The Outhouse staff shares some of their favorite pop culture things from the year that was.
With the multitude of "Best Of" lists that came out in the closing weeks of 2011, we here at The Outhouse couldn't help but get reflective. We were going to put together our own award set, but dammit that's just too much damn work. So we decided instead to talk about what we individually thought were amongst the best of pop culture and entertainment, focusing on six categories: movies, music, television, books, video games, and of course comics. We're publishing this list now to make sure we caught anything that would have snuck up on us in those closing days of 2011.
5.) Martha, Marcy, May, Marlene
3.) Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
1.) Tie – Beyond the Black Rainbow/Grey Matter – Two of the most ambitious films of the year premiered at this year's Tribeca Film Festival, and proved to be two transcendent viewing experiences. Relying on long takes and introspective silence, Beyond the Black Rainbow reached far beyond simple 1980's nostalgia and actually felt like a lost relic of Kubrick-influenced science fiction while Grey Matter, the first narrative feature film by a director from Rwanda, explored a generational cultural trauma and the effects of PTSD on the mind. In fact, both films occupy a unique and incisive mindspace and both will stick with you.
Honorable mention: Melancholia, Take Shelter, Garbo: The Spy, Tree of Life, Submarine, Shame, Certified Copy, Another Earth, Cave of Forgotten Dreams
5.) Boardwalk Empire
4.) Sons of Anarchy
3.) Mad Men
2.) Breaking Bad
1.) Louie – In its second season, comedian Louis CK's eponymous sitcom transcended comedy and turned out to be the strongest auteur statement on television in many years. As creator, producer, director, editor, and star, Louis CK gets to show off his love and knowledge of various types of filmmaking, and basically tell whatever story he wants to tell, ranging from fantasies about a larger apartment to performing on a USO tour to dealing with a suicidal failed comic. The result is a frequently hilarious, but often bracing portrait of a man and his city.
Honorable mention: Game of Thrones, Archer, Doctor Who, Community, Parks & Recreation, The Office, Happy Endings, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Homeland, Justified, Lights Out
5.) Uncanny X-Force by Rick Remender and Jerome Opeña
4.) Blue Estate by Viktor Kalvachev et. al
3.) Infinite Kung-Fu by Kagan McLeod
2.) Habibi by Craig Thomson
1.) Optic Nerve #12 by Adrian Tomine – After a career spent spinning tales of young live in modern America, Tomine set his sights on middle age and the attraction of dreaming big. With his story "Hortisculpture," Tomine shows why he's one of the best there is at compact, short-form storytelling and the attraction of creating a single issue narrative, rather than a lengthy graphic novel (which he also addresses in the third story of this issue). Hitting stands in September, along with the #1 issues of DC's "new 52" reboot, this comic was very quietly the best single issue of that month.
Honorable mention: Petrograd, Black Metal 2, Criminal: Last of the Innocent, Dear Creature, Scarlet, X-Factor, Mark Twain's Autobiography, 1920-2010, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen vol. 3 Century: 1969, I, Vampire, All-Star Western, Detective Comics: The Black Mirror, Rachel Rising, Xombi, Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Heroes for Hire, The Strange Talent of Luther Strode, Wolverine
5.) A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin
4.) A Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
3.) Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
2.) Among Thieves by Douglas Hulick
1.) Ready Player One by Ernest Cline - The only stand alone book to make my list, Ready Player One combines all of the elements of sci-fi, fantasy and geek (especially 80's geek) into one fun contest filled with interesting characters. This is a book I'd feel comfortable recommending to any reader, not just genre readers.
Honorable Mention: Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan, Eli Monpress Saga by Rachel Aaron,
4.) Wonder Woman
1.) Uncanny X-Force - Every issue of this series has been top notch, and the most recent eight part "Dark Angel Saga" has been building since the first issue and still has more details to work. Every character in this team book is well handled. After all the years of reading X-books, I finally feel like I'm getting the stories I grew up with in classic Claremont books with Remender's X-Force series.
Honorable Mentions (mostly newer comics that haven't had many issues out by year-end yet): Strange Talent of Luther Strode, Ultimate Spider-man, Avenging Spider-Man.
3.) Captain America
2.) Rise of Planet of the Apes
1.) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt 2 - Epic conclusion to one of the best book to movie adaptations made. This might not be my favorite movie of the series, but it mainly gets this spot for doing the ending justice and finishing this series right.
