Tag Archives: 27: second set

Best Comics of 2011

It’s the first day of a new year and so that means we’re doing our “best of” listing of the top comic books for 2011. Generally these are comic books that came out in 2010, though some are from earlier times and we got around to reading them. Keep in mind, this is what I have read.  If it’s not on here, I just might not have read it.

Best Super Hero Comic – Daredevil

Daredevil #1 CoverDaredevil has had an interesting 2011, we started with Shadowland and then got Matt Murdock finding himself and then a relaunched back to basic series written by Mark Waid with art by Paolo RiveraShadowland wasn’t too bad, a bit uneven, but as a whole Marvel had issues with this year’s events.  Seeing Murdock corrupt and the emotion from his friends was an interesting read.  After you had Murdock wandering the country in short mini-series followed up by the relaunch.

It’s that relaunch that makes Daredevil stick out in my mind.  It’s a comic I look forward to reading each month.  Waid has given it a pulp action feel like classic Green Hornet or the Shadow and Rivera’s art is fantastic.  The comic is just fun to read.  On top of Waid’s take, Daredevil is now an Avenger and each of his brief appearances so far has enhanced that series.  When you show up in an ensemble comic and steal the show, that says something.

Waid has set up a lot going into 2012, can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Runner Ups – Moon Knight, Uncanny X-Force, Aquaman

Best Non-Super Hero Comic –DMZ

DMZ 50Is there a more politically relevant comic book series out there? Every month we’re given something to think about as we follow Matty Roth through Manhattan which is now a DMZ in the middle of the second American Civil War.

Writer Brian Wood is able to pivot and comment on what’s currently happening in politics and the world challenging our perceptions and not seem preachy at the same time.

With some single issues that stand as some of the best of the year and numerous holy shit moments, this isn’t just one of the most relevant comics out there, but some of the best political commentary of any entertainment medium.  Fittingly, this final week also brought us the final issue of the series, a perfect way to end the year.

Runner Ups – American Vampire, Chew, The Walking Dead

Best Limited Series or One Shot – Criminal: The Last Of The Innocent

Criminal: The Last Of The Innocent #1Really, just sign me up for whatever Ed Brubaker and Sean Philips have in store.  This latest volume of their crime/noir series from Marvel/Icon gave us a shit-head of a main character and kept us on our toes as to what to expect.  Sean Philips also showed us something new by changing up the art style every so often.

These two are one of the best teams in comic books today.  Early 2012 brings us Fatale from them to be published by Image which is more horror/noir.  Hopefully we’ll be seeing another volume of this series as well.

I’m a huge fan up pulp/noir comics, and this is the gold standard by which all others are judged.  Just fantastic.

Runner Ups – Critical Millennium, Severed, 27: Second Set

Best Single Issue – Transformers #22 and #23

Transformers #23 CoverTechnically it’s two issues, but the story is spread out between the two issues and either stands out as the best.  On top of that Transformers: The Death of Optimus Prime reflects on what’s discussed in these issues as well.  Megatron is captured and the two issues reflect on his and Optimus’ past and how they became who they are.  Flash forward to the present and the two leaders debate politics and motives.  It’s an adult discussion coming from two giant robots.

DMZ might have been “the” political discussion of the year, but these two issues I just didn’t expect it from.  Absolutely fantastic and enough to give me pause and make me think.

What’s the difference between a terrorist and freedom fighter?  Find out in these issues.

Worst Single Issue of the Year – Holy Terror

Just a holy piece of crap.  This is up there as one of the worst things I’ve ever read.  The graphic novel by legend Frank miller is racist, xenophobic, sexist and horribly written.  Can’t believe we’ve waited so long to read it.

Runner Ups The Infinite (any issue)

Best Graphic Novel/Trade Paperback – Green River Killer

Green River Killer A True Detective StoryDark Horse’s Green River Killer is a true-crime story focused on the Green River serial killings.  The writer was close to the subject, as his father was one of the lead detectives.  The story has multiple layers, looking at how families were affected, the struggles the police went through and at the end, why the killer did what he did.

