Zilla and the Comics Junkies

Sunday, December 11, 2005

2005 Year In Review by Uncensored

So 2005 was my first year reading comics regularly since 2001, and since we’re at the end of the year, I figure I’ll give my two cents on the best (and worst) reads I had this year.

Note that, while I will do my best to mainly feature comics that were released in 2005, certain things (such as graphic novels) will include books from previous years that I only first read in 2005.

Best Individual Comic Book Issue:
DAREDEVIL (vol. 2) #71; “Decalogue” part I of V – March 2005
This was one of the first half-dozen comics I bought when I was first getting back into them, and I was immediately captivated by it. I must’ve read this issue 5 or 6 times within a couple weeks, and I firmly believe that it had very much to do with my renewed interest not fading away. The funny thing is Daredevil barely appears, only in brief flashbacks being told by members of a Hell’s Kitchen support group.
Runner ups: Batman: The Long Halloween #1, The Punisher (MAX) #24, She-Hulk (vol. 2) #1

Best New Series:
SHE-HULK (vol. 2) #1; “Many Happy Returns” – October 2005
I’ve never had any interest in the character, but after seeing an article on Vol. 1 in an issue of Wizard, I knew this was a title I needed to check out, and what better than with a new #1? I was not disappointed at all. This series presents a nice lighthearted look at superheroism and comic books in general, while throwing in some real life issue into the mix.
Runner ups: New Avengers, Supergirl (vol. 5)

Best Limited-Series:
INFINITE CRISIS – October 2005/Current
I must admit, this year I haven’t read many mini’s, and the ones I have read have been less than satisfactory. But DC’s big event Infinite Crisis so far has delivered where all others have failed, and this coming from someone who knows practically zero DC history.

Best Graphic Novel:
SIN CITY: THE BIG FAT KILL (second edition) – February 2005
I owe it to Zilla for getting me to check out Sin City in the first place (starting with A Dame To Kill For), and thus making me a big fan. This by far is my favourite story in the Sin City universe, which has a lot to do with the character of Dwight. Frank Miller is a genius with his Sin City stories, but I’m sure everyone knows that by now.
Runner ups: Alias vol. 1, Batman: The Long Halloween, The Punisher: Welcome Back Frank, The Walking Dead: Days Gone Bye

Best Cover:
GHOST RIDER #1; Regular edition by Clayton Crain – September 2005
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Clayton Crain’s art, in fact, he’s the only reason I actually still enjoy “Venom Vs. Carnage”. The artwork on this cover is absolutely beautiful, a shot of Ghost Rider on his Hellcycle riding up with flames all around, this is by far the prettiest cover I’ve seen all year.
Runner ups: Battle Pope Colour #1 by Tony Moore, Infinite Crisis #1 by Jim Lee, The Punisher (MAX) #19 by Tim Bradstreet

Best Penciler:
Alex Maleev; DAREDEVIL
This man can draw, and his work is the best I’ve seen so far since my return to comics. His artwork has a gritty, almost sketch style to it without looking sloppy or indistinguishable. I will follow him to any series he does.
Runner ups: Jim Lee (All-Star Batman & Robin; The Boy Wonder), Juan Bobillo (She-Hulk), Michael Gaydos (The Pulse), Mike Choi (Witchblade).

Best Writer:
This was difficult for me to chose, as my two top choices both redefined two of my favorite comic book characters in superb ways. Ultimately though, the choice is Ennis on The Punisher. He’s taken a previously poorly written character and turned him into one of the best Marvel has to offer. The jump over to the MAX label (which I’ve heard was Ennis’ idea) was the greatest thing that could’ve been done to this character, as he can now be depicted the way he should be.
Runner ups: Brian Michael Bendis (Daredevil), Mark Millar (Ultimate Fantastic Four), Robert Kirkman (Battle Pope)

Best Character:
Matt Murdock – DAREDEVIL
Thanks to some superb writing, Matt Murdock has finally been given the depth he had lacked for a long time previous to Bendis’ run. He is struggling with his life, all the problems that have arose, and he’s being extremely human about it all. Murdock is probably the most believable character in comic books today.
Runner ups: Dwight McCarthy (Sin City), The Goddamn Batman (All-Star Batman & Robin; The Boy Wonder), Hal Jordan (Green Lantern), Jessica Jones (Alias/The Pulse)

Best Supporting Character:
Milla Donovan – DAREDEVIL
Matt’s wife, who has been scarcely seen this year, but whom I seen a lot reading the back issues of DD. She is a very strong woman despite her blindness. She loves Matt, but his problems are overwhelming for her. I can’t quite place it, but I love this character.
Runner ups: Miho (Sin City), James Rhodes (Ultimate Iron Man), Jesus H. Christ (Battle Pope), Luke Cage (Alias/The Pulse)

Best Comic Book Adaptation:
BATMAN BEGINS – June 2005 (theatrical)/October 2005 (DVD)
I don’t think I need to go into great detail over this, since it’s fact that this is the greatest Batman film of all time. And, I will also call it one of the top three greatest comic book films of all time.
Runner up: Sin City (April 2005/September 2005)

Best Ongoing Comic Book Series:
DAREDEVIL by Brian Michael Bendis & Alex Maleev
I can never praise this series enough. Bendis & Maleev are creative titans, and this series is a modern masterpiece. Their run will soon end unfortunately, so whether the genius of this book continues beyond January 2006 remains to be seen. But from (vol. 2) #26-now is the definitive Daredevil reading.

Now for some extra “awards”:

Best Quote of 2005:
“What, are you DENSE? Are you RETARDED or something? Who the hell do you THINK I am? I’m the goddamn Batman.” – The Goddamn Batman (All-Star Batman & Robin; The Boy Wonder).

Worst Issue of 2005:
TOXIN #2 (of 6)
Now, this series was just plain bad, I couldn’t even make it past the second issue.

Biggest Disappointment of 2005:
As great as Frank Miller & Jim Lee are, especially on Batman, this series just doesn’t have it. The art is as great as ever, but the story is severely lacking. I expected so much more out of this series, and I also expected it to ship on a more reliable release schedule.


12 December, 2005 11:27, Blogger zilla said...

dude - great post. i'm 100% w/ you on all-star batman being a huge bust for me, and i added your quote to our revolving quotes ;)

i love lists like this because they get me reading outside my comfort zone... thanks U.


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In no particular order:

Criminal, The Goon, Daredevil, Exterminators, Punisher, Hellboy/B.P.R.D (All), Powers, Godland, Usagi Yojimbo, The Walking Dead, Invincible, Conan, Ex Machina, DMZ, Desolation Jones, Fell, 100 Bullets, All-Star Superman, Ultimates 2, Loveless, and Fear Agent.

I'm recently back reading after a 15 year comics hiatus.

Zilla is not my real name.

I'm from Tejas living in VA. I'm married w/ 2 dogs. I'm an IT security consultant cranking the wheel for a big consulting firm in "real" life.

I watch the History Channel, Nat'l Geo, TLC, Mil Channel, ESPN and NFL Network, CourtTV (forensic files, etc.) and the Cartoon Network (love Genndy T's Samurai Jack and Clone Wars Adventures). My taste in movies: Gladiator, Last Samurai, Braveheart, Godfather, Tarantino (whatever), Kung-Fu (whatever), Westerns, Top Gun, Big Lebowski.

I love the outdoors and bs'ing around w/ my dogs.

In addition to being a comics junkie, i'm also a sports junkie especially when it comes to the Texas Longhorns and the Dallas Cowboys.

Blog contents copyright © 2005 Rod Wetsel