Day 15: Best Cover

Runner-Up #1 The New 52 Futures End #5 by Ryan Sook

Future’s End had many great covers over its 49 issue run. Ryan Sook did a number of the best ones and this one right here is the best of them all in my opinion. The Firestorm conflict from the early arc of Futures End is one of the more interesting arcs and this cover represents it well. Sook incorporates the Firestorm logo and the idea of the explosiveness of their power into a great piece.

Runner-Up #2: Saban’s Go Go Power Rangers #1 by Dan Mora

I’m a childhood fan of the Power Rangers so a cover like this does appeal very heavily to nostalgia. Mora works in a lot of the elements of classic Power Rangers to draw in a classic fan like me. Everything is just drawn very well, the colors pop, and the layout is appealing.

Winner: Justice League #1 by Kevin Maguire and Terry Austin

Justice League #1

One of the most iconic DC covers, Justice League #1 has a ton of personality. This Justice League team formed right after the Crisis is one of its most powerful incarnations and this cover displays that. Guy Gardner has his classic line that’s been parodied many times since, because it’s something that wasn’t seen a lot back then.


Day 14: Least Favorite Artists

Runner-Up #1 – Tom Grindberg

Tom Grindberg is not an artist I know very much, unlike the other two coming up on the list. However I have seen quite a bit of his work at Marvel during the 90s and it’s some awful stuff. Secret Defenders and Warlock and the Infinity Watch are two books he was on and in both books he brought some bad art. His characters are way too muscular and bulky, they look like giant blobs because the lines are very way, and the facial expressions are cartoony. It’s very bad but the reason Grindberg stays lower on the list is because his later art is much much better.

Runner-Up #2 Rob Liefeld

Talking about Liefeld and his art is beating a dead horse in this day and age but his art problems have stayed for 20 years. The man has many things in his art that make it look rushed and sloppy. The details change between panels, there’s very little background most of the time, he tries to cover things he doesn’t want to draw such as eyes or feet, and his anatomy is wonky, especially on female characters. Another thing that holds back Liefeld as an artist is a lack of creativity. Most of what Liefeld creates are characters that are knock-offs of good characters like Wolverine or Lobo. This makes them dull, uninteresting, and weakens his art considerably.

Winner: Greg Land

What makes Greg Land worse than Liefeld for me personally is how much work they still get to this day. Land is an instant turn off for any book he is attached to. The reason for this is simple, his art is traced constantly. Land will trace from any source he can, but the most common place now is from himself. You can look at one drawing from Land and then see him reuse it again in another book. It’s cheap, lazy, and makes his books look like it. The tracing causes many inconsistencies between panels as Land switches sources to get the right angle. It’s distracting as well when you can very clearly recognize what celebrity or pornstar he copied his drawings from. One final thing that puts Land as my least favorite artist is that he steals from other Artists as well.

Day 13: Favorite Artists

Runner-Up #1: Alex Ross

Alex Ross is a big name in the comics industry. Known for his realistic paintings, Ross has made some of the most classic comics such as Kingdom Come, Marvels, and Justice. He’s known mostly for great covers these days but his interior work is still amazing.

Runner-Up #2: Jae Lee

Jae Lee is another very recognizable artist for his unique style. What I love about Jae Lee’s work is how it can be beautiful and simple but also unsettling. A lot of his backgrounds are pretty simple and wispy to put focus on the figures in the foreground. His covers are very striking and his interior work is unique and flows well. I recommend Before Watchmen: Ozymandias or Inhumans by Paul Jenkins to see his work.

Runner-Up #3: Ethan Van Sciver

Ethan Van Sciver may be a controversial figure in the industry, but this isn’t what this is about. The guy puts out some of the best art I’ve seen in the industry. He’s mainly worked on Green Lantern with Geoff Johns and he really helped define that book’s visuals. His very detailed art is impressive and I applaud all the work that goes into it. Green Lantern: Rebirth is definitely the high point of his work though, as it has some amazing foreshadowing for the rest of the run.

