The Best and the Worst of 2011 Comic Books

Yes, the time has come to say goodbye to 2011 and ring in 2012. Here’s a look back at the Best and the Worst of 2011* Comic Books.

The Best On-Going Series

Echo #261. Echo by Terry Moore
Average rating: 4.7/5 stars
Reading rating: Teen

Moore’s Echo finished with a bang (or did it?) this year. A story of Julie, the unlikely superhero, and stopping the end of the world, Moore’s work is consistently great and on-point. For those scared of the tome that is Strangers in Paradise, check out this much shorter work.
Read my reviews of Echo.
Purchase Echo.

Punisher #52. Punisher by Greg Rucka, Marco Checchetto, Matthew Clark, and Matthew Southworth
Average rating: 4.3/5 stars
Reading rating: Teen

I never thought I’d like a Punisher book as much as I love this one from Rucka. Dive into the gritty world of Frank Castle, his mission, and the fall-out of villains, reporters, cops, and victims. With some beautiful art to accompany it.
Read my reviews of Punisher.
Purchase Punisher.

Batwoman #23. Batwoman by J.H. Williams, W. Haden Blackman, and Amy Reeder Hadley
Average rating: 4.3/5 stars
Reading rating: Teen

The most anticipated comic (for me) ever. Anyone reading my blog is probably not surprised that I love Batwoman. Kate Kane is probably one of my favorite characters ever, and in combination with Williams’ art, this title has been making me very happy. I only want more.
Read my reviews of Batwoman.
Purchase Batwoman.

Angel & Faith #14. Angel & Faith by Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs
Average rating: 4.3/5 stars
Reading rating: Teen

Old fandoms die hard. I was a Buffy universe junkie (some might still say I am), but I gave Whedon-based works up for my sanity. But lately, I’ve been having a nostalgia factor my beloved dead show and, in a moment of weakness, subscribed to Angel & Faith. And wow, am I surprised just how entertaining and well done the comic is.
Read my reviews of Angel & Faith.

Supergirl #665. Supergirl by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Chriscross
Average rating: 4.3/5 stars
Reading rating: Teen

In 2011, DeConnick quickly rose in ranks as one of my favorite comic book writers. Her far-too-short run on Supergirl was just the story Kara needed. The mystery-adventure feel fit well with Kara’s personality and showed off more than her short skirt.
Read my reviews of Supergirl.

The Worst On-Going Series

Wonder Woman #613Wonder Woman by J. Michael Straczynski, Phil Hester, Don Kramer, Eduardo Pansica, Lee Garbett, Travis Moore, Geraldo Borges, Daniel HDR, Allan Goldman, and Jim Lee
Average rating: 2.3/5 stars
Reading rating: Teen

At GeekGirlCon, Trina Robbins said that this run of Wonder Woman made her hate the creators behind it, and I couldn’t agree more. The plot was beyond convoluted, and Wonder Woman does not need to rediscover herself. Especially if the plot’s phoned in. Hester tried to save it, but the train was ready to wreck.
Read my reviews of Wonder Woman.

The Best Miniseries

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.

Osborn #21. Osborn by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Emma Rios, Becky Cloonan, Jamie McKelvie, and Warren Ellis
Average rating: 5/5 stars
Reading rating: Adult

Just when I was so sick of Norman Osborn that I wanted to slap Marvel’s editorial staff, DeConnick writes a tale the blows me out of the water. This, friends, is how to tell a new story about a tired character and also introduce the stubborn world of comic readers to a newer, but very talented creative team. Everything about this book was right.
Read my reviews of Osborn.
Purchase Osborn.

Chip: Second Crack #12. Chip: Second Crack by Richard Moore
Average rating: 4.6/5 stars
Reading rating: All-Ages

You can’t get more adorable than Chip, the gargoyle who’s afraid of everything. In this sequel to Chip, Chip goes on adventure to hunt down the Jersey Devil with his fairy friend Ash. Verdict: too cute.
Read my review of Chip: Second Crack.

Muppet Sherlock Holmes #33. Muppet Sherlock Holmes by Patrick Storck and Amy Mebberson
Average rating: 4.5/5 stars
Reading rating: All-Ages

Perhaps my second favorite Sherlock property ever, the Muppet’s take on Sherlock is both amusing and engaging. As Gonzo goes around investigating, you’re bound to fall in love again.
Read my review of Muppet Sherlock Holmes.
Purchase Muppet Sherlock Holmes.

Mystic #14. Mystic by G. Willow Wilson and David Lopez
Average rating: 4.3/5 stars
Reading rating: All-Ages

Mystic surprised me in the best way. I loved Wilson’s world-building, and how two orphans rise to powers with their wits and the knowledge they gained through sneaking into libraries and observing the world around them. Even if one of them becomes part of high society and the other leads the rebellion.
Read my review of Mystic.
Purchase Mystic.

