Friday, January 1, 2010

2009 in review!

Well, it's the end of the year, or at least it was when I typed this up... Anyway, this is the first blog post I've crafted in a couple of days, and to be honest, I have to say that I've been dreading this all day. What do I mean? Simply put, there have been times recently where this blog has become more of a chore then anything else. And on top of that, it has actually hindered my comic book reading! These past few days of non-blogging have allowed me to(almost)catch up on my huge pile of unread comic books, as well as recharge my blogging batteries a little.

When I first started this blog up some 15 months back, I did so because I wanted to create a comic oriented website where fellow fans could meet and discuss current and past comics, comic book events and all that jazz. Sadly, it seems that many of the comments I've been getting lately are from French and Japanese spammers peddling various garbage items... That's definitely NOT the vision I had when I started this blog up. At last count, I've(somehow)managed to gain 16(!!!)followers for this blog... 16!?! God only knows how! And while I thoroughly appreciate each and every one of those people who took the time to list this lousy blog as a favorite of theirs, I kind of wish that would equate to more comments...

A wise and intelligent blogger once told me that comments are the lifeblood of a blog, and you know what, that couldn't be more dead-on. If nobody comments on what you type, what's the sense in typing it, you know? All of this has brought me to my blog's New Year's Resolution(see, I WAS going somewhere with all of this rambling!). For 2010, I will do whatever I can to make this blog better/more interesting/the best blog it can be! Maybe I'll change the format up and do less reviews, and do more opinion oriented posts. Or vice-versa. Maybe I'll spend more time looking back at certain hated/loved comic books from the past. I honestly don't know what I'll do, but I will try to make this blog as reader/comment friendly as I possibly can for 2010.

OK, that's the plan for 2010, but what about 2009? Here are a few comic book highlights(and lowlights)from the past year. Oh, and before you read them, one quick note... All of the following picks are my opinion. I'm not trying to insult any readers or anything like that, this is just the way I saw things these past twelve months. Whether you agree or disagree, let me know. And now, on to the main event!

Best Writer: Geoff Johns. This was really a no-brainer for me. While there were a few other writers who had really good years, Peter David, Ed Brubaker, and Peter Tomasi come to mind right off the bat, Geoff really blew them all away with the quality of his work this year. While he did have a few notable stinkers(the Blackest Night issues in Adventure Comics, and Blackest Night: Flash)most of Geoff's work was definitely golden. Green Lantern, Blackest Night, Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds, Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge, and I'm sure there are plenty of other books I'm forgetting right now, Geoff has been a writing machine for DC this past year. Thanks to the quality of his work, Geoff was definitely the runaway winner of this award.

Worst Writer: Brian Michael Bendis. Speaking of no-brainers, here was another one. The Dread Lord BENDIS continues to boggle my mind with unbelievably bad storytelling and porn movie bad dialogue. While I will admit that I did enjoy reading some of BENDIS's work this year for the first time in a long time(mainly Dark Avengers), most of his story ideas were still painfully bad. New Avengers has dissolved into a convoluted mess, and to be completely honest the entire Dark Reign storyline smacks of the old Acts of Vengeance storyline to me. Plus of course there was BENDIS' utterly baffling decision to make Norman Osborn the main villain in Dark Reign... When I think major Marvel villain, I'm definitely not thinking Norman Osborn. Red Skull, Dr. Doom, Magneto, Loki, these are characters I consider top villains. Not Norman Osborn. It's for these reasons, and many more, BENDIS is the winner of the worst writer of the year award for the second straight year.

Best Ongoing Series of the Year: X-Factor. Trust me I'm as surprised by this pick as you are! While there were a few other titles I definitely gave some consideration to in this category, Green Lantern and Captain America being two, X-Factor has just been simply incredible this year. Written by the legendary Peter David, this series didn't disappoint me one single time all year long. X-Factor had a little bit of everything this past year, action, comedy, romance, drama, great storytelling, and of course giant futeristic robots! Every issue built towards the climatic issue #50, and issue #50 most definitely didn't disappoint. If you want to read a good mutant comic book, you should most definitely be reading X-Factor.