Winner: Ivan Reis

Ivan Reis makes the number one spot for not only being a great artist, but for being consistently great. The man works on tons of books from Superman, Aquaman to Green Lantern and always putting in solid work. That photo above is proof of how much detail and characters he can put into one photo. His drawings are highly expressive, slick, and appealing to the eye. He’s great on big events like Blackest Night, his style is cinematic like a big book should be.

Day 12: Disliked Writers

These are the writers who’s books I actively avoid. This isn’t a personal attack on any writer, this is all about the work they put out.

Runner-Up #1 Chuck Austen

Chuck Austen is a notorious figure in the comics community. His X-Men run is widely considered one of the worst in the history of the franchise. I haven’t personally read it, but I’ve seen a bit of it and it looks bad. What I have read though is Chuck Austen’s Marvel Mangaverse: Ghost Riders book, which is enough to put me off his work forever. His writing on this particular book is spectacularly awful and the art is a mix of traced humans and bad 3d models. Austen is just a name to avoid.

Runner-Up #2: Scott Lobdell

Lobdell is pretty infamous too, but not to the extent as Austen. Lobdell rose to fame writing one of the most infamous books of the New 52, Red Hood and the Outlaws. Again, I didn’t read the book but I did read a bit of its sequel, Red Hood/Arsenal. There I got to experience some truly bad writing. Lobdell’s style involves a load of caption boxes and internal monologue. This gets repetitive and dull, especially when the artist does a good job already of expressing what’s being narrated. I didn’t like his character work with Jason or Roy, I just found them annoying. I just don’t like his work and I’ll leave it at that to avoid talking about his actual controversies.

Winner: Brian Michael Bendis

Here we are at comic’s most divisive figure. A lot of people love Bendis and a lot of people can’t stand him. Obviously I fall into the can’t stand him category so I’ll explain why. Bendis does have a unique style. He writes in a semi-realistic way, i.e. characters will repeat themselves in dialogue, their will be pauses in speech, and people usually curse a decent amount. On certain books like Daredevil or Ultimate Spider-Man I’ve heard it works really well. The things I’ve read from Bendis though include Age of Ultron, Dark Avengers, Avengers Disassembled, and Guardians of the Galaxy. Each book is way too drawn out, almost nothing happens in these books. The artists are usually great but Bendis gives them nothing to work with. The characters are all one dimensional in his writing because they all speak the same way. I just can’t get past the writing style and Bendis’ books are something I always avoid now.

Day 11: Favorite Writers

This is another quick one as I’m pretty sure I made a list a while back of my favorite writers. These people have made some of my favorite books and while I may not have read everything by them, I usually look forward to their stuff.

Runner-Up #1 Peter David

Peter David is a high quality writer who I’ve enjoyed many works from. His Hulk books like Future Imperfect and The End are some of the best Hulk books out there. His run of Aquaman, especially the Atlantis Chronicles is another great story. Lastly, his second Captain Marvel run which I already talked about is fantastic. David stands out as a writer for having a great sense of humor while also knowing when to be serious and emotional. They place a little lower because they have some duds like The Last Avengers Story and Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider.

Runner-Up #2: Tom King

Tom King is a relatively new writer but he has come out of the gate with some bangers. Vision, Mister Miracle, and Omega Men are some great miniseries I’ve talked about and his Batman run has a great beginning. King takes some serious concepts like PTSD, depression, and terrorism and works them well into Superhero fantasy. He brings the supernormal down to normal to make his characters relatable and understandable. He’s a great writer, he just needs more work to become higher up on my list.

Runner-Up #3 Len Wein

If there’s ever a name I associate with quality it’s Len Wein’s. Len is most famous for his co-creations like Wolverine and Swamp Thing. These weren’t his only contributions though as he did a good run of Blue Beetle in the 80s with Paris Cullens. Their brief stint on Werewolf by Night was solid and so was their run of Phantom Stranger. Len didn’t stay on one book for too long, they were always busy with writing and editing. He seemed like an amazing guy and out of respect for him I give him this spot.

