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BO'S HALF-LIFE AWARDS
"We are in the middle of the year and I'm beginning a new tradition with the debut of the Half Life Awards that will name the best and the worst of the year so far in comics. And at the end of the piece I comment on something that finally happened Friday at the Sun Times because the choice for that award seemed pretty clear. "
BEST LIMITED SERIES: That would be a tie between the two big guns of the year: 52 and Civil War. 52 is one of the biggest gambles any company has even come up with. We get an issue a week, some of the best writers in the industry work on the book but we aren't told who is doing what, the artists assigned aren't major stars and missing an issue can create a major problem since we are reading current books that show the events after the missing year. The book is seamless, the art isn't flashy but consistent and most importantly the big three (Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman) are nowhere to be seen and we are cool with that. Civil War is a universe changing event that will reshape the Marvel Universe for the next few years. Former friends and allies find themselves on opposite sides of an issue and from what we have seen so far there is no right or wrong side. We have seen the public reveal of Spider-Man's identity (Tony Stark had already done that so the impact was minimal), why Captain America is one of the baddest men on the planet and in the current issue Thor returns. The art by Steve McNiven is beautiful and the writing is perfect.

BEST ARTIST: Steve McNiven's work on Civil War is somehow light years past the work he was doing at CrossGen and that's a bold statement since he was amazing then. Each issue is breathtakingly drawn.

BEST WRITER: Ed Brubaker is currently writing three ongoing series: Captain America, Daredevil and X-Men. Those are three distinctive series and he handles all three with skill. We expected him to be able to do Daredevil because his roots are in crime fiction but his work on Cap and X-Men came out of nowhere. His take on Steve Rogers is perfect. One of the best moments in the series had him explain to Sharon Carter that he can dodge bullets because he sees them better which was perfect and so obvious that is was a head nodder and funny as hell. And as far as the X-Men go no one had any idea that he could write an action based series.

BEST ONGOING SERIES: This award isn't fair to DC since One Year Later hit the reset button on all their titles thus making any book that had been going on so new that they would be ineligible. So that leaves the choices between Marvel, Image, Dark Horse and the rest of the industry. Now this was a hard choice because I enjoy Image's Fell, Daredevil, Captain America and a few others but my pick is New Avengers from Marvel. The writing by Brian Bendis is a pleasure to read as are the little moments that make up the title such as asides between teammates or the scene between Steve Rogers and Jessica Drew where he just tosses out the fact that he and the team know she is a double agent. Mike Deodato has proved an admirable replacement for David Finch and having different artists do segments of the current arc had Howard Chaykin doing Captain America which is something to celebrate.

BEST REVIVAL: Novelist Charlie Hudson and David Finch have made Moon Knight one of the hottest books on the racks today. There have always been fans out there who labeled the character a Batman ripoff but never saw that the character was way more complicated that Batman could ever be. Marc Spector was a mercenary who came across an Egyptian god and was reborn as a knight of vengeance. He has multiple personalities and wears one of the coolest costumes in comics. The revival showed him kicking serious ass and each Finch drawn page was dripping with coolness then all of a sudden we see that Spector is in a wheelchair living in a squalid home praying to a statue. It was an astonishing transition. The first arc is showing us a hero rebuilding himself into what he used to be and seems to make the minor league character a major player.

WORST LIMITED SERIES: Red Sonja/Claw. I like Chuck Dixon as a writer and have no major problem with Andy Smith but each issue of this limited series was pointless. Sonja has returned to the racks and her Dynamite stories are good (when they show up) but Claw was an obscure DC character in the 70's and nothing seen in this limited series suggests why he was brought back.

WORST ARTIST: The fall from grace has been pretty hard for John Byrne who at one point was the most popular artist in comics. His X-Men issues with Terry Austin are still some of my favorites but as the years have passed he has decided that he is better when he inks his own pencils even though his work looks like he did it with a paint brush when he does. His bridges over at Marvel are napalmed and when he walked away from drawing the Superman Returns prequel DC started laying out kindling. When you add his generally cranky attitude on his message board onto that it makes it hard to pick someone else for the dishonor.

WORST WRITER: Anyone and everyone who worked on Image's Shadowhawk this year need to line up and accept their statues. The character wasn't ever really interesting but somehow the latest version would have to raise up their game just to suck.

WORST ONGOING SERIES: In a battle to the death between Amazing Fantasy and Arana there was no winner unless you count customers who bought the books.

WORST REVIVAL: Warlord is on the death watch over at DC and anyone who has read the revival of the Mike Grell character can tell you why. The art by Bart Sears is abysmal (he has a tendency to reinvent himself then wear out his welcome soon) and while the Bruce Jones stories are okay the art kills any possibility of enjoyment of the series.

WELL DUH AWARD: If you checked out the Friday Sun Times as I do (as well as the Tribune and the USA Today since I am a news junkie) you may have noticed the debut of a new film critic in the Weekend Plus section: Richard Roeper. Roger Ebert is recovering from surgery and won't be reviewing anything for a while. Now the summer movie season is the second busiest so not having a regular critic hurts (as anyone who has been reading the menagerie over at the Tribune) and it seemed like common sense to have the co-host (and a columnist for your own paper) of Ebert & Roeper take over for a few weeks and pony up some print reviews since he was seeing the films and reviewing them on TV anyway. For some reason it took the brain trust at the Times awhile to notice the obvious. For their next stunt they will realize that the job of a sports columnist (yes, I am referring to Jay Mariotti) is to cover sports and not the mundane and occasionally exciting moments in any given sporting event and back him up when he gets involved in an argument with anyone in sports.
"Want to read some upcoming comics now? We've got a bunch of SNEAKY PEEKIES of future MARVEL, DC and IMAGE titles right HERE"

Article 2006 Alternate Reality, Inc.

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