Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Top Ten DC Comic Books Of 2009

10. Supergirl #43
Supergirl has always been a title I refused to pick up on purpose.  It wasn't until Sterling Gates came on board when I found Supergirl to have potential at being one of the better comic titles being sold on DC's repertoire.  This particular issue focuses on Kara with coming to terms with her mother whom has only been reacquainted with for a short time.  With the small mystery and new realizations that Kara discovers about herself and her mother, this issue took Supergirl to a whole new level.

9. Supergirl Annual #1
This issue takes two comics and staples them together to form a fantastic epic.  Two separate stories, yet they still act as one.  One story gives a fantastic commentary on the prejudice of people and shows how one person's good intentions can lead to another person's torment and despair.  The second story goes back in time to explain the origin of Superwoman, also know as Lucy Lane, sister to Lois Lane.  This issue was a emotionally packed story and very intelligently written with art that kept you turning the page wanting more.

8. Wonder Woman #38
While the common person would allow the fact that the world was coming to an end to tear away at our soul and weaken them, Wonder Woman stands firm and fights back.  Gail Simone shows over and over again that Wonder Woman is not your average comic book anymore.  This issue gives an image of wonder woman as the most powerful force on planet earth as she defies all odds and takes on the evil placed before her.

7. Action Comics Annual #12
The reason why I'm a nut case for DC Comics is due to their mythological approach to most storylines and origins.  This book puts in place the origin of the old/new mythological heroes of Krypton, Nightwing and Flamebird.  But what makes this book different from the rest is how the two origin stories start out as completely separate entities, but become one towards the end.  Greg Rucka shows that the religious significance of the two will have a huge impact on the DC Universe sooner or later.  Flamebird and Nightwing and slowly taking charge of Action Comics and I hope it stays that way.

6. Batman: Cacophony #3
When this min-series began, I was unimpressed.  The first two issues were slow and unengaging.  But this third and final issue was a nice surprise to an unsatisfying mini-series.  In the same degree that Alan Moore took the Joker with his story "The Killing Joke," Kevin Smith humanizes the Joker in a way no one has done before.  It's funny to think that a person can hate you, respect you, and sympathize with you all at the same time.  The Joker's apology to Batman was such a powerful piece of oratory that I almost put this book in the top five.  Kevin Smith, while not the best story arc writer, truly knows how to get at the heart of a character.

5. Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #1
I wasn't sure if any of the Blackest Night tie-ins were ever going to meet the standards that Geoff Johns has set.  The Superman and Batman tie-ins were pretty worthless and uninspiring.  But leave it to Greg Rucka to make anything worth reading.  Diana's approach in dealing with the risen Maxwell Lord was equally terrifying as it was amazing.  The torment Diana was obviously going through in having to face the man she brutally murdered was very interesting and emotional.  With her stoic and wooden body while fighting Lord and his army was a work of genius, this issue is definitely worthy of a placing in the top five for the year.

4. Batman #686
When I heard Neil Gaiman was enlisted to write two issue of Batman, my joy was indescribable.  I've never read anything by Neil Gaiman that I didn't absolutely love, and Gaiman certainly doesn't disappoint.  Inspired by Alan Moore's story arc "What Ever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow," Gaiman takes the title and replaces "Man of Tomorrow" with "Caped Crusader."  However, this is nothing like Moore's masterpiece.  Gaiman uses his master science fiction story telling approach and completely reconstructs the world Batman we thought we knew into something strange, yet satisfying.  And as Gaiman always does, he leaves us wanting more.

3. Secret Six #15
Having John Ostrander back writing for Deadshot was a smart move on DC's part.  Having been the mastermind behind the Suicide Squad for so long, it only made sense to give Simone a break and let someone as equally qualified to write a chilling psychological profile on one of DC's most notoriously lovable villains.  The conclusions the story comes to is this, he’s a lunatic who has a sense of humanity to him, but has no love for people in general, is conflicted with his traumatic family past, couldn't give a rats ass if he lives or dies, but hopes to God that he does die.  Confused?  Well when you read it like that, yeah.  But Ostrander makes this confusing story make so much sense (in a twisted way) that you put the book down, but pick it back up and read it again.

2. Wonder Woman #33
I wanted so badly to put this issue in the top #1 spot, that's how good this issue is.  Fighting against all odds, shunning your people, lashing out against those whom have given you their love all your life, and turning your back on your religious upbringing is all right here in this issue.  Nothing bad can be said about this final chapter in Simone's "Rise of an Olympian" story arc both in the writing and the art; this issue shows just how good comic books can be.  The story and art are so equally powerful that I can't see how anyone could disagree that Wonder Woman #33 does not rightfully deserve a second place finish in the best comics of 2009 contest.  Gail Simone, you are my hero.

1. Detective Comics #853
Well of course I'm going to give this issue the top spot, it was written by Neil Gaiman.  Call me biased but the only comic book writer who can come close to beating out Gaiman would be the esteemed Alan Moore.  No thanks to Grant Morrison, Neil Gaiman justly explains the Dark Knight's death in his typical, outlandish way filled with science fiction, horror, love and humanity.  I would have never even considered using his mother as a guiding light for Bruce Wayne, but it's one of the more logical and creative ideas I've ever seen.  It's true for all of us right?  Our mothers are typically the ones the children go to when needing that nurturing and loving care we all crave many times in our lives.  This is not only something we, as readers can relate too very easily, but it helps to humanize a character that has been viewed as a God in the DC Universe.

But as Neil Gaiman always does, he puts an unsettling taste in my mouth, leaving me with the knowledge that Bruce Wayne will always be cursed with the Cape and Cowl.  The story showed the different flashback scenes as being different and unique from the other, like each one was a part of a different world and time.  Gaiman was trying to show that Bruce Wayne is reborn over and over again as Batman.  But this also means that Bruce constantly has to relive that horrifying day when his parents are shot in that alley way right in front of him.  This defies the typical comic book storyline where the hero saves the day and everyone is happy.  Bruce Wayne dies in this issue, but is he really dead?  No, he has to live with the fact that he will rise again to become Batman and all the pain and torment that comes with it.  

It was this fact of the story which gives me full confidence that I chose the right book as the best comic of 2009.

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