Runner-Up #4 Grant Morrison

Grant Morrison is a wild creator. They have crazy ideas I would never be able to think of, but he translates this so well into his comic books. Some creators either are afraid to be over the top or try way too hard to be goofy and not serious. Morrison meets in the middle ground, creating some crazy stories that are grounded in some way. Either by making likable heroes to follow through their wild adventures or by crafting this atmosphere of hope that he usually does. His Multiversity book is a showcase of everything great he can do, every issue from it is highly recommended. I also recommend Animal Man, Final Crisis, and The Green Lantern.

Winner: Geoff Johns

Bit of an obvious choice but Geoff Johns is definitely my favorite writer. Besides his Justice League books during the New 52, I haven’t read any bad books from him. JSA, Hawkman, Green Lantern, Booster Gold, Blackest Night, and Brightest Day are just a few examples of his really amazing books. Johns manages to be paired with some perfect artists to tell some perfect stories. His Green Lantern saga spanned 10 years and it’s an epic. He always develops great characters, has interesting ideas, and most importantly, keeps his books fun. I always trust in Johns to write an entertaining story so that’s why they’re my favorite writer as of now.

Day 10: Disliked Heroes

Now when I talk about heroes I dislike there’s something I wanna be clear about. I understand and agree with the idea of there being “no bad characters” and that a character really depends on the writing. I get that and maybe I will enjoy some of these characters in some books, but for right now these are characters I don’t want to see again.

Runner-Up #1 Faith by Jim Shooter and David Lapham

Faith is a character from the Valiant universe. A psiot, a human with natural born powers, that give her the ability to fly. Not a bad character idea but what really kills the character for me is their personality and actions. The character is a stereotypical nerdy, fanboy character who doesn’t stop talking about things like Star Wars and Dr. Who. This gets very grating, even if there’s a decent justification for why the character acts like this. Then there’s their specific inclusion into Unity, Valiant’s big team of heroes. Faith joins Unity and immediately they don’t fit in because the other heroes actually kill the enemies. They join and quit the team in the span of 2 issues and just end up wasting time. They’re a weak character who weakens any Valiant title they’re put onto.

Runner-Up #2 – Nuklon/Double Trouble by Geoff Johns, Mark Waid, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka and Shawn Moll

Gerome McKenna is one person who went through the Everyman Project created by Lex Luthor during the events of 52. This gave him some nuclear powers. In 52, he wasn’t a bad character, he just didn’t stand out very much. However, after the events of this book they were put onto Infinity Inc, a pretty bad book. He’s placed with the other victims of the Everyman Project and is turned into a total jackass. They have a weird sexual tension with this other member of team who is a man who transforms into a woman. The crowning moment though is Gerome telling this guy who’s on a ledge to go kill himself because “the world doesn’t need another sexually confused teenager.” The only reason he doesn’t take the winner place is because he gets killed off right at the end of the series.

Winner: Squirrel Girl by Steve Ditko and Will Murray
Squirrel Girl takes the winner place and that shouldn’t be a surprise. I put them as worst hero a while ago in my yearly list and the problem I had still stands. The GLA miniseries from the early 2000s started off really strong and hilariously until halfway through when Squirrel Girl appears. The book starts to focus on them way too much and their jokes are all lame and just cheap pot shots at comic fans.

The reason they really get the winner spot is how often they show up these days and their own book’s hideous art. I posted the cover for the first issue there because it’s just horrendous. I can’t stare at that for too long and it makes me never want to read their books.

Day 9: Favorite Heroes

This award will be a shorter one. I have already completed a favorite DC characters list, so this list won’t include any of them. I just want to talk about a few characters I really like and why.

Runner-Up #1: Nexus by Mike Baron and Steve Rude
Nexus is a crazy space epic comic about a Cosmic Executioner named Horatio Hellpop. A man haunted by nightmares, these nightmares lead Nexus to his next target. In exchange, Nexus has been granted great Cosmic power that he uses to defend his homeworld of Eylum and its people. The character design is inspired by Space Ghost and it looks great. His powers are simple but they’re pretty cool. Nexus is a complex character and I need to complete the series to give more detail on him, but I really like him so he gets first runner-up.

