The Revolution's 2011 Comic Book Awards
- Published on Friday, 23 December 2011 02:58
- Written by Kevin
- Hits: 1789
The year is almost over which can only mean one thing: Year End Awards. Now the Revoltion members have all sat down to give out our own awards for the comic book world in 2011. What surprise picks do the Revolution members make? Find out in The Revolution's 2011 Comic Book Awards.
Danial: Avengers: The Children's Crusade
There was never any doubt in my mind for this book's placement as best mini. Despite sporadic scheduling, it has remained consistently brilliant and beautiful, and I will definitely be pre-ordering the hardcover the moment it is announced.
Andrenn: Avengers: Children's Crusade
So I didn't actually read any other mini's this year. Other than Carnage but that was so bad I'm pretending it doesn't exist. Children's Crusade wins by default and gets the prize. Though even if I had read other mini's this probably would have won either way. Children's Crusade is the closest thing we have to a real event comic book and it has all the epic scope to put Fear Itself and Flashpoint to shame.
The highlight for Children's Crusade though has to be Jim Cheung's artwork. Yes, Heinberg is doing great things. He's also doing not so great things. On the story side I'm kind of split on Children's Crusade since I hate things like the love triangle of Young Vision/Stature and Iron Lad, plus Patriot being a bit of a treacherous jerk. But I love that Heinberg is fixing every mistake Bendis has made. However, the best part is the fantastic artwork by Cheung.
While not every issue has been on time, it finally hit a snag just a couple months back, I'm still impressed this mini has met the deadlines up to that point. So giving credit where credit is due, a writer and artist who aren't always best at being on time really are working overtime. Children's Crusade isn't a perfect mini but it's got it where it counts.
In an age of event after event, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning have created a universe within Marvel’s Cosmic Corner that contain fully fleshed out characters. Not only that but they have built up characters such as Ronan, Qusar, Nova and others I never thought I would become such a big fan of. It all came together with the new Annihilator mini-series, which read like a big time Avengers title. From how powerful the characters are and all their different personalities Annihilators work well to give us a fun ride, even if it ended quickly. I am still hopeful that someday DnA will be given another cosmic ongoing instead of just a mini-series and that fans don’t ignore it because their stories are some of the best on the stands.
Rokk: Avengers Children's Crusade
I have to go with Heinberg and Cheung's incredible mini-series as well. Yes, the scheduling problems on this title are unacceptable. However, the story is so damn good that I can forgive any shipping delays. This title has been one of the strongest Marvel titles outside of DnA's cosmic titles that I have read from Marvel in the past five years.
Heinberg is certainly delivering the best Avengers title that I have read since Bendis assumed control over the Avengers franchise. Heinberg is bringing back the true essance of the Avengers franchise. This story reads like a classic Avengers tale while still being unique and original and possessing a style for modern readers. But, best of all is that Heinberg has managed to work his magic and undo most of the damage that Bendis has done to the Avengers franchise.
This is a title that demands to be purchased in a gorgeous oversized hardcover edition. To be sure, Avengers Children's Crusade has the makings of a true Marvel classic.
Best Creative Team
Danial: Jeff Parker & Kev Walker (Thunderbolts)
It was the combination of Jeff Parker's writing and Kev Walker's art that initially won me over on Thunderbolts. Credit should also go to Declan Shalvey, who has also done an amazing job on the title, but in my mind, it is the Parker/Walker team that gels so perfectly.
Andrenn: Scott Snyder/Greg Capullo (Batman)
Of all the power house creative teams that 2011 had I think the one that impressed me the most when it came to story and art working so perfectly together has to be the team on the new Batman. Sure, the other teams impressed but Snyder and Capullo just work in perfect harmony to give one of the best written and best looking ongoings out there.
Snyder's storytelling on Batman is near perfect. He's got Bruce Wayne and the world of Gotham City around him down. Capullo has really stepped up to bringing that world to life better than any other artist at DC has. Capullo captures the look of Gotham City and everything about it looks like a living entity, it’s almost scary. If it is big shots and action or smaller moments, Capullo has it nailed.
It is a perfect formula. The writer is telling an amazing story and the artist is bringing it to life in a way no other artist could. Everything about this creative team works and it has made Batman the best series of the New 52.
There were a lot of good runs that took place during 2011 but what Scott Snyder, Jock and Fracesco Francavilla did on Detective Comics was perfect. Working with Dick Grayson as the new Batman Snyder was able to explore a different Gotham City. It was a city that was not Bruce Wayne’s Batman but Dick Grayson’s Batman. Snyder explored the fact that Gotham is a city that reflects its protector and not the other way around.
From freak circus to hopeless villains each challenge that Dick was given during his tenure as Batman help show how similar and different he is from his predecessor. With Jock and Francavilla as his artist, this is one Batman run that will go down as one of the best, with or without Bruce under the cowl.