5.) The Big Bang Theory (the only sit-com I enjoy)
4.) The Daily Show/Colbert Report (I view them as one unit almost, they help me stay sane)
3.) American Horror Story
2.) The Walking Dead
1.) Game of Thrones - There is no fan of this book that should be missing this show. It's reason enough to get HBO for the few months it's on or at least rush out for the DVD's as soon as they hit the shelves. They might not contain every detail of Martin's books, but they get all the epic moments and characters right that make this series a fan favorite.
5.) Jay-Z/Kanye - Watch the Throne
4.) Cee-Lo Green - The Lady Killer
3.) NEEDTOBREATHE - The Reckoning
2.) Adele - 21
1.) Bruno Mars - Doo-waps and Hooligans - I like a lot of different music and the choice here was simple, the more songs I liked on an album, the higher I rated it on this list. Bruno and Adele fought for the first spot, but Bruno Mars had a larger number of songs that I liked more in the end. Not to mention a few of my favorite songs of the year and everytime I've seen him perform, he's blown me away.
Honorable Mentions: Katy Perry - "Teenage Dream", Eminem - "Recovery", Mumford and Sons - "Sigh No More"
I don't actually buy that much new music these days, I find a CD is a bit too expensive, but there are some records that really stood out to me this year. Suck It And See by Arctic Monkeys was another fantastic record in the Monkeys' amazing streak, every album sounds different from the last, but they're still the same band, and it's great to see them evolve. Right now, they are pretty much the only band I would consider to be essential. Everything they put out, I will buy. Kanye West is also approaching that status. He's a pop-cultural colossus, bestriding everything from niche music snobs and MTV awards; as such, his collaboration with Jay-Z, Watch The Throne, was an album that really hooked me. I'm not really a big fan of Jay-Z, but hearing the two masters at work was just awesome.
Other than that... I'm not ashamed to admit that Lady Gaga's Born This Way is a brilliant album, one of the best pop records in the last decade; almost every song (except the title track) sticks in your brain. I also liked what I heard of The Whole Love by Wilco, and I was really pleasantly surprised by Noel Gallagher's High-Flying Birds. I went of Oasis about 2 albums ago, but Noel is back to his best, and 'If I Had A Gun' is one of the best songs he's ever done.
I only went to the movies about 3 times this year. I'm way too lazy to organise a trip to the pictures these days. You have to try and find friends to go with, and blah blah, I end up just waiting for the DVD most of the time. What did I see at the movies? Um... Thor, which I really enjoyed a lot. I was never a big Thor fan in the comics, but Chris Hemsworth was brilliant as the main character, and Director Kenneth Branagh gave the film a sense of gravity that stopped it from being too ridiculous. I also saw Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. I don't want to talk too much about it because I know it's only just come out in the US; suffice to say it's brilliant. If you get the chance to see it, grasp it with both hands, Gary Oldman is amazing. Other than that... I was very impressed when I saw Bridesmaids, Paul and Source Code on DVD, although I did feel Bridesmaids was too long. I've kind of failed on the comics nerd front when it comes to movies this year, I still need to see Captain America, Green Lantern, X-Men: First Class and Conan. I'm working on it!
TV for me this year was ruled by Game Of Thrones. I'm a huge fan of the books the series is based on, and the HBO adaptation did not disappoint. Pretty much everything about the show was perfect, the casting, the sets, the action, the superfluous sex, it was just amazing, especially when my family and friends were watching on, accepting a fantasy series like this, and unawares about what fate would befall Ned Stark. HBO had another smash with Boardwalk Empire. I enjoyed the first season, but season 2 was a step up in a big way. There were so many great, cinematic moments in this run, and last week's finale blew me away, I was more shocked by the events in that finale than... I don't even know, I can't wait to see where Terence Winter goes from here. Sons Of Anarchy also had a good season, back to it's best after the Irish vacation, and I personally quite liked the ending, I wasn't particularly expecting for a certain character to die unlike most, so his survival worked for me.
I must also mention the holy triumvirate of NBC comedies in 30 Rock, Community and Parks And Recreation (I've stopped watching The Office). I may get annoyed at pretentious Community fans who think the show is more than it is, but these 3 sitcoms make me laugh like few others, and I think I may be in love with Leslie Knope. Doctor Who annoyed me a lot because I felt it was too complex for it's own good, but it pulled through in the end, and Glee continues to infuriate and delight in equal measure; it's just schizo.