Runner-up #2 – Speedball by Steve Ditko and Tom Defalco
I haven’t personally read a lot of Speedball comics, but I am still a big fan. Robbie Baldwin is a fun character as he’s usually the comic relief on a superhero. Speedball appears for a while in Avengers Academy and is a main character in almost every incarnation of the New Warriors. They have a unique set of kinetic powers and even hidden powers based on their Penance time. Speaking of Penance, I hated the change into Penance for how edgy and nonsensical it was. The only good thing to come from that was a good scene in Avengers Academy where they show the effect it had on Speedball.

Runner-Up #3: X-O Manowar by Jim Shooter, Steve Englehart, Bob Layton, and Barry Windsor-Smith

When I talk about X-O Manowar I am referring mainly to the reboot version from 2012 as I haven’t read the classic Valiant books. Aric of Dacia is a great character as they have a great evolution throughout his run. They begin as a 5th century Visigoth warrior. They are captured by aliens called the Vine and spend time in space until they find Shanhara, a suit of armor that grants Aric great power. Aric tears through the Vine and returns to Earth, but the year is now 2018 so he kills many humans and tries to reclaim his old homeland for his people. Eventually, Aric sees the error of what he has done and becomes a protector of Earth and king of the Visigoths. X-O Manowar has some great adventures, a great design, an interesting origin and amazing fights which I’ll be covering later.

Winner: Hank Pym by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Larry Lieber

I think I’ve mentioned before how I really like Hank Pym. Hank is the original Ant-Man and ex-husband of Janet Van Dyne, the Wasp. They are founding Avengers who have been with the group for most of its existence. The big things Hank Pym is known for though is his bipolar disorder and costume changes. Pym’s science skills give him a multitude of size changing abilities that are creative when done well. Their multiple identies, Goliath, Yellowjacket, Giant Man, and Ant-Man are all well designed and memorable.
However, Hank always has had this negative stigma. Because of an artist mistake, Hank Pym slapped his wife during a mental breakdown. This single event has defined the character for years to come and books that avoid the subject are better for it. Pym’s best aspects are when they try to be better and try to raise younger heroes like in Avengers: Initiative and Avengers Academy. Pym is also responsible for the great villain Ultron, and by extension, Vision.

The years haven’t been kind to Hank but they’re a great character who always entertains.

Day 8: Biggest Disappointment

Now these are the books that let me down for one reason or another.

Runner-Up #1 – Avengers A.I. by Sam Humphries and André Lima Araújo

Avengers A.I. came shortly after Age of Ultron, a book I’ll be talking about a little while later (Spoilers: I don’t like it.) Even so I had a little faith in Avengers A.I. after Age of Ultron #10A.I. was a great issue about Hank Pym, the original Ant Man. The book has a great cast and Sam Humphries is a good writer. However the book eventually revealed itself to be pretty boring, expect for a few good jokes delivered by the Doombot. It’s low here because it wasn’t super excited for it, but it did have a high point at least.

Runner-Up #2: Flash by Joshua Williamson, Neil Googe, Pop Mhan, and Carmine Di Giandomenico

I’m not the world’s biggest Flash fanatic, but I do enjoy the character. So when DC’s started releasing Deluxe Editions for their new Rebirth launched I jumped right into almost all of them. The Trinity books were all high quality, but Flash was definitely a miss for me. A lot of it comes down to the writing by Williamson. It’s very amateurish: characters say their feelings and thoughts constantly, backstory is repeated over and over, the plot twists are always obvious, and the characters are unlikeable because they’re angsty or moronic or both.

