Posts Tagged ‘Green Arrow’

My Top 10 Superhero Comic Books of 2017

December 20, 2017

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It’s been an interesting year for superhero comic books. DC’s been trucking along with “Rebirth,” telling a lot of fun stories in the mix. Marvel’s been more split, with half the line spending a considerable part of the year embroiled in weird Nazi/Hydra antics while several of the titles that avoided Secret Empire put out some very enjoyable adventures. When I sat down to figure out my favourite superhero comics of the year, I was amused to see my list split down the middle, half DC and half Marvel! While I’d definitely say that DC had the better year overall, qualitywise, Marvel’s good books were VERY good.

Before we get to the list, though, I should point out that it’s been a great year for non-superhero comics, too. The cape books are my main focus here, of course, but I’ve been enjoying all sorts of other titles. More specifically, Bitch Planet: Triple Feature was excellent, as was the latest “season” of Sex Criminals from Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky. I’ve also been enjoying Goldie Vance by Hope Larson and Brittney Williams, the latest volume of George O’Connor’s Olympians was fantastic as always, and Paper Girls from Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang remains gorgeous if all over the place, storywise. I’m always down for Cliff Chiang art! There’s no lack of wonderful comics out there right now across all sorts of genres and styles.

But now, onto my favourite superhero comic books of the year! Check out the list, and let me know your favourites from the past year in the comments:

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10) Batman by Tom King, Mikel Janin, Joelle Jones, and more

I’m reading Batman in trade so I’m a little bit behind, but I’m enjoying the heck out of it. I was leery of it initially, since the premises didn’t grab me. Superpowered heroes in Gotham? More Bane shenanigans? I didn’t think it’d be for me. Then I read the books and was quickly proved wrong. King and his excellent array of artists make it all work beautifully. And of course, I love the prominent role that Catwoman has in the run. She’s become a major player here, and while she and Batman are bad ass and cool, as always, compassion seems to be the core of both characterizations. It’s good stuff, and often beautifully drawn.

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9) Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by Ryan North and Erica Henderson

This book has been amazing for a while now, and it showed no signs of slowing down on that front in 2017. Is Ryan North still writing it? Is Erica Henderson still drawing it? Is Squirrel Girl still eating nuts and kicking butts? Then it’s going to remain great. And it has! North and Henderson bring so much heart and humour to the comic. It’s just a joy to read, and served as a most welcome counter to the bleak storylines that took over a lot of Marvel books this year. If you like delightful things, then go start reading Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.

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8) Green Arrow by Benjamin Percy, Otto Schmidt, and more

I’ve enjoyed the stories in Green Arrow over the past year well enough, but I’ll be honest: The book made my Top 10 for Otto Schmidt alone. His art is SO GOOD. His pages just sing. The art isn’t terribly out there for a superhero book, but it’s absolutely unique and different and stands out from everything else on the stands right now. I think part of it is that he colors it himself, and everything on the page feels so cohesive and complimentary. It’s really remarkable stuff. Green Arrow cycles through a variety of artists, like most DC books right now, and while they’re all pretty solid, Schmidt’s work is just next level. I want him to draw every superhero now.

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7) All New Wolverine by Tom Taylor, Leonard Kirk, Nik Virella, and more

Step aside, old Wolverine. You were fun while you lasted, but the new Wolverine is so much better. She’s got everything we expect from a Wolverine: claws, ferocity, a propensity for going after anyone who threatens her friends with a berserker rage. But instead of being a mopey guy who’s been around forever, she’s a cantankerous yet endearing young woman. Plus she’s assembled a great supporting cast over the course of this run. It’s a fun, exciting book, and I’m completely fine with never seeing the old Wolverine again now.

