Posts Tagged ‘Hawkeye’

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.

Homemade Superhero Christmas Tree Ornaments

December 23, 2013

It’s very nearly Christmas, so things will be pretty quiet around here this week, but before I get too wrapped up in festive fun I thought I’d post these Christmas tree ornaments I made.  I went to Target a couple weeks back to try to buy some, but a) they were out of Wonder Woman, and b) the remaining ornaments they had looked really cheap.  So I made my own!  I used a cool paper rolling technique I found online and added some of my favourite art from my favourite comics, and here’s what I came up with:

A Hawkeye ornament, with David Aja cover art:

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Some Jim Lee Batman, from All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder, I think:

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Felipe Andrade’s Captain Marvel:

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An Ed McGuinness Superman:

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A Cliff Chiang Wonder Woman, of course:

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A New 52 Batgirl from an Adam Hughes cover:

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Lois Lane and Superman, by Gary Frank:

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A really cool Superman and Batman piece by Michael Cho:

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A pink Wonder Woman for my mom:

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More Cliff Chiang Wonder Woman:

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Fiona Staples’ The Will and Lying Cat from Saga:

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They were fun and easy to make, and now my tree is way cooler and nerdier.  And sort of exclusive; I doubt there are many Christmas trees out there rocking a Lying Cat ornament.

So happy holidays everyone!  Enjoy your various celebrations.  If you’re still looking for some last minute gifts, I know a good book you can pre-order.  Just make them a nice gift certificate.  Heck, if you actually pre-order my book for someone this Christmas, I’LL make you a gift certificate you can print out.  Just tell me in the comments and I’ll get on it right away.  Happy holidays!

My 10 Favourite Comic Book Things Of 2012

December 27, 2012

“Things” is rather vague, I know, but this isn’t a list of my favourite books or creators or moments of the year.  It’s all of those things at once!!  I could do a Top Five of various categories, but the overlap would be huge, so I’m just going to pile it all together into one big Top Ten list.

It was an odd year for comics, with a lot of big events you’re not going to see on this list, but there were a bunch of cool things too.  Let’s get to listing:

10) Gail Simone’s Rehiring on Batgirl

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I’m not naïve enough to think that Gail Simone’s rehiring on Batgirl signals some kind of big change at DC Comics where they suddenly care about fan reactions and female creators, but it was still a great moment.  Firing Simone was just absolutely ludicrous, and the reaction was strong, to say the least.  I can’t think of another creator who has as much of an association with a company owned character as Simone does with Barbara Gordon.  Simone doesn’t own Barbara, but Barbara IS Simone’s character, really.  And even more so now.  Her return to the book after her inauspicious firing was one of my very favourite moments of the year.

9) Marco Checchetto

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I honestly couldn’t care less about the Punisher, but I checked out the first collection of new series because Greg Rucka is pretty great.  I might have come for Rucka, but I stayed for Marco Checchetto.  While his art is gritty, as befits a Punisher book, it doesn’t have that muddled sort of effect that a lot of gritty, noir style artists have.  Checchetto is a cool hybrid of grit and crisp detail, and I absolutely love it.  I think this dude is going to be big.

8) Noelle Stevenson

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Noelle Stevenson, aka. Gingerhaze, is a ridiculously good time.  Her webcomic, Nimona, is fantastic, and her “Broship of the Ring” is an internet classic.  My absolute favourite thing she does, though, is her mini-strips after she watches a movie or TV show she’s particularly enthused about.  Right now, I’m loving her Hobbit-inspired Thranduil as an elk-riding dad embarrassing Legolas strips.  Noelle is hilarious and great.

7) Goliath by Tom Gauld

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Sometimes you randomly check out a book from the library and it turns into one of your favourite things of the year.  I ADORED Tom Gauld’s Goliath.  I’m always up for a good riff on a Bible story, and Goliath is both super clever and well drawn.  Gauld’s art style fits the tone of the book perfectly.  I usually talk about the Big Two on this site, but do yourself a favour and go grab a copy of this book.

6) Scott Pilgrim IN COLOUR!!

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The first two volumes of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim series came out in bigger, coloured editions this year, and they’re just amazing.  The Scott Pilgrim books were already one of the absolute best books of the past decade, and they’re even better oversized and in colour.  Nathan Fairbairn, in close consultation with O’Malley, really takes the books to a whole new level of awesome with his colouring, and they’re an absolute pleasure to read even if, like me, you’ve already read the first editions like fifty times.

5) Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers

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This book just launched a few weeks ago, and when I read the first issue I thought “Wow, I REALLY dig this… this might even sneak in at tenth in my Top Ten list!”  The second issue is out now, and here it is at fifth.  Avengers is great storytelling, but even more than that it feels SO epic.  You can tell that Hickman is building something massive and cool and I’m ridiculously excited to get in on the ground floor of what will be years of crazy stories.  Jerome Opena’s art is great, and Marvel’s got lots of other cool artists lined up to meet the book’s bi-monthly schedule.  It’s loads of fun already, and it feels like it’s just going to keep getting better.

4) Diana’s Coat in Wonder Woman #11

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I liked this so much that I now own this page!!  While I’ve had my share of problems with Wonder Woman in 2012 (the Amazons as rapists and murderers, in particular), Cliff Chiang is still killing it on every level with his art.  I spent a full third of my Wonder Woman #11 review going on about this coat and how it represents everything good about this new take on Wonder Woman in terms of modernizing the character with respect for what came before.  This may not have always held true for me with the story, but it absolutely does with the art.

