Friday, December 22, 2006

Thor Says: The Best of 2006 in Comics v.1

A year of crisis, a year of reboots. And I’m not just talking about my personal life. This is the best year to get back into comics. Continuities are cleaned up; storylines are brassy new, and our heroes learn how to be heroes again. And oh, all Civil War titles will have to be runners-up for now since shipping is always delayed. Heh.

Epic, cinemascope storytelling. Taking root in the universe-spanning Crisis on Infinite Earths and the more recent crime drama Identity Crisis, Infinite Crisis redefines taking a plunge with blind Juggernaut momentum. Johns and Jimenez take us from a nuclear detonation in Bludhaven to the imploding Rann galactica to a universe-bending portal powered by Black Adam and Power Girl among others. We might not always get it (instantly) but we are definitely swept away. By the palpable desperation of Superman. By the sheer bravado of the speedsters and the GL corps. By the sacrifice of a teenager in love.

Runners-up CIVIL WAR: Frontline (Marvel), RUNAWAYS: Parental Guidance (Marvel), TEEN TITANS: Titans Around the World (DC)

Best Book 52
A weekly comic by Mark Waid, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, and Geoff Johns. Cover by J.G. Jones. And there's no hype to live up to. Just writers telling stories and artists sketching the missing year between I.C. and the One Year Later jump all DC titles took before IC wrapped up. What was a gamble is now an extraordinary triumph of affected storytelling. And it lives up to its promise. Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman are not missed. At all. Instead we get to root for C-listers Renee Montoya, The Question, Steel, Booster Gold and Skeets, and almost forgotten fan favorites Animal Man and Adam Strange. And Lobo. The lost in space crew, the Black Adam family, the mysterious Batwoman, and Lex Corp.'s Infinity Inc. are all about to collide next year, and I'm guessing it will soon be time for JSA #1's opening panel World War III.

Runners-up FABLES (Vertigo), THE ULTIMATES 2 (Marvel), ASTONISHING X-MEN (Marvel),
Y: The Last Man (Vertigo)

Best Hero IRON MAN
Because right now, he is both hero and villain and there's no one remotely more interesting in the Marvel Universe than this recovering alcoholic corporate mogul who cannot survive outside his armor. And Iron Man
beating up Captain America, that's the sweetest. Turn around or not at the end of CW, he is the necessary catalyst that is changing the Marvel Universe.


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