I don't play many video games, but Football Manager 2011 has ruled my life almost all year. I'm still playing it now; I haven't bought 2012 yet! At my worst I play it every day, but I can just about avoid it for a fortnight at most. I'm currently in the year 2049 as one of the most successful managers of all time. I have won the Champion's League 10 times (with both Spurs and Everton), won the World Cup and Euros with France and just won the FA Cup with Charlton. I am a management God, Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola aren't fit to lick my boots. I also played a lot of Pokemon White. Yes every Pokemon game is pretty much the same, but I love them; it's just the perfect RPG experience, and I have an emotional connection with my beloved Emboar! I did feel with this game that once I'd beaten the main quest I didn't really want to continue, completing the Pokedex is too much work these days. 500 Pokemon is too many! Apart from that... I had fun with The Legend Of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, but did that even come out in 2011? I dunno, can't wait for Skyward Sword though. My brother is getting it for Christmas, but I will steal it. Oh yeah, and to my shame I bought Golden Sun: Dark Dawn in April, but still haven't played it! I keep meaning too, I was a huge fan of the first 2 games, but just haven't found the right time to really get stuck into it.
This is a weird one, I don't even know what year most of the books I read in 2011 were released! Who only reads new books? Who can afford all the hardbacks? It's just as good to read classics really. But anyways, I did read some new releases. There were the latest instalments of 3 contemporary fantasy classics, firstly in the shape of George RR Martin's A Dance Of Dragons. I was not disappointed in ADWD at all; it was wonderful, and I think most people's problems with it stem not from the book itself, but from their own misjudged expectations. Any complaints about this one could easily made about books 1-4, and anyway, how can you dislike a book with Tyrion in it? Plus the Reek story was heart-breaking. I also enjoyed The Wiseman's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss, although it was probably too long, and Kvothe is a bit of a twat, but then I suspect that's the point. I should also throw in Joe Abercrombie's The Heroes here, even though I read all 5 of his books in 2011, The Heroes was the only one that actually came out this year, and it was great fun. Plenty of violence and humour, but also with a lot of depth and something to say about War, and some more exciting nuggets about the cold war developing in the background.
Stepping away from fantasy, I also read The Cut by George Pelecanos, which introduced a new character in Spero Lucas, an Iraq Veteran who becomes a detective. I didn't really get into Lucas as a character as much as I did with Pelecanos' other protagonists, but Pelecanos is just such a great crime writer I didn't mind. Other than that... I've just started Grant Morrison's Supergods, which is an odd one, worth reading though, and it really sheds a light on his comics work.
The big one! 2011 was a big year for comics, a lot happened, and I'm still trying to process a lot of it. The thing that dominates this year is probably the DC Reboot, which as we all know, relaunched all of their titles and re-jiggered the continuity. It was a risky move, and the way they did it in Flashpoint was lame, but the end result has worked. There are some really great titles coming out from DC now, Action Comics, Batman, Aquaman, Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Demon Knights, Wonder Woman, Grifter, All-Star Western and more are all kicking ass for me, and even Johns' Green Lantern has gotten a kick up the ass. Yes there's been controversy about sexism, but overall, the DC reboot has been great.
But was it bettered by another reboot? I'm talking about the changes made to the Ultimate Universe this year. "The Death Of Spider-Man" arc was no doubt one of the best stories Brian Michael Bendis has ever written, and I'm not ashamed to say it, but Ultimate Fallout made me cry. And then what followed was just as good, if not better. Miles Morales' origin story is still in progress, but it's been fantastic so far, and it warms my heart to see comics fans embrace a minority hero in such a way. Jonathan Hickman's Ultimates is his best work in a long time, and Ultimate X-Men started off slowly, but is building nicely.
Other stuff that rocked me this year? Marvel had 3 events in 2011, and I enjoyed all 3, Fear Itself, Spider-Island and X-Men: Schism were all events done right: big events, big characters and great art. I particularly loved Schism, it just had so much depth, and the fight between Wolverine and Cyclops blew me away. The ensuing Regenesis books have started off brilliantly too. Wolverine & The X-Men is amazing fun.
In terms of individual books, Uncanny X-Force has been on a roll all year, with the "Dark Angel Saga" being one of the best X-Men stories ever. I haven't read the final chapter at time of writing, so don't spoil! Mark Waid, Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin's relaunch of Daredevil has also been fantastic. I was wary of a 'light' Daredevil, but Waid is too good a writer to just revert to the past, and the book is just as serious as it used to be, but in a different way. it's simplistic to say it's 'fun'; it's not, it's better than that. And the art, my word, the art.
