December is over, and that means it’s time for a monthly wrap-up! There have been some great comics this month, but only a few can make the final cut. What do you think they were? Click behind the cut to read my take on the past month, as this year wraps up. It’s been a great year for comics, and this month is no different. So give this a read and see if you are not entertained.
BEST BOOK OF THE MONTH: X-Factor
When I look back on the past month, this book stands out for many reasons. For one, it’s an incredibly milestone for the title, finally being renumbered to hit 200. When you open it u, not only is it a great point to jump into an excellent book, but it’s quite possibly the funniest and most well paced book to come out all month. All of the dialogue is A+, and the action sequences are phenomenal. There were many points in the title where I cheered and/or laughed out loud at what was inside. The several month gap is a dangerous move to pull off, but X-Factor has managed to do it with excellence, and with a dynamite ending, I can’t be more excited for the future of the title.
When we were doing books of the week the week of the 16th, Gil was the only one who wasn’t reading it. When we told him he had to get it in order to join us in reviewing it, he went out, bought it, and joined us in the love of X-Factor. I suggest you do the same if you haven’t already.
Runner Up: Fantastic Four, Detective Comics, Brave and the Bold
WORST BOOK OF THE MONTH: Image United
Image United is a title that I had higher hopes for, and considering something of this sort had never really been done before, it should have been better. But two issues in and I can’t help but be extremely disappointed with all that’s come out of it. I don’t like the writing, I don’t like the art, and I am incredibly confused about the direction of the story. It all seems mixed and mashed together to be too odd of a combo, and I don’t think it works.
It’s unfortunate though. It was a great idea.
Runner Up: Greek Street, Fall Of Hulks Alpha and Gamma
BEST SCENE OF THE MONTH: ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?! (X-Factor #200)
Again I come back to X-Factor. This is one of the best moments in the book. Early in the comic, we have Shatterstar watching Gladiator and making humorous comments towards Russel Crowe’s performance. Then, after a tremendous battle with the Thing, he tosses him outside, screaming “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!” as shown above. This was definitely one of the two most quotable moments in comics this month, and was most definitely one of the high points of the latest issue of one of the best books on the market.
Again, if you’re not getting X-Factor, I suggest you jump on with this issue.
WORST SCENE OF THE MONTH: Glenn Talbot returns (Fall of Hulks: Gamma)
In Hulk #18, Loeb dropped Talbot’s name in a particularly obvious nod to the character being a part of the upcoming arc. Then, at the end of Fall of Hulks: Gamma, after referencing Talbot the entire issue, Talbot appears to absolutely no one’s surprise. It had been speculated on the internet that Talbot has been the Red Hulk for some time now, and with his appearance, you’d think it would go to help confirm this. But of course, as Talbot appears in one scene, the Red Hulk is active in another. Or maybe not. Who knows? Maybe they happen at different times. It’s not like Loeb would be kind enough to tell us. All clues point to Talbot though, and it’s easily one of the most disappointing character returns in a long time, mainly because most people reading the Hulk are probably going to say, “Who?”Continued below
Runner Up: Leonard Samson vs Samson vs Doc Samson (Hulk #18)
BEST WRITER OF THE MONTH: Kieron Gillen
Dark Avengers: Ares. SWORD. Thor. Phonogram: The Singles Club. Four titles, all worth getting. The Ares mini came as a complete surprise to me, because I would have highly guessed that a three issue mini based on the God of War would be throwaway, but instead it ended u being a really fun and fascinating read, with an ending that packs quite a punch. SWORD has only had two issues so far, but it’s easily one of the best new Marvel titles around, and it spins directly out of Joss Whedon’s fantastic Astonishing X-Men run. Gillen is handling these characters perfectly. As for Thor, we’ve also had just two issues, but that’s two this month and Gillen has done a great job of picking up where Straczysnki left off. And if you read the first Phonogram, then you know how great the second is going, with an incredibly plot idea that’s shaping up for a wonderful finale.
When looking at Gillen’s future for Marvel, I can only write that it’s incredibly exciting. If a writer can come on and make not a good, but a GREAT, Beta Ray Bill mini out of the blue, you know it’s someone to watch out for.
