Top 5 #1 Issues in 2010

While some comic books may number in the 600+, every year many new comic books come out. I like taking chances on new comic books to see if they fit the type of stories that I want to read. Here are my Top 5 #1 Issues in 2010.

Atlas #15. Atlas #1 by Jeff Parker and Gabriel Hardman

Jeff Parker really hit it out of the park here. I loved this. I love Atlas. I think it’s a well-balanced book for those just joining Atlas’ adventures and those continuing along the journey.

I also think he did a great job with the introduction of the modern 3-D Man, Delroy Garrett, and the history of 3-D Man, when it was Chuck and Hal Chandler. I’d read Avengers: The Initiative so I was a little more filled in than other readers might’ve been. That said, Parker presented the history in a way that didn’t bog down the story and kept it current and fresh feeling. I do find it interesting that everyone wants to kill Delroy. And I bet there’s more to it. Poor Chuck and Hal, they’ve been sacrificed for Delroy.

The evolution of 3-D Man so he doesn’t have to use his glasses anymore is perfect. And how his eyes are giving him clues about how he should find Atlas. Plus, the part about the triangle on his costume is also great. (For Atlas-fans who are playing catch-up, the triangles are used to move through these dimensional tunnels from the world to Atlas’ secret bases. If you don’t have them, you’re basically dead.) Delroy literally hits bottom to find Atlas.

Read all my reviews for Atlas and buy Atlas: Return of the Three Dimensional Man.

X-Men: Pixie Strikes Back #14. X-Men: Pixie Strikes Back #1 by Kathryn Immonen and Sara Pichelli

I’ve been so looking forward to this miniseries, and Immonen and Pichelli don’t disappoint. I love that while clearly Pixie and company under some spell against their will, essentially the “normal” high school experience is what so many of the young mutants really want in their lives.

There’s a lot of interesting set-up for the mystery of what’s going on. Blindfold being able to contact the girls is certainly interesting. As is Rockslide and Anole trying to find them.

Pixie’s background is going to get a lot more interesting. Will this mean she’s not really a mutant? Or will she be like Nightcrawler — half “demon” and half mutant? Her mother definitely seems to be someone not to trifled with. Nightcrawler and Psylocke better watch out.

Also, this might be Pixie’s siblings who pulled her into this underworld.

Read my review for the entire miniseries and buy X-Men: Pixie Strikes Back.

Birds of Prey #13. Birds of Prey #1 by Gail Simone and Ed Benes

Simone outdid herself as she gets back together with the Birds of Prey. Yes, it would have to be Babs calling on Dinah and Zinda, not the other way around. Dinah may have left, but Babs is the one who pushes people away. Much like her mentor Batman does.

I love Dinah and Zinda working together to save children. Well, Dinah’s saving children and Zinda’s being herself by helping out and meeting the locals. I know Babs is Simone’s beloved character, but I think her Dinah is just as strong, if not stronger.

Hawk and Dove’s introduction worked really well. Simone is good at introducing new characters to the team and introducing them to readers at the same time. I’ve always appreciated the slightly self-contained world which the Birds of Prey operate in.

The scene on the roof was so perfect. All of them together once again. Everyone’s reactions were spot-on. Loved this line from Dinah: “One day these women will learn to say what they really feel without thinking it makes them vulnerable. If I have to beat the living crap out of ’em to make it happen.” Oh, Helena, I felt the same way you did.

Someone signaling the Birds of Prey was perfect. As was the Penguin being there and getting to be the first causality. I’m pretty much with those guessing that the White Canary is either Sin or Cassandra Cain.

Read all my Birds of Prey reviews and buy Birds of Prey: Endrun.

Hawkeye & Mockingbird #12. Hawkeye & Mockingbird #1 by Jim McCann and David Lopez

I loved this to bits. I thought McCann’s miniseries, New Avengers: Reunion about these two was fabulous, and I’ve been so excited about this issue ever since the series was announced. I was very much, just get Siege over and done with so I can have my shiny new Hawkeye & Mockingbird series.

I love McCann’s Mockingbird, who is so incredibly detailed about her plans to stop villains, but completely impulsive with her personal life. Which fits perfectly with Clint’s impulsive nature toward everything. And I suppose after the mini where Bobbi didn’t trust Clint about anything, it’s time for Clint not to completely trust her. Or at least not trust her to give him all the information he feels is important.

The bits with Clint training with Steve worked brilliantly, especially since in many ways Clint tried to step-up and take the void left by Steve. I love Bucky throwing him off. Brilliant multi-layered conversations here.

I’m completely enthralled by the plot surrounding the new Phantom Rider and the case that Mockingbird’s trying to crack. While I didn’t read the early issue with her father, I love the Phantom Rider’s styling, especially compared to how they drew her father. I cannot wait for the next issue.

Read all my reviews for Hawkeye & Mockingbird and buy Hawkeye & Mockingbird: Ghosts.