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6) Detective Comics by James Tynion IV, Eddy Barrows, Marcio Takara, and more

Team books can be a tricky thing. There are a lot of characters to manage, and a few always end up taking a backseat while a handful come to the fore. Tynion and his rotating teams of artists have struck an impressive balance here, largely by backseating the character you’d expect to see more than anyone else: Batman. He’s a key figure, but doesn’t dominate the book. Instead, Batwoman leads the team and the spotlight gets shared by Azrael, Batwing, Clayface, Orphan, and Spoiler. The degree of attention ebbs and flows, but no one goes too long without a good storyline or an important role. The book also manages to tell its own stories while weaving in and out of the bigger events at DC over the past year. It’s a solid Bat-team book that I always find myself looking forward to.

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5) Mighty Thor by Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, and more

I’m a big fan of the classic Thor, but what Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman have done with Jane Foster as Thor is far and away my favourite take on the character yet. It’s been a huge year for her, with an intergalactic war and darkness spreading through the nine realms, not to mention the return of Odinson and the emergence of the War Thor. But amid all of the epicness, the story of Jane battling cancer and sacrificing her well-being to be the hero the world, nay, the universe needs has been so beautifully told. The heart Aaron and Dauterman bring to their crazy action and adventure is what makes this one of the best books on the stands.

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4) Wonder Woman by Greg Rucka, Shea Fontana, Mirka Andolfo, Bilquis Evely, and more

Not right now, obviously. Wonder Woman has been garbage since James Robinson et al. took over a few months ago. But before that, the book was having a great year. The wrap up of the “Godwatch” and “The Truth” arcs was a powerful, well-executed conclusion to an excellent run that provided a much needed revitalization of Wonder Woman after a rough few years. Then we got “Heart of the Amazon,” which was an awesome team up between Diana and Etta Candy that pitted them against superpowered assassins and evil scientists. Now the book is about Wonder Woman and her brother and it suuuuuuuuuuuuuuucks, but up until then it was a really great year of stories.

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3) Mister Miracle by Tom King and Mitch Gerads

People were raving about this book before the first issue even came out, and with all of that buzz building and building, I came into this with high expectations. Mister Miracle beat those expectations with ease. The first issue especially is just masterful storytelling. It’s intentionally disorienting yet it pulls you along, and when you finally realize what’s happening it’s a gut punch that is heartbreaking yet so perfect for the character. Subsequent issues have been fascinating in their own right. It’s a unique, compelling book that is a worthy vehicle for Mister Miracle and Big Barda, two of Jack Kirby’s best creations.

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2) Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson, Marco Failla, Takeshi Miyazawa, and more

Ms. Marvel has been stellar for years now. Introducing a Muslim, Pakistani-American, teen heroine was no mean feat, and yet the book has never taken a step wrong. And this year was no exception. Kamala went through a lot, both professionally and personally, and as the year went on the book began to echo a lot of the issues facing America as a whole in 2017. Ms. Marvel is grounded in our reality in a way most superhero books aren’t, and that led to some incisive storytelling that still paired beautifully with all of the usual fun and action we expect from the series.

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1) Hawkeye by Kelly Thompson, Leonardo Romero, Michael Walsh, and more

The Fraction/Aja/Wu era of Hawkeye is easily one of the best superhero runs of the past decade, and set a massively high bar for any and all Hawkeye stories moving forward. Thompson, Romero, and Walsh have reached that bar and more with Kate Bishop’s new solo series. The book is an absolute joy, from Thompson’s sharp and hilarious dialogue to Romero and Walsh doing an amazing job with all of the archery action and comedic beats packed into each issue. Plus there’s some serious heart and pathos beyond all of the fun, with Kate dealing with some heavy stuff. Things are rarely cool and chill for a Hawkeye, as much as they may pretend otherwise. The book is a dang delight, each and every month, and I love it to bits.

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The Winners And Losers In DC Comics’ Zero Month

October 10, 2012

When I write up my Wonder Woman sales report each month, I track a lot of DC’s other books so I can get a sense of how Wonder Woman is doing comparatively.  This month, DC put out #0 issues for most of their series as a one year anniversary of the New 52 celebration, and I thought it would be fun to take a look at who did the best and who did the worst in terms of improving upon their past numbers.