Worst Ongoing Series of the Year: New Avengers. No surprise here. Although this comic continues to sell well for Marvel, it also continues to produce some of the most painfully bad stories you'll read in a comic book. I honestly don't think there was a single issue of this series I enjoyed this year, and that's really saying something. While there were a few other lousy comic book series that came out this year(I'm looking at you Green Arrow/Black Canary!), New Avengers definitely takes the cake here.

Best Crossover Event of the Year: Blackest Night. Here was another really easy pick. Take Geoff Johns, add lots of DC heroes and throw in a whole slew of zombies and you've got the recipe for a huge success! While some of the Blackest Night tie-ins have begun to get predictable, and the x-over as a whole has lost a little bit of steam, those first few issues of Blackest Night were just flat-out amazing, and I am still EAGERLY anticipating the final few issues.

Worst Crossover Event of the Year: Deathtrap. It took some thinking, but I can say with almost 100% positivity(is that even a word?!?)that Deathtrap was THE worst comic book x-over produced by either Marvel or DC this year. Deathtrap crossed over in the Vigilante, Teen Titans and Titans comics, and featured longtime Titan Jericho as the villain. Deathtrap was bad for a couple of reasons, the story was ridiculous(that's never a good sign!), Jericho as the villain made absolutely NO sense, and the conclusion was mind-numbingly bad. So yeah, with credentials like that, it should come as no surprise that Deathtrap came out on top in this category.

Hero of The Year: Green Lantern(Hal Jordan). Looking at what Hal's been through this year, it should come as no shock that he wins this category with relative ease. Over the course of 2009, Hal has become a Red Lantern, fought the Red Lanterns, become a Blue Lantern, become a Orange Lantern, and battled against the keeper of the Orange light. From there Hal has been thrust into the forefront of the Blackest Night crossover, coming face to face with several vile Black Lanterns, including longtime Justice League teammate, the Martian Manhunter, while being forced to battle alongside many of his sworn enemies, including Sinestro and Atrocitus. I don't think there was any other hero who has been forced to face more trials and tribulations then Hal has this past year, which is why Hal gets my nod.

Villain of the Year: Norman Osborn. Yes, Norman Osborn. Allow me to explain. I hate the fact that Norman is/was the key villain in Marvel's Dark Reign storyarc. He lacks the brains/power a company-wide threat should have. Loki? Company-wide threat. Dr. Doom? Company-wide threat. The Red Skull, Magneto, hell, even the Mandarin is more threatening then Stormin' Norman. So why would I give Norman the not-so-vaunted title of Villain of the Year? Pretty much because he's been Marvel's ONLY villain this year! The guy has been in practically EVERY Marvel comic during the course of this past year! Hell, if you were to take every single Marvel comic that came out this year, throw them all in the air and then catch just one, I bet you would find Norman Osborn inside! Who else could I really have chosen? Gen. Lane? Eh, I can understand his point of view. The Red Skull? He'd have been more evil if he would have left Steve Rogers dead! No, Norman wins mainly due to the fact that he was Marvel's only real villain this year.

What the Hell?!? Moment of the Year: Superman ends Final Crisis by singing Darkseid to death. This one was probably the easiest choice of all. So here you have Final Crisis, DC's uber-huge mega crossover of 2008-2009. The main villain, Darkseid has pretty much run amok, enslaved several heroes(including Wonder Woman), killed several other heroes(including Batman... Kind of), and transformed the Earth into a living hell. How does DC's greatest hero, Superman end the dread threat of Darkseid? He sings at him... Yes, that's right, Superman sings a note that's directly opposite of Darkseid's essence(or some such nonsense)which causes Darkseid to die... Uh-huh... I don't think I need to say anything else...

