Sunday, January 4, 2015

2014's Comic Book Time Capsule

Terrence Sage's Thoughts on 2014
Biggest Surprise: Futures End, Worlds End all leading to the Multiverse Epic that's Convergence. I thought all the Weeklies were leading to something huge but, tying in ALL the DCU Stories from the past as a Battlecity Wide Event is beyond me.

Biggest Letdown: AVENGERS & X-MEN: AXIS. I thought AXIS would be about the Red Skull fighting both A and X but, it ended up being another Hero Vs. Hero affair with a ending we could all see coming by Issue #3

Comics that need to be adapted: Lazarus (HBO or AMC) Lazarus is grounded, set in a low tech World that's perfect for the small screen.

Dumbest Comic Controversy: Whose gonna take up the mantle of Robin. Damian (no matter how much I hate the little snot wipe) still had some story to tell in Batman and Robin. I do like the fact that he has Super-Powers now, that's cool.

Best Panel: (See Secret Avengers Panel I attached) Secret Avengers Volume 3 has been hilarious and Maria Hill has been showing why she's the boss of SHIELD.

Best Line of Dialogue: "That is the WORST idea one of us X-Men has ever had! And I'm including the total existence of Adam-X in that." - Celeste from the Stepford Sisters. It's Bendis on X-Men so 80% of the dialogue is already hilarious.

Best Creative Team: Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey. Moon Knight got brought back in a MAJOR way with his Marvel NOW! Series. The Season 1 CT was a phenomenal with what they did with MK.

Favorite Comic Moment: Captain America FINALLY discovering what the Illuminati has been doing in Avengers. The big reveal of Steve discovering what Tony and friends did was a long time coming and it basically was Civil War Time Travel Redux!

Breakout Character: Ms. Marvel. I felt obligated because her first issue was cool.
Biggest Surprise: Deadly Class. I have mixed feelings on Rick Remender's writing. While I adored his run on Uncanny X-Force, his current Marvel works have been leaving me particularly cold (especially Uncanny Avengers and AXIS). I was even anticipating Remender's other Image release this year, Black Science, more. But Deadly Class's focus on character first, combined with the amazing, heartbreaking and, at times, psychedelic of Wes Craig and Lee Loughridge leaves a fascinating story from a writer with an intimate love-hate relationship with the era it takes place in.

Biggest Letdown: It has to be Constantine on NBC. I was holding out hope for the show since it was on the same network as Hannibal, which was my TV Show of the Year, but then I remembered it having the steady and bizarre hand of Bryan Fuller was what made that show. Much like my problem with Man of Steel, while I can most definitely see Matt Ryan as the titular con-artist, it was the writing that couldn't get me past three episodes. It really just reaffirms my belief that the Hellblazer really isn't meant for a broad appeal and works better in the seedier sides of things.

Best Line of Dialogue: "All of my Dungeon-Crawling fantasies are about to come true."- Maps Mizoguchi, Gotham Academy #2. Maps is fantastic. So is this book.

Best Creative Team: The creative team behind East of West, Jonathan Hickman (writer), Nick Dragotta (art), Frank Martin (color) and Rus Wooton (letters). It is my Book of 2014 and each of these creators bring their A-Game every issue.

Favorite Comic Moment: The Illuminati and S.H.I.E.L.D. finally coming to blows in New Avengers #28. Time Runs Out has been, for me, Civil War done right.

Breakout Character: Kamala Khan. No ifs, ands or buts.

Jen's Thoughts on 2014
Biggest Surprise: Guardians of the Galaxy. I figured this movie would be cool, but I didn’t expect to love it quite as much as I did! This movie was fantastic.

Biggest Letdown: The death of Beth on The Walking Dead.

Comic that needs to be adapted for TV/film: Wonder Woman; I know they are working on it, but they have been working on it for way too long. This needs to happen NOW!

Dumbest Comic Controversy of 2014: I’m sure a lot of people would disagree, but the Spider Woman cover debate was the dumbest controversy in my opinion. I am a woman and that cover in no way offended me. I, of course, want women in comics to be portrayed as smart and strong, but there is nothing wrong with them being sexy either. When I first saw that pose, all I thought was that Spider Woman looked like, well…a spider. Not to mention that most male characters in comics wear skin tight suits as well that leave little to the imagination.

Best Panel: The Talking Dead with Chris Hardwick, CM Punk and Yvette Nicole Brown. These three together are panel magic.

Best Line of Dialogue: “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t know how this machine worked.” – Star Lord, Guardians of the Galaxy; followed closely by “I am Groot!” – Groot, Guardians of the Galaxy

Best Creating Team: I would have to go with an independent comic team that have produced some great work in 2014 and have lots of things lined up for 2015 – Inverse Press

Favorite Comic Moment: The Harley Quinn scratch and sniff issue. I grew up in the 80’s with scratch and sniff stickers and this brought back a lot of fond memories!

Breakout Character: I have a total woman crush on Rosalee from Grimm played by Bree Turner. This actress took a recurring role and made fans take notice, which in turn made the producers take notice. Every season her character gets stronger and becomes a more integral part of the show. She is strong, smart, funny, sweet and cool. And she’s in love with Monroe – enough said!

Rob Neumeyer's Thoughts on 2014: (Co-host of the Talking Games Podcast at
Biggest Surprise: Valiant grabbing big talent. Lemiere? Yes please. Kindt? Thank you.

Biggest Letdown: Sandman Overture....I just wish this was on time.