Rokk: Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth)
Sometimes it is better to have a creative team that just consists of just one man. Jeff Lemire's Sweet Tooth is one of the best books on the market. Period. Lemire has impressed me so much with his incredibly skillful writing. Lemire is able to pull of an extremely difficult feat which is to deliver stories that have a beautiful simplicity to them yet are still incredibly deep and complex.
Sweet Tooth is practically the only comic book on the market that is able to have a real emotional impact on me. Lemire can successfully get me to feel genuine sadness, excitement and fear while reading his story. Lemire's ability to deliver wonderful character work and dialogue in addition to great plotting and world building make him one of the best writing talents in the industry.
Of course, Lemire also supplies the artwork for this title. Yes, it is not fancy and insanely detailed artwork like you would get from many other artists working for Marvel and DC. But, that type of work would be an utter failure on Sweet Tooth. Lemire's "matchstick diorama" style of artwork is the perfect match for his story. I could not imagine another artist doing a better job bringing Lemire's story to life other than Lemire himself.
Best Story Arc
Danial: Spider-Island (Amazing Spider-Man)
I admit, I had a lot of trouble with this category. For me, story arcs are either enjoyable, or they aren't, so discerning the "best" was no easy task. Ultimately, it came down to Spider-Island--the event that wasn't. Unlike Fear Itself and Schism, Spider-Island didn't have a separate mini-series, but instead was contained within the pages of Amazing Spider-Man. Sure it had a few spin-offs, but it never bled out into other titles (except maybe Venom, but that's kind of a Spider-title anyway).
Ghost War was the big culmination of everything that had happened so far in American Vampire. This was the big one that had been set in motion from day one and that readers were excited for. Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque took us to the most famous War in the history of the world and threw a bunch of Vampires in the middle of it. And it was awesome.
Whenever an arc like Ghost War happens there's always room for concern. Concerns that the year of build-up would result in an unsatisfying story unfolding exists. Ghost War not only satisfies but it outdoes the already great reads the previous arcs were. It takes everything that came before it and makes a more than satisfying storyline. It's also got the creepiest Vampires I've seen in a long time, amazing character work as Snyder always does and some of the best artwork of Albuquerque's career.
Kevin: Black Mirrors (Detective Comics)
Bone Chilling! That is the first phrase that comes to mind when described the story Scott Snyder, Jock and Francavilla told in Black Mirrors. It may have only been a three issue story but it did not change the fact that Black Mirrors did feel like a big Batman epic. The story not only challenged Dick Grayson but Commissioner Gordon as well. They both dealt with the return of Jim’s son, James Gordon, in their own way. As a villain James came after both these important Batman characters and challenged both of them in different ways at the same time. From beginning to end Snyder created a character in James that can now be considered the Joker for Dick, Jim and Barbara.
Best New Series
Though not necessarily my favourite of The New 52, I consider Aquaman the Best New Series because it did something many thought impossible... It made Aquaman popular!
I already said a lot of love for Venom and how it's my favorite new series while we were stuffing our faces on Thanksgiving. There's really not a lot more I can add to that. Just that Remender has revived one of my all time favorite Marvel baddies and made Venom into the overall best ongoing they've got. I wouldn't be surprised if you see Venom in the running for best ongoing of 2012.
Kevin: Daredevil (Marvel: W: Mark Waid; A: Paolo Rivera & Marcos Martin)
2011 had a lot of #1s. From new series to relaunches there where many new series to try out for fans this past year but only one stood out as truly phenomenal: Daredevil. As a big fan of what Brian Bendis and Ed Brubaker did with the character I was completely turned off to the character after Andy Diggle’s Shadowland event. After Shadowland, I thought it would be a long time before I would read a comic starring the character again. Then Mark Waid came along and changed all that.
From the first issue, Mark Waid brought a fresh new outlook for the character that wasn’t completely shrouded in darkness. Instead, Waid’s Daredevil is one of pure fun. Sure there are still those dark reflection moments but Waid is telling stories that are both compelling and a blast to read. With only being 7 issues into his run Daredevil has quickly become one of my favorite comics again. This is all thanks to Waid and the fun he is having writing the character, which is reflected in his writing.
Just about all of the new #1 issues that Marvel and DC rolled out in 2011 utterly failed to impress me. Most were uninspired recycled storylines warmed over into a bland serving. Not Mark Waid's Daredevil. This title impressed me with the first issue and has continued to be one of Marvel's strongest titles.
Waid has brought a breath of fresh air to the Daredevil franchise that was much needed after a decade of darkness. Now, to be sure, I loved both Bendis' run on this title as well as Brubaker's run on Daredevil. They were both great. Andy Diggle's run? Not so much. At any rate, it was time for a change. And a dramatic change at that. I am weary of dark stories and deconstructed characters in almost every comic book I read. Waid brings in a breath of fresh air as his stories emphasis fun first and foremost. This title has a cool Silver Age vibe while still being thoroughly modern and original.