On the non-superhero side of things, there hasn't been too much that excited me this year, or at least, not too much that actually came out this year. Despite reportedly being in crisis, Vertigo had a good year for me. The Unwritten, American Vampire and iZombie continue to be very strong every month, and Scalped and DMZ reached new heights as they neared their ends. Hellblazer has also been fantastic this year, not enough people are talking about what Milligan is doing in that book. Garth Ennis' The Boys also had a good year, getting back on track a bit, and the Butcher, Baker, Candlestickmaker mini-series has been wonderful. But then that is kind of a superhero book isn't it? Um... Oh yeah, Icon! Casanova came back with "Avaritia," and is awesome, mind-bending stuff. Just a shame that it's taking ages for #3 to come out.
Top 5 Albums
5. Glee The Music Volume 7 - The only reason this is on the list is the Rumor Has It/Someone Like You mash-up.
4. Evanescence - Evanescence - The first album in years from the band, and it's a good one.
3. Britney Spears - Femme Fatale - In my opinion, Britney's best album to date.
2. Lady Gaga - Born This Way - As a package this album is amazing. If you listen to it from beginning to end, you definitely get a story. Its not just an album of singles.
1. Kelly Clarkson - Stronger - This album only came out in the end of October, but it definitely is my favorite album of the year. All the songs are great, but the title track, Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You), is to me the best song on the disc.
Top 5 TV Shows
5. Young Justice
3. 2 Broke Girls
2. Once Upon a Time
1. Glee - No surprise to anyone who reads this site that Glee is my favorite show of the year. While some people might place it far lower on a list than I do, to me it continues to hit the notes that have made it one of my favorite shows ever. From the storylines to the music, each week it brings me 1 hour of joy, which very few shows are able to do on a consistent basis.
Top 5 Movies
5. Green Lantern
4. The Muppets
3. Captain America
1. X-Men: First Class - I originally had no faith that this movie would be good. When the movie was announced, it seemed to me that it was gonna be bad and clearly rushed. Boy was I wrong. This movie was great, even with the odd choices of characters, the main characters, Xavier and Magneto were just like the characters I remember from the comics. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender were the perfect choices for the characters. The rest of the cast, yes even January Jones as Emma Frost, were great in their roles. A sequel to this movie can not come quick enough.
Top 5 Comics
5. X-Men Legacy
4. Batman (New 52)
3. Avengers Academy
2. Uncanny X-Force
1. Tie – Uncanny X-men/Wolverine and the X-Men - Spinning out of Schism, (arguably the best X-men story in years), both books have been firing on all cylinders. Sure they've only released a few issues each so far, but those issues I found to be the best books of the year, and the best the X-Books have been in years.
5. Green Lantern
4. X-Men: First Class
3. Captain America: The First Avenger
2. Hobo with a Shotgun
1. The Muppets - I'm a sucker for the Muppets anyway, and they've never been so human before. Loved it.
5. Action Comics by Grant Morrison
4. Incredible Hulk by Jason Aaron and Marc Silvestri
3. Animal Man by Jeff Lemire and Travel Foreman
2. Swamp Thing by Scott Snyder
1. Uncanny X-Force: Dark Angel Saga (issues #10-18) by Rick Remender - This epic eight-part series (nine with the prologue) turned my hobby of comic reading into an obsession. I cannot recommend this enough. Hell, I'll probably get the hardback once they release it.
Honorable mentions include: Supergirl by Michael Green and Mike Johnson; Daredevil by Mark Waid; Venom by Rick Remender
I don't play that many video games, so honorable mentions go to:
Dead Island, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, and Skyrim
5. Barney's Version
2. The Descendants
5. Hell on Wheels
3. Walking Dead
2. Breaking Bad
3. Animal Man (New 52)
2. Batman (New 52)
Top 5 TV Shows
5.) South Park - This season the show had a lot of up's and great episodes that actually made the viewer question if this show was actually going to continue on. Add the finale for this year being a outstanding Kenny episode and puts other animated comedies to shame.
4.) The Big Bang Theory - harmless but funny fluff.
3.) Justified - though coming out earlier this year, this show ironed out its characters more and played around with some new ones for them to deal with. I cannot wait till Season 3 starts up and we return to Harlan County again.
2.) Sons of Anarchy - This show went full throttle onto a constant roller coaster ride.
