I know, my blog’s been getting neglected as of late. Blame it on GeekGirlCon, or more importantly, donate to help us raise funds in order to secure our venue. We’re 50% of the way there.
Anyway, in the next couple of days, I’m going to be doing some best of 2010 posts. I should start with the big disclaimer that these are comics I reviewed in 2010. They may have been published earlier than 2010, but I published my review of them in 2010.
To start off: Top 5 Graphic Novels in 2010
5. Air: Letters from Lost Countries by G. Willow Wilson and M.K. Perker
Air came highly recommended from several friends, and it held true to its hype. On the back cover, there’s a quote by comic author Jason Aaron saying Air is a “post-9/11 fairy tale, part Gabriel Garcia Marquez, part Lost.” Which I think is the best summation of the adventures of Blythe, the somewhat odd flight attendant with a panic attack-inducing fear of heights. Apparently, the Clearfleet employment recruiter gave her a good talk.
Blythe meets a strange man calling himself Javad/Niko/Manuel, and in the post-9/11 atmosphere, she assumes he’s a terrorist. In fact, when she stalls Javad, her friend and fellow attendant Fletcher even questions her ethnic profiling.
4. Madame Xanadu: Disenchanted by Matt Wagner and Amy Reeder Hadley
Madame Xanadu is just an awesome tale that spans centuries. Thanks to the staff at Dreamstrands Comics for recommending the series to me. You were right; I did love it.
Madame Xanadu starts off as the young Nimue Inwudu in the world of Camelot. She is the sister of Morgana le Fey and Vivienne, the Lady of the Lake, and they are descendants of the elder folk, each on having magical powers. Nimue is particularly connected to the earth. She’s able to foresee the future by using nature.
Nimue is also the lover of Merlin.
3. Atomic Robo: Atomic Robo and the Fightin’ Scientists of Tesladyne by Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener
Atomic Robo and the Fightin’ Scientists of Tesladyne is perhaps one of the most brilliant comics I’ve read in a while. Love it little pieces: the humor, the mixing of genres, Robo’s solution to everything being blowing it up. It just works so well.
I love the care and detail put into designing Atomic Robo. He doesn’t look like other robots. I don’t think Cybermen, Data, or Cylons. I think Atomic Robo, the wacky fighting scientist who’s pretty indestructible.
This story is smart in how it frames Robo’s first battle against Dr. Helsingard and how he becomes Robo’s nemesis. Actually, I like that it was by accident. I like Helsingard being the obsessive one and swearing revenge on Robo, but Robo not really caring. He’s almost taking down Helsingard’s evil plans by accident.
2. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi is very engaging. I sat down and read the memoir in a couple of days; I couldn’t put it down. Satrapi’s story isn’t just that of a young girl growing up in Iran, but also a historical viewpoint on the Iranian Revolution in 1979.
Satrapi’s art fits perfectly with the story. It reflects the youth in the story, and the stark black inking works well with the dourness of Marji and her family’s story. But at times, Satrapi’s illustrations are masterful with showing the warmth and love that Majri and her family have for one another.
1. Batwoman: Elegy by Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III
Batwoman: Elegy is by far my favorite book of 2010, and one of my all-time favorite origin stories about a superhero. I love comic books, but face it, most of the time, they’re written for men. Batwoman is the book that I feel I’ve been waiting forever for. Like Batman, Kate Kane (Batwoman) is a socialite from Gotham City. But unlike Batman, she’s a bit of rebel with a rockabilly sense of style and a military background. Both of her parents were in the service, and she follows their lead. However, she is discharged from service under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and her sense of justice and service leads her to become Batwoman.
Elegy follows the story of Batwoman meeting her first villain Alice. Alice is a sharp contrast to Kate with her blonde curls, white outfits, and Lewis Carroll dialog. And since Alice and her crew are determined to sacrifice Kate to their otherworldly gods, Kate has no choice but to confront her. Rucka, a fabulous crime and mystery author, writes a tale of intrigue here, including a big secret about Alice herself.
The art by J.H. Williams III is some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen in a comic book. It enhances the story in every way possible from giving hints to the mystery to switching styles when we see Kate in and out of her Batwoman costumes. Lush and gorgeous.
This is the perfect story for the reader interested in comic books/graphic novels, but doesn’t know where to jump in as Batwoman: Elegy is a self-contained tale. I’d also recommend it for fans of art, crime and mystery stories, military family tales, LGBT narratives, superheroes, and anyone who wants to challenge my assertion that Batwoman makes a better Batman than Bruce Wayne.