There were 51 titles that came out in August and got the #0 treatment in September.  There were 55 zero issues overall, but 4 of them were new so there’s nothing to compare them to.  I decided on two criteria for these rankings: change in overall percentage of sales from last month and change in number of issues sold from last month.  I tabulated the numbers for both categories, ranked each list from 1 to 51, and then added the two rankings together.

So let’s look at the winners and losers for DC’s zero month!!  First up, the winners:

#1) Batman: 7 points, +31,312 (1st), +25% (6th)

Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman is just a behemoth right now.  These gains are MASSIVE, and the book might even end up higher in October when the new Joker storyline starts.  It was already DC’s bestselling book, and it sold even better in September.

#2) Green Arrow: 19 points, +5,282 (10th), +22.8% (9th)

The top of the list is sort of surprising, and I was shocked to see Green Arrow so high.  Maybe people were jazzed to have Judd Winick back writing the character or something, but whatever the reason it really jumped up.

#3) Green Lantern: 20 points, +12,772 (2nd), +16.5% (18th)

Green Lantern is less surprising.  It’s been a strong performer for DC for years now under Geoff Johns, plus they introduced Simon Baz, the new Muslim, Arab-American Green Lantern.  That got some attention.

#4) Savage Hawkman: 24 points, +4,005 (22nd), +27.2% (2nd)

Another surprise!!  Apparently the book is selling so low that ordering four thousand extra copies will give it the second best jump in percentage out of all 51 issues.  Or retailers were just super jazzed there wasn’t a Rob Liefeld cover again, so they ordered a lot.

#5) Batgirl: 27 points, +6,637 (6th), +15.2% (21st)

Batgirl surprised me initially, but then I figured a) the book has some excellent word of mouth buzz, b) people would probably be curious about Barbara’s past seeing as that’s one of the bigger mysteries of the New 52, and c) all of the Bat-books had a great month, maybe due to everyone loving Bat-things or maybe in anticipation of the Joker story starting next month.  Whatever the reason, it’s great to see that a female-led book did so well!!

Since this is a Wonder Woman blog and all, let’s take a pause for Wonder Woman #0 before we get to the losers:

#21) Wonder Woman: 44 points, +5,194 (12th), +11.6% (32nd)

The middle would be #26, so Wonder Woman came in the top half of the chart.  It was also the third highest female-led book on the chart, with Batgirl at #5 and Catwoman at #19.  Interestingly, Birds of Prey, Voodoo, and Supergirl were the next three books after Wonder Woman, and all six of these female-led titles were on the top half of the chart!!  That’s nice to see.

Now, onto the bottom of the chart:

#47) Ravagers: 92 points, +1,707 (48th), +8.2% (44th)

It really speaks to the success of zero month that the fifth lowest book was still up almost 10%!!  DC must be over the moon with these sales numbers.  Ravagers was a Second Wave book, and this is only its fifth issue, and as we’ll see momentarily the Second Wave books didn’t fare so well in September, comparatively.

#48) Earth 2: 96 points, +1,718 (47th), +2.5% (49th)

Earth 2 has been doing fantastically, saleswise, since it debuted in May, and September was no exception.  It just didn’t change all that much from August.  So compared to last month, it’s #48 on the chart, but in terms of overall sales the book is actually #8.

#49) Dial H: 96 points, +1,337 (49th), +5.9% (47th)

Technically, Dial H is tied with Earth 2, but I gave Earth 2 the higher rank because its overall sales are better.  And really, when you’re down the list this far, what difference does one spot make?  Anyway, this is a bummer because I LOVE Dial H and because it’s zero issue was fantastic and did exactly what a zero issue should (and what most of the zero issues didn’t): Provide new, surprising backstory for the series.  But again, Second Wave books didn’t get much play in September.