The graphic novel is haunting.  I couldn’t stop thinking about it for many days it was that disturbing and unsettling.  The art is good, but it’s the story that gets you.  The whole time you’re wondering how they’re going to solve this, but also why is this happening.

Add in the fact this is a true story.  It’s a disturbing true story.  Being able to get some of the behind the scenes to a story I only know from newspapers and the nightly news, just adds more to it all.

Runner Ups Any Empire, Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand

Best Event of the Year – Uncanny X-Force: The Dark Angel Saga

Uncanny X-Force #18 Teaser 1I’m counting this as an event, though it’s really a long story arc.  Rick Remender has put together the best “X” book put out by Marvel.  This event which saw the rise of a new Apocalypse in the form of Archangel and X-Force is all that stands in the way between him and world destruction.

Diving into “X” lore with trips to the Age of Apocalypse universe, this was a story for the hard core “X” fans.  But, more than that, everything was thrown into it.  You had no idea what was going to come next and what to expect.

It wasn’t until I finally read the last issue that I know the ending, that’s how much of a big question mark Remender gave us.  The follow as well was fantastic as why characters did what they did and a new status-quo and direction were set.

Runner Ups Artifacts, Flashpoint

Best Genre of the Year – Horror

Horror was where it was at this year with DC folding in some Vertigo books and some great limited series like Severed.  Animal Man, Swamp Thing, I, Vampire, B.P.R.D. and more lead the way to dethroning last year’s winner, a bunch of shuffling zombies (though that’s also horror in a way).  I’ve never been creeped out more and enjoyed it as much.

Runner Up – Steampunk, Zombie

Best Comic Tie-In of the Year – Batman: Arkham City

I enjoy a video game or two (dozen).  One of the best video games of the year, not just comic book tie-ins was Batman: Arkham City which just brought more of the brawler game.  There’s a reason many are naming this as one of the best video games of the year and it’s sold so well.  It’s that damn good.

The downloadable material which seems to be coming as a steady flow, the fact you can play as so many characters, that all adds up to a comic book experience you can control.  Add in amazing graphics, game play and there you have it, it’s a must buy video game.

Runner Up – Marvel Universe toys, DC Universe Super Heroes Legos

Best Comic Book Related Movie – Thor

Marvel Studios Thor PosterThis year’s crop of comic book related movies wasn’t as amazing as I’d hope, but it’s a solid bunch.  Marvel’s batch as what stood out and all three really deserve to share the honors.  Each was excellent and flawed in their own ways, but out of the three Thor holds up best.

The story is pretty standard, didn’t really challenge me at all, but the visuals and Chris Hemsworth’s acting is what really makes it all stand out.  The flaws also are the least of the bunch with only the final fight between Thor and the Destroyer really bothering me.

Out of the bunch, this was also the highest grossing, showing it wasn’t just me that liked it.

Runner Ups – Captain America: The First Avenger, X-Men: First Class

Best Surprise of the Year – DC New 52

DC ComicsThis is a mixed one as DC’s relaunch is also a disappointment, but I’ll address it all here.  DC made a bold move this year to shake up their sagging line of comic books by starting from the beginning and relaunching the entire line.  It was gutsy.  On top of that, their digital initiative was bold.

The story that lead up to it all, Flashpoint, was pretty damn good and what came out of it as well.  I took a chance on all fifty-two issues and came away with giving half of them a chance for the second issue.  From there, I made further cuts, but today, I’m reading more comics from DC than I ever have and their higher volumes they’re selling that the initiative has worked for the short term.

The disappointing part is that they didn’t go far enough.  The comics were pretty standard and we didn’t get anything out of the box.  There also was a clear audience, adolescent males (or men stuck in their adolescence).  While we saw more advertising to the general public, we haven’t seen a sustained campaign.  For all their gains in 2011, I think we’ll see a good chunk of it erode in 2012.

Biggest Disappointment of the Year – Marvel Events

Marvel ComicsFear Itself and it’s follow up were and are bad.  X-Men: Schism was ok, but much better than what was before.  Shadowland was uneven.  Marvel has been having some issues when it comes to their events.  I won’t call it overall event fatigue in the industry as others have put out quality and showed what works.

