Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Weekly Crisis Pick Their Favourites of 2011

2011 was a magnificent year for comics. There were so many awesome things to enjoy and so we wanted to put together a little guide to help you wade through the back issues and trades over the coming few months. Here, Ryan, Ken, and Grant pick their favourite things about 2011. We aren't after defining the best, or telling you what you must read - we are just sharing what we absolutely loved about 2011. There's writers and fights and covers and everything after the jump so we'll see you there!

Favourite Writer

Ryan's Favourite Writer – Rick Remender

Pound for pound, Remender offered me the most fun for the year. He took an X-book and made it amazing fun. It helps I also read his Franken-CASTLE in January but mostly he gets this for his Uncanny X-Force issues. Such amazing quality throughout the whole year. Golden.

Ken's Favourite Writer – Scott Snyder

It feels a bit redundant always choosing Snyder for this, but anyone who's read his work, notably his Detective Comics and Batman runs, knows the guy is one of the best talents in the industry. Swamp Thing, Severed, and American Vampire are just one step below his current Dark Knight work.

Grant's Favourite Writer – Brian Azzarello

There are tons of writers I could have selected for my year's favourite, but I ultimately have to give it to Brian Azzarello because Knight of Vengeance and Wonder Woman were so good. Knight was one of the few shining parts of Flashpoint, and it was dazzling; Wonder Woman is the title the characters has long deserved, and it's wonderful.

Favourite Artist

Ryan's Favourite Artist – Jerome Opeña

Another nod for Uncanny X-Force. I know an artist is good when I imagine every script I write in his pencils. The man brought whole other worlds to life while still conveying the emotion that was so heavily woven into the longform tale.

Ken's Favourite Artist – Stuart Immonen

Immonen's art single handily carried a below average Fear Itself story much more than it should have, on top of being the first big Marvel event to arrive on time since Maximum Security. And the guy always changes his style to fit the book he works on, a true professional in the industry.

Grant's Favourite Artist – J.H. Williams III

J.H. Williams III is the best in the biz. Batwoman is a book of staggering beauty, and it's all him. Never satisfied with what he's done before, Williams III always seems to be trying something new, and it's always gorgeous. I could look at his work all day and never get tired of it.

Favourite Colourist

Ryan's Favourite Colourist – Dean White

Seeing a trend yet? Dean White's colours were stupendous this past year. This is more something you should see so cast your glazzies over this page. Yeah, they all looked this good.

Ken's Favourite Colorist – Laura Martin

Simple yet effective, I think Martin's biggest talent is knowing what a colorists place is in the comic creating process. If it doesn't call for shadows or additional texture, no need to add it. When you can't tell the colorist is adding their own layer to the process, I think that's a sign it's being done correctly.

Grant's Favourite Colourist – Bettie Breitweiser

I don't know nearly as many colourists as I should, but Breitweiser really grabbed me with her work on Captain American and Bucky. While Chris Samnee's art was great, it was Breitweiser's colours that really made this book sing.

Favourite Cover Artist

Ryan's Favourite Cover Artist – Jock

Jock's Detective Comics covers were good, and his Joker cover is as good as you have no doubt heard, but he gets my nod for his consistently brilliant work on the Scalped covers. The rising casino chips with the town on the top was the knees of the bees.

Ken's Favourite Cover Artist – Jock

His Losers covers were always a treat, but those Detective Comics covers could easily compete with anything James Jean was doing for Fables.

Grant's Favourite Cover Artist – Mike Mignola

I love Mike Mignola covers. They do everything that I want my comic book covers to do. They're evocative, tell a story all on their own, and are actually representative of what's going on in the comic proper. What more could you ask for?

Favourite Ongoing Title

Ryan's Favourite Ongoing Title – Uncanny X-Force

I'd give the nod of "Best" title to Scalped - that quality cannot be ignored, but the book I always wanted to crack open this year was Uncanny X-Force. I guess one of the many reasons was because of the writing, and the art, and the colour, etc. This long tale held meaning as well as bombastic moments. The Dark Angel Saga is indeed everything that's right with comics.