3) Captain Marvel, the Book and the Reaction

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I’ve been following comics for a long time, and I’ve never seen such an enthusiastic reaction to a redesign of a character.  There was tons of fan art and various custom items months before the first issue even hit the newsstands!!  And when the first issue did hit, it was fantastic.  Kelly Sue DeConnick had a HUGE year, and has done an excellent job relaunching Captain Marvel, while artists Dexter Soy and Emma Rios make the book look great and distinct from the usual superhero stylings.  While a year ago I knew barely anything about Carol Danvers, I’m very glad that she’s now one of my favourite characters starring in one of my favourite books.

2) Saga

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I was over the moon excited for a new Brian K. Vaughan book, and then even more excited that Fiona Staples would be drawing it.  As a huge fan of BKV, I had a rough idea in my head of what the book might be like, and then I got the first issue.  Saga was NOTHING like what I expected, in the absolute best way possible.  It was bigger and more bizarre and more interesting and enjoyable than I ever imagined.  I think it’s the best thing BKV’s ever written, and Staples’ art is a perfect match for the story.  Even the letter column is fun.  Saga is an absolute blast to read each month.

1) Hawkeye

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When Marvel announced that Matt Fraction and David Aja were teaming up to do a Hawkeye book, I was kind of upset.  They’re two of my favourite creators so I HAD to pick up the first issue, but I didn’t give a hoot about Hawkeye.  At all.  There were SO many characters I’d rather have seen them work on.  So I begrudgingly bought the first issue, and it was AMAZING.  Far and away the most enjoyable, amusing, kick ass superhero story I’d read all year.  Then Hawkeye #2 was even better, as was the next issue after that.  It just keeps getting more fun every month, and I’m astounded to love a book about Hawkeye as much as I do.  It’s unequivocally the best comic out there right now, and I can’t recommend it enough.

So those are my favourite things from this year, but let’s take a peek into the crystal ball and see what I’m looking forward to in 2013:

  • Lazarus by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark.  A dystopian response to the Occupy movement?  Sign me up.
  • Pretty Deadly by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios.  Anytime DeConnick and Rios get together, it’s a good time.  I’m very excited they’re doing a Western.
  • Man of Steel by Scott Snyder and Jim Lee.  Snyder is doing a great job with Batman, and Jim Lee is always a good time.  I’m jazzed to see what they come up with for Superman.
  • New Avengers by Jonathan Hickman and Steve Epting. As I mentioned above, I LOVED Avengers, and New Avengers is poised to be a sort of companion book more than a direct tie-in.  I’m going to be all over it.
  • Movies!!  Iron Man 3!!  Thor 2!!  Man of Steel!!  It’s going to be another big year for cinematic superheroes, and all of these movies look great.
  • Amazon, Allan Heinberg’s Smallville-esque Wonder Woman show for the CW.  It’s still in the early stages, but it would be really fun if this ended up happening, and doubly so if it was good too.  Arrow’s been pretty enjoyable, and Heinberg has skills.  It could be really great, if it happens.

Hawkeye #7 To Benefit Hurricane Sandy Relief OR Are You Seriously Not Buying This Book Already?

November 28, 2012

Hawkeye writer Matt Fraction recently announced that the schedule for the series had been moved around some to include a new special issue about Hurricane Sandy.  Out in January, Hawkeye #7 features art by Steve Lieber and Jesse Hamm, along with a fantastic cover by David Aja.  Hawkeye is Marvel’s “regular guy” sort of hero, and the series is about what he does when he’s not being an Avenger, so of the many New York-based heroes he seems ideally suited for a Hurricane Sandy story.

And here’s the best part: Matt Fraction is donating his paycheck for Hawkeye #7 to the Red Cross.  And it gets even better: Marvel paychecks are performance based, so the more issues the book sells, the more money the Red Cross is going to get.  If you like Hawkeye, get a couple.  If you hate Hawkeye and Matt Fraction with the fiery fury of a thousand suns, buy a bunch and dance while you burn them, gleeful in the knowledge that you’ve screwed Fraction out of a lot of money AND helped a good cause in the process.

The best way to be sure to get a copy of Hawkeye #7 (or several) is to tell your local comic shop to order it for you.  If they don’t know you want it, they might just get their normal amount and you’ll show up all keen to help out and OH NO they’re sold out already and you feel like a schmuck.  So pop in or email or smoke signal your shop and tell them you want Hawkeye #7 and that the order code is NOV120725.  They’ll know what the means, and they’ll get you one (or several).  The deadline for ordering is December 17th, so get on it.

Now, if you’re smart you’re getting this book already.  It’s FANTASTIC.  But maybe you aren’t getting it.  Maybe you’re all “A book about Hawkeye?  The archer guy?  Lame.”  That’s what we all thought when it was first announced too.  There were about 8 people who were all “HELLS YEAH HAWKEYE!!”, and everyone else who bought it just couldn’t say no to a Fraction and Aja team-up.  I certainly purchased the first issue in a somewhat begrudging fashion.  And guess what?  It’s the BEST BOOK, you guys.  It’s absolutely spectacular.  There is no better comic on the stands right now, and this whole Hurricane Sandy charity thing is just classy icing on the awesome cake that is Hawkeye.  Definitely pick up Hawkeye #7, but do yourself a personal favour and pick up the earlier issues too.  Your shop should probably have them… they reprinted the first issue like 87 times.

So yeah, Hawkeye #7!!  Order it now at your local comic shop, pick it up on January 16th, and make Matt Fraction write a HUGE check for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.

Hey, here’s some Steve Lieber art from the issue:


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