Too many tie-ins, stories not thought out and gimmicky tricks paved the way to a substandard experience.

Marvel relied on the tired gimmick of death, killing the Ultimate Spider-Man, Bucky, the Human Torch and more, that all made headlines but some of it is already undone.  There’s only so many times you can call death before the masses catch on and shrugs their shoulders.

Already we’re heading into more events at Marvel in 2012, here’s hoping there’s some improvement.

Runner Up – Green Lantern (movie), DCnU

Best Character – Moon Knight

Moon Knight #1 CoverMoon Knight has always been a character that’s intrigued me.  Brian Michael Bendis, along with amazing art by Alex Maleev, have given us a new series that really looks at the many personalities of Marc Spector.  The new series really has fun with the idea having Moon Knight drawing upon his personalities at different points.

Moon Knight is the psychotic Batman, a super hero struggling with mental illness.  But is he really suffering from it?  And should it be this much enjoyable to read?

Publisher of the Year – Archaia

ArchaiaArchaia received the honor last year as well, so let me really explain my logic here.  Lets start with the big two, Marvel and DC.  Marvel’s line has suffered in 2011, they’re out.  DC made a bold choice, but four months letter, it all feels empty.  There’s quality, but there’s also a lot that just doesn’t excite.

BOOM! made it’s case towards the end of the year with some great original series, along with some on-goings that continue to show off their quality.  Add in a lot of licensed comics and they’ve got a line that has something for everyone.  There were also some busts, but they’ve got a great line of comics.  Image Comics, for all the quality also has some major duds.  Inconsistency is the issue, but their quality is some of the best out there.

Dark Horse has some amazing comics.  A lot of big name licenses and some good original, but there’s a lot of series I read and just didn’t interest me.  Their quality though is up there.  If your a Star Wars or Buffy fan too, they put out excellent product.  Then we come to IDW Publishing.  A lot of license there too, and also a lot of original material.  Each week I see their new releases, I get excited, as a whole, I’m probably interested in more of their monthly comics percentage wise than any other publisher, and it’s all excellent.

And the big winner is Archaia.  I should start with the presentation of the books.  Beautiful covers and packaging is the first thing that sticks out.  Their entire line of graphic novels are beautiful to look at on a shelf.  Then there’s what’s in between those fancy covers.  The variety of the books and quality is unmatched.  I can find something for everyone and hand out one of their series or a graphic novel and know I’m good with my choice.  All of what I read was good to great and much challenges story telling and comic book visuals.

Licensed books, original books, it’s all here.  And it’s amazing.  There’s comics for kids and adults and books kids and adults will love together.  Books from the US and Europe, we have different styles and perspectives, it’s like the publisher goes out of it’s way to present choice and variety.  And it’s all good.

I said it last year and it still holds true this year, when I think Archaia, I think high quality and expect the best.  They continue to not let me down.

Runner Up – IDW Publishing

Preview – 27: Second Set #4

27: Second Set #4


Price: $3.99

The second chapter of the 27 saga comes to a close with a stunning confrontation between Garland and one-hit-wonder-witch, Valerie Hayes. It’s a talent competition with the entire world as the audience, judged by none other than the God of Fame. The loser loses it all, and the winner takes… everything!

Pick of the Week – The Strain #1

I’ve read a good chunk of this week’s picks so very confident in this week’s top five.  The top spot goes to The Strain #1 a new take on the vampire mythos from Guillermo del Toro.  The comic can jokingly be called vampires on a plane, but the tense feeling over the standoff that is involved around that particular scene just shows how amazing this comic series may be.  The vampire story has been done a ton, but this one had me on the edge nervous as to what would happen next.

  • The Strain #1 – see above
  • 27: Second Set #4 – The fourth issue of the second volume of the series ends on a high note.  The ending is awesome and I can’t wait to see what volume three has in store.
  • PIGS #4 – KGB assassins running around the US.  The first issue had a major shock and this one throws in another holy crap moment as we learn the fate of the KGB sleeper cell.
  • Locke & Key: Clockworks #3 – I’m new to Locke & Key but absolutely love it.
  • Avengers: X-Sanction #1 – Cable is out to kill the Avengers in the beginning of Marvel’s next big event.  Sign me up!