Comic that needs to be adapted for TV/film: Sex Criminals - that would make a lovely family show. Saga/Nailbiter would also be acceptable.

Dumbest Comic Controversy of 2014: I focus on the positive and don't pay attention to the negative.

Winner for Best Panel. RIP SNIKT

Best Panel:  Finally he gets to sit on the sidelines. Please stay there.

Best Line of Dialogue: Saga #24. "Are you lady folk?" - a line that I will speak for the rest of my life.

Best Creating Team: Grant Morrison/Frank Quitely for Pax Americana - This was also my favorite single issue of the year. A book that can be reread over and over, finding new things each time and easily Quitely's best work to date.

Favorite Comic Moment: Captain Carrot appearance in Multiversity. I laughed and cheered at the same time.

Breakout Character: Spider-Gwen - Who could have seen this coming? Her first appearance is already selling for $40+ dollars because the demand for the issue is crazy....crazy enough to spawn her own series.

Biggest Surprise: Darkseid taking over Earth 2. For readers who have been love DC Comics’ Golden Age of comics’ heroes, Darkseid’s presence in Earth 2 has ruined the book. Earth2 for decades has been a book in which hopes and dreams were achievable and, unfortunately, the book has now been crafted to show unnecessary death and gore. The book being cheapen so much to sell more copies surprised me because I truly believed the book would once again return being a book about building a team of Wonders.

Biggest Letdown: The New Era of Batgirl. Having the New 52 introduce a Barbara Gordon who was insecure but determined to do right for Gotham and her residents, we’re now being fed stories about a young woman who is more interested in selfies and going out to parties than doing research on the people who terrorize her home city.

Comic that needs to be adapted for TV/film: Birds of Prey. If DC would commit to having a Nikita like show, there would be a great following. Geeks love watching well choreographed fight scenes and characters who interact with the real world but have double lives.

Dumbest Comic Controversy of 2014: DC’s treatment of women.
Wonder Woman seems to be emotionally unstable, Batgirl is now portrayed as a 17 year old, Batwoman wasn’t allowed to marry, and was assaulted by a vampire. Lets not forget the Huntress and Power-girl return to Earth 2 but are now less capable than in the Main Universe, and Starfire’s attire, and so many other things. DC Comics has the resources to build women in a way that could teach readers and the world to move pass sexualizing women, but the company continues to project characters that are not empowered and strong.

Best Line of Dialogue: Batgirl #35. In the first issue of Stewart's run of Batgirl, Alysia sees her old roommate off to her new apartment and tells Babs to not get hit by a fixie.

Best Creating Team: The Justice League Dark team. JM DeMatteis has written stories that help feature DC’s magical corner well and the amazing artistic talent on this book creates images that capture readers’ imaginations. Great stories and great art make the book and its team my favorite.

Favorite Comic Moment: In Batgirl #34, Gail Simone’s last issue with the iconic character, Babs asks her roommate to move away with her so that they’re both able to start anew. The sisterhood that developed between those great women was a large part of what I liked about the book and I’m glad Gail’s run had such a great ending.

Breakout Character: Tiffany Fox. The FOURTH young female to take up the mantle Batgirl, Tiffany Fox is a child genius that uses her brains to outsmart villains, while using her youth to engineer ways which are less than conventional to fight crime. While Tiffany was only seen as Batgirl in the book’s Future’s End story, I hope that Tiffany ventures into the DC Comics’ Universe soon so we can see what she’s made of.
Comic that needs to be adapted for TV/film:

Mainstream - Silver Surfer

It would be the Sterling Sentinel of the Space-ways second stab at serialization on the small screen, but thanks to the hero's reconception at the hands of writer Dan Slott and artist Mike Allred as a part of Marvel NOW! the Silver Surfer comic has found a way to present the hero and his decades of head-spinning cosmic adventures to a new, wider audience and at the same time made it ripe for adaptation. The key change was the addition to the canon the character of Dawn Greenwood. A wanderlust-ing 'normal' human woman from Massachusetts who, for at first unknown reasons, the Surfer was bonded to and was compelled to invite her along as a companion for his inter-galactic explorations.

My use just now of the word “companion” was no accident and is the key to development of a successful Silver Surfer television show. Imagine right now Doctor Who freed of the burden of fifty years of television continuity. No more endless Dalak sagas, no more The Master and more 'time-traveling' to modern day England; and even through the character of the Silver Surfer has been around for almost as long, on the canvas of television there is just a blank slate for the imagination to draw on, with the Comic Marvel universe in the show-runner's back pocket just in case. The Surfer is our new Doctor, Dawn our window into his universe.

Independent - Sex Criminals

Oscar Wilde (probably) said “Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power,” but can sex also be about super-power? That's the question that is not really answered (or even asked, in their defense) in Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky's sex-comedy book Sex Criminals, the story of a young librarian’s struggle to save her library, deal with her sorted emotional past and manage her power to stop the flow of time with her orgasms. As one does.

Witty, frank and poignant Sex Criminals would be the kind of premium cable limited-run series that people steal their friend's HBOGO log-ons for. It has the right mix of 'smart' humor, topical commentary (both sexual and political) and explicit content to light message boards and the hair of TV talking heads on fire nationwide.

But the key to its success would be its heart, like Fraction's work on FF and Hawkeye, Sex Criminals has at its core a kind of poignancy that gets disguised by the flashing trappings of the medium that sticks with you long past the time the sex jokes stop being funny, and would make the Sex Criminals TV show a critical darling long after it's canceled after the first season.

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