I spend most of my time on two websites, on my down time, and sometimes on my work time. http://www.dc2universe.com/ is a fan fiction site that has been blossoming for nearly 5 years now. It has been my privilege to have contributed to this site from nearly the beginning. I'm very proud of what my friends and I have accomplished over there.
The other site I can be found on is The Outhouse: http://www.outhousers.com/. This is a fan based website that has news articles, reviews, and interviews; as well as one of the coolest forums you could ever want to post in. Thanks to Lord Simian (his code name of course), I have had the opportunity to interview such great comic writers as Kurt Busiek, Mike Carey, and actors Doug Jones, Michael Hogan and Galen Tyrol. Now if you don't at least recognize those last two names, please hand over your Geek card.
In the end I'm not sure who will end up reading this, but I hope you respond to my thoughts about everything from comics, television, movies, and online human relationships.
I'd like to start my first few blogs with what I consider to be the 5 best and worst of Marvel and DC comics in 2009. I'll start with Marvel.
Marvel (The Best)
5. Dark Reign: This "event" flowed rather organically from last years Secret Invasion where Tony Stark fell flat on his face as director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Who saved the day? Norman Osborne of all people! This started a cascade of events that lead to Norman's rise as the all powerful head of H.A.M.M.E.R. Now I do have one issue about this plot that I will address in my worst, but I can't deny that this story that has wrapped itself so intricately through out the Marvel Universe hasn't been one of the most fascinating stories that either of the big two have done in years.
4. X-Men Legacy: My second favorite of the X-Titles this year. Mike Carey spent more than half a year rebuilding and really humanizing Professor Charles Xavier. The journey that the Professor went on was fascinating as we watched him pick up the pieces of his shattered mind while making up for the hurt he had caused so many of his students in the last ten years. It was an extraordinary journey that more than deserves to be in my personal top 5.
3. The Invincible Iron Man: This spot was hard for me to fill since all three top tier Avengers had a pretty good year, but Matt Fraction's Iron Man was by far the best of the three. The fall of the most powerful (and rather arrogant) man in Marvel was so well done that by the time Tony had lost most of his mind by his own accord (rather than put all his secrets in the hands of that loony Osborne) it seemed that every one who had despised him during the Civil War found themselves once again rooting for him. This was no easy feat to pull off since arguably it can be said that his actions were an indirect cause of the "death" of Captain America. This story is far from over, and as long as Matt Fraction keeps up the great storytelling, I don't see a downward turn in this title anywhere in the near future.
2: Brian Michael Bendis: This is going to be hard to explain, especially if you are from The Outhouse and reading this. I'm not Brian's number one fan - far from it. I've always had an issue with his writing, mainly his dialogue. However, I would be an idiot not to deny that Marvel is what it is because of this man. As a plotter he is the absolute best at what he does (yeah, I said it). Since Avengers Disassembled he's lead the Marvel Universe through a maze of events that have actually flowed one from the other in a nearly perfect way. NOT that there haven't been some HUGE blunders (at least for me), but there's a reason why Marvel is at the top of their game right now and this is the man who has done it. So kudos where kudos are due.
1. Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning: I chose them as number one not just because of their terrific "War of Kings" event that brought the Inhumans back into the limelight and made Scott and Alex Summers' other brother an interesting character; but also because they have, this year, created a brilliant piece of the Marvel Universe with Guardians of the Galaxy and Nova. Add to that their mini's that have shown the after effects of the "War of Kings" and you've got the hottest writing duo on the planet right now. Their dialogue is spot on with wonderful humor as well as some great poignant moments. The loss of Adam Warlock and half their team in Guardians this year was probably my number one read of 2009. Bravo guys! Keep up the great work.
Marvel (The Worst)
5. Brian Michael Bendis: How can he be on both lists? Simple, just take any issue of Ultimate Spider-Man (my favorite Bendis book) and compare it to any of his many Avenger books. Go ahead, I'll wait... Did you see it? Everyone sounds the same! Everyone has a quip and seems to be able to roll witty banter off their tongue as easy as Peter Parker. I think last year I put him number one or two on this list, but he's dropped down to the bottom at least. I don't know if that means he's getting better to me (His one shot story of Ares and his son was amazing - no doubt), or if I'm slowly becoming a Marvel Zombie. GULP!
4. Ultimate Spider-Man: This was my favorite Spidey book up until the whole Ultimatum mess. After wiping out New York City, thanks to the evil mutant Magneto, Bendis changed the status quo of this title by showing New Yorkers just how much of a hero Peter really is. My problem with this book is two fold. First, the stories now feel about stale, where as in the first volume Bendis always seemed to be taking the 616 universe and turning it on its ears. Now everyone seems to be treading water. Second, the art. Way to close to a Manga style for my taste. I miss Bagley horribly. Please come back!
3. Captain America Reborn: Don't get me wrong, my love for Brubaker remains strong, but even one of the greats can have an off title, and this is his (though I was very disappointed with his rather short run on Uncanny X-Men as well). The way he brought Steve back is okay, if not done before in its own way, but the fact that we now have Steve Rogers running around in other Marvel titles while still not officially back yet in this "big event" mini is frustrating. I want my continuity for these moments. What's next? Will we be reading a funeral scene in New Avengers before Siege is finished? Sorry Mr. Brubaker, not only is this poorly timed, but after the most excellent way you "killed off" Steve, the return seems long, dragged out, and slightly boring.
2. Marvel's United States Government: Norman Osborne? Really?!?! Does the government in Marvel's Universe have no secret intelligence at all? Does no one have a clue who this guy really is?! Who in their right mind would place a deranged megalomaniac in charge of the nations defense? This is a man who had done some pretty heinous things that somebody in Washington D.C. had to have known about. You can't tell me that nobody knows what kind of psychotic loon he really is. It's just unbelievable that they would have given Norman this much power to begin... what's that? Dick Cheney? Huh... well... never mind...
1. The Sentry: No big surprise here. Unless Bendis can pull a Harvey sized rabbit out of his hat, this guy is going to go down as the biggest waist of space in Avengers history. In comparison, even Dr. Druid looks good. There's way too much access baggage that has never fully been explored in any of the Avengers books to make him even remotely sympathetic. In fact it would be safe for me to say that if by some luck he has some kind of sacrificial moment at the end of Siege that is totally mind blowing... I won't care. In fact, I'd probably dance on this pretend heroes pretend grave. Here's hoping that Benids, Joe Q., and Marvel will do the right thing by Bob and put us out of our... I mean him out of our misery.
So that's it for my first blog! In the next few days I shall write my second entry where I talk about the best and worst of DC and announce which of the big two I thought was superior to the other in 2009.
Until then, this is your friendly neighborhood geek, Starlord, signing off.
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