Tuesday, February 11, 2014

2013 Comics In Review - Part 2

I imagine few people care about the stat stuff I put in these opening paragraphs, but too bad, it's my blog. Neener-neener. So, 131 new comics this year. Last night I started adding it up in my head, and when I did it by different publishing companies, it came out fine, but when i went by how many I was going to cover each day, it came out at 130. Which meant I had to get up and look over my list until I realized I was just making an addition error on the second approach. don't try to do maths while also trying to go to sleep. Anyway, that sets a new record low since the start of the blog, narrowly beating 2010's 134. The last 4 years have all been around the same number, within a range of five.

Even so, Marvel had it's best year in some time. 80 whole books, reversing a downward trend that's been going since 2009. It narrowly edged out 2010 (by 1 comic), but it's an improvement of about 15 of last year. So I guess Marvel NOW! is working on me, assuming they don't shoot themselves in the foot with all these price hikes. DC, meanwhile, had its worst year since 2009, dropping to 28 books. 2010 was DC's high point for me, and it's been downhill since then. And that just so happened to be the last full year before the relaunch! Hmm, strange. As for all other publishers, they topped out at 23 books, which is down a bit from the last two years, though only narrowly worse than 2011 (25 books). It's still quite a bit better than any of the other years. I'm going to save any talk about percentages or looking ahead to this year for tomorrow. I always wind up with one day less of introductory stuff than I need.

Batman Beyond Unlimited #12-17: JT Krul and Howard Porter kept doing their Superman thing, and I kept not enjoying it. Norm Breyfogle and Adam Beechen wrapped up the Joker King arc, with an aftermath chapter drawn by Peter Nguyen, and then a new arc involving the Metal Men drawn by Adam Archer. Dustin Nguyen departed Justice League, leaving Derek Fridolfs as sole writer and a host of artists, from Fiona Staples, Jorge Corona, and Ben Caldwell to handle the load. But the loss of Breyfogle and Nguyen was enough to convince me to drop the book, though it was canceled a month or so later, so moot point.

High Point: Norm Breyfogle's art, the Joker King arc in general.

Low Point: All the Superman Beyond stuff. I hated Porter's art, and the story simply didn't work for me. Also, I'm not sure I like Dick Grayson as an embittered old man. If Batman ends up making his adopted son just like him, that's a pretty big failure on Batsy's part. And as much as I enjoy Batman failing, that's not really the kind I'm looking for.

Captain America #3-11: Rick Remender gave Cap an adopted son, who happened to be Zola's son. Zola and his daughter Jet tracked them down, nearly killed Cap, took Ian back, so Zola could brainwash him. But Cap came back, convinced Jet to help him, just in time for Ian to try killing him, only to be shot in the throat by Sharon Carter. Who then killed herself blowing up a giant Zola. And now Cap is grim and mopey. John Romita Jr. drew most of it, though he was down to breakdowns by the last couple issues, with Klaus Janson and Scott Hanna mostly doing finishes, which led to some really erratic looking art. The last issue I bought, Carlos Pacheco had taken over.

High Point: Um, Zola's battle armor mode he attacked with in issue 5 or so looked kind of cool. The Phrox would have been nice, if they were the start of many alien cultures Cap would meet.

Low Point: The book wasn't what I wanted. I wanted to explore the strange new world Cap was in, not watch him get progressively torn up fighting Zola and his stupid fake Captain Zolandias. And Remender just never made me care that much about Ian. And killing Sharon Carter seemed pointless.

Captain Marvel #9-17: Carol has herself an apartment, neighbors, maybe even a piloting job working for Frank Gianelli. She also had a tumor that meant she wasn't supposed to fly, but once she kept getting attacked by Deathbird, she couldn't help herself. Which made the Kree Yon-Rogg even more powerful, until he tried to recreate the Throneworld city on top of NYC. So Carol stopped him by flying until her brain kind of crapped out and she lost her memories. Then there was an Infinity tie-in. Then the series ended. Kelly Sue DeConnick wrote most of it, working with Jen van Meter on the Infinity tie-ins, and Christopher Sebela on some of the earlier issues. Filipe Andrade drew 5 of the issues, with Scott Hepburn and Gerardo Sandoval handling the Yon-Rogg thing, and Pat Olliffe the Infinity stuff.

High Point: The fights with Deathbird were pretty good, it worked to Andrade's strengths as an artist with a lot of energy in their work. The supporting cast was nice. I actually cared about them (see my complaint about Ian in the Captain America entry).

Low Point: The whole thing with Yon-Rogg wasn't great, because I don't really care about stuff related to Mar-Vell, and I only bought 40% of it anyway, so it was kind of a mess to read. But the worst part was the Infinity tie-in. Don't care, doooooonnnn't care. Some event tie-ins are good, most aren't. This one didn't work.

Daredevil #22-34: Mark Waid and Chris Samnee mostly sharing "storyteller" credit, with Javier Rodriguez handling the color art, when he wasn't drawing the book himself (he did that 3 times). Ryan Copland also drew one issue near the end of the year. Busy year for Matt. Found the person behind all the disparate attacks on him over the previous year, but not after almost being beaten to death by someone with his powers, but also functioning eyes. Then there's Foggy's ongoing battle with cancer, which prompted him to ask Kirsten McDuffie to take his spot at their law firm, producing romantic tension for Matt. Then he got into it with the racist Sons of the Serpent, who are quite well dug into the NYC justice system. He's called them out, but we'll see how that ends up working out for him.

High Point: Samnee's art, obviously. Javier Rodriguez' art, and color work. Waid's ability to write a Matt who takes things seriously when need be, but does not let it turn him into a grim, depressed guy. In more general terms, the bit where Matt convinces the Silver Surfer to let Matt control the surfboard. But the best part was issue #25, Matt's first battle with Ikari. That fight was gorgeous, intense, entertaining, and had an excellently done surprise at the end.

Low Point: I was going to say the Spider-Ock appearance in #22, just on principle, but no. I'm going with Matt possibly letting Bullseye be blinded by toxic waste. I'm not opposed to Bullseye being blinded; I'm not nearly a good enough human being for that, but I was perfectly content with Matt being trapped under rubble and unable to reach him. Matt could still take a certain enjoyment in it after, that's a little dark, and can work as a sign of that mindset he's trying to work against. There isn't any need to have Matt sit by and let it happen.

I know, not many titles today. Tomorrow it'll go the opposite direction, a lot of books with not very many issues a piece.


SallyP said...

I have to say that Daredevil has been consistently fabulous.

So...so fabulous.

I dunno...131 books seems pretty good!

CalvinPitt said...

Yeah, I think the best mark is that there are only about 30 where I decided they definitely weren't staying in my collection. So the great majority were good books I want to hold on to. That's the most important thing, but I'm kind of a stat dork, so I keep track of the numbers.