catching up with the issues I hadn’t read yet, and felt inspired), so I definitely agree there. Marvel really has just knocked it right the eff out of the park this year, helped a bit by the Distinguished Competition dropping the ball so badly. “X-Men” is great (was so happy to see the Dodsons step in to fill Coipel’s shoes after the crossover mercifully ended), “YA” challenges everything about what comic narrative can be, even the hot mess of “Uncanny X-Men” is endlessly compelling.

In DC’s defense, I did end up reading the copy of “Batman: Black and White” I bought before I dropped DC altogether, and now feel like I have to get the rest of them. It was just as impressive as the “B:B&W” series from a decade ago. I may have to drop my self-imposed DC embargo for those few issues.

As far as “Iron Man 3″ goes, I was blown away by that movie. I didn’t get a chance to see it in theaters, so a friend and I finally watched it a few months ago. We loved it. You wanna talk about amazing things that Shane Black got away with? When they finally revealed what the real situation was with the Mandarin, both of our jaws just about hit the floor. Without spoiling it for anyone who hasn’t seen the movie, I cannot believe a major movie studio agreed to that plot point. And it was so perfectly done. Both of us said when we were watching it (and I still stand by it) that the conversation between Tony and the-man-behind-the-Mandarin was one of the best film scenes of the year.

@rift: I see where you’re coming from, but whatever happened or didn’t happen does not magically make his writing not good. As I said in the previous comments-section-discussion we had about that whole situation, even his accuser seems to have accepted his apology and joined him in urging the industry to move forward. That’s what we’re doing.

@Andy Synn: Interesting that you had the opposite reaction to the Mandarin “reveal” as my friend and I did, but I guess a decision like that is bound to be polarizing, right?

Domino is one of the big reasons why I’m regretting that I haven’t had the chance to check out “X-Force” yet. I have also always loved that character. Considering all the series (and specifically Marvel series) I’m following right now, I may have to wait ’til trades on that one.

As for Rachel Rising’s numbers, is there a reason why they Don’t sell the trade paperbacks at Amazon?

To add to this, one of my favourite things that I’ve read this year is Bandette from Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover. Whimsical and well-written, its one of those rare comics that puts a smile on one’s face when read.

At least, I felt it was.

Fiona Staples is great but I just can’t get into Saga for some reason. Young Avengers was absolutely terrible in my opinion.
Still have to check out Lazarus.

But here, let me throw some of my picks at you:

Best Single Issue: Hawkeye #11 was just brilliant.

Best Storyarc: Daredevil #23-27 by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee. The series overall is good, but this storyline where DD is confronted by a new opponent with powers similars to his, as well as the mastermind behind everything that happened since the series began, is freakin’ amazing.

Best Ongoing: I’d say Hellboy In Hell but not enough issues came out this year vs Marvel’s Uncanny Avengers (Undead Sentry FTW! but damn am I gonna miss Daniel Acuna, he was totally killing it on art duties) or All New X-Men (despite Battle Of The Atom), delays have also hurt Hawkeye a bit.
Special shoutout to Avengers Arena for being a lot better than it should have been.

Best Graphic Novel: Sin Titulo by Cameron Stewart.

Best Mini: Totally agree with you on The Wake. I also loved Black Beetle, Luther Strode, and True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys.

Best New Series: East Of West and Black Science.

Best WTF last page cliffhanger: Captain America #3

Best Cover: Uncanny X-Force #1 by Coipel maybe? Or possibly something by Kris Anka or Dave Johnson.

Best Comic Movie: Thor: The Dark World. I also loved Man Of Steel *ducks behind the desk :p

Mummra the Ever Living

December 31, 2013 at 6:58 am

I must say Kelly, I think it’s a slight cheat to choose Hawkeye as your fave “superhero” ongoing as the joy of the book is that it’s a not-a-superhero book set in a superhero universe. But it is a great book!

but anyway…
Best Single Issue: Hawkeye #11 – This was simply inspired work by Aja.

Best Story-arc: I really want to say “Blood” & “Guts” from Wonder Woman as I just read them this month but they weren’t produced this year, so….

Thor: God of Thunder – The God Bomb. This was the book I was most skeptical about in the Marvel NOW! Era and it blew me away. Jason Aaron gave me the best Thor book in years and crafted a great villain in the God Butcher. With Esad Ribic’s art each month covering multiple Thors, this book was magic.