Ken's Favourite Ongoing Title – Daredevil

Since the DC reboot did a creative shuffle on all the titles, Daredevil gets top spot because it was the most consistent in 2011. Mark Waid writing a fun book, Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin making their art stand out in imaginative ways for the blind hero, there's nothing wrong with smiling superheroes.

Grant's Favourite Ongoing Title – Batwoman

I may have already offered J.H. Williams III lots of praise up in my favourite artist, but that's not going to stop me from giving him some more. This is the book I'm always excited for come Comic Book Day. Williams' art alone would make Batwoman worth buying, but he and W. Haden Blackman are also doing a brilliant job writing this title, making it a perennial must read.

Favourite Mini

Ryan's Favourite Mini – Criminal: Last of the Innocent

This book was sublime. I'd put it right up there with another Criminal arc, Bad Night. Maybe not quite as good, but so damn close. This mini opens extremely strong, with possibly the categorically best issue of the year, and the quality holds mostly for the whole four issues. This is great crime, and a great crime to miss.

Ken's Favourite Mini – Marvel Universe vs. Wolverine

The prequel to Maberry's excellent Marvel Universe vs. Punisher, Wolverine is used very well as the man who is witnessing the world fall apart around him, and having to do what he does best to help the super-scientists find a cure. Along with a very good epilogue, this was a mini that will hopefully get more attention in collected form.

Grant's Favourite Mini – Mystic

As much as I dug Azzarello's Knight of Vengeance, I would be fooling myself to claim my favourite mini as anything other than Mystic. I've gone on at great length as to why I feel that this is a must read book, so I won't bore you with repetition. Just know that I really think you should read this if you haven't already.

Favourite New Series

Ryan's Favourite New Series – Green Wake

Green Wake really spoke to me. I've put a lot of people onto this comic and many come back and tell me they also loved it, and some say it wasn't for them but they can see the quality. I guess it is one of those books. It might not be for everyone - it's a warped mystery of gore and emotion - but those it is for it is directly for. I love this series and look forward to reading more instalments over the coming years.

Ken's Favourite New Series – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

I thought this was going to be a simple cash grab like Transformers Generation 1 was at the start of the millennium, but the book is doing great things by using both the 80's comics and cartoons and merging them together in a fun series that will appeal to any pizza power turtle fan.

Grant's Favourite New Series – Roger Langride's Snarked!

I'm always happy to see Roger Langridge writing and drawing on ongoing series. I'm even happier when it's one that is as good and as much fun as Snarked! A delectable combination of Lewis Carroll inspiration and Roger Langridge originality.

Favourite Single Issue

Ryan's Favourite Single Issue – Batman & Robin #26

This single issue, written by David Hine, is a strange beast where the writer compresses an arc into one issue and thus plays fast and loose with his structure and style. The result is a single issue that impresses on many levels and left me with loads to think about afterward. I love a good experiment but I love a success even more. You should track just this one down, even if you didn't read any other Batman & Robin issues at all.

Ken's Favourite Single Issue – Batgirl #22

As I mentioned in my ten best single issues post, it's just a fun team-up book that was Batgirl and Squire having fun. Because that's all they really want, some fun when the working day is done.

Grant's Favourite Single Issue – Jimmy Olsen #1

While parts of Nick Spencer and R.B. Silva's Jimmy Olsen one-shot actually came out the year before in the back up feature of Action Comics, this issue was too funny and too much fun to not be my favourite of the year. There should be more books like this one coming out. Lots more.


Favourite OGN

Ryan's Favourite OGN – Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand

Wow, just stupidly gorgeous. It really is the visual successor to Asterios Polyp in so many ways. This is the sort of OGN you buy and study if you want to be involved with comic art in any capacity.

Grant's Favourite OGN – One Soul

 I'm honestly not entirely sure how much press or fanfare Ray Fawkes' One Soul got this past year, but I can tell you with certainty that it didn't get enough. I picked up this book on a whim, and it is probably the best thing I read over the past twelve months. For those who aren't aware, Fawkes' book doesn't tell one story. It tells 18. All at the same time. Sound confusing? It is a little, but it's also something to behold. Each page has a classic nine panel grid, so over two pages, each story gets one panel. They're always in the same order, and they're all about different characters at different points in history. And it works. It works really well. One Soul is one of the most exciting, innovative, and enjoyable comics that I read in 2011, and I cannot recommend it enough.

