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BO'S COMIC BOOK YEAR IN REVIEW-2006
"The year is finally over so as is the case every year, itís time to reveal my choices for the best and worst in comics for 2007. Remember these are my choices and do not necessarily reflect the views of Alternate Reality or "Comicbookman". So if you disagree thatís your prerogative as an American citizen."
BEST ONGOING SERIES: The reset button at DC has been set for a while so this time around DC is eligible. I enjoy what is going on in Catwoman as well as what we have seen so far in Justice League but there is no book at the company that I drool for each week. I will say that if Grant Morrisonís run on Batman was consistent then he would have gotten the nod but the John Ostrander/Tom Mandrake arc killed that. Paul Diniís run on Detective needed a regular artist to win and that doesnít seem to be happening soon. 52 is a marvel of scheduling but the lack of a regular artist makes the title too inconsistent for me. Image's Fear Agent is always fun and Dark Horse has the bundle of insanity called the Goon but they donít make the cut either. So with that in mind I think I will choose Daredevil from Brubaker and Michael Lark. The two had to follow Bendis and Alex Maleev and the two of them are one of the greatest ever on the series and if you look at some of the teams that have worked on the book that says a lot. From Matt Murdock in prison to the current world tour to discover who has been behind the destruction of his life and the upcoming arc that has Matt trying to return to normalcy this has been a great run. Honorable mention goes to Imageís Emissary for taking the concept of Superman coming to Earth and turning it on its head by making him black.

BEST LIMITED SERIES:
Civil War. Even with the delays due to illnesses on Mark Millar and Steve McNivenís part (and #7 is delayed due to adding pages to the story until 2/21) CW has been the book that everyone is talking about and by that I mean not just comic fans but mainstream media as well. Each issue is perfectly drawn and there are small as well as large moments included in each issue. From the death of Black Goliath at the hands of the cloned Thor, to the comment by Iron Fist posing as Daredevil to Tony Stark after being captured and the reaction in the latest issue by the Punisher when he does what he has always done (but in front of other heroes) each issue has been cool as hell. We are six issues into the book and still there is no clear side to the conflict. Tony Stark realizes that if there is no handle on superheroes then tragedy can happen and Steve Rogers is against the idea of the government knowing who every hero is as opposed to some. We saw the decision of Peter Parker to reveal his identity and then discover that he was completely wrong about it. We saw Norman Osborn, of all people put in charge of the Thunderbolts. We saw the conflict between Marvelís first family the Fantastic Four split them in a way that could make it hard for them to ever see things the same way. And yes, we saw the character of Speedball become an important part of the Marvel Universe for what happened at Stamford, Connecticut by him becoming Penance in an attempt to atone for his deeds. This award can be shared by Paul Jenkinsís Civil War: Frontline. The book has gotten less pub but his showing the street level effect of the war thru the eyes of rival reporters as well as paralleling events with real world happenings has been quietly as effective as the main story.

BEST ARTIST: Steve McNiven was my choice in the middle of the year and he has done nothing to change that. Take a look at CW #6 and tell me his art hasnít been worth the wait. The double page spread of all the characters on the next to last page was a thing of beauty.

BEST WRITER: Ed Brubaker and Brian Bendis are fighting it out here as far as quality and quality are concerned. Powers is as cool today as it was when it began and his individual issues of New Avengers showing characters dealing with the events of Civil War have allowed him to tell a story using the strengths of the artists. But, Brubaker is doing Iron Fist, Captain America, Daredevil and X-Men with such skill that he gets the nod. Honorable mention goes to Geoff Johns for his work on Action Comics with Richard Donner and the first issue of Justice Society of America.

BEST REVIVAL: Novelist Charlie Hudson and David Finchís run on Moon Knight has been nothing short of awesome. Hudson took a character who had always been considered a Batman wannabe and made him a major bad ass. I could have picked Iron Fist but we are only two issues into the title so it wasnít seriously considered as were the newer versions of the Justice League and Justice Society. I also like what is happening with Captain Comet in Mystery in Space.

WORST ONGOING SERIES: This would be a tie between Manifest Eternity and the Exterminators. At one point Scott Lobdell was a hot writer and Dustin Nguyen was at least luke warm but this science fiction series becomes more irrelevant with each issue. The Exterminators is based on bugs and that can only get you so far before fans start losing interest. With me that happened about #12.

WORST LIMITED SERIES:
The Next. Horrible story, horrible art and no reason for existing at all. Someday someone will explain the decision making process over at DC. From bringing back Claw, screwing up Deadman and allowing Warlord to even make it past the concept stage I just wonder if someone sneaks into Dan Didioís office when he isnít there and signs off on these things.

WORST ARTIST:  John Byrne was our winner at the half way point of the year but he has been yanked off of All New Atom so he gets a consolation prize. That opened the field to Dustin Nguyen who is drawing some of the worst art I have ever seen on Manifest Eternity at Wildstorm. Itís not that he isnít a talented artist (see his Wildcats 2.0 stuff) itís just that here his work has such a washed out glossy look that the lame ass story canít be covered by pretty pictures.

WORST WRITER:
Bruce Jones. He had people running after him with torches for his run on Nightwing, older fans hating him for bringing back both Deadman (the hero is interesting but he isnít Boston Brand) and Warlord (someone at DC was smoking crack if they thought this book would sell). Jones has had an interesting career. He worked at Harris when Harris was at its hottest point; he made Ka-Zar cool at Marvel then went away for a while before Marvel brought him back to comics to take over the Hulk. After the bloom fell off him at Marvel the folks at DC signed him up for an exclusive that hasnít really panned out for anyone. His contract is coming up for renewal soon so it will be interesting to see if he stays or retires from comics for a while again.

WORST REVIVAL: Warlord was cancelled, taken out back and shot a few times on the way down, buried then shot a few more times just to make sure it was dead. Since his art on the book was so well received Bart Sears is currently sharpening pencils at the DC offices for artists who actually remember how to draw.

WELL DUH AWARD: This award goes to all fans who wander into any store looking for "HOT" books that have more than likely sold out days after shipping and then look accusingly at the guy behind the counter as if he has the books hidden in a wall safe somewhere. Folks, the book came out and you missed them so do what everyone else does: wait for the trade, pray for a 2nd print or start burning gas going from store to store to storeÖwell, duh.
 
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All Books/Characters pictured herein are © Copyright 2007 by their respective owners. No rights given or implied by Alternate Reality, Incorporated.

Reviews © 2007 Alternate Reality, Inc.

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