There’s no doubt about it, as far as comics go nothing beat my excitement for Return of Bruce Wayne. It made me think about the medium of comics AND was hugely fun with its portrayals of “Caveman Batman,” “Pirate Batman” and especially “Cowboy Batman.” It’s the comic’s equivalent of mini-wheats cereal.
Writer of the Year: Straczynski, and Morrison
Personally, Grant Morrison is my writer of the year but I’ve got to mention J. Michael Straczynski. I personally haven’t really liked his work much but Straczynski did create a highly acclaimed graphic novel, Superman: Earth One, that sold really well and may help spark greater interest in the ‘straight to graphic novel release’ strategy that I think is the future of comics (for several reasons that I won’t go into right now), but he was the writer on both Superman AND Wonder Woman! Just because I didn’t like the premise of his stories there — any writer that gets himself the position of writing two of DC’s biggest properties is having a pretty good year.
Artist of the Year: Paolo Rivera
There’s no two ways about it, Paolo Rivera does beautiful work, but his crowning achievement from this year, and the thing that puts him over the top, is his work on Spider-Man’s “One Moment in Time” storyline. Even if you hated the story (which is a perfectly natural reaction) the art alone made you like the comic, it even made you impatient for the next instalment!
Villain of the Year: Lex Luthor
I sure wasn’t buying Action Comics before Lex Luthor became it’s star, but with the Paul Cornell series Luthor may have been the most prominent villain of 2010. Think about it… since Siege ended, Norman Osborn hasn’t really been a presence, this “Heroic Age” and “Brightest Day” stuff may actually have been true to its word and kept the villains running for the hills — Green Lantern has been teamed up with his villains this past year, and Batman has been busy fighting a present of a thought-weapon he got from Darkseid LAST year. But here’s Lex Luthor, starring in his own series, he’s got the run of Metropolis since Superman is walking the Earth, he’s made himself a robot double of his greatest enemy’s wife, AND he met Death and lived to tell the tale.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not really interested in the Brightest Day series anymore. There hasn’t been much payoff, and the Hawkman/Hawkgirl and Deadman/Dove/Hawk stories haven’t been good either — but then there’s Aquaman. In the first issue of Brightest Day, there’s a pirate attack going on (I bet pirates the world over have been getting quite complacent these last few years. But no more!) when Aquaman arrives on the scene, he’s getting shot at, but they just bounce off. (There are those who ask why these bullets are bouncing off. Reason 1) Aquaman can resist the pressures of the ocean depths, it makes sense to me! And Reason 2) He’s awesome.) I don’t know why we’ve been waiting so long, we should be reading a Geoff Johns/Ivan Reis Aquaman comic right now.
Special mention goes to Damien Wayne as Robin, bringing a crowbar to a Joker interrogation, and not being afraid to use it.
Fight of the Year: the Cameron Stewart drawn fight in Batman and Robin #16
Once I thought of this fight there really was no contest. This one blew me away with Batman, Batman, and Robin fighting a huge crowd while the staging was so well done that the panels just slid into the next one. There was so much kineticism done in just these two pages, and all of it was perfectly captured on the page. If there were any impressionistic responses to take from this, it is one of utter confidence radiating off the page.
It blew me away when it first came out, and kept on doing it for a few issues, but then it fizzled down to the most basic of story arc’s, with art that just feels wrong — and with the addition of people to the art team, I don’t even know who to blame for it. Everything’s “orange” lately. I don’t get it.
Best Series Comeback: Teen Titans
Whoa, you’re telling me Superboy and Kid Flash are back! And they’re rejoining the Teen Titans?! Man, I should check that out… oh. It’s terrible. Yes, despite having every advantage, Henderson’s run on Teen Titans can best be called, what’s that word, terrible. But with the advent of J.T. Krul starting up on Teen Titans the book has done a one-eighty. The art, pacing, dialogue, action, set up for the future — EVERYTHING. The book went from all bad to all good. And I may as well throw this out there — the new Green Arrow series (by Krul) HAS to be better than the previous one. Basically, I’m suggesting the title of “Best series comeback WRITER” should go to Krul.