Winner: Justice League by Scott Snyder,James Tynion IV, Jorge Jimenez, Francis Manapul, and Jim Cheung

This one comes in as the most disappointing as I am a big Justice League fan and the pages I had seen before reading this book looked great. The ideas I heard Snyder was working with sounded awesome and I couldn’t wait to read it myself. Now four trades into Justice League I am very disappointed.

The artwork is consistently great throughout the arcs but once again the writing is my main problem. Snyder and Tynion have this issue of constantly trying to one-up themselves. The book is trying really hard to bring in tons of concepts and ideas like still force, invisible spectrum, etc. And it’s all just pointless stuff that takes time away from the characters actually being developed.

The characters are a big issue here. Aquaman has a whole arc about him and Snyder barely even does anything with him, there’s almost no characterization. Hawkwoman and Martian Manhunter get a lot of the focus for the run, and I don’t hate them but their dialogue isn’t great either. It’s all too on the nose and trying too hard to sound profound. John Stewart gets some new powers but it’s not explored well. Wonder Woman is barely there, Batman and Flash are mostly comic relief. There’s nothing to even say about his Superman. The best character is definitely Jarro, a little clone or something of the villain Starro who now wants to be a Robin. He’s hilarious and is definitely the highlight of the run. Everything else is just weak and disappointing.

Day 7: Surprise Hit

This award goes to the books I really didn’t expect much going into but they managed to impress me. Some of these books might not be the greatest of all time or anything but they did manage to be better than I had heard.

Runner-Up #1 – The Bigger Bang/The Biggest Bang by D.J. Kirkbride and Vasillis Gogtzilas

I included two books here together as The Bigger Bang and The Biggest Bang is basically just one story split into two parts. I put it in the surprise hit category because I found this book while scrolling through Comixology and I knew nothing about it beforehand. The cover is very appealing and striking, but the first few preview pages turned me off because of the sketchy art. While there are some places, mostly in the first book, that the art put me off, eventually I started to dig it. Gogtzilas has a unique style and the kinds of alien creatures and character designs they draw are all unique and interesting.

The unique premise Kirkbride came up with is a big reason I was interested in this book. The story follows Cosmos, a being created after a Big Bang-like event wiped out a whole universe. In this new universe created after, Cosmos defends people as a hero but is shunned and called a Destroyer. Eventually, Cosmos comes to fight King Thulu, a green slime monster whose true form is one of the best moments of the series.

The Biggest Bang follows after these events and focuses on Cosmos’ relationship with Wyan, King Thulu’s number one solider. They have a nice dynamic but I don’t want to go too far into spoilers for why because it’s just a nice bit of dramatic irony. This book is pretty great on reflection but it stays a runner-up because a lot of the great ideas Kirkbride has don’t get utilized to the fullest because the story doesn’t have many issues. 

Runner-Up #2 – Contest of Champions by Al Ewing, Paco Medina, and Rhoald Marcellius

Image result for contest of champions comic

Contest of Champions is a Marvel idea that goes back to the 80s. It began as a pretty weak event comic and then had a sequel a few years later that I haven’t read. Thirty years later, Marvel made a video game with the name and created this tie-in comic to it. For a video game tie-in comic, this book has almost nothing to do with the game. The book mainly focuses on some lesser-known characters like Ares, Outlaw, Night Thrasher, and some new characters like White Fox battling the Maestro, an evil future version of Hulk. The book is pretty short, unfortunately, as it was cancelled at ten issues but Ewing does some amazing stuff in the time he has. Many characters and alternate realities are brought in. Ewing dived deep to pull out characters like Punisher 2099 or the Sentry from Age of the Sentry. Paco Medina draws some amazing battles as this comic is mostly just heroes fighting each other. It’s not a complex book but it’s a fun ride through the Marvel universe with some good fights.

