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Laura Vandervoort

Figure Caption: You gotta love Supergirl!

It’s that time of year again when we look back at the year and see what lived up to our expectations and what fell flat on its face. So without further ado…here is MY Best of 2008.

Book of the Year: Captain America
When my friends ask me what the best comic out there is, this is my answer. Every month, Brubaker mixes social commentary, superhero history, and pulse pounding action into a symphony of awesomeness. As icing on the cake there is always a new twist or a new piece of character development that makes aspiring writers (like myself) bang their heads on a table wishing they thought of it. Damn you, Ed. Steve Epting’s artwork continues to be realistic and energetic with fun homages to great artists like Steranko.

Worst Book: Countdown to Final Crisis
Wasted time.  Countdown to Final Crisis was an over-hyped highlight reel of the DC Universe that promised to set the stage for Final Crisis. Not only did it not set the stage for Final Crisis, it didn’t do much of anything except steal minutes from my life I’ll never get back. That and about $156 from my wallet. 


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Mary Marvel

Bad Guy of the Year: I see three choices here. Libra seems to be running the bad guys in the Crisis series, but we don’t know enough about him yet to make an informed decision. Darkseid seems to be the overriding influence of the bad guys, but he may or may not be dead. Every time I try to get an intelligent answer out of DC they only have one answer: It’s Grant Morrison. I guess that means that all will be clear in 2009. I’m holding my breath. So, in my humble opinion, Norman Osborn is the standout Bad Guy of the Year. From running the Thunderbolts to running everything, he provided a welcome surprise to the end of Secret Invasion. And he’s crazy, too.

Good Guy of the Year: Even though I didn’t like how they got there, I thought Spider-Man had a pretty good year story-wise. Now that Marvel has clarified things, a little, in that the only change was that Peter and MJ never got married so that all continuity remains the same things makes more sense. I thought Thor had a great year - kicking Tony Starks’ butt, having Asgard floating over Oklahoma, and beating the crap out of the Skrulls was neat. But old friend Bucky Barnes, The Winter Soldier, is the Good Guy of the Year. A beautifully drawn and written unending novel has the former Bucky picking up the reins of Captain America. Why soon we won’t even miss Mr. Rogers and as soon as that happens…

Good Girl of the Year: Supergirl is happy/sad, rebellious/obedient, heroic/whiny. In another era I would make a time of the month joke, but who knows about Kryptonian cycles anyway? We’d all like to know what MJ whispered in Mephisto’s ear before stupid Peter took the deal, but we have to wait. By default I make it She-Hulk who fights earth villains, Skrulls, and still finds time to sleep around all over the Marvel universe. And has a Skrull girlfriend too.

Bad Girl of the Year: The Skrull Queen was pretty bad, but then let herself get killed by Norman Osborn. Granny Goodness is not exactly a girl. So I go with Mary Marvel. Of course by next year she’ll be back to the Light Side but I love her in her new black costume. All she needs is a whip and mask and… I think I’ll stop right here before I really do get into trouble with my editor.


All Star Batman and Robin

Here we present the “Joeys,” which is our first annual comic book awards.

Book of the Year: This takes some thought. Did All-Star Batman actually come out with an issue this year? Why, yes, it did - the infamous issue 12. I think that Frank Miller’s re-imagining of Batman is so off the wall it transcends great. Kidnapping Robin, Robin almost killing Green Lantern, making Robin eat rats in the batcave, having sex with Black Canary in th rain and wanting, in a thought balloon, to smack her around because she won’t shut up, etc. I can see where some people hate the tarnishing of the Batman Legend, but I love it.

Story Line of the Year: This takes virtually no thought. Captain America has turned into a great comic novel in many,many parts. Beautifully drawn and well-plotted out, it takes the Death of Captain America into the Bucky Cap flawlessly. Things actually make sense, no one does anything out of character, and each chapter makes you anticipate the next. This makes the sting of Marvel doing away with their First Looks program even harsher because Cap was always there. Part of the fun of owning a comic store is helping out one’s regulars and letting them read this title one week early made everyone feel special.

Rat Finks of the Year: Marvel for doing away with First Looks.

Most Confusing Story Line: So many choices. Final Crisis can’t end soon enough for me. RIP has even DC confused about it. Countdown ended, I think. But, to my mind, I have no idea what is going on in Trinity and have stopped reading a book that I don’t have to pay for.

Trend of the Year: Sex. It seems everyone wants it but now they talk about it. Libra’s offering guys a shot at Supergirl. Red Hulk willing not to kill any of the Lady Liberator’s if they put out. Nemesis putting the moves on Wonder Woman. Spider-Man asking Ms Marvel out. Skrulls having sex with humans. Dogs and cats living together. What is the universe coming to?
 
In Part 2 of the Joey’s we’ll discuss individual characters. Stay tuned.