I, Zombie #11. I, Zombie #1 by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred

I, Zombie is a very fun tale. I liked the kookiness of it and the humor, which reminded me of somewhere between Buffy: the Vampire Slayer and Boneyard. This fills a nice gap in my entertainment consumption considering I don’t read the former’s comics and the latter has come to an end.

Michael Allred’s art really makes the comic book. His style adds to the fun and to the flavor. I really enjoy his Pop Art style, and I want to read more comics that he’s done the art for.

Gwen Dylan is a delightful character. Well, as delightful as a zombie could be. Yes, a gravedigger really is the best job for someone who requires eating brains once a month. I love the twist that she doesn’t enjoy the taste of brains. In fact, she downright hates it.

Her ghost friend Ellie’s clearly from the 1960s with her mod-style. She’s a lot of fun. I really liked all the world-building that Roberson’s done. With the quick bits of other supernatural beings like vampires and werewolves, with some sort of supernatural patrol, makes me want to read the next one.

When this comes out in tradepaperback in March, I’ll definitely be picking it up.

Since I haven’t read any more issues, I don’t have more reviews. But like me, you can pre-order your copy of I, Zombie: Dead to the World.

Queer Comic Characters: Aleksandr Creote (Oct 3rd)

Created by author Gail Simone, Creote started out as a villain, reformed, then became slightly villainous, and now may be completely in the good hero fold again. To most, Creote is a former KGB special agent and the muscle. But if he has one defining characteristic, it’s his love for and devotion to Brian “Savant” Durlin.

Aleksandr Creote

Aleksandr Creote
Creote

When first introduced, Savant and Creote capture Black Canary in order to discover just who Oracle is. Savant is a computer genius battling Oracle, who’s been stopping his crimes. Savant is the one who beats Black Canary on the orders of Savant. It’s quickly clear that Savant is oblivious to Creote’s affections for him. And also that Creote is far more than just the muscle in his and Savant’s relationship, in all its varying states.

However, Oracle (aka Barbara Gordon) manages to reform both of the two criminals, and she brings them into the Birds of Prey. Continue reading “Queer Comic Characters: Aleksandr Creote (Oct 3rd)”

Reviews Kevin Smith’s Quiver

This post is by guest blogger, Steve Stone. Steve never minces words, and that’s why he’s been my friend for some time now. He’s opinionated, loves Batman, and wears an awesome BeDazzled tie. Steve’s spent a few Friday nights on my couch, educating Jason and I about the Justice League via the animated television show. And don’t even get him started on The Watchmen. This is Steve’s first attempt to open up his opinions to a wider audience than those who sit next to him on Seattle public transportation.

Quiver by Kevin Smith with art by Phil Hester
by Steve Stone

Quiver

For a period of time, I was a Kevin Smith sycophant. It started with Dogma, progressed backwards to Clerks and led until Jersey Girl. At this point, my boyish ideals led on to the names of Nolan, Boyle, and Scorsese. The one area that Smith still has a leg up on all is his writing and this is none the more evident than in Quiver. The resurrection (literally in this case) of Oliver Queen could not have done with more text and character development. From the jabs of Batman (dickhead form of course, the best Bruce Wayne) to the screaming head of Spectre coming off of Hal Jordan’s Green Lantern form, only Smith could have mixed the grace and pure assery of the dirty, liberal Oliver. Continue reading “Reviews Kevin Smith’s Quiver”

Holiday Gift Guide: 10 Graphic Novels

I work in marketing, and we’re always putting together holiday gift guides. I figured I’d make a list of 10 excellent graphic novels. All of these can stand on their own, even if they’re set in the DC or Marvel universe. So yes, some are even for the non-comic book fan.

1. Fables Vol. 1: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham and Lan Medina

Fables takes characters from fables, mythology, and other classic stories and puts them in present day NYC. They have a secret community in the middle of the City. The story focuses around Snow White, the deputy mayor of Fabletown, Bigby, the town’s sheriff, and Rose Red, Snow White’s sister who’s been tragically murdered. It’s a good who-done it. This story is a launching off point for the complex world of the Fables, so be careful because you’ll get hooked.

2. Unmanned (Y: The Last Man, Vol. 1) by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra

This is another epic comic tale, but one that has a clear end at Vol 10. Basically, there’s an apocalypse where all the men and other male mammals on the planet are wiped out, except Yorick Brown and his monkey. While Yorick sometimes reminds me too much of loser ex-boyfriends in his directionlessness, the series has a bunch of kick ass women from tough government agents/spies to protective mothers. There’s mystery — what killed all the guys? Romance — Yorick purposed to his girlfriend Beth right before the apocalypse, but she’s stuck in Australia and him in the US. Fighting — The world has just lost half it’s work force, I don’t think Starbucks is going to stay open. Humor — Yorick has to pass himself off as a woman.

