Happy New Year, everyone! It's gotten off to a great start for me, so I thought I'd throw together my favourite comics of 2011. This year had a bunch of ups and downs with a lot of crossover success in films; I can't applaud all the "successes", but I'm glad that the medium seems to be puttering along.
Mark Waid taking over the book and reinventing Daredevil has got to be one of the best moves Marvel have made all year. The book is fresh, inviting, has amazing art and simplistic stories. After the clusterfuck that was Shadowland, this series was exactly what the character needed.
Marvel's been doing great things with artists like Chris Samnee and Paolo Rivera, who have a very retro style. I've never liked Daredevil at all, and their art is partly what's doing it for me.
Another revived series, but a great one all the same. Greg Rucka knows how to write gritty stories, and that's something that's in this book in spades. Again, like Daredevil above, Punisher has managed to take a property that was veering into the weird and refresh the concept. Frank is brooding, stoic and going through hell; just the way he needs to be.
This series gave me one of my favourite individual issues of the year with its Thanksgiving story. The book lacks the wanton destruction of MAX, but still manages to tell great tales.
While not officially a New 52 title, Huntress was launched as part of that wave of new titles, and I can applaud its quality. Marcus To's pencil work is amazing, and it captures the tone of the "Birds of Prey" Huntress that I liked so much.
There's subtle things that make the book so much better than a lot of New 52 series; like Nightwing, the character seems more like an actual person, instead of a name, a pair of tights and powers. It's a pity it's only a mini series - emerging talent like To are have the potential for some great runs.
As one of the two books that's really impressed me out of the New 52, Nightwing has great character work and pacing. A lot of my problems with the other books stem from the inability to get the story going, or terrible set-up otherwise.
Sometimes, in an effort to get people to read the book, the writer will throw too much action with little meat to the story. The inverse is true as well, where the characters are written bland (I'm looking at you, new Blue Beetle and Mister Terrific) and reading the series becomes tedious. Nightwing has managed to balance personal drama, action and genuinely likeable people in an effort to give Dick a good base to work off of.
I still maintain that Barbara Gordon has been written better in Nightwing than her own book.
This book has been a surprise in that I didn't think I would like it. Buddy Baker has impressed me in his ability to carry himself as a hero, and I applaud Jeff Lemire for not making his daughter a Layla Miller-esque know it all. While presumptuous youths aren't an automatic death-knell for books, they tend to undermine the hero's actions by throwing second-guesses most often than they should.
But, like I said, this book is great. It has a tendency to have at least one panel/page an issue that drops my jaw and leaves me with a smile on my face.
DMZ finished last week, and I can say it gave me one of the most satisfying ends to a book I've ever read. I'm not afraid to admit that I'm a little bit of a Brian Wood fanboy, but so much of this book just spoke to me as a person. As a journalist, I identified with a lot of the problems and issues Matty Roth ran across, and his character arc made me think about the type of man I want to grow up to be.
The character work in this book is some of the best I've ever read; the degree to which some characters were fleshed out in only one issue was absurd, and I found myself fascinated that I could care that much about someone I'd never read about again. If you haven't read this book, do yourself a favour and pick it up.