Preview – 27: Second Set #3

27: Second Set #3


Price: $3.99

1980s one-hit wonder turned witch Valerie Hayes will NOT stop until she has magically stolen our hero William Garland’s immense fame and made it her own. Her first attempt failed miserably, so now she’s calling on the other members of the one-hit wonder club to help. Full of homages to some of rock’s greatest fizzles, this is one issue not to miss!

Pick of the Week – Wolverine & the X-Men #2

I was a bit skeptical of the series when it was announced, but went into the first issue hoping for the best.  What I read was an entertaining, hilarious and kinetic series that had me sucked in.  There’s something so entertaining about that first issue that I can wait to see what’s coming next.  The “X” line of comics needed a shake up and this series is one of the best things to come out of it so far.  I can’t wait to read Wolverine & the X-Men #2 this week and that’s why it’s an easy pick.

  • Wolverine & the X-Men #2 – see above
  • DMZ #71 – Brian Wood is wrapping up this brilliant series that has some of the best political commentary out there in any medium.
  • I, Vampire #3 – Joshua Hale Fialkov has taken the vampire series and made it somehow fit into the DC universe.  It’s got an interesting take and I can’t wait to see where he takes it.
  • Aquaman #3 – Before issue one, I hated Aquaman.  After issue one, I was a fan.  This is one of the best super hero comics out there, solid writing and solid art.
  • 27: Second Set #3 – I’ve read Charles Soule’s third issue and reviewed it.  If you love music (and even if you don’t) this is an absolute read.

Review – 27: Second Set #2 and #3 – Extra Early Review!

27: Second Set #2 CoverI’ve been a fan of Charles Soule‘s 27 when I first saw his pitch at the Baltimore Comic Con last year.  The art was amazing and the idea of a series following a down on his luck musician hoping to make it to his 28th birthday was something I was familiar with and intrigued in how it would be depicted.  Little did I know the story would be infused with mysticism, deals with the devil and a nice puzzle throughout.

Fast forward to the second set and the mysticism and focus on numbers has been dialed down a bit.  Instead we’re given a volume that’s focus is the character of Alex Garland and what it means to have a second chance.

At the end of the first issue, Garland has revealed the board in his chest to the world with a rather impressive light show.  He quickly rockets from being a musician who is working his way back to the top to instantly being the hottest thing there is out there.

Garland has revealed to the world that he has a bizarre button implanted in his chest that gives him genius-level creative powers every time it is pushed. His fame has skyrocketed, but he’s already attracting unwanted attention: a 1980s one-hit wonder turned witch will do whatever she can to steal the button, even if it means cutting it right out of Garland’s chest!

The idea of having this focus on one-hit wonders through the second volume is impressive and smart.  Garland could easily go that route.  He also could skyrocket to the spotlight by using the device in his chest.  But in the first issue, we see him putting in the hard work.

The second and third issue have a nice track running through them following Garland and the baddie.  There’s the story of the world reacting to Garland’s reveal and then there’s Valerie Hayes, the one-hit wonder who wants Garlands power.  He’s in the limelight again and she wants to be there.  Garland made a deal to get their and is literally killing himself each time he uses his power, how far will she go?

There’s just something that’s really fun with this second volume.  I feel like I’m on the fame ride with Garland and there’s such smart commentary on that experience throughout, but it’s very subtle and not preachy.  The nods of the hats to the one-hit wonders of the past is great as well.  It starts from the covers and works it’s way inward.

The art is unbelievable.  There’s little out there that looks like this series.  I’d hang these pages on my wall, the covers especially.  If the story doesn’t get you, the art will.  It’s beyond fantastic.

27 is a comic like no other.  Unique story, amazing art the second and third issues are an absolute buy.