Favourite Fight

Ryan's Favourite Fight – Fantomex-Psylocke-Dark Angel

This was the psychological showdown of the year. This brewed and bubbles over and burnt all year and when it came to a head it was just as good as we all hoped. I can't spoil what happens - that would be too soon - but it's pretty sublime when you consider it's a knuckle up between a snooty French guy, a chick with a tiny outfit up her ass, and some dude with metal wings. Great comics made this so much more and this is how the spandex fisticuffs should forevermore go down.

Ken's Favourite Fight – Annihilators vs. Avengers

It's common practice for the hero in his own book to usually come out on top in these kind of misunderstanding fights, but early on in issue #2 Abnett and Lanning make a point of showing the Avengers being completely outclassed by Quasar's  cosmic team, seeing Earth's Mightiest as nothing more than a nuisance.

Grant's Favourite Fight – Barbara vs. James Jr.

Holy jumping jehosephats! This fight, which concluded Scott Sndyer's Detective Comics run in issue #881, might be more accurately described as James hunting his helpless sister, but it was friggin' amazing. Brutal as heck, it was so shocking that I actually had to stop reading for a bit when Babs finally starts fighting back. *shudder*

Favourite Main Character

Ryan's Favourite Character – Fantomex

ha, who knew this guy would ever be relevant, or awesome, again? I certainly didn't see it coming. Fantomex quickly became one of the best things about an already great title. His dialogue was somewhere between Warren Ellis patois and Deadpool but it was his actions that enthralled me. Fantomex thinks ahead. He plans, he waits, he twists, he manipulates, and he succeeds. It's truly amazing to watch him operate in the situations his team found themselves in this year. The fact I dig Fantomex so much right now is a main reason I believe Remender succeeded so hard on Uncanny X-Force this year.

Ken's Favourite Character – Dick Grayson

Dick has always shown a leadership and growth to his character, being one of the few comic creations to actually grow over time. This is why Dan Didio was met with staunch objection to killing the first boy wonder in Infinite Crisis. But since Bruce went on his time traveling vacation, Dick grew even more as Batman. And with Detective Comics and Gates of Gotham, we saw that he can not only solve cases despite not being as analytical as Bruce or Tim, but still command the respect of other heroes and the bat-clan. In the long run Bruce will always be made to be Batman, but it says something when the fans were genuinely sad that Dick went back to his Nightwing persona with the DC reboot.

Grant's Favourite Character – Atomic Robo

This one isn't even a contest. In my opinion, Atomic Robo is kind of the greatest, so he's obviously going to be my favourite. Although it definitely didn't hurt that, over the course of the year, he squared off with Dr. Dinosaur, got into adventures of derring do in the 1930s, and had to deal with the Ghost of Station X. Some good stuff, that.

Favourite Supporting Character

Ryan's Favourite Supporting Character – James Book

American Vampire keeps on trucking along in high quality style and I was surprised to see James Book really capture my attention. he's always been a good character but in the Survival of the Fittest mini ge suddenly became this very cool guy I was totally immersed in. Scott Snyder did a great job expanding this character and making me care an insane amount for him.

Ken's Favourite Supporting Character – Dr. Nemesis

Arrogance has never been so fun to read. You know how Luthor always says he could fix everything if Superman would just be out of the way? Well, Nemesis acts like that only on a bigger scale, where everyone on the planet is a Superman.Yet he still fixes everything!

Grant's Favourite Supporting Character – Frog-Man

He may have appeared in more than one issue (although I kind of doubt it), but Frog-Man did more than enough in Spider-Island: The Avengers to win me over. He stole every single scene he was in and had me guffawing quite heartily.

Favourite Villain

Ryan's Favourite Villain – Angel

Cool, detached, nasty, directed. Angel was always a soft sell, the guy on the team/mission you cared the least for. Not the most interesting, a frankly useless power set, and Remender turned him into something new and fascinatingly nasty. He solved the entity known as Archangel and he opened up a whole new landscape for the man to operate in.
Ken's Favourite Villain – James Gordon

It is very, very hard to pull off the idea that someone could have been crazy since he was a kid, but at the same time maybe it's all just a complete misunderstanding. But this is done so well with James Gordon, and how it's built up so convincingly over 12 issues, that we have a true Joker for Dick Grayson now in terms of rogues.