Best Ongoing: Impossible to choose one so here’s the list… ah screw it, East of West was the best book of the year!
Runners up: Thor: God of Thunder, Saga, All New X-Men, Hawkeye, Avengers Arena, Young Avengers, Avengers

Best Graphic Novel: Huh. Now that I’m thinking about it, I believe the only true OGN that I read this year was Avengers: Endless Wartime. I guess by default that makes it the “Best Graphic Novel” even though I didn’t enjoy it all that much. That’s depressing.
There are a load of graphic novels that I have on my list to read, but I have neither the time nor the money for all of them. (feel free to recommend)

Best Mini: Infinity: Against the Tide – This tie in to the big Marvel event-book was actually fantastic! I’m a big fan of the Infinite Comics that Marvel have been producing in the past year or so (A huge move forward from motion comics which I despised) and this one combines a pretty succinct story with gorgeous art form Agustin Alessio who I had never been exposed to before this.

Best Short: Hawkeye # 8 – The Valentine’s Day special wonderfully told the story of a man through his relationships with the women in his life. And the art was fantastic as always.

Best New Series: East of West by Jonathan Hickman & Nick Dragotta– Oddly enough I’d say issue #1 is possibly the weakest issue of the series, if only due to the fact that I didn’t really “get it” by the end. The concept wasn’t clear. But by issue two that problem was gone and the book has only upped the ante ever since. The world building has been absolutely fascinating and the art from Dragotta keeps getting better and better.

Best New Character: Death (East of West) – Characters who are singular of focus are often the most interesting but this character is the embodiment of the concept death….and he has found a reason to live. Death is, at once, incredibly simple and wonderfully complex. A walking contradiction.

Best Comic Movie: oooft, I don’t think I can choose! I loved Iron Man 3 & Thor: The Dark World and The Wolverine was great (right up until Optimus Samurai). I even enjoyed large chunks of Man of Steel.

Best Comic TV Show: The Walking Dead Season 4 – This season has upped the game once again and built to an epic mid-season finale. The episodes (no spoilers) that shifted focus away from the prison were TV at its best. And the managed to shock me even in scenes almost directly lifted from the comic book.

Runner Up: Arrow Season 2 – The shifts from season one are made in the most organic ways and this show continues to tell, what always seem to be, multiple stories all at once.

What I’m going to miss: The hope that Agents of SHIELD will be jaw-dropping. The majority of comics- my pull list has shrunk drastically over the year and I’ve already dropped most Avengers and X-Men books. I’m now considering dropping the core Avengers book. New issues of Vescell.

What I’m looking forward to: The continuation of all the comic-based TV shows- The Walking Dead, Arrow and Agents of SHIELD- and all the ongoings listed above. Also really looking forward to a few of the All-New Marvel NOW books, particularly Moon Knight (still love Ellis) and All New Invaders. Can’t wait for Captain America: The Winter Soldier.Image have also made some pretty big claims that 2014 will blow 2013 out of the water so really looking forward to see what they’ve got cooking. Finishing Building Stories, reading Lighter than my Shadow and getting back into the Unwritten. Oh, and also, I’m getting married in 2014….so there is that to look forward to!

Raymond Wonsowski

December 31, 2013 at 2:10 pm

Gotta agree with one of the comments above: every issue of Fearless Defenders has been clever and well rendered – pretty near flawless (plus, sorry, I’m a sucker for Misty Knight, but I could be biased…)

@Mummra – While I agree that it hasn’t been as good as we all hoped, I’m glad to see someone else holding out hope for “Agents of SHIELD”. That early-season lull happened, a bunch of people jumped ship (totally understandably, I almost did), and then the last few episodes before the mid-season break were great. Hopefully they continue the upswing and become the series we all want.

Speaking of high hopes for Marvel shows, I realized last night that the ONLY reason I haven’t dropped Netflix completely in favor of Hulu is that I’m looking forward to the upcoming Iron Fist, Jessica Jones, New Defenders, etc. series. I am paying a monthly fee for a service for no other reason than my hope that some original series, that they won’t even be bringing out for some time, will be good. I’m either going to be overjoyed when those shows come out, or fall HARD.

I’ve only got one expectation for this column for next year:

SHOW IDW SOME LOVE!!!

While I’m not on board for Hawkeye (thank god you don’t call it Hawkguy, that’s just too saccharine) or Saga, it’s always interesting to see your perspective on things.

I just picked up the book of your webcomic pick for a belated Christmas present. Hope my sister doesn’t see this! (Of course, she did TELL me that was something she was interested in.)

And while I’m going to miss Li’l Gotham (so good! so adorable!), since it is lasting a year’s worth of issues, it will “make sense” to end it when it ends since every story revolves around a different holiday.

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