Writer: Charles Soule Art: Renzo Podesta Cover: Scott Forbes Publisher: Image Comics

Story: 8.75 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review

Preview – 27: Second Set #2

27: Second Set #2 (of 4)

Price: $3.99
Diamond ID: AUG110506
October 26, 2011

Garland has revealed to the world that he has a bizarre button implanted in his chest that gives him genius-level creative powers every time it is pushed. His fame has skyrocketed, but he’s already attracting unwanted attention: a 1980s one-hit wonder turned witch will do whatever she can to steal the button, even if it means cutting it right out of Garland’s chest!



27: Second Set #2 Cover

Pick of the Week – I, Vampire #2

Joshua Hale Fialkov was tasked with one of the more difficult tasks in the DCnU, take vampires and integrate them in a non-silly way to the DC universe.  A task made more difficult as out of the big two, DC is not the one I’d associate with vampires.  But, what Fialkov brilliantly did in the first issue of I, Vampire was give us a series that stands on it’s own two legs.  Vampires are just the dark mirror image to the titans that fly around in the DC world.  Their the step children who wonder why they haven’t inherited the Earth.  While his series will eventually weave into the main DCU, and it’ll be interesting to see if it’s dark tone fits, Fialkov has shown in one issue he knows what he’s doing.  I, Vampire was one of the highlights of it’s week’s release and one of the top books on all the 52 DC released.

  • I, Vampire #2 – See above
  • 27: Second Set #2 – It’s easy to promote the series due to how nice writer Charles Soule is, but in reality the series would stand on it’s own no matter.  It’s that damn good and original.  The first issue dialed back the mystical elements and focused on a star starting from scratch.  The human touch made it stand out as a second volume I could easily get behind.
  • Voodoo #2 – The first issue was caught up in the DC brouhaha, but I really enjoyed the series as it had a spy feel to it and I’m still unsure who the hero really is.
  • Wolverine and the X-Men #1 – Wolverine takes his crew and heads East to start a new academy to teach the future generations of mutants.  This is the first major launch in the “X” regenesis, here’s crossing my fingers it was worth it.
  • The Walking Dead #90 – Do I really need to say why this is a definite bet as a top read for the week?

Around the Tubes

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The weekend is so close and reports are already coming that DC comic’s new releases are selling out.  There’s a lot of other quality books out too, so make sure to get to your store and pick up some new releases.

Around the Blogs:

Kotaku – Aaaand Harley Quinn’s Saucy Arkham Mo-Cap was Actually Done by a Dude …Ha.

Kotaku – The New Ultimate Spider-Man Debuts Just in Time for Edge of Time – The costume looks pretty damn cool.  Look forward to seeing what this looks like on my high-def TV.

Con Coverage:

Spandexless – SPX Pulls: Dresden Codak Primer, Aaron Diaz

Spandexless – SPX Pulls: Box Brown Roundup

Comicsgirl – Small Press Expo 2011 reviews: The Ladies!

Around the Tubes Reviews:

CBR – American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest #4

MTV Geek – Green Lantern #1

CBR – Green Lantern #1

MTV Geek – Mister Terrific #1

Comics Alliance – Ultimate Comics Spider-Man’ #1

MTV Geek – Ultimate Comics Spider-Man’ #1

MTV Geek – Image Comics Reviews: ‘Severed,’ ‘Li’l Depressed Boy,’ ’27,’ and ‘Pigs’

Newsarama – NEW 52 NEWBIE Reviews: Non-Comics Readers on the DCnU

Bleeding Cool – Wednesday Comics Reviews: Batman and Robin, Batwoman, Deathstroke, Demon Knights, Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E., Green Lantern, Grifter, Legion Lost, Mister Terrific, Red Lanterns, Resurrection Man, Suicide Squad and Superboy

Charles Soule Wraps Up His One-Hit Wonders

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In leading up to tomorrow’s release of 27: Second Set #1, Charles Soule has been recording various one-hit wonders to celebrate the occasion.  You can head over to his blog to download them, or listen to the various songs below.

Eye of the Tiger


Ooh Child

I Melt With You

She Drives Me Crazy

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