A Totally Cliché End of Year Post

Here we are on the verge of a new decade, and we’re all burdened with the obligatory self-reflection that comes with the glorified holiday that is New Year’s. For many, the only change that will last is the hangover, and even that will hopefully be short lived. I’ll put aside my other posts for another day, and acknowledge the elephant in the room. Enter the obligatory “Top ______ of the Year” list! Since I’m not a huge fan of overrated milestones, or randomly ranking things, this post may come off more snarky than usual. I promise to be back to my chipper self in about 5 days. And my apologies for the lack of images, I'm in Australia, it's 90 degrees, I'm melting.  (Images Updated, 1/1/10) Enjoy!

Top 9 Books of 2009 I Would Pay You to Read

9. Detective Comics
Publisher: DC
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: J. H. Williams III

I can’t plug this book enough (previous Detective review). Batwoman’s days in Detective are numbered, as I’ve already seen promo shots of the various ways Batman will return (two words: time travel). Let’s hope there is room in the DCU for a Batwoman book!

8. Anything Dave Stewart Colored in 2009

Publisher(s): DC, Dark Horse

You can’t really go wrong with that recommendation. Detective Comics. Hellboy. Umbrella Academy. Joss Whedon’s Sugar Shock. It’s not a coincidence, the guy definitely keeps some talented company!

7. Strange Tales
Publisher: Marvel
Writer(s): Various
Artist(s): Various

This isn’t really a hard sell, mostly because it kept selling out at several stores. For those of you who didn’t get a glimpse of it on the shelf, this three-issue mini is worth hunting down. Each issue contains short stories by various artists and writers, showing the humorously twisted side of Marvel characters from past and present. It’s a nice little break from the deadly serious reality of the Marvel Universe post Secret Invasion (dullsville in my opinion!) and showcases some hilarious and eclectic artwork not usually seen in superhero books (Tony Millionaire draws Iron Man fighting henchman made of salami, if that gives you any indication of what to expect). On second thought, I will not pay you to read this book, that would be ridiculous. 

6. Ender’s Game & Ender’s Shadow TPB’s
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Christopher Yost, Mike Carey (Ender's Shadow)
Artist(s): Pasqual Ferry, Sebastian Fiumara (Ender's Shadow)

These mini series follow two boys, Ender and Bean, as they enter Battle School, an elite training program that exists to find and create Earth’s future war mastermind. Released simultaneously, these were not only fantastic adaptations of the Orson Scott Card novels, but they served as solid reads for anyone looking for a good sci-fi book as well. With the individual issues running $3.99 a book, you’ll save some money getting the trades and won’t miss out on any extras like letters pages or articles in the back. A good point of entry for the sci-fi fan looking to get into comics.

5. Powers Volume 1
Publisher: Icon (Marvel)
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Aritst: Michael Avon Oeming

This didn’t even come out in 2009! What a wacky list. Seeing how I just discovered Powers in the last year, and it’s getting re launched for about the third time, I thought it could use a plug. With twelve volumes already out, you’ve got some catching up to do! If Law & Order took place in a world where superheroes were prevalent and worshipped like celebrities, and contained overarching storylines, it would resemble Powers.

4. Green Lantern Corps
Publisher: DC
Writer: Peter J. Tomassi
Artist(s): Patrick Gleason and Rebecca Buchman

After the big fat jumble that was Final Crisis, I wasn’t too keen on picking up any event crossover tie in books. Blackest Night sounded cool, so I’d check it out. But seeing how Rage of the Red Lanterns was so damn good, I got a bit of Lantern fever and added both Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps to my list this year. And I gotta tell ya, the latter has been a lot more exciting. The moral questions being raised about the leadership of the Corps in this book make the events of Green Lantern seem like petty personal dramas. If you want more epic space action, this is the book for you!

3. House of Mystery
Publisher: Vertigo (DC)
Writers: Matthew Sturges and various
Artist(s): Luca Rossi and various

Am I the only one reading this book? It’s not making the kind of waves it should, people. I’m not going to review it again, so I’ll just link to my previous post. I will add this for you Fables fans though, this series must be taking some of that book's creative juju, cause House of Mystery is going places while Fables seems to still be recovering from its crossover experiment.

2. The last 51 issues of X-Factor
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Marco Santucci and various

Okay, so they just renumbered this series, which is a great way to pull in new readers. Because jumping in at issue 200 is a great place to start! Concerned with the ventures of a group of mutant gumshoes, X-Factor has survived a lot of editorial meddling. Messiah Complex issues that seemed to go nowhere. Secret Invasion crossovers involving She Hulk. Moving the detectives to Detroit. But with Peter David as the writer for its entire run, X-Factor has been worth sticking with through the occasional forced sidetrack. Maddrox and crew face a lot of changes in 09, the least of which includes tackling time travel paradoxes, the birth of a mutant baby, some dude on dude action, and always with the signature X-Factor witty banter.

 1. Scalped
Publisher: Vertigo (DC)
Writer: Jason Aaron
Aritst(s): R.M. Guera, Davide Furno and Francesco Francavilla

Scalped is always a hard sell, mostly because it’s difficult to describe without making it sound so bleak. The last year of Scalped has been just as gut wrenchingly bitter as when the series started three years ago. It has gradually shifted from a book about undercover FBI agent Dashiell Bad Horse working his hometown Indian reservation, to an ensemble book about life at the bottom of the barrel. No one in this series has good luck and 2010 doesn’t look much brighter. It’s pretty grim stuff, definitely a gripping drama – and with full confidence I can say that there isn’t another comic like it being published today.