Of course, I cannot fail to mention the absolutely incredible artwork by Rivera and Martin. They have been phenominal. Their artwork makes Daredevil one of the most unique and visually appealing titles on the market.
Best Ongoing Series
I jumped aboard the Thunderbolts train at the beginning of Cage's tenure as leader (#144) and haven't looked back since. It has been a consistently fun ride which never takes itself too seriously, but also never ventures into the "silly" side of things (Wolverine and the X-Men, I'm looking at you!).
When looking over all the ongoings I read through 2011 this really came down to 3 titles. While Invincible and American Vampire had more issues in 2011, Elephantmen won for a different reason. Really Elephantmen's victory is an example of quality over quantity. While the other 2 titles had more issues, there were slight dips in quality. While there were less issues of Elephantmen, every issue was golden and well worth the wait.
Elephantmen really went to new heights in 2011 with the Man and Elephantman arc as well as the finale to the big Dangerous Liaisons arc. Starkings paid off on a relationship that had been developing since the early days of the series along with showing that even then everything is not roses in this series. Elephantmen is usually dark noir but Starkings managed to throw in some Savage Sword adventure and an intense war story as well.
Every issue of Elephantmen was well done. There wasn't a single weak read in the series for 2011. All the artists, while their styles may vary, were also up to strength. Elephantmen really shined this year and proved that good things are in store for those who wait for them.
Kevin: Amazing Spider-Man
While Brand New Day brought me back to Amazing Spider-Man I was still not reading the series on a regular basis. That all changed with Dan Slott coming onto Amazing Spider-Man as the ongoing writer. With so many series focusing on building towards big mini-series or crossovers Slott has done a fantastic job making each story in Amazing Spider-Man feel big. Everything was built towards the big Spider-Island event within the pages of the series.
Taking all that into consideration, what makes Amazing Spider-Man the runaway best series on the market is the accessibility it has given readers. While Slott has a bunch of running sub-plots going on each arc, outside Spider-Island, is able to stand on its own as a fun Spider-Man story. The series combines everything that makes Spider-Man the my favorite character as Slott strives to tell fully realized stories with fully fleshed out characters that are all lead by Peter Parker, not Spider-Man.
Rokk: The Unwritten
Mike Carey and Peter Gross have made The Unwritten the ongoing title that I most look forward to reading each month. This title treats the reader to an incredibly complex and fascinating story powered by masterful plotting. Carey has created a world of pure imagination where literally anything can and will happen.
For a game that wasn't even on my radar until the week of its release, it sure blew me away. Fallout 3 is one of my all-time favourites, and Skyrim is essentially the same game... just with dragons and magic. I bought it the day it came out and have spent many a night since, up until 4am, trying my hardest to put the controller down. With so many hours of gameplay, it is certainly value for money, and I'll no doubt still be playing it into the new year.
Andrenn: Batman: Arkham City
Confession: I didn't play another other new games this year. I sunk my Spring and Summer into Pokemon: Soul Silver but that's a game from 2010. I still have yet to get Sonic Generations but other than that Arkham City was the only game I was even interested in for 2011. And since I haven't played Generations yet, Arkham City wins. Though it helps that it was a fantastic game anyway and even if I love Generations Arkham City will probably still beat it.
The best way I can describe how much I love Arkham City is to briefly mention Arkham Asylum. I loved Arkham Asylum so much that I was planning to put it on my Top 10 Favorite games of all time list. A list I still have yet to finalize. Arkham City has easily beaten Asylum and taken whatever place it will have in my Top 10.
Really anything else I could say about Arkham City you've heard before. Every review who praises it is absolutely right. While Asylum made you feel like you were Batman, Arkham City perfected that formula of playing as Batman. I can have fun just spending 10 minutes gliding around the harbor for crying out loud. Add in a much better story, better boss fights and all around a better game and Arkham City easily takes 2011 as Game of the Year.
2011 was a great year in gaming. From another fantastic entry in the creation series Little Big Planet to crazy games like Catherine to another phenomenal Batman game in Arkham City there is one game that stands out the most: Uncharted 3. I get people’s criticism of Uncharted 3 being an experience but I add to it by saying what video game isn’t? All video games at their core are about immersing yourself in the world of the characters that inhabit it. You want to care for the characters that you are playing as. That is what Uncharted 3 does for me. Nathan Drake, Sully, Elena, Chloe and even Catherine Marlow are all characters that I cared about seeing their stories move forward. When you mix in these characters with addicting treasure hunting, fun platforming, risk taking moments (i.e. the desert scene), good gameplay and a larger than life story there is nothing that I can hate about Uncharted 3.