3. Runaways Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan, Adrian Alphona, and Takeshi Miyazawa

Notice an author theme? Runaways does exist in the Marvel universe. Though that doesn’t mean you need to be a Marvel reader. In fact, all the characters, teenagers and their parents, are created in this comic and for this comic. There are a few visits by other Marvel characters, but it’s set in LA, not NYC. (Don’t forget Wikipedia.) Plus, it’s friendly for all ages of readers. The main story revolves around how the teens find out their parents are actually super villains who are bent on destroying the world. Or at least turning it into a “paradise” of evil. The teens runaway and try to stop their parents. The teens are pretty diverse in their backgrounds with the backing of an interesting, universal story of thinking your parents are evil and out to get you. Runaways really stands out as a great modern, all-ages comic.

4. Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

Watchmen is a classic comic. It’s also a critique on comics. While I don’t think it’s necessarily a universal book, I do think that if you think someone would enjoy a comic, they would enjoy this graphic novel. Of course, Moore always creates more than just a comic and Gibbons’ art is really outstanding in it. (Keep your eye out for a symmetrical chapter.) The story features superheros and their foes that have been forced to retire and are being killed off. It’s also about NYC and modern world problems. There’s much millennial and economic tension. The perfect gift in our current financial crisis. And don’t forget, there’s a movie coming out next summer.

5. Gotham Central Vol. 1: In the Line of Duty by Greg Rucka and Ed Brubaker

I love this entire series. I definitely wouldn’t stop at Vol 1, especially since Vol 2 is better. Gotham Central is about the Gotham Police Department and their struggles. It certainly takes place in the Batman part of the DC Universe, but if you’ve seen any of the Batman movies, particularly the last two, you’ll be okay. In fact, these comics were a heavy influence in The Dark Knight. This storyline focuses on good and bad cops and an investigation of Mr. Freeze. Gotham Central was the first comic to actually convince me that Mr. Freeze was a legitimate and scary villain.

6. Queen & Country Vol. 1: Operation Broken Ground by Greg Rucka and Steve Rolston

Yes, another Rucka book. However, this one’s independent. The story follows a British Special Operations office Tara Chace and her colleagues. It opens immediately with action as Tara is sent to assassinate a terrorist. This causes problems as Tara’s kill isn’t clean. Our world is very global and espionage isn’t that simple. Levels above the last Tom Clancy thriller in writing, but will appeal to the same audience.

7. White Tiger: A Hero’s Compulsion by Tamora Pierce, Timothy Liebe, and Phil Briones

Set in the Marvel universe, White Tiger features FBI agent Angela del Toro turned superhero. She takes up the White Tiger mantel after her uncle’s death. This story mostly features guest appearances from the B-listers in Daredevil and Heroes for Hire. The great thing about this story as it shows a superhero who is gaining her wings. But at the same time, she’s a grown woman and in the FBI, so she’s already used to detective work and some fighting. An interesting read, especially for anyone who’s interested in superheros who aren’t rich (like Iron Man) or immature (like Spider-Man).

8. Batgirl: Year One by Scott Beatty, Chuck Dixon, Marcos Martin, and Alvaro Lopez

I love this title. A wonderful, heartfelt look at the origins of Batgirl in an all-ages comic. Barbara Gordon is young and spunky. She’s smart, but definitely not going to heed to her father’s warnings that she should stay in and be safe. Even if he is the police commissioner. I love the little elements, like Babs writing a fan/mentor-seeking letter to the Black Canary and her not wanting Batman to be her guide. It’s a sweet coming-of-age story with fun, colorful art.

9. She-Hulk Vol. 1: Single Green Female by Dan Slott and Juan Bobillo

Any story that starts with the hero being fired and kicked out of her home (the Avengers’ mansion) is hopefully going to be a good tale. She-Hulk (Jen Walters) is something of a partier. She’s big and green and loves life. However, her employer and her roommates (particularly Jarvis, the Avengers’ butler) are not amused. Even playboy Tony Stark (Iron Man) conspires with Steve Rogers (Captain America) to have Jen move out. Luckily for her, she immediately gets a new job offer. With a catch: she has to be Jen, not She-Hulk, while she’s at work. Her first appearance as Jen with her new employer has her puking on his shoes. (Her drinking killed Jen’s metabolism, while not touching She-Hulk’s.) Slott sets up a law firm, specializing in superhuman law, full of interesting characters, creating a different sort of world for Jen than she’s used to.

Since this review was posted, Warren Ellis was outed as an abuser. As comic books are a collective effort, this review will remain live, but I cannot in good faith recommend purchasing this book or other works by this person.

10. The Authority Vol. 1: Relentless by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch

The Authority are a different sort of superhero group. They’re saving the world, yet they’re doing it on their terms. They live on a ship, known as the Carrier, that they don’t quite understand how it works in a place known as the Bleed. However, every time there’s a crisis on Earth, they can just transport through a “Door” to where they’re needed. They all have flaws (arrogance, jealousy, drug addiction) and they can all win a fight without a sweat. They don’t hesitate to kill the bad guy or gal. Jenny Sparks, their leader, is the spirit of the century and she guides their mission to do exactly what they think is correct. It’s awesome.