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America

My choice for best monthly comic book series for 2008 is Captain America.  I am not a professional reviewer.  I don’t get paid to read every comic book from every company that comes out month-to-month.  I collect only a handful titles every month because that’s all I can afford - and all of those titles consist of DC and Marvel comics.  So before anyone starts complaining about this book was better, etc, etc, I am only giving you my opinion and I welcome any and all disagreements, but from what I read this year Captain America was by far the best and most consistent month-to-month title published this year.


Description

It’s almost been a year since Mephisto took his magic pencil and erased the Spider-Marriage from the minds of the Marvel Universe.  The benefit of the magical reboot was a “Brand New Day” for Peter Parker, where no one remembers he’s Spider-Man, allowing creators to retell stories from the seventies in a modern setting. A crucial element of this reboot was the resurrection of Harry Osborn.

For months we have wondered how Marvel was going to explain Harry’s sudden reappearance and in number 581 we got an explanation that made us wonder why Marvel needed Mephisto in the first place.


Wolverine

I know this has been a complaint from everyone over the past few years, but with the Wolverine trailer hitting the net, I felt it was time to mention it here on Comix 411.  There are too many comic books that feature or guest star Wolverine. 

Wolverine currently has three on going monthly series: “Wolverine,” “Wolverine: Origins,” and “Wolverine: First Class”.  He also appears from time-to-time in the X-men books (Uncanny, Legacy, and Astonishing), X-Force, New Avengers, various mini-series and crossovers.  I thought it was ridiculous in the 90s, but it’s actually gotten worse.


Wolverine

May 1st suddenly feels like a long ways off. The X-Men Origins: Wolverine trailer has arrived in its official glory after bouncing around the intertubes all weekend YouTube style, and I have to say, it looks pretty good. Check it out below the fold…

Read More | MySpace via Cinematical


Evan Rachel Wood

It looks like Mary Jane’s dream to light up Broadway is about to come true.  Newsarama reports that Evan Rachel Wood (Thirteen) has been cast as the titular redhead in the upcoming “Spider-Man: The Musical”.

Yes, Virginia you read that right, a Spider-Man musical is coming with rehearsals set to begin in the summer of 2009.

Not much is known about the musical other than Julie Taymor who did “The Lion King” with music being composed by Bono and the Edge will produce the show.  Playbill reports that the musical will revolve around a female character called Arachne who is described as a “beautiful, boastful, young woman turned into a spider for her hubris and lack of respect for the gods” who will try to woo Peter Parker (and give Bond yet another forum to preach). The play will also feature Norman Osborn and J. Jonah Jameson as further thorns in the webhead’s side.
I really don’t know what to make of this. There hasn’t been a superhero musical since “It’s a Bird. It’s a Plane. It’s Superman” and if anyone doesn’t remember that play there’s a good reason - the two genres don’t mesh. Is Spidey going to sing zingers to J. Jonah Jameson? Will the final battle with the Green Goblin be a dance off? Most importantly, how are they going to do the web swinging?  Questions aside, I think Evan Rachel Wood would make a good Mary Jane. From what I’ve seen of “Across the Universe,” she has an okay voice. She could play Mary Jane in the movies if Kristen Dunst decides not to return. No one has been chosen for Peter at this time. Either way I’ll be in the cheap seats for this.

Read More | Newsarama

Dark Reign

Last week Marvel’s event three years in the making ended anti-climatically with a last page that was an advertisement for this week’s one-shot, “Secret Invasion: Dark Reign”.

I have loved the team of Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev since they began their run on “Daredevil” in 2001. Maleev’s gritty, yet realistic artwork complemented Bendis’ down-to-earth dialogue perfectly for a dirty, street level character like Daredevil.  These three ingredients sparked one of the greatest runs in comic book history, so it’s easy to see why Marvel would use this team to launch the new direction of the Marvel Universe. Unfortunately, the Marvel Universe is not one-size-fits-all, and what works on Daredevil won’t necessarily work for the Avengers.


If you’re a “Punisher” fan, then you’ve already picked this one up, sped through the pages, and like me are already waiting for issue #2. However, if you haven’t picked up a “Punisher” comic before, this arc is already shaping up into something great, and with Garth Ennis and Steven Dillon attached, you really can’t go wrong. Also, don’t judge the character by his recent translations into film; while this comics bears the same name of the recent film about the “Punisher,” it is not based on the film.

My personal experience with “Punisher” comics is that they’re bred of hit and miss. In some versions, he is more hero than villain and in others he’s just a villain. Many have contributed to my wrapping paper collection. The Punisher’s anti-hero status has long been forged in the high mortality rates of his enemies. As with all great anti-heroes, a good Punisher comic always brings a good debate of what separates the heroes from the villains, much like Alan Moore’s main character in “V for Vendetta” or Charles Bronson in “Death Wish”. So if you’ve never picked up a Punisher comic, this would be a great place to start. Enjoy.


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