Winner – Omega the Uknown by Steve Gerber, Mary Skrenes, and Jim Mooney

Image result for omega the unknown

Omega the Unknown was another short-lived comic from the 70s. Created by the late, great Steve Gerber and Mary Skrenes, this book is a hidden gem of the era. It follows two protagonists who are worlds apart at the beginning. The first is Omega, a man with energy powers who battles robots on an alien planet until he comes to Earth to find our second character, James-Michael Starling. Starling is a strangely smart, emotionally distant twelve-year-old child whose parents die in a car crash. The parents are revealed to be robots themselves and Starling falls into a coma. The rest of the book follows Starling and Omega as they adjust to their new lives, Omega living with a pawn store owner and battling villains and Starlin going to public school.

This book has a lot going for it. There’s a great central mystery which is the connection between Omega and Starling. Somehow Starling can use the same energy blasts Omega fires and he dreams of Omega sometimes. The dual narrative is quite impressive for the time, as we get to explore the two characters’ reactions to their new setting. Middle School in New York is a lot rougher than I expected and it’s Hell for Starling. Something seriously dark happens at the school and this book ends very unexpectedly afterwards. I highly recommend Omega and I only wish it had concluded its ideas under Gerber and Skrenes’ pens instead of another writer.



Day 6: Worst Ongoing

So far this award has been the toughest to find nominees for. I was surprised but there really weren’t so many bad ongoings that I’ve read. Still, some did make it here because they were awful.

Runner-Up #1 – Annihilation: Ronan by Simon Furman and Jorge Lucas

Image result for annihilation ronan

Annihilation is a big Marvel event comic from the early 2000s that I’ll be talking about on a later post. This right here is a tie-in miniseries to the event focusing on Ronan the Accuser, a Kree soldier. I didn’t know much about Ronan before this and even though the main event has some cool moments from him, this solo effort is pretty bad. Simon Furman’s script and the story isn’t that bad as we see Ronan defend this small community. A lot of my problems with the comic comes from Lucas’s scratchy, rough artwork. All the characters are way too beefy and large, which comes off even worse when he’s drawing women. It’s a bad tie-in book and largely unnecessary to read so I’ll wrap it up with that.

Runner-Up #2: Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil by Jeff Lemire and David Rubin

I’m a big fan of Jeff Lemire’s Black Hammer comic. He’s created a solid universe of characters based on comic ages. The main book, Black Hammer and later Black Hammer: Age of Doom are great and so is the other miniseries, Doctor Star. However, this miniseries about Sherlock Frankenstein, a villain in this universe, fell flat with me. My main issues are with the art, main character, and just how pointless the book feels. The art is a personal thing so I’ll just say it’s not my favorite style, it’s way too cartoony and unappealing.

While this book says it’s about Sherlock Frankenstein it really follows Lucy Weber, the daughter of the titular Black Hammer. She’s trying to find out what happened to her father, as he disappeared a long time ago while fighting a monster called Anti-God. I’m really not a fan of this character, they’re just not very interesting to me. They’re mostly just rude and a lot of the events in this story felt predictable, so them trying to figure it all out was frustrating. That’s what I meant by pointless, there’s no real ending since this book is so far away from where the main events of Black Hammer are happening.

This mini is just another easily skippable book from the World of Black Hammer and I’d recommend Doctor Star or even Black Hammer ’45 over this one.

Winner: Marvel Zombies 5 by Fred Van Lente and Jose Angel Cano Lopez

Image result for marvel zombies 5

Once I remembered Marvel Zombies existed it was actually hard to pick just one to represent it here. While 2 was mostly bland, the same with 4, Return, Destroy, and Supreme were actually bad. Marvel Zombies 5 though is awful and is one of the few comics to actually annoy me. A lot of it comes down to the final issue of the series as the first four issues are mostly just boring. Issue 5 though is just the writer creating this weak strawman of a comics fanboy so he can insult fans. Sure people like Wendel, the character Van Lente creates to mock, do exist and yes they are annoying, but devoting your finale to them is embarrassing. Turning this slightly annoying character into an actual zombie and then killing them off smacks of insecurity on the writer’s part. It’s like he can’t handle criticism of his Marvel Zombies’ issues so he has a character who criticizes him die in a cruel manner. It’s probably the worst single issue of a comic I’ve ever read and sinks the whole miniseries.