The arguments have been given and the arguments have been made and over the next few days we will be giving you what came from The Pullbox Awards 2009. We will start with the best and worst of the DCU
Best of DC
Mike – Batman and Robin – I know Battle for the Cowl wasn’t a home run and I am not a big fan of Grant Morrison, but Batman and Robin is great because of Damian. This lost boy who has such a tough exterior shows brief moments of truly being human. The true son of Bruce Wayne shines through in these instances. Especially when he is troubled about the girl he couldn’t save who went on to be the sidekick to Jason Todd’s Red Hood. Seeing a youth so driven to be the man his father was, without his father to guide him could have some serious implications. One knock on this book, or maybe it is because I wasn’t cognizant at the time, but why have a story point about Jason Todd dying his hair? Did he really not have black hair in the 80’s?
Greg – The best book I am reading right now is Green Lantern. While I did think that the build up to Blackest Night got a bit long, every story arc they went thought was solid. Never once this year did I think I wasted my money on a single issue. Now in the mists of Blackest Night, readers can see how these events are going to change the face of the DCU. Even now, speculation of the Brightest Day story arc can be made. All of this because one test pilot became a member of an intergalactic police force.
Chris and Neil (Kowabunga comics) – 1 vote for Green Lantern. 1 vote for Vertigo’s “Northlanders”
Eric – I am going to play my “dad” card here. Yes, I have enjoyed a great deal in the DCU this past year (please let the Geoff Johns love-fest begin). But I think what DC has done best is their kid-specific projects. Tiny Titans, Billy Batson and the Power of Shazam and the animated Brave and the Bold series. These are premier kid / family friendly books that work for fanboys young and old. And I dare any fan to read the “Finals Crisis” issue of Tiny Titans and laugh all the way through – the Montinor and Anti-Monitor arguing over hall passes!
Liana K (Guest writer – pop culture celebrity) – You know I have to go with a Gail Simone book for this because she
is not given nearly enough credit. I’ll say Wonder Woman, because bringing anything new to DC’s Big Three is an achievement, and Gail has breathed a life and an unprecedented humanity into the Amazon Princess. Other authors focused on Diana being unknowable at her core because she was too perfect. Gail took the plunge and made WWWD – What would Wonder Woman Do? – a question that can now be answered. She finally has a voice, finally has a unique place, and… oh my gods finally has a social life! Furthermore, Gail’s original villains are top notch, the romantic subplots are utterly squeal-worthy, and her
supporting casts are fantastic. (I made a Dragon Age character based on Alkyone I AM NOT ASHAMED!) Second place is the Batwoman run on Detective Comics. The story is great, but the art! The ART! It takes a lot to blow my mind in art, because the baseline standard is just so high, but… Mind… Blown… Thank you so much, J. H. Williams III
PS: Secret Six! But I’m biased. Despite my bias, it’s a damned good book.
Worse from DC
Mike – Justice League of America – This should be THE must read book for DC. I am hoping with James Robinson coming aboard that he will bring this book back to prominence. The big seven. I know Superman is off world, Batman is off time, and who knows about Wonder Woman, but seriously, having Vixen be the main character? Weak. The Royal Flush Gang? Seriously? Why not add in the Newsboy Legion and you can officially say you put the worst characters in DC history into the book. This book should be DC’s flagship and unless Robinson turns it around, it belongs as backup toilet paper right next to Rob Liefeld’s X-Force #1
Greg – In this category I have a tie. Justice League of America and Titans.
DC has gone though their share of JLA titles. Dating back to the days of Justice League: Europe and Justice League International, it’s been a series that has seen brightest days and blackest nights. This year fell into the latter category. Where the JLA book usually fail is when you trade out the heavy hitters of the DCU, especially the big three, for C and D level heroes. When Vixen because the star member of the JLA, you know there is a problem. In the absence of it main members, the stories are lacking. DC should look at any JLA poster by Alex Ross and say, “If these characters are no in the book, then we’re not doing it.” It’s really that simple.
Then there was Titans, written by Judd Winick. I have been a fan of Winick’s ever since the days of Barry Ween, but his take on adult versions of the original Teen Titans is just sad. It seems like he’s disregarded all the characters attitudes and is just making things up as he goes along. Couple that with story arcs that seem rehashed (can the Titans get some new villains please?) and you have a book that even hardcore fans are leaving behind
Chris and Neil (Kowabunga comics) – 1 for “Trinity”, 1 for “Gotham Sirens”
Eric – While there was quite a bit to be disappointed in, for me this is an easy one – it was DC’s Second Feature. This was marketed as a way for fans to get two stories in one comic for one price. But really what it was, was an excuse for creating a 5-6 page story for a character that most people didn’t like and couldn’t carry their own book anyway, putting that at the end of comic and therefore having an excuse for the DC writers to shorten the book I actually wanted to read in the first place.
Liana K – With this one I’m going more Dan? WTH?, less outright worst, because I’m still holding out hope for this title’s redemption. This is painful for me, but my pick is… the Power Girl book. It was my biggest disappointment of the past year.
Hear me out: the dialogue is good. The art is adorable. But the editorial direction they’ve taken with the character just sucks. I
had hoped for great things when the first villain she went up against was the Ultra-Humanite: both characters have ‘mismatched’ bodies and intellects. But the story didn’t go there, and soon the title devolved into arc after arc of things like intergalactic party girl princesses. That’s approaching Marvel Divas territory.
Furthermore, the constant boob jokes in Power Girl made me extremely self-conscious. The whole time I’m reading, I’m bracing myself for the fulfillment of the “one giant breasts joke per issue” quota. It’s gotten old for me already. If every month, a title had a “pssst! Remember I’m gay/Black/Hispanic/Chinese” reference, fans would rightly get tired of it, but they love it when it’s boobs, and the book sells like hot cakes.
I understand the inherent absurdity of having mammaries the size of a child’s head. Hell, I started cosplaying the character partially to laugh at my own genetic twist of fate. But in the Power Girl book, “big boobs” has become just a mark to hit, and JSA has already proved it doesn’t have to be that way. There are plenty of ways to be funny about it without being creepy. With this title, however, sometimes things do get creepy: the idea that a paramedic will be checking me out while I’m lying on his stretcher unconscious… that’s just depressing. If comic books depressed male nerds this way, the whole comics industry would go under.
There are some positives to the book. The bits with PG and Terra are adorable, the costume redesign is great, and I love the cat, but the larger concept fails to carve out a unique, blue collar niche for Power Girl as anything but a “tit transportation device”. Starr Enterprises is just a watered-down (and so far unsuccessful) Kord industries, and… OMG a watered DOWN Kord industries?!
Have her designing iphone apps or something, not stupidly expensive high-tech: she doesn’t directly need the gear the way Batman does. Kara adopts strays, she likes horror movies, and she punches first and talks second; her office staff would look like a cross between a comic book convention and a tattoo parlor, and the office itself would be a mess like Marvel Comics in the 1960s. They need to get her out of that antiseptic glass tower she’s currently stuck in and away from the cookie cutter pretty people.
So DC, please, PLEASE, keep the creative team, butut please change the editorial direction. I know Jimmy and Amanda are capable of better.
More Pullbox Awards will be posted soon!