1.) Breaking Bad - TV at it's finest. Nothing even comes close to the season this show had. Those final episodes of this season trumps every show this year. It filled me with emotions one at a time to all at once.
Honorable Mentions: Beavis and Butthead, Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood (American Dubbed release), and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Top 5 Movies
5.) The Muppets
4.) Captain America
3.) The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo (The American Adaptation)
Honorable Mentions: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Hobo with a Shotgun, The Conspirator, X-Men First Class, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, and Cowboys & Aliens
Top 5 Comics
5.) Batman Inc - a Who's who of Batman characters as they declare war on the mystery group Leviathan. It was a wild wonky ride that ended with a nice ending with just who Batman was dealing with.
4.) Moriarty - A really underrated book that flips the tables on the Sherlock Holmes story with Moriarty as the protagonist and well... Holmes as the antagonist. There's an almost Indiana Jones style to the series I love using historical people in fantasy settings with the Conan Doyle characters as the backdrop to it all.
3.) Uncanny X-Force - throughout the year the series was building to Archangel going to the dark side and when the moment happened the book spun into one of the best tales Marvel put out this year.
2.) Gates of Gotham - The prequel to Scott Snyder and Kyle Higgin's Batman and Nightwing runs is an atmospheric journey into the past of Gotham City and how it was built. We have all the good Bat Kids (Dick Grayson, Tim Drake, Damian Wayne, and Cassandra Cain) working together against a common threat (Architect) with some nice appearances from Penguin and Hush.
1.) Detective Comics (the Black Mirror) - a fantastic run that finished Detective Comics "original" run just as the new 52 came marching in. Pretty much the tale is THE Dick Grayson Batman story to read.
Honorable Mentions: Ultimate Spider-Man: The Death of Spider-Man, G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, TMNT (IDW), Godzilla: Gangsters and Goliaths, X-23, Avengers Academy, Spider-Island, and Batgirl (pre New 52).
Top 5 Comics
5. The Flash
4. Animal Man
2. Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man
1. Uncanny X-Force - This is the one book I can never wait to get. Rick Remender always somehow brings something bigger and better with each issue.
Honorable mentions include: Venom, Xenoholics, and Swamp Thing.
Top 5 Movies
4. Attack the Block
2. Another Earth - Incredible, original, heartfelt. Hard to pick between this and my #1
1. Drive - While Another Earth was such a great breakout performance (in acting and screenwriting) from Brit Marling, this quiet 1980s style, ultra-violent drama was the most surprising and tense experiences I had in the theatre all year. Brilliant.
Honorable Mentions include: The Muppets (almost hurts not to put it in my top 5), X-Men: First Class, and Super-8.
5. Conan O'Brien Can't Stop - Conan is possibly the greatest robot alive.
4. Drive - After the film I drove intensely and murdered some people.
3. X-Men: First Class - A wonderfully acted comic-adapted film.
2. Midnight in Paris - The film made me want to become more cultured.
1. The Artist - Proves that sometimes, dialog doesn't have to get in the way of a great story. It was shot beautifully, scored perfectly and sent me home with a silent smile.
5. Castle - A fun, light-hearted cop show.
4. Homeland - Great acting and strong finish.
3. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - Plan B and fat Mac.
2. Conan - Simply the best.
1. Boardwalk Empire - Every aspect of the show is handled to perfection.
5. FF - I never know what Hickman's getting at, but I'm always excited to find out.
4. Daredevil - Paulo Rivera and Marcos Martin. Nuf said.
3. Moon Knight - Dialog perfect, gritty, LA, street-level superhero story.
2. Detective Comics - Scott Snyder's superhero jewel.
1. Uncanny X-Force - Rick Remender, Jerome Opena and others craft the best ongoing series in print. The story is compelling and fresh, while the characters are old yet lovable. Plus, Deadpool feeds Angel part of his own arm at one point in the series. Yum.
5) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
4) Captain America
3) Super 8
2) Fast Five – While Super 8 may have been the superior overall movie, this gets the 2nd slot due to the fact that it shocked me as to how good it would be. An amazing well done thrill ride from start to finish
1) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – I really should've read the book beforehand, but thanks to this movie, the writer has a new fan. Here's to hoping it gets some recognition during awards season.