She-Hulks #45. She-Hulks by Harrison Wilcox and Ryan Stegman
Average rating: 4.3/5 stars
Reading rating: Teen

This miniseries was another pleasant delight of the year. I’ll read anything with She-Hulk in it, but few titles pass my muster for how her character’s treated. Both Wilcox and Stegman did a wonderful job as Jen coaches her niece Lyra on how to be a Hulk, a superhero, and live in the world. Heartwarming and action-packed.
Read my review of She-Hulks.
Purchase She-Hulks.

The Worst Miniseries

Flashpoint: Wonder Woman and the Furies #1Flashpoint: Wonder Woman and the Furies by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Agustin Padilla, and Scott Clark
Average rating: 2/5 stars
Reading rating: Teen

Another great disappointment featuring Wonder Woman. (See, DC, this is what you’re doing wrong when a huge Wonder Woman fan — me — rates two of her books from 2011 as the WORST things I read this year.) Usually Abnett and Lanning tell a pretty good story, but this was a jumbled mess with giant editorial fingerprints all over it. Plus, the ending was bullshit in that everything wrapped up in the main title.
Read my review of Flashpoint: Wonder Woman and the Furies.

The Best Graphic Novels

Stuck Rubber Baby by Howard Cruse1. Stuck Rubber Baby by Howard Cruse
Rating: 5/5 stars
Reading rating: Adult

A beautifully complex story about Toland, a young man who comes to age in the South during the Civil Rights movement and who incidentally becomes caught up in the wave as he also comes to terms with being gay. I could not put Stuck Rubber Baby down.
Read my review of Stuck Rubber Baby.
Purchase Stuck Rubber Baby.

Stumptown2. Stumptown by Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth
Rating: 5/5 stars
Reading rating: Adult

Dex is perhaps Rucka’s ultimate character. She is everything great about his heroines distilled into one. Southworth’s art brings a realism to the working streets of Portland that’s rarely expressed in comic books. Get to know the side of Portland, OR that Portlandia doesn’t include.
Read my review of Stumptown.
Purchase Stumptown.

Air: A History of the Future Vol 43. Air (Vol 4): A History of the Future by G. Willow Wilson and M.K. Perker
Rating: 5/5 stars
Reading rating: Teen

Wilson and Perker bring their magical realism tale, Air, to the perfect close. You’re just going to have to read it yourself and wish for a long gold scarf as awesome as Blythe’s.
Read my review of Air.
Purchase Air.

Hopeless Savages (Vol 1): Greatest Hits 2000-20104. Hopeless Savages (Vol 1): Greatest Hits 2000-2010 by Jen Van Meter, Christine Norrie, Bryan Lee O’Malley, Chynna Clugston Flores, Ross Campbell, Andi Watson, Vera Brosgol, Becky Cloonan, Mike Norton, Tim Fish, Catherine Noorie, Meredith McClaren, and Terry Dodson
Rating: 4/5 stars
Reading rating: Teen

The collected volume of Van Meter’s Hopeless Savages is a fun romp with this punk rock family. Find out what makes for the family that you only wish you were cool enough to be part of and pick up this book.
Read my review of Hopeless Savages (Vol 1): Greatest Hits 2000-2010.
Purchase Hopeless Savages (Vol 1): Greatest Hits 2000-2010.

True Blood: All Together Now5. True Blood: All Together Now by Alan Ball, Kate Barnow, Elisabeth Finch, Mariah Huehner, David Tischman, and David Messina
Rating: 4/5 stars
Reading rating: Adult

This was perhaps the best Sookie Stackhouse book I’ve read, and yes, I’ve read them all. Blasphemy. Such a pure, unabashedly entertaining book that does a wonderful job at building more backstories for multiple characters.
Read my review of True Blood: All Together Now.
Purchase True Blood: All Together Now.

The Worst Graphic Novel

Fables Vol 15: Rose RedFables Vol 15: Rose Red by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Inaki Miranda, Andrew Pepoy, Dan Green, Chrissie Zullo, Dave Johnson, Kate McElroy, J.H. Williams III, Joao Ruas, and Adam Hughes
Rating: 2/5 stars
Reading rating: Teen

I cringed all the way through this as Frau Totenkinder went up against the Dark Man. As she changed herself, found love, and what…ultimately lost. A downer of a story about one of my favorite characters who was once one of the best older women characters being written. So predictable and stereotypical.
Read my review of Fables Vol 15: Rose Red.

*2011 being when the reviews appeared here on my site. Not necessarily when the book was published.

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