I have by no means been able to read every comic book title over the last year. But of those I did read, these are my favorites of 2011.
Moon Knight – I’ve always thought that Moon Knight’s costume was cool. But this D-list superhero never had much else to offer than just another Daredevil knockoff. Now he does. Having Brian Michael Bendis recreate this character into a schizophrenic who is over his head was a brilliant move. Not only does it give this character a unique flaw and provide for some wonderful dialogue and character development, but it also pokes fun at Marvel’s big three – Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Captain America. My favorite moment is when Marc Spector thinks he’s talking to his imaginary friends only to find out it’s Spidey, Cap, and Wolvie in the flesh.
Daredevil – Not a D-lister, but definitely a B-list hero. Daredevil, like Moon Knight, is over his head in this story arc. Mark Waid has done for Daredevil what Bendis has done for Moon Knight. The best part of this series, however, is the art. Paolo Rivera’s art is gritty and retro, but it’s his use of words to construct images that brilliantly portrays how Daredevil’s powers work.
Uncanny X-Force – Wolverine, Archangel, Psylocke, Deadpool, and Fantomex make up a black ops X-team that was supposed to be disbanded. The first story arc ended with Fantomex shooting a child version of Apocalypse. Then they went and brought back the Age of Apocalypse. Those storylines alone make it the coolest book out there. Combine that with moody art and witty writing and this is quite possibly the best series out there.
The Best of Flashpoint:
Flashpoint – I wasn’t as impressed by Flashpoint as an alternate universe, but I was impressed with its results. I love the way DC used this to relaunch all of its titles. It was bold and it appears to be paying off. The title series was good because (Hey, Marvel, take note!) it was short and had a climactic ending.
Batman: Knight of Vengeance – This was the best of the alternate storylines. It featured surprises that were rewarding and fitting, not cheap alternatives.
The Best of DC’s New 52:Batgirl – I love Barbara Gordon. Having her don the cowl again is perfect. She, however, is imperfect. That’s what makes for a good story. Batgirl struggles with getting her legs under her again, literally.
Batman – The best of the Batman books. I am loving the idea of a secret society of Owlmen. What a great way to revive the Earth 2 version of Batman.
The Flash – Like Daredevil, the art makes this book even better. It uses the cells and images to create a portrayal of Flash’s abilities that add a unique mobility to still images.
Batwoman – Is there any art more unique and stimulating than that of J.H. Williams III? Moon Knight comes close, but Williams’ is cleaner.
Action Comics – I’ve never been a fan of the Big Blue Boyscout. But I have to give props to this version of Superman. Grant Morrison has yet again brilliantly brought a DC character back to his roots. This version of the Man of Steel is gritty, brash, and even a little pompous. Plus, Morrison has Superman fighting for the people against the super-wealthy. This makes him much more relatable than when he fights monsters and aliens. He’s made Superman a bit of an underdog.
Waiting to decide until 2012:
Wonder Woman – I like the art and the resurrection of Greek mythology. I am looking forward to a more developed (character-wise, of course) Amazon princess.
Justice League – I prefer them to the Avengers (especially the new versions) and I love the idea of their first mission to be against Darkseid.
Justice League International – I like the idea. I want to like this series. I just need more issues.
Green Lantern – Sinestro looks good in green. But we’re all waiting for him to don the yellow again.
Suicide Squad – I like villains who are forced to be heroes. It’s just fun. But I’m not sure if Deadshot and Harley Quinn can carry the series.
Catwoman – I’m starting to be won over by this story. Catwoman as damaged goods makes a whole lotta’ sense. The art is perfect too.
X-men… “whatever” – I want to jump back into the mainstream X-men titles. I do. Really. I just can’t afford to follow all 89 titles. Hopefully the newest two, Wolverine and the X-men and Uncanny X-men, will give me an opportunity to jump onto a series I sorely miss.
Desperate for a New Year’s resolution:
Marvel – Please resolve NOT to put Spider-man and Wolverine on any more teams. In fact, please cut back on their cameos as well. Also, can we go three months without a major crossover event? Spider–Island and Fear Itself were pretty weak in story and anti-climactic as usual.
DC – Please resolve to reduce the number of artists who either are or think they are Jim Lee. I feel like it’s 1992 all over again and I’d rather not remember getting made fun of because I don’t have the new Reebok Pumps. Instead, hire some artists who demonstrate some originality like J.H. Williams III (Batwoman), Travel Foreman (Animal Man) and Francis Manapul (The Flash).
So what were your favorites? What are you looking forward to in 2012?