Wednesday, January 13, 2010

It was the worst of times...

Starlord returns in his second blog! This time I shall enthrall you all with what I thought was the best and worst of D.C. Comics. Keep in mind that D.C. has always been my favorite of the big two, so this was a bit harder for me.

D.C. (The Best)

5. Wonder Woman: Not since the days of Greg Rucka has our favorite Princess been so spot on. With bizarre Gorilla friends helping her, new villains to blend in with the old ones, and a return of the Gods; Gail Simone has raised the bar once again for Amazon stories. I hope the next writer chosen can maintain the quality that this book puts out on a monthly basis.

4. Supergirl: Last year I believe I had this title in my worst category. What a difference a year makes! Probably the best thing to come out of the New Krypton story, Supergirl has finally found her footing. Who would have thought that bringing in her parents was all she needed. Much praise must go to Sterling Gates for turning this book that was not readable in the least to a must read in less than a year.

3. Geoff Johns: Say what you want (and many of you will), but Geoff is to D.C. what Bendis is to Marvel. He's the architect to everything in the universe right now. His Blackest Night is both fun and dark. He's made the original Brave and the Bold center stage once more. His work on changing the status quo in the Superman books have been controversial perhaps, but still well worth reading (for the most part). The man knows comics. He knows what the fanboys like and except for one huge gaff, he delivers time and time again.

2. The Secret Six: Hands down the best book D.C. has out right now. Gail Simone is at her absolute best with these characters. She's able to use her zany sense of humor and somewhat warped persona that she keeps for just this occasion to great advantage. In her hands, Catman has went from a second stringer to one of the best Anti-Heroes I've ever seen in comics. She's even made Bane fun to read. If you haven't been reading this book, you're missing out. This is the reason I fell in love with comics oh those many years ago. Damn near perfection!

1. Blackest Night: This could very well have been nothing more than your typical zombie event that seems to be gripping the comic industry lately, but instead it made a right turn into a much more humanizing story. Under the more than capable hands of Geoff Johns we are shown just how much misery our heroes have faced in the last few years with the death of so many loved ones. The creation of the Rainbow Lanterns is a fascinating twist that I hope continues way after the event is over. But the best part of this is that with the reveal of Nekron we may actually get an explanation of why so many of our heroes have been returning from the death to begin with. 2009 was all about death in the D.C. Universe, and it's never been more entertaining.

D.C. (The Worst)

5. The Web: Actually all of these characters that were purchased from D.C. could probably tie for this spot. The relaunch was weak and the delivery of the series was worse. Even bringing in Oracle to the Web in hopes of tying him more into the D.C. Universe proper did nothing to help this exercise in paper waist If this was their plan all along, they should have saved their money.

4. Superman: I'm going to be brief with this one because really, it's only logical: You can't have a book with its title character no longer in it. It just doesn't work. And really, Mon-El? Come on!

3. Cry for Justice: Even the amazing art of this book couldn't save it from becoming the biggest letdown of 2009. It has languished in "who cares anymore" land for months now. While the rest of the world turns, this story seems to be frozen in time. There has yet to be a real cohesive story involved and it's now obvious that Robinson's original plan for this mini series was changed drastically when he was given the writing position of the JLA. Now the art really is some of the best of the year, but I still couldn't recommend this title to anyone. Really, does anyone else care about any part of it except when it is going to end? The justice in this is if we are given our money back with an apology.

2. Flash: Rebirth: As much as I loves my Geoff Johns, I still can't figure out why this had to happen. I loved Barry Allen. I'm a child of the Silver Age, and even I didn't want to see him come back. One of the greatest sacrificial deaths in comic history was ripped apart with Barry's return and for what reason? So that Nekron can go chasing after him again? So those of us who have fallen in love with Wally as the scarlet speedster can fret about his future? Sorry Mr. Johns, but this really was only for you and maybe Dan. You should have taken notes from John Q's playbook with Spider-Man - the past isn't always worth revisiting.

1. All things Titans: I have never seen a franchise in this much disarray. The Titans book sucks. The Teen Titans are wondering around without meaning or purpose. There is no cohesiveness to this part of the D.C. Universe that needs a total remake like this part. And if they aren't going to fix the problems (and there are so many), then do those of us who love this team a favor and put us out of our misery. Fix them stat or cancel them. I'm pretty sure even Garth would sign a do not resuscitate document if he realized how long these guys have been lingering at death's door with no bright light in the near future.

Now, with all that said and done, I'd have to say that this year goes to Marvel Comics. They were much stronger in story (if not art), and continuity. Their space adventures are better than D.C.'s by leaps and bounds and while Batman and Superman seem to be waisting away; Marvel's trinity of Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor have never been stronger.

2009 goes to Marvel. Nuff said!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

It was the best of times...

Hello true believers! It is I, Starlord, starting my own Super Geek Blog as part of my New Years resolution. For those who don't know me, I'm a gay man in his forties whose love for everything comics and superheroes goes back as far as I can remember. I have a husband of nearly 13 years and we have four wonderful children that we share with two beautiful ladies who have been partners for over 20 years.

I spend most of my time on two websites, on my down time, and sometimes on my work time. 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: 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.