Just dizzyingly masterful. Brandon Graham turns in an imaginative epic full of small moments, big monsters, great characters and just crazy, crazy stuff. The ever-reliable David Brothers does a much better analysis of what made it such a joy to read every time it showed up in my stack.
How did he do it? How did Rick Remender make me lovelovelove a book titled X-Force – a name that brings up images of saliva-mouthed, cross-hatched muscle-men toting ridiculously gigantic guns while garbed in a suit made entirely of pouches – featuring the already over-exposed Deadpool and Wolverine along with a bunch of other "kewl" characters (and the legitimately cool Fantomex) as the X-Men's black ops team? I don't know, but I'd be a liar if I said that this book didn't make the 13-year-old inside of me jump up and down and fist-pump forever and ever.
Dudes. Just buy it. It's beautiful, hilarious and it's by the guys who made Street Angel. You need to know nothing else beyond this.
Chris Roberson and Mike Allred have crafted the perfect weapon to do battle against the horribleness of the Twilight saga. Zombies, mummies, werewolves (well, were-terriers), vampires, and a talking chimp.'Nuff said.
The Bulletproof Coffin
This book is so weird. Like a dayglo David Lynch superhero fever dream, Hine and Kane take a long look at comics and all their idiosyncrasies and leave you with a feeling of hopelessness. It's the anti-Flex Mentallo.
James Stokoe's kind-of-sort-of fantasy tale subverts all your expectations in a purple-ish, veiny wonderland full of thieves, Flintstones-ish contraptions, swamp witches, and orc-based genital mutilation/currency. The Mindless Ones did a great podcast on the subject. Go listen to that. Then go buy the trade of the first six issues. You won't regret it.
Thor: The Mighty Avenger
Yeah, I know. Another comics fan whining about the little book that couldn't. But when you have Roger Langridge writing an accessible, all-ages book about a character I could have cared less about and making me love him and his universe, and when you have Chris Samnee drawing the heck out of every singe panel in that book, you kind of have to bellyache a little when something this special gets snuffed out in the crib. I can't say I'm shocked that a well-drawn, well-written Marvel book got canceled due to low sales, (as my Nextwave collection will attest) but I am a little disappointed. But hey, good art doesn't always win. In fact, the instances where something that is actually excellent gets wide recognition are so rare that I can't think of any. When's the last time a legitimate, all-caps, GREAT film was #1 at the box office? Or a GREAT record/song was at the top of the Billboard charts? How about on the bestseller list?
You get the point.
Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour
There's not a whole lot surprising in Bryan Lee O'Malley's final chapter in the Scott Pilgrim series. Like it's predecessors, it's funny, ridiculous and touching. It's beautifully rendered, well-written and populated with great characters doing really fun stuff and kissing and stuff. What more do you want in entertainment?
Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon's stunning mini-series about birth, death and the stuff in-between was just fantastic. It'll break you. In a good way.
Morrison's Batman books: Batman & Robin, Batman: the Return of Bruce Wayne, Batman: the Return, Batman Inc.
This run has been uneven as hell, but wowzers, it's been fun to read. Morrison manages to tie up his years-long Batman story (who knew that Final Crisis was really a Batman story?) while paving the way for the future of Batman all the while giving up some top-notch work from Frank Quitely, Frazier Irving, Chris Sprouse, and Yanick Paquette. (We won't discuss the attack of the Morrison Art Curse on ROBW and B&R) Morrison literally killed off the old, grim soldier of Frank Miller's Batman and replaced him with one poised to take over the 21st century. I, for one, welcome our new corporate Batman overlords.
I wasn't too sure how I'd like this, a post-apocalyptic tale featuring an boy with antlers and his tough-as-nails guardian, all done up by Jeff Lemire. Yes, that Jeff Lemire, the guy who gave us sublime stories about people in small, rural Canadian towns in his Essex County books and Vertigo's The Nobody. I mean, the guy is obviously talented, but a Mad Max meets The Island of Dr. Moreau sci-fi-type book? Has he gone all Hollywood on us?
No. No he hasn't. Settle down, Dylan. Sweet Tooth is full of the same stuff that made Lemire's earlier books work so well: well-rounded characters stuck in situations they don't necessarily like or understand, making things work as best they can. Sorry I doubted you, Mr Lemire.
Jeff Parker & Gabriel Hardman on Hulk
Talk about making a silk purse out of a sow's ear. After the third cancellation of Parker's Atlas series (See my remarks on well-written, well-drawn series at Marvel in the Thor entry), the creative team shuffled over to the adjectiveless Hulk book to take over for Jeph Loeb after his two-year-ish run on the book detailing the exploits of the Red Hulk, an idea so stupid it could only come from Jeph "I Wrote Commando," Loeb.
And they knocked it out of the park. The set-up so far is reminiscent of Nextwave (the whole "gotta shut-down all these secret doomsday weapons" plot engine) and Thor: the Mighty Avenger (the whole "let's team Red Hulk up with another hero every issue to see what makes him different" thing), and it's so well-plotted and expertly drawn you forget just how dumb this whole thing started off as. In fact, in their hands, it makes perfect sense.