Grant's Favourite Villain – Jack O'Lantern

I really like the look of Jack O'Lantern. I think his getup is pretty danged cool. It's also pretty alright that he happens to be an interesting and rather messed up guy who's been quite the pain in Flash Thompson's side of late.

Favourite Moment

Ryan's Favourite Moment – Fury V Von Strucker

This took place in Secret Warriors #27 and it was pretty damn cool. You don't see it coming, and then BAM, it's gone. If Hickman did anything perfectly in Secret Warriors, it was write Fury. This culmination of decades worth of feuds was spot on. A truly worthy splash page.

Ken's Favourite Moment – Krypto wins race vs. Superboy and Kid Flash

The comic book version of the tortoise and the hares, as Krypto has trouble keeping up with a charity race around the world. But the perky pup keeps going while the two titans sit around and talk about their problems, leaving the opportunity for the greatest dog in the DCU to swoop in and win. It was a moment that was telegraphed from the beginning of the issue, but it was the highpoint of the Superman family books for 2011. Silly yet completely fun.

Grant's Favourite Moment – The Day of Marla Jameson's Funeral

The opening to Amazing Spider-Man #655 was something special. Dan Slott and Marcos Martin delivered ten pages that were completely devoid of dialogue that said far more than any amount of words ever could. The panel where you see Jonah is still wearing his wedding ring still gets me.


Ryan's Favourite COMICS! – The Cape

This book is one hell of a lot of fun. It pushes the boundaries of what a comic is, and what it can do. It's nasty, moody, funny, and the sort of thing you can only digest in panels. You want to slow down, really look at our lead, and just hope we don't know anyone like him. The Cape is far too good to be ignored.

Ken's Favourite COMICS! – Green Lantern

It's not the deepest book on the shelf, but Johns has put his usual quirks to the side to just tell a big story that tries to rehabilitate Sinestro, and Hal Jordan is just along for the ride. Add to it Mahnke's lovely art, it just has the perfect blend of keeping your attention every issue. Batman is redefining DC's flagship hero in big ways, Daredevil is all about beating up bad guys with a smile, but Green Lantern represents what a superhero comic should reach for; big fights, some clever moments, a sense of using past stories to move forward.

Grant's Favourite COMICS! – Batgirl (Bryan Q. Miller's)

I had an incredible fondness for Bryan Q. Miller's Batgirl. It told an engaging story, had wonderfully developed characters, and struck the prefect balance of earnestness and humour. It didn't reinvent the wheel, but you don't always need that. Sometimes you just want a book that you know is going to be fun as all get out. This title never disappointed on that front.


We want to know what the glorious TWC readership loved the most in 2011. Let us know your thoughts, in any category, in the comments below.

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CombatSpoon86 said...

Alot of great picks. Ryan I def. agree with ya on Uncanny X-force big time. Remender, Hickman, Snyder and Lemire remind me why I love comics of today. Daredevil has to be my favorite ongoing of 2011 which edged out X-force by just a smidge.

CombatSpoon86 said...

I just also got the entire Batgirl run by Miller in trade for X-mas. I can't believe how great this book was. Makes the current Batgirl run just plain ordinary. Another one of favorite runs of 2011 was Secret Six. I was just so upset it had to end. Thanks Dc.

btownlegend said...

Red Robin was fantastic til it just wasn't. Batgirl by Miller was awesome also. Snyder was the writer of the year as Black Mirror kept you guessing, the artist is Cliff Chiang. His run on Wonder Woman and the Zatanna arc he did...just modern. Lets see how Wolverine and the X-men go in 2012!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Markus said...

Great picks. Although I was expecting to see something about Spider Island... Slott rocked the house, didn't he?

Pat said...

Can't believe there was no mention of Secret Six! has everyone forgotten it already?

Anonymous said...

not trying to spam, just want to share this comic inspired short


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