5) Tie – Beavis and Butthead and Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes
4) The Walking Dead
3) Game of Thrones
2) My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic – No, you did not read this wrong. After months of avoiding the craze like the plague, some of my friends finally got me to sit down and watch the first 2 episodes of this series. Fast forward 5 days later and not only had I watched all of Season 1,but I was happily hooked on the series and all of its elements. This show has it all, great storytelling, engaging plotting, excellent characterization (for the most part) and development, great music and an overall feel that brings a smile to my face whenever I watch an episode. When all is said and done, MLP: FiM proves that when effort passion and skill come together, quality is almost always sure to come about and it is those things that have made me a proud Brony.
1) Boardwalk Empire: Where do I begin with this show? After taking a chance on it during Season 1 (where I was totally blown away by it), I expected Season 2 to be just as good. What I didn't expect was how masterfully built Season 2 would end up becoming. What started out as an intriguing storyline, turned into one of the most engaging sagas I've partaken. Virtually every moment led to something bigger as it all built to the final 2 episodes that not only celebrated its series most compelling character, but gave him a conclusion that was worthy of storyline. Now, the creative heads of this series must now navigate uncertain waters where this series could crash and burn in a spectacular fashion, but if they're able to see themselves through it, this show has the chance of becoming one of the all-time television greats. If nothing else, it's going to be very interesting to watch the future destiny of this series unfold in front of our eyes.
4) Rayman Origins
3) Sonic Generations
2) King of Fighters XIII: For someone who was a Fighting Game fan before fighting games became cool in 1991, the 2009 renaissance has not been all Sparkles and Rainbows. Both the Street Fighter IV and Marvel vs. Capcom 3 subseries have been a personal disappointment due to overall design choices (with the rosters of both games being the sore spot that hurts the most) that made both games personally unappealing. At the same time, 2011 has also shown me that better days are ahead with the release of Mortal Kombat and my runner up for Game of the Year in King of Fighters XIII. Combining Beautiful Visuals, a classic soundtrack and gameplay that's fun on all levels, King of Fighters XIII not only gets rid of the stench of XII and proves to be worthy of its majestic name, but it give me hope that the best days are yet to come for the" Second Age of the Fighter."
1) Batman: Arkham City – There's a damn good reason why Superhero Games have one of the worst reputations in the medium as most have been produced with the intent of cashing in on an IP that is at its peak of cultural relevance However, Rocksteady Games has once again released a gem with Arkham City. Following on the heels of the phenomenal Arkham Asylum, this game takes Batman into a full section of Gotham itself to battle some of the most notorious criminals in his Rogue's Gallery in an attempt to find out the ultimate purpose of this new Super Prison. During the game most gamers will be compelled to press on because of the engaging story, addicting combat, challenging puzzles and the overall badass feel you get from playing this game. Despite some questionable Business Choices (I still think the way Catwoman was handled was a poorly implemented attempt at a crash grab, which made me not regret waiting till Black Friday so I could snag it for $30), the game is far too great (and functions well, unlike a certain game) for me not to make this my game of the year. Take a bow Rocksteady; you've redefined what we should expect from Superhero Games.
Honorable Mentions: Vampire Smile: The Dishwasher, Sonic CD High Definition, Dark Souls, Catherine, Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Platinum Medal Winners (The Top 5 Comics of the year)
5) Animal Man: If there was ever a personal gateway book for a line, this is most certainly it. In a DCnU
4) Mystery Men: A spectacular Diamond Age Thrill ride (with all the right elements) that just never let go.
3) American Vampire/ American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest – As 2012 dawns on us, there are very few stories I'm looking forward to see unfolding more than this one. Scott Snyder and his creative team have created a world that's as equally frightening as it is compelling and I can't wait to see how the upcoming year adds to an already epic mythos
2) Secret Six – If there will be anything that'll always be missed from the old DCU it'll most certainly be the Gail Simone penned epic staring characters that no one would've ever given a true damn about, otherwise. From start to finish Secret Six was a truly an amazing story filled with great action, amazing character development and a resolution that will be talked about for years to come. When you get right down to it, there are some days I wish that the relaunch were held to January so we could get an even better ending than the one we were treated to. Gail will always be remembered fondly for this piece of work, at least.
1) The Unwritten – In 2009, Mike Carey and Peter Gross introduced us to a world that made us question the power of fiction in everyday life and in 2011, this series took its first step into greatness as Tom Taylor finally accepted the weight of his destiny, the extent of the Cabal's reach was exposed for everyone to see and the true seeds for their inevitable battle were planted. From January to December, there was not another book that was as beautiful, intelligent and consistent as this one and 2012 looks like it's going to be even better.
Written or Contributed by: Royal Nonesuch