#50) Aquaman: 100 points, +17 (50th), +0% (50th)

This was a shock.  Aquaman’s been killing it since the relaunch, but it seems that of the many thousands of comic shops across North America, retailers thought only 17 new people might want to try out the book.  Part of this might also be that Aquaman had a big jump in August for no apparent reason, so maybe retailers found that increase was unwarranted but kept the book at that level in case of zero issue interest.

#51) Batman, Incorporated: 102 points, -608 (51st), -0.9% (51st)

Batman, Incorporated was the lowest book in both categories, and the only book of the 51 titles that went down in sales.  And I have no idea why!!  It’s a solid seller, and seems fairly popular among people who like that sort of thing.  Again, it’s a Second Wave book, and this is only it’s fourth issue, so maybe retailers are still feeling out how to order this one.

Overall, zero month was a complete success for DC.  Of the 51 returning titles, 50 had improved sales, plus there were an additional 4 series that premiered decently.  Before Watchmen is still falling fast, and various minis are dropping like minis tend to do, but all told this was a great month for DC.  These gimmicks really do work, it seems.

Amy Reeder Wasn’t At NYCC’s Bat-Panel OR Seriously, DC?

October 15, 2011

There’s been a lot of stuff at DC lately that I’m not super enthused about, like Catwoman and Starfire and such, but it’s been covered like crazy elsewhere and I didn’t feel the need to add to it.  But I read this over at DC Women Kicking Ass tonight and it really bugged me: Amy Reeder was dropped from the Bat-Panel at New York Comic-Con today because apparently there wasn’t enough room for her.  She’d been scheduled to be on the panel, and had posted it on her website days before, but shortly before the panel was supposed to be begin she tweeted this:

Now, DC’s had a rough go of it lately with people calling them out for being bad with women, fictional and real.  It’s been ALL over the place… it seems like every week they do something that pisses off those of us who think comics can be something more than adolescent power fantasies and masturbatory fodder for men 18 to 35 years of age.  So what genius at scheduling thought “Hey, the panel has too many people.  Let’s drop Amy Reeder”??  I mean, REALLY??  How completely unaware of the current environment do you have to be to think that’s a decent idea? 

Some people might say “She’s not on a book right now”, which is true, but a) she was scheduled, so just jam an extra chair in there, and b) neither is Chris Burnham, and he was here.  That’s no knock on Burnham, but he’s got no books out now either.  In fact, Reeder is set to do the second arc of Batwoman, a book that is coming out NOW on a month-to-month basis.  Burnham is on Batman Inc., and god knows when that’ll be out… December, apparently, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that. 

Here’s the problem at DC right now: No one cares.  They’re not misogynists or sexists or purposefully trying to keep ladies out.  The problem is that they’re not even thinking about ladies… they seem entirely ignorant of what everyone is saying, and aren’t at all concerned about ladies as creators, characters, or readers.  It’s just not on their radar.  After the debacle at the San Diego panels, that someone thought getting rid of Amy Reeder was the best call is astoundingly stupid.  But they don’t care about that.  It’s not at all on their minds.  And that’s really sad, because they’re going to run themselves into the ground putting out the same books by the same people to the same audience.  I know September was great, saleswise, but give it a couple months. 

Yes, I know Ann Nocenti is going to be on Green Arrow, and that’s great, but one new lady doesn’t mean DC actually gives a hoot.  Plus, if the rumours about Gail Simone leaving Firestorm are true, then they’re no further ahead. 

Anyway, Amy Reeder is awesome.  You should go to her websites and check her out, and then go buy her Madame Xanadu books because they’re gorgeous.  Her Batwoman arc should start sometime around spring 2012, so keep your eye out for that… it’s going to be fantastic!!  Pick up a copy of Batwoman #0 for a peek at her take on Batwoman.

And DC, dudes… get your shit together.


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