Runner Up: Warren Ellis (Astonishing X-Men, Supergod), Peter David (X-Babies), Gregg Schigiel (X-Babies)
WORST WRITER OF THE MONTH: Victor Gischler and Daniel Way (Deadpool: Merc With a Mouth/Deadpool)
Earlier this month, I wrote a long rant about the quality of the Deadpool books, and how I didn’t like them very much, or the upcoming Deadpool “event.” I blame this on Gischler and Way pretty solely. With Merc with a Mouth and the on-going, we have some of the worst Deadpool stories around, and that doesn’t include all the needless cameos. It’s too bad – both books showed promise in the beginning. Merc with a Mouth in theory should be better, as it’s very much trying to be a throwback to the best Deadpool books from the 90’s. Even Way’s Deadpool books started out well in the beginning. And while there is a lot of debate as to the quality of the books, and how seriously you need to take them, I still believe that they’re rather void of good writing no matter what way you look at it. There is no character development, an abundance of gimmicky jokes, and way too many throwaway moments. Sorry, but you guys have basically killed a character.
Runner Up: Claudio Sanchez (Kill Audio), Jeph Loeb (Hulk, Fall of Hulks: Gamma)
BEST ARTIST OF THE MONTH: Phil Jimenez (Astonishing X-Men)
Astonishing X-Men is a great surprise in many ways. The last Warren Ellis arc, Ghost Boxes, featured some convoluted writing and extremely poor writing. Then came the current Exogenetic arc, and good God is the art phenomenal. The above moment is one of the coolest moments, but the entire book looks gorgeous. In fact, while it’s not John Cassaday, it’s the next best thing, and certainly a tremendous improvement over Simone Bianachi. You could read this book for the art alone.
Runner Up: Steve Kurth (Ultimate Comics Armor Wars)
WORST ARTIST OF THE MONTH: Everyone involved with Image United
Again I come to this book. While it is a great idea, it definitely doesn’t work. All the different artworks together just look sloppy. I know most people would expect me to rip on Rob Liefeld’s art here, but to be completely honest, that’s most definitely not the worst part of the book. Even Todd McFarlane’s return to drawing Spawn (and Omega Spawn) is pretty non-exciting. It’s unfortunate, because I’m actually quite a fan of McFarlane’s work. I used to adore Spawn. But as I read this title, I’m incredibly underwhelmed, and a huge part of that is the mishing mashing of the art.Continued below
Runner Up: John Romita Jr on Fall of Hulks: Gamma (Note: I’m actually a big fan of John Romita Jr. I think the man is really talented, and he’s done some amazing work, like his art in Kick-Ass and Amazing Spider-Man… but FOH: G was pretty awful)
BEST OVERLOOKED BOOK OF THE MONTH: Beasts of Burden
Beasts of Burden is a book that is very hard NOT to fall in love with. The amazing cast of characters (mostly dogs, with one wonderful cat) with amazing writing and even better artwork make this book a wonderful addition to any home. And being a huge animal lover myself, with a cat that looks exactly like the Orphan, I can’t help but absolutely adore it. As this month featured the last book for the current set of issues, now would be the perfect time to seek out the issues, or at least look forward to the upcoming trade.
In the meantime, whet your appetite for Beasts with the online e-comics by clicking here. It should be more than enough to convince you of the worth of the comic.
Seriously. It’s wonderful.
Runner Up: The Brave and the Bold, Rapture, Chew
BEST NEW BOOK OF THE MONTH: Chimichanga
From the warped mind of Eric Powell, the creator of the phenomenal Goon series, comes his new mini-series: Chimichanga. Chimichanga is one of the oddest things you’ll ever read, featuring a little bearded girl, a giant monster, a witch, and a carnival. Considering Goon is easily the best thing on Dark Horse, I think it’s without a doubt that you should be following Eric Powell. He doesn’t write that much, but when he does it is of particularly fun and twisted genius. And if nothing else, Chimichanga is a hilarious read.
Runner Up: Daytripper, JSA All-Stars, God Complex