Best Moment of the Year: The return of Bart Allen(Kid Flash): Bart's short run as the Flash, and his subsequent death bothered me. A LOT! So it should go without saying that his return made me VERY happy. Bart's return in Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #3 is easily one of my favorite comic book memories from this past year, trumping the returns of both Superboy and X-Man. More so then X-Man or Superboy, Bart's death seemed hollow and meaningless, which is probably why it bugged me so much. Happily for me though, 2009 is the year that righted that particular wrong.

Worst Cancellation News of the Year: Legion of Super-Heroes. I know I was in the minority, but I LOVED this series! When I found out it was canned at the beginning of 2009, it should go without saying that I was devastated. Then as if to add insult to injury, Geoff Johns began using a prior version of the Legion, which pretty much rules out any hope for my Legion(the Mark Waid/Threeboot Legion)of appearing in DC again. That's too bad, because I think the Threeboot Legion made a lot more sense(age-wise)then the current older version of the Legion. Oh well.

Well, I think that's going to have to do it for me. Huh, you know what? I really had a great time doing this post, hopefully you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed typing it up. I guess I just needed a few days away from blogging to realize that I really do enjoy it! That's it, 2009 is officially in the books, so to each and every one of you, a very healthy and Happy New Year!


  1. Happy New Year, X-Man! Well, what can I say? This was one hell of a blog post! I always enjoy reading year-end review posts that center on comic books, and this one certainly didn't disappoint! Great job, man!

    Oh, and it sounds like an earth-shattering "Crisis" almost hit your blog! Take it from me, you do not want that to happen, lol. If a bunch of comments is what you need to keep this blog kicking in 2010, then that's exactly what you'll get from me!

  2. Thanks Robert, I knew I could count on my fellow Legionaries!

    Yeah, once I started typing I couldn't help but think about you and your two world-bending, reality-warping Crises. Thankfully I was able to avoid such a fate!

  3. Excellent Blog X, gotta say I agree with alot of your picks, especially about Hal being Hero of the Year, especially after reading Sinestro Corps. Wars and The Rage of The Red Lanterns. (Btw that Article is still coming but I've been SWAMPED with family stuff due to the holidays.)

    I'll definitely contribute more than my fair share of comments, 2010 is gonna make 2009 look like CHILD'S PLAY! Lol but yeah, Happy New Year dude.

  4. First of all, if I haven't said it you yet X-Man, happy new year!

    This was an excellent post, and I can tell that you spent a lot of time thinking about all the categories.

    Time away from blogging really can really give perspective about how seriously we take it. That's why I often sturggle with even having a blog, because it sometimes feels like having a part-time job that doesn't pay anything. I mean if people respond, it pretty much makes it worth it, but otherwise....

    I'm glad you brought up your frustrations about comments or the lack there of, because I've recently been feeling the same. I seriously spent a couple hours making up my "vacation scorecard" post a little while ago expecting someone to tell me they at least read some of the same things as me, and nobody (at least to this point) said boo.

    While I know it's annoying to think all your work is in vain, you also have to remember that every person looks for different things from a blog. Some will click the "follow" button on your site because you clicked theirs first, some people will only read about characters they know about, a lot of times people just read reviews and feel they have nothing they can add because they haven't been following the book, and some people probably just skip reviews and look for "special" posts. I'm sure there are others who frequent your blog without even letting you know that they exist.

    I guess my point is that your blog is cool the way it is,and you probably have more fans than you know.

    I find from my own short experiences that the best way to draw the attention of human beings (whether it be children or adults) is to try and say the most you can in the shortest amount possible. Supposedly peoples' attention shifts every 20 seconds (it might be more the older you are), and we're only good at remembering 3-5 things.

  5. I thought your choices for worst ongoing series and worst event were really interesting. I didn't read either of those, and I could tell from the outside that they were bad.

    New Avengers seemed like it was toatally directionless, and every solicitation was either about Clint Barton getting kidnapped or Luke Cage having a heart attack. As far as I'm concerned, those are both good things, so I wouldn't want to read the comic and have it disappoint me by providing some kind of resolution.

