Tuesday, January 12, 2016

2015 Year in Review - Part 2

Overall, I bought 124 new comics, 4 fewer than in 2014. Marvel dropped well off, from 101 to 74 (a little under 60%). Although looking at the numbers since 2010, 2015 is business as usual, and 2014 is an aberration. DC had 25 books (just over 20%), which is better than the year before (when it was 16/12.5%), but exactly where it was in 2006, and basically where it was in 2009 (26 comics/18.4%). Obviously its percentage is better, but that's just me buying less Marvel. 4 other publishers split the other 25 comics (a little over two-thirds of that going to Image). That's not the best year for the third party group (2012's 33 books), but it is better than the previous two years, and it's the closest they've come to passing DC. This year they might actually finish the job, if the first 3 months of solicits are anything to go by

Deadpool #1-4: So they relaunched the book, except now Wade's an Avenger and a hero beloved by all (except all the other heroes, who are jerks). But he may not be someone capable of keeping all this responsibilities under control, given how unfamiliar he is with responsibility in general. Brian Posehn is gone, but Gerry Duggan and Mike Hawthorne remain, and Scott Koblish seems like he'll still be drawing issues periodically.

High point: Hawthorne's done some good page layouts, like the one of the Mercs for Money descending the levels of that apartment building in the second issue. And Deadpool as someone known and loved by much of the public is kind of a novel take.

Low point: The idea of Deadpool hiring people dress like him to handle demand seems good in theory, but I've found it kind of a mixed bag in practice. I don't recognize this version of Solo, and I've never given a damn about any version of Foolkiller. Also, I'm kind of dreading the moment everything falls apart for Wade, because you know it's coming.

Deadpool and Cable: Split Second #1: Fabian Nicieza and Reilly Brown return to the duo they did so well with years ago. Only now Wade gets to be on top, because he's more popular. So far, it's been basically what I expected, which is fine with me.

Descender #1-8: Dustin Nguyen and Jeff Lemire's story about a child android who wakes up after a decade asleep to find everyone he knew gone, and a universe that mostly hates and fears mechanical life. Everyone is after TIM, to dissect him, kill him for sport, making him their savior, but TIM would just like to find Andy, the boy he was a friend to in the past. As it turns out, Andy's coming for him, though I could see him doing any number of things when he catches up to him. I enjoy looking at it, but I'd appreciate it if the pace would pick up a little.

High point: Nguyen's art, which is watercolors at least some of the time, is gorgeous. The mystery of the Harvesters intrigues me, and the overall setting of the story is pretty cool. I want to know more about it.

Low point: The story itself is moving really slowly. And I'm not sure I care about most of the characters. Except Driller, who is that kind of gruff but secretly nice kind of character that's easy to like.

Empowered Special #8: Emp's getting a lot of compliments about how well she handles getting absolutely no respect as a hero, despite defeating a series of villains driven nuts by weapons they purchased online with great ease. As it turns out, she's not quite as blase about the disrespect as she appears, but that doesn't mean she's going to go on a murderous rampage over it. Adam Warren wrote and drew all of this particular one-shot.

Harley Quinn #13-16: Harley's team-up with Power Girl ended, only for Harley to find herself swamped trying to juggle all the different aspects of her life. So then she added more to juggle by hiring a bunch of girls (and a guy) to be Harleys and help out with crimebusting and such. I can appreciate the manic tone Conner and Palmiotti seem to be going for, and I felt like Chad Hardin was loosening up his art style as he got more comfortable, but I kind of wanted them to slow down as really focus on something for more than a minute, so I dropped it.

High point: When Harley got those comically huge eyes while pleading her case to Power Girl. Their attempts at crimefighting in general were fun, but that scene was where I thought Hardin really got into spirit of the book.

Low point: I just can't seem to click with Palmiotti and Conner's writing. They may have been going for the feeling that things were slipping through the cracks on Harley, but it kind of felt like stuff was just forgotten until it was convenient for it to appear in the story. Just something artificial about it all.

Harley Quinn and Power Girl #1-6: But, you know, I liked the parts where these two characters were together, so I took a chance on a mini-series that detailed an entire adventure they had between two panels in the main title. Which involved Vartox, and a lot of other silliness, plus a ton of artists between Stephane Roux, Moritat, Elliot Fernandez, and Flaviano.

High point: Vartox is fun, especially when he's given a character to interact with who embraces his style, rather than being repulsed by it. Strictly for novelty value alone, that's interesting. Roux's artwork was excellent, and seemed to embrace the tone of the story.

Low point: It was stretched at 6 issues. Some things seemed unnecessary - the Harvester of Sorrows - and some of the gags were drawn out more than was advisable.

Hawkeye #21, 22: Oh thank goodness this series finally ended. Kate returned, Barney stole Clint's money (but Clint still works with SHIELD, so it shouldn't have been that hard to find him and take it back), the stupid clown guy was beaten. But Clint refused to kill him, so at least Fraction and Aja got that part right. I have never been so excited for a series, only to end up so disappointed. Let's just move on.

Henchgirl #1-3: A print version of Kristen Gudsnuk's ongoing webcomic about Mary, who is part of a butterfly-themed criminal gang, but would much rather have a real job and not hurt people. She's finding that somewhat difficult, but has some helpful friends, so she was able to keep her gang from defunding the new orphanage project.

High point: I like themed villain gangs that just want to steal stuff. Gudsnuk's art has enough range to make Mary this spastic, flailing ball of energy at times, or proudly confident, or a blubbery mess as needed.

Low point: It's early enough I don't have anything to really complain about. The specific rules of the universe are still unfamiliar to me, so it's hard to say anything feels out of place.

Illuminati #1, 2: Even if I find it difficult to take the Hood seriously as a big-time villain, I like Shawn Crystal's art, so I figured I'd give it a shot. So far, it has some intriguing elements, but there are other parts I'm just not sure about, and I can't decide if it's deliberate hints, or weak writing on Joshua Williamson's part. It's teetering, assuming it doesn't get canceled before I make up my mind.

Tomorrow, almost everything Secret Wars-related I bought in 2015! Plus one ongoing series I really liked, and a couple of others that died quickly.


SallyP said...

God, I do love Vartox. And yes, Hawkeye did end with a bit of a whimper, but the rest of it was pretty amazing. Can't say the same for the new one though.

CalvinPitt said...

I need to reread all of Hawkeye in one go at some point. I suspect I'll remember how much I liked the early parts, and maybe I won't mind all that drag in the middle so much.