    Deathtrap was just a sad attempt to sell books that no one really liked. I could tell this by the fact that the finale was in an issue of Vigilante (I only know that because it was one of the books in the stacks I rifled through at the comic store the other day)

    I couldn't agree more with the WTH award. Final Crisis is one big "cluster" of ideas, if you know what I mean.

    The only thing I couldn't agree with? You didn't like Blackest Night: Flash.

    Well, I've written enough on your comments section, so I'll go skulk around somewhere else. See ya later, X-Man.



  8. Aww, thanks guys... You really know how to make a fellow feel wanted! :)

    Jason: You know I'll definitely be looking forward to your GL post. As should be evident by this post, I do loves me some Hal Jordan and Geoff Johns!

    Kello: I loved the line about the blog being like an unpaid part time job! That is so true! I usually spend like 2-3 hours a night posting reviews here, and like you said, sometimes I wonder why. I will admit that writing this post, as well as the comments from you guys have definitely helped me want to keep going(As a matter of fact, I'm nearly at 1,100 posts!). And once again, you're right, I shouldn't think of this blog's followers as I'd think of myself, where as I only follow the blogs I'm always frequenting, other people are probably clicking that button for a number of different reasons. Oh, and just so you know, I've been avoiding your scorecard post because I haven't read a couple of the books you have on there(mainly Batman #694)and you know how much I hate spoilers! And Kello, you're welcome to skulk around this blog for as long as you like!

    Matt: Thanks for the kind words. You've never finished FC? Wow, I'm definitely surprised! Knowing how much you like Grant Morrison's Batman work, I'd have thought for sure you would have read that!

  9. Make that 17 followers! I just came across this blog through a link on Robot 6 and I have to say this post really struck a chord with me. As a fellow blogger, I've also had trouble sustaining my own interest in blogging due to a lack of comments. I've actually been thinking about starting a second blog lately (one related to comics...the one I have now is about movies) but I haven't yet because I worry that if people don't read it or comment, I might give up on it.

    On the one hand, it seems silly that bloggers need that kind of validation to keep writing...but as you point out, X-Man, comments really are the lifeblood of a good blog. We already know what our opinions are - I've always thought the point of writing them down is to start a discussion. I'd much rather hear what other people think about something than simply have my own thoughts rattling around all alone in my head all day.

    I guess I'm beating around the bush a bit, but the point I'm getting to is that your resolve to keep blogging despite your reservations is pretty cool, and it makes me a bit more optimistic about my own blogging prospects. Maybe I'll give that second blog a try after all.

    And even if that doesn't work out...this blog at least will still have one more faithful reader. Keep up the good work!

  10. Welcome aboard Marc! It's always great to hear from somebody new! Having just checked out your other blog, I can say with 100% assurance that if you started up a comic blog you'd definitely have one follower in me.

    I'm not really much of a movie guy, the last movie I went to see in the theater was the first Spider-Man movie, so that should tell you a lot right there! I still haven't seen the Dark Knight or Iron Man, and those are two movies I actually want to watch...

    "We already know what our opinions are - I've always thought the point of writing them down is to start a discussion. I'd much rather hear what other people think about something than simply have my own thoughts rattling around all alone in my head all day." Those two lines PERFECTLY sum up why I started this blog in the first place. I love talking comics, and it's always better when you actually have somebody else to converse with.

    Before I go, thank you very much for the kind words. Reading something like that makes doing this blog a whole lot more gratifying. I'll be looking forward to checking out any of your future blog work Marc.

  11. Just for the record Marc, welcome to The club and if you do start a comic blog site I'll definitely become a reader.

  12. Great year-ender! I laughed when you brought up DEATHTRAP. Looked pretty bad.

  13. Thanks Scott. Yeah, Deathtrap was pretty brutal. It was one of those x-overs that I was